JA2 1

JA2 1.13 Getting and using intel

This feature introduced a new resource: Intel. Think of intel as some sort of measure on all the spying and information gathering your forces have done.


You can gain intel in several ways:

  • interactive actions, like reading classified documents in a military base or hacking computers, can give you intel. For examples, see function HandleInteractiveActionResult(...) in Overhead.lua for examples (warning, spoilers!).
  • Interrogating prisoners can give us intel, the amount depends on prisoner type.
  • Mercs can now hide in disguise and gather intel in enemy-occupied territory. There is some depth to this mechanic (of which I am somewhat proud), so the second post of this thread deals with it in more detail.
  • Mercs can take a camera and take photograps of important NPCs or locations of special interest, which you can then trade for intel. For more info, see the third post in this thread.
  • Some NPCs give you some intel upon recruitment.
Now, what do you do with all that intel? Well, once you've gained your first bit, you will receive an email from Enrico. He will essentially give you two clues:
  • He sends you a link to the Recon Intelligence Services website. This organisation wrote the Recon Report you've probably forgotten of by now. One of their pages allows you to buy things for intel:

    The dropdown menu allows purchasing info on enemy positions for a 4x4 part of the map. For a higher price you will also get the exact troop counts and enemy movement directions. Note that just as the page states, this will only last a limited amount of time.
    Sometimes special information is available - this can unlock the permanent flight plans of an enemy helicopter, the position of an enemy general, or the location of an imprisoned merc. It is likely I will add more options to this over time.
  • He also makes you aware that the Black market - a new civilian group - that sells high-tech items exclusively for intel. They are based in San Mona and sell only for intel. What they sell can be set in function AddArmsDealerAdditionalIntelData() in Overhead.lua. By default their prices also depend on progress - as your progress, prices are somewhat lowered (due to the benefit of these items being gradually lowered).

    The placement of the merchant etc. is all defined in Overhead.lua:

In order to allow to better showcase, minor alterations were done: Beth now has a camera in one of her gearkits, as she seems the most reporter-like of the bunch. Mouse is now a full spy. And taking yet another inspiration from edmortimer, and considering that Raffi is so bad at anything nobody would believe he is a merc, he now get the covert trait. So he can be at least of some use as of this feature apart from cleaning minefields and carrying gear around.

You can set this feature off via RESOURCE_INTEL in JA2_Options.ini.

Hide & Get Intel AssignmentsEdit

Mercs can now hide in disguise and gather intel in enemy-occupied territory. It is very strongly recommended that any mercs attempting to do so have the covert trait. 

To set this up, the following conditions must be true:

  • The merc must be in tactical.
  • The merc must be disguised. Note that this does not require that the merc has the covert trait, as anyone can disguise. However only those with that trait will be any good at this.
  • The sector must be enemy-occupied.
  • The enemy must not be aware of the merc (so no, this won't work once combat has been initiated).
  • And the merc must be alone, no other mercs of militia allowed.

If all of these conditions apply, you can use the $ menu to assign the merc to the Hide or Get Intel assignment.

Once we assign the merc, we will leave the sector, and the merc will now be on assignment in that sector. At that point we can switch between Hide and Get Intel freely. On those assignments, there is the constant risk that the enemy eventually discovers the hidden merc.

This can cause us to receive a 1-3 hour time penalty. During penalty we won't gain any intel.

The risk depends on
  • how advanced the sector is (taken from CoolnessBySector.xml). Hiding in Meduna is a lot riskier than hiding in Drassen.
  • 15% level + 15% stealth + 70% covert trait (stealth - takes into account the stealth trait, background boni and worn stealth gear boni, but not agility or other stats)
  • personality - slight bonus for sociable (better at blending in), slight malus for cowards and nervous disability
  • If we are actively trying to get intel, the risk is doubled compared to hiding. If we do so disguised as a soldier, the risk is increased by factor 5. If we sleep or are on a penalty, we count as hiding (in order not to force the player to re-assign by hand).

