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New Feature! Creature Mechanic - Selecting multiple creatures (for squads)
Being able to select several creatures is a must when creating squads, and squads is a must when conquering the surface world!

I will probably make it as in other RTS games where multiple creatures can be selected and then assigned to a squad with a keyboard number.

Yesssss, we finally have this mechanism starting to hatch. Big Grin
Spec: Win 10, ATI 7800 HD, res: 1280x1024x75. I support The Venus Project & Resource-Based Economy
Nice, and hopefully you can use Shift or Ctrl to select multiples that aren't in the same window, or select from creature panel as well.
Yeah, that was the first thing I fixed Wink

So I have worked more at this today and are now able to see the creatures being selected in the right part of the window as seen here:


You are also able to move them to locations by clicking in the dungeon when they are selected. They will not stay there long, as soon as they have reached their destination they will return to what ever they were doing before.

I am feeling a little guilty here, because all this time I have been very hard on not being able to control the creatures directly, but this is what I am doing here. I don't know... The thing is that this can be incredibly efficient because the player could get more control of the dungeon when something urgent needs to be done. Like selecting imps and then clicking on a wall that needs to be destroyed asap and so on. Another thing I have been thinking of is being able to just put creatures to work at rooms by selecting the creatures and then the rooms, if this is done then I may just remove the creature auto assignment from the rooms, because in some cases I feel like it can be a little inefficient.

So selecting creatures, then using the ctrl + number key will create squads. These squads could then be shown in the bottom right corner just as the creature icons could be shown in the bottom left corner.

Now here's the fun part, I have been thinking about giving the player the option to give the squads different assignments, like if they are explorers, if they are going to patrol routes etc, these options could then be turned on and off.

Then we could also give them some behaviour options like if they should act aggressive / defensive / keep distance, these options could come in very handy when putting out rally flags for the squads, because then they can either attack, stand their ground, or back away when enemies approaches.

Any opinions on this?
My opinion is that is a great idea. I know you're trying to stay away from too much direct control, and maybe it still isn't necessary. Just remember, it's easier to grant something than take it away.
In Dungeon Keeper things like putting Skeleton to work in Workshops instead of letting him training in Training Room or telling Horned Reaper to calm down and pray for gods in Temple to save your whole dungeon from him are IMO super important to maintain your dungeon as you wish rather as your creatures want.

Actually I see no choice like to being able to select a squad of creatures and do a task for them. Every squad will go fight where you place the Rally Flag, if you wish your squad to make beer they'll go there and begin the work, if you want them to fall off the cliff they'll do it with love for you immediately!
The same of course will work for single creature.

I see a difference between the standard RTS mechanism of moving units and in Dwelvers - the difference is that in RTS games units are doing what you wanted and will not do anything they would want to do - you ordered Orc to stay here he will stay there forever (it's lifeless) - in Dwelvers if he won't find there anything to do he will just back to what he was doing before or what he want at the moment - like you stated above. IMHO it's a big difference until creature will be willing to do what you do, you know, sometimes if one doesn't like you that much it could disobey you or do something else saying "I'm not so stupid to do this man". Wink
Spec: Win 10, ATI 7800 HD, res: 1280x1024x75. I support The Venus Project & Resource-Based Economy
Hm, a long long time ago, I dreamed of making a Dungeon Keeper like game. At first, it was a video game, because, well, I like video games. But later on, I decided to turn my attentions and brain storming into making it a turn board game. I think I might have come up with a system back then that might be applicable, or at least inspire some direction toward the solution of this being 'hands off' but still wishing for efficiency.

Now this might sound a little weird. But bare with me. In this Dungeon Keeper inspired board game. You weren't in direct control of your creatures so much as you played a sort of 'manager' in a dungeon. Taking the que from Dungeon keepers tone of 'It's payday' and running a little wild with it. In this game, you didn't move the creatures, so much as write up a work sceadule for them. Just as if they were real workers under your employment.

It was a rather rough system. Basically, each dungeon day was cut up into 4 sections, rounds, basically, these rounds represented sections of the day. Your monsters would work on 2 chosen sections, and be off on two. At least that's how it worked in the board game system. So, your goblin blacksmith, would work as a black smith on say, section 1 of the day, then get off work for 2 sections of the day, and go back on for the last section only continue on to the following dungeon day to repeat the process. Durring work hours, they would do whatever task was assigned to them, such as the aforementioned blacksmith. During there time off, they would eat, sleep and do whatever recreational activity appealed to them (Each monster had a chart and would get a dice roll when summoned, meaning one goblin might not like the same thing as another).

