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pr0teK Nov 22, 2013 @ 6:00pm
What is missing in Tower Defense games?
Hi, my name is Manuel Stieger from CDS, we are developing at the moment "Towers of Altrac" for PC (and later for other platforms).

We know that Tower Defense games are not very popular on Steam, but what are the reasons?

We didn't only focus on the singleplayer, yeah there are 3 campaigns and you can play it alone, but what is in this case the different to a "flash game"?

That's the reason why we work for a good co-op mode with 2+ players and Multiplayer. There aren't many tower defense games for PC who are really a full game and not a simple application, a mod of WC3, Starcarft or something else.

We make the game for TD players, and because of that we need to know what you been missing in TD games?



example...

We created a completly new A.I. for the game, never seen before in a TD game. You know that there are normally 2 types of TD games, one with fixed ways, stupid enemies walk through the target, maybe they take your crystals or lives and that's it. Second type is the barricade, towers or buildable things make the pathfinding. The flying enemies can pass this ways... everything already known by TD players. It was no longer interesting... because every game was the same.

The new in-house developed A.I. works with a waypoint system with intersections and a threat level for every single way. We have also explosive targets, who change the difficulty and add more spawnpoints.

Your towers make damage, kill some enemies and create a Threat Level, that means if your enemies can take another way... they will do it in the middle of the shaft. We habe seen already a whole army who runs back, because the towers made to strong damage.
Showing 1-15 of 24 comments
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Gorlom[Swe] Nov 22, 2013 @ 8:30pm 
player owned (but not controlled) minions that goes out to meet the enemy minions!

A base or tower or something owned by the enemy that you can sack for a bonus on the map.

(My favourite TD game is "sang froid" I think they managed to execute their concept exceptionally well. + as a bonus there is an actual story involved :) )
AusSkiller Nov 23, 2013 @ 12:17am 
I've come up with a heap of things to greatly improve the depth of tower defense games, but I'm already using them in my own game ;).
C0untzer0 Nov 23, 2013 @ 12:35am 
Likewise, if I told you what I thought was missing, I'd be giving away a year of development...
C0untzer0 Nov 23, 2013 @ 1:18am 
TBH I'm not sure if I'm dreading Aus beating me to release, or if I could blatantly steal learn from his game. Hopefully he won't be so far ahead that I have time to mess around with my baby in response to his.
Pantheon Nov 23, 2013 @ 1:45am 
Originally posted by pr0teK:
We know that Tower Defense games are not very popular on Steam, but what are the reasons?
One of the reasons might be, that there already are bazillions of them.
AusSkiller Nov 23, 2013 @ 4:10am 
Originally posted by C0untzer0:
TBH I'm not sure if I'm dreading Aus beating me to release, or if I could blatantly steal learn from his game. Hopefully he won't be so far ahead that I have time to mess around with my baby in response to his.
I wouldn't worry too much about it, I enjoy developing tech so I end up spending way too much time working on the engine rather than the gameplay so my game is still quite a way off, but I hope it'll really highlight the differences between what can be done in a PC tower defense game compared to a port ;). Still haven't figured out a really good way to do multi-player competitive tower defense though :(, I've got some good ideas, but nothing that would really be much better than single player or balanced enough for a competitive league.
pr0teK Nov 23, 2013 @ 4:27am 
Originally posted by C0untzer0:
Likewise, if I told you what I thought was missing, I'd be giving away a year of development...

Yeah, that's understandable, and it's not the idea to steal something. For other indie developers, it's hard participate in a discussion if you have a game in development in the same sub-genre :)

So I can name a few things I personally find interesting:

Heroes or Minions on the map
Technolgy Tree
Special Buildings to improve some abilities
Special abilities to kill or slow down enemies
...

It depends on the game ... if you have a grid, a simple way-system or a map and you walk around with your hero , third-person 3D TD games like Orcs must die or First Person TD - Sanctum. There are always other options for the best gameplay experience.










Peter Pan Nov 23, 2013 @ 6:43am 
Personally I do not enjoy tower defense games because they feel... limited.

I bought and tried Orcs must die! and I feel like I am being put in a room, I gotta set up some traps, and that's it. There is no exploration, no world, not much story, no ownership like an army, no gear or personal belongings. There is not much to do other than to set up traps to kill enemies.

In RPGs like Mass Effect, there is a very rich story. I also get to explore worlds, meet people, etc. There is also character progression, where I find upgrades, become stronger.
In strategy games like Crusader Kings 2, I get to conquer a world, amass armies, deal with politics, etc.

But Tower Defense games, I just feel like there is very little to do. It feels more like a really big mini-game, but it is just that, a mini game. It cannot stand on its own.

I feel that you have to mix Tower Defense with another genre to make it work, like say Tower Defense + RPG elements. Check out "Little Empire" for mobile gaming, that kind of tower defense has me hooked because I can upgrade units to make them stronger, research technology to make them even stronger, gain reputation to make them, you guessed it, stronger. So the idea is you need to put in something extra to keep my interest in Tower Defense games.

