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Author Topic: Animal-Powered Watchtower  (Read 30303 times)

Girlinhat

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Animal-Powered Watchtower
« on: March 07, 2011, 06:39:19 pm »

Due to the interest I've seen in this, I decided to make a thread.  May or may not bump it into the wiki under "fortress defense techniques".

So, the basic thing is, you're getting ambushed right?  It sucks, another dead woodcutter and another filled coffin.  Perhaps more, if you're unlucky.  How do you fix this?  Watchtowers!  These run on three basic principles:
1) Certain animals do not eat.
2) Windows block arrows.
3) Building Destroyers cannot kill things on a different Z level.

Combine that together, and you get...
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
...Ignore the rest of my tower-under-construction.  The first image is the view from above, and the second is one level down where you can see the windows and such.  Since Stonesense doesn't do good with creatures right now, that ? is a peacock.  Take my word on this.

Why is this awesome?  It's a 3x3 structure, with only the 1x1 inside walkable.  The important thing is that it's on stilts.  I've chosen to do 4 stilts for aesthetics, but you could use just one central one if you're cheap.  I've also paved the area around it for no reason at all.  But!  The stilts move it up, and keeps it out of range of melee and building destroyers.  That means the windows are safe, and cannot be destroyed.  Flying destroyers may or may not be able to destroy them, I haven't faced any of them yet and I've heard conflicting reports.  It's important to use windows as well, as a good archer will shoot the creature anyways.  I've lost a few this way, when I was using Fortifications, so I upgraded to windows.  The roof is purely aesthetic as well, but I like it.

What you need: 4 units of sand, 10-22 units of stone/wood/etc (tunnel-tuber pictured here), and 1 non-grazing animal.  Optionally, +1 building material and 1 hatch cover.

I built this tower by making stairs nearby, and then placing the animal via the Pen/Pasture zone, but I've previously done it using ropes as well, which is very nice if you use color-coded ropes or chains, so that you can tell "the animals on red chains are watchers".  I placed the animal, then built the left-most window, because dwarves build from the left and you need to do this to avoid your dwarf getting locked in as well.  I then deconstructed the stairs and left it there.  Peafcocks like 15-30 years, so a newborn peacock in a tower may very well outlive your fort!

This can alternatively be done with stairs.  By placing a down-stairs in the center tile, and a hatch over it, you can pasture the animal, or pin from above, and lock the hatch.  Building destroyers cannot reach up to destroy a hatch, even with stairs, but some people consider this an exploit.  You could also use windows entirely, and no walls, but the walls support the ceiling, and also the windows act a little weird in Stonesense without walls to connect to, but as I've said I'm big on aesthetics.

I generally build these 21-41 tiles away, in a grid (ie, hit Shift+Direction 2 or 4 times) and get somewhat patch coverage, but overall pretty good early detection.  It's no replacement for a good army, but it's a good boost if you have the time to set them up.

j0nas

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2011, 06:51:04 pm »

Like I said when I first saw this, yeah, this is pretty awesome.  Most definitely belongs on the wiki, where it can be saved for posterity and the appropriate spotting range science can be investigated and tacked on.  I'd love to be able to build full-coverage watchtowers around my main fort and just lock that shit *down*, crossbowdwarf-style.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 07:00:04 pm by j0nas »
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Sarudak

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2011, 06:52:34 pm »

My question is how far away can the animals reveal ambushes from? I want to make a gateway that reveals all ambushes and can be left open. This way I know where the enemy is for activating my devious manually operated traps.

EDIT: I know I can put animals on a chain but I don't want to track down a new animal every ambush and have a dwarf haul it up there and possibly get killed in the process.
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Cotes

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2011, 06:58:17 pm »

Wait, you want me to protect my watch-kittens? I'm not following.
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Well if you remove the [MULTIPLE_LITTER_RARE] tag from dwarves I think they have like 2-4 children each time they give birth. And if you get enough mothers up on the pillars you can probably get a good waterfall going.
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Girlinhat

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2011, 06:59:53 pm »

3 tiles, as testing has shown.  7x7 cube, to be specific.  So, you could build the tower 2 levels higher if you really wanted, though line-of-sight results may vary.  Since I build mine 21 apart, then I've got about 1/3 of my area covered, but that changes a little since invaders path diagonally as well.  Economically and reliably though?  I'd say 10-11 apart, you get about 2/3 coverage.

