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Increase the re-playability of TD maps ?

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Ardenian

A

Ardenian

Hello,

what do you guys think, how can TD creators increase the re-playability of their maps ?
Of course, some maps reached a legendary status, like YouTD or GreenCircleTD, but what about new maps ?
I often play TD maps that are above average, but if I don't host them myself via MMH I never see them again.

What features should a TD map include to make it very interesting ?

Of course, I don't ask without purpose, my current project is a TD and I worry about its final stage. It seems to me that the map is very simple although there is such a big amount of work behind it.

So, features I thought of:

  • Adding player experience that allows to unlock new towers and abilities for them, as well additional ability paths ( for hero towers).
  • Adding item drop that slightly influences tower stats / tower ability stats and are as well saveable and upgradeable ( Limit 6).
  • Adding 'tower role', that means players can choose an initialised ability that supports their gameplay, as known from RPG games.
I would be glad if you could add more features that are interesting and want players to play the map again!
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

Add game modes and make them different from each other.

Oh, this is a good idea! I will add different difficulties and each harder difficulty will unlock more challenges.
I cannot think of additional game modes, but I will think about it!
Thank you!

I don't see TD maps often but the maps I saw are empty and lifeless, they also look boring with just spawning creeps and not something that really exciting.
Yes, I have something in mind that will change this drastically, but I don't want to spoiler :)
 
Level 6
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A good idea that is not really new, but I'd like to see in some TDs would be the function that can be decided at the beginning is sharing money.
That'd bring more teamplay, if everyone gets the gold for each minion that was killed.
Would also make it impossible to steal others creeps or something like that. TD pro players tend to do this.

Next thing that would come in mind for me would be a mode where all players build @ one bigger lane? I mean people would screw up this a lot, and it would need a lot thinking because trolling and griefing would be a huge point. In terms of blocking or destroying each other.
Just 2 little ideas I'd like to see in a TD.
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

A good idea that is not really new, but I'd like to see in some TDs would be the function that can be decided at the beginning is sharing money.
That'd bring more teamplay, if everyone gets the gold for each minion that was killed.
Would also make it impossible to steal others creeps or something like that. TD pro players tend to do this.
At the moment I am figuring out how to distribute wood and gold, as wood is already set to skill points.
I am not sure what gold will do, I struggle between common money and Victory Points.
Thank you, I will keep in mind you idea!

Next thing that would come in mind for me would be a mode where all players build @ one bigger lane? I mean people would screw up this a lot, and it would need a lot thinking because trolling and griefing would be a huge point. In terms of blocking or destroying each other.
Just 2 little ideas I'd like to see in a TD.
Well, my TD has only one line, so this won't be a problem :)

Thank you for taking your time!
 
Level 9
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i think the "tower role" thing you suggested is nice. i was thinking there can be alot of different "skills" that you can choose for each tower, allowing for certain types of tower building strategies if done right.
 
Level 23
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Oh, this is a good idea! I will add different difficulties and each harder difficulty will unlock more challenges.
I cannot think of additional game modes, but I will think about it!
Thank you!
Make something like in in each game modes there are special towers you can build that the other modes don't have.
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

i think the "tower role" thing you suggested is nice. i was thinking there can be alot of different "skills" that you can choose for each tower, allowing for certain types of tower building strategies if done right.

Yes, I agree with you, this would be very nice.

Right now, each hero tower has two different ability paths à three abilities, one additional will be unlockable with player experience.

Also, I think it is a good idea to make hero abilities influence themselves, for example frost buffs decrease the damage of fire based spells.

Thank you!
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

Make something like in in each game modes there are special towers you can build that the other modes don't have.

Hm, I understand. It is a great idea, but I am not sure whether it could be an advantage for my TD.

I included boss towers ( an idea I got from another TD), so bossed will drop items you can corrupt and place them as new towers, but you have to have a certain player experience to convert them into towers ( like corruption).
 
Level 10
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I was thinking that at the beginning of the game, the map would choose like one of five different monster sets. Like there would a bandit set or like a mur'gul set. I dont know just seems like fighting the same things would get annoying. Good luck!
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

I was thinking that at the beginning of the game, the map would choose like one of five different monster sets. Like there would a bandit set or like a mur'gul set. I dont know just seems like fighting the same things would get annoying. Good luck!

This is an interesting idea, but hardly executable if you have many waves to defeat. Each new unit slows down the loading progress, if I recall right.
I also use indexed variables and it would be a huge task to create new for each wave.

I think it would be a good idea, too, to add different types of units, as you said, but in the same game.
First many Alliance units 'attack', then maybe later some Naga appear from a different spawning position, then maybe some air from a third position, and so on.

Thank you!
 
