Hero Tower Defense Tuesday: Day 12 - Pets

Go here to read the Day 11 of Hero Tower Defense Tuesdays.

For this update I want to discuss pets, specifically pet placement.

Right now having pets is still a concept as far as development goes but we're getting closer to the point where we'll need to have it figured out so it can be ready for programming and such. Since a lot of it is still up in the air it means any ideas and suggestions from you guys are even more helpful. As I mentioned above I'm only going to be talking about pet placement though. Not pets overall, we'll get into those details later. So let me throw out a few ideas to get things started and then see what you guys have to say in the comments.

First, let me clarify that I'm referring to active pets. Ones that attack, level up, have skills, etc. In other words, not the ones that just follow around behind you. We'll have those too most likely but they are much easier to implement for obvious reasons. Another thing is every character can essentially have a pet because it'll be a class skill and as I mentioned in another post your class is dynamic based on the skills you choose. So you could basically put one point into the pet skill and now have the ability to fight with a pet. Granted you'll need to invest a lot of points in the pet skill and probably other pet related skills to make your pet feasible as you level up. In other words, you can easily have a pet but if you don't invest many points in your pet skills it'll be rather lackluster.

Having pets in a TD game is a little tricky. For example, where do they go on the field? If you have them in the same location as your character would probably look a bit strange because they'd practically be on top of eachother. They could be beside you but then what happens if there is no available area around your character? For example you're a ranged character on a small island safe from melee but only enough room for your character, where does your pet go? Having it just show up at the nearest location probably wouldn't work too well and would be a hassle. It could be possible that if there's not enough room for your pet then it just wouldn't be out, which means you'll need to think a bit more about character location. However, this mostly applies to grounded pets. Flying pets can get away with a lot more but we need something that works for both unless we just go with the idea that flying pets are more versatile since they are in the air.

There's also the option of having the pet be manually placed just like a character. It doesn't have to hang around you perhaps but the disadvantage might be that certain pet skills that your character has might have limited range. So if your pet is on the other side of the map your pet buff might not reach it.

Another solution is to only have the pet appear when it's attacking. Almost like how a projectile from your character acts. I don't see this being a popular choice though because peope like seeing their pets around and it would mean the pet doesn't have health, take aggro, or protect one of your sides while fighting side by side with you.

And finally the last idea was to have the pets literally be characters. The first game that comes to mind where they had this is Dragon Age. Basically, the pet would be one of your 5 active characters that you have out on the field. This is a slightly different route than the other solutions. I wouldn't expect them to have armor and weapons really or maybe they'd just have equipment that doesn't display (we don't want to drive Kevin insane). Also they wouldn't be nearly as customizable as the other characters but they would have skills and such, maybe some skill points that can be assigned as they level up, etc. So think of them as just being more specific and less customizable characters. This might sound like they'd be lesser characters overall but I'd expect them to be quite strong, just more limited. You could maybe even have special combo moves that can only occur when you have certain pets together. For example, maybe you have one character and 4 wolf pets. Maybe you'd get a special passive skill called Pack Leader that gives all your units a nice buff. Just something like that perhaps.

Kevin has some new stuff on his blog, KXN @ HTD. He's always looking for comments on his work so be sure to stop by and let him know what you guys think about the HTD art. Here's a cool sketch Kevin did for uhh...something:

Creature Concept Sketch

Leave your feedback in the comments and let me know what option you like best or if you have your own idea be sure to let us know!



  1. Howabout make the pets a character item? Such as have them on the character's shoulder or flying behind them>

  2. Maybe you should have the pets either be small creatures, equippable on a character's shoulder, flying pets that just fly around in the general area, or large pets that are ridable. Or all three.

  3. second yay and could you just make the spot big enough to fit a character and any hypothetical pet and you both take up the same spot and you either attack as a team or you and your pet both attack seperately?

  4. 2nd or third! and hi Dan! haven't seen you for awhile.

    anyway, i wanted to say, will the pets have elemental powers?

  5. oh and I win


  6. Alright! PETS!!! =D

    I got a bit scared with all the talent points spent to make the pet useful but lets see how it goes. I think less talent points from the char and the pet having their own talent trees would work better no?

