Engi Census

Playing the Steam free game of the weekend, I have come to wonder: how many games have an Engineer that builds a turret; how many games have an Engineer that does not build a turret; and how many games have a non-Engineer that builds a turret. (I think I will avoid counting Warhammer Online’s Magus and units/classes that “summon” rather than “build.” I’m unclear whether the Raven builds, summons, or do we count “deploy”?) Was there some first game that set the standard that Engineer = build a sentry gun? It feels like engineers and self-directed turrets have become a standard game item, but perhaps exploring some examples will reverse this. I keep finding near-hits, where perhaps they consciously avoided calling the turret-builder an Engineer in recent games. I wonder if non-builder Engineers are also intentional aversions? Inventory below the break, please contribute in the comments.

Edit: let’s see what happens if we add in enemies that do the same, some of which may mirror heroes.

Engineer class turret/sentry:

Engineer class without turret/sentry:

Non-Engineer class that builds a turret/sentry (“close-enough” names starred):

Obvious turret analogue, but not “built”:

“Deploys” turrets s/he did not build:

Rejected, pending argument: engineer units from RTS/turn-based strategy games like Civilization.
Heard of but unknown to Zubon: Alpha Protocol, Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

27 thoughts on “Engi Census”

  1. You could conceivably add Dark Age of Camelot’s Animist to the list. They were one of the earliest turret building classes, even though their turrets take the form of mushrooms!

    Edit: Oops, I see you rejected those. Still, I think they were the clear inspiration for the Engineer class in WAR, speaking as one who had an Animist and an Engineer as my main character in their respective games. Were they the first occurrence of a turret-like ability in an MMO?

    Only reason to reject them is that they took the form of a biological entity, but surely biotech is as valid as machinery?

  2. Team Fortress was designed and written by Robin Walker, John Cook and Ian Caughley in 1996. The mod’s gameplay has caught on with a large following of fans, which has spurred many developers to create similar gamemodes on other engines. In August 1999, after the development team was hired by Valve, Team Fortress was ported to Valve’s Half-Life engine in the form of Team Fortress Classic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_Fortress

    Quake Team Fortress (TF)

    Quake 3 Fortress was the best

    1. I definitely vote for Quake Team Fortress getting its own entry, especially since it might be the first game that had an engineer deploying a sentry. Having TFC isn’t enough since TF predated it by 3 years and the two didn’t play exactly the same (Quake engine vs Half-Life engine).

  3. Anarchy Online has robotic pets, as well as the Bureaucrat also, but the engineer ones are more tougher mean machines.

  4. DCUO and (doesn’t-even-vaguely-resemble-the-real) Champions Online both include powersets with turrets as well (and as I recall there are a few other ATs in CoX that can get turrets when you factor in patron/epic pools). Limiting it to “build, not summon” eliminates lots of Nongineers in fantasy-themed games, of course.

    1. Have a power name, powerset, something conveniently searchable for the two superhero games? I haven’t read much about them since their releases.

      1. For DCUO, it’s the Gadgets powerset, within the Tricks branch, the skill is called Sentry Turret.

  5. The first sentry gun I ran into was in a Quake mod called Pain Keep. I /believe/ that pre-dated the original Team Fortress mod, where the mechanic was given to the engineer class.

    But I could be mis-remembering… that was quite a while ago.

  6. Torchlight 1, Vanquisher, has the Flechette Trap. The description says ‘hurl a device that sprays foes with piercing flechettes’, and then it sits there firing away, so I think that counts as a ‘deploy’.

    1. That feels a lot like the Raven. Poll of the audience: how do we feel about “deploy” rather than “build”? Maybe that should be another category again. It is obviously a turret, sometimes even called that, but the fellow in question obviously did not build it. Gameplay mechanic… flavor text… I’m feeling tension here.

      1. I’m wondering whether there’s a rule something like:

        – If the class is presented as type of guy who builds stuff and tears stuff down (Engineer) then you build your turrets as building is part of what you do.

        – On the other hand, if the class is presented as a sneaky strike from a distance or the shadows type (Thief/Rogue) then you don’t build your turrets, instead you have a bunch of pre-fabricated ones you deploy.

  7. I remember being so impressed at the things you could do with the Lugian tactician way back in AC2. Having walls plus turrets gave some creative possibilities. It still makes me sad that AC2 died in the M$/Turbine clash. The swarms of bugs certainly didn’t help, though.

  8. I would like to formally challenge your classification for Heimerdinger. He throws a wrench as his auto-attack, and therefore must be considered an engineer under any reasonable definition.

    1. He totally looks like one, but he replaced a character that was actually named an engineer, and they called him an Inventor. The first draft of the post appended him with “(so close).”

  9. Hellgate: London had/has an Engineer class. They built bots and drones (Do you count those as turrets? They auto-target but are movable pets that follow the class rather than static emplacements.)

    Though I’m not sure if the class has undergone any changes since the game’s death and undead resurrection in Korea somewhere.

    Guild Wars’ Ritualist comes under “obvious turret/sentry analogue.”

    I’ve no personal experience with Planetside, but it apparently has a skill tree with some combat engineering, fortification engineering, turret-y stuff. My guess is you can switch into an engineer-like combat support role if you wanted to. Possibly Planetside 2 as well.

    1. Hellgate: Global, the new free to play version, still has the Engineer class. I never played Hellgate: London, but the Engineer now sounds the same as your description.

      I would put him in the category of an “Engineer” by name, who “builds” turret-like things. The only real difference being that his bots and drones move along with the player similar to “pet” behavior”.

  10. I know why you didn’t include it, but Hellgate: London’s Engineer built drones. It may have built robots, too, but I never got that far.

  11. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

    From wikipedia:

    The Traps tree provides a few direct attacks, and more importantly, a number of summonable traps. The traps are stationary devices that will attack any hostile target in range a certain number of times before breaking. Traps are either based on fire or lightning, though the Death Sentry trap can explode nearby corpses in addition to shooting bolts of lightning. The blade trap skills are essentially ranged projectiles that cause physical damage.”

    Not sure if it counts, but man that sure does sound like a turret.

  12. Hmm, does the World of WarCraft Shaman count?

    Seems to me that Totems act the same as turrets, and the Goblin Totems even look mechanical.

  13. Champions Online has an Inventor/Gadgeteer who can build/summon a robot which morphs into a turret upon command (trading extra damage for immobility and lower defenses).

  14. I see Mordakai beat me to it ^^
    Reading this I immediately thought of WoW’s Shaman class as a big feature is ‘deploying’ totems for static effects. The Searing Totem is a standard dps turret that shoots your enemies within range.

    Also WoW has the engineer profession which has a least one turret recipe….

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