Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tower Defense Starter Kit v1.4 Dev Log #2: Tower Abilities

When I started working on the Tower Defense Starter Kit, one of the games that inspired me was Anomaly Defenders by 11 Bit Studios. Even though the game was generally not received as well as the Anomaly Warzone series, it did have one good feature that we don't always see in Tower Defense games: Tower Abilites. 

In Anomaly Defenders, the towers are equipped with Tower Functions, which basically improves the effectiveness of the tower for a short duration. The Tower Functions are activated gradually as the player progresses through the campaign & can be improved further using the skill points received at the end of each level. Some examples of the Tower Functions include an EMP Blast that reduces the shield of nearby creeps, a Rage mode that greatly increases the damage of the tower, etc. 

While the campaign missions in Anomaly Defenders are all based on a limited number of waves, I feel that Tower Abilities would make an excellent addition to Tower Defense games that feature endless wave modes. It could ensure that the players will have some amount of micro management left even after they have placed all their towers in the level. And since the Tower Defense Starter Kit supports endless wave modes, it seemed like a good idea to add Tower Abilities to it. 

Over the past couple of updates, I had been restructuring certain parts of the code to smooth out the transition to this new feature. So I'm finally happy to announce that the upcoming v1.4 update will feature two new Tower Abilities: Overdrive & Repair.

Overdrive: The Overdrive ability amplifies the tower's output per cycle for a set duration. This ability will be available out of the box for all towers. As a result, a Laser Tower on Overdrive would have increased damage, while a Mining Tower would have improved resource mining rate.

Repair: The Repair ability regenerates the tower's armor over set period of time. This ability will be available out of the box for all towers as well.

Listed below are a couple of WIP screenshots that display the updated Tower Functions menu & the new status effect icon:



Tower Functions Menu updated with the new abilities


New Status Effect Icon added to display active ability & it's remaining duration


[Note: More abilities will be introduced through future updates & I think it's safe to assume that atleast some of these abilities would be tailored towards certain type of towers, thus rendering them useless in the context of other towers. As a result, I'm using Composition instead of an Inheritance based approach to prevent unnecessary bloating of the Tower blueprints.]

For more details about the Tower Defense Starter Kit, check out the official Unreal Engine forum support thread at: https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?102675-Tower-Defense-Starter-Kit-Support-Thread]