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TIGSource ForumsCommunityTownhallForum IssuesArchived subforums (read only)CreativeDo you like Tower Defense Games?
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Question: Do you like Tower Defense Games?
Yes - 11 (33.3%)
No - 10 (30.3%)
Sometimes - 12 (36.4%)
Total Voters: 29

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Author Topic: Do you like Tower Defense Games?  (Read 2027 times)
sparksinfinite
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« on: April 21, 2016, 03:29:53 AM »

I recently started the development of a Tower Defense Game, called Sphere Code. And I would like to know your opinions on Tower Defense Games.

  • Do you still play them?
  • How much do you like this genre?
  • What was your favorite Tower Defense Game?
  • What were the biggest mistakes you seen so far in TD Games?
  • What makes a good TD in your opinion?

Thank you for participation in this discussion! Smiley
« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 09:52:04 PM by Capntastic » Logged

FlanPlan
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2016, 01:11:35 PM »

I play them from time to time and have even considered making a few!

I absolutely love the genre when it is done right (I'll elaborate on that in a sec.)

If I was to pick a favorite it would probably be Comet Crash or Pixeljunk Monsters.

The biggest mistakes I've seen from these kinds of games is that they can be pretty repetitive. I've seen too many that reuse music too often and some don't mix things up enough. Other than that I don't have much beef with this genre. I don't tend to be very picky though.

Pretty much the opposite of what I just mentioned. Music is pretty important in this genre and having multiple tracks is a real good idea and if you don't have a lot of tracks then you need to write the songs in a more jazz style that way it isn't so repetitive to listen to. Having tons of different enemies that are not just, "X defeats X, Y defeats Y" always helps to keep things interesting and having variations of the same enemy can sometimes be a good thing. I have found that sometimes when you have been playing the same level for awhile everything seems to become more watching than it is doing and I think the way around that is to force the player to maintain everything and a variety in enemies should make the player decide if they need to build and removes certain towers to account for the coming wave.

Hope that helped some, good luck!  Smiley
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voidSkipper
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2016, 10:57:54 PM »

I like good tower defence games.

Unfortunately, they are only fun if balanced, and they are usually not balanced very well.

The progression usually goes:

Level 1) Easy
Level 2) Easy
Level 3) Snore
Level 4) You lose half your lives
Level 5) Easy
Level 6) Easy
Level 7) Game over

I find they usually break the development rule:
-The fun way of playing and the successful way of playing should not be mutually exclusive.
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sparksinfinite
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2016, 02:15:45 AM »

Thanks for your opinions!

I also think that Tower Defense games often have the problem in being too monotonous (repetitive) and unbalanced.
And while we played some of them, and many follow this pattern, we get tired of them.

And this seems to be the challenge in developing one.
That's why I try to think my game more as strategy type of game with TD-Elements than as a classical Tower Defense.

I would like to hear more opinions on TD Games!  Smiley
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Capntastic
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2016, 03:33:20 PM »

Hey look:  https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=54654.0

"I am making a tower defense game, tell me what you like about tower defense games" is very, very on the edge of being a shallowly disguised advertisement.  Asking other people to start the discussion for you with blanket questions of "how much do you like this genre" is very poor form, especially for your first post.

I'm going to give you an opportunity to actually explain what your game does that is different or improved compared to other tower defense games, and why you felt the need to make those changes, and how you think players will respond to those changes.  Because that is an actual discussion beyond "do you like me y/n".

So, talk about your game, and how it relates to the wider genre of tower defense games, or I will have to put this thread down.



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sparksinfinite
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2016, 03:53:34 AM »

Hello Capntastic,

my thread is not supposed to be an advertisement. Sorry if it looked that way.
(I should have deleted the first blinking sentence I guess, and we probably wouldn't be in that situation).

