Twilight Tower Defense Open Development – Week #6

 

Hey there!

I’ve decided to try something new, a weekly development newsletter about my journey as a game developer and the games I make. Starting out we’ll be following the development of Twilight Tower Defense.
In this newsletter I’ll try to share how I create games and the challenges I face.

I’d love to have you on-board for my journey so please head over to our Discord Server

And yes… This is sort of a rip-off from Flying Oak Games which I happen to be a big fan off.

Who am I?

I’m Fredrik and I work as a part time indie game developer. Yeah that’s right I can’t afford to work with games at full time but I hope to change that soon. I run the game studio CasualGames.nu (sorry no cool name like DeadToast) and currently I’m the only one working there. I’ve released a few games during the years and started out with mobile game development and have drifted into the console market. My biggest release so far has been Snake vs Snake which is out on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Steam and has sold over 10 000 copies so far. Super Jumpy Ball is also one of my creations that is coming to Nintendo Switch in September.

What is this game about?

Twilight Tower Defense is a mix between platform games and 2D tower defense. The concept is that you’re a hero that is sent to save a village from the oncoming Zombie invasion. During daytime you can collect various items and build your fortification and then at night the Zombies arrive. As a hero you will be capable of doing some fighting on your own but you’ll need to build towers and other things to help you out.

What have we been up to this week?

I re-started the development of Twilight Tower Defense on June 24th. It was actually an old game concept I had before a few years ago but I lacked the skill and technology to do it. Well now I’m back and hopefully it will go better this time. The game is built using Unity and it’s using the new LWRP with the new 2D lights. The game is still in the concept stage where I’m trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Animation system
I’ve been testing out various ways of animating the characters and tried the new 2D skeleton system but felt it was a bit overkill for this game. So I went with the traditional Unity Animation system. I also separated the parts of the characters which gives the ability to do true head shots and other good stuff.

AI state system
Previously I was using my own home brew state machine for AI but decided to move it to use Unity’s build in Animator which did a surprisingly good job at this. With this system I can expand the AI system more easily in the future and it becomes more understandable why the AI is acting the way it does.

Better handling of platforms
One aspect of being a platform game is that you want to be able to jump up through certain platforms that are not too thick. Initially I was using an effector in Unity that solves this for you. While it’s nice to use a built in feature it didn’t feel good enough. Another problem was that things started the fall through platforms which is bad. So I coded my own system which does the job better.

Turrets/Towers
Turrets are back now but they need a lot more work. But here is a basic bow turret in progress of taking care of some enemies.

Kenney Jam
During the weekend I joined the Kenney Jam and did a little racer game that turned out better than expected. You can try the game here.

How is the time budget doing?

This week I’ve been able to spend 17 hours on Twilight Tower Defense.

The initial time budget for Twilight Tower Defense was 1 840 hours, roughly 1 year of me working work 40 hours per week on the game. Now every week won’t be 40 hours, currently I’m aiming at 20 – 25 hours per week.

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