Level 6
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Wow this thread really is exploding. I just had another idea.
You should not only work on the towers and make these specials, also consider the minion waves.
Most TDs I played, it felt like one wave is spawned after another, always with the same stuff.
I mean some have more HP, some are flying, some are invisible, but I felt like there need to be more special waves.
Like blinking minions that can blink over towers for example. A weak wave of minions and all minions get 50 hp stronger if one dies. Something like that. Just more variation in these waves, that you really have to think about what to build.
I'd even go that far, that different waves have different types of armors - And something like that.
We're always talking about towers & game modes, but we should not forget the minion waves!
 
Level 19
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Why not based the towers on holy, poison, frost, undead something like that and the creeps also have this kind of type

Ex.
Holy tower deals more damage against demonic units, half damage against holy units and undead units.

so players must make a variation of towers and not spamming the same towers.
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

You should not only work on the towers and make these specials, also consider the minion waves.
Most TDs I played, it felt like one wave is spawned after another, always with the same stuff.
Just more variation in these waves, that you really have to think about what to build.
I'd even go that far, that different waves have different types of armors - And something like that.
Indeed, a very good aspect. One just has to creative enough to find good ideas for the many waves.
I guess I will recruit an idea specialist one day, when the map reaches a certain stage.

Why not based the towers on holy, poison, frost, undead something like that and the creeps also have this kind of type
Ex.
Holy tower deals more damage against demonic units, half damage against holy units and undead units.
so players must make a variation of towers and not spamming the same towers.

Hm, I understand. I trigger the damage dealt tho.
I am not sure about this point, I will have to think about it because I am not sure how to add it to my map.
I know many TDs use this, like YouTD or Elemental TD.
 
Here's something to consider for creeps, and these names just for some lulz, some might have been stated before by others :

Chain Health : Killing one causes others in a small radius to gain additional Max hp (recommended using BonusMod for this task)

Summoning : Every once in a while, the creeps spawn additional creeps through spell that marches onward (a bit hard to balance for the gain from the spawns)

Evader : Creeps has Evasion

Tower Stopper : Creeps can mini-stun towers (via firebolt for example) every few seconds

Illusion Army : Creeps can create illusion of themselves (via mirror image preferably) every few seconds

March of the Horde : Creeps spawn up to 2x as much with up to 50% less health (quite common though, IMO)

Magic Blocker : Creeps are immune to spells and magical towers (VERY common)

Rush! : Creep has MUCH higher speed with about medium evasion (difficult to balance)

Last Resort : Killing a creep causes the killer to be damaged, slowed and/or stunned for a short duration (quite hard to balance)

Decoy : Creeps move at higher speed during some moments, and they leave illusions behind during this phase (difficult)

Healing Alignment : Creeps cast a mass heal spell on certain spots (preferably don't heal too much)

Shaking : Creeps causes towers to attack slower (a little slower)

And of course, TD should and preferably have bosses.

Some Game Modes, might have been stated before :

Mini Mania : All creeps are smaller and weaker, but comes in more larger numbers and grant less bounty

Invisible Walkers : All creeps are invisible, has higher movement speed and evasion, but all towers gain invisibility detection

Healing Blasts : At random spots in map, some healing circles will heal the creeps in X range every few seconds
 
Level 25
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Things I've done in http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/map-development-202/random-walk-td-264387 to improve replayability:
  • Map/path is randomised every game, so every time you play is a different challenge.
  • Creep waves are randomised and have random abilities.
  • Income mechanics allow you to offset the "lose point", which increases overall game time. Income also adds an additional element of minimax, encouraging players to make their defenses just barely strong enough, which sometimes fails, requiring a restart.
  • Well balanced creep waves ensures every level is a very close call, a bad decision might require you to restart. In TDs that are too easy, you can often get away with building nothing for ~5 rounds at a time.

The best way to improve replayability would be to make it competitive (player versus player), using whichever interaction you like. Legion TD, for example, is very basic and unvaried as a TD, but the PvP nature of it makes it something you'd play dozens of times over.

YouTD's replayability is due to the wide range of available towers. It's impossible to built every tower in one game, so you have to play again and again to see everything.
GreenTD's replayability is due to the balance. The balance is bad, mind you, but the result is that you'll lose often and have to restart to beat the level you died on. Unfortunately Green TD is nothing more than a memory game (you just need to built/upgrade a certain tower every X level to survive), so I don't recommend you follow its example.

This post explains the core philosophy perfectly:
I think it all boils down to the choices and consequences a player can make. Make choices evident and their consequences more. Add breadth in the form of more initial choices available to the player. Ex.: more towers, more modes, etc.
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

I think it all boils down to the choices and consequences a player can make. Make choices evident and their consequences more. Add breadth in the form of more initial choices available to the player. Ex.: more towers, more modes, etc.

Yes, I think I have something for this point.

Different towers interfere themselves, like frost buffs will reduce fire damage and so on.
Also, players have the initially choice between different tower tech skills that will lead to the inference I mentioned.

