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Author Topic: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them Training Much More Frequently  (Read 39020 times)

NCommander

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After countless failed attempts, I've finally perfected methods to get marksdwarf training working nicely, and without micromanagement.

Many here are quite aware that marksdwarves are fairly buggy, and often refuse to use archery ranges, or stand in front of them, and fail to fire their crossbows. Well, I've got a solution for you. This should also apply to Bowdwarves and blowgunners but I haven't explicatively tested it. I'll note the differences for them as they come up.

I present to you NCommander's Ulitmate Guide to Marksdwarf Training:

1. Equipping You Marksdwarf

This is pretty well known, but for the sake of completeness, for every markdwarf in your squad you need the following
 - One crossbow/bow/blowgun
 - One quiver
 - One stack of bolts for each markdwarf to fire

(bowdwarves use arrows, blowgunners use darts. I'm not 100% that blowgunners need quivers ...)

Crossbows can be made out of wood or bone at a bowyers workshop, or out of metal at a metalsmith/magma forge. Quivers must be made of leather. Make sure you have enough between your hunters and markdwarves before activating their squad; I've seen dwarves fail to grab a quiver until deactivated and reactivated. Because Marksdwarves do nothing BUT archery train with this setup, you're going to need a *lot* of bolts. Better have a weaponsmith/woodcrafter/bonecarver dedicated to the job on repeat.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: If you're going to draft a hunter, clear his labors, and confirm that your hunter has put his quiver and crossbow away. If you don't, he'll generate equipment mismatches. If you have this problem, don't panic. Open your idiot in the "k" menu, then open his inventory, find the quiver, and forbid the bolts in it. He'll dump them, and properly reload. If you do a citizen's milita, I recommend hunters go in a melee squad, it will likely be less painful.

If you don't use hunters, you may want to remove their bolt assignments. I use hunters, and haven't had significant issues as long as I've careful when I draft them.

2. Setting your Marksdwarf's barrack

The first rule of marksdwarf training is you do *not* assign them a normal barrack. If they have that, they will always prefer to train as hammerdwarves with their crossbows vs. actually shooting the stupid things.

Instead, build a room with a bunch of archery ranges. I recommend putting them against the left most wall so the shooting direction is automatically correct, but this should work regardless.

The room must be large enough that the marksdwarf has a one gap space between them and the target; I just make their "barrack" 10x10, and put an ammo stockpile in it.

Here's a screenshot.



Once you build your range, you must define it as a room. Make it so it touches the far wall, and don't worry, range rooms can overlap. You have to do this for each. Make sure the shooting direction is correct! In addition, your marksdwarf squad MUST at minimum have train, and squad equipment set.

Repeat this for each range; you'll have 5-10 targets overlapping each other and assigned to your marksdwarves squad (in my screenshots, they are the "Home Guard")

3. The Military Management Screen

This is by far the most difficult part. Fear the 'm' menu, for it eats children. The 'm' menu is confusing on the best days, but this guide will walk you through it.

The first and default page is the positions page. Ignore it for now, you want to make the right uniform for your marksdwarves, press 'u' to bring up that screen. Do yourself a favor and just delete the default archer uniform. It's wrong and will not work properly.

Create a new uniform, and add the following:
 - crossbow (do NOT used individual choice, ranged; you *will* end up with dwarves who think an axe is a ranged weapon)
 - shield (optional)
 - leather armor
 - leather headwear
 - leather legwear
 - leather armor
 - leather legwear

Make sure "exact match" is selected. This appears to fix most of the issues of them not picking up quivers. You might be able to get away with over clothing however.

Here's what it should like if you did it right:



Now press 'p' to go back to the positions menu. When you create the squad, it will ask for a uniform. This is misleading; the game *only* applies the uniform to the first dwarf selected. We'll fix that in a moment. Select your recruits, like so, then switch to the 'e' menu. Select your squad, then press 'U' (that's captain U) to bring up the uniform selection screen.


Here's what it looks like.

Highlight your crossbow uniform, and press 'Shift-Enter' to assign it to all positions in the squad. If you then check the positions screen, at the top, it will say 10/10 marksdwarves, instead of 1/1 markdwarf 9/9 wrestlers, which is what will happen if you leave it on defaults.



We're almost done. Go to the ammo screen.



If you haven't done anything with marksdwarves before, then the defaults are correct, go to the schedule screen.

If you're setting this by hand, here's what to know.

