Players order their colonists around in the grand bureaucratic tradition by creating assignments which are claimed by workcrews with the appropriate filters toggled. This is all very appropriate, hierarchical, and Victorian. What about the other factions in the game, won’t somebody think of the Fishpeople, the Bandits, and the Foreigners?
The first goblin-level implementation of Fishpeople involved spawning a whole mess of ’em and giving them the desire to rush the player’s colony and murder everything in sight, human or cabbage. The second level implementation of this sort of thing saw Bandits spawn with a notion of a group that has a home camp. The improvement pass on this gave bandit gangs names, leaders, and connected the morale state of bandits to one another.
In the last major update, We Built This Colony With Hugs, Fishpeople were given the group treatment – forming named gangs with a leader and sense of collective morale – plus the ability to be dealt with diplomatically plus this whole cool new thing that I’m going to talk about: faction missions. Oh, and the next experimental is getting foreign military units able to cause trouble with your colony using this new system.)
Faction missions are a mechanism by which non-player faction groups control collections of individual agents. There’s an active component to this in which an agent who is otherwise idle requests a task from its group. Upon receiving a “give me a job” request, the group will assign a task appropriate to the groups mission, the most common of which is to “walk to this given position” or “walk off the map”. The passive component is in how the group toggles various flags to control what set of jobs a member agent will consider carrying out in reaction to various situations (and how, in turn, your colonists will react to them).
For example if an allied foreign military unit patrols by your settlement, it’s possible for one of your colonists to strike up a conversation with one of the soldiers. If a Deathwurm leaps out of the foliage to eat your colonist, the allied soldier will help shoot it. Now if that foreign military unit is hostile, then your people will flee, your soldiers will attack, and the foreign troops will fight back.
A simple “walk-to” command and behaviour toggles give us radically different results between friendly and hostile military patrol mission. The current set of missions is fairly straightforward but demonstrate the framework upon which much greater complexity can be built.
For enjoyment & edification, I present a crude Phrenological Scan of the thought process of any given Fishperson, Bandit, or Foreigner (provided to us by Lord Palmerstoke himself):
Now if you’re curious to meet the foreigners and engage in Fishperson Diplomacy, you simply must check out the upcoming experimental update of Clockwork Empires, which will be version 39A.