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Author Topic: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance  (Read 12034 times)

Plautus

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Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« on: May 11, 2013, 11:13:57 pm »

A definite problem for me in the first few fortresses was making a secure caravan-accessible entrance.  Since wagons refuse to go over pressure plates much less traps, there are lots of suggestions here and on the wiki on how to strike a balance, many involving gates that need to be shut/open on schedule, which I personally have had trouble with.  I'm certain others have been using my eventual solution for a while, as the information is available in pieces in different places on the wiki and the forums, and the reason it hasn't been put forward like this is because it's viewed as completely obvious by those in the know.  Well here's a gift from a newb who needed a few weeks to figure it out to other newbs in the same boat.

It could be viewed as a bit exploit-y, but considering how weird wagons and ramps are already, I have no problems sleeping at night.

Here's an example entrance, first viewed on the Depot z-level:
Code: [Select]
Depot
▓+++▓
▓▲▲▲▓
▓▓▓▓▓
▓+++▓
▓▲▲▲▓
▓+++▓
Outside

and one z-level up:
Code: [Select]
▓▓▓▓▓
▓▼▼▼▓
▓+++▓
▓+++▓
▓▼▼▼▓
▓▓▓▓▓

How it works:
Ramps, in order for normal mobs (non-flyer non-wagon) to use one to go up a z-level, need to have an adjacent wall supporting the upper-level floor that the ramp is meant to connect with.  So the ramps in a row near the outside in that diagram are unusable ramps.  Wagons follow their own set of movement rules however, so they can navigate this entrance just fine.  If you're worried about sealing out flyers as needed, you will have to tack on some bridge work to this setup.

I've only done this once, so here are my limited observations: no dwarves, animals, or on-the-ground enemies go through this entrance, coming instead through my nearby single-tile slightly more circuitous route (I *think* thieves/ambushers can't get in this way.  It would be a worthy experiment to make a fort with a wagon-only entrance as the only interface with the outside world).  I've observed caravans go through this thing, with some escorts pathing through my nearby single-tile entrance while the wagon (and some horses/mounted units?) take the more direct wagon route.  Elven caravans will path through the single-tile entrance, though for the Elven caravan I directly observed entering, it might have actually been the shortest route (so I can't say that Elven caravans can't navigate this entrance).
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Drazinononda

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 01:29:16 am »

This may be the most personally useful thing I've ever seen on the wiki. I've wanted to do a migrant-free fort for a while, but didn't want to go through the trouble of setting up a migrant-lock and also still wanted to get caravans. Definitely putting this to use now.

On a different note: I sometimes amaze myself with my noobishness. I've been playing for at least three years now... I should be able to figure stuff like this out for myself :'(
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Children you rescue shouldn't behave like rabid beasts.  I guess your regular companions shouldn't act like rabid beasts either.
I think that's a little more impossible than I'm likely to have time for.

Matoro

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 02:10:48 am »

Elven caravans will path through the single-tile entrance, though for the Elven caravan I directly observed entering, it might have actually been the shortest route (so I can't say that Elven caravans can't navigate this entrance).

Isn't is just because the elves don't have a wagons? They and their caravan animals are treated as normal walking units instead of magical wagon-things.
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Loud Whispers

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 04:08:57 am »

This is a glorious discovery that will make harvesting caravan guards so much easier!

Also please don't call siegers mobs. They come with their own personal histories and just about everything outside of adventure and arena mode is unplayable directly.
They deserve a bit more dignity than that :P

Larix

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 05:06:19 am »

Tiny caveat:since  this entrance will only allow wagons, all other _caravan_ units will need another, normal, walkable path (which can contain traps, but _must_ be pathable for any ground unit, including, say, migrants). And since every caravan will have a bunch of non-wagon merchants - all those leading pack animals - you will need the extra entrance if you want to trade.

If you used this entrance only and had no additional walkable path inside, you could not trade with the caravans, because a caravan won't become available for trade until all its merchants are at the depot and have 'finished unpacking'. You could of course let something funny happen to the wagons and claim the goods that get dropped.

