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What must a TD Game have for you to buy it?


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#1 Acissathar   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 27 August 2011 - 11:55 PM

Hello everyone.

Let's say there was a tower defense game out for PC's that has a price tag of $2 to $5. What features must be included in the game for you, as the customer, to consider purchasing the game?

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#2 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19350

Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:31 AM

It would need to have something that the many freely available tower defence titles already out there don't provide; off the top of my head I can't actually think of anything that hasn't been done already.

Sorry, that's probably not very helpful, but if you're looking at the possibility of selling a Tower Defence game perhaps you could consider changing to some other project where you wouldn't be competing with literally hundreds of freely available Flash-based games?

#3 Acissathar   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:46 AM

It would need to have something that the many freely available tower defence titles already out there don't provide; off the top of my head I can't actually think of anything that hasn't been done already.

Sorry, that's probably not very helpful, but if you're looking at the possibility of selling a Tower Defence game perhaps you could consider changing to some other project where you wouldn't be competing with literally hundreds of freely available Flash-based games?


Well we're not dead set on making a commercial TD game, however we do want to make a TD game. (If anything the game will be for us and some friends to enjoy, I personally love TD games with survival modes.) I'm using this more of a basis on how to build a TD that would be enjoyable. My thinking is that if it's something you'd be willing to pay for, then it's likely a feature that the game should have that would get you to play it in the first place.

#4 kloffy   Members   -  Reputation: 932

Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:49 AM

I disagree with jbadams. It is true that there are many free flash versions, but I would be interested in another "native" tower defense game along the lines of Defense Grid. Tower defense has been done a lot, so there is a lot of work to draw inspiration from. However, many flash games have good ideas but are lacking polish. The presentation would probably be the most important factor in my decision to purchase, as well as gameplay/balance (challenging difficulty, quality before quantity, a couple of towers with unique strengths/weaknesses and upgrade options are better than many that feel the same).

#5 Acissathar   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:00 AM

I disagree with jbadams. It is true that there are many free flash versions, but I would be interested in another "native" tower defense game along the lines of Defense Grid. Tower defense has been done a lot, so there is a lot of work to draw inspiration from. However, many flash games have good ideas but are lacking polish. The presentation would probably be the most important factor in my decision to purchase, as well as gameplay/balance (challenging difficulty, quality before quantity, a couple of towers with unique strengths/weaknesses and upgrade options are better than many that feel the same).


Kloffy are you saying you'd like it if the game had things such as:

-Polished Menus, not just "click start, game starts"
-Varying difficulties the player can choose
-Towers with few similarites to others

What about map selection, would you prefer a selection of pre-created maps to play on, or a dynamic map where you create your own obstacles for the creeps to pass through?

#6 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5057

Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:08 AM

The most recent, and maybe the only, PC TD game I've bought is Plants vs. Zombies. And I probably paid $15 or $20 for it. What does it have? Free trial for the first part of the game, great graphics and humor, good sound.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#7 kloffy   Members   -  Reputation: 932

Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:13 AM

Well, polish goes a little further than just the menus. I would like to see a consistent art style, nice graphics/sound and good user interface/controls. So if I were in a position to put together a development team, I would look for good artists. Obviously if you're doing this as a hobby, that is much easier said than done.

The other points are pretty much what I meant, yes. When it comes to maps, I would like to have some pre-created ones that require unique strategies. It might be cool to have an option to dynamically generate maps, but I would not put too much emphasis on that from the start.

#8 Acissathar   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:30 AM

The most recent, and maybe the only, PC TD game I've bought is Plants vs. Zombies. And I probably paid $15 or $20 for it. What does it have? Free trial for the first part of the game, great graphics and humor, good sound.


Regarding the free trial, would it be preferred to be a browser version or a small download that would simply unlock to the full version with a purchase?

Well, polish goes a little further than just the menus. I would like to see a consistent art style, nice graphics/sound and good user interface/controls. So if I were in a position to put together a development team, I would look for good artists. Obviously if you're doing this as a hobby, that is much easier said than done.

