Search Area effects are used to apply effects to other units.
Search Area effect reference
Search Area effects look for units in a nearby area and apply an effect to them. The most useful fields for a Search Area effect are contained in the Search tab and the Target tab. The Search tab contains the following fields:
Areas: Defines areas to search through and the effects to apply on units in the area. An entry in this field consists of:
- Area: ID of the area in the Search Area effect.
- Arc: The arc of the area that is considered. 360 is a full circle; 180 is half a circle; 90 is a quarter-circle. These are measured from the direction the unit is facing - that is, if you were to take a line and extend it in the direction the unit is facing, and another line from the unit to another unit, the second unit will only be considered if the angle formed by the lines is less than half of the Arc field.
- Effect: Effect to apply if the considered unit meets all the requirements. Usually applied to the considered unit.
- Maximum Count: The maximum number of units that will be considered in this area. -1 is no limit.
- Radius: If a unit is more than Radius away from the source unit, it will not be considered.
- Radius Bonus: ?
There are also the Exclude and Include fields. If an effect is given, Exclude appears to block the target or caster (based on the Value field) of the effect, and Include expressly includes the target, regardless of filters. The Hellion uses Include to ensure that its primary target takes damage, even if friendly, by Including the target of its Create Persistent effect. I am unsure of what these fields do when no effect is given.
Miscellaneous fields in the Search tab include another Maximum Count (which applies to the total number in all areas - so if this field is 3 and the first area finds three units, the second and higher areas cannot find any units, for example), Minimum Count (which blocks anything from happening if the specified number of targets or more could not be found), and Search Filters (which block targets based on unit flags and alliance - such as the Hellion not damaging friendly targets or the Psi Disruptor not affecting heroic units). There are other fields as well, but I am uncertain of what exactly they do.
The Target tab also contains some important fields. Impact Location can be used to make the effects target the source unit rather than the units found by the effect. The Target Sorts field allows you to change the way the effect prioritizes targets.
Search Area effects in action
These are some examples of how Search Area effects may be used:
- Create a Search Area that damages enemies in a very small radius, create a behavior that calls the Search Area periodically, and give that behavior to a projectile for a projectile that does damage to everything it passes over. (Just using a damage effect with splash would not work here, as that would also damage the projectile.
- Automating enemy spellcasting in an RPG.
- Glave Wurm is accomplished by making the projectiles use a Search Area effect when they hit a target that launches another projectile.
- By setting the global Maximum Count to 1 and defining two areas, the first with a smaller area and no effect, you can make the effect apply to a single unit outside of the first area and inside the second area. This can be used, for example, to make one unit follow another unit (with an Issue Order effect) but still be able to act normally when not too far away.