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Pharaoh: Game Help
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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Pharaoh: Game Help » Floodplain and Monument Laborers (Making Work Camps Tick)
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Topic Subject:Floodplain and Monument Laborers (Making Work Camps Tick)
Trium3
Pleb
posted 01-11-09 21:37 ET (US)         
Well, I'll try and avoid too much tick-counting but some is necessary.

In Invisible random walkers (and work camp laborers) I describe the odd feature of workcamp laborers in spawning invisibly, often on a tile other than that on which they actually appear. That discovery has shed some light on things I didn't previously understand (such as which workcamp will be assigned to get the next lot of stone, how many fields can a workcamp keep going, things like that). Some of this is known, some maybe not.

It is not the case, as many seem to think, that stonemasons (or perhaps the construction site foreman) order stone via a particular workcamp and then wait for that workcamp to oblige in its own good time. The order for stone is simply added to a queue of things that need doing around the city and workcamps themselves decide what they will do.

A workcamp has four laborers at its disposal. Like most buildings in the game, it has walker generation opportunities every 51 'ticks' or 16 times a month, but it can only generate a laborer once a week. It may do so in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th quarter of the week, but it will only generate in one quarter. Which quarter that is is related to precisely when the building first gets labor access and once a particular workcamp has thus determined its 'active' quarter it will continue to use that same quarter until something disrupts the routine - running out of laborers, losing labor access and losing road access are all things that can disrupt it.

I imagine it will be news to many players that the 'invisible' laborer I referred to in the thread linked above is generated during the camp's 'active' quarter of the week during every week (provided the camp has laborers to generate) even when he's not needed. He then walks to the building's destination tile (if he is not already standing on it). If he has nothing to do by the time he gets there he will go back inside the building, still invisible, which makes him kind of hard to spot so you'd be forgiven for not noticing. He'll be out again same time next week.

At the time this guy is generated, he has no idea what work (if any) might be required of him. Only when he reaches his destination tile does his boss assign him his duty from the top of the waiting pile. I've had stone stockpiling when the city's only work camp spawns its weekly worker, but as long as I turn it off before he becomes visible he will go and get it.

If you've read the other thread you will understand that, depending on the configuration of the road around the building and which tiles if any are road-blocked, he can become visible 2, 17, 32 or 47 'ticks' after he was first generated. So the upshot is that the decisive moment where a task is allocated can potentially be on any of 4 occasions in any of 4 quarters - 16 possible alternatives but they are determinable (with a little effort). It is this 'mixing up' of synchronizations which makes it very difficult for you to control which workcamp goes for the stone.

When a workcamp's invisible walker reaches the destination square decisions are made. The list of unstaffed floodplain farms gets looked at first. If the camp is road connected to any that are within 40 tiles (as the crow flies) the nearest one is chosen (well, sort of). That job is then taken off the list so no other camp will look at it. If the result is negative, the list of farms requiring relief workers (ie those whose current workers have been there more than three months) is checked. Again, if the camp is road connected to any within 40 tiles it chooses the (sort of) nearest. If we're still negative, the list of jobs on offer at monument sites is consulted and the one on top of the list is taken (I've probably simplified that - there are probably priorities within that list - eg stone pullers before site clearance workers, but I don't know).

So basically the job is taken by the camp which (visibly)spawns soonest after the job gets to the top of the list. So what if two (or more) workcamps spawn at the same time? The first built gets the contract. Little doubt about it - I had a nightmare trying to get three camps to spawn together (and to do so again after re-building them in a different order) to prove that. But I'll add a caveat - deletions and house-merging create holes in the Buildings Table which might mean that the camps are not stored in the table in the same order they are built. That would probably cause predictions to fail. That aside, I can now pretty much predict which workcamp will do what and when, though it is a lot of effort and sometimes it's like trying to predict the outcome of the break of the pack on a pool table.

Running Out of Laborers
As stated, a camp has only four laborers and no more can be generated until one of those becomes available for re-use. It helps, in determining how many workcamps you need, to know when that will be.

Laborers come in three flavors (I'm getting quite used to American spelling ). First, farm laborers are the guys who lead out a gang of peasants (in your imagination) who will work the farm for up to six months. The 'laborer' himself doesn't hang around that long - he dumps them and races back to camp (in about 5 'ticks') to take an ill-earned 6-day break. He won't lead anyone else out until he's rested. Here's how it works (distances are from the tile on which 'invisible' spawning occurs to the farm's access tile. Time is the number of weeks after his departure a laborer becomes available for regeneration).
No of tiles   Time (weeks)
5 1.25
10 1.5
15 2.0
20 2.25
25 2.75
30 3
40 3.75
50 4.5
60 5.25
100 8.25
As you can see, it's pretty hard to run out if you have a full crew of four laborers since each isn't really needed again for a month, so even at 40 tiles you're OK. But if you have someone on a distant monument site (or a farm across the river perhaps) you're down to three. You need those again every three weeks. A couple of absentees leaves you relying on just two, and they can only work 15 tiles away if they're to keep up the one-a-week rate.

