Jagged Alliance: BIA Puts A Patch Over Your Eyes

By Adam Smith on May 3rd, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

I had very mixed feelings about Jagged Alliance: Back In Action and not the kind that make for the emotional equivalent of a delicious bourbon-based beverage. This was more like a draught of nostalgic ambrosia that someone had spilled kerosene in. That I still drank it and would do so again speaks ill of my character. The recent patch siphons in something sweet and much in demand though – a ‘tactical’ mode. That might seem a bit like if Battlefield 3 adding a ‘shooter’ mode months after release, but at least someone’s listened to the complaints and JABIA is receiving decent support. The main addition is that enemies must be revealed through line of sight but there’s plenty more. Full change list below.

The concession toward the pleas to let loose the fog of war is the main thing but other useful sounding tweaks include much desired UI changes that should make militia and inventory management less of a chore.

It’s worth nothing that due to either a one in a million fluke or a sly numerical wink, this brings the game up to version 1.13, matching Jagged Alliance 2′s most brilliant modification.

Added Features
• Added hard difficulty level as option on game start. Modifies enemy strength, income and starting funds.
• Added tactical mode as option on game start.
- Enemies have to be revealed via line of sight in tactical mode.
- Sound sources are marked in tactical view as well as on the minimap
• Added two new achievements for tactical mode and higher difficulty.
• Added option to level recruited militia up via the location UI on the world map.
• Added options to distribute militia via location UI (evenly across all combat zones, focused on a single combat zone)
• Added sector inventory, accessible via Character Detail Screen
- Always accessible in friendly sectors
- Automatically includes all containers that have been opened and all enemy drops that have been spotted by the player
- Accessible for militia recruitment and trading with NPCs
• Added item exchange via Drag & Drop in Character Details Screen. Illegible mercs are marked red. • Within hostile sectors mercs need to be within 5m distance to be able to exchange items.
• Stamina is reduced when returning to the strategic map when squads travelled great distances in the tactical view
• Current ammo saved for each weapon, weapons are unloaded when being handed over to militia. • Militia will hand weapons back unloaded to prevent players cheating ammo via the militia equip screen
• NPC Traders restock their inventory over time (rules can be modified via characters.txt)
• Targeting line indicates best range of weapon and chance to hit via color from green (good) to red (bad)
• Camera scrolling possible by moving the cursor to the border of the screen in fullscreen mode
• Added Sound FX for melee attacks
• Putting away a fire arm for non-combat actions (e.g. heal) will no longer reset the firemode of the weapon
• Added scrollbar in mail list window
• Added trash can icon to delete mail to mail window
Bug Fixes
• Fixed some exploits that allowed to duplicate items via item exchange
• Fixed bugs in squad selection via list on world map
• Fixed regeneration of HP on world map, HP lost due to wounds takes longer to regenerate
• Added missing text for Raider’s hiring dialogue
• Fixed Blood not liking Magic due to a typo
• Fixed MP53 weapon type not being specified
• Fixed Deidranna’s sending of troops based on the player’s income becoming less likely
• Fixed orientation of 66mm rocket shot from LAW
• Fixed issue when player receives several items of the as quest reward and has not enough space in inventory to hold all of them
• Fixed crash in tutorial
• Fixed several mercs that move as a group changing positions after reaching their destination if one of them with active guard mode receives a new goto order
• Fixed guard mode would prevent mercs from letting other mercs pass them
• Fixed mail list not being cleared when starting a new game
• Fixed item swap to player inventory for stacked items on rightclick and by “loot all”-button
• Fixed bug in loner trait
• Fixed bug in tough trait
• Added slight offset to grenade explosions to prevent explosions inside ground to prevent grenades damage to be reduced by terrain
• Changes to terrain to prevent grenades from falling through ground on machines with low frame rates
• Fixed explosions not destroying armor correctly
Balancing Changes and Tweaks
• Added grenade launcher ammo to containers in some locations in the world
• Added grenade launcher ammo to the stock of some local traders
• Slightly decreased accuracy of snipers when prone
• Tweaked enemy attributes to adjust aim time in combat
• Tweaked enemy perception to accommodate introduction of Line of Sight
• Enemies drop the amount of ammo they have left in their weapon
• Enemy area defenders swap random positions to make the game less predictable in tactical mode (interval can be modified via templatesAIdescription.txt)
• Reduced chance of friendly fire between enemies
• State of tanks is stored outside of levels
• Destroyed tanks only respawn if the location still belongs to the enemy after 24 hours
• Location of Limited Edition DaHonko Flakes is now randomized
• NPC traders item list is sorted by item type
• Tweaks and improvements to pathfinding and navmesh calculation, mercs should not slow down in narrow passages anymore
• Tweaked damage done to vehicles by explosives making tanks harder to destroy with grenades alone
Localization
• Polish language files added
• Added missing texts for French
• Added polish translation for game launcher

