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Flag: Ammo
File(s): rules(md).ini
Values: Unsigned integers: All non-negative whole numbers from 0 to either 32767, 2147483647 or 4294967296.
Special Values:  -1 (see below)
Default:  -1
Applicable to: TechnoTypes:

AircraftTypes, BuildingTypes, InfantryTypes and VehicleTypes (see respective notes below)

This flag essentially controls exactly what it is named after: The "number of rounds carried between reloads", i.e. how many shots the object has before it needs to be/gets reloaded.

Special Values

The only special value is -1, which means "unlimited ammo". This is also the default value for the flag.

Standard Usage

The ammo-system in RA2 and YR is mainly used for aircraft, and has therefore been re-coded to best fit this purpose; on one hand, this means that using ammo on non-AircraftTypes is often buggy, in the sense that not all flags work or have the desired effect. This also means AircraftTypes require a declaration of Ammo= to work properly, and this number must be either -1 (for unlimited ammunition) or an integer greater than 0.

In addition, Ammo can be used to limit the number of times a Tech Building can deliver it's effect, meaning that a structure with Armory=yes and Ammo=20 could only promote infantry 20 times before becoming useless. This only applies to structures with Armory=yes and/or Hospital=yes.

The System in Detail

The ammo and reloading system is controlled by several INI flags:

  • Ammo, which controls the maximum amount of rounds a unit can carry.
  • InitialAmmo, which controls with how much ammo the unit will contain upon construction or spawning.
  • Reload, which controls the time delay between reloading a certain amount of ammo; is no other specification given, it simply reloads to full ammo straight away.
  • ReloadIncrement can be used to speed up (or slow down) the rate at which a unit will reload with each successive PipWrap set.
  • EmptyReload, which controls the time delay before the first reload occurs when the unit is out of ammo.
  • ManualReload, which controls whether this unit cannot reload itself, but has to dock with a building; this is not set on aircraft because, unlike other TechnoTypes, it defaults to "yes" for them.

Other Ammo-related flags on objects are.

  • DamageReducesReadiness, which tells the game to reduce the amount of available ammo if the unit gets damaged
  • PipScale, which in the form of PipScale=Ammo tells the game to show the amount of ammo a unit currently contains.

And also important are:

  • UnitReload, which gives buildings the ability to reload units with ManualReload=yes
  • ReloadRate, which is the flag in the general section controlling the number of minutes needed to restore one round of ammo on units docked to a building that reloads them.


If a unit was set to


it would start out with 1 round of ammo when it comes from it's factory. If it shot itself empty, it would take about 10 seconds (on medium game speed) until reloading started. It would then be reloaded by 3 rounds of ammo every 30 seconds, up until it's maximum amount of 10 rounds. This is all visible to the player, because the PipScale is drawn. Note that, in some cases, the unit does not necessarily need to be empty in order to reload itself.

Ammo on Aircraft

  • Ammo and reloading on AircraftTypes works as seen in the game, using the manual system.
  • Automatic reloading on aircraft does not appear to work.

Ammo on Vehicles

Ammo and auto-reloading on VehicleTypes works perfectly, but manual reloading does not work without AI issues..

Ammo on Infantry

Ammo on Infantry does not work quite to design.
You can give Infantry ammo, but they will not auto-reload until they are damaged. If your soldier runs out of ammo, they will have to be attacked by something in order to kick-start the reloading mechanism. However, no matter what other flags you set, it will just restore the infantry to full ammo.

A partial solution to this problem is to use a "reloader" unit. I.e. a unit with a weapon that only inflicts one point of damage, uses the FireOnce, AttackCursorOnFriendlies and CloseRange tags in conjunction with a very low Range value. The resulting effect is then that the unit moves up close to your unit, and then the "attacked" unit will reload as they take the negligible amount of damage from the reloader's "weapon".

Also note that an infantry can only be reloaded when all of its ammo has been depleted, regardless of how much damage it takes. The reload mechanism will only fire once all of the unit's ammunition has been depleted.

Ammo on Buildings

Ammo on buildings is rather useless. While it does work, and even reloads, it simply reloads to full ammo as soon as it is out of rounds, meaning that it makes no difference if ammo is defined or not. Your structure won't even stop shooting while reloading.
In addition, if a building with ammo is used to force-fire somewhere, the ROF will be ignored, turning the structure's armament into a rapidly firing weapon.

Ammo on Tech Buildings

Tech Buildings are a special case for ammunition on structures. More specifically, this involves Tech Buildings that have the tag Armory=yes or Hospital=yes. The Ammo tag will then have a different function if one of these tags are present. In this instance, the Ammo tag will control the amount of uses the Tech Building has.

For example, you have a Tech Building with Armory=yes and Ammo=25. The structure will be able to promote infantry 25 times, and then can no longer promote any more infantry.

The EXE file contains a check for when a structure's ammo is depleted. Firstly, the game looks to see if the building has Armory=yes or Hospital=yes, if not its ammo is then simply reset to full.

If you were to give a base defense structre a weapon along with either Armory=yes or Hospital=yes, the structure will empty its clip and not do anything again.

Also note that Ammo is shared with between the structure's weapon, and any applicable Tech Building function. For example, if you have Ammo=5 on a structure with Armory=yes and a Primary weapon, you could perform 5 infantry promotions, or fire 5 rounds, or any combination of the two that totals up to 5.

Fixes in Ares

Version 0.1 of Ares fixes the Ammo logic for InfantryTypes and BuildingTypes; on the latter, Ammo is only reloaded if neither Armory nor Hospital=yes. No change was made on VehicleTypes and AircraftTypes (latter are still hardcoded to require manual reloading).

See also