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Sorry for the rambling

Ok so first off let me say I'm loving this game, but the one thing that consistently ends my sessions is rage-quitting because at least 1/4 of my group is busy doing god knows what somewhere else in the base while I'm trying to get them to one spot.

let me paint you a picture, I just started a new colony, I have 24 worker ants and 37 black ants. I'm clearing the nest at the moment and I'm trying to get all my black ants to one spot before opening a hole to 18 !s. Roughly 25 show up, the rest are wondering around the base. There are no other enemies(I left this pocket for last), there is no non-stored food, their food collecting is turned off. Some are just hanging out around the queen and others are standing in empty rooms. When one decides to go to the marker one that is already at the marker will decide he's bored or whatever and take a stroll away from the marker, this means that at no point can I make use of all my ants. I've lost colonies because of this before since the few that decide to show up gets outnumbered and nailed by the enemy after which the others walk on over only to get oneshot before they can get in a single tick of damage. Am I doing something wrong or what? I've read a thread on steam where someone commented about the ants not following orders and one of the devs replied by saying that you're controlling the colony and not the ants, that you give suggestions rather than commands. And I get this to a degree, but having to build an army 50% larger that it needs to be just to get the same about of damage is a little much.

Would it be possible to add an 'laziness' meter or something where you execute ants that just chill in random rooms in the base rather than doing what they're there for in order to 'incentivize' the other ants to follow orders? At times the current system can be extremely infuriating, so much so that it takes away from the experience as a whole.

This is mostly an issue for smaller colonies, once you get 200+ ants running around you won't really miss any stragglers, but after ~300 ants it starts lagging like crazy, but I'm sure optimization is somewhere in the pipeline after most of the features have been implemented.

This happends because of the trial mechanic. The develpers intended that the ants follow a trail, rather than meeting in one area.
Ants are beautiful,
but if fooled around with,
can be deadly.

This happends because of the trial mechanic. The develpers intended that the ants follow a trail, rather than meeting in one area.

No wonder fighting far from the nest is so horrible, half of my ants are running to and from the nest for literally no reason. Have they given a reason for why they use this trail system? Would be great of this trail system only activated if you enable realistic mode, or if it had it's own separate toggle.

  • Mike

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Pretty much going to just copy-paste this reply (the one you mentioned):

Quote
A core design philosophy at play here is that you're not playing as individual ants, you're instead playing as a colony - you are the emergent intelligence that comes from many ants acting independently. That means you don't give orders, you more give suggestions. What you're doing when you put a group into a pheromone marker is putting them on a trail that starts at the queen and ends at the marker.

The reasons for this are multitude - firstly, we want the ant nest to feel natural. Part of that is keeping the ants moving. In reality if a few ants get attacked when out on their scavenging the entire colony doesn't suddenly come to their aid; over time more ants will arrive and the behaviour will be reinforced chemically.

All ants will eventually come back to the marker, and about 50% more ants are at the end of the trail at any one time than are walking back and forth (you'll notice unless they're in active combat or gathering, when one ant arrives another generally leaves).

This all comes from our primary inspirational game - Dungeon Keeper. In that, you didn't directly control your minions. In fact you had much less control over them than you do in EotU (outside of just picking them up and putting them back down). We basically wanted to make our own Dungeon Keeper, but with ants, not StarCraft but with ants. We realise certain quirks of this game style are going to be frustrating for a minority of players - we're willing to accept that for the sake of making the game we want to play.

This isn't to say there isn't balancing to be done, but it remains a core tenet of what we're doing.

The ants are not being "lazy" - they're being ants and following a pheromone trail. Instinct tells them to return back home if they don't find anything at the end of it. They don't all know all of a sudden that you're being attacked and the gestalt entity that is the colony is going to be a little sluggish to react since it takes time for the alarm call to get across.

It's not random chambers they're visiting, either - it's the shortest path between the queen and the pheromone marker. The way it's set up is that just about half of your ants will be at the end of the trail, and the rest will be walking along the trail (as mentioned in the post I quoted).

If you move the marker, a lot of the ants will head straight to the new marker, wait for a while and then resume their trail activities. So, my advice would be to keep the end of your trail moving quite regularly in response to threats. If you find your ants overwhelmed, move the end of the marker back closer to your queen to allow the ants to bunch up a bit. As in any RTS, you wouldn't leave your group rally point in the middle of an enemy force to be drip-fed to them as you make new ones.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 01:05:43 AM by Mike »

Thank you for the reply, Mike.

If you're clearing out the nest before going outside and setting up your chambers, you try to get as many ant as possible to the enemy room before you open it up. If the ants gathered at the marker, and if some of them walked to and from that marker from the queen I'd have no problem with that, but they seem to not go to and from the queen, they'd stand in rooms not they would not need to enter to get to the marker/queen. When it's early game and you're starved for resources and because of that have a very limited amount of soldiers, only having half of them at the enemy is just setting yourself up for failure since they'd be wiped out and the enemy can then just pick them off one by one as he makes his way to your queen.

I get that you're going for realism(seems that way at least), but in terms of gameplay its a massive pain in the ass. I love a challenge in games, I like playing on the most difficult settings, so I am no stranger to the frustration that comes from my own incompetence/sub par play. I can change my sub par play, I can get better and lessen that frustration. But when its things beyond my control I'm sure you can understand why it would get very frustrating.

As you said in the quoted message, not all players will feel this way, and I may be in the minority on this issue, but is it possible to maybe add a toggle to give the player an option to disable the trail system that way? At low difficulty it's not as much of a problem, but on higher difficulty its a real problem (in my opinion of course).

Thank you for the reply, Mike.

If you're clearing out the nest before going outside and setting up your chambers, you try to get as many ant as possible to the enemy room before you open it up. If the ants gathered at the marker, and if some of them walked to and from that marker from the queen I'd have no problem with that, but they seem to not go to and from the queen, they'd stand in rooms not they would not need to enter to get to the marker/queen. When it's early game and you're starved for resources and because of that have a very limited amount of soldiers, only having half of them at the enemy is just setting yourself up for failure since they'd be wiped out and the enemy can then just pick them off one by one as he makes his way to your queen.

I get that you're going for realism(seems that way at least), but in terms of gameplay its a massive pain in the ass. I love a challenge in games, I like playing on the most difficult settings, so I am no stranger to the frustration that comes from my own incompetence/sub par play. I can change my sub par play, I can get better and lessen that frustration. But when its things beyond my control I'm sure you can understand why it would get very frustrating.

As you said in the quoted message, not all players will feel this way, and I may be in the minority on this issue, but is it possible to maybe add a toggle to give the player an option to disable the trail system that way? At low difficulty it's not as much of a problem, but on higher difficulty its a real problem (in my opinion of course).

before i enter combat 75% or more of my army is present. ALL the time. (I even dare to say mostly its around 95%) The moment i lose in a battle is when i miscalculated my total armysize to destroy that enemy or when i went in WAY to fast... (Back-up isn't ready, no larvea, ants are still bringing food back...) I think you just need to alter your playstyle to get the max out of your ant colony. Patience before changing the pheromone markers to use it at the best advantage is key to win challenges and insane modes.