The other points are pretty much what I meant, yes. When it comes to maps, I would like to have some pre-created ones that require unique strategies. It might be cool to have an option to dynamically generate maps, but I would not put too much emphasis on that from the start.


Consistent art style is one of the biggest things I look for, I really dislike it when things look 'Frankensteined' together :) So regarding maps, a handful of unique maps packaged with the game at launch, and then the option of dynamically generated ones as an update down the road?

I've written down these so far as big additions:

-Free trial
-Polished game play, menus, GUI
-Consistant art style
-Pleasing graphics + sounds (music tracks and sound effects)
-Unique maps and strategies
-Tower variety with as little similarity as possible

I appreciate all the responses!

#9 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5057

Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:44 AM

Regarding the free trial, would it be preferred to be a browser version or a small download that would simply unlock to the full version with a purchase?

Hmm, those both have up-sides. Web version is easier to get someone to try, and it doesn't have to be pure browser, flash or something is fine too. Download version there's a higher barrier to downloading it, but once it's on their computer there's higher motivation to buy it because who wants to either leave a half-played game sitting on their computer or delete it and lose their progress?

Here's one thing I wish PvZ had that it doesn't though - an updater. They released a new version with a little added content, but to get it I had to uninstall, lose my save game file, and start over. And from within the game there's no obvious way to check if a sequel or anything like that is available. Anyone who buys one of your games is WAY more likely than a random person to buy more of your games, so you are missing out on easy sales if you don't at least send them a notice when the next game goes up for sale. Though, you could send it to their email if you recorded that as part of the sale.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#10 Acissathar   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:58 AM

Hmm, those both have up-sides.


I like the point about the download version regarding saved progress, I did not even think of that!

Here's one thing I wish PvZ had that it doesn't though - an updater.


An updater is definately something we would include. I understand how much of a pain it is to not even learn of an update and then when you finally DO find out about it, it requires you to give up all that you already had.

How do you feel about something like a news feed at the bottom of the main menu (similar to Mass Effect / Dragon Age) that gives information about any available/upcoming updates or other games?

#11 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5057

Posted 28 August 2011 - 02:10 AM

How do you feel about something like a news feed at the bottom of the main menu (similar to Mass Effect / Dragon Age) that gives information about any available/upcoming updates or other games?

My preference is for one news item to be displayed on a graphical button that blends nicely into the art of the main menu, and clicking the button goes to the news page (with the piece of news shown in the graphic on top, and older or lower priority news below) using the user's preferred web browser (I hate things that automatically open an IE window).

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#12 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2132

Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:19 PM

I can point out things that I don't like on some current TD games:

  • Towers that don't have obvious benefits. For example, a tower that can't kill a unit all by itself, but once you put a large amount of them, like 20, then you can start seeing lots of kills. Without obvious documentation, no players would be able to reap the benefit of such tower. Some players would say it's strategy, but I'd say it's stupid as you have to invest in this tower with a hope that it'd do something. I have seen such tower. Inferno Tower, I think is what it's called. Expensive. It takes 1% of units health, and splash but low attack rate (I found out about this after I used it. No clear documentation whatsoever that it's doing this. Docs say something like "Awesome tower that burns units!!"). Obviously it's pointless building such tower early game, but you better build lots of it late game when units have 1,000,000,000 health points, and my once-glorious turrets who only deal merely 1000 damage/second are now useless.
  • Interest. I've seen a couple of TD games that add interests to your bank. While this could be a good thing and open up a lot of possible strategies, but from players' perspective, it's downright frustrating. How much spending is too much? A player is holding off building better towers thinking that it'd save him up good later, only to find out that he'd lose in the next wave.
  • Imbalanced units between waves. If I got 100% kill rate on wave 1, I'd expect at least 80% kill rate in the next wave if I do not add an additional tower. However, a lot of TD games out there spent too little time thinking about this.


#13 Krohm   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3245

Posted 29 August 2011 - 01:18 AM

As a coincidence, I had a discussion with a friend about this last weekend.
I haven't played defence grid. I'd like to try it out soon. Nonetheless, for the time being, my current gold standard for tower defence is Burnebog TD, a Warcraft III mod which appears to be both more extensive than other TDs and more balanced. It is of the fixed-path type.