For full coverage, probably build an above ground "aqueduct" style tower, with several small rooms that house animals.  If connected to the main fort, you can even stock animals from within without needing temporary scaffolding.  Plenty of variations are available!

Ninja'd: You want to protect the kittens so that no one has to risk their neck replacing them.

That's why you use windows.  They prevent ranged attacks and no one has to replace animals, because the animal never dies.  My tower is 100% safe from any attack.  Your fort is not so safe, however.

Excedion

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2011, 07:37:23 pm »

Why not channel out around the base so the stilts are minus 1 z but channel a two square ditch around so they still cant get close to it. I'm pretty sure that this would offset the reduced lateral range by the increased height? Just an idea. May be a problem if theres loads of trees though, nothing an axedwarf cant fix
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If adamantine is perfectly rigid, as shown by having 0 strain at fracture in the raw files, then the speed of sound in the metal approaches the speed of light. Adamantine musical instruments would produce ultrasonic vibrations, and cut off the fingers of the musician.

Girlinhat

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2011, 07:39:41 pm »

See our friend Urist DaVinci's thread on ambusher detection.  Z levels don't seem to matter, so long as they're less than 4 levels away.  Sight seems to make a sphere (or rather a diamond) but ambush detection is a cube.

Marthnn

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2011, 07:40:55 pm »

Or... build fortifications around that, so you don't have to channel around nor use stilts to elevate the lot. Just an idea...
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A dwarf wants to heal.  A dwarf is motivated to heal.  A dwarf is, by Armok, going to heal or die trying!  Because if he doesn't heal, he doesn't get alcohol.

Excedion

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2011, 07:43:52 pm »

Hmm. I suppose. Worth some testing though. Does it not matter that there are only windows north south east and west? Can the animal still see diagonally even though there is no diagonal window?
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If adamantine is perfectly rigid, as shown by having 0 strain at fracture in the raw files, then the speed of sound in the metal approaches the speed of light. Adamantine musical instruments would produce ultrasonic vibrations, and cut off the fingers of the musician.

Girlinhat

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2011, 07:46:03 pm »

Possible, but it looks sloppier to me.  There's endless ways to customize it, but a lot of people seemed to be lacking in early detected, and this is a very stable, easy thing to construct that gives reliable results.

Ninja'd: Not that I've seen.  It may matter a little, but unless it's one ambusher passing directly diagonal under the tower, then the point is moot.  If the move one tile aside as they move, then they cross into the line of sight, and considering that it's usually a group of 7-10, well, they're going to get spotted either way.

ThrowerOfStones

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2011, 07:48:39 pm »

You should combine this with a nest box and an emptying chute so you can conveniently have the bird laying eggs, sitting on them until they hatch, and then lever-releasing clouds of peahens on the heads of goblin thieves.
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Girlinhat

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2011, 07:49:51 pm »

Very dwarfy, I like it, but would need a 3x3 interior size, or similar.  Possible, and pointless other than clogging the refuse pile with dead chicks, but very dwarfy.

Excedion

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2011, 07:50:45 pm »

Yeah just trying to throw some ideas around. Will definitely be using this in my new fort. Probably use 9 windows instead of 4 depending on how many i have available. I wonder if i could use these sort of towers with dragons or GCS and fortifications instead of windows
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If adamantine is perfectly rigid, as shown by having 0 strain at fracture in the raw files, then the speed of sound in the metal approaches the speed of light. Adamantine musical instruments would produce ultrasonic vibrations, and cut off the fingers of the musician.

arkhometha

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2011, 07:51:05 pm »

Wait, you want me to protect my watch-kittens? I'm not following.

2.

And awesome idea!
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EveryZig

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Re: Animal-Powered Watchtower
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2011, 07:53:02 pm »

Yeah just trying to throw some ideas around. Will definitely be using this in my new fort. Probably use 9 windows instead of 4 depending on how many i have available. I wonder if i could use these sort of towers with dragons or GCS and fortifications instead of windows
Sadly, creatures with natural (not from a weapon like crossbow) ranged attacks only use them when they can path to an enemy.
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Soaplent green is goblins!
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