More widespread helicopter spawns

Currently, to my knowledge, intact helicopters spawn in precisely two places; military bases and regional airports.
Helicopters are rare. Finding breakdowns immediately relevant (that is, to New England) are difficult, but nationwide stats paint a clear picture.

Finding an intact helicopter should be even more rare after a period of intense use, and the fact that many would be deployed overseas.

Regardless of this rarity, the current lack of possible spawns feels off to me. If you want to (legitimately) obtain a working helicopter you have to look for regional airports or military bases. Military helipads have no chance to spawn any, hospitals have no chance to spawn any, and as far as I know there aren’t even commercial helipads for news channels or police search facilities.

I would suggest as an immediate fix to this current unrealistic state that a relatively small chance be added to all current helipads of spawning relevant helicopters (medevacs on hospitals, military helicopters on military helipads) with a smaller still chance of them being intact. Spitball numbers based on nothing would be 20% chance of a spawn per helipad, maybe a 10% chance of that spawn being a non-wrecked helicopter. I’d like feedback on this the most as I plan to do a PR for this if there are no major obstacles.

After this I’d be interested in any sort of objective measure of how rare helicopters should be based on population, military assets in New England today, or perhaps actual number of helicopters in New England divided by the area of the region.

Finally, and one I have no real interest in doing myself, more helipads are needed so that commercial, non-medical craft, and private transport craft, the apparently most common sort to be found in the CONUS, can plausibly spawn.

This is my first post here, so let me know if I’ve committed any faux pax or otherwise screwed up.

1 Like

I wasn’t allowed to include 3 links because of my new account. Here is a link that states the US has about 6800 helicopters in service in the military.

So between commercial and military, there are about 15,000 helicopter deployed

The first approximation is even geographic distribution, which is 15,000 over 3.8 million square miles or one helicopter per 253 square miles. In other words, the number of helicopters spawning is at least 100x too high, and that’s not even accounting for helicopter losses from the cataclysm.



I love when you comment on things like this…I was grinning from ear to ear LOL.

People say this needs to spawn more,this needs more power,this is to heavy ETC ETC.
then Kevin comes in with the math and says oh thanks for pointing this out this will now be nerfed even more because infact it was to common,to light,to powerful LOLOLOL.


FWIW, it’s probably not an even geographic distribution: the 6,000 military birds are heavily concentrated at military air bases (the local Air National Guard unit has a dozen or so UH-60s on the tarmac most of the time) and the commercial ones probably are loosely correlated to population density.

Even so, 1 helicopter per 253 square miles works out to 1 copter per 16x16 mile square. 1 vehicle movement tile per turn = 4 mph, so a 16 mile square is 4 * 3,600 or 14,400 map tiles. Which is 600 overmap tiles or the length of 3.3 overmap buffers.

Yeah, okay, so there should be 1 helicopter wreck (working or wrecked) for every 10 overmap buffers.

An even more realistic distribution would be 1 helicopter wreck per 5x5 grid of overmap buffers, and 1 airfield with an average of 6 helicopters per 10x10 grid of overmap buffers. (That distribution puts 1 airfield per 50x50 mile square, which might be a little high, even in New England.)

But yeah, basically, people should never see helicopters in a normal game.


While New England would be over represented due to population density, yes, helicopter wrecks (99% of current helicopter spawns) should be more rare.
We could use the given 1 in 5x5 grid of overmap buffers, or 4% per overmap buffer. We’d need to know how many helipads spawn on average per overmap buffer to get a more exact number, a number which would change based on mapgen settings, I’d say we have to make an arbitrary decision here.
I propose for the arbitrary number we use 2% chance of a helicopter spawning on any helipad, with a 10% chance of it being intact, which is completely arbitrary but it seems fitting.
Actually, an in-between “grounded for maintenance” stage would make more sense for the majority of good condition airframes, but that’s beyond the scope of this.
Thank you @mlangsdorf for that math writeup.

1 Like

Should probably made that math way before helis were implemented, lol.

I don’t tell dpwb what to contribute, I just say “thanks” for all the work he did.


I did, I told dpwb that people would almost never see his content, and he forged ahead anyway.

@kevin.granade Do you have any feedback on adding 2% spawn rate/90% wrecked helicopters to every helipad and nerfing the regional airport to be in line with it as I outlined earlier?

No, because I have no indication of what the effective spawn rate per geographic area would be, e.g. per overmap.

Thank you @anothersimulacrum for this data!
A summary;
number of overmaps 235
number of military helipad: 174
number of mil_base: 11
number of hospital: 49
number of regional_airport: 21

Based on this the current helicopers, excluding random wrecks, are (11*.05+21*.3)/235 or .03 helicopters per overmap buffer.
My proposed changes would change this to (174*.02+11*.02+49*.02+21*.02)/234 or .02 helicopters per overmap buffer.
Let me double check my math
This is the test used to generate this data, which anothersimulacrum cautions is hacky and should not be be totally relied upon.

Does this data hold up even if one would change the “Size of cities” and “City Spacing” settings?
Not that we get 10 times the helicopters by halving the size of the cities.

Also, it seems like you have a “slip of the keyboard” error in there…: (11*.05+21*.3)/235 vs (174*.02+11*.02+49*.02+21*.02)/234. But for the actual calculation you used both times 235, so that’s fine.

This data is only for the default mapgen settings. It wouldn’t be too hard to modify this test to run with all sorts of different mapgen settings.

What can the aspiring modders do for changing the spawn rates to their liking? Are the spawn rates for vehicles mostly driven in JSON? I poked my nose into mapgen JSON for various places, like the military heliport, and that does seem to be the case - looks like X chance to spawn a vehicle from Y vehicle group. If you could clarify that, that’d be awesome.

Spawn rates for vehicles are set by JSON in complicated ways; see the guide for new contributors and the sections on new locations and new vehicles for details.