In extreme cases, we not only receive a penalty, but be exposed - we will drop into combat at the exact position we were in when we got on that assignment... with our disguise removed. And the alarm raised, the enemy will be aware of you and actively search for you. Depending on where you left your merc, this can be extremely deadly, so plan accordingly.
As the alert is raised, this also means that even if the enemy does not find you and you re-disguise, you will still have to get out of there. Unless your spy is also a radio operator and uses the (probably not widely known) sideeffect of jamming preventing red alert being raised.
While the spy is hiding in a sector, they take note of the enemy even if they are not actively out for intel - we get a precise reading of enemy troop counts. This also works with the scout trait - a concealed scout with CAN_DETECT_ENEMY_PRESENSE_IN_SECTORS_AROUND set to TRUE will also detect troops in adjacent sectors. Depending on your positioning, this can be a valuable source of intel on its own.

While no other assignments are possible (no, you cannot train militia under the enemies eyes), you can simple get out of this assignment by setting your merc on duty. You will drop into 'combat' in the sector, but thankfully your disguise will be active, and the alert will not be raised.

Note that if any combat is initiated in this sector, like from other mercs or militia arriving, this merc will join combat from their location, too. This also means that the Retreat option will not be available (how would we retreat from inside the sector?).

Hiding is its own reward, as this allows your mercs to stay hidden in enemy territory. Previously this was not possible, which meant that a spy infiltrating a city had to either shelter in a mine or leave territory to sleep. Now you can actually deploy your spies long-time. Which seems pretty much what I'd expect spies to do. This alone should make spy roleplay a lot more viable.

If you are on the Get Intel assignment, you will also get intel (who'd have thought?). The amount depends on

  • How advanced the sector is (taken from CoolnessBySector.xml). Hiding in Meduna is a lot riskier than hiding in Drassen.
  • 50% wisdom + 10% level + 5% scout trait + 15% covert trait + 20% snitch trait
  • Personality - bonus for sociable or assertive, malus for primitive and loner. Penalty for forgetful of psycho.
  • If we are disguised as a soldier, the gains are doubled.

It thus follows that the safest way to do this is in an 'uncool' place (like some swamp in the north-east or Chitzena), while the biggest gains can be made in Meduna itself.
It is not necessary to have the covert trait to try this, but... I really, really recommend it. It might also be better to try to go for small but constant rewards in small towns rather than constantly facing constant mouse-and-cat games with the enemy in high-level installations.

Acquiring and selling Photos

Your mercs can now equip a camera (new item #1751, but the old video camera will also do), and take photograps with it.

If you have taken a shot of something that could be worth something to outside forces, you can now sell this on the R.I.S. website on the 'Information Verification' page. 
On the top, you can toggle through all the shots taken that you can sell, and upload them.
After R.I.S. has verified the photo, you will receive a small message on what has been verified, and get intel for this. 

There is, however, a catch: the conditions on the person or area you took a photo took of at the time verification is done determines what reward you get. This is justified - outside forces might be interest in identifying Kingpin, for example, and give you a significant amount of intel for that. That reward will be significantly lowered if Kingpin is dead, however - what would they do with a photo of a dead man?
Similar, if you take images that prove the regime is comitting warcrimes, that is worth something. That reward is lowered if you have already taken over that sector... after all, the regime can now deny any culpability and accuse you of fabricating whatever proof you have of their crimes.

Verifying these images takes time - about 2-4 hours. So in order to get the most out of this, it won't suffice to just have one dude take photos on your regular attacks. You could, you know, send someone in to scout the area and take photos before you take a city. You know... do stuff a spy would do.

After a photo has been verified, the details will also appear on the website.

Note that the contents of this part of the feature - which images can be taken, what conditions apply, what texts to show, how much intel to get - are all defined in lua. This means that a modder can easily add more images. This is all set up in Overhead.lua.

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