I wanted to start a discussion about what people and developer feel for Tower Defense Games in general. What are good examples, what are bad examples? This may help improve my own one. I don't know everything about TDs, nor do I know all of them.
The main purpose of this thread is (was) the discussion of (good)  TDs out there, not my game in detail. It's my fault if I didn't made that clear enough.


But as you wish I will provide some more information about my own game.

The main point where my game differs from classical Tower Defenses is the following:

Instead of surviving several waves to complete a level, in Sphere Code you have to activate several objectives to get to the next level or to get optional upgrades. So the wave count itself does not complete a level. However an activation have to be done by a "Sphere" (hero) and takes some time, during the activation a Sphere cannot do anything else (like building defenses). The activation progress can be stopped and continued.
Enemies will follow fixed paths to objectives (there will be multiple spawn locations, paths and wave countdowns) and stay there, additionally they are attacking nearby player instances (also turrets!). Spheres can be destroyed and will be gone for the entire level, also they have to be be bought again. While "Credits" are rare to buy new Spheres, casualties should be avoided (I want the player to feel the risk). The player has limited resource income (generated by the Spheres in intervals and not by points, and sometimes local sources are available which can be "mined", but will deplete soon).

That's a nutshell, not an exhausting explanation of the game mechanics.

Like many TD Games I will include
  • the unlocking of upgrade possibilities for turrets
  • upgrades for the Spheres (heroes)
  • unlocking new Spheres with different abilities (you can have more than one per level, allowed number varies from level to level)
  • different level styles and sizes with level-specific content (like the appearance of an ancient shield generator, which can only be found in this specific level and used as level-specific addition to your own strategy), bonus levels
  • turrets and support buildings with strengths and weaknesses depending on enemy type, position and combination
  • different enemy types and some special species, boss types
  • high scores, achievements
  • the production of small movable units and tech units, Teleport devices


I hope this will expand the depth of strategy and also has some refreshing potential.
What do you think?

Hopefully this thread can stay alive now Smiley
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Capntastic
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2016, 11:04:34 AM »

Challenge Complete
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ickmiester
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2016, 03:46:04 PM »

I love tower defense games.  Generally, tower defense seems to be an abstract gametype, and the best ones embrace this fact.  They will have completely random/silly towers, or they will be presented in a non-serious way.

The mental disconnect I have with many of the current generation of tower defense games (like Sanctum or Last Hope) is that the "serious" tone of the game makes me question why the enemies are running through a maze instead of hopping the walls like you are in sanctum.  Or why the zombies are acting organized and walking in neat rows/columns in last hope.

But then if we look at my favorite tower defenses: 
Shopping Maul (from warcraft 3) is a game where you can play as a crappy gas station attendant, and your malfunctioning electronics fling electricity at the enemies walking past to kill them.  Why you stockpiled 50 broken TV's, no one knows.  But it sure paid off now!
Dungeon defenders:  One of the characters is a squire of a knight in his underpants.  He has little red hearts all over his boxers.  You can get a portal gun as a weapon, and redirect enemies into pits of lava.  Everything about that game is silly, and it embraced the fact that nothing was to be taken seriously.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2016, 04:41:51 PM »

Challenge Complete

Haha. Well played, both of you.

Re, tower defense games:

Like:
* having to make different choices, micro managing units to shoot front/back/weakest etc.
* forcing a tower to "aim" at a certain spot
* real projectile physics instead of auto-homing
* variety of tower upgrade paths
* Tower Synergy -- range towers, booster towers, chain lightning
* tricky tower placement to maximize coverage

Hate:
* clicking on coins the enemies drop (no strategy just a waste of time)
* Tower types that are useless where there's an easy to find dominant strategy (using the basic monkeys in bloons 1 for example)
* glitchy tower placement to maximize coverage.. there's 1 popular TD online where the towers shoot 5x+ faster if they are shooting directly vertically or horizontally (physics bug). Seems obvious, but test your game a lot Smiley

Bloons 5, Gemcraft and Tower Defense(iPad), Fieldrunners (iOS) come to mind as solid TDs. I'm not a huge fan of the genre but those I enjoyed and put 20+ hours into each. Hope this helps.