But if you do run out, the camp will obviously not have a laborer to put out at the appointed time, so no invisible walker this time. The next generation will occur immediately one becomes available (according to the above summary table) whatever quarter of the week that falls in. That quarter then becomes the new regular generation point for that camp - the synchronization with other camps is thus altered.

The second type, construction site laborers, are the ones who do the groundwork and levelling before a monument is built. They have to walk all the way to a monument site, do their work then walk all the way back (but in a straight line) 'invisibly'. They don't really take a break, just maybe a couple of days between finishing work and starting home. How long they are gone depends how far away the site is and how long it takes them to do their (usually) 4 tiles of work (on a large monument they spend far more time walking backwards and forwards than they do working). I cover them in a little more detail in Pyramid construction - laborer supply rate (workcamps) if you're in the mood for even more reading.

Also covered in that thread are the third laborer type - stone pullers. These chaps are highly esteemed in Egyptian society and their hard labors are well-rewarded with an extra-long holiday, apparently on the Mediterranean coast (they always seem return home from off the northern map edge). They're gone a considerable time - maybe three weeks or more after finishing work plus walk-home time.

Although these last two laborer types can sometimes be away from camp a very long time, at least they get straight back to work when they do return. They head straight for the camp's normal destination tile and if there's work to be done they'll set off immediately and do it, just as if they were newly spawned men, fresh as daisies. If the camp has other laborers, it will continue to emit them as normal and its weekly routine is not disrupted by the arrival of unscheduled extras.

This has taken far longer to prepare than I planned and I'm very tired (as no doubt you are too by now) so I'm leaving it unfinished and I'll come back to it tomorrow with some tips on controlling camps. Maybe counting ticks will help me sleep

[This message has been edited by Trium3 (edited 01-12-2009 @ 04:54 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 01-12-09 02:18 ET (US)     1 / 12       
many seem to think, that stonemasons (or perhaps the construction site foreman) order stone via a particular workcamp
Really? Are there that many players who think they know how requests for sledge teams work and who are that mistaken?
week ... 6-day ... a couple of days
It would be nice if you defined your terms. It appears that by "week" you mean 1/4 month. (The original C3/Pharaoh programmers called 1/16 of a month a "week". In some societies, a "week" means 7 days.)

"Day" is, of course, defined by the game as 1/32 month, and I assume that's what you mean. However, Nerdicus unfortunately redefined "day" as 1/16 month, and I still sometimes see "day" being used that way. Therefore, even when using the term "day" as the game does, I think it's a good idea to define it. (Of course, if someone uses the term "day" to mean anything other than the game does, it is even more important to define it.)
Trium3
Pleb
posted 01-12-09 05:26 ET (US)     2 / 12       
Brugle,

Your assumptions about my terms are correct. I dislike Nerdicus's use of 'day', though it is cumbersome to keep referring to that period as 'two days' or 'one-sixteenth of a month. In all my references, a month is 816 'ticks, a week is 204 ticks. The game does not really deal with single days, but I regard a 51-tick game 'cycle' as two days, making 8 days a week.

Your other comment is a little picky Posters have often asked why one workcamp is chosen when there is a perfectly good one placed right next door to the stone. The point I was making is that workcamps aren't chosen. Many players, of course, will already know that. Many/most/some players will already know most of what I posted, but many/most/some will not.
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 11-30-12 16:50 ET (US)     3 / 12       
unstaffed floodplain farms ... the nearest one is chosen (well, sort of)
Let's get rid of the "sort of" above--in other words, what farm will a laborer go to? It appears to be the farm with a N tile that is closest to the work camp's destination tile (where the laborer becomes visible), using the "normal" distance measurement (where horizontal, vertical, and diagonal movements are equal). I don't know which farm is chosen when there are multiple farms that are the minimum distance away. When multiple farms are the minimum distance away, the first on the building list is chosen.

This should be useful when placing 2 work camps on the N bank of Bubastis, making them fairly efficient but not too far apart (which would make one work camp hard to support).
Your other comment is a little picky
After thinking about it for almost 4 years, you're right.

[This message has been edited by Brugle (edited 07-30-2019 @ 02:44 PM).]

Trium
Pleb
posted 09-13-13 22:54 ET (US)     4 / 12       
And after thinking about it for 58 months I find that there's more to workcamps than meets the eye.

As noted in the opening post, a labourer wanting something to do will first look for the nearest road-connected floodplain farm in need of a labourer, but he will only look up to 40 tiles away.

If there is no such farm, he will seek work on the nearest monument construction site, and on the next nearest if there is no work to do on his preferred site. However, if there is work to do (for example, pulling stone) and he cannot do it (because there is no stone available or it is stockpiling) he will not do work elsewhere.

This has practical implications when two or more monuments are being erected simultaneously. A workcamp which was previously sending clearance workers to a site will stop doing so if another site is placed closer (or if masons start requesting stone at a closer site), but will ignore the new site if it is further away. Similarly, a camp sending sled-pullers to one monument might stop doing so if guildsmen arraive on another (nearer) monument. Even if there is no material available, demand on the preferred site will nevertheless prevent a workcamp from doing anything elsewhere.

