They mostly come at night… mostly

A while back, I started playing Die 2 Nite, a browser based multiplayer survival game. I also quit playing a while back, since it didn’t really work well. I’m not gonna go into all the problems but, generally, the concept just didn’t work. In the end, you can’t expect 40 strangers to actually work together and complete goals when 1 guy can literally get everyone killed. Too many people, too much potential for griefing.

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Anyways, I was thinking about new types of social games and was entertaining the idea of a tower defence game, but with typical resource management in order to build your defence. There are already some tower defence games on Facebook, but none that have really taken off.

Playing CityVille the past 6 days has given me a few new feelings about these types of games. I won’t be continuing to play it, I’m kinda bored, but I do have a bit more appreciation for the resource management of farming and city building games. Playing CityVille with a real goal, with meaning, would actually be quite fun. It’s like a little job for you to do every day, a little 15 minute escape, but it actually builds towards something. There’s no reason for any of these city/farm games, and meaning is something very important in games.

What is very interesting to me, is the combination of city building and tower defence. Combat has been introduced in a few of these city games (City of Wonder, My Empire, Mini Kings) but it’s mostly been an afterthought. RTS games are all about resource management, strategy and tactics. Adding strategy and tactics to a city-builder (a resource management game) is a natural evolution. Unfortunately, strategy and tactics are often scary concepts for casual players.

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My Empire by Playfish

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Tower defence is one of the most universally loved genres emerging in the last few years. TD webgames are all over the place and among the most popular on websites like Armor Games and Kongregate (Gemcraft is the most popular on AG). They’re loved by all ages and all demographics. Plants vs Zombies is the pinnacle of TD so far, growing into a real sensation.

Both of these genres could be combined to create a very successful social game. Tower defence would get a proper resource management component (currently they’re rather dull, based on time) and City Builders would get meaning. You’re farming so you can build towers to survive an attack. You’re defending your farms so that you can survive for longer.

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Gemcraft, one of the most popular and highest rated webgames

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When I get some time, perhaps I will work on some concepts for such a game. There’s one great concept in Die 2 Nite that really intrigues me; temporary persistence. Tower defence needs to have the possibility of failure but, if the aim is survival, failure = death! City-builders need to be persistent because you progress through having a bigger and better town. You need some persistence but, in a Tower Defence City game, it has to be temporary. You persist as long as you can, then, when you’re finally defeated, you are rewarded for your efforts. This reward helps you last even longer next time. The more you play, the more you die, the more challenging and rewarding the game becomes. It’s similar to League of Legends’ Summoner Meta-game, there’d have to be a character/profile which can level up and improve… but, every game is new, from scratch.

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Will you survive to see Ripley and Newt's relationship evolve?

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The potential for this sort of game is enormous, I believe. A survival game where you hire your friends to defend your town. Where you try to protect them from harm. Now that’s some meaning! If you do well, your friends and family survive for another day! If you don’t, you all die! That’s a good reason to login every day. You’re also protecting a community. The community can have personalities, relationships and stories. The longer you survive, the more stories your community will tell. Perhaps there will be affairs, crime, inspiring stories, heroism… Survival is a pretty vague goal, but if you want to experience what it’s like to be stuck in a zombie/alien apocalypse then you’ll be surviving to see how your town evolves!

I’m not sure when it will start, but I definitely need a code name for this! Project …mostly coming to you soon!

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Sam

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