 - Each squad needs the correct ammo
   - Crossbowman/Markdwarves use bolts
   - Bowman use arrows
   - Blowgunners use darts

 - Set a material preference if you want*, and set it so bolts are used for both training and combat. I generally have enough ore that it isn't hard to mass produce copper bolts. They will gum up if bolts for training and combat are different, here's the bug report: www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?action=post;board=11.0

 * - might gum up if they pick a quiver with the wrong ammo. I strongly recommend just leaving it as "bolts"

Generally, for me, once they get elite or legendary, I just put them on patrol duty and have them stop training, in which I change their ammo assignment.

Now, for the magic bit that gets them doing nothing *but* training. Open the schedule screen, and look at the orders. The default is "Train, 10 minimium". This is WRONG



Press x to delete the order. The schedule screen will change to show no scheduled orders.



Press 'o' to pull up the give order screen. Press o until 'Train' is set, and then press + so it shows minimum 1, like this. Then press shift-done to give the order. The screen will look like this:




Now do it again, for the total members of your squad (you CAN give more than 5 orders, you just have to scroll in the orders screen to see it). When you're done it should look like this, after doing it 10 times.


Copy and paste the order to all the months. You can also set Sleep in Barrack at need to increase their training time, though this will raise the stress levels of dwarves in the squad due to tired thoughts.

You're almost done. Activate your squad, and after they finish picking up equipment, watch your bolt supplies vanish as your marksdwarves do nothing *but* archery training.

4. Wait, what?

Yup. Here's how it works. Military dwarves have a preference list roughly as follows to training

 - Squad training
 - Individual Combat Drill
 - Spar
 - Archery Training (if equipped with a bow).

Squad training and sparing require multiple dwarves (and yes, marksdwarves *will* spar as long as they're noivce hammerdwarves*). Training, minimium of 1 forces them to work solo. Since they don't have a normal barrack, they can't drill, which leaves Archery Training as the only possible way to train. Except for food and drink, they will *constantly* offload bolts, switching to "Cannot follow orders" when the fortress's supply is depleted. As soon as bolts exist, they'll reload, and make them disappear too.

 * - Replace hammer with sword for bowdwarves and blowgunners.
 
Archery training grants less experience than live fire (8XP per bolt vs. 30XP), but no micromanagement, no hauling, one setup, and you can ignore it until you get that glorious announcement that Urist has become an Elite Marksdwarf.

5. Stopping them from charging into melee/Reloading issues

The short version: DON'T USE STATION!

There's two ways to stop them charging into melee. Patrol Routes, and Defend Burrors order. I'll expand this guide once the science is done.

For patrol routes, marksdwarves *will* not take a Pickup Equipment order as long as they have line of sight on their enemy. Have them go through a door or something, and as soon as they loose sight of the goblin/forgotten beast/demon, they'll immediately go find bolts and reload.

I'm still sciencing the Defend Burrows order to see how effective it is at preventing melee charges.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 03:17:23 pm by NCommander »
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NJW2000

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2015, 05:23:52 pm »

Ptw/follow/return to. Thanks, I had trouble setting up a vanilla speardwarf squad, this'll help no end!
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NCommander

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2015, 05:26:15 pm »

Ptw/follow/return to. Thanks, I had trouble setting up a vanilla speardwarf squad, this'll help no end!

For speardwarves (and melee in general), I recommend following all the steps, expect do Train, minimium 2. That works around the demostrations taking forever, and will reliably mint masters in about 1.5-2 game years. Obviously give the order 5 times instead of 10.
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MehMuffin

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2015, 08:35:18 pm »

Hmm. I seem to have gone astray somewhere. I set up my whole squad like this, but now they just all say "Soldier (No Activity)." For some reason they're refusing to use the archery ranges (which are assigned to have them use for individual and squad equipment as well as training). They also have orders scheduled year round for training, although I only set three with minimum one because there are only three marksdwarves in my squad. One of them (they're all retired hunters) gave an equipment mismatch but I forbid his bolts and that worked fine. What am I doing wrong?
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Probe1

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2015, 08:39:26 pm »


Press 'o' to pull up the give order screen. Press o until 'Train' is set, and then press + so it shows minimum 1, like this. Then press shift-done to give the order. The screen will look like this:


Brilliant job figuring this one out NCommander.  Reading this has made me understand several fail states I've seen marksdwarf trainees in.  Thanks!
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skyte100

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2015, 09:13:02 pm »

Hmm. I seem to have gone astray somewhere. I set up my whole squad like this, but now they just all say "Soldier (No Activity)." For some reason they're refusing to use the archery ranges (which are assigned to have them use for individual and squad equipment as well as training). They also have orders scheduled year round for training, although I only set three with minimum one because there are only three marksdwarves in my squad. One of them (they're all retired hunters) gave an equipment mismatch but I forbid his bolts and that worked fine. What am I doing wrong?
That would be because with them on active duty and without an actual barracks set, they have nothing to do when they don't want to use the archery target.
This does NOT force them to use the archery targets, despite what it says. It just makes them use them more. The downfall of this approach is the fact they will not always train and spend time standing around between sessions. The opposite approach is to set a traditional barracks with it which will make them always train something, but that runs the risk they wont use the targets. Pick your poison.

