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New Alert feature ("town bell") : How many levels ?


Itms
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Hello everyone !

I am currently working on the "town bell" behaviour, which we shall call "alert" as bells aren't appropriate for this historic period.

When I began the work, some threads on the forum made me think of a system with two alert levels, ie. a 'normal alert' mode where female citizens, unable to defend, would be garrisoned, and a 'red alert' mode where every unit is garrisoned.

In the red mode, war units could for instance increase the attack of the building in which they garrison (I have not yet implemented this idea, I am waiting for the replies in this topic.)

Nonetheless, many people didn't see the interest of such a system, and would rather have a on/off switch system.

I open this topic to discuss this. Tell me what do you think of the feature, and in the case you want a on/off system, what 'level of alert' do you want (only female, or every unit, or in between). All ideas are welcome !

The patch I have written so far is here : http://trac.wildfiregames.com/ticket/2154

I also need artwork for the buttons, please visit this topic : http://www.wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=17703

Thanks !

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Personally, I'd rather have two switches : one for garrisoning/ungarrisoning female citizen, one for garrisoning/ungarrisoning citizen-soldiers. If you have enough room you just press the two buttons. If you don't have enough room for all of them, you press the first one if you consider your female citizen more precious than your citizen-soldiers, the second one if you consider your citizen-soldiers more precious than your female citizen (it could be a strategical move to have your garrisoned archers firing from the buildings while the enemies are busy killing female citizen).

This option would have the advantage to let the player decide at which moment he want to garrison each type of unit when there's not enough room for all (like waiting for 50% of the units of one type to be garrisoned before garrisoning the units of the other type, this kind of stuff).

But that's just my opinion.

Edited by serveurix
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I like the idea of two alerts. It wouldn't necessarily have to be two buttons though, it could just be one press, female units hide, and press again and male units hide. And maybe, it could only tell your units in the screen to hide, and you press shift (or something similar) to make all units of the type hide. That way, if you have one settlement that is under attack, you don't have your other settlements hiding for no reason. Which would be especially good if, for instance, you were sending a large army to the rescue of the ones in distress.

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Two levels are good, maybe one for citizen soldiers and the other for women, it would be great if you managed to get the women to garrison temples and civ centers first, while the soldiers take to the fortresses, walls, and towers. I'll assume they'll have hotkeys bound so micro of pushing two buttons shouldn't be an issue, and getting the full control of one or the other to garrison.

tbh there aren't usually a lot of garrisonable buildings in a town, and I'd rather have my citizen soldiers survive and fire from the buildings.

If women could fight from buildings the game would be a lot more... interesting

Carthaginian, Spartan, and Celtic ones, at least

Tangents

yeah two separate warning horns would be fantastic

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Itms, when such issues arise, don't hardcode the classes ("Female", "Unit" ...) but make them definable in the templates. Make general code where you can have an arbitrary number of alerts. with some global variable that defines the sounds and icons and stuff.

The more you can generalise it, the better. So we can just test it, and it's easy to change when not approved.

For now, I think I'd like 2 alerts, but that opinion could change.

I'm curious how far you can generalise it ;)

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A range would probably be better. I wasn't thinking it would be tied to a specific building, so that's why I said what can be seen by the user. :) We could also, maybe, make it so that you can set a unit to flee when it reached some preset level of health. So, for instance, if it got below 25, it would go into the nearest garrisonable building, preferring temples and ships, where available.

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Two levels are good, maybe one for citizen soldiers and the other for women, it would be great if you managed to get the women to garrison temples and civ centers first, while the soldiers take to the fortresses, walls, and towers.

 

I'd be more in favor of a "every unit garrison to the closest garrisonable building" rule. Then choosing to make female citizen work closer to temples (or build temples closer to where mostly female citizen are working) and make citizen-soldiers work closer to civ centers, towers and fortresses (or build towers and fortresses closer to where mostly citizen-soldiers are working) would be a part of your city management.

When you click on the *alert* button, usually it's because you want your units to be protected as quickly as possible. That's why it's called an alert and that's why we make a button to automate the task. If you really want to garrison specific units in specific buildings, you should do it manually.

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I'd be more in favor of a "every unit garrison to the closest garrisonable building" rule. Then choosing to make female citizen work closer to temples (or build temples closer to where mostly female citizen are working) and make citizen-soldiers work closer to civ centers, towers and fortresses (or build towers and fortresses closer to where mostly citizen-soldiers are working) would be a part of your city management.

When you click on the *alert* button, usually it's because you want your units to be protected as quickly as possible. That's why it's called an alert and that's why we make a button to automate the task. If you really want to garrison specific units in specific buildings, you should do it manually.