    About the placement. What I was thinking was to create some pet specific spots. so the pets would be placed individually like a char but at those spots (that would only show when you were draging a pet to place or to change position).

    About the buff (complementary to what I was saying) you could have different kinds of buffs, some would work like the normal chains (so you'd have advantage to place the pet nearby) while others would have infinite range and would affect just the pet and the pet owner.

    About the pet apearing only when attacking... it hurts just to think. Not only not having the pet standing there but also all the game mechanics associated with the pet that would be lost.

    Pets as chars, well IMO, it doesn't make sense. I do like the multi pet idea that could be inserted in some other way (like a tree of talents of beastmastery that would unlock the control of a 2nd eventually 3rd etc pets). But pets should be part of 1 char, independent individuals but at the same time part of each other. Imagine the "pack leader" scene would have no room for armored tanks + full dps + skillful class + caster...

    There could even be a Pet more oriented class like a hunter/druid that could have the referred progression on beastmastery with bonus pets and buffs on the pets while tossing some arrows or off-healing (instead of having a less powerful warrior with a not that useful pet lol).

    Another thing I'd like to discuss if not reserved for other time is how to get/place the pets. Is there any idea where/how to get the pets? (I mean the mechanics, like quest/pokemon like/drops?)

    And if you remember my post on pet color looks/variations etc for rarity but with same stats or with an extra on reaaaaly kickass ultra rare pets of each family, that would lead to trying to collect pets (witch is AWESOME) but would also mean we'd need to have stables/storage for them. Anything thought on that? If not the pet guy is here to remind you so when the time comes they come awesome! =D

    Since I could stay here all night talking about pets I'll leave it for here (for now muahaha =P)

    Just as a final note to show how you can use the pet families to give a lot of variety with not that much work take this as an example: http://www.wow-petopia.com/ you can see how most families have 1 or 2 different forms and the rest is just color changes ;)

    Gratz to the people you read till here, you deserve cool pets =P

  7. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  8. nice ! go on and please work on multiplayer on ptd !

  9. I like the idea of investing in pet points, but the placement is a little tricky :/

    I think the best solution is to just have character spots that don't support pet placement. This would require more consideration on strategy: do i want the best spot without the pet, or the lesser spot with the pet.

    Also, I like the flying pets being more versatile, in that they can be anywhere. You'd balance that out by making the grounded pets stronger in overall stats than the flying pets.

    Also...Second :D

    Super excited for January :D


  10. 2nd yay looks good hope it comes out soon

  11. You ever play disgaea i get a sense of similarity's in some of the stile. Perhaps its just me. In disgaea you could make or capture monster and play them as characters with no Class. Dragon was a dragon, Cat girl was a Catgirl. (yes lol catgirl)

    I never liked pets and in most cases it doesn't make scene unless your a beastmaster or something. Rangers have one Loyal pet and wizards have Familiars that granted small bonuses and did a few other things. Birds could spy from the air, cats and owls could catch mice if you were starving to death, Cats and weasels could sneak into places you couldn't, Weasels could steel stuff from fleeing enemy's. I don't particularly see your fella starving to death and needing food badly but you get the idea. Short of the beastmaster raising a lion there not going to be in combat. Not to mention there were consequences to loosing the Familiars often harsh ones.

    The other application is a convergence of "pet" and mounts. But what role if any mounts will have is up to you. Paladins got mounts which was normally a Paragon of a war horse.

    Its kinda world based anyway everyone basically going to use horses and caravan or are wyvern riders and gryphon rider going into battle only to be joined buy Amazons on Pegasus over a magic forest with a giant tree.

    Final note They had no pets in Lord of the rings simply cause it was impractical But there were intelligent giant eagals that played a helping hand though i would find them fairly ineffective (but still with a powerful beak) in land combat. You could say the Cave troll the orcs used in the mines was a pet of sorts.

    Oh heck why not Lets have a dodo bird pet that give us +3 to magic find. :P

  12. γειά σου (Greek for "hello")November 2, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    That's a sketch of THE KING WHELP!!! (he even has a little crown ^_^)

    I can't wait to start playing HTD!


