My New Idea Creature Mechanic - Grabbing creatures
#1
Grabbing creatures


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I am not sure if it is intended or not, but not being able to grab creatures is a pain in the neck.

There are many reasons I would like to do this and the biggest one is just imp stupidity.

I discovered the cyclotaurs maze, so I kicked some asses, I got kicked too. I decided to close the gate with a wall but there are several outcomes (when closing a route).

The typical one is the imp closing the route in the opposite direction so he ends outside and he can get back anymore. That means that I can't just close a route.

In the case of the maze, a lot entered to get corpses and when I close it, I left like 4 behind to just.. die.


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Highlight: Ability to grab creatures.
Function: Grabbing orcs is good too. I can understand that not being able to grab orcs is to add more difficult (ignoring the fact that the orcs can also get trapped with closing routes) but sometimes...

In that maze, I killed all the cyclotaurs in the external part of it and I just removed the flag expecting a retreat... But no, an orc was smart enough to break a door, he entered and was killed by a cannon, after him, 10 imps died in the same spot (trying to recover the last corpse).

Grabbing that orc could avoid it breaking the door.

Thoughts?
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#2
There have been several discussions and ideas on this sort of thing, including on this exact idea. The Devs have already chosen not to allow grabbing creatures, in favor of more indirect control over them.

There are a couple of ideas suggested for keeping creatures out of dangerous areas you don't want them to go into, one of them is Emergency Alarm

The other involves setting up signs that basically don't allow your creatures to enter an area if you don't want them to, but they can still leave it, this can be done to get them to leave, say, a dangerous cavern filled with powerful enemies that the imps keep running into to claim floor tiles even while you're trying to wall it off, well you get the picture. Rolleyes Anyways this could be done to prevent creatures from entering an area you don't want them to enter and combined with the emergency alarm to get all your creatures back into safe territory and prevent them from leaving that area again until the dangerous cavern could be walled off, with all your creatures on the right side of the wall.

Keep on suggesting ideas though, that's what makes this game better. Smile
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The Golden One!
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#3
So basically this game isn't going to be a god game like dungeon keeper even though the gameplay is similar? This game is looking to be more and more RTS focused. I'm not saying this is a bad thing because I love RTS games.
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#4
That seems to be Rasmus' plan. He's also planning on including elements of The Settlers as well, with the resource management chains and stuff, which will be more prominent in the next version from what I've seen and read in the discussions
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The Golden One!
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#5
It is just that I don't want the player to be able to control the creatures directly. I want the player to make actions that are performed by him minions in some way or another. I agree that being able to pick up creatures and drop them at certain locations where they are needed is a fun feature. But I think that a feature like that can unbalance the game as well, something that I found as a issue in DK was the torture chamber (way to easy to convert enemy creatures) and the dropping of creatures when enemies are closing in, in the end it was nothing about tactics or having a well defended dungeon, all you did was pick up all the creatures and drop them close to the enemies and problem solved.
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#6
First, since I didn't have the opportunity to say this yet, I would like to say that this game is amazing, and I think the team is doing a great job with it.

I already looked at the forum before playing the game, so I knew that grabbing was intendedly dropped out because of concerns about balance, which I understand.

But the problem is that AI cannot do everything, and often when playing the game, I found myself stuck in situations where I had to make convoluted plans to build things and then to let my minions out without unbuilding what I did (which I finally had to do most often).

One particular case, aside from building walls from the wrong side, is when an imp gets stuck on a wall he just constructed because it's too high. I saw there seems to be an heuristic to avoid that (pusing the imp aside when it's done), but often it just doesn't work.

It's also difficult with the new 3D dungeon, as imps and orcs often gets stuck inside a dugged hole or on top of a big wall. One then has to carefully reconstruct a landscape (easy with imps who can build walls, but harder with orcs who can only dig).

Finally, another rough situation is when one wants to construct traps in restricted areas. One case is when I wanted to make a trap before a Heroes portal, where I wanted to only have one imp to bring down a wall and let the heroes pass through (to my traps!). Two problems: imps often got stuck by the traps, and so I had to construct/erase several times until they got it right... second: it was near impossible to have only one imp to open the heroes passage, the only way I got it was to build doors on the pathway to my dungeon, then click on the wall to dig to call all imps and orcs, hope that the first one to come is an imp, and then quickly click on the door to block all the others minions before they rush to the wall to dig.

As you can see, this is still possible to do in singleplayer, but I cannot imagine how I would do that in multiplayer. And even in singleplayer, it's so time-crunching that I will probably just to stick to simpler manoeuvers in the future.

So what I propose: why not just allow to grab one, and only one, minion on-screen and allow to place it only on keeper's territory? If I remember correctly, the unbalance problem with Dungeon Keeper arose from the facts that we could grab any minion anywhere by just clicking on the minions list, and also because we could grab several minions at once. If the feature is limited (one minion and on-screen, not from a list, and placement only on territory), this would allow just enough micro-control without unbalancing the game.
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#7
Thanks a lot of the kind words about the game Smile

The problem with all the creature not knowing what they should do next and that the imps run all over the place have been addressed here: http://forum.dwelvers.com/showthread.php...56#pid4556
In short, the player will be able to assign creatures to certain rooms, and they will only work in those rooms.