A very important point, thank you!

@Daffa the Mage

Nice collection of unit abilities, thank you!
Tho some will be very difficult due to my damage triggering ( well, actually it is not very difficult, I think, if using a simple ITE checking if a unit has, for example, evasion and then 'Skip remaining actions')

Some of these will surely be implanted!

About casting abilities, what is the recommend way to trigger them ? For bosses I could imagine way point entering or something similar, but for common abilities ?
Can I simply use mana that will execute a trigger once the mana limit is reached or are there other recommend ways ?

@rulerofiron99

Nice ideas!
How do you trigger the random pathing / mapping ? Do you use a system for this ?

Balancing creep waves is very difficult tho. Only testing and mathematical calculation can lead to success, I guess. Do you have a recommendation ?


Thank you guys, you helped me a lot! I think I got what's essential.
 
AI has a default behavior to use spells on certain conditions (which in my suggestions will prone to trigger), thus reducing amount of triggers needed.

These active ones can be done without too much triggering (just add the abilities to the creeps, mana for their casts and such, and AI will do the rest automatically, however, make sure to check whenever a unit cast an ability if it belongs to the creep player, and then reset it's order to moving after cast) :

Summoning : Every once in a while, the creeps spawn additional creeps through spell that marches onward (a bit hard to balance for the gain from the spawns)

Tower Stopper : Creeps can mini-stun towers (via firebolt for example) every few seconds

Illusion Army : Creeps can create illusion of themselves (via mirror image preferably) every few seconds

Just make sure towers aren't Invulnerable, especially for the firebolt thingy. As for Healing Alignment, I don't remember of AI behavior for using scrolls. If they use it just when they need it, then just do it like these three ^^

Also, the summoned creeps from the Illusion Army and Summoning MUST be ordered manually to move to the target spot, or else they just stand there waiting to get killed (and if they can attack, they'll most likely to destroy the towers).

This is the easiest way, you can use regions and such, but I prefer to keep it simple for now ^^
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

@Daffa the Mage

Alright, thank you! :) I will take a very close look on this once I am focused on the waves.
 
Level 25
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How do you trigger the random pathing / mapping ? Do you use a system for this ?

Feel free to take a look at the system in my map, but be warned it's a bit messy.

What you want is a labyrinth generating algorithm. Google it, you should be able to find some simple descriptions of how to make one.

Balancing creep waves is very difficult tho. Only testing and mathematical calculation can lead to success, I guess. Do you have a recommendation ?

Here's my method:
All towers are balanced around one figure: damage done during a round per gold spent. This is the total damage a tower will do to the creep wave during a round, and you can record this to easily analyse it. E.g. a watchtower with 5dps hits the creeps for 20 seconds to give a total of 100 damage done during the round. It costs 10 gold, so it has a DPG (damage per gold) of 10.
Once you have this value for all towers, you can calculate how strong a player's defense is.

If the player starts with 100 gold and all towers have a DPG of 10, that player is expected to deal 1000 damage during the round. In this round you can give the creeps a total life of 1000, and the player should survive perfectly.

If you want to different types of waves, for example a swarm wave with double creeps or a boss wave with just 1 creep, it gets a little trickier. At first glance a swarm wave with double creeps could easily be balanced by giving each one half life, but consider these two options:
Option 1 - the creeps will still spawn at the same interval, e.g. 1 per second. This causes the creep "convoy" to be twice as long, which means your towers will spend more time hitting the creeps, thereby increasing their DPG.
Option 2 - you spawn the creeps at a faster interval to make the creep convoy the same length. Now you have a new factor: towers with splash damage will be MUCH more effective and have a much higher DPG than single-target towers.
The way I address this is by having a different DPG value per tower per creep type.
So my watch tower has 100 DPG against a normal wave, 70 DPG against a swarm wave and 30 DPG against a boss wave, while my cannon tower has 50 DPG against a normal wave and 250 DPG against a boss wave.

A tower's true value will be the average of these DPG values, and this will tell you how much the tower should cost. You can make it even more accurate by weighting each of these DPG values by the frequency of each wave type.

I'm planning to make a proper mathematical formula that takes DPS, splash and range into account for my own TD, if I ever get around to it I'll share the formula with you.
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

Feel free to take a look at the system in my map, but be warned it's a bit messy.
Oh thank you, I will!
Oh yeah, I know what's a messy trigger/system.

What you want is a labyrinth generating algorithm. Google it, you should be able to find some simple descriptions of how to make one.
Hm, I think I will choose another solution.

Instead of generating new paths, there are different way points for one point to point. So there are three way options for one waypoint ( = three waypoints) and the next one is one again.
There could also be some more variation, too.
What do you think ?

I think I cannot use an algorithm due to the use of the cave doodads you showed me.