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36 Comments »

  1. Baresark says:

    Holy god, with that patch it may be worth getting now. I have been itching to get it but with all the problems with the UI and how the maps are displayed… well this is far superior.

  2. RedViv says:

    It’s almost as if turning the foundations of a series upside-down was not quite the best way to approach a remake after all.

  3. Njordsk says:

    The demo traumtised me after 2 minutes. They kept killing me while I didn’t move of my spawn, trying to lay behind a rock.

    I did not insist.

  4. neonordnance says:

    It’s quite impressive to see a dev who has so obviously fucked up do a 180. The game might’ve sucked on release, but it sounds like it’s slowly getting better.

    • Wild_Marker says:

      It is. I started playing at patch 1.11 and found it quite a good game. Then I saw the patch notes and went “Wait what? You mean [FEATURE] and [FEATURE] weren’t at launch? it must have been horrible to play like that!” So yeah, patches were big on gameplay changes and made it a completely different (and superior) game.

    • Elmar Bijlsma says:

      I gotta say I never found the game all that terrible to begin with. Sure there were flaws in design and execution but on the whole they could be played around. It wasn’t too terrible at all except for the UI which saw you dedicate more time gathering the loot then invading the place.
      But much too my surprise the devs instead of a quick cashgrab have shown a lot of love for the game and Jagged Alliance. It might not be quite in the league of JA2 even now, but it is pretty damn good, in a genre that is not exactly overpopulated.

      It has shaped up nicely and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone who remembers JA2 fondly.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      The game was decent on launch, but a little tedious (luckily I don’t mine tedious games). I think I put 71 hours into it. Got my money’s worth.

      But the patches have made it much more enjoyable and less tedious to play. I may even do a whole new campaign or two.

  5. Spookie says:

    Sadly it doesn’t fix the piss weak AI or modify the weapon values so you don’t have to be in melee range to have a pistol hit its target.

    • Calculon says:

      It also doesnt fix the irritating constant and repetitive counter attacks on already captured targets. And because the ‘militia’ is so weak its pointless to even arm them, as they roll over and put their butts in the air any time a weak to medium armed force rolls in.

      • zacharai says:

        For the counter attacks, I’d just leave a couple of decent shooters with good rifles at the choke points. When the enemy comes in, they usually just run straight at you across open terrain. So kneel and set up burst mode to easily wipe them out. Two defenders can usually take out ten or more baddies without being hit.

    • jwoozy says:

      What pistol are you using? Both of the Glocks and Barettas have range on par or better than most SMGs.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      The AI is no worse than any other game of this type. Making good AI is extremely hard. It just looked particularly bad before Fog of War because you could see what it was doing.

      The weapon range is fine, it is a game not a simulation.

  6. CaspianRoach says:

    >• Fixed orientation of 66mm rocket shot from LAW
    Did it fire backwards?

  7. Ernesto says:

    “Fixed Blood not liking Magic due to a typo”

    That sounds funny (when you rip it out of context).

  8. mckertis says:

    “this brings the game up to version 1.13″

    Now people who google for JA2 patch will have to wade through offers of JA:BiA.
    If you cant beat the champion fairly – land a low blow. Dick move, bitcomposer…dick move…

    • gritz says:

      Wow, this didn’t even occur to me. Even for a coincidence, it’s a crap move on their part.

    • Pharos says:

      “Now people who google for JA2 patch will have to wade through offers of JA:BiA”

      Protip: When googling for the JA2 patch, add ‘-”Back in Action”‘ to the search. Or would you have preferred they abandon the game after 1.12?

      Anyway, this update makes me very happy indeed. Equipping militia was by far the biggest source of faff in the game, second only to wandering all over the map, picking up the loot. I just wish they’d fix the bug where the game crashes if you try to load a save while in pause mode.