Now, bare with me. What if.. you did something similar to this in dwelvers. Only allowing monsters to be controlled when they were 'on the clock' or something similar to that effect. It's a little weird, and very much delving into a 'management simulator' which I'm not sure you're looking for. But it would provide a happy balance between efficiency and monster individuality. You could even 'call them into work' in a pinch, but at the risk of loosing mood.

I don't have an exact pitch for how this might work. And it would require a ingame day and night cycle, which I still very much believe would be an asset to this game in numberous ways. But, maybe this might inspire some creativity toward the current problem.
@Mello, this is very true. I will start slowly Smile

@Sebt: Yeah, a lot of possibilities, but I will start slowly. The main reason for this is to be able to create multiple rally flags so that different squads can be controlled on the surface world.

@DavGoblin: I like this idea, but it is a big game changer. I don't see a big enough issue with the current system to make this change just yet. I like the day and night cycle though, that is something that might be implemented Smile
I remember something similar as Dav suggested was used in Alien Nations - at start of the day fast carriers tried to fill up every industry to the max. Then sleepy workers got to work 1/3 of the day. After some work they have luchbreak and got some food and drink in pub. Then they go back to work and when finished and heading home women rush to the marketplace to clear up your stock. At the end most of population went to temple. After that night falls, and nothing interesting happens - untill some war or crime is about. Guards worked in shifts - half during day, half at night. Main army was 24/7 ready... but heavy battle caterpillar rider was pretty expnsive...

I think it could be possible to adapt it to dwelvers. I like the idea of orc showing middle finger when ordered to do something during break or sleep time. Day and night would have little meaning in dungeons - just two separate shifts. But in overwolrd time of the day could determine power of your troops. BattleTowers android game had system in which morning and evening everyone had 75% power, at night orcs had 100% and knights 50% and at daytime orcs 50%, knights 100% with short time during noon and midnight gave additional 10%.

Creatures would go to their assignemts during their shift. One break in the middle for some food, then back to work. After work some entertainment (arena/temple/more food/wandering etc) and sleep. Some creatures would want to work only during one shift, others could be indifferent of day/night. Ordering creature to something during break or sleep would cause unhappines, or even refusal with different "refusal level" for different creature, daytime and happines level. Happy orc would even agree to do your order during sleeptime, but angry would "politely" refuse and break something even if at work already and ordered to do different work.
Creature would try to fit in the day schedule, and try to do certain activities during their respective time in the day. It could lead to some unhappines though if dungeon is poorly organised. If workplace is far from bar creatures may have too little time to get to eat something before break ends and turn back hungry and unhappy. Different creatures would follow the rules at different happines level - at some point creature would ignore schedule to fullfill their needs. Working would also drain happines slowly and some entertainment or at least day of would be required for most creatures, or they will refuse to work on thier own.
Seems i offtop a bit...

Anyway, make sure you wont select imps together with another creatures while draging selection box - creating attack squad with harmles imps bugging your orcs with their screams in battle would be annoying. Deselecting those quick buggers every time squad is created would annoy anyone i think.
Well, I don't want to side rail this talking about the day night schedule. But I've thought this game would benefit from it in numberious ways for a while now. The basic idea I was going with was something similar to what Ufol stated. Only with the sun being much more harmful and dangerous. Giving a limitation to how often one can go up on the surface world and keeping the feeling of it being a 'dangerous, unfamiliar place' that I think it should be for the dastardly monsters of the underground.

I have a number of suggestions in the inspirational showcase that eluded some of the mechanics I thought up for it. But mostly, the two keys ones I fancy are 'sun sickness', meaning certain creatures exposed to sunlight grow sicker and weaker, eventually dying if left untreated. And 'Sun blindness', basically, the idea of this is a roll reversal from most games with day/night cycles where you are completely blind at night. Instead, I propose your creatures see perfectly in the dark, but during the bright day, the surface world is flooded with a brilliant white white light, making it impossible for the player to see. I think for such to work, the day/ night should be cut up into four parts. Dawn/Day/Dusk/Night. Sun sickness and sun blindness having the most effect during the day and dawn, less during Dusk, and absent during night.

