Part 131: Mechanics Talk 7 - Controlling AgentsMechanics Talk 7: Controlling Agents
Despite Ordeals and breaches being things that exist, at its core Lobotomy Corporation is a management simulator game. Because of this, it's really not well-built for things like micromanaging 30 Agents beating on a giant demonic duck of some sort.
As we will be having to beat on a giant demonic duck of some sort, it's best that we figure out how to make all these Agents run around properly.
If an Agent is left to their own devices, they wander around in the room they are currently assigned to stay in. If anything that can be suppressed wanders in (with rare exceptions), the Agent immediately draws their weapon and attempts to suppress whatever has run in. They do not automatically move to suppress panicked Agents, unless they are the target of a murder-type panicking agent.
There are two main ways to move Agents. The first major category is left clicking on targets. Left clicking on an Abnormality's cell is the most common version of this. It pops up a list of Agents, we left click on the agent, and the Agent's off to the races. Left clicking on a suppressible target like an Ordeal or panicking Agent gives a menu of Agents who can be left clicked to go run off and suppress the target as well. Agents who are left-click ordered are focused on whatever their order is, ignoring anything else on their way to do what they're told to. Once they are done, they attempt to return to their assigned room. They will change focus for anything they can suppress on the return trip, using the same rules as when they're idle.
The second, more versatile way to move Agents is by right clicking. To right-click move agents, first the Agent needs to be selected. This can be done either by left clicking on them or by drawing a box around one or more agents. Once a number of Agents are selected, we have a few options:
First, we can right-click on a room in the facility to change that room to their assigned room. The Agents will move over there, and will focus on reaching their new assigned room above anything else. If in an elevator, the Agent will stand still in the middle. Otherwise, the Agent will wander the hallway or room that they're assigned to.
Second, we can right click on a suppressible entity and all selected Agents will charge off to attack the entity. They'll attack it until it is suppressed, at which point they will attempt to return to their assigned room and follow standard idle AI. This is usually the best way to handle suppression orders, though when trying to suppress something like Amber Dawn I usually prefer to send them to the room instead of targeting a specific worm. Since the worms are squishy, if the targeted one dies before all the Agents get there, anyone not currently in the room goes back home for coffee. It's not ideal.
Finally, we can right click on an Abnormality cell to assign a work from one of the Agents we have currently selected. When the work type is selected, a list of the selected Agents pops up to select one of. If more than five are selected at once, we can use arrows at the top to page through them. There are very few situations where we'd want to use this, but it can be handy to make sure that a specific Agent works a nearby cell. It also works cross-department, meaning that it lets us do cross-department work before we have the Joint Command research.
One last note about right-click movement: Every time an Agent is given an order, they are deselected. This is important to keep in mind during tense suppressions, as there's nothing worse than ordering a retreat only to realize that nobody is listening and wind up losing Paul to being smacked in the face by a hammer, which is also a face.
The last major way to move Agents is actually a tool of convenience more than anything else. It's this button:
This button was given to us by the Assembly Summons research from Malkuth. Every main room gets a button that looks like this placed right next to it, and when clicked it orders all Agents from that department to return to the main room. This sees the most use in the late game, when the entire facility has been pulled off of their normal work processes to handle particularly large threats and everyone is all over the place. It makes the Agents focus on the main room, so they'll ignore any threats that may pop up on their way back home.
That's pretty much it for how to order Agents. The way it works means that it's hard to execute complicated strategies without a lot of time on pause issuing individual orders, but that's bureaucracy for you.