Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hero Tower Defense Tuesday: Day 11 - Melee & Behaviors



Welcome to Hero Tower Defense Tuesday!

HTD Logo WIP

Go here to read the Day 10 of Hero Tower Defense Tuesdays.


Time for another HTD update! This week I want to explain our thoughts on how melee characters might work and how enemy actions may vary.

Since HTD is a RPG/TD mix we want try taking mechanics from both genres when it comes to the placement of units and how they work in battle. Also don't forget that in HTD you'll have maps where you're attacking, defending, and some with a mix of both. We also plan to have set character (tower) placements but a lot of them. So while it won't be an open field you will have a bunch of option for placing your units. There will also likely be maps with more than one enemy path. All of these things play a role when it comes to the topics of this post so I wanted to give you all a quick refresher.

Now onto what we had in mind. In PTD the melee characters are basically just ranged characters but instead of a projectile covering the distance you have the character dashing up instead. For HTD we were thinking of having the melee characters just remain stationary in their spot and attack from there. However, they would most likely have a ranged weapon that they automatically switch to when an enemy is far away and some skills might be ranged themselves.

Since melee characters are strongest when they are in melee range having them in a spot that is off to the side of a path, like traditional tower defense, wouldn't be ideal because you would only cover a small area. Imagine a tower with a small radius on the side of the path, it's crappy unless it's in a nice corner or tight U-turn. So we were thinking of just having some placements directly on the enemy paths themselves. This way the melee characters get to be in the thick of battle where they should be while the ranged characters can be in safer areas.

You might asking yourself, "Wouldn't the enemies just walk right past him?" In Traditional TDs, yes, in HTD, no. You'll have skills like taunt that bring nearby enemies to you and keep them there for a time, you'll have skills that can temporarily immobilize enemies, you may also have a skill that acts like a hook that can pull a single target to within melee range from far away. And as I mentioned before there will be lots of locations for your characters so you can move him around a bit, whether it's to get close to an enemy or get out of trouble.

Another concept we want to try is to have enemies with different behaviours. You might see several enemies of the same type coming down a path but they won't all just be running for your base or whatever. Some might be aggressive and actually go after your characters and attack them, others might be defensive and go straight for you base while ignoring your attacks, and then there's always the option of having some with a mix. Perhaps they might run for your base at first but once they get low on health they start attacking your characters instead, etc.

This idea can be handled a few different ways. You can have all of one type of enemy (they would all look the same) with different behaviours which would take you by surprise. You can have different types of enemies with different behaviours so you can identify how they'll act just by looking at them. For example, a werewolf is an attacking unit that will go after your characters while a goblin might be a defensive unit that runs straight for your base. Another option is to have a mix, for example you have multiple dragon whelps coming that all look the same but some are larger than others or have some other slight distinction. The larger ones could be the ones that are aggressive while the smaller ones are defensive, etc.

For those you who haven't yet be sure to check out Kevin's blog, KXN @ HTD to get the latest on HTD art development! The female hair style poll has ended and the results are pleasing because there is nice diversity in the styles that won. Here's a nice update on the female progress with one of the winning hair styles that will be available at release:




Human Female

We'd like to hear what you guys think of these concepts and any ideas of your own that you might have. I've seen a lot of great suggestions from people in the past and all the feedback is very helpful so be sure to let us know what you think!

-Dan

34 comments:

  1. Third. Sounds like it's going to be an awesome game. Can't wait for it to come out. I'm an avid PTD player.

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  2. PokeFan Gen 1 (MIX)October 25, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    Third. Oh hai thar!

    PokeFan Gen. 1

    (looks good by the way, coming along nicely)

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  3. there is this game, little protectors, where melee units could only attack enemies on the neighboring squares. but it wasn't a big problem, because there were so many enemies on the map, that they always had something to hit. resulting in really good dps values. because they had the best damage/hit of all units.
    so nothing wrong with short range units. =)

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  4. 5th and it sounds great, are you planning on releasing a beta or limited version before the full game comes out?

    -DTA killR

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  5. I love the idea for this combat system. I can imagine it now with setting up barricades of melee fighters and have ranged fighters off to the side spamming arrows or spells into the crowd. :) can't wait to see how this actually looks in game. Might have a bit of tweaking to do on game play once the game gets launched.