Let's say there was a tower defense game out for PC's that has a price tag of $2 to $5. What features must be included in the game for you, as the customer, to consider purchasing the game?

A lot of hours and solid, extensive mechanics. If it is multiplayer, a special x4 pack might be nice.

Some flash TD are really polished. But they miss the 'extensive' part. I have been trough "Kingdom Rush" recently and I'd say it's fairly balanced but with (4+4*2) leveled towers they can only take it so far, as a comparison, Burbenog had 8*(8+1) if memory serves and the degree of synergistic interaction was incredible to say the least.

I agree on the obvious benefits and partially agree on the "imbalanced units". While I like the concept, guaranteed 80% kill on wave (n+1) is just too much. As a matter of fact, most TD games think about this and use this properties to balance between hi-damage VS hi-ROF, land-only vs land/air vs air only etc. I'd say that the wave shall go through so it consumes at least 50% of the total lifes... under no circumstances the player shall be allowed to just take a problem dimensionality and shave it off.

#14 freddyscoming4you   Members   -  Reputation: 112

Posted 29 August 2011 - 01:53 PM

Tower defense games are one of my favorite categories of flash games and I even purchased Defense Grid. I agree that a native app (non-flash) TD game in general would be purchase worthy but that alone won't cut it for me. The only reason for native support is to avoid the stutter that comes from large numbers of sprites in a flash game. That said you need to make towers interesting. "Upgrade" is something I expect in a flash game. Customization is something I'd expect from a desktop game.

  • Let me min/max stats as I want, for a price of course (in game upgrade points, for example, I mean), let me adjust my towers to fit the needs of the current wave and let me do it in a way that doesn't feel clunky which would only serve to quicken my destruction.
  • Tower's should "look" like their purpose. Does my machine gun turret now do a gazillion damage and can attack multiple enemies at once? Then the thing better look like it's shooting plasma beams rather than bullets and have multiple turret heads as well.
  • Include nifty side upgrades (like tacks and such from bloon defense) and powers like changing the direction of paths or being able to block off a path for a certain time.
  • If a tower doesn't fit exactly what I want to do let me create my own custom towers in between levels or something and give me a way to purchase which components I'd want and even tinker with existing towers with upgrade/customization points.
  • Give me a way to redeem damage. If 10 baddies get through my lines let me spend some points or activate a power to redeem that damage. I hate hate hate it when I play a TD and it takes a few hard hitting waves to really get how the game is played only for one or two baddies to get through later on and "oops you're dead."
  • Towers should take damage. It makes no sense for a super bad ass boss to come through with a zillion hit points and able to take your "life" down to half if he gets through but avoids your towers on the way. But, balance this by making super hard hitting bosses and the like worth more rewards and cash with which you can rebuild, upgrade and customize towers.
Something I think would be nifty is if you could customize how towers engage enemies. I've seen some do this by letting you designate shooting weakest/strongest enemies first but I want to be able to do things like having a fire damaged based tower prefer fire weak opponents if it has an option. Also, having levels evolve dynamically would be cool. Like, perhaps, mid way through a zone some enemy "reinforcements" crash into the middle of the map introducing a large amount of baddies and destroying certain paths while creating new paths through the map forcing you to adjust tactics and adapt. Static levels are somewhat boring. I guess the thing I'm saying most is customization, customization, customization and change things up a bit by introducing some more action elements. Also, invest heavily in effects. I don't mean this to say have gobs of them but do them extremely well. This was one of the points that impressed me with Defense Grid.

Different play modes would be awesome. Traditional "wave" play, flood style - a single non stop wave until all baddies are eliminated, survival mode, unlimited money mode, etc.

#15 ChurchSkiz   Members   -  Reputation: 458

Posted 29 August 2011 - 02:06 PM

I'd pay a few bucks for the chance to play multiplayer. Maybe some sort of TD variant like Tetris where the better you do the more enemies the other person gets. Or some sort of reverse-TD game where your opponent plays the towers and you get to send the guys (like control the upgrades, monsters per wave, and what type of monsters).

