TEXT: SEMEN SCHERBAK. In terms of the length of a lifetime, one year is not much. On the other hand, if you are going to spend three hundred and sixty-five days on something, then it must be something worthwhile. This should change the world for the better. Make it perfect. We decided to create an ideal tower defense – something, and an ideal tower defense will definitely not interfere with this world. The main idea that guided us was that our game should become a test, should force the player to turn on his head. After all, what does a standard tower defense look like? Build towers, then build tower upgrades, then bang! – and you won. Far from ideal, right? Therefore, our game had to include elements of strategy and quest. To put before the player the need for choice and constant development, and, most importantly, it should have become a real challenge for the player. In other words, we wrote the answer to the dull press X to win, which has become the standard in games.
There were only four of us, and for each of us, the Brightest Kingdom was the first serious game. It all started with a couple of good ideas for improving the classic gameplay for a similar genre. We thought from the point of view of ordinary players, which we are – what do we like about the classic tower defense, and what is it really lacking in it? Taking the principle “made by gamers for gamers” as a basis, we managed to comply with it from start to finish – from idea to final release.
Firstly, we decided to add the ability to assemble towers from elements in addition to the usual linear upgrade. To build any tower of the first level, only one element is needed. We want to improve it – we add new ones. By adding different elements, we get different towers. The construction of the defense became similar to the assembly of the constructor and was supposed to add variety to the game, which is so lacking in the usual tower defense. The problem lay in the fact that with such a construction mechanic, it was necessary to make a lot of different towers, with inevitably repeating functions. This called into question the rock / paper / scissors combat mechanic.
Secondly, the elements of the towers began to drop out as a reward from the killed creeps. There were much fewer questions here, since it was easy to balance.
There was no game currency in the game, and the mechanics at that time looked like this: at the start, the player has several elements, from which he builds towers, which in turn kill monsters. Some monsters drop random elements that serve as materials for the construction of towers. And – the circle is closed.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Where is the promised challenge? The fact is that, as in the management of a real kingdom, everything just happens in words, in fact the scepter and orb are much heavier than they look. The player was required to properly manage resources and carefully think over battle tactics, depending on the ever-changing threat. This logic seemed fair to us.
But a war, even a fictional one, cannot be just – that is its whole thrill. In its initially “fair” form, the game turned out to be too monotonous and easy, which ran counter to our beliefs. We wanted something else, we wanted harshness! It was necessary to create something complex and complex for the player to enjoy the victory, which was not given to him easily. As a result, the original mechanics became only a small part of the project.
Armed with huge files, we began to cut the game in accordance with our plan. We decided to add more blood to it, and this gave us an interesting idea – what flows through the veins of any military campaign? Gold! This is how gold bars were added, for which elements were bought in battle. This emphasized the value of the drop, which began to fall out in strictly designated areas. The cost of the elements did not change, but the more powerful towers brought less money, forcing the player to fight greed and improve the towers only when the ferocious monsters left no other choice.
Added the ability to disassemble the tower in battle and get back all the elements spent on it. The elements, in turn, were divided into independent groups – magical and mechanical. The pragmatic mechanic built up his combat power, acting brutally and decisively, but his towers could hardly cope with armored monsters and were divided into anti-earth and anti-aircraft, forcing him to often rebuild defenses. The wise magician acted with cunning, slowing down and frightening monsters, removing their shields and forbidding them to conjure. The player at any time could choose a style of play convenient for himself, combining magic and mechanical towers on the map.
Having put together all the developments, we proceeded to create a game prototype, and after two weeks the game acquired the first level. Our enthusiasm knew no bounds! Even at the stage where monsters and towers were indicated by colored squares, and the map was a black line on a white background, the game was fun, which meant that we were on the right track. What there was definitely no doubt about the choice of the setting – we are fans of the Middle Ages, experienced reenactors, we ourselves are not fools to chop ourselves with swords. Our beloved fantasy Middle Ages perfectly suited the game, adding magic to what was happening on the screen.