Raids on the surface world, then, would need to be calculated and precise, providing pressure for you to 'go chop down that forest' or 'raid that helpless village' with some element of urgency. I also thought later on, a powerful ritual could make it so you might 'blot out the sun', which seems just so deliciously biblical and evil.

Something to consider, but I do understand that some of these ideas might be a some amount of work. And while I think sun blindness would be a unique spin on a common mechanic that Dwelvers could call it's own. I do realize that it would defiantly take some forethough in terms of the games visual style. Getting Darkness to obscure the players vision to look right would be easy. Doing so with 'light' would be a challenge.


As for monster scheduling, I think perhaps 2 sections might be two simple. Perhaps 3. After all, every place I've ever worked has had a first, second, and third (graveyard) shift.

As for the squads, perhaps when you select them, you get the option to toggle them into a different mode. Perhaps 'idle' and 'Militant' mode. In idle mode, they just generally follow the flag and act as they would, perhaps doing there tasks near there. But in Militant mode, they would not move at all.. They would do what you told them, and -only- what you told them as long as they had a certain level of happiness.

If you could save or set up permanent squads, you could have some sort of menu where you could toggle what mode they are in, meaning you could easily put them back into 'idle' mode when you're done doing things of dire importance. It's not iron clad, and it would need some more thinking to truly get a feel how something like this might operate. But, could work.
Civil and militand mode could be a good idea - this way creatures that can fight well and also work could be ordered to behave more specific. In case we want mobs to secure perimeter and not tire working, and be ready when needed. On the other hand you could send one squad fighting, and other squad in civil mode to set up some structures or mine some important wall section while enemies are busy with first squad.

I think it could be implemented as three-state checkbox: Agressive/militant, neutral/return fire, civil/worker only. Default would be neutral meaning mob will work when nothing happens and fight back the enemy. Agressive would mean they wont work and stay ready to fight. Worker would not allow to fight at all and fore to focus on work, as long as health and happines levels are hight enough. Idle flag could be used to release squad members from duty and let them behave as they would without squad. This would let player have squad ready to order but without the need to control them all the time and give them some freedom when they are not needed.

It should not be merged with regular military stances - probably above stances should be renamed apropriately. Regular or secondary stances i mentioned are behaviours like: charge/chase enemy - mobs would rush to enemys on sight and chase them as long as they are in sight. Guard place - mobs will charge enemies and fight, but wont go far from place they are gurding. Hold position - mobs stay on place and wont move no matter what. Except hold position, those stances would allow mobs to wander around selected point.

However when i think about it a bit more i am not sure if player should actually have as much direct control over minions. We dont have robots but wild monsters with lot of their own will there right? In DK for example different creatures reacted differently when dropped. Some rushed back to work immediately, some considered it day off and rush to eat or sleep, others stood still and slowly got back to dungeon and some started to wander around or actively explore unknown areas. Sqad commanding as i see it looking at post above is kind of DK creature drop, but creatures have to travel to drop point on their own. After that its basically the same. Too much controll options may make the system too complicated and unclear, also cluttering ui. Maybe we should just leave stances and specific behaviours to depend on creatures type and moods? More advanced military actions - securing perimeters, patrols, blockades or mass attacks should be performed using various rooms and structures. Patrol posts, barricades with shooting blanks, barracks to gather all squad members before attack and some guard rooms to secure parts of dungeon and as start point for partrolls.

I think well planned dungeon can do well without direct control and rely on organisation and automation. Dunno... What do you think? I don't have clear thought about that.
I slightly disagree, Ufol. Well, not so much disagree, as much as I went with the only two modes for a very specific purpose. You're proposed having several modes to change behavior, I was thinking more a matter of how they are being commanded. Well, maybe I didn't convey that well, or wasn't thinking it precisely, after reading what I wrote. But besides the point, let me just focus on what I'm thinking now.

Basically, the two modes could act more as a matter of how much control you are taking over them. The reason I called it 'militant mode' is not so much them being an aggressive fighting force, as much as they are under your direct command, they take on more 'militant' thinking. You're no longer issuing giving them mild suggestions. You are taking on the role of there commander, and as such creatures would react accordingly.

For example, if you made a squad of 5 orcs, 3 chimpanzees, 1 cyclotaur. And you issued a command for them to head north to a specific spot to wait and combat the heroes that just eviscerated the imps that tunneled into a portal room and then disappeared into 'semi fog of war'. They do not move, they do not wonder, they do not hump around the flag. They stand there and wait, wait for there next command. If they get hungry, they do not move, if they get tired, they do not move. They have been ordered to stay there, and so they will stay..