  13. I like the first and second options more. The third option, not so much. Pets are meant to be support, not actual characters (at least in my view they're support). That's why the first two options work so well. The first option makes pets the equivalent of a healing/support tower in other Tower Defense games. The second option actually allows you to utilize the pets as equipment (almost). I suppose the third option works though. After all, if you can become the leader of a pack of wolves in Minecraft, why not in HTD?

    Leveling it up using the class skill system...looks like we've got a lot more decisions to weigh in the future.

    Small update is small, but I'm certain that Pets will be the tipping factor in future battles.

  14. Maybe the pets could just roam around in the paths where the enemies walk and attack any enemies that are in range

  15. I;d rather the pets be like characters, so we can really feel like they are useful, and not just a dps increase for our heroes.

  16. No pets please... or at least no felines.

    I can't stand the idea of cats getting hurt (and I mean it: the very idea is making me sick as I type this.)

    Of course, I end up sounding like a hypocrite due to my playing of PTD, what with Meowth and Persian being kitties (It's not them that fall into the above case; it's Skitty and Delcatty. I can't play any GenIII games anymore due to those two)

  17. maybe there could be pet spaces next to the character space

  18. I think it'd be fantastic if we could port over a poke from PTD or perhaps by getting certain achievements in PTD be able to use em in other games. I think that'd be pretty fantastic!

  19. I think pets should be on the equip menu and in battle if you click on the character there is an extra button which lets you place pets on places also in ptd there were places which you could only place certain types of pokemon so you should have grounded pet and flying pet exclusive places also if you leave your pet on the character it can't fight but it slowly heals and you could have special levels where you can only use pets(different pets should do different damage and have different healing rates also when your attacking, not defending certain pets you can ride to become faster also in normal mode some pets if attached to their owner could take hits for their owner until they die/faint.

  20. Can we get a progress list on the next update for ninja-ja?(i can't wait for it:D)

  21. i thought the pets would be like dogs and cats

  22. @ Anon 5:58 - Well balanced game (as SnD are working) will make Char+pet do the equivalent dps as other char of the same lvl would. (Specially if its a class oriented to pets, still pets would do more, but the actual char would do less so...)

    The thing is, instead of puting the talents where your sword hits for more dmg you put your pet doing more dmg instead

  23. You could have pets be regular enemies that you befriend when you beat them (example: 5 enemies rush through and 1 of them is befriendable, but only 5% of the time)

  24. Hey I think pets should be part of your party but not take up one of the character slots, but instead have a couple of pet only slots. On the field, pets should be able to go on pet only spots or regular spots if they wanted to. Pets should be a nice addition to your party but shouldn't be as good as a character.

  25. I like the idea where a pet takes up one of your character slots, but if it will I believe it should have some sort of super attack that your human characters wont have. It should have like a bar that charges up. When its done, you can use your super attack! For example, a dragon pet could just be using claw attacks and shooting fireballs. Its super though is like an inferno of flames that does like double the normal characters attack!

  26. @Anon 10:10 PM - That's tough because of all the animations with the character moving so much. Also larger pets like a raptor or something wouldn't really work. Having them as an item is interesting but it sounds a bit like throwing out a pokeball or whatever.

    @Anon 10:15 PM - Not sure if you're the same person as the above Anon but sounds about the same idea. There will most likely be things like mounts but those aren't necessarily pets unless we make them dual purpose. In which case you'd still need to have an unmounted version that is nearby.

    @Anon 10:18 PM - Hmm, possibly but that would pick up quite a bit of room and probably distance the character and enemies from eachother a lot, causing there to be a gap if they are like meleeing for example. Would have to test it out really.

    @Pokeman - Ha, I've been doing the HTD updates every week lately :P The pets could probably have elemental skills but most likely not all at once like your characters.

    @kengee - Cool, what did you win?

    @Anon 10:28 PM - You and the Anon in second could be the same person.. so maybe ;)

    @Gon 10:54 PM - It could go either way it depends really. If the pets are like entirely their own character then they would probably be more in-dept as far as the skills they have otherwise it's ultimately just an extension of your character that has some options and fights along side you.

    What exactly would the purpose of pet specific spots be? Remember there's going to be a lot of spots you can place your characters so it's not like your 5 characters alone are going to fill all the spots anyway.

    Yeah, there might be some buffs like that.