    And the different behavior thing sounds great. For creatures such as whelps, perhaps larger fangs, more streamlined eyes, or a more battle-worn look for the more aggressive ones to allow for subtle variations. While the average TD player would want some of those major differences like behavior based on unit especially, it would be more likely and more complex(thus interesting) to have different creatures within their own type have their own personality. :)

    And that just got me thinking(since I always think in terms of a Ranger), maybe one of the possible ways of obtaining an animal companion is to calm/charm/bond with an appropriate creature mid battle. Have some sort of chance set up based on difficulty of creature in proportion to level of either character or appropriate stat(tho all stats listed would not seem appropriate). With this different behavior system, the creature obtained in battle can have different traits based on what you get. i.e higher strength, lower agility is aggressive, higher stamina, lower strength if defensive, and well rounded if moderate. That would allow for more diverse companions and make achieving one something of a mini game itself depending on what specific type of build a person wants for their pet if caught in combat. :)

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  6. AI behavior...I like it! You'll never know what to expect (unless you've played through a map multiple times). It's also kind of annoying to see the same patterns from units on certain maps (i.e. target the weakest unit, claim the defense point if you're close, get yourself massacred by the uber unit, etc.)

    HTD: bringing strategy to a new level. Melee and ranged units will certainly keep us on our toes. Least we won't have to worry about switching weapons.

    Interesting concept on the skills. I was going to question melee attacks in this game if your unit remained stationary.

    I'm kind of torn between all of the options. I agree with option one, because no two units should ever be alike, personality or stat wise. It would also make generic enemies that much more interesting. However, option 2 brings some pretty good generalizations (I highly doubt that werewolves would want to run for your defending point when there's fresh meat on the field). Option 3 sounds good too. I know that's how they distinguished different units within laguz tribes (ex. Cats are fast. Tigers are heavy hitters). However, I'm leaning more towards a mix of options one and two, where you have a general idea of what an enemy species will do, but they may surprise if thing's are looking grim for them.

    That human knight's breathing patterns reminds me of Samus for whatever reason (especially Fusion Samus). Maybe it's the hair...

    Only day 11? You sure have come up with a lot of great ideas in the course of almost three months. I hope to see more in the future!

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  7. hopefully 5th

    Where you say the option can be handly a few different ways why not make it a different way every level. Certain story mode levels with unpredictable similar looking enemies and some with predictable different types.

    Another way to make it is to have the predictable types in a story mode and unpredictable in a challenge mode

    ??? (???? in Ptd trading center)

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  8. I think option 2 is the best, i mean witch werewolf would seek gold over meat? But Chris tan's idea of random gold loving werewolves would be good for that if you just say "Now I'll just set it up to kill the attacking werewolves and not defend the base." A random weird werewolf runs past to the base :P

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  9. Very nice work.

    As for behavior ya your right about it but no one said you couldn't have all of em. Not that we wanna over complicate it but themed behavior might work. Ex the dragons do as you say bigger ones attack smaller defend were as bandit camp behaves in a type stile and Finlay the enemy base is random no order in behavior witch is a helpful way to up difficulty. Predictable to those missions or missions sets.


    One thing to consider and depending on how your designing the game is intelligence. Do the act wisely pull back when low and heal, go for caster and your healer if able or gang up on 1 unit in other words and organized fighting force. Do they do it haphazardly like loose bands or some smarter wild animal packs. Or are they mindless zombies that charge and don't confidante attacks.

    Depends on how you designed it 1 behavior for a type or 2 pronged were behavior (defensive aggressive) Combines with intelligence (low vs high). Then agean I'm probably over complicating it most mobs are probably trash anyway just make a script for bosses.

    Very well done she looks awesome.

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  10. Hey, Folks.

    The idea of having melee units in the main track is a good solution, but there is one problem: In the post of day 1, you where telling about buff chains, which could be important for a tanking melee unit, but if the tank is on the Path, and the healer is on the Ground, chain conections is not possible.

    Is it likely, that a utility unit could create an object of sort, that will conect chains and be placed on the path? That could be a solution.

    Continue the good job.

    - Sredna

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  11. I really liked today's post. I'm enjoying the way things are turning with really nice concerns on game structures and not only let it as a td and flavor it with RPG. There is a real mix even in the mechanics and char placement. Big like on that!

    About the behaviors, i like the different styles. If I'm allowed suggesting I'd say different looks for different behaviors.

    Say a goblin that has a more barbarian look would go straight at the chars will a more armored with a tower shield would try to slowly pass by tanking less dmg to to to the base. A warrior like would fit the mean term, using plate but not full defense.

    For animals/elementals/Etc that wear no armor I'd say they should behave all the same (I don't see rats having different battle strategies =P)

    Hope you liked the idea and I want to play! lol

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  12. @Tommy - So close, that Anon beat you by seconds. :P

    @XmarkXalanX - Thanks, always good to hear that you guys are looking forward to it!

    @PokeFan Gen 1 - Thanks! :)

    @Anon 12:21 AM - Good example but keep in mind HTD will have other mechanics at work which will alter things like this. For example the idea that the characters and enemies will have various skills and that your characters can be attacked and debuffed in general changes things a bit. It's still a useful comparison though, it's good to see a working example of a similar idea.

    @DTA killR - There will definitely be an alpha/beta version before the full game. We just haven't gotten it to the point that we can release something yet.