About the imps being stuck, I have considered making a spell, a "town portal" spell of some sort where you can just cast that spell on a creature and he will automatically be teleported to the Dark Mother room.
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#8
Indeed the "town portal" could solve most of the stuck problems, it will not solve the only-one-minion-needed case (with the heroes traps I mentioned above) but I'm fine with that.

About the assignment to rooms feature, it seems really neat, but then would it be possible to force some minions to never be assigned to no room? (would be cool to always have one or two imps on hand for some exploration or other quick works).

About AI, I must say you really did an amazing job here, I am myself working in AI and I was amazed to see how minions could quickly compute and find their paths in a really complex and big 3D environment, and how minions are quickly affected to the right task at hand.
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#9
The AI is really a problem that have taken up a lot of my development time, I went right in thinking that I could make the workers solve the most tricky situations with a good AI. But what I have discovered is that no matter how intelligent the AI is, it still needs some boundaries. I mean, it is not about how well the jobs are distributed in the dungeon (there are still some issues), the problem lies in that the player need to have more control as the computer can never anticipate what the player are up to next.

My AI code is very much inspired with the MiniMax and AlphaBeta algorithms that are used in chess computers, it is all about having all the information on the table before letting the workers do any decisions.

Right now it is like this:
-----------------------
The computer have all available jobs listed.
The computer knows the path length to every job.
The computer knows if a job is reachable by a certain creature.
The computer knows the if the job will generate new items.
The computer knows all the items the player knows in the dungeon.
The computer knows what jobs certain creatures can and can't perform.
The computer knows what constant priority a certain job have.

So when the computer have all this information, it can make good decisions on what jobs should be prioritised.
So when a Imp has no job connected to him. Every second he perform this check.

He list through all jobs and filter away those that already is occupied, he can't reach or he can't do (Like an orc working in the farm).
Also, if a imp has an item in is hand he filter away all jobs that don't make him get rid of an item.
From this list the computer prioritise the jobs and gives them a value depending on their importance.
And then the imp gets the job that has the highest priority.

Besides from this the jobs do some updating themselves, for example, if the job is to pick up an item, the job make sure that the there is anywhere to store the item, otherwise the imp will just pick it up and stand there with it in his hand until he drops it just to pick it up again.

Also, another thing that I introduces early in the AI was that jobs that needs items, like the farm needing water, will have to reserve this item. So the computer checks all the storage-rooms if there is an unreserved waterbucket available, and if there are, the farm reserves it and give this item some extra info that it will produce antroots. Once an item gets reserved in the storage room it is available for pick-up, and the priority for the pick-up is depending on how much shortage there is of antroots in the storage rooms.

So you see, there are a lot of calculations going on to make this work, and when the dungeon starts get larger and larger there can be thousands of jobs that the computer have to prioritize between, and the number of calculations is also related to how many workers there are in the dungeon.

With the next update and the possibility to assign creatures to certain rooms the CPU usage has decreased drastically, when I started working on it I had an fps on 80, now I am up to somewhere between 160 - 200 and it doesn't drop much just because you have a big dungeon. Previously the workload on the CPU was calculated exponentially, now it is more linear.
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#10
Are we at least going to be able to slap creatures?
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#11
Haha, we can probably work something out, I do plan to give the player the choice to make them suffer Wink

There is also the issue with me copying features used in DK, I don't want to get a lawsuit on my hands :S
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#12
OK, solution, we punch the imps instead -- no copying, no lawsuit Wink

Also, another thing that would be very helpful would be to click on a construction job and set the priority for that one specific job to a different priority. Say choose between "high" medium" "low" or "paused" so I can control when things are built if something's urgently needed right now, which another construction project can wait until some imp has nothing better to do. For example, I'm building an extra farm room, and encounter a cavern full of nasty creatures and there's too many to fight, so I want to seal off that cavern, so I order my imps to build a wall, but they don't bother with the wall because they're all off building the farm which at this point I don't care about, I just want the wall build NOW so the enemy creatures don't storm my Dark Mother and kill her. So I could click on the build project for the wall and a sey it's priority to "high" and the farm room to "low" priority and some imps would abandon building the farm to build a wall and seal off that cavern.

If anyone's familiar with the game Tropico, the idea's similar to setting building priorities used there.
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The Golden One!
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#13
EA let WFTO slap creatures so I don't think this is something they will care about too much Smile
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#14
In Dungeons (Kalypso Media) you can slap your creatures, too.
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#15
Point taken.. We will see, but I would still prefer if we could keep it a little original. I have already used some of the DK mechanics in Dwelvers, and I don't want to overdo it.
Also I have got a lot of suggestion on moving individual creatures and affect them directly, the answer up until now have been that I don't want the player to control the creatures directly, as I want the player to work more like a manager than a God.

That being said, I have made exceptions with the possession spell, and now I am thinking about the "Town Portal" spell, so there is still room for a feature like this, but I would prefer to keep it consistent with everything up to this point. So what we could do is having a punishment spell that could be thrown on the creatures that would work similar to slapping them, but as soon as the player interferes directly with the creatures he will pay a penalty, and that would be the cost for casting the spell. I haven't decided yet what the spells should cost, if it will be mana or evil points or maybe that the creatures will be angry with him because he is interfering directly.

Now I am brainstorming a little Tongue But it could be like a God game, but that the player should work through other creatures, not revealing himself to much. When he cast spells he "proves" his existence and the creatures may not like that, because some of them want to be independent, and some of them don't want to serve evil. "The devil greatest trick was convincing the world he didn't exist", the devil being the player in this case Wink
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