Players wishing to ensure continuity of construction at all sites, or at least to avoid disruption at inopportune times, may want to give some thought to the placement of workcamps with this in mind, perhaps placing more camps nearer to larger sites.

I was unable to exactly determine the basis for deciding which is nearest, and I'm grateful to Brugle for (somehow) figuring it out. If you look at a pyramid or mastaba site with the fire (or damage) overlay you'll see (depending on the stage of construction) either a single risk indicator column on a 2x2 square or four columns on single tiles. The northern tile of that 2x2 area marks the monument's position. Distance is neasured from here (as the crow flies) to the tile on which the workcamp's labourers appear.

It may also help to know that guildsmen (stone masons or bricklayers) prefer the first-built monument site, regardless of distances. If there is room, all guildsmen in the city will converge on the same site. If not, the overflow will go to the next-built site. If guildsmen are confined to one site (and all preparations have completed on the other site(s)) sled-pullers can come from any workcamp. If there are guildsmen awaiting materials on multiple sites each camp will only go to its preferred site until all guildsmen on that site have materials in transit..
maydayp
Pleb
posted 09-14-13 02:06 ET (US)     5 / 12       
My only comment is that, I did have the game stop sending any labourers from the work camp if I had all the farms turned off (which I did to speed up construction). It was a monument that required marble I think, or a grand complex (It was a year or more back. I'll try and find the save or duplicate it.)
Peregrine01
Pleb
posted 09-25-13 15:24 ET (US)     6 / 12       
well, I haven't gotten down to counting "ticks" yet, but ...

I've noticed that if you have a floodplain, far removed from the construction site, that the floodplain work camps and construction site workcamps seem to work independently at certain times

namely, planting time and harvest time

of course, floodtime goes all to construction

in between is anybody's guess

my 2 debens

Quote (Puk, Breton God of Mischief):

"What fools these mortals be"

ROFL...must have been watching me play Pharaoh
Trium
Pleb
posted 09-26-13 02:17 ET (US)     7 / 12       
I've noticed that if you have a floodplain, far removed from the construction site, that the floodplain work camps and construction site workcamps seem to work independently at certain times

namely, planting time and harvest time
As explained in the OP (admittedly a long read) labourers will not go to a farm more than 40 tiles away, nor will those connected to farms within 40 tiles which need labourers go to a construction site until all farms have labourers (either working or on the way).
of course, floodtime goes all to construction

in between is anybody's guess
Not really. Once all farms have labourers, workcamps will send to the construction site. Three months after getting a labourer, each farm needs a replacement. Not all farms will reach that three month mark simultaneously, so it may well be that one labourer will go to a farm, another to the construction site (because no other farm's three months is up yet) then another to a farm. All entirely predictable - if you count the ticks
Peregrine01
Pleb
posted 09-26-13 02:31 ET (US)     8 / 12       
Thank you, Trium

that 3 month replacement time is something I really needed to know

now I can place the farm work camps at planting time, delete them once planting is finished, and replace them 3 months after planting time, without worrying about them sending a sled puller across the map



edit:

I meant "replace one of them", not "replace them"

Quote (Puk, Breton God of Mischief):

"What fools these mortals be"

ROFL...must have been watching me play Pharaoh

[This message has been edited by Peregrine01 (edited 09-26-2013 @ 02:40 AM).]

Trium
Pleb
posted 09-26-13 11:13 ET (US)     9 / 12       
now I can place the farm work camps at planting time, delete them once planting is finished, and replace them 3 months after planting time, without worrying about them sending a sled puller across the map
Perhaps less taxing, if you have the space on the floodplain, is to add sufficient extra farms so that work camps are kept constantly busy during growing season. One or more farms may never get labour, but wasting that cost is cheaper (and easier) than deleting/rebuilding. You'll still have to do the latter during the flood, unless you can shedule breaks in monument construction. Once site preparation is complete, that can easily be achieved by stockpiling whatever materials are being used for building.
Peregrine01
Pleb
posted 09-29-13 06:09 ET (US)     10 / 12       
an interesting thing just happened at the Mausoleum

a laborer worked a couple of tiles, then suddenly turned and walked away

on checking him, it seems he had now become a sled-puller


Quote (Puk, Breton God of Mischief):

"What fools these mortals be"

ROFL...must have been watching me play Pharaoh
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 09-29-13 10:20 ET (US)     11 / 12       
an interesting thing just happened at the Mausoleum

a laborer worked a couple of tiles, then suddenly turned and walked away

on checking him, it seems he had now become a sled-puller
Something similar was described in reply #68 of Baki, the hard way. 3 laborers who arrived at floodplain farms after the harvest but before the flood turned into sled pullers with sandstone and headed for the Mausoleum. (The appropriate sandstone was deleted from a distant storage yard when that happened.) Some other laborers who arrived at floodplain farms after the harvest but before the flood walked away through buildings (perhaps turning into construction workers and going to a pyramid site).
Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 07-30-19 14:47 ET (US)     12 / 12       
Added a minor detail to reply #3.
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