#16 zedz   Members   -  Reputation: 291

Posted 29 August 2011 - 07:18 PM

Ive just finished a game and thus are looking for the next idea.
A while ago I was thinking of doing a tower defense game myslef (but reverse i.e. you control the dudes) the pc controls the towers
but didnt cause I thought the market is saturated.
Do ppl think theres still room for yet another tower defense game?

#17 Acissathar   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 30 August 2011 - 04:57 AM

I can point out things that I don't like on some current TD games:

  • Towers that don't have obvious benefits.
  • Interest.
  • Imbalanced units between waves.


1. Definately agree with you. I recently played a TD that had a tower which would root a creep and then give you double profit upon that creeps death. The problem was that the tower was extremely slow, targetted only one unit, and was an expensive tower to build. The tower had no use unless you had a vast quantity, but due to their cost it was bordering the impossible.
2. I have never seen this method before, but I do not think it is a good idea. It adds another level of complexity that is not needed with the potential to give the player game breaking amounts of resource. (Pool huge amount mean you get bigger interest which fuels the next interes) Either that or it is such a small benefit that it's just a waste.
3. I'm on the fence with this one. While I don't believe a model similar to Wave 1 took you 10 seconds to defeat and Wave 2 took 5 minutes, I do believe that the waves should not scale in difficulty through a linear model. I feel that this would lead to predictable game play, and make each decision set in stone instead of "adapt and overcome."

A lot of hours and solid, extensive mechanics. If it is multiplayer, a special x4 pack might be nice.

Some flash TD are really polished. But they miss the 'extensive' part. I have been trough "Kingdom Rush" recently and I'd say it's fairly balanced but with (4+4*2) leveled towers they can only take it so far, as a comparison, Burbenog had 8*(8+1) if memory serves and the degree of synergistic interaction was incredible to say the least.


By a x4 pack, you mean something like a discount for X copies, where X is the number of players available in multiplayer?

I also like the synergistic options. (Mainly because synergy is my favorite word!) The more options, the more you can play the game and still have a new experience each time.

1. Tower's should "look" like their purpose.

2. Include nifty side upgrades (like tacks and such from bloon defense) and powers like changing the direction of paths or being able to block off a path for a certain time.

3. If a tower doesn't fit exactly what I want to do let me create my own custom towers in between levels or something and give me a way to purchase which components I'd want and even tinker with existing towers with upgrade/customization points.

4. Give me a way to redeem damage.

5. Towers should take damage.

6. Customize how towers engage enemies.

7. Also, having levels evolve dynamically would be cool.

8. Also, invest heavily in effects.

9. Different play modes would be awesome.


1. Yes, completely agree!
2. You mean the one time use things, like the road spike / pinapple bombs?
3. Custom towers would be fun, maybe possible in a "sandbox" mode where you choose what a tower does and it's price changes based on the effects
4. Same as #1. I think it sucks when you get far and then one bad wave ends the game with no option of recovery. If anything, defeating X number of waves without taking any damage will restore Y health.
5. I think this would be better as a playmode, a "hardcore" one maybe. I don't want to overload the player with so many things they have to keep track off, because then it loses it's fun appeal and just becomes a micromanaging simulation.
6. I've seen that as well, where the tower targets first in line, last in line, lowest HP, most HP, etc. This is another feature for micromanaging, but I believe this can be implemented with a default option so those that WANT to do it can, and those that don't, won't.
7. That's something we can think of. It would certainly change up the player's strategy mid game.
8. YES! Effects are definately what the budget is accomidating.
9. Additional play modes I would say are a necessity if the game is going commercial.

I'd pay a few bucks for the chance to play multiplayer. Maybe some sort of TD variant like Tetris where the better you do the more enemies the other person gets. Or some sort of reverse-TD game where your opponent plays the towers and you get to send the guys (like control the upgrades, monsters per wave, and what type of monsters).


Similar to how Tetris Attack on the SNES did it? I know some games have tried the version where one player controls the horde and the other is the defender. I think that would be fun as well, with each round switching it up.


Another thing I am getting from this thread is to definately check out Defense Grid because it seems to have many pluses for a commercial TD.




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