July 22, 2007

Desktop Tower Defense

I've been playing this flash game a fair bit lately, along with its cousin "Element Tower Defense".  It started out as a flash implementation of the old Warcraft minigame, though it's diverged a fair bit from the original.  Basically, creeps come out from the top and left, and you have to build mazes out of various flavors of guns to divert their path and destroy them.  New waves of creeps come every 20 secs, though you get bonus points for sending them early - make sure you've got enough excess destructive capacity to deal with them though.

Lately I've been sticking with a basic '+' maze.  This forces the creeps to pass within range of each gun two to four times.  Since money for upgrades is limited, you've got to get your money's worth out of your guns.  The creeps enter from left and top, and are forced to enter the maze from the left.  That first turn is a 6-gun killing field, reinforced by a freeze cannon that slows the creeps down so the guns get extra time to do their job.  Because the maze is aligned along the axes they are optimally situated to deal with the flying creeps that ignore the maze.
getting started

At this point nearly all the main cannons are fully upgraded, and we're beginning to approach the endgame with it's peculiar set of challenges...
nearly upgraded

Towards the end of the game there are two waves of bosses that are incredibly annoying to deal with:  First there is an amoeba boss wave that takes a long time to kill, and this is followed by a flying boss wave that is very fast and also annoying to kill.  Invariably the amoeba wave takes longer than 20 secs to kill so my guns get distracted by having to deal with both waves at the same time.  I find it easier to deal with the flying wave first then the amoeba wave later.  To do this I reconfigure the maze just before the amoeba wave arrives.  Adding some extra paths keeps them out of range of the guns as long as possible...

...then I send the flying wave at the same time as the amoeba wave.  Because the flyers are so fast and ignore the maze they fly straight along the line of guns and get destroyed before the amoeba wave gets into engagement range.
Reversal of Fortunes

The last wave is an extended wave of normal creeps at a high difficulty level, but they are delayed the same way as the amoeba creeps.  So the guns have plenty of time to mop up the amoebas.

the beginning of the end

And a few minutes later it's all over - the normal creeps really never had a chance.

I'm still working on my timing with this set-up.  Because you get extra points for sending waves early you need to keep all guns engaged at all times, but without overloading them so that creeps start getting through.  There winds up being a kind of rhythm with the game where you time the creep waves so that the guns on opposite sides are engaged on alternate waves of creeps.

Unfortunately cheating is rampant in this game - players use the flash debuggers and similar tools to give themselves a tremendous pool of money at the start, so they start the game with an extremely built-up maze with 20+ fully upgraded guns then send all 50 waves at the same time for the maximum bonus.  So it's impossible to break into the upper levels of the scoreboard playing honestly.  The superficially similar Elemental Tower Defense game doesn't seem to have that problem to the same degree.  I'll discuss that one later on...

Posted by: mparker762 at 11:07 AM
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