Tower Defense Design – The Future of Gaming?Utorok, Júl 26th, 2011
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed something of a trend on the Android Marketplace, and for that matter, on most arcade-game style marketplaces – the appearance of wave after wave of tower defense titles. Their popularity has soared to the point where it’s hard to envision the indie games market without these titles.
Of course, there are big-budget versions – DoubleFine’s “Trenched” is a good example of the fact that major studios and developers are paying close attention to. Whether you’re looking at gaming phones on o2.co.uk or browsing flash game sites, it’s hard to ignore the appeal of the strategic tower defense genre.
But what does that say about games and how we perceive them today? There has always been a definable gap between the casual and the hardcore, with those few perfectly-balanced in betweens finding fame and fortune. But tower defense titles are in an odd place – outside the Venn diagram that helps us define the current swathe of video game design ideas.
Specifically, it’s because they are games that are at first, enjoyable and casual, but soon become a hardcore experience in their strategy and depth. With no discernible means of altering difficulty levels, and certainly no way to tell if the cartoony, simplistic feel to earlier experiences before it becomes all about stopping the mobs from crossing beyond the point of your reign of destruction ever actually dissipates.
It could just be a phase – there’s nothing wrong with capitalizing on the gaming audience’s sudden urge to endlessly build militaristic architecture in order to fend off hordes of hostile entities. But once the gaming crowd moves on, will there be a niche? Presumably – all games survive to some degree, even just in memory. I hear Backgammon’s still going strong. But it’s key to note that while tower defense is the big thing, it’s best to jump on in. The design is straightforward, the appeal is huge. If you’re curious, start work. You could just fund an entirely different project.