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Let's Talk Worker AI

#1
Arguably, workers are the most important creatures in the game, and Dungeon Keeper 2 remains playable to this day, largely because of the pretty good AI that the workers had. They prioritized things remarkably well, stayed out of combat mostly and were more or less out of the way... most of the time.

From what I've seen, the workers are oddly agressive in WftO, again I imagine this is a placeholder AI trait, so I won't harp on it too much, but let's have a bit of a discussion here about their patterns and behaviors. One of the things that pissed me off the most in DK2 was when I'm trying to turtle, and train my units up, and an imp keeps running out into the enemy territory to claim some useless tile, drawing minions back towards me, we need to come up with some way to stop this. Maybe, workers have toggle states? Like, a worker can go from expansion mode to upgrade mode, where he won't try and claim new tiles, but will try and reinforce walls and bring traps to their locations.

This brings me to another point, it was occasionally frustrating to mine out large areas of land only to have none of the walls reinforced until later in the game, all things considered this is okay, good prioritization, but the "upgrade mode" could fix this problem as well. This isn't all about my suggestions though, I want to have a discussion about worker AI, so what do you guys think? And if any devs read this, what's the plan?
 
Likes: Antking
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#2
The devs already have a fix for the imps claiming when you don't want them to in the game, it's called the impasse spell. It's a flag that costs zero mana that tells your imps to not claim any tiles in an area around it (I think 3x3 area).

I beleive the devs said that they will have two different worker AIs you can toggle between who prioritize different tasks, but I'm not positive about that.
 

Fireeye

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#6
Imho the idea behind impasse is not to spam it above areas you don't want to be claimed, but rather using it as a "roadblock" of sorts to make certain tunnels (read: those that go to the enemy) a no-go-zone for the imps.
 

Nutter

Frost Weaver
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#7
Personally, if they do implement different Worker AIs, i'd like to see 3 AI styles that match/benefit each of the veins.

Wrath AI - Offensive, pushes forwards and tries to claim territory with less care about it's own safety, prioritizes digging/claiming.
Greed AI - Defensive, with a focus on tasks which benefit a greed player, prioritizes on dragging bodies and prisoners and saving your KO'd units.
Sloth AI - Very Defensive, Cowardly and tries to avoid fights, prioritizes fortifying and defense building tasks.

Then you could just toggle which one was most useful to you at that particular moment. I.e if you've just had a big battle you might toggle to Greed AI to tidy up the bodies.. then back to Sloth to rebuild your defenses or Wrath to push your advantage by pushing forward.

It would work pretty well too, a single Icon which toggled between the 3 states, left click would toggle "left" and right click would toggle "right" through the cycle so you'd have all 3 AIs available via a single (left or right) click to toggle.
 
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Likes: mastersam911
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#8
Personally, if they do implement different Worker AIs, i'd like to see 3 AI styles that match/benefit each of the veins.

Wrath AI - Offensive, pushes forwards and tries to claim territory with less care about it's own safety, prioritizes digging/claiming.
Greed AI - Defensive, with on tasks which benefit a greed player, prioritizes on dragging bodies and prisoners and saving your KO'd units.
Sloth AI - Very Defensive, Cowardly and tries to avoid fights, prioritizes fortifying and defense building tasks.

Then you could just toggle which one was most useful to you at that particular moment. I.e if you've just had a big battle you might toggle to Greed AI to tidy up the bodies.. then back to Sloth to rebuild your defenses or Wrath to push your advantage by pushing forward.

It would work pretty well too, a single Icon which toggled between the 3 states, left click would toggle "left" and right click would toggle "right" through the cycle so you'd have all 3 AIs available via a single (left or right) click to toggle.
This looks like a pretty nice set up to me, you might even want to put the idea of a "worker AI toggle" button in the UI discussion :).

Only thing I would mention is that i would appreciate it if saving creatures would be a close second behind the primary prioritizations for the Wrath and Sloth AI. Basically creatures are very important to all strategies, and it always severely annoyed me when the AI in DK2 left my creatures to bleed to death because that next tile TOTALLY NEEDS to claimed ASAP :p. So I would like it if creatures saving was a decently high priority no matter what AI you use since other wise I could see people using the greed AI in attacks just so they don't lose creatures.
 

Nutter

Frost Weaver
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#9
Well with the Wrath AI, i'd argue that they should to a certain degree make saving KO'd creatures a lower priority since Wrath is all about being offensive, pushing forward, striking at your enemy when he's weak and basically you shouldn't be losing too many units since you're probably actively watching/involved in the battle and can recall dying units yourself before they're knocked out. Equally, since the toggle is so quick. You could toggle to Greed if you notice a lot of KO'd units, the workers would grab them and run off and then toggle back to Wrath/Greed after.
 
