22 December, 2006
This week, we’ll do something fun and bring things back to a practical level.
A game I’ve been playing lately is a Flash game called Tower Defense by Roman Sanine. For those of you not familiar with this type of game, you build defensive towers to attack enemies that travel along a defined path. The goal is to kill the enemies before they get to the end of the path. Towers have different ranges and damage types, and some variations of these types of games have the towers have special abilities.
This game is a rather simplistic version of this type of game. In fact, the game is extremely stripped-down in terms of graphics. But, this makes a good game to study that won’t take a very long time. Studying games like this is an important part of being a good game designer.
Here’s some questions to get you started. Feel free to comment on other aspects as well. Don’t be limited to what I list here!
Gameplay: How are the different towers balanced? What is an optimal strategy for the game? How does the strategy change as the game advances? How is the game balanced between different options? What are the meaningful options a player has?
Mechanics: Describe the basic mechanics of the game. What imbalances are there? How did you determine the imbalances? How could these problems be improved? What minor changes could be made to improve the gameplay? What other mechanics can you evaluate?
Quality: What are the bugs in the game? What interface issues are there? How could these be fixed?
Presentation: How do the functional graphics help and/or hurt the game? How could you improve the graphics? Is information conveyed well by the existing graphics? What information is obscured due to the presentation?
I’ll post some of my thoughts a bit later. :)