What they do not have which I want, is a unit upgrade tree. Like you can upgrade your soldier to a knight (more defense) or a berserker (more attack). Then the knight can become a paladin, and the berserker can become a barbarian.

For your game specifically, I think if you just stayed with medieval sword and sorcery, and add a lot of mythical creatures like ogres, griffins, dragons, demons, giants, it may work. But then I saw some lasers and I was like, what's that? What setting is your game in? Steampunk fantasy?

Maybe I am being unfair, but I am speaking from my personal experience, and generally Tower Defense games just don't hold my interest. Unless they mix it with some RPG or interesting thing.
Skoardy Nov 23, 2013 @ 6:57am 
Have to admit I'm not a fan of the genre either - they always feel like an exercise in futility. You're just going through the motions, filling time until you come across the one level where things overwhelm you. I suppose that's true of all games in a sense but it seems so much more pronounced to me in TD games.

I don't know - sitting staring at the screen, waiting while the enemies trundle through their ridiculous predefined routes to find out if your chosen layout of resources is the correct one for the situation just isn't that much fun for me.
AusSkiller Nov 23, 2013 @ 7:22am 
Originally posted by Peter Pan:
Maybe I am being unfair, but I am speaking from my personal experience, and generally Tower Defense games just don't hold my interest. Unless they mix it with some RPG or interesting thing.
Nope, you aren't being unfair at all, most Tower Defense games really do just feel like a mini-game.

Originally posted by Skoardy:
I don't know - sitting staring at the screen, waiting while the enemies trundle through their ridiculous predefined routes to find out if your chosen layout of resources is the correct one for the situation just isn't that much fun for me.
I can enjoy that sort of thing, but I agree that it really isn't much fun, it's just too limited for a full PC title where you have the resources to do so much more.

Peter Pan and Skoardy, I think you'll both like what I have planned so keep an eye out ;). And pr0teK, take heed of what they are saying, there is a lot of room for improvement in the Tower Defense genre, all you really need to do is look at the things that limited the original Tower Defense games that were made in flash or level editors and think about what a dedicated engine would allow you to add to them to come up with some good ideas :). I look forward to seeing what you come up with (and curse you if you come up with better stuff than me ;) ).
Gorlom[Swe] Nov 23, 2013 @ 8:04am 
@Peter Pan have you tried Sang Froid? ^^

I think that the story and unique storydriven "events" removes the feeling of it being a "mini game".
Serindial Nov 23, 2013 @ 8:54am 
The best tower defense game I've ever played was called Total Annihilation. And no, I'm not confused, I'm very serious. Those old rts games were really cool TD games because the enemy could take multiple routes, attacked your defenses, and could come at you from a myriad of angels. You had to build your defenses utilizing the terrain etc... I would often play those rts's as a defense game by choosing not to rush his base and just see how long I could hold out and how far I could expand my base against the AI. It was fun. Here's another way to look at it. If you could merge TD games with the open world concept and throw in a little 'crafting' (so to speak) you'd have something really interesting there. I think that's one of the reasons zombie apocolypse games are so fun... It's kind of a FPS TD if you think about it.
C0untzer0 Nov 23, 2013 @ 9:00am 
Originally posted by Specter:
The best tower defense game I've ever played was called Total Annihilation. And no, I'm not confused, I'm very serious.
That's kinda the point. RTS games take a lot of resources to work, TD/TA can be treated as a "halfway" RTS... but I'm giving myself away...
Peter Pan Nov 23, 2013 @ 10:54am 
Originally posted by GorlomSwe:
@Peter Pan have you tried Sang Froid? ^^

I think that the story and unique storydriven "events" removes the feeling of it being a "mini game".

Just checked the page and yes it looks good, got some nice story, and gives you a sense of progression. That's a start, though, I prefer Tower Defense that doesn't involve the player and relies on your army.

An example using another genre is Terraria and Gnomoria. I prefer the army approach of Gnomoria, but didn't like that the player is directly involved like in Terraria.

I also prefer the sword and sorcery setting.
Last edited by Peter Pan; Nov 23, 2013 @ 10:57am
pr0teK Nov 23, 2013 @ 11:06am 
Originally posted by Peter Pan:

What they do not have which I want, is a unit upgrade tree. Like you can upgrade your soldier to a knight (more defense) or a berserker (more attack). Then the knight can become a paladin, and the berserker can become a barbarian.

For your game specifically, I think if you just stayed with medieval sword and sorcery, and add a lot of mythical creatures like ogres, griffins, dragons, demons, giants, it may work. But then I saw some lasers and I was like, what's that? What setting is your game in? Steampunk fantasy?

Maybe I am being unfair, but I am speaking from my personal experience, and generally Tower Defense games just don't hold my interest. Unless they mix it with some RPG or interesting thing.

Hi Peter Pan,

isn't unfair, I think every player should have his own opinion.

That are not "lasers", magical rays of the magicians :) but yeah , maybe they look like "lasers"
We've three nations/folks, and one of them are magicians.

I think about of some big improvements in the next time.
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Date Posted: Nov 22, 2013 @ 6:00pm
Posts: 24