An Idea From The Past
So there has been this game that we’ve wanted to make since probably 2006 when the concept was first developed by my friend Doug and myself. He was in town visiting and we were up late drinking beer and smoking too many cigarettes… It was inspired by the chase scene at the end of “The Road Warrior” where Mad Max (played by Mel Gibson) is driving a tanker full of gasoline trying to escape from hordes of wasteland villains want that gas.
Because this Happened and while I wasn’t surprised it was coming out, it gave me a real taste of what the movie was going to be like and that it really looks like it’s going to be awesome. The release day is May 2015 which is enough time for us to make this game happen and with everyone reconnecting with these awesome movies from the past and what are going to be awesome movies in the future, it’s time for this game to be created.
Road Defender Is A Tower Defense + Chase Scene
For me the idea that stood out was that it’s like a tower defense game, but it’s in motion. It adds a unique layer to the traditional genre in that you normally have a static environment where enemies come on the screen and cross over while you destroy as many as you can in order to get more resources to buy / upgrade weapon systems to continue as long as possible. In this case the player is racing from checkpoint to checkpoint to survive and at these checkpoints, use resources acquired from the last round to beef up your convoy.
Being a chase scene there are a wide range of gameplay possibilities that are not possible with traditional (as in EVERY tower defense game I’ve ever seen) tower defense games. Imagine power moves like Nitro (putting distance between you and the enemy), Oils Slick, Smoke Screen, Decoy vehicles and more! Also while this clearly has been inspired by Mad Max, we’re doing a kind of “what if” scenario. This is not the Mad Max world any more than Fallout is. In this world you’re not just a alone tanker, but rather a growing convoy of vehicles. Vehicles you can position as part of your strategy to escape the wasteland and start a new life in a better place with the survivors.
Where do turrets go? They go on the vehicles. Bigger vehicles like the tanker, school buses and such offer more slots for more upgrades while smaller vehicles offer fewer slots, but are easier to come by and less expensive.
Also, what is nice about the turrets being on individual vehicles is that these vehicles can be positioned to form different formations to help repel / defeat enemies as they arrive on the scene. the AI will adapt itself to your strategy, but better approaches by the player will help them survive each leg of the journey.
Another special thing about this game is that you are in a gyro-copter observing the battlefield giving orders to your convoy from above. This opens up the possibility to add support to things like the Oculus Rift (stretch goal), special areal attacks and really creates a sense of being a part of the battle, not just a omniscient eye that safely observes the battle. You can be a target if you’re not careful or the wrong enemies are left to their own devices for too long. There is a lot more where that came from, but I hope this helps paint a decent picture of what the game will be
Why It Didn’t Happen Sooner
So the original game was actually meant to be 3d because of all of the dramatic camera angles and cinematic possibilities. It didn’t go anywhere for a couple of years because I was busy with my pre-indie day job life and winding down my first game “Dark Summer”. However “Road Defender” came back in 2009 or so when I teamed up with Roger who I’ve been working with since Part12 Studios first game “Worlds Fastest Drummer” in 2008. The first attempt was using an attempt using Papervision3D a noble effort to bring 3D into flash. Here is one of the original demos that survived… but ultimately our game needed a less hackish solution. Use arrow keys to moving the camera around. It’s not much but it was a start.
Over the years since then we made a number of attempts in 2D using Flash and later, GameSalad. These attempts helped us refine the UI/UX, but none of these games really felt right and being 2D had a lot to do with that. 3D being more involved and us being a small indie studio barely keeping our heads above water at times, we just didn’t have the time it would take to make a game like Road Defender in 3D and as rich as the game deserves. This is why we’re taking our pitch to Kickstarter and see what folks will think of it.
Why It Will Happen Now
With all of the advances and continued improvement of Unity3D combined with years of game development experience, we now have the experience and technology available to finally do this. The big challenge as full time indies is having the ability to focus on this game full time for the amount of time we need to create it. Kickstarter is a perfect means for us to generate enough support to be able to focus our full attention on this and create everything we set out to do.
What It Will Happen On
We had explored mobile for this and web, but really this is going to be a game that would be best experienced on a desktop with keyboard / mouse. The game could be adapted to mobile as well, but not at the expense of the desktop experience. I’d love to make it for small screens, but not until the desktop version is perfected. I’m also open to making it for the Ouya as well, but it would take some special work to make the UX for a console controller to be as good as a mouse and keyboard.
What Is Going On Now
So now we have a plan and I’m documenting things for the Kickstarter and pulling together some ideas for making a cool video. It’s going to be fun to make the video, though it’s totally not something I excel in. I’m really excited about this and I believe that if we can show them how this is going to be a very cool game, not just in theme and story, but most importantly, a very unique tower defense experience unlike anything made before.
I am eager to get this video made and am reaching out to all of my indie colleagues for advise and a sense of how to really get the word about about this project because I’m really stoked about what this is going to become. It’s a game that needs to be made and this just seems like the time to pose the idea to the world and see what people think.