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 Post subject: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:08 am 
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Lately, I have seen more and more towers which either have more or less complex math formulas in their description or just have so many abilities which make the tower hard to understand or are just unnecessary. These are different problems I see. I will try to analyze them one by one. But before, let me start with a simple rule:

As we say in software engineering:
KISS! Keep it simple and stupid.


This rule sounds very much like just a buzz phrase but it is really more. Especially when it comes to games! Always ask yourself before submitting a tower: Does it have to be that complex? Are all abilities really necessary to make the concept fulfilling?

Always remember: You, the people that make towers and items, are very intelligent. Having the creativity and skill it takes to master the world editor, parts of vJASS, and the long and technical HowTo already makes you probably the top 10% of all players that lurk around in battlenet (concerning intelligence and education). What does that mean? It means that the average player is far less intelligent and educated than you! This is a game. Of course it is not aimed at toddlers, but at least teens without best grades should have fun playing YouTD. Things which you might understand without a problem, might be problematic for the average player. Especially when his english is also not the best.

Next thing to consider: You TD is already by its nature one of the TDs which is hardest to understand! Multicrit, attackspeed adjusted chances, trigger chance bonuses, one billion towers, many creep abilties. Even this scares many TD players off! And I really mean it. When I released the first beta, I asked people for feedback. There were many that said: Too complicated, can't you just make a wintermaul clone where I know each tower does basically nothing except different attack types and splash or bounce? Many TD players do not like to think much, generally.

Of course, YouTD should not be a stupid wintermaul clone and I do like sophisticated TDs. I think I can say that YouTD is the most sophisticated TD out there. And I want it to stay that way! But there is a point where more complexity no longer comes with a better experience, even for players that like very sophisticated TDs (like me). I think we have hit that point with many towers.

Also less complex towers can be fun and strategic. See my towers. None of them has a very complex concept nor maths. An aura, a buff or something comparable without very complex stuff can also make a cool tower which players will love to build.


Having said all that, here are my concrete appeals:

Concern 1: Math and complex calculations in the tooltip.

Please keep complex math in tooltips very very limited. Today, I saw the Mana-Touched Drake having
Quote:
Whenever this tower deals damage it has a |[0.5 x current mana / maximum mana]% chance to realease a powerfull energy blast, dealing [current mana x 8]

in its tooltip (Nothing against you, SirCoqaLot, this is just an example). Although this tower made me finally write this post, it is by far not the worst one. Actually, there are much worse ones! I have seen it so often now and haven't said anything. But the more of these towers I see, the more concerned I get.

This scares people for sure! There are two simple ways to avoid it:
a) Just change your wording. There are towers where you could replace a math formula by an easier description. For example, the above mentioned example simply states that the chance is equal to half of the manapool percentage. But remember that YouTD descriptions should stay accurate! So just removing the formula but still using it is not the right way to do it. The tooltip should still exactly describe the numbers.
b) Think of something less complicated. Often, a difficult computation can be replaced by an easier one without changing the result too much.

Of course, there may be some towers where it is absolutely necessary to have a more complex calculation. But these should stay an exception rather than the rule.

Concern 2: "Engine Abuse"

I have seen some towers that are very complex just to achieve a tower that is so special that it would be almost impossible without the YouTD engine. The question to ask is here: Is this tower also very special for the player? Is it worth having a complex tower? Or is it just another hard to understand tower for the player? Judge your tower from the player's point of view, not the creator's one!

I see that the engine offers a great potential to make things that no player has ever seen in any tower defense. And I admit that it is really tempting to create that tower that the world has never seen before. But often, the realization of a unique concept is more fun for the creators than for the players. Players often don't know about engines and cannot even judge if a tower was hard to realize. What seems like a trophy to you, is just another complex tower for the player.

The YouTD engine gives you very much power to create unique things. With great power comes great responsibility! Don't make an ability just because the engine allows you to do it with a few lines of code.

Concern 3: Ability Overload

Lately, I have seen so many unique towers with 3-4 abilities. Sometimes it seemed to me that they do not even have a real concept. Of course, I said in the howTo that unique towers may have many abilities. But only if it is necessary for their mechanics. Just having a tower with 4 uncorrelated abilities is not the thing a player wants. A tower should have a purpose! Based on this purpose, the player can decide if the tower fits into his strategy. If it just has 4 random abilities, this is impossible.

Look for example my Ancient Energy Converter. It is unique but has only one ability. Players quickly understand this tower. They quickly know it will grant them lots of spelldamage and ministuns. This is example should teach you how to make a unique tower which is still easy to understand.

Another thing is the complexity of the abilities themselves. There are towers with abilities which are just very complex. Their tooltip text is long and hard to understand. This might be okay, if it is a unique tower and it is its only ability. But I have seen such abilities in towers which have 2-3 other abilities as well (which are equally complex...).