      • Walsh says:

        Umm what the hell are you talking about? If someone searches for JA2 1.13, guess what?! They will get Jagged Alliance 2 1.13. What kind of terrible search engine are you going to that confuses JA2 with JA BIA?

        This is literally the stupidest thing I’ve read in weeks.

        Edit: This was in response to the OP, not you Pharos

        • Pharos says:

          Um… did you maybe reply to the wrong post?

          EDIT: Yes, so I gather. :)

        • mckertis says:

          “Umm what the hell are you talking about?”

          Umm, stuff ?

          “If someone searches for JA2 1.13, guess what?!”

          Guess what, not everyone abbreviates things the same way. Some may not think to include “2″. People are different. Some are not that bright, and imagine that everyone thinks the same way they do. Much like you demonstrate with your post.

          “What kind of terrible search engine are you going to that confuses JA2 with JA BIA? ”

          What kind of meager gamer experience you have, if you havent seen this happen many times already in the last few years ? Prince of Persia that was rebooted so many times and people can say “Prince of Persia” when talking about pretty much any of the 8 games ? Recent Alien Vs Predator ? Oh, and the upcoming SRT:Original Generations 2. ONE LETTER is all that differentiates the name of this game from its prequel. Not a number, a letter.

          “This is literally the stupidest thing I’ve read in weeks.”

          Pearls before swines, all i can say.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            To be fair though, your original post kind of implied that this was some kind of conspiracy to trap unsuspecting googlers somehow.

          • jwoozy says:

            No, it really is a dumb thing of you to say. JABIA is not in competition with JA1.13 and there’s no reason for the developers of either to think in such adversarial terms. Searches for “JA 1.13″, “JA2 1.13″, “Jagged Alliance 1.13″ and “JABIA 1.13″ turn out exactly as you’d expect them to, and specifying “JABIA” actually is more prone to errors returning a handful of links related to JA2 1.13.

            If you’re worried about finding 1.13 in the future, you could always just search for “boring unplayable gunporn” or “my little mercenary tactical kit dress up simulator”, or “a history of terrible videogame interfaces vol. 1″.

          • Phasma Felis says:

            Guess what, not everyone abbreviates things the same way. Some may not think to include “2″. People are different. Some are not that bright, and imagine that everyone thinks the same way they do.

            Uh, yeah, if you fail to find a JA2 patch because you didn’t actually search for JA2, that’s no one’s fault but your own.

          • wu wei says:

            Some are not that bright, and imagine that everyone thinks the same way they do. Much like you demonstrate with your post.

            Really? Because ignorance and projection seemed to be the major problems with your OP.

  9. Dana says:

    I actually liked this game (for what it represented, not for bugs), Im quite fond of active-pause tactical games.

    • Fumarole says:

      Same here. These are welcome changes and I’m sure I’ll play through the game again with different mercs and the tactical mode enabled.

  10. Bhazor says:

    And so the dumbest design decision is finally reversed.

  11. subshell001 says:

    Does anyone know if you can strafe in this game? Can you only shoot forward when walking?

  12. Joshua Northey says:

    The patch is really excellent and what a lot of people were asking for.

  13. lordcooper says:

    So is this worth buying now?

    • jwoozy says:

      Probably. All of the major complaints have been addressed as of 1.13, with the exception of official mod support (I wouldn’t cross my fingers). I personally find JABIA much faster and more playable than JA2 and honestly I don’t think I could go back to any other squad-based-tactical-combat-sim-with-strategic-resource-management-and-light-RPG-elements game after this patch.

  14. RegisteredUser says:

    I don’t think this fixes anything about the game at all(of what actually makes it feel wrong).

    And given how near-identical they made it in the first place, I quite honestly don’t see why people wouldn’t just play the real thing(JA2).

  15. Joshua Northey says:

    Because it has a horrible obsolete interface, an archaic game-play mode, and if they are fans have probably already played it many times.

    Games have come a long way since then. Sure this isn’t everything it could be, but pretending it is less enjoyable than the original (for gamers used to 2012 games) is just silly.

  16. NikosX says:

    they ruined one of my most beloved strategy games of all times (with xcom). the original game was a marvel and thats trash. why did they bother releasing it anyways? did they try to play this thing before they put it in stores?

  17. ichigo2862 says:

    oh sweet jesus, they finally fixed the militia, I’ll give it another look.

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