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One of the things that automation toolkit is currently lacking is a way to automate things based on dupe labor demand. For example, from the view point of automation, there is no way to reliably tell if creatures in staple need to be groomed. Sure, it is possible to setup system that would use some kind of motion detection, and, based on different estimates, would operate on assumption that it correctly detected ranched entering the staple and grooming creatures. However, it would likely to be a non-trivial and probably not failsafe system, and it still wouldn't tell you if grooming actually happened - just an assumption about it.

My suggestion is to add a new type of sensor that simply detects the amount of pending errands around it. It works only in rooms (not specialized ones, just what the game considers to be a room in general - an area with free space of 128 tiles or less). It detects the amount of errands in the room, and outputs signal based on their count and type.

The sensor has three settings that determine the exact conditions for the green signal:

  • Errand type (could be set to any single type of errand, or "All" to match all existing errands);
  • Threshold value (non-negative integer);
  • Should the actual value be below the threshold or above.

Possible applications of this sensor:

  • Automated interruption of some errands in favour of other. For example, disabling hamster wheels, so dupes wouldn't stuck on them instead immideatly switching to something more important;
  • An emergency detector that allows to stop systems in case something broke down (creating Tyding/Supplying errands);
  • Creating an extension to the priority system, allowing more precise control over errands order.
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