    I agree, I was just putting the idea out there. Sometimes it's easier to come up with an improvement to something rather than starting from scratch.

    Oh you're saying one character having more than one pet? Hmm, maybe, there might be some technical limitations there because it would be more stuff on the screen.

    There are no specific classes exactly, your class changes based on the skills you choose so you'd just be picking a lot of pet based skills that might have those types of effects.

    The mechanic of acquiring the pets will probably be in another post. There's a lot of ways to go about it.

    The color variations and such are pretty standard so we'll have that along with unique versions and such, those are always fun. You'll probably have access to many pets at once but only a limited amount that you can have active. Same idea with the characters themselves. Hah stables and things like that would be much later, but you'll probably be able to see them when you are selecting which ones you want to use in battle.

    Ah yes, the WoW pets, I heard about them :P

    @Luxray - :)

    @Anon 11:10 PM - lol

    @Scorp - Hmm, that's one way to go about it, good idea.

    Right the grounded pets would have something to compensate for the lesser mobility of flying pets.

    @Nicholas Smith - Thanks!

  27. @Darvist - Never heard of Disgaea but the character/pet concept sounds pretty typical.

    Well the term "pet" can be any of those things, they aren't necessarily restricted to animals per se. Different pet types would have different skills and such so it would sort of be like what you describe.

    The pet/mount idea is a possibility but we haven't really gotten into mounts in general and how they'll work.

    The eagle and cave troll examples sound more like something you trigger every once in a while or more part of the environment. Not really a pet as far as something that sticks with you the whole time.

    Haha, dodo birds are awesome

    @γειά σου - Lol

    @Chris Tan - You can do that in Minecraft? Go figure, I guess they've done some updates since I last saw it. I was actually thinking of EQ ha

    I meant leveling up the class skills, not leveling up the pet. That would be like normal.

    @Anon 2:51 AM - They would be stationary like the characters. You could move them but they wouldn't be doing that on their own.

    @Anon 5:58 AM - Well, they'd still be useful even as an addition to your character. Not simply DPS either their skills would depend on the pet type. For example some might me support pets.

    @Ovamiat - You could just choose not to use any of those pets if you wanted :)

    @Anon 1:32 PM - Someone else mentioned a similar idea, it's a possibility.

    @Guitardood - We don't want any copyright stuff in HTD so probably won't see that. There could very well be other cross-game things but not Pokemons themselves.

    @Anon 3:12 PM - Interesting idea, it's certainly a option do have something like that.

    @Anon 3:33 PM - I don't really have one sorry. I'm working on it, slowly but surely :) I'm trying things as I go so I can learn some more programming things so sometimes I redo something a few times trying different methods. I'm basically learning and experimenting with programming with Ninja-Ja so it's taking a bit more time right now.

    @Anon 4:59 PM - There would be many types.

    @Gon 5:28 PM - Yeah, that's pretty much how it would work. Of course with the pet having skills and such it gives your character a few more options and whatnot during battle.

    @Anon 9:45 PM - The act of actually acquiring pets hasn't really been elaborated on, I'll probably get into that in another post. But yeah it could be something like that.

    @Anon 10:36 PM - I like the idea but If I'm understanding you correctly the pets are basically not linked to any of your characters. So I'm not sure how you would make one character's pet skills affect a pet that isn't associated with him. Maybe if the skills just affected all pets on the field and stacked or something. That way if you had more than one character with the same pet skills they wouldn't be wasted.

    @Walidd - The pets would probably have some unique skills that your characters can have. The idea of a super charged attack is interesting, especially if you can get special group attacks going with other pets on the field.

  28. will there be shiny pets or Armour like ptd

  29. I agree with you in thinking that pets should be left on the field, mainly as a visual incentive for investing in the skill and to allow them to benefit most from you/you from them. If they act as a character themselves then don't feel as if it's inviable because of their being limited, just compensate on making them excel in their purpose.
    Frankly, I feel the suggestions you made would all be useful for various reasons, but I'd emphasize in mapping them out the necessity to invest enough points in making a pet something more than novel.
    An interesting thing would be to try to do a behavior similar to the animals they represent, like wolves being more effective in packs (not merely a buff they receive, but that they aren't widespread), a falcon being about being furtive, and so on. It would be more difficult, but you could put a specific range limitation on some animals, or give debuffs if you use a predator/prey combination. It's not real, naturally, but realism has worked in most other art/entertainment forms fairly successfully.
    There's a lot of fluidity in the game (the good kind) so far, and just like with Sam, from waht I've seen at least, you'll do well regardless of the path you take.

