Thursday, 7 February 2019

Towering Offense - Ideas For Tower Offense Games

Tower defence games have been around for a long time, bringing a lot of differences between them. It was only a matter of time before the concept was reversed so that the player would be on the offensive, and that came with a game called Anomaly: Warzone Earth. While I don’t exactly know if the game was the first to reverse the concept, there doesn’t seem to have been as many notable games using it.

Tower defence games have you defending against incoming waves of enemies by placing units of your own in or outside the path that the enemy travels. In tower offense, you are the units travelling on the path, with the enemy defences already in place. In the case of Anomaly, you can change the path your units travel to tackle the defences how you want.

Now, this first idea of mine has you not acquire any credits for buying new units during a match. You will be able to buy reinforcements between matches, and to help you decide what you need you’ll see all enemy units for the next map, but in the matches, you’ll be stuck with what you’ve got.

The enemy units will already be placed on the map, and you will have a list of all your units available at all times. You can deploy a unit at any time, with each unit having the usual statistics applied such as attack, defence, range, and speed. The units you send out will be unable to be stopped, so keeping an eye on the field and which units are engaged in battle will help to reduce losses to your team.

You need to keep the offensive going, and avoid losing too many units, as if you are unable to make it to the next base, you’ll have to work back up to what you had before using the starting amount of credits for the base you launched from. There are also no upgrades, as the bases you take give permanent buffs to all units depending on what they are best suited for.

The second idea uses a side-on view instead of the usual top-down viewpoint. There would be no tanks here, as it would be within an interior setting. Instead, there will be a variety of turret units to face off against, along with the normal soldier units.

The idea behind this comes from an idea for a platformer game I had, but I feel it would be better suited to a tower offense game. In the game, you would be a squad of four fighting through the corridors of a cruiser to take back control of it from those who had assumed command. At the end of each section, there would be a boss.

Now, how would I be able to turn that platformer idea into a tower offense? The four squad members are the only units you will have, so you need to look after them. Each of the four have different weapons that are good against various enemy types, but only the person in front will be able to fire their weapon.

At the end of each mission, you’ll accrue credits that you can use to heal up and upgrade the four units. If one or more of the units fell in battle, you’ll need to use credits to revive them, meaning less available for upgrades. If all units fall, you’ll start the mission again with all at full health, though with a further reduction in credits.

Bosses would play out with each boss having a particular favoured turret that they would place between them and the squad after a certain period of health taken from them to allow them to run away to the next point, where more turrets have to be dealt with before more health of the boss can be taken.

Now, if the entire game takes place on a cruiser, how are the visuals of each area going to be different? By not having every area be a corridor. And even the corridors would offer slight differences depending on where they were on the cruiser. You would be going all over this cruiser within the story to make sure no-one remains on board.

It’s the upgrades that matter with this one, but strategy still plays a part if you want to earn that greater reward. And it’s the upgrades that are part of this third idea – to a much greater degree.

See, this third idea is a non-linear approach to such a title. But at the same time, it also slightly breaks the idea of strategy. The region you live has been invaded. Cities have fallen, with everywhere now in control of the invaders. Small pockets of survivors rest in the forests of the region, but have no way to connect with each other as the invaders have set up camps between routes.

In a small section of forest, three of the colonists decide to fight back, and it is these three who you start with. You control where they go, tackling any route out from the patch of forest they reside. They will battle against the invader camps with nothing but branches to start with, and should you wish can be called back to home at any time.

As the survivors defeat a camp, they earn experience to level themselves up and items with which to craft better weapons and armour. As they progress through the region, they can find other survivors who will join the cause, and once enough have joined you can start setting up multiple groups to journey the region. You’ll still need to task them individually by swapping between them, but you can always see their condition and order a retreat no matter which group you currently control.

Once you have built up enough strength, you can start to tackle the cities, which offer larger rewards than the camps and allow you to start building up explosives. See, while you might defeat a camp, the invaders will rest and be ready to fight again unless you blow it up. Once it’s blown up, it will be permanently defeated. Cities will not be reclaimed until you defeat the leader within it, but leaders won’t show until all invaders have been removed from it.

The leaders roam the city, so it’s best to have multiple groups on hand to trap the leader in position before striking. In taking back a city, you will get more recruits to help, access to more powerful equipment, and an additional perk such as additional health or smarter recruits. Once you take a city, it can be set as the base of operations, though any recruits left elsewhere will remain until tasked to move. Once all the cities have been taken back, the main game has been won.

Friday, 1 February 2019

February '19 Monthly Update [Network]

Space Race Championship is drawing ever near to a release, and so to start off the marketing of it, I've been looking back at the books I had previously released with a bit of planning insight. The planning of the Alternate Halesowen and Beyond series looks at the first two books, with the post on Elemental Heroes looking at the third.