 Waaagh! Waaagh! Waaagh! Waaagh! Waaagh! EDIT

I asked my friend, a Tower Defense fanatic.

https://knucklecracker.com/creeperworld/playcwe.php -- daily challenge strategy game
"I've been playing Gemcraft: Chasing Shadows, my wizard level is over 5000, which is awesome" ... some fans just love to level.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 04:57:44 AM by quantumpotato » Logged

sparksinfinite
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2016, 09:05:26 AM »

Hey ickmiester,

not sure if I can agree with you that Tower Defense Games work best if they are mainly abstract. However the words 'abstract' and 'real/serious' are not black and white categories but grades. I think that less-abstract TD's also work. This depends on taste of course. Wink Thanks, for the examples of abstract types, I will check them out!


Hi quantumpotato,

thanks for this exhausting list! I didn't considered the idea of forcing a tower to aim at a certain spot yet. This also leads to the idea that the player can be allowed to "assume maximum control" of a turret  ... Wink Giving the player more options to actually interact with the game world and participate in the action sounds good to me (but not overwhelming him/her).

What do you mean by: "tricky tower placement to maximize coverage"? Are there much possibilities?

Your hate-list is right. Collecting coins by clicking is strange in a TD (I also saw this). On the other hand, clicking to reveal an easter egg or to see something funny (like in Kingdom Rush, also achievements) can be amusing.

THE dominant strategy is the enemy of all strategy games, if you can beat the game with it all the time. Once found the game may get boring. Strategies should be level-specific and enemy-specific, and there should be different ways to complete a level.

Creeperworld is a nice variation of the TD genre, played it on steam a while ago  Smiley


To all:
What are you thoughts on Kingdom Rush ?
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7Soul
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2016, 05:54:54 PM »

Used to be crazy about them. My all time favorite is Defender's Quest, because it has cool RPG elements (leveling, skills, equipment) and a nice original story

The devs talked about developing it in detail in their "let's play" series

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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2016, 06:12:32 PM »

I love tower defense game, i even considered making one myself.
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sparksinfinite
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2016, 08:57:42 PM »

@7Soul
Yes, Defender's Quest is nice  Smiley Thanks for sharing the video!

@notrodta
Cool, if you do so, let us know!

@all
Some more questions.

  • What do you think about randomness in TDs?
  • Do you know good hybrid Tower Defense Games? (Mixed genres, strategy games with TD elements, ...)
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2016, 10:11:09 AM »

Quote
To all:
What are you thoughts on Kingdom Rush ?

Liked it, played most of the campaign on iOS. I remember having an interesting mix between choosing where to place units & unit selection & upgrade choices. Hard to figure out a dominant strategy.

Re: tricky tower placement -- this might be bad UX but I enjoyed inching the tower placement in Bloons to cram as many monkeys in a space as possible where it might look like you can just fit a couple because they block placement in a radius.

Tactics like placing a range tower across the lane to reach a cluster of towers in a good vantage spot to hit over a long distance even further. I liked figuring this out because it isn't the most obvious placement.

Randomness -- really varies. I think part of the fun of TD is the sense of mastery you get from figuring out the enemy patterns. If the game's engaging enough, and your fast-forward button works, then it should be interesting for experienced players, too. (Having short levels helps too).

I don't think I can recommend Bloons 5 enough..! What they did with the enemy HP = enemy type was clever, haven't seen a TD do that before. Because bloons could get significantly faster after being hit, clumping maximum damage in a single spot could lose you the game. Forced you to spread out your towers.

I hesitate to support a money-sucking game, but Clash of Clans has a TD element might youtube some PVP videos to get a feel for it.

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sparksinfinite
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 03:06:08 AM »

Hello quantumpotato,  Smiley

I also think that Kingdom Rush allows you to have various good strategies, but no single superior strategy. Their overall game balancing is great and you can learn a lot from it in my opinion. The wikis are very helpful for studying the balance of those games btw ...

