dinsdag 21 juni 2011

Dungeon Builder: gameplay idea

About a month ago, I came up with a new game idea that I thought was worth checking out. One of the most popular genres nowadays is Tower Defense. This genre, originating from Starcraft custom maps, became wildly popular in recent years because of games such as Desktop Tower Defense and Plants vs Zombies. The good Tower defense games are a lot of fun for casual and hardcore gamers alike, but there are some things that frustrate me about the genre.
  • There is no persistence to your carefully constructed maze. Usually, the games are split up into levels, and you start from scratch each time, starting with the crappy turrets and building up to the awesome ones.
  • Turrets are in themselves quite boring and stupid: they don't move, they don't think, they just shoot.
  • The opponents are equally stupid: they walk on a pre-defined path to their certain doom.
The idea for my game, now temporarily given the uninspired title "Dungeon Builder" until I can find something more awesome, is a mix between Dungeon Keeper and Tower Defense. The basic idea is that you are the manager of an underground dungeon, which you can improve by digging.

The goal is to survive increasingly strong waves of heroes that attempt to raid your dungeon and steal away your treasure. Heroes will come in parties, and will behave pretty much like a player would in a dungeon crawler. They explore the dungeon maze you've built, kill creatures on the way, and try to get to the treasure.

In order to defend your treasure, you will have to summon creatures and place them strategically as your line of defense. Additionally, each creature has RPG stats that determine its role in combat, and an important part of the game is to position your defenses in such a way as to be prepared for the incoming party as optimally as possible. Place a tank creature at a choke point, with several ranged damage dealers behind it, and watch as heroes attempt to break your defenses with their own tactics.

This all happens in a persistent way. All throughout a campaign (which compares to RTS campaigns), you keep your dungeon. There's no levels to walk through. This makes you feel connected to your construction, as you are stuck with it for a long time. Because hero parties get stronger continually, you will also have to improve your defenses by summoning more creatures, relocating important structures, increasing your dungeon maze, etc.

This basic idea seemed quite appealing to me, so I set out to write a quick prototype for it.

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