Finally, the long awaited Part 2 for Making a Game Out of Tower Defense. Good thing too, considering we went gold at the end of last week! Please grab the game here.
A brief recap follows, in case you didn’t get to check out our first post located here. Our team at Vectorform was tasked with revamping our chart-topping iPad game Galactic Alliance. We were asked to create new enemies, new towers, new levels, and to round out the game with some of the more common features seen in other tower defense games. Our first post discussed what tower defense is, the new towers seen in the game, and how the towers are introduced across our levels. In this post I’d like to discuss our new enemies and some of the strategies involved in taking them down.
Galactic Alliance is an open map style of tower defense. Players can place turrets wherever they would like on the grid and creeps (the bad guys) will travel the shortest path between their position and their goal. The only rule is that you can’t completely block off the creeps’ path.
Many tower defense games have the grunt (the standard enemy), the fast ones, the tanks, and flyers (enemies that don’t have to follow the path you laid out for them). Galactic Alliance 2 has all of those and a few other creative mechanics that our enemies execute as well.
Flyers can really throw a wrench in the game, especially when they b-line straight down the middle of the field and avoid half of your strongest towers. However, once you know they’re coming, you can build your strongest towers where you need and destroy them every time. In order to keep players guessing we’ve introduced creeps that “phase” through space. They are still bound to your path, but will periodically disappear and re-appear further down the grid. The goal of these were to encourage the player to leave some money for urgent tower building, and to build a flexible path instead of, for example, building all their heaviest hitters around a single booster tower.
Galactic Alliance 2, like its predecessor, is a four player cooperative game. We wanted to take advantage of that unique characteristic by introducing an enemy which would be periodically immune to each player. These are lovingly referred to as “camo creeps” and will cycle through the four player colors as they travel down the map. In this way, camo creeps are very similar to phasers in a single player game, but playing with friends makes them next to no trouble. (Play with friends! It’s a lot of fun!)
The phasing and camo creeps are two unique types that we’ve introduced. We’ve also riffed on some of our previous types, pushing the bounds of what is considered “an upgrade”. In many tower defense games, an upgrade entails a new piece of artwork on an enemy that has more health and moves faster. Our enemies are already constantly gaining health through-out the game, so this mechanic didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose other than to introduce new artwork. We did something slightly different with the upgrades instead.
GA2 explores the variety of groups of enemies more than its predecessor. Each enemy has a faster version as well as a version that is often seen in tight packs. While these variations maintain the same base characteristic as the core creep, they challenge the most tried and true strategies. One of the most prominent examples is the super fast scouts, those guys are brutal. They aren’t a typical upgrade because they have much less health than other scouts, but if you aren’t watching the game these scouts will punch through your defenses quickly. Keep an eye open for these new varieties of enemies!
Hopefully you enjoyed our overview on creeps, the new types we’ve introduced and some of the strategies to take them out. Please comment with any questions, thoughts, or encouragements, they are always appreciated.