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I took Charlemagne's fail-safe information and experimented by eliminating paths to some structures and it triggered teleportation to and from the structures every time.
I routinely use the "FREEBUILD" cheat to suspend the normal building rules temporarily so that I can precisely place my farms and mines. After I have the placement I want, I run a road to the structure in order to connect it to the island road network. In the experiment, I simply left the structures unconnected; and the results were startling. A corn farm placed all by itself in the boonies without a connecting road becomes a self-sufficient island whose inhabitants do all their travel by teleportation. For instance, open a new farm and set its hiring policy on "high priority;" if one's stockade is empty and there are no captives to take the farm job, the next available captive from a raid never sets foot on the dock but instead teleports directly from the ship to the farm! Moreover, when the farm worker has need of feasting, rest or religion, he/she simply steps inside the farm and instantly teleports to an open chuck tent or bunk house or church pew and then teleports back to the farm when their need is met to continue their farm work. This happens instantly and the only way to see the process in action is to watch the building's occupancy status display; one moment the farm worker is in the farm house (in color) and the next moment they are gone (i.e., shades of grey). This turns out to be tremendously efficient as there is no time wasted in travel; all the worker's time is devoted to satisfying their need and when it is met, they teleport back to work. Additionally, there is a perfect matching of need with available resources; as long as one has an open seat in the appropriate structure (e.g. chuck tent, bunk house or pew) somewhere on the island, the needy worker will fill it instantly. From observing my teleporting workers, I also get the sense that they satisfy their needs much faster. A corn farmer, for instance, will step inside the farm house with just a trace of red showing on his/her empty feasting meter and a few seconds later he/she will step out with a full meter in the green. This greatly speeds up production.
The trick (aka "cheat") works for any character or building in the game. Decline to connect an Inn or Brothel to the island road network, for example, and a needy pirate will simply teleport to and from the structure; satisfying their wants in record time. The same is true for pick-ups to and from such a building. For instance, the bakery hauler warps to and from the banana or papaya farm and picks up his/her load without ever showing their face outside the bakery.
Today, just for the sake of scientific exploration -- :p -- I tried playing a mostly "disconnected" game; i.e. about half the buildings on my island were not connected to the road network. Smitty has never been so quiet. As long as I was producing a resource or providing a service *somewhere* on my island, the captive or pirate in need of it found it instantly and teleported directly to it. Starving captives became a thing of the past and Smitty kept telling me how he and the lads were honored to serve me!
If there's a downside, it is that one can no longer get a "read" on a character's state of mind/emotions by watching their behavior and deciphering their thought bubbles. With all the invisible teleporting to and from various buidings, the streets of my island were mostly deserted and there were few characters to watch. I don't know about you, but I adjust my game to fit the needs of my pirates and captives. For instance, if one of my captains leaves a cheap eatery with a scowling thought bubble, I check to see what the problem was? Usually, I find that I neglected to keep track of his/her rise in rank/status and they now demand a higher level of service at the eatery; so it's time for me to either adjust the service level or build the next higher-ranking entertainment building. This is difficult to do if one can't see the character's thought bubble or follow their island travels.
Anyway, I think the cause of teleportation is clear and repeatable; as Charlemagne said, it is the game's programming responding to a unit's inability to find or follow a path.
Quote from: Coconut Kid on 12/11/09 at 11:59 AM
Quote from: Charlemagne on 03/24/04 at 10:57 AM
Teleporting is a fail-safe for a unit's inability to follow or find a path. Hopefully a very rare case. It is possible that the event is more common with residences like the housng or the stockade, but I can't think of a reason for this.
Five Years Too Late
Most of the reported cases seem to be captains and pirates from recently returned ships never stepping on the dock, but rather teleporting to their residence. I speculate that the pathfinder may have a problem with defining "point A" and drop to the default too soon when the ship has just docked.
Most likely we will never know. ??