Elsewhere, I looked at The Magic Roundabout movie in a Moonlit Critbit, and told everyone to Get the Shopping In! with the next in the Crossing to the New Life series, looking at the rest of the shopping district. A video looking at more winter gifts in Los Santos in GTA V was uploaded to Youtube.

This month is set to be an idea zone. Last month I said I might get something up relating to tower offense game ideas. That will be coming this month, along with another post giving ideas about Star Wars Battlefront - this time on changing up a few things for a third game. The next Crossing to the New Life will be looking at the campsite, and the affects it has on the town. I moved it forward, owing to a feeling.

Animal Crossing is coming. We know that much. I've been working on the idea that the game will be coming at the end of the summer, with a full reveal at the beginning of it. However, I have a feeling we might be seeing a quicker release of this one, with a release at the end of spring instead. Animal Crossing isn't a series that needs plenty of time spent on it looking at the details. One Direct can cover it easily. Getting it out before E3 also allows for more time spent on the bigger hits during the show. And after all, the campsite is the largest feature of this idea of mine, so it only seems fair to push it out sooner rather than later.

Elsewhere, the Forza Horizon 4 route showcase will come this month, along with another one for Star Wars Battlefront. The February update for the game hasn't come yet, but that's no surprise when a new game mode is coming - and that's what I'll be covering in the video. Along with showing off Dooku and Anakin.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Planning of Elemental Heroes [Network]

Elemental Heroes has been a series concept since around December/2006 as just a twenty slide Powerpoint story. Space Race Championship didn’t follow until around January/2009. Of the two, though, it was Space Race Championship that got the most attention. Elemental Heroes felt a very one and done deal – even if I had very briefly started on a sequel around May/2007.

However, twenty slides seems a bit too little to be turning into a full story, so it sat on my storage for ten years not being touched. The idea of the world was too much to pass up – even if there was little to it. Bit by bit I gleaned everything I could, reworking and expanding everything. Characters, the world, even the elements themselves. Then there was the fact that – as I’ve said – twenty slides is a bit too little to be turning into a full story.

The story as presented in that Powerpoint is easily told in a paragraph. It’s Halloween, and five teenagers get arrested for something they didn’t do. In the cell they wait, they find five stones and get launched into the world of being Power Rang- I mean police force members. 2006 was the year of Power Rangers SPD, remember, and Dino Thunder still would have been in my mind at the time. Those five teenagers are recruited into the force, do battle against a witch named Darcy and her sidekick Draco, and stop her collecting the elemental powers the force possesses.

Very Rangers inspired, with the elemental powers coming from Pokémon types and moves. It focused on a few battles and felt very much like a very condensed season of Rangers. A few names were taken from Rangers, such as Brandon and Sky, with others coming from other cartoons of the times [or at least inspired by them]. When planning started on expanding everything, the names of those characters would be changing.

Max became Martin. Sky became Kieron. Sally became Emma. Brandon… stayed the same, though the meaning of the name changed. Just as there was a Brandon Golden in the Alternate Halesowen and Beyond series, so there became a Brandon Golden in the Elemental Heroes series. This version of Brandon borrows very little from me as a person, though perhaps is favoured more than the others.

With the characters defined, I then did the same with the world, building it up to create a lot of the rules it obeys. From the start I wanted it to be in episode format rather than naming them chapters. A hold-out of the fact I still wanted the Rangers feel within. I wasn’t going to go through an entire forty episodes in one book, but build arcs that were defined by the book. The first seven episodes introduced the mechanics of the world, who the heroes and villains were, and a bit of history as well.

The opening episode was changed to have the three prospective force members already be in training. They show their skill to earn being picked for the team. And note that the number has dropped. Another hold-out to Rangers – specifically Dino Thunder – was to not have the full team together at the start, but build it up. However, I was messing with the team dynamics all through the seven episodes to see how the characters would react. At the end of the first arc, the team stands at four of five.

The world had taken on a more videogame-like outlook, so I used that to the full. As such, the main villain of Darcy controls very videogame-like creatures such as those found in Kingdom Hearts. I separated Draco from her to become an individual character in his own right, with his own history that gets explored here.

The first few missions also play out differently between the two versions. In the original Powerpoint version, the team are instantly ready to deal with Darcy being who they fight. With the full version, the team don’t even have their elements to hand as they are called to aid the primary unit. The second battle involves just the two leaders. Both of those battles are against a few of those creatures. And speaking of leaders, in the original version it is Brandon who was the leader, but I settled for Kieron in the full version as I felt this version of Brandon was better suited to not be constrained by the leadership role.