If I want garrison quickly in random buildings I don't need the button. Only select all units and garrison manually. And leave the enemy destroy my towers with females inside. Is more useful click the button and wait to females use civilian building to garrison, and citizen soldiers in tower with double attack arrows, ill smash the rushers in seconds.

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I don't think garrisoning females only is of any use. The reason is that:

- 1st case: Defending player is dominant: Then he doesn't need to garrison anyone.

- 2nd case: Defending player is outnumbered: If garrisoning females the defending player would first loose the citizen soldiers (and they are about twice the price of females). In this case it would be better to garrison as many citizen soldiers as possible (and after that females) at buildings with an attack (to maximize damage without much risk) and micromanage the females around those structures (even if you loose some females that would be much more cost efficient).

So I think there should only be one "alarm" following the "Garrison every unit to the closest building it can be garrisoned to" rule (not every unit can be garrisoned in every building that has garrisons).

Everything else would be up to the micromanagement of the player.

It would be nice if a sound would be played then (e.g. a horn for Celts etc.).

Edited by FeXoR
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Thanks for your ideas and points of view !

sanderd : Challenge accepted ! ^_^ First I'll replace the hardcoded stuff.

Replying to the last posts, it seems that the problem is all about micromanagement and choice of garrisoning units. What about using the UnitAI stances (for non programmers, the buttons at the left bottom of the unit's portrait : agressive, passive, standground etc.) ?

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If I want garrison quickly in random buildings I don't need the button. Only select all units and garrison manually. And leave the enemy destroy my towers with females inside. Is more useful click the button and wait to females use civilian building to garrison, and citizen soldiers in tower with double attack arrows, ill smash the rushers in seconds.

 

I'm afraid it would be too complex. What do you do when there's not enough room in a civilian building for all the females ? Should they go to a military building ? Then who has the priority for the military building ? Females (you want to protect them at all cost) or soldiers (you want to strengthen you building) ? Same question for the citizen-soldiers.

When you have female citizen and citizen-soldiers working on one edge of your city, where there's mostly civilian buildings, and female citizen and citizen-soldiers working at the other edge of your city, where there's mostly military buildings, would you make half of your units cross your entire city when you sound the alarm while your enemies are attacking ?

When you sound the alarm the priority should be the safety of the units.

The primary purpose of garrison is to protect your units, additional firing power should be seen as a bonus. And it's up to you to exploit that bonus by assigning your units manually or by keeping military buildings and citizen-soldiers close to each other.

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It wouldn't be logical to use the minimap if the alert is raised by a specific entity (and I think we shouldn't change that).

You whant to do it for single entities? That are at least 3 clicks (focus view on that entity, select it, press the "alarm" button).

IMO the "alarm" should be as fast to reach as possible and should not work for only one entity but globally.

So for me the minimap area would be the favorite place for an "alarm" icon.

Sorry that I didn't follow the "town bell" discussion thoroughly.

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You're right about the 3 clicks ; but the idea was to have a finite radius for the bell, to only raise the alert in a specific place.

However, we also could change entirely the point of view and implement a general alert level which would alterate the units' behaviour ? (for instance see comment #9)

Personnaly, I don't like much the idea, especially because of the global range -> many people agree on a finite bell radius, I do too.

Edited by Itms
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I would actually prefer two. If there is a second one though, I would only recommend having citizen soldiers at half health garrisoning. Furthermore, would it be possible for the retreating units to be programmed to run akin to the way they do when attempting to move in formation while the alert is sounded.

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Yeah I need female garrison at first, then city soldiers garrison in towers to protect civic center, you think the civic center can support a Ai attack in hard with outnumbering troops, and over numbering enemies, the towers can attack, but if enemy destroy first all my buildings a can't train new soldiers, and if I try to ungarrison the enemy kills instantly my soldiers, I'm talking about a first engage or a repetitive engagement in first seconds when I research second phase, what the problem?

the problem is I was researched thst phase when I have 1000 and 1000 wood I can expect have a big stockpile after that. And if kill all my females is hard to do recovery food again, this feature is effective for a early gameplay or when you are losing and you try to survive. So I need my defenses at maximum to survive a big rush and try to make a strategy to counterattack. When I see in map that big mass of soldiers is hard to think where are your females and where are your soldiers, I know about alt+ mouse click. But is not time to think.

Why I want garrison soldiers in civic centre, maybe cavalry units to gain some attack bonus. May be garrison in outpost as a bait to enemy Ai. All know if you lost your single CC, you lost the game. Some times a dock can save you, but is not a great hope, many times is luck. First I need save all females because are cheap and gathers food from farms more easily. I need protect my CC. And third protect important buildings.

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