Although, considering a weirdness of pack animal merchant pathing, it might be possible to get the wagoners to trade anyway. It would require an extra outside depot not accessible for wagons, and i've no idea if it'd work: you build the 'outside' depot first, build enough walls or traps around it that wagons won't path to it but make sure it can still be reached on foot. Then you build your regular wagon depot, with the 'wagon filter' entrance. When caravans appear, they should now split - pack animal leaders always path to the oldest unforbidden depot on the site, regardless of access (if the oldest depot cannot be reached on foot, they'll just freeze where they stand), wagons go to a (the) wagon-accessible depot. Now, once all merchants have reached _a_ depot and unpacked, i think it's possible to trade with the merchants at each depot separately. They'll only offer you the wares they brought to the depot you're trading at, obviously. The non-wagon depot would of course remain outside, with easy access for hostiles and building destroyers.
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Xinael

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 03:23:41 pm »

Splitting merchants up like that sounds like it might be a good way to farm appraiser experience, if it lets you get double from each caravan with a wagon.
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Drazinononda

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 05:32:39 pm »

This is a glorious discovery that will make harvesting caravan guards so much easier!

Also please don't call siegers mobs. They come with their own personal histories and just about everything outside of adventure and arena mode is unplayable directly.
They deserve a bit more dignity than that :P

"Mobs" is short for "mobiles," i.e. in-game units that move. In DF this includes sentients, animals, vermin, wagons, megabeasts...
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Children you rescue shouldn't behave like rabid beasts.  I guess your regular companions shouldn't act like rabid beasts either.
I think that's a little more impossible than I'm likely to have time for.

Loud Whispers

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2013, 05:36:33 pm »

"Mobs" is short for "mobiles," i.e. in-game units that move. In DF this includes sentients, animals, vermin, wagons, megabeasts...
...Minecarts, water, magma, dust, rain, everything that falls, everything shot or thrown e.t.c.

Magistrum

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2013, 08:56:23 pm »

"Mobs" is short for "mobiles," i.e. in-game units that move. In DF this includes sentients, animals, vermin, wagons, megabeasts...
...Minecarts, water, magma, dust, rain, everything that falls, everything shot or thrown e.t.c.
Can we just agree they are sentients?
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slothen

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 10:09:28 am »

pretty exploit-y, but cool nonetheless.
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EvilBob22

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2013, 03:50:30 pm »

Splitting merchants up like that sounds like it might be a good way to farm appraiser experience, if it lets you get double from each caravan with a wagon.
It would be except it doesn't work.  If the wagons get there before the "walkers" (or vice-verse), then it will just give you the "Sorry, we are still unloading!" message until they are all there.
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I will run the experiment to completion anyway, however. Even if the only reason why there is a punctured equilibrium in the fortress is because I have been brutally butchering babies
EDIT: I just remembered that dwarves can't equip halberds. That might explain why the squads that use them always die.

Larix

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2013, 04:38:19 am »

I just tried it out: if both trader groups go to different depots, one group will simply not start to unpack. In my case, the wagons wouldn't unpack, while the walkers had unloaded everything. Once i forbade the 'occupied' depot, the foot merchants went to the wagon depot (leaving all their wares at the old depot) and the wagons started unpacking. Once the wagons were done, i re-allowed the foot-accessible depot and sent dwarfs to both depots ('anyone can trade') and was offered a deal at each location.

I can't recommend trading with two simultaneously active depots, though - it's confusing and buggy and breaks easily.
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GiglameshDespair

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2013, 11:52:22 am »

I just tried it out: if both trader groups go to different depots, one group will simply not start to unpack. In my case, the wagons wouldn't unpack, while the walkers had unloaded everything. Once i forbade the 'occupied' depot, the foot merchants went to the wagon depot (leaving all their wares at the old depot) and the wagons started unpacking. Once the wagons were done, i re-allowed the foot-accessible depot and sent dwarfs to both depots ('anyone can trade') and was offered a deal at each location.

I can't recommend trading with two simultaneously active depots, though - it's confusing and buggy and breaks easily.

Make the depot accessable from behind the wagon-only ramps, but they have to go through your trap corridor first. Packbeasts and guards, etc, will go across traps.
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ChuckWeiss

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2013, 12:54:48 pm »

This may have problems if you seal off everything but the caravan entrance. There's an old trick using ramps that makes it so creatures can only path in one direction, but it had problems if the only way to reach an area was to go the wrong direction down the one-way path. The game would lag-out while the dwarf (or whatever) would check pathing to everywhere on the map until it would finally just break the rules and go the wrong way down the one-way path. I sense the same will happen with this.
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zazq

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Re: Quick and dirty Caravan-only entrance
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2013, 03:17:32 pm »

this trick is neat enough to go on the wiki.  i'll see what i can do.
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