Saturday, May 28, 2011

Another Tower Defense Game... Really?


A Brief History of TDs...  

Tower defense games have enjoyed a great reception since their inception, starting around the time of Warcraft 3, which featured a powerful map editor capable of producing all kinds of content. This tool set allowed for creative map makers to not only expand upon the foundations of the game itself, but to set forth and pioneer all new types of games, previously unseen. A few of these games even started entire genres, such as the ever popular DotA, which paved the way for games such as League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth.

DotA, the most popular Wc3 custom map

But along with DotA and other "hero" style maps, another genre quickly emerged, which came to be known as tower defense. These maps were much more numerous and diverse, quickly branching many different directions, each with its own unique take on the genre. These games offered players a much more strategic challenge, with less having to worry about precise unit control and timing.

Many friendships were strained in Green TD, a cooperative based tower defense map

At the same time as this was going on, a new market was quickly gaining popularity in the form of flash games. These small "bite-sized" games allowed people to take a quick 10 minute break from their dreary, paperwork filled lives to play a variety of different fun little games. Although initially reserved for more basic games, flash games quickly became more and more advanced, and at the same time, more and more addicting. Dedicated sites sprang up around flash games, and nowadays, they share the same features as regular games, such as achievements, saves, and multi-player support.

Plants vs Zombies, one of the most popular TD style games, with versions now for PC and iOS

Although initially reserved to computers, games such as these are quickly becoming popular on phones and other portable devices, as well as within the booming tablet market. With the ever popular iPhone and iPad, games such as Angry Birds have shown that there is truly a real, monetary market for these types of games, and indie developers are quickly springing up to take advantage of this fairly new mobile platform. At the same time, the Android scene is quickly becoming more and more popular, and more hardware manufacturers are coming out with great new tablets and phones to compete with the beast that is Apple.

The Motorola Xoom

About Color TD

And that was probably the world's longest segue into stating that Color TD is going to be developed for Android. Right now, I feel like the Android market is, at least in the near future, going to be seeing a large influx of users, both in the phone market and tablet market. Right now, the current top game for Android, Robo TD, has shown that even on Android TD games are still going strong.

At just under 54k purchases, Robo TD is top dog
As a long time TD player, it just feels like there is a lot left to be desired by games in this genre. Take Robo TD for example, although it features a Tight UI and controls, endless levels, a slew of upgrades, game play feels very static and optimal strategies are very easy to develop. In other words, its a great base, but I feel like it can be improved upon.

As of right now, this is the general idea for Color TD:

Color TD will be the first truly competitive multi-player TD featuring a unique resource system. Players will have to rely on Red, Yellow, and Blue paint to build both towers for defense, as well as to spawn creeps to attack an opponent's map. Players will also be able to mix colors for even more variety, and color will directly effect a tower or creep's effectiveness against an opponent's creep or tower composition. For example, if I primarily focus on a Blue composition, my opponent can take advantage of this and quickly overpower me with Red creeps. It sounds whacky, but I think it's going to be really powerful for delivering a very engaging and strategic game.

Here's kind of a work in progress feature list that I want to implement:

  • The first ever competitive, multi-player TD experience.
  • A unique and fun resource system
  • Persistent statistics, achievements, and rankings
  • A complete narrative single player campaign
  • Tons of varied base towers
  • Plenty of upgrade paths as well as component upgrades
  • Lots of unique creeps with passive abilities and unique characteristics
  • 2-4 player head to head TD action 
  • Match-making, friends list, Twitter integration (i kid, i kid)
  • Ladder system, Ranks
 Art Style:
  • Very clean, cartoony, PvZesque 2D art 

This is just a very brief list of things I want to get done, and hopefully with this blog, and a lot of feedback, all of these features and more will be part of Color TD.

Stay tuned, there's a lot more to come very soon as I show off what I have so far and continue development!

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