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  Mechanic #122 - Tower Defense Tactics
Posted: 06/16/11

A real time tactical battle game where you move defensive turrets.

  Tower Defense Tactics



Fig 122-1. The field of warfare.


This is a fairly straightforward idea based on the combat system presented in [#121 - Abstract Open World].



Fig 122-2. Attack Patterns of Doom.


Each unit has a different attack pattern. A warrior will attack any enemy unit in the adjacent eight squares. A ninja fires throwing stars in the four cardinal directions. An archer will attack two squares away from them. A magician will fire magic in diagonals.

Individual units have unique attributes and hitpoints as well. A warrior can take a lot of damage before succumbing. A fire wizard will give his team protection from fire spells. A hunter will increase the combat efficiency of allied beast units in adjacent spaces. And so on. Typically Comp-Grid stuff.



Fig 122-3. Four Units On a Team Tray.


In classic [#017 - Composition Army] style, you can combine a total of four units into a single team that occupies a 4x4 grid, called the Team Tray. The Team Tray is invisible on the battlefield, but is used to pick up and move the units in formation. Similarly, the tray can be rotated during movement or instead of making a movement, you can rearrange the units on the tray as you'd like. Teams will automatically attack enemies according to their attack patterns and positions.


Each team has a movement timer. Each time the team tray is moved or the units are rearranged on the tray, the timer starts counting down until the team can be moved again. Some units can reduce this timer with their natural abilities.



Fig 122-4. Teams Can Overlap.


Teams are picked up by the tray and moved simultaneously. They can move to any location where the units have a valid place to stand, regardless of whether they can get there or not (trays are picks up and placed down, the units do not walk to their new positions). Team trays can overlap, as in figure 122-4, so that you can intermingle teams. Natural abilities that affect adjacent allies will affect adjacent allies from different trays, so you can merge multiple teams together into much larger group, though individually, each unit still belongs to a 4x4 tray of only 4 units.

Strewn amongst the field are obstacles that do various things. A tree blocks projectiles and movement while a river will block movement into that square, but projectiles can fire over it.



Fig 122-5. Movement Range.


The field itself is broken into cells, each one containing a grid for positioning units. These cells are used to determine movement range. In general, you can move a tray of units to any valid space within the current cell, or one of the adjacent cells. So teams have a lot of leeway where they can move within a cell, but are limited to only the immediate cells.

Trays can straddle the line between cells, but only if both cells are valid cells to move to. During the next movement, both cells they are standing on are counted as range zero, so they have a slightly larger range of cells they can move to, as seen in Fig 122-5. If they straddle four cells, they'll have an even greater range for their next movement. They will never be able to move more than two cells from their current position, so movement isn't increased through straddling, so much as tactical movement is.

You can not straddle between two cells if one cell is an interior location. Rooms are self contained. You are either entirely inside a room or not.

  The Base



Fig 122-6. I'm In Your Base, Stealing All Your Pokemons.


Each player has a home base that they use for resource gathering and building teams. Each room builds a particular unit over time. As the units are built, they are added to the pool of available units. This pool has a limit on how many units it can hold, so you must discard or use units or the newly produced ones will be thrown away. The room furthest from the field is the Tray Room. In it, you can place four units from your pool. Once you are satisfied with the tray, you can begin to move that team out to the field.

Also produced by these rooms are defensive blocks, which you can place down in any of your rooms. These blocks limit the movement possibilities within the room, such that your opponent might have to waste a movement rearranging a team to move through it. There's a limit to the number of blocks you can have in your base. You can not place any blocks in a room occupied by your opponent. And you must leave at least enough room for multiple teams to enter the room. Blocks decay over time, and they are considered enemies by your opponent's teams. They will be attacked and destroyed automatically by enemy occupants.

When an enemy enters one of your base's rooms, it is considered occupied. It will cease production on new units/blocks while occupied. Similarly, you can not place blocks into an occupied room. You can move a team into the room to deal with the intruders, and that may be your only recourse. Once an enemy team occupies your Tray Room, your ability to bring new units onto the field is halted, and a timer will count down until you lose the game (should you not get the room back).

What's to prevent a defensive player from filling his base with blocks? His teams must leave through the same rooms that his opponent must enter through. If he constrains movement too much, he'll hamper his own ability to get units to the field. Similarly, defensive blocks will decay faster the more of them there are in a room, so it will require more micromanagement to keep the room stocked. There should also probably be a two-unit limit for interior rooms, one team from both sides, to prevent one player from stacking a room full of units and preventing his opponent from moving.



Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.