The capture of the commander – Gary – moved up the field a few episodes from the original version. In that original version, he’s captured just because. Whereas the full version gives a reason in line with the history on display. Instead, the full version explores the elements and builds up more of the world. It also introduces the fourth member of the team before the story hits the point Gary is captured.

The original version then decided to end… weirdly. Evil was still around yet a break was had from fighting. Competitions were held and a holiday to Benidorm won. Christmas and New Year’s parties held, and the next fight with Darcy didn’t take place until February. However, before that took place, the battle with Draco was held.

This entire section of the story involved Draco leaving Darcy and mind-controlling the regular citizenry to become his soldiers. Unfortunately, that part of the original version is the weakest of the lot, and wouldn’t have worked with the new history and character of Draco. It was also weak because the team faced no morality about the fact they were defeating the regular folk of the city they lived.

In the full version, episode six sees Gary captured and rescued, with the seventh being the victory Darcy been looking for, only to have it wiped from her. That episode was meant to be a two-part episode, but when I got to writing it, there simply wasn’t enough material to split it into two parts. Besides, it’s not like that was the final end.

The sequel of the original version would have involved time travel. Now isn’t that a fun topic to go into. Darcy would have created the time element to send the team back to the time when her sisters were powerful. I don’t need to be using this at all, but the concept of Darcy having sisters – like all the ideas from the original version – got expanded and hinted at the end of the full version. The second arc of the full version will be detailing all that.

So far, only a quarter of this entire story has been planned, but I know who the characters are and where they are headed. Since I already have forty episodes pegged total [though that might have to drop a few] I know roughly how many episodes per arc I want. I also know roughly what those arcs will be, with the second arc exploring more of the world and of Darcy, then three more arcs after it. By the time of the final arc, all the elements will be shown off.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Magic Roundabout - Moonlit Critbit [TV&Film]

With Ice Age being my first film on DVD in my own collection, it would only be a matter of time before that collection grew. Being young, there weren’t many opportunities to expand it, but over the years I amassed a great collection of films. One of which was added early on and became a favourite of mine for a few reasons.

I had no experience of The Magic Roundabout series, with the movie being my first outing with the cast of animals, humans, and spring-things. It also became a way for me to be introduced to several music performers – with one of those bands becoming one of my greatest favourites.

The movie features two of those songs very close to each other. The opening credits – featuring Magic by Pilot. Then You Really Got Me by The Kinks, except this version being sung by two of the cast. It’s a fun take on the song, and in just that scene the character of all the cast is present.

Another show of character is the flashback/dream sequence to before evil’s escape, with all the characters enjoying themselves on a sunny day, as Mr. Blue Sky by ELO plays. It was this song and this scene together that my love for ELO started, as I’d always be associating that song with this movie and specifically that scene. The scene captures the contrast between the two times perfectly, and is one I always remember fondly.

I Love To Boogie by T.Rex being a part of the end battle shows that this is about as light-hearted a story as you can get – even with the end of the world villain plan. Oh, there are parts where it takes itself serious to allow the characters to express themselves in the situation, but this isn’t supposed to be a dark tale.

Dougal is the star. The catalyst of the plot. And a loveable dog who learns a lesson – sort of. Then there’s Ermintrude, the singing cow who sees herself as a sensational star – even if all but one disagree. Brian might be a snail, but he’s a brave fellow even if he fumbles with expressing his feelings of love. Dylan is my second favourite of the cast, the carefree rabbit who keeps his cool no matter the situation.

Also a part of the cast are Zebedee, Florence, the other two children – named Basil and Coral here, along with Mr Rusty – the faithful roundabout operator. Only Zebedee – the jack-in-the-box creature – has any importance, with the others being trapped on the roundabout for most of the movie when it becomes encased in ice. The humans serve the story of being those characters our heroes are rescuing, adding flavour to the dream sequence with Florence also being a part of Dougal’s nightmare when all looks lost.

These characters are another of the reasons this became a favourite of mine. There’s plenty of end of the world scenarios in a variety of movies so the characters really have to sell it. Since there’s something to like about all of them, it works. The third reason would be the references it makes [which were boosted to a massive degree in the American version which from what I understand took over the entire movie] and the well-executed jokes.

Yes, it’s very Saturday-morning-cartoonish, and in a way feels more like set-pieces of such cartoons than an actual self-contained movie, though I certainly love how Zeebad is the epitome of such cartoons. His plan, his emotions, and even personality match the villains found in such cartoons. However, it has the perfect blend of music and character, and the action scenes are still well crafted.

It might not be one of the greatest movies around, but for the experience it has given me and the introduction to several things – ‘cus, hey, I sure did look back on the history of The Magic Roundabout series and take an interest in it after this movie – it holds a place as one of those greats for me.