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  #1  
Old 03-09-2012, 12:35 PM
CharredDirt CharredDirt is offline
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Default What makes for a great tower defense game? What's your favorite game?

I'm working on a new defense game for iOS and I'm curious of all you iOS tower defense fans out there, what do you look for when buying or playing a new game of that type?

What elements do you love?

What things do developers do that you hate?

I want to make my game the best out there and I'd love to hear from people other than myself. I'm a huge fan of defense games in general.

Last edited by CharredDirt; 03-09-2012 at 04:42 PM.. Reason: Forgot a question mark. Punctuation is important.
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  #2  
Old 03-09-2012, 06:31 PM
GSnyder GSnyder is offline
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I can only speak for myself, but two things in particular always stick out:

1) TD games are fundamentally a kind of puzzle game. Every level should require some new insight regarding tower placement or combination of tower types. If you can get through the level using any reasonable deployment scheme, then the level is pointless and too easy. As the designer, you need to understand exactly how the tower types fit together, and you need to lead the player to these same realizations. The geoDefense series is an excellent example of this principle.

2) There's no point in replicating what's already been done. It's easy to look at the vast array of TD games in the marketplace and say that they're all basically the same. But they're not, really; there are a hundred little ways the formula has been inflected, and that's what keeps me interested in new TD games. There are still many, many different ways you can push the formula to keep it fresh. For example, you could build a TD based on the idea of "software-upgradeable" towers; the towers don't get more powerful, but you can upgrade their behavior to be more intelligent by adding, e.g., target leading, mobility, coordination, better target selection algorithms.

Or, here's an idea I always thought would be good: The best deployment locations in most TD games are usually corners or peninsulas that give a tower access to creeps along multiple edges. But what if creeps could cooperate to temporarily inactivate a tower that's too exposed? That would open up all kinds of possibilities for countermeasures and tower placement. The player would have to rethink the traditional "put the towers on the corners" mechanic.

I'm not saying that these particular ideas are stellar, but you need to have some kind of tweak that makes your TD game different from others.

Some dislikes:

For some reason, I just don't seem to get along with TD designs in which individual towers are too weak to do significant damage to an average creep. The "towers are weak" concept seems like it should open up all kinds of creative options, but in practice it just feels frustrating.

Less-than-great graphics are a real handicap for TD games. There's just too much competition. It has to look great.

I do not care for the common play mechanic in which several times in a level, special creeps that require a unique form of defense are thrown into the mix. Most commonly, these appear as flying enemies. It's fine if "flying" enemies are a regular part of the mix; I just don't like having to prepare a completely parallel defense grid against a hypothetical and uncommon "you lose" threat.
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  #3  
Old 03-09-2012, 06:41 PM
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Shaz Shaz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharredDirt View Post
I'm working on a new defense game for iOS and I'm curious of all you iOS tower defense fans out there, what do you look for when buying or playing a new game of that type?

What elements do you love?
All the stuff GeoDefence does!
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  #4  
Old 03-09-2012, 08:27 PM
SkyMuffin SkyMuffin is offline
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I've been craving a TD game similar to the Warcraft 3 mod, YouTD. Basically, it was a tower defense game where users helped create their own towers, and then the guy in charge (with the help of beta testers) balanced it all out. What made it really stick out, however, is the way towers leveled up-- you were encouraged to not build huge masses of towers because they'd all split up the experience. Instead, you had to pay a lot of attention and only plant new towers when necessary.

There were a lot of other things that kept me coming back, like items you could put on your towers, different elements (all with their own unique strengths/weaknesses), and a hero who had abilities which grew and carried over with each new game. If someone could make a game like that they'd get all of my money.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:56 PM
araczynski araczynski is offline
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my personal tastes:

i love the element introduced by the Creeps (i believe) of destructible objects on the screen, for extra cash, now i look for that feature in every TD, and feel the game is broken if it doesn't have it.

i love having options, i.e. more than 4 towers and more than 3 upgrade options per tower. anything less and the game gets stale quickly.

i love fluid animations, and big maps.

i love movable towers, like in that wild west TD game, where the 'towers' were little people that could move around, or towers on rails, etc.

i HATE when TD's are excessively difficult, even on easy, or levels that only work with a very specific combination of towers, in a very specific combination of locations, upgraded to a very specific level, or you die. I want to enjoy the game, not repeat levels over and over and over and over looking for some stupid singular solution. that's work, not play. i don't pay others to give me work, i pay for entertainment.

i'll keep the neat innovation idea i have to myself, for my own TD when i start iOS coding
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:32 PM
CharredDirt CharredDirt is offline
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Wow, some really great suggestions.

First, I'm gonna download GeoDefense if you guys speak that highly of it.

I think the graphics are going to be pretty decent. They may not be top tier but they're probably better than 80% of the TD games I've played.

I'm all for destructible objects. I do like that game mechanic as it adds another strategic element to the game. Plus blowing up more stuff is fun.