    @Chris Tan 12:41 AM - Neither :P

    @Sly Kamaui - Oh there will be much tweaking to do indeed, but that's half the fun right?

    Yeah, we would like to try and cater to both crowds or figure out what the majority want but we'll have to see how it goes. It could always turn out that whatever way we try first isn't suitable and then we'd try the next option.

    Pretty cool idea, I might have to make note of this for later, thanks! :)

    @Chris Tan 12:54 AM - Exactly, it adds some nice variation so things don't get so monotonous and keeps you alert since you don't know exactly what you'll get every time.

    I'm glad you said that because it's very much how we want HTD to be, more strategy but still TD.

    Yeah, melee won't be obsolete by any means. We want to try and balance all class tpyes as much as possible which will be an challenging and ongoing process.

    The different options create a tough decision for sure, that's why we're looking to you guys for your opinion to help us decide.

    You'd have to ask Kevin if there's some Samus influence there. :P

    Thanks!

    @??? - Hmm, good thought. The only problem is you should be able to get a feel of how a certain enemy type behaves after a few encounters even if they vary a bit within the same type. Having those same enemies then act completely different on the next map means you'd have to relearn their behaviour. Only the challenge mode having that is a good solution. Still an interesting idea though, we'll have to see.

    @jespoke - Lol, your example is hilarious, but I agree having a little bit of everything can be nice.

    @Darvist - Thanks :)

    True, but like you said don't want to over complicate things. I get what you are saying though with the different groups having different behaviour styles. It's certianly an option.

    The AI would be fairly basic and probably different depending on the type of enemy. Like you said enemies that are like pack animals might have a tendency to gang up on characters whereas zombies might be just sort of random. Also enemies that are smarter would probably go for the casters but we can't make them too smart or it'd be really difficult and require a lot more micromanagement which is pulling a bit too far away from the TD style. So we'll just need a healthy balance is all.

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  13. @Sredna - Good point, although that's part of the advantage/disadvantage of chain buffing so it still works. You could have a chain like this: Tank > Paladin > healer. And that should have the healer off the path a bit by then, thus lessening some of the disadvantage side.

    Not a bad solution, there could certainly be something like. Would have to be careful though because that sounds like it could be overpowered very easily hah

    @Gon - Excellent, that's really what we're going for so I'm glad to here that! :)

    Suggestions are always allowed lol

    Right, that's pretty much how it would work. You'd have some indication of how they'll behave just by looking at them.

    Haha, rats maybe not but wolves certainly could. Like Darvist mentioned pack animals are certianly a bit smarter than others so it'd make sense for them to act a bit differently. And in your case (since I know you like dinosaurs) imagine if raptors behaved the same way as rats. That would just be wrong :P

    All feedback is helpful and we'll give you guys somethingas soon as we can, I promise! :D

    @Anon 3:16 PM - werd

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  14. Hey will there be only a few type of characters, or will there be a huge variety of types of people you can get to join you.

    For example:
    Knights, wizards, archers (the basics)
    dragon tamers, vampires, werewolves
    Mutants, Zombies, witches, mermaids.
    Also, there could be people from history that are mystery codes. Like the HTD codes could be "Click here to get (Odysseus, george Washington, Hagrid and other crazy characters) to join your team.

    Final thing, i know im not focusing on the blog. but i think the game should have the Greek gods... Zeus, Poseidon, athena. It would really add to what your doing in the game. And there could even be special levels where Zeus helps you beat a demon or something

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  15. where can i play hero tower defence????????

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  16. @ Dan - Glad you liked it but I see I didn't explain myself perfectly. About the "And in your case (since I know you like dinosaurs) imagine if raptors behaved the same way as rats."

    What I meant was intraspecific behavior being the same, not interspecific. Meaning a rat would act like a rat (and all rats like that one, say... for the "cheese" in the fort lol) while the raptors would act like raptors and kill your guys first.

    For pack hunters I'd say the pack would look and act all the same except you define a leader that (like the armored npcs) would have a different look (like a darker fur, a silver back* or just bigger lol).

    Am I the only one who wants to kill some rats before wolves and dragon whelps? =P If so PLEASE make my invasion ideas come true LOL and make rats the 1st invasion (rats have like 1/4HD AHAHAHA) XD

    * different color + size on the raptor's pack leaders feathers =P

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  17. @ Anon 8:56 - Unless you can find the magic door to Dan's pc... Al tho not sure you would find only 1 class with half animations and the infinite waves of the blank lvl (called "Epic name for the 1st lvl map") walking forever to the abiss of nothingness to find yourself at lvl 1 after 296728567254827962720986257224867256892 NON-RATS killed =P MEANING... you can't play HTD yet! =P

    ps: we all want tho (and we are all afraid to make the calcs for 11 weeks and its less then half-way... I think at least lol)

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  18. so Dan or Sam (whoever reads this)

    when do you think the game will be released? estimates of date?

