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This will not be a development page, this is merely a page to document the existence, technical implementation and functionality of this mod for posterity's sake.

Any mod I create now could be my last, so I need to record them in some form, for that reason alone.

 

Mini-Games Extended - Jobs for the girls (or boys)


Courier Services

Courier Services is the second mod in the minigames extended collection. Like Vehicles in Demand, this is a multi-service, multi-ped mod. Unlike VID, multiple peds can work for the same company, or in fact many companies. You are never employed as such, you're more like a freelance courier driver.

The mod uses the four main courier services:

Alpha Mail - Near Los Santos International Airport
Go Postal - In Downtown Vinewood
Post Op - In Paleto Bay
United States Post - In Terminal

Each location has two defined areas, the van pickup/dropoff location and the office. Unlike VID though, the office is not enclosed within the vehicle area. Two of these services typically have a van parked in the van area but they're not always the correct livery. So when you pick up your schedule for the day, any existing vans are set to the correct livery and the other two locations use my Vehicle Spawn Factory to generate their vehicles. So there is always a vehicle ready for use.

The pickup/dropoff area is defined by a fading/animated area display, just to make things more visible but not intrusive, as it will be invisible if you are further away from the area than 25 metres.

At each location, there is always 5 schedule sheets available. A schedule sheet is a set of 5 jobs. Each job can either be a collection or a delivery. Each job has 1 of 4 priority levels, these priority levels affect how long you have to complete the job, how much you will get paid and what the penalty rate is for late collection or delivery. You can see a Schedule sheet below, each schedule sheet also displays the logo of the respective company. The sheet is displayed when you are in the office area, plus it can be called up when you are in the van, after starting the schedule.

The payment is based on the distance to the job and the priority rate. Penalties will be applied to your earnings at the end of the schedule, as will any damage costs for repairing the van.

While you are out on your scheduled jobs, there will be an info display shown in the top-left corner. Because these mods are all part of the MGE collection, they will share a familiarity in their appearance. So the info display uses the same gradient background and coloured block system as VID. It also shows all 5 jobs and they will be coloured based on the duration of the job. All job text will start yellow but as the time limit for the job gets nearer, the text will shift to red. Any completed jobs are shown in grey. Three stages of this display are shown in the screens below.

The info bar also shows two time displays. One is the current game time and the other is the schedule clock, just so you can keep track of how long you have been working for and to see when time limits might be close to being hit.

The locations are taken from the World Guide System, in particular, 3 main categories... Business, Retail and Accommodation. Certain locations are unsuitable, like Gas Stations, so those are filtered out when the collections are requested from the WGS.

Each of the 5 jobs is displayed on the main map as a numbered circle, with the number matching the position in the list. The mod doesn't directly use WGS for navigation, the reason being that it is designed to feel a bit old-school. That's why the schedule sheets look like pieces of paper, rather than computer displays.

So it relies on interaction with the main game map to navigate to locations, as you can get a better overview of their relative positions, so you can plan your route better. The only automation that occurs, is when you finish the 5th job. At that point, a waypoint is set back at the van pickup/dropoff location.

The mod also has the staff system for communication with the player. There is just a boss and a secretary though, as there are no updates during the schedule... yet anyway.

The scheduling system generates schedule sheets up to 2 hours behind the current time, this is to simulate schedules being added in a continuous fashion. In light of that, the schedule clocks for all schedules are constantly updated. When the schedule clock goes past the earliest finish time, that schedule is removed and a new one generated in its place, so there are always fresh jobs being generated.

The current time is now displayed below the schedule, so you can see how much time has already passed on that set of jobs. When you choose a set of jobs, the schedule clock will be carried over into your active schedule, so you have to choose carefully.

Payment and penalty system is now fully functional for Players Extended peds and the normal game peds. Time passing after being Wasted or Busted is also now functional. Those conditions won't terminate the schedule but the added time will make them very costly. With a penalty rate of $4 per hour, a 10 hour stay in the hospital is going to hurt your bank balance. The van going missing or being destroyed will terminate the schedule and will also incur a penalty cost towards the van replacement.

This image shows the end results of a schedule with plenty of incident.

Deliveries now use a proper package prop system. If you are collecting a package, one will be generated at the pickup location. You must then pick up the package, take it to the back of the van and open the doors. At that point, the package will be placed into the back of the van and when you walk away from the rear of the van, the doors will close. The collection job is completed when you are sat back in the van.

With a delivery, you first go to the back of the van and open the doors. Inside is a package that you will carry to the dropoff location. Once there, a button press drops the package and you can then return to the van. You can only walk whilst carrying a box, this was a conscious decision, to encourage you to park in a relevant location and penalising you with time if you don't.

Packages are in 3 sizes, Large (cardboard box prop), Medium (drug package prop) and Small (cash envelope prop). The box is requires 2 hands to carry, which is why you can't run with it. (There are animations for run and walk but they just don't work that well as isolated upper-body animations, especially as they seem to be male oriented and all my addon peds are females.)

The other two sizes are attached to the hand with the normal animations and as such, you have a full movement range with them. The 3 sizes also affect the job payment. Medium is the base payment value, small is 15% less and large is 15% more. This generates a greater variety of job payments in the schedules. You now have distance, priority and size affecting the overall payment.

As an extension to the prop system in use, packages are now stored in the van prior to delivery or after collection. This makes the whole package system seem far more logical.

Here's a short video showing the mod in action. And I know... I called the United States Post by the wrong name. I also know that the video isn't the best quality. I think my system is on the way out, so my game performance is going to crap. This was about the 25th attempt with various capture packages to capture a video. I had had enough by this point, I just needed to get something created and uploaded into my video history.

The voiceover was done using my Text2Speech programme, the voice used is ZiraPro by Microsoft.