Also, I hated those flying units in Desktop Tower Defense. Didn't flow at all with the game.

As for originality, I'm bringing over the HEB system from the original Charred Dirt game. (That stands for Heat, Energy, and Ballistic) Each enemy has different level resistances in each category. Instead of turrets, I'm using tanks and the tanks are assembled each game by taking a base and a turret and combining them in unique ways. Turrets can be switched out to different elements depending on which creep is on the field. Other friendly units will lower enemy resistances. As for armaments, I have 52 weapons from the original PC game to choose from.

Does that sound like it would be fun?
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:15 PM
SkyMuffin SkyMuffin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by araczynski View Post
i HATE when TD's are excessively difficult, even on easy, or levels that only work with a very specific combination of towers, in a very specific combination of locations, upgraded to a very specific level, or you die. I want to enjoy the game, not repeat levels over and over and over and over looking for some stupid singular solution. that's work, not play. i don't pay others to give me work, i pay for entertainment.
This is the absolute WORST. It's the main reason I stopped caring for Defender Chronicles-- if you didn't get the right towers/upgrades at all of the right times, and you made even one mistake, it was game over. So ridiculous.
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:27 PM
CharredDirt CharredDirt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyMuffin View Post
This is the absolute WORST. It's the main reason I stopped caring for Defender Chronicles-- if you didn't get the right towers/upgrades at all of the right times, and you made even one mistake, it was game over. So ridiculous.
Whats also frustrating is when you cant pass a level because you dont have the freemium paid upgrades.
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  #9  
Old 03-10-2012, 12:08 AM
Dazarath Dazarath is offline
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Here are some of my thoughts on TD mechanics:

1) Interest: I have no idea why this became a standard mechanic, but I personally find it to be one of the worst mechanics you commonly see in TDs. When a game has an interest mechanic, the total value of the player's towers + money grows exponentially, which wrecks all kinds of havoc on game balance. The developer then has to basically choose a growth rate for the difficulty of the waves, and any player who is just slightly ahead of the curve, will find the game getting easier and easier (while also getting stupidly rich), while any player who is slightly behind the curve will just die. (I understand that the same is true for linear growth, but it's not nearly as exaggerated.) If you read the Sentinel 3 thread here on TA, you'll find that some players struggle with the easiest mode, while others think the hardest mode is a joke. This is not surprising, since that TD has the most ridiculous interest mechanic I've ever seen.

Interest also incentivizes players to play in really odd fashions, which I think is a sign of broken game mechanics. Stuff like trying to sell towers right before interest ticks, or only buying towers right after them, or trying to sit on a single tower for as long as possible. This is not what I would consider fun.

2) I really enjoy TDs where I can try out different combinations of towers/upgrades/placements to see what works well for different levels. Because of this, I find fixed-path TDs to be much less interesting than non-fixed-path ones. There is often only a select few spots which are worth placing towers in, and there's no option to build different mazes.

To go along with the above, I think it's important to have the towers' range be long relative to the width of the path that the creeps follow. For example, if the width of the path is 1, and most of the towers' range is 1-2, this really limits the spots where a tower can be placed and still be useful. On the other hand, if most towers' range is in the 4-5 range, this opens up more possibilities for tower placement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by araczynski View Post
i HATE when TD's are excessively difficult, even on easy, or levels that only work with a very specific combination of towers, in a very specific combination of locations, upgraded to a very specific level, or you die. I want to enjoy the game, not repeat levels over and over and over and over looking for some stupid singular solution. that's work, not play. i don't pay others to give me work, i pay for entertainment.
+1 to this. You can see from this thread that TD players have a wide range of tastes, as a previous poster said that he likes this style of TD. I personally can't stand "find the intended solution" type TDs. There's no room for trying out different builds when the developer designed the level to only be completed in a single manner with very little variation.

3) RPG Elements: I'm a huge sucker for RPG elements in any game, including TDs. It gives a sense of progression, and even on failed runs, the player can still benefit a little. It doesn't have to be huge gains, but even something like +5% to a tower's DPS is something worth striving for. Having some sort of progression system gives players a lot more reason to replay previous levels, too.

4) This is a small issue, but I often find that towers have little to no synergy with each other. This leads to players just massing up a single tower type, since if A > B, then usually A+A > A+B. Having synergistic towers leads to better mazes using a variety of towers, which is a lot more interesting. The obvious examples would be slow towers or buff towers (though I don't actually like these). Having 4 DPS towers + 1 slow will often be better than 5 DPS towers, etc etc.

I wish you the best of luck on your TD, and I think it's great that you're asking the community for feedback. I found this thread an interesting read, since it really shows the variety of tastes that TD players have.

Last edited by Dazarath; 03-10-2012 at 12:11 AM..
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  #10  
Old 03-10-2012, 12:56 AM
Filing Cabinet Filing Cabinet is offline
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For me the benchmark of any TD game is Geodefense because it has two elements that are essential to me

- stylish graphics.
- strategy required to beat the levels
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