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  19. I don't mean to be rude but honestly I don't like the eyes and was hoping you could chang them (\__/)
    (-''-) Peace!
    (")(")

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  20. @Gon- Haha yes, I am on your side with the rat swarm. And how about you throw in a Dire Rat as the nest momma. Of course while according the Pathfinder, the rat swarm is CR(challenge rating) 2 while Dire Rat is CR 1/3, that makes sense since many, many, MANY rats are stronger than the one, but the one is stronger than the individuals. My very first roleplaying encounter was goblins, but rats would be a good one, especially since TD survives off of swarm. :)

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  21. Guys, about the HTD, i think you should realease some kind of beta unto some of the PTD players, i would like to see the idea, before i go commenting on it.. Ive loved playing the games, first PTD and later on Ninja-ja.. If you are ever in need of ideas or design help, hit me up :)

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  22. hey... that girl looks mad o: (; i hope this game is out soon, i bet it will be great!

    Chris~

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  23. @Sly - I'm totally up to Dire rats also. Dunno where I posted the idea but it included the leaders of the packs. (btw did you play D&D before pathfinder? just curious cause I play both)

    @Dan - this halloween we will miss the evil pumpkin invasion but maybe next year =P

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  24. @Gon- No, I technically do have a D&D 3.5 character sheet fully completed, but since the 3.5 books are pretty much no longer available we moved straight to Pathfinder. :)

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  25. @turtleshell27 - George Washington? lol Hmm, your examples are a bit mixed. Knights, wizards, archers, dragon tamers, etc are more like classes whereas "mutants, zombies, vampires, mermaids are more like races. For classes, yes there will be quite a few. For playable races there will be some but you have to realize that adding a new playable race comes with a huuuge amount of work. For example you have to creative all the armor for that race for all the animations for all 3 angles.. that adds up very quickly. But as far as having enemy, non playable races, there will be a lot of those indeed, and pets as well I imagine.

    Greek mythology is awesome, you'll probably see some references to that here and there as they can easily fit into the HTD world.

    @Anon 8:56 PM - You can't yet, we haven't released a playable version. We'll be sure to let everyone know when we do and it'll be here so you can't miss it.

    @Gon 9:29 PM - Right, I understand what you're saying. We'll probably end up with a bit a mix but we'll really just have to see how it goes with some testing.

    Rat invasion? Spec into Nature and summon a bunch of snakes, cats, and owls to beat it? :P

    @Pokemon - When we have something that is somewhat playable we'll release it here. Sorry, can't really give an ETA right now.

    @Anon 2:38 PM - Any feedback is helpful! :)

    @Sly Kamaui 1:27 PM - I never would have thought so many people would want to participate in a rat massacre. :P

    @Hausted - There will certainly be an alpha/beta release we just aren't there yet. It should be noted we pratically just started on HTD when we started doing HTD tuesdays. We're always in need of ideas and designs, feel free to post about them in the comments. Also take a look at some of the previous HTD posts for some screenshots and such.

    @Chris - Haha, she's seriously business!

    @Gon 11:03 PM - Haha, yeah sorry, no jack-o-latern invasion this year. I love holiday themed events though. Remind me next year! ;)

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  26. @Dan - The invasions is a great idea!! =D (specially since its a TD game) Its great to run thro, its AWESOME to do "worldwide" events (where we all have to kill 7826346785247825639824 rats (example lol) all together with a metter showing =D, its cool and "easy" to make (cause well you have 7826346785247825639824 mobs that are actually... 3? 5? different lol And a great way to get exclusive themed stuff like titles "Gon, the Ratslayer" muahahhaha or items (a "back" that is a rat tail =P) the sky is the limit =P

    If you played either Adventure Quest or specially Dragon Fable you know how great invasions can work =D

    Yeah I'm gathering "folowers" to the Pets and Invasions ideas! =P And Rats are only the 1st invasion =P (trust me if it happens you'll want to do more as we'll like to run them =D)

    Hollyday themed events all the way (the invasions could be part of it or just when you have no hollidays to theme extra stuff LOL) and will remember to remember. IF!!! We are playing by the next year =P (kidding lol but BEFORE there's Christmas theme... "Gon, I love Christmas, please remind me next year also" LOL =P

    I know the answer to the obvious questions so i'll just say: I want to play! lol (and a pet to farm (look after) =P)

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  27. Love the concept of how baddies will function so far, esp based on the size concept. Provides more of a challenge to determine how to go about attacking.

    As for Kevin's female, she looks great! My only complaint would be it looks like she's sitting there rolling her shoulders when she breathes, but that could be me XD

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  28. Will there be an apk for HTD like PTD? That would be SO awesome because i always play PTD only on my tablet :D

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