Here's my method:
All towers are balanced around one figure: damage done during a round per gold spent. This is the total damage a tower will do to the creep wave during a round, and you can record this to easily analyse it. E.g. a watchtower with 5dps hits the creeps for 20 seconds to give a total of 100 damage done during the round. It costs 10 gold, so it has a DPG (damage per gold) of 10.
Once you have this value for all towers, you can calculate how strong a player's defense is.

If the player starts with 100 gold and all towers have a DPG of 10, that player is expected to deal 1000 damage during the round. In this round you can give the creeps a total life of 1000, and the player should survive perfectly.

If you want to different types of waves, for example a swarm wave with double creeps or a boss wave with just 1 creep, it gets a little trickier. At first glance a swarm wave with double creeps could easily be balanced by giving each one half life, but consider these two options:
Option 1 - the creeps will still spawn at the same interval, e.g. 1 per second. This causes the creep "convoy" to be twice as long, which means your towers will spend more time hitting the creeps, thereby increasing their DPG.
Option 2 - you spawn the creeps at a faster interval to make the creep convoy the same length. Now you have a new factor: towers with splash damage will be MUCH more effective and have a much higher DPG than single-target towers.
The way I address this is by having a different DPG value per tower per creep type.
So my watch tower has 100 DPG against a normal wave, 70 DPG against a swarm wave and 30 DPG against a boss wave, while my cannon tower has 50 DPG against a normal wave and 250 DPG against a boss wave.

A tower's true value will be the average of these DPG values, and this will tell you how much the tower should cost. You can make it even more accurate by weighting each of these DPG values by the frequency of each wave type.

I'm planning to make a proper mathematical formula that takes DPS, splash and range into account for my own TD, if I ever get around to it I'll share the formula with you.

Well, it sounds very unique to me.

I would be glad if you'd share it then one day with me :)
I might take it in consideration if I create another TD that can use it more efficient.

The problem is, most of my towers don't have a base attack, but attack via spells, that makes it a bit messy, as the damage is triggered, too, to have a survey over balance and all.
Thank you!
 
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Instead of generating new paths, there are different way points for one point to point. So there are three way options for one waypoint ( = three waypoints) and the next one is one again.
There could also be some more variation, too.
What do you think ?

This is a good solution.

I think I cannot use an algorithm due to the use of the cave doodads you showed me.

You can make them destructibles and place them with triggers.

The problem is, most of my towers don't have a base attack, but attack via spells, that makes it a bit messy, as the damage is triggered, too, to have a survey over balance and all.

All of this can still be broken down into a single "damage done" number.

Currently I just place a tower and run a test wave to record how much damage it deals, you should be able to do the same.

Another note on balance:
If you have any locations where the path crosses itself or comes close to another point in the path, you have what I like to call a "double point". If you place a tower here, it will attack the creep convoy for two intervals instead of just one. So in my watch tower example, it will attack the creeps for 20 seconds to do 100 damage, and then a few seconds later when the creeps are on the other side of the path the tower will attack the creeps again for 20 seconds, doing another 100 damage. So a double point effectively doubles the damage output of towers.
It's important to take this into consideration when you're terraining and designing the balance between upgrading and tower spamming.

If you have ~5 towers that can be upgraded endlessly, all of them can be placed on a double point and all of them will give you double DPG, so in reality it would be more accurate to calculate the DPG by placing the recording tower on a double point.
If the player will be building a lot of towers this isn't much of a problem, it just becomes part of the player's decision making on which towers they want to put at a double point.
 

Ardenian

A

Ardenian

You can make them destructibles and place them with triggers.
Ah, I think I will stay with my option. It gives the whole map a nice cave feeling, whereas yours requires much triggering and also even more thinking about the terrain.
I think I like static terrain more :)

All of this can still be broken down into a single "damage done" number.

Currently I just place a tower and run a test wave to record how much damage it deals, you should be able to do the same.

Another note on balance:
If you have any locations where the path crosses itself or comes close to another point in the path, you have what I like to call a "double point". If you place a tower here, it will attack the creep convoy for two intervals instead of just one. So in my watch tower example, it will attack the creeps for 20 seconds to do 100 damage, and then a few seconds later when the creeps are on the other side of the path the tower will attack the creeps again for 20 seconds, doing another 100 damage. So a double point effectively doubles the damage output of towers.
It's important to take this into consideration when you're terraining and designing the balance between upgrading and tower spamming.

If you have ~5 towers that can be upgraded endlessly, all of them can be placed on a double point and all of them will give you double DPG, so in reality it would be more accurate to calculate the DPG by placing the recording tower on a double point.
If the player will be building a lot of towers this isn't much of a problem, it just becomes part of the player's decision making on which towers they want to put at a double point.

Oh, thank you for making me aware of this! I think I would have missed it..

I see there is a lot more I have to pay attention to.
 
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