"tricky tower placement": it's not a bad UX in Bloons imo, instead it's a good variation of a classical TD mechanic where you have to place buildings on a grid. I will do both, constructions have to be placed on the grid, but units can be moved without snap (like Kingdom Rush but without range limitations).

You are right about Bloons TDs, this is indeed clever, and they really try to exhaust the "bloon idea" to its maximum. I thank you that you mentioned this speed-up thing, maybe I will integrate this!

Clash of Clans, I will check out this TD element. Looks complicated at the first glance.


Question @all: How would you approach the balancing of a TD/Strategy Game? Any good articles about this topic? I thought about writing a simulation-script which runs through all possibilities in one level and sorts the approaches by quality ... This computation for one level may take some time, but should be possible ... what do you think?
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2016, 01:51:40 PM »

I wouldn't bother with a script. Fudge one value and you'll have to re-iterate all over again.. If you don't know what you're designing for the script isn't going to tell you much. Maybe you find a "viable level" but it requires split-second micromanagement of selling towers to place upgraded ones and replacing the wall.

I recommend design for specific feeling and strategy. How do you want players to play?

Bloons designed for multiple choke points & tower types. (Rockets to explode the lead balloons, sniper to hit the camo balloons. Similar to ground and air in other classical TD games)

Fieldrunners designed for "mazing" (forcing enemies to take long distances.. they would run right by your towers in a straight line if you didn't zig zag ) into chokepoints (High AOE damage & slow towers) into selling parts of your maze to upgrade towers to create new chokepoints. Number of variants existed like.. do your maze walls stack 2xN or 1xN? Do you put AOE at the side walls, or in the middle? How often do you place Slow-down towers? If they hit the same target, you waste your slow shots Smiley

Fieldrunners supported maze-trapping at higher difficulities -- forcing the enemies to walk all the way to the end of one part of the maze, then you pause game, sell a wall at the other end and wall-off where they were at. So now they have to walk all the way back and get hit by your firepower again.

Do you have any general mechanics in mind? Like, tower effects or combos or map types or enemy types?
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sparksinfinite
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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2016, 03:47:11 AM »

Simulation script

Quote
... the script isn't going to tell you much.

Also it will take much time to design this script that it works and provides all possibilities and necessary information. Things get complex if you take redo actions into account like selling towers like you said or replacing units every time ... . I don't think I will do it with a simulation script. Instead I will focus on writing tools where I can easily modify the wave spawn while the game is running.


Feeling and mechanics

Quote
How do you want players to play?

I want my Tower Defense game to be less "static" than classic TD games, I'd call it a strategy game with TD elements. It's not only about placing and upgrading turrets, but also about moving units and your "heroes", so they can unlock objectives. It's not the goal to survive a specific amount of waves but to unlock primary and optional objectives (which are attacked by enemies in waves through paths) to get to the next level or better upgrades, new units, etc.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2016, 04:46:21 PM »

So I see you've been working on your game (sig link) Smiley
Movable "towers", interesting. GL HF
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« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2016, 03:16:54 PM »

I love tower defense games. Finding the perfect strategy is my jam.
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« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2016, 10:55:40 PM »

Balancing the game via a script might find an optimal way to play, but that won't necessarily be the fun way.

Clarifying what I said earlier, it's very important that the "fun" way to play is also the "right" way to play.

For example, it is very satisfying when you buy new towers and your hail of bullets increases and enemies die in droves.

It is, however, not satisfying at all when you spend all of your money on a specific kind of tower which has no benefit in the next level.

However, if level 5 is all "flying" enemies and only "air" towers can attack them, then it would be prudent to start buying "air" towers at level 3 or so, if you want to succeed at the game.

This forces the player to proceed in a manner of gameplay that is unsatisfying. It feels like getting your paycheck only to have to pay your bills on the same day.
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