After many fevered, sweaty nights here in warm and humid Somerset, and probably a similar story over in Madrid where Chaz has been holed up for the last few months, I flicked the switch on FRAPS and the monster twitched into life. Behold! Some dingy low-quality video footage of the early stages of what will soon become Revenge of the Titans!
I’m afraid this is a fairly simple and benign level (level 9 in fact) so it’s not the most exciting level to watch. The game story progresses through five worlds – starting on Earth, which is basically the tutorial, and on to the Moon, then Mars, Saturn, and finally Titan itself. The background story is how Earth is launching a major offensive on the pesky Titans, and has to gradually secure each planet on the way in order to send the invasion fleet on to the next location.
On Earth, you essentially learn the ropes. Revenge of the Titans is quintessentially a real-time strategy game, based on the tower defence mechanic. At every step of the way from the beginning of the level you have to balance two opposing priorities:
- Do you look around and survey the map, or just get building right away?
- Do you build factories first and get production ramped up, or do you start by building defences?
- Do you manage your factories or keep an eye on your turrets’ ammunition?
- Do you build lots of little guns, or do you place just a few and enhance them with auxilliary buildings?
and so on.
The main differences between Revenge of the Titans and other tower-defence games are, as you may be able to just about tell from the video, that the gidrahs advance in an entirely freeform way, and your turrets once placed cannot be “upgraded”. Each alien has its own little brain trying to figure out the best route to get to your base (or whatever other building it may decide to attack… they get strategical on the later levels…). If a route looks pretty congested, they’ll start finding alternative routes and you can find yourself unexpectedly flanked.
The turrets are not directly upgradeable. This is a common theme in other tower defence games, but we’ve got a new mechanic. Instead you place a variety of little but expensive buildings down nearby them to augment their powers. Scanners increase their range; batteries increase their ammunition capacity; cooling towers increase their fire rate; reactors increase their reload speed. Some buildings have dual purposes. Reactors will, for example, increase the speed that factories produce money; they also increase the damage of capacitors, a manually-aimed weapon not shown in the video because I’m still coding the special effects for it. Shield generators can be popped down in later levels to give nearby buildings extra hitpoints. And you can lay minefields of different sorts and barricades of varying strength. And decoys to lure the gidrahs away from your valuable buildings!
All the while the game is automatically tuning itself to your abilities. Hopefully everyone will get just enough challenge to have fun. I’m trying to get it just right so that everyone can enjoy playing the game but really good players will score massive points.
I’m also thinking that the demo players who score the most points in a single game over a seven day period might just be getting themselves a free game. For all our titles. How’s about that for a bit of competition? Play to win a free copy 🙂