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Almost there...

posted Dec 29, 2011, 2:27 AM by James Podesta   [ updated Feb 21, 2012, 11:14 PM ]
I've been stealing as much time as possible during the xmas holidays to get train defense done and ready before the years end.  All the gameplay functionality is close to being in now.  I've got the passengers being picked up and dropped off,  a half dozen varied enemies, trains can be detached and reattached strategically, and the turrets are done and working and I've completely redone the attackwave system after I the first attempt did not function as well as I needed.

The turret list is now
- a single shot medium distance turret. Good general purpose beginner gun.
- a double shot short distance turret. Does lots of damage but has poor range.
- a freeze ray that is deadly against flying units, as well as providing great general crowd control.
- a lazer which can vaporise a line of enemies in a single shot
- an electric arc beam that you can take out up to 8 weak units in one zap (you have to swipe to connect the units)
- a missile launcher that fires single deadly AOE missiles at a bullseye you can drag around.
- a heal ray that can heal allied units such as nearby train carriages.

I think that's a good line up for product release and offers a great deal of emergent strategies.

On the enemies front there is:
- a weak unarmed water stealer - easily dispatched but if you ignore them you will lose the game
- a heavily armoured water stealer - slow you heavy weaponry to take it down in a hurry
- a hammer wielding melee attacker - will quickly take down your carriages if you let them get close enough, or try to shove past a bunch of them
- a missile launching artillery unit - can destroy you from a far if ignored
- a flying machine gunner - low damage but fast moving and flying
- a flying repair ship - zips around undoing all your good work
- a ground repair ship - medium armour fast ground unit
- a heavily armoured transport delivers carriages
- a fast moving bike delivers turrets and powerups

That seems to provide ample variety for the initial release. The new attack wave system is very simple and works way better than my previous attempt.
Each attack wave is a series of 5 attack clusters.  Each attack cluster has a certain number of points worth of enemies. Each enemy has a fixed cost. The number of points available increases with every cluster, so the game gets harder and harder and more dangerous units start filling attack waves.  So simple, and works brilliantly.

So the todo list is not too long now and the light at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible now.
- scoring - yeah, there is no score yet, and still needs some design work to make sure there are rewards for skillful play.
- 4 or 5 powerups need doing.  One I'm sure about is a speed booster than lets you smash through enemies for a short time.  Others I have ideas for but not sure if they will pan out yet.
- A new GUI with 3d font and an old demo style scrolling text feed.
- Game Center leaderboards and achievements are a must.

Here's a quick screenshot taken from the attract mode. I'll look to doing a full video post next time.