Tired of starting at Omerta A9 every damn game? Building a new campaign that should start at the center of the map? With HAM 3.5, you can change the default arrival sector.
Ever since the original release of Jagged Alliance 2, our mercs have been entering Arulco in Omerta A9. Every game, every time. While you can later move the Landing Zone to another sector, your very first drop of the game will put you in A9 no matter what.
JA2: Unfinished Business allowed making new maps and potentially whole new campaigns, but suffered the exact same problem - your starting sector was always the same (hell, the sector map itself was always exactly the same and couldn't even be edited). Not much of a solution.
HAM 3.5 - Finally! Edit
HAM 3.5 allows changing the very first arrival sector, using two extremely simple INI settings (basically, the coordinates of the sector where you want to start your game).
The first mercs you hire will always arrive at the chosen sector. You can later move the Landing Zone normally when you've freed up some extra airspace.
Merc landings in the new sector will include the familiar "chopper arrival" animation, with mercs rapelling down a rope to the ground. Note that this arrival always takes place along the northern edge of the sector, just as it does in Omerta A9.
One Consideration - Free Airspace Edit
The only problem with moving the default LZ is that you must also free up the airspace above that LZ.
By JA2 defaults, there is no SAM Site coverage over Omerta. You can see this by starting a new game and checking out the airspace control map. The sectors of Omerta A9 and A10 are green by default, even though you haven't captured any SAM sites. You will need to do the same thing for your new LZ sector.
This is done through the file SAM Sites.XML, which is located in your Data1.13\TableData\Map folder.
At the very end of this file, you'll see a table that represents the JA2 strategic map. Each "sector" on the map has a number associated with it. This number tells the game which SAM Site controls the airspace over the sector. For instance, the airport at Drassen B13 is controlled by Sam Site #1. If you capture a SAM Site, all sectors controlled by it will become "free" airspace, and will show green on the airspace control map.
If you look at the XML table, you'll see that Omerta A9 and A10 are marked "0". This means that no SAM Site has control over these sectors, and they are always considered "Free" airspace. To allow a different sector as your default LZ, set its number to 0.
You can then choose to assign the airspace over Omerta to one of the SAM sites, if you want!
What happens if I don't do this? Edit
Not much, but it can lead to problems if you save the game before leaving the LZ.
If the LZ marker is ever placed in an enemy-controlled airspace sector, the game always tries to move it to a free-airspace sector. The check is performed regularly, and will also occur when loading a game.
If your default LZ is in an enemy-controlled airspace sector, you should have no problem landing there. At some point, the game will notify you that the LZ has been moved to a different sector, and all subsequent drops will occur there. So far, quite logical - you can have a "one-off" insertion into enemy territory, but after that you'll need to free up more airspace if you want to move your LZ around. Makes sense.
The real problem is that if you save the game before the LZ has been moved to a free sector, that savegame will be UNUSABLE. This is due to a strange glitch, where the game will refuse to load because of conflicts with the infobox that tells you that the LZ has been moved. It doesn't crash the game, but you cannot load a save.
To prevent this issue from bothering you, always make sure that the default LZ is set to have no SAM Site coverage. This is for your own good.
HAM 3.5 Full - Combat Landings Edit
The above bug has been solved in HAM 3.5 Full. You can now set your default LZ to a Red Airspace sector safely, without worrying about savegame problems. Immediately after the first landing, you will receive a message telling you that the LZ has been moved to a different (Green Airspace) sector. If this message fails to appear for any reason, the next game-load will move the LZ target silently, avoiding the bug. If you have not been notified about the LZ being moved, please check your map to see if the program has silently moved it. Since the move is automatic, it may or may not select an appropriate sector for the next drop, so you would want to adjust it yourself.
You can still choose to remove SAM coverage from your initial LZ to allow subsequent landings to take place there as well without restrictions - but this is no longer mandatory.
INI Settings Edit
The two INI settings associated with this feature set the coordinates of your preferred Default Landing Zone.
|Effect||Determines the X coordinate of your default Landing Zone.|
|Range||1 - 16|
|JA2 Default Setting||9||By default, you'll land in Omerta A9...|
|Effect||Determines the Y coordinate of your default Landing Zone.|
|Range||1 - 16|
|JA2 Default Setting||1||By default, you'll land in Omerta A9...|