Note: They seem to train with the targets more when they already have some skill with the crossbow. It might have something to do with untrained dwarves getting drunk confused and opting to train wrestling or hammers since they are higher priority options and when they have some existing crossbow skill that boosts the priority for archery enough that they spend SOME time at the range(still not as much as I would like though).
Edit: It is also theorized that the amount they train is based on personality and certain skills. Regardless, you are not alone in the "no activity" thing. Some of them will(eventually) start using the targets and they will favor them more once they have skill in it(my skilled dwarves fire at targets on their own more often than recruits do).
« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 09:24:51 pm by skyte100 »
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Immortal-D

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2015, 09:24:41 pm »

I always figured that Schedule Train Minimum 1-2 was enough, never thought about the Orders menu.  If I understand this correctly- without Orders, they will only train when they don't have other jobs?

skyte100

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2015, 09:27:50 pm »

I always figured that Schedule Train Minimum 1-2 was enough, never thought about the Orders menu.  If I understand this correctly- without Orders, they will only train when they don't have other jobs?
Yes. When inactive, they follow orders(default training) when they want to(sometimes meaning never, sometimes meaning all the time) while they have no other jobs(or again in some cases, while they do have other job options). While in active, they will always perform their standing orders(default nothing) and never civilian duties. When they have no standing orders they can follow(no orders or training with no barracks set) they will stand around.
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NCommander

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2015, 12:15:54 am »

Hmm. I seem to have gone astray somewhere. I set up my whole squad like this, but now they just all say "Soldier (No Activity)." For some reason they're refusing to use the archery ranges (which are assigned to have them use for individual and squad equipment as well as training). They also have orders scheduled year round for training, although I only set three with minimum one because there are only three marksdwarves in my squad. One of them (they're all retired hunters) gave an equipment mismatch but I forbid his bolts and that worked fine. What am I doing wrong?

Make sure *all* the archery ranges are selected, and you have one for each dwarf; they can't share one at a time, and they all have barracks selected. I haven't personally seen them go no activity, but they're shoot. Post a save and I'll take a look. I'd love to get all the common failure states.

EDIT: looking more carefully, they do generate no activity, but it clears pretty quickly. I'm wondering if there's a way to fix it. Regardless, they're training rather consistently in my fort.

The usual issue is the shooting direction is a bit confusing. It refers to where the dwarf is standing relative to the target (so if the targets are against a right hand wall, the shooting direct is FROM the left). This has tripped me up more than once.

Hmm. I seem to have gone astray somewhere. I set up my whole squad like this, but now they just all say "Soldier (No Activity)." For some reason they're refusing to use the archery ranges (which are assigned to have them use for individual and squad equipment as well as training). They also have orders scheduled year round for training, although I only set three with minimum one because there are only three marksdwarves in my squad. One of them (they're all retired hunters) gave an equipment mismatch but I forbid his bolts and that worked fine. What am I doing wrong?

No activity will only happen if they actively can't do *anything*. Something's wrong with their ammo, or their ranges.

The ranges have to be long enough to shoot, the wiki says 3x3 but I wonder if it has to be bigger in case of overlapping. Shooting direction is another one that trips people up.

I go for the big giant ones squads but there's no reason why this shouldn't work with less.. It sounds like you have them equipped right. Please post a save so I can look. Its possible that you have bolts in the wrong quivers; they're assigned on a per stack basis, and if a dwarf has the wrong set, they might not use it; I'm not sure if this would generate an equipment mismatch error. Delete bolts from hunters and your squad on ammonation, then reset it for the squad. That should prevent ammo stupidity.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 12:57:16 am by NCommander »
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NCommander

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2015, 12:31:48 am »

Hmm. I seem to have gone astray somewhere. I set up my whole squad like this, but now they just all say "Soldier (No Activity)." For some reason they're refusing to use the archery ranges (which are assigned to have them use for individual and squad equipment as well as training). They also have orders scheduled year round for training, although I only set three with minimum one because there are only three marksdwarves in my squad. One of them (they're all retired hunters) gave an equipment mismatch but I forbid his bolts and that worked fine. What am I doing wrong?
That would be because with them on active duty and without an actual barracks set, they have nothing to do when they don't want to use the archery target.
This does NOT force them to use the archery targets, despite what it says. It just makes them use them more. The downfall of this approach is the fact they will not always train and spend time standing around between sessions. The opposite approach is to set a traditional barracks with it which will make them always train something, but that runs the risk they wont use the targets. Pick your poison.

