I'm asking for your help. I've come to an impasse regarding Ornithopters. I have two major problems with them: One, how to implement them programatically... That one I'm not worried about. But the other issue is, how do I implement them in the game period? Here are the main issues.
1. They need to function more or less like in the original game. Basically my only real requirement is that they are not directly controllable or selectable.
2. I would not want them doing suicidal things like attacking any enemy unit on the map.
3. I also don't want a whole boatload of options and settings to be required for efficiently controlling just this one unit type.
4. Of the options I can think of, the first is that they stay out of the Hi-tech factories and patrol constantly looking for local targets (near units or buildings), sort of like being permanently on Guard orders for the whole base. This would be kind of a random pattern though (to save on resources) and raises issues about distance and building value (don't want a fleet of 'Thopters getting shot down trying to defend a Trading Post after all).
5. Another option is that the player selects an area and manually issues some kind of order for 'Thopter support, and otherwise they remain docked. Sounds like it would get ugly though, and require some micromanagement from the player. Maybe this could be timed or something.
6. A final option is to make them behave just like they did in my last version of Dune 2: TSHA (RC3), where they use the settings for supporting Harvesters, Units, and Buildings. However, these are now global settings, and I'm no longer crazy about the idea of having these settings be lumped together with Carryall behavior.
So, I'm asking you to visit the forums and drop a line in Suggestions regarding this issue. Either vote for an existing option or come up with something new and interesting. Please leave your comments as soon as possible.