But you say, 'that takes away from the personality of my creatures, turning them into robots. And I say 'no, no it doesn't. Because just like how the hand of evil dropping creatures, each creature could react differently to being placed in a militant mode of thinking. After all, if you leave them on this indefinitely, they will get hungry, and they will become upset, and they will eventually remove themselves from the mode themselves and say 'fuck you', or as Ufol is so partial to, flick off the camera, become very upset and return to freemode, and if a creature is that upset, it's not going to go back into that militant mode. Or, might need to be issued the order again, become even further upset until they hit there breaking point.

I imagine the orcs, despite being booze hounds, would be extremely adept at standing at there station. Orcs are warriors who are used to being commanded. They might even enjoy it. However, wild impanzees who revolted on there creator will most likely not be as tolerant at being told what to do. And Cyclotaurs, equally, are creatures of the wild underground. They might not take as kindly as to being to 'stand here' for a to long.

Now, this is loose, but it gives and idea of how this could add 'more' flavor to creatures, rather than take flavor away from them. Adding more elements to each creatures personality, giving some more use than others. After all, orcs might not be the best fighters, but if they will listen to you and not be as upset over being commanded, that could make them invaluable, and much more suited to tasks involving command than Cyclotaurs, who, currently, are in every way superior to them at the moment.

However, I think that there is something to being able to control there behevoir in terms of aggressiveness, as Ufol suggested. But, I believe, in my mode of thinking, this might be a better 'sub category' to militant, rather than a mode separate from it. Once creatures are in millitant mode, one could be given tabs on the bottom of the screen to better control them. Something to the effect of.

'Roam on/off'
'Eat on/off'
Sleep on/off'
'Agressive/ Nuetral/ Worker' (This encompasses the same function as above suggestion')

You could even have more direct commands like that of an RTS, Moving specific units in places so you can. Now, I realize there is some concern with this taking away from the 'organic' feel of monsters working on there own. So, what if, we took from the idea of 'leader of the pack' and gave the squad a commander.. Instead of the units simply doing as you say, the commander would have a little 'command' animation, showing him conveying your orders to the troops. This concept might be a little complicated, and would need to be pondered over thoroughly if one wishes to include. But it could solve the problem of it feeling to 'hands on'.

Perhaps you are given 'hands on' control of the commander, but then can only issue orders to troops within a 'command radius' of his person? This could even become a skill that one could level up in creatures later if such 'creature skills' that have been discussed in the past are ever implemented, making it prudent for players to train there commanders to get better, more efficient use of there squads, maybe even allowing them to cause there troops to remain vigilant longer and steel off becoming upset versus that creatures particular disdain toward being commanded.


Now, these are just some ideas of how such things could be done. But, I'd like to take a moment to talk about something. The 'crux of the matter'. We have an elephant in the room here and think needs to be addressed. Dwelvers is missing something. It's missing a 'hand of evil'. Now now, stop right there. Before anyone objects. Let me begin by pointing out I stated before this is a 'elephant in the room', which is a western expression that means 'a glaring fact that is obvious to everyone but no one talks about'. But the elephant is not that we need a hand of evil. In fact, I think that there's an equally large elephant that is that everyone knows that it is not going to be included, that such functions will never be present in Dwelvers. We all collectively know and feel that picking up and dropping creatures on a whim does not belong in this game. So much so, that the subject has never even brought up before.

But y'see that's something of the problem. And while I agree with the silent collective we do not want the hand of evil grab and drop. I can't help but feel that not enough is being addressed to make up for it's absence. In dungeon keeper, a vast amount of your personal control was divied out by your ominous hand. Allowing you to issue everything from 'dig here now', to 'work here' to 'do this' to any number of other commands you could personally bestowed on a monster. And dwelvers does not have that. A side from the rally flag, which, let's face it, is rather clumsy; the game lacks quite a bit of it's functionality.

This is something I feel is a concern. And while I am not going to hard fist that militant mode is the answer to that. I think it's something that needs to be out in the open and considered. How can these 'commands' be duplicated, or addressed in new, and creative ways. And I think this squad system might just address some of these issues, as long as these issues are kept to near the front of the mind when one is considering how it could function.

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