Note: They seem to train with the targets more when they already have some skill with the crossbow. It might have something to do with untrained dwarves getting drunk confused and opting to train wrestling or hammers since they are higher priority options and when they have some existing crossbow skill that boosts the priority for archery enough that they spend SOME time at the range(still not as much as I would like though).
Edit: It is also theorized that the amount they train is based on personality and certain skills. Regardless, you are not alone in the "no activity" thing. Some of them will(eventually) start using the targets and they will favor them more once they have skill in it(my skilled dwarves fire at targets on their own more often than recruits do).

My ten recruits seem happy to offload bolts by the buttload. If the squad is set Active/Training, they will do nothing *but* train, in whatever way possible. I've not had the No Orders issue others described.
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Skullsploder

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2015, 01:05:10 am »

This is an excellent guide and I salute you NCommander. Do you have a wiki account? If so, you should definitely put a link on the archery page.

However, I think target practice has to be a stopgap until you can build a live fire range. I find it's much more efficient simply to not set them an archery range, but have a wall of fortifications in their barracks that looks into a pit that you sometimes chuck prisoners in. It's 4x more effective in terms of xp per bolt this way, and they train up to legendary hammerdwarves at the same time. It's just that in 40.24 I have to wait several years until I have prisoners -_- Still, if my modification of Qrox's design for a 100% miss live fire range works, then live fire doesn't need micromanagement and won't be complicated to set up.
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Shonai_Dweller

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2015, 05:42:45 am »

Is anyone else actually not having any issues with crossbow squads?

Archery uniform, barracks for training, archery range for training, set squad to active/training.

Now my crossbowdwarves spend time in and out of the archery range (sometimes while their off duty too), time in the barracks learning to dodge n' strike and time out on patrol when scheduled. Must be something wrong with my copy of DF...
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Revenant342

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2015, 08:11:53 am »

I noticed you have them in leather, is it a problem to have them in metal armor?  I'm training mine up as legendary hammerdwarves as well for when they inevitably get into melee, but I can't seem to get then into steel.
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skyte100

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2015, 10:09:04 am »

I noticed you have them in leather, is it a problem to have them in metal armor?  I'm training mine up as legendary hammerdwarves as well for when they inevitably get into melee, but I can't seem to get then into steel.
Heres my recommendation. Metal: Mail shirt, helmet. Leather: Armor, leggings, hood, cloak, gloves, boots, shield(or wooden shield).
Full metal weighs them down a lot and lets them get off fewer attacks. Leather doesn't protect much but is better than nothing. Mail shirts have decent coverage and metal helmets protect against lucky shots. At the bare minimum give them metal helms to ward off a lucky strike killing your legendary+5 marksdwarf(can still happen just less often). Hoods and cloaks cover a lot and also supposedly help ward against syndromes from FBs by covering the skin(less exposed skin, less likely to affect everyone). Shields, material doesn't matter unless they are bashing with it so wood and leather protect as much as steel and weigh less.
Summary: Metal weighs a lot, slows them down, makes them attack less compared to enemies, and more likely to get killed in close combat where they dont have a suitable weapon. If you have no problem with the weight, dont worry about it.

My ten recruits seem happy to offload bolts by the buttload. If the squad is set Active/Training, they will do nothing *but* train, in whatever way possible. I've not had the No Orders issue others described.
As you already noticed, between sessions they have no activity. How long it lasts varies from person to person. You are a lucky one(or we are unlucky as the case may be). But I am right in stating that this method increases the time spent at the range, but still doesn't guarantee that they will use it at all times. Does not mean its a useless strategy though. Might wanna edit the title to something like "Maximize training time" since that's what it actually does.
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Corona688

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Re: Ulitmate Marksdwarf Guide - Get Them *CONSTANTLY* Training
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2015, 10:33:10 am »

Thank you for posting this!  I was on IRC urging you to do so, this is great.
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