  30. Pets could be buyable with SnD coins

  31. I think pets should be equiptable and bought in shops instead of using skill points. -The Man

  32. I like the dragon drawing layout. I wish to draw dragons, but I am only being able to draw really good, the parts of dragons, when I draw. For example the eye of a dragon and the one side of the feet of a dragon. If I could learn to draw dragons for my game that I would like to do. Relating to a story I'm writing and to make the book. I will just admit that I'm know a bit programming, but I'm right now learning to program and would like to have a career for computer science, computer programming, game designer, and education programs programmer. I have a netbook and I'm so interested in computers that I would like to become a computer programmer. So I would like try to help with the game drawings of dragons and send the drawings that I made to you, but how could I do that. Sabruro (nickname). And thanks dan for reading, and sam also, if you're reading.

  33. 1 Thing to pet/characther thing:pets per map.Like you can have up to 5 wolves in a single map(wolve pack) or one fire-breathing dragon at once.To avoid under/over-powering.
    And why some people think of pets as items? They are LIVING THINGS,for God's sake...

  34. This is the 1st time i haven't read the comments.
    But any ways why don't you just have all spaces have enough space for both...

    like you have one island BUT instead of having only 1 space (the "A") have 2: "AA"
    hope you understand and hope everyone well

  35. personally i dont like the desgign of the dragon.The pose and the whole design itself deforms it. Id take out the snake-ish style and do it chubbierr, either that or change the pose into 2-feet like

  36. dragon=whelp king

  37. Hey Dan,
    Will there be a place to keep all your pets n to upgrade them (ex. give them armor,weapons,let them learn new attacks upgrade stats) , maybe merge them into something (ex. maybe u have a bird with ability flight n a land dragon with high defense u merge them to get a flying dragon with high defense)

  38. Is there a reason it couldn't work like the type specific towers in PTD? Like around every spot for heroes, there'd be a few pet-only spots...

  39. Pleas, dont get pets from skils... Itd be much better if we could get them from achivements, quests, doing something good inPTD and so on. That way pets could be collectable, credit for those with the rarest pets. Ro make this work i would think that you can make pet spots wich are spots ment for pets. You buy/earn a pet equip it on your characteer and use it in combat. I dont like the idea of skill pets, unless it is hunters or druids in the picture.

  40. @ Dan - the pet exclusive spots were for some reasons.

    1st to keep the pets closer to the pet owners (even if you have loads spots doesn't feel right to have the chars balled up, but the pet right next to the his owner would not seem strange)

    2nd with those spots just being seen when you move/place a pet you don't feel like missing nothing if you don't have one but would feel more comfortable in case you have. Imagine the tiny island example with the ranged unit shooting arrows that only 1 char spot would seem natural there, 1 or 2 pet slots would probably also fit in there cause the space you need around you to another random human isn't the same as with your dog, if you know what I mean.

    3rd is buff related, not sure how all the chaining will be but if you have 5 chars with their arrangement and buffs a pet would be a 6th slot that could be a mess to place with the buffs so if there were some pet slots in the middle... problem solved =P

    "There are no specific classes exactly, your class changes based on the skills you choose" õ.Ô All chars start with the same talent trees? thought there were classes and the talent trees were more like specializations =S

    About wow pets =D My main char was a hunter there and I had ALL the awesome extremely rare there was to be, even bugs they didn't fix (like my ghost hydra that was showing as a crocolisk) I love bugs that are just visual and stay =D that was the most uniqueness

    Overall exited with pets as always =D

    ps: sry the late reply but university is killing me =P

  41. I think i could help with the dragons ideas just send some to my blog and i will just send them to you and with my thoughts. Hope you all like that idea.
    By Sabruro

  42. hi.
    I think that the pets should be 1 on each character. You could have a smaller square for the pet on top of the character (see link for example pic (VERY fast done)).