Consider one thing here: This is not DotA. Players do not take the time to play one hour with one tower only. I have seen towers which are quite harder to understand than heros in DotA. Players in YouTD must master many different towers (increasing with each version). They do not have the time to familiarize with each and every one of them. So please KISS!

Maybe we should introduce a word count in the webscript and allow to sort towers by word count. This would at least show which towers have the most amount of text. A wall of text is very scary even for educated players! They don't want to read a novel, they want a relaxing TD :)!

Conclusion

KISS! :) This is all I have to say for now. I hope you got my point.

Neither do I want to judge or change specific towers, nor do I want the community to check all existing towers and radically simplify them.

I just want the community to change its reviewing attitude towards simpler (but still not boring) towers. When giving comments about towers, also bear in mind the KISS principle and if the towers seems unnecessary complex advise the creator about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:31 am 
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agreed. Its really annoying when theres a jumble of abilities, with no common theme or synergy.

Mebbe add a link to this in the YouTD links post.

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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:20 am 
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Agree for sure!


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:33 am 
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Haha yes agree. Very well said. I feel for the tower creators though. It's hard to create a vision that is both pragmatic and creative. Improvision is great but you have to be able to answer a few questions about your tower, such as why does [element] benefit from this tower? Why these abilities? Especially because there are already so many towers now, it's important to be practical, not aesthetic.

Really I was just bumping this topic, so everyone notices it and reads it because it's important 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:49 am 
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Agreed with the above. While technically there should be more common towers, and perhaps less uniques, it is easier to run with a unique idea. But yes, it's like with the "Holy Throne" tower (and imo the Magic Mushroom) there is a bundling of abilities when there should be a focus of: Interesting abilities (or ability), or a synergy with itself or other towers within its element.

And I agree with Nubz, but there is still plenty of possibilities for common towers. :) I have lots of ideas, but I don't have WE and I don't think it can be downloaded.


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:39 pm 
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RickKnight91 wrote:
Agreed with the above. While technically there should be more common towers, and perhaps less uniques, it is easier to run with a unique idea. But yes, it's like with the "Holy Throne" tower (and imo the Magic Mushroom) there is a bundling of abilities when there should be a focus of: Interesting abilities (or ability), or a synergy with itself or other towers within its element.

And I agree with Nubz, but there is still plenty of possibilities for common towers. :) I have lots of ideas, but I don't have WE and I don't think it can be downloaded.


You don't have a WE? Why?


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:21 pm 
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My TFT disc is broken, so I opted to download the game online instead. I may buy a new one sometime. I imagine TFT must be cheap now.


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:23 pm 
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You downloaded it from torrent or something? If you installed the game with its installer, the editor should be there.


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:28 pm 
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the game should always also contain the editor.


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:44 pm 
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Well, this download didn't. I only have the RoC version of the editor. =o


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:05 pm 
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RickKnight91 wrote:
Well, this download didn't. I only have the RoC version of the editor. =o

I guess there are publicly accessible downloads for the editor. Just look around a bit. Should not be to hard to find. Btw, is there a difference between the roc and the tft editor? I only have one editor in my installation.


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:13 pm 
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geX wrote:
RickKnight91 wrote:
Well, this download didn't. I only have the RoC version of the editor. =o

I guess there are publicly accessible downloads for the editor. Just look around a bit. Should not be to hard to find. Btw, is there a difference between the roc and the tft editor? I only have one editor in my installation.


The RoC editor sucks. You can't create custom abilities and destructables IIRC.


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:22 pm 
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der_kleine_Tomy wrote:
geX wrote:
RickKnight91 wrote:
Well, this download didn't. I only have the RoC version of the editor. =o

I guess there are publicly accessible downloads for the editor. Just look around a bit. Should not be to hard to find. Btw, is there a difference between the roc and the tft editor? I only have one editor in my installation.


The RoC editor sucks. You can't create custom abilities and destructables IIRC.

That, and no campaign support and you'll lack all icons, spells and artwork of TFT I think.


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:04 pm 
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On the matter of simple towers, what about simple tooltips:

Do you personally prefer the formulae to be written in the tooltip in this form:
Example: ... dealing [amount of exp * 0.5] spell damage ...

Or:
Example: ... dealing 50% of its experience as spell damage ...


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 Post subject: Re: Appeal to simpler towers and items!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:44 pm 
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Chronos wrote:
On the matter of simple towers, what about simple tooltips:

Do you personally prefer the formulae to be written in the tooltip in this form:
Example: ... dealing [amount of exp * 0.5] spell damage ...

Or:
Example: ... dealing 50% of its experience as spell damage ...

definitly the second one. A formula in a tooltip, especially with [] should be avoided. Especially if it is so easy to express like in your example.


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