New Observations on Impounding Vehicles CJ has Never Driven
I apologize for the double post, but it's my understanding that some players are actively learning to use the impound garages and I didn't want this update to be missed. When my investigation is complete I'll revise the Care and Feeding topic with the latest info but for now I'm not exactly sure how everything's going to play out. I also wanted to bring this info directly to the players that actually use the impound garages - The Collectors.
We've known for a while now that sometimes the game will impound vehicles that CJ has never driven. It's not uncommon for players to find lame boats in the SFPD impound or crummy aircraft in LVPD, for example. Now I have a basic understanding of how to cause this glitch intentionally, which will hopefully provide clues to how to avoid it.
- Inappropriate impounds are probably limited to Boat School, Bike School, Triathlons, and to a limited extent, Trucking.
- Driving School's interior location appears to prevent the glitch.
In San Andreas, vehicles are impounded by "clear area" commands used to stage or cleanup missions. If the vehicle to be cleared is identified as CJ's current or previous vehicle then it is sent to the nearest impound garage instead of cleared as garbage. I'm defining "current vehicle" as the car CJ is driving or has driven most recently when on foot, and his previous vehicle is the one before that. All vehicles CJ has driven (remote vehicles are untested) appear to count on this list. Specifically, mission vehicles count, as well as anything else CJ drives since loading the save.
My understanding of some of the technical details is less than optimal at the moment. I'll try to fill in the gaps and will revise as necessary but for now I'm trying to paint a clear picture that players can use to hunt for exceptions.
- Triathlons - 10000 clear area radius. This will catch anything on the map if it still exists. But anything besides a previous vehicle will probably be close by, and Triathons start quite a distance from a lot of traffic, and that makes a big difference.
- Trucking - ~50 meter radius, and considered quite large compared to most missions.
- Emerald Isle - Needs testing in new context. No traffic, but lots of scripted vehicles, and maybe some police pursuit.
- Pimping - 30 meters centered on the Broadway's car generator.
- Schools - 400 meter radius, these can catch nearly anything likely to be active.
Size matters, and so does location, because the inappropriate impound glitch is triggered when one of the vehicles to be cleared is in the same slot as CJ's current or previous vehicles, but CJ's car no longer exists.
Long-time readers of this topic may remember that I've got a cleo script to issues clear area commands surrounding CJ's location. I widened the radius to 1000 for these tests. And I've been using my script that displays the handling flags of cars in the garages to track changes to the garage contents as they happen.
So to trigger the glitch we first need to get rid of CJ's vehicle and then let them get replaced by random cars. Wrecks will eventually be discarded, but a quicker strategy is to enter cars in a garage and then let the door close on them again. With two defunct handles active if I quickly hit my clear area button then most likely nothing inappropriate will be impounded because nothing has had a chance to fill that slot yet. Try again and I'll probably catch one inappropriate impound. If I wait a little longer before clearing then I can catch the 2nd vehicle too. But after that nothing else gets sent to the garage. Also, if I wait for a while I can catch both cars in one try; the step by step part is just getting a feel for how the slots fill up.
Arriving at bike or boat school on foot or by jetpack will protected the garage for the first lesson (and maybe the 2nd). After that, the vehicles CJ has been driving for the lessons start triggering inappropriate impounds. Completing boat school straight through and repeating lessons only to pass managed to replace everything in the SFPD impound with a few extras to spare.
I suppose I should run more tests on the 2nd lesson to see if I can get consistent results as that would make a huge difference to anyone that wanted to save and reload between each lesson as a strategy to protect a full impound garage, especially considering the travel time required to reach boat school.
Update: Only the first lesson is free of glitches if CJ arrives without using vehicles since loading. Quitting the mission between each lesson seemed to reduce the risk of an impound, but the randomness of the event makes it hard to draw any conclusions on what would be an unreliable strategy at best.
I'm not expecting a lot of trouble from Trucking. For starters, the radius is fairly small. There's a small section of road that can be included but no gargens or anything to worry about. If random traffic did fill an old slot the car probably wouldn't get snagged. However, I'd feel safer leaving my travel vehicle safely out of range so I didn't need to worry about random glitches. Besides, saving between Trucking missions is fairly normal anyway.
Speculation: As hinted at earlier, I'm curious about the implications for remote vehicles. I don't know if remote vehicles count as a players current or previous vehicle, but that may not matter. The exploit would be to trick the game into clearing the remote vehicles inappropriately because the RC Tiger spawned to fill the previous vehicle slot. I'm not sure if these vehicles are cleared or destroyed individually, but it might be worth looking into.
New Model Army
A clear area command is issued immediately before the vehicles are created. CJ is placed in a BMX during the mission. The RCTigers I tracked were flagged as no longer needed by missions as they were wrecked, and completely destroyed at the end of the mission. Maybe something interesting would happen if the mission could be started twice. Otherwise, I don't see any easy solutions.
Air Raid - 25 meter clear area for spawning single barons. 1000 cleared between "All batteries commence fire!" and "He's going for my transmitters!" 1000 clear during mission failed and mission passed routines. It looks like barons have are marked as not needed by missions when they are wrecked. Others are removed from the game.
Supply Lines has a few 1000 meter clears during the mission.
- Just before CJ is placed into RC mode.
- Just before all the vehicles are created.
- Just before cut-scene with "Berkley has his sycophantic lackeys do all his deliveries."
I don't see anything marking the baron as unneeded or destroying it at the end of the mission. CJ is sitting in a Topfun during the mission.