  43. i also think that there should be like pink squares for the pet spots

  44. I can unfortunately only in German so I'm just the one in the google translator. I am a big fan of PTD and wanted to ask when will HTD and all because what I expected. I understand that is so little out of your blog and google translator is not very productive. So it would be nice if you could answer me in simple English, or even better if you also (Just put in brackets and post again) for me in German posting. Thanks in advance and I hope a good cooperation.

  45. @ansul - There will probably be unique pets but I wouldn't call them shiny. Maybe armor but probably not visual armor and probably not as much as the actual characters.

    @Anon 12:42 PM - Thanks, the different behaviors for the pets themselves is something that had come to mind as well. It could certianly be interesting although require a little more strategy.

    @Anon 2:20 PM - They might be but you'd still be able to get them in game as well it would just require some effort.

    @The Man - Equippable or not, it's kind of the same thing as just choosing what pet you want active at the time. As far as buying them in shops, maybe some generic ones but getting good ones would definitely be harder to get than just buying them at an in-game shop.

    @Sabruro 9:20 PM - Cool! I wish you the best in your pursuits. As far as the dragon suggestions and whatnot check out Kevin's Blog and let him know: http://kxnhtd.blogspot.com/

    @Anon 10:16 PM - That's an interesting idea although it would mean the pet is more of like the player's pet rather than a characters pet. Could be one way of doing it though.

    @Anon 12:48 PM - Lol, thanks, I'm sure Kevin appreciates it! :)

    @Lux - That's one solution but there's also no reason why the pet shouldn't be allowed to be on any side of the character and not just in the spot that is set up next to your character. We might be limited by space though so it could end up being as you describe but we'll see.

    @Anon 7:03 AM - It's just a concept Kevin threw together. Not sure what you mean with the 2-feet pose though.

    @Anon 8:11 AM - Maybe :P

    @lord kyurem - Something like that is possible yeah but as far as leveing/upgrading and equiping them it'll be similar to how you do it for the characters.

    @Anon 3:13 AM - It could, that's one of the options for sure.

    @anon 4:59 AM - I think you misunderstood. The Pets aren't acquired by skills, it just gives the character the ability to use a pet and increase his effectiveness with it. The pets themselves would be from capturing them, buying them, etc.

    The pet spot idea seems popular, that's certianly high up on the list of things to try.

    @Gon - If there are multiple pet only spots it doesn't necessarily mean the pet will be next to the owner unless it was required the pet be within a certain range, like on a leash basically.

    Pet sizes may vary a bit so the pet only spots would probably be the same size as the character spots.

    Hah, using the pets as links to connect a line of characters is certainly an option but I don't see why you'd need pet only spots to make that possible.

    All the characters have the option of going whichever way they choose, it's like instead of picking a class at the start you instead build the class you want as you level but it keeps you on track as far as your choosing of physical or magical elemental skills. And so your class title changes accordingly. It'll make more sense when you see it, don't worry. :)

    Haha, bugs just sort of happen so can't promise anything there. :P

    No worries about late replies, good lukc with school!

    @Sabruro 12:42 PM - Your best bet is to check out Kevin's blog or email him since he takes care of most of that.

    @Sparx 1:03-1:04 PM - Someone else mentioned something like that but it doesn't really work because the pets will be various sizes and it'll be cool to have some that pick up a full spot while others are just a small creature.
    If there are pet only squares then they'll be a different color and only show when you have a pet.

    @Anon 5:11 PM - Sorry, I don't know any German unfortunately. There is no HTD release date, sorry. When we have something to for you guys to play it'll be here though. :)

  46. This Game looks to be Awesome so far!
    I know it's off topic but I think it would be so cool, as an extra, to have the ability to create your own levels to challenge other players!This would be a great feature for PTD aswell!

  47. I think pets are awesome but you could add mounts to you know the things you ride but i think pets should be seperate like have the flying pets be able to fly around freely and attack whatever also ground pets should just walk freely plus add shops like a pet shop so we can buy cool pets wherever also htd is gonna be awesome and ii think the next ptd birthday give away should be celebii thanks sam & Dan yyou guys are awesome

  48. You could have them standing next to eachother on the same spot -Pat

    1. would be better if you can stand them enywere

  49. it's rather that you can catch your pet

  50. there should be a platypus pet


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