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#10
Personally, if they do implement different Worker AIs, i'd like to see 3 AI styles that match/benefit each of the veins.

Wrath AI - Offensive, pushes forwards and tries to claim territory with less care about it's own safety, prioritizes digging/claiming.
Greed AI - Defensive, with a focus on tasks which benefit a greed player, prioritizes on dragging bodies and prisoners and saving your KO'd units.
Sloth AI - Very Defensive, Cowardly and tries to avoid fights, prioritizes fortifying and defense building tasks.

Then you could just toggle which one was most useful to you at that particular moment. I.e if you've just had a big battle you might toggle to Greed AI to tidy up the bodies.. then back to Sloth to rebuild your defenses or Wrath to push your advantage by pushing forward.

It would work pretty well too, a single Icon which toggled between the 3 states, left click would toggle "left" and right click would toggle "right" through the cycle so you'd have all 3 AIs available via a single (left or right) click to toggle.
In addition to these, I'd like to see a fourth "default" option, which sets the workers to the default DK2 style AI, for newer players, this should be sufficient and less complex.
 

Jobs2k

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#12
In addition to these, I'd like to see a fourth "default" option, which sets the workers to the default DK2 style AI, for newer players, this should be sufficient and less complex.
I can see the theory of what you are going for, but it would mess up the 'one click' idea of nutter's and it would literally be DK in WFTO. I'm not a fan of this, sorry.
 
#13
I fail to see how this messes up the one click thing? Wouldn't it just be on a cycle IE each time you click a new AI preset is brought up. Also, I was only using the DK2 AI as an example, basically, it would be a system in which the game would choose what to prioritize, much like it worked in the earlier games. That way, a less experienced player, who may not realize what is more important at a given moment, doesn't have to worry so much about it, but an advanced player can fine tune his workers to do his bidding. I'm not quite sure what you mean of it "literally being DK in WFTO" it's a simple AI behavior.

EDIT: Oh I see, so you can have the AI's on right and left click to move forward or back, and they're available in a hurry. I hardly think 4 options would "break" this idea, but if everyone seems to think so maybe a simple or advanced AI option in the menu?
 

Nutter

Frost Weaver
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#14
Let me explain how the click system works. it's a triangle. You're on sloth, left click goes to wrath, right click goes to greed. Then when you're on greed, left click goes back to sloth and right click goes to wrath. if you add a 4th one then that one wouldn't be 1 step away it'd be a square rather than a triangle and one corner would always be 2 clicks away.
 
#15
Right, okay that makes sense, for simplicity sake. Also in the name of simplicity, however, I feel like newer players aren't going to be able to decide which AI style is right at each time, so they need to have an option that chooses for them, otherwise you have players that never get bodies returned to prisons/lairs, never have tiles claimed, whatever. I realize this is a prioritization and not an exclusion system but still I can see it very frustrating as a new player sitting down and wondering why it was taking forever for my workers to decide it was time to claim land. Obviously, the game would explain this system, but it may be a bit too daunting for someone who doesn't even understand why you'd need to move bodies in the first place.
 

Nutter

Frost Weaver
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#16
New players shouldn't be jumping straight into Multiplayer, they should be playing the campaign.. which would teach them how to use the AI toggle. If they choose to ignore a tutorial/instructions then their ignorance is their own fault.
 

Nutter

Frost Weaver
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#18
Why is the "DK2 default" style any less confusing though? We're used to it because we played DK so as such.. we have the experience to know to rescue KO'd enemies and stuff, but for new players who are learning this stuff, surely it's better to start teaching them the new (better) system from the start than teach them the old system just to replace it with the new system.

EDIT - And if the game by default started on the Greed toggle, then it would make the imps cautious and save their KO'd allies anyway, which is a good default to start at until players learn how to use it
 
#19
Just because the game prioritizes for you, it isn't better, far from it, but there is less micromanagment. I'm not hating on your idea, I like it a lot, it's just important that it gets explained well to everyone, even if they don't know how to play the game. Think of the default state as training wheels, easier to get the hang of, but limiting, and something you intend to remove at some point. Considering a lot of people don't like it, however, let's scrap that idea and focus on the best way to explain your theory to new players.

In DK2 when you got a new room, the prison being a great example, there was a mission built around explaining the prison and it's advantages, this really solidified the usefulness of each room, and ensured players used a variety of strategies to win. Perhaps the second mission of the campaign is more worker focused, using semi-scripted events to show you the usefulness of each AI style and when they are appropriate. The first mission would likely be so simple it won't require any explanation of the AI as basic mechanics are still being learned.
 
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