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Topic: Changing the way scouts work

Joined: 2009-02-27, 14:28
Posts: 367
Tribe Member
Posted at: 2010-04-24, 22:15

I've been playing a couple of games now, trying to use scouts in a meaningful way. Here are the things scouts may be useful for as far as I can imagine:

(1) Scout an unknown map, so that one can decide in which direction to expand most aggressively. (2) Gain insight into enemy territory, to see where crucial production happens etc., so that attacks can be planned better. (3) Reveal a specific enemy military building from the shadow of war so that it can be attacked.

The problem with (1) is that the scout's hut is essentially as expensive as the smallest military building. Since scouts also consume rations, and their radius of action is just kind of okay, that's not a very attractive option. In the end you want to expand anyway, so why spend energy on scouts?

Scouts are somewhat useful for (2). However, they re-scout only very hesitatingly, and there's no control over where to re-scout, so that limits their usefulness.

For (3), we'd definitely need more control over the scouts.

Maybe I'm just stupid and there are some tricks to make scouts more useful, but I'm just not very happy with the current state of things. The thing is, in Settlers I always used scouts, since they just work like geologists do. I find myself using scouts almost never in Widelands, and that's a bit sad.

At first I thought, it would be nice if scouts worked more as in Settlers. However, then I reexamined things again, and now I wonder: Why not change scouts to work like soldiers? Simply click on any field (or perhaps any field that is visible, but may be under fog of war), and you have the option of calling a scout there, provided that there is a scout in a scout's hut within a certain (large, perhaps 30 fields or more) radius, and a ration is available in the scout's hut. Once called, the scout will go to that field and continue exploration around that field.

That way, you'd build a scout's hut relatively early in the game, and just call the scout to where you want to explore. What do you think?

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Joined: 2009-02-19, 15:18
Posts: 1439
One Elder of Players
Location: Germany - Munich
Posted at: 2010-04-24, 22:44

I am somewhat reluctant to this as it approaches the principle of controlling individual units which I do not feel is something widelands should go to. I agree though that the scout is not very useful currently. I'd prefer to make it's ai a bit smarter or make it a flag action.

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Joined: 2009-02-28, 10:08
Posts: 733
One Elder of Players
Location: Frankfurt / Germany
Posted at: 2010-04-25, 08:00

I agree with Ixprefects analysis. Ever since this feature was introduced, I tried to find good uses for the scouts, but I mostly got disappointed.

Maybe, to avoid steering of individuals, there could be a variety of predefined tasks that you can assigned to a scouts hut.

1) General exploring (explore nearest unrevealed terrain; default action)

2) Explore mountains (find and stay on mountain terrain)

3) Explore fertile lands (similar to above)

4) Explore water bodies (keep to the shorelines)

4) Reconnaissance (find enemy military sites within range; moving from one to another)

Edited: 2010-04-25, 11:03

Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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Joined: 2009-11-01, 23:08
Posts: 146
At home in WL-forums
Location: Germany
Posted at: 2010-04-25, 14:00

I almost never use the scout. I find it not useful at the moment. I think I will never use the with current hut based control. Except the scout would reveal most of the map from it's hut.

I am for making this a flag action. Just like geologists.

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Joined: 2009-09-07, 17:31
Posts: 71
Likes to be here
Posted at: 2010-04-26, 13:59

I am with you timowi. I prefer geologist approach (based on flag).

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Joined: 2010-05-01, 18:22
Posts: 7
Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2010-05-01, 18:55

well i just comment on this thread about scouts and types of food....

i like the geologist approach...

maybe 1 in your first building then having to build a scout hut to have more then 1...

I'm really enjoying the improvements to this game...

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Joined: 2010-04-27, 20:00
Posts: 23
Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2010-05-01, 21:50

A possible way is to let the scouts (and geologist btw) live in the huts. So for every scout/geologist you need a hut. If the scouts are at home, they scout the neighborhood. Just walking around, keep yourself trained face-wink.png But you can call them to a specific flag, where they go in a big circle, starting at the nearest border.

An addition would be to let them need food for a flag action. You could decide on the type of food and that would define the range they can go.

"Scratch any cynic and you’ll find a disappointed idealist."

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