[SA Game Jam 2019] Vitae Defense

Vitae Defense is a tower defense game with crafting elements. Defend the world tree with defensive towers whilst drilling for valuable gems used to upgrade your towers.

Submission: https://jaredbrandjes.itch.io/vitae-defense
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Update 1.2:



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Update 1.3:

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Update 1.4:


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Day 1 Progress
Pretty happy with the concept I've come up with and fairly confident I'll finish something playable even with my limited time over this weekend with Comic Con.

Day 2 Progress
Made some good progress on the visuals and UX of the game whilst mentally pulling the concept together and considering all sorts of solutions and possibilities. Will have a full day tomorrow to work on it so pretty keen to finalise the game loop and begin fleshing out my systems with content.
Changelog: Energy Spawning & Collecting | Entity Scriptable Objects | UI Improvements | Visual Improvements - Color, Models, UI | Token with Gems Model | Camera Controller | UI Feedback and Instruction | Drill prefab

Day 3 Progress
Made progress with the crafting system, tower upgrades, UI & UX changes, gem collection and usage, animations and some other stuff I can't recall right now.

Day 4 Progress
More UI and UX | Balancing | Tower & Drill Models | Enemy Model | Bug fixes | Menu | Builds

Thought it would be interesting to timelapse this jam. Hope to cut the footage together into a more concise progress video. Total of 20hrs of work on this. Keen to put some more effort into this, especially the art and FX and of course, as most game devs forget to do, add sound. I wish I had more time this weekend to put into this but Comic Con happened, which hopefully will be taken into consideration next year to get more participation.

SA Game Jam 2019
Vitae Defense
Professional
72hr entry

Comments

  • I've uploaded a new version with a bunch more visuals, some minor bug fixes and tweaked the difficulty and economy balance.

    Available for both Win and OSX.
    https://jaredbrandjes.itch.io/vitae-defense
  • I've played both the original and the updated version :)
    The visuals are great and the game feels incredibly polished. Everything looks so smooth D: I'm jealous!

    I liked that the enemies paths are a bit more complex than standard tower defence games, which usually have quite linear enemy paths. The enemies were cute and there's so much detail in the game that just looks great (the gold flying up after kills looked very satisfying). Balance wise the second update was much better than the original version, which was quite hard. The update was very nice btw, well done!

    With the newest version, I survived the first few rounds and very quickly started thriving. After filling all my drill slots I had a steady stream of gems and could upgrade 1 tower to level 33. That one tower was a hero.

    From a game balance perspective: Maybe making tower upgrade cost scale or placing a cap on them could prevent a hero tower from solo defending? (I kinda liked having one super tower though :3). While deleting all my non-hero towers to see my lil tower fight hordes of spacemen on its own, I accidentally deleted it... And lost very quickly ;_; Just because of that I'm suggesting a "are you sure you want to delete" when deleting higher level towers...
    Having unique enemies in later waves would also be cool.

    Overall, great game! Very impressive :)
  • @GiGGa wow thanks for the great feedback. Lol'd at deleting the level 33 tower XD I've made some more changes this evening and plan on capping the upgrade level at 5 or 10 with a bonus ability for getting there. I felt that the gold was rather useless at later levels so I thought why not assign gems to any tower but charge an upgrade fee to get to the next level as well.

    Most definitely going to implement varying enemy types to mix in some unpredictability. Also, those little spacemen can destroy your towers now =P

    Overall making some good progress with each day. I've put my other year-long project on the back burner to finish this one up in the next week or two and set it free before returning.

    New version will be up on itch in a few min. ^_^
    Thanked by 1GiGGa
  • Thanks for the Mac build :)

    I played the first Jam version:
    - Looks good :)
    - Where's the settings menu? It was a bit laggy for my mac so dunno whether that affected the game balance, because...
    - The game felt impossible. A combination of factors made it almost impossible to survive past the second wave.
    - It felt like a crap shoot as to where you placed your towers because you have almost no idea what route the enemy is going to take. If they're always the same, you would only know that after playing a few times AND THEN you'd have to memorise it, and memory is the least fun thing to test. Not knowing how the enemy would move is a bit of a big issue - tower defence games are usually about building things with predictable enemy movements, whether through the map or through the player herding them. This was not only unpredictable, it was 360 right from the start. I think 360 could work if it came later and ramped up to it.
    - I usually got to build 5/6 towers before losing. I really wanted to experiment with other things, but it never felt feasible. I once built the digging thing and immediately lost. It wasn't clear what that did.
    - Also no idea how upgrades worked, it seemed to need something else I wasn't getting. (gems on top right or something, I guess that comes from digging). I guess this was the crafting part? Would be good to get introduced to that earlier.
  • Please let me know if you're based in CT, JHB or where?
  • Played the current build and I survived! I'm a sucker for tower defense games so it came as no surprise that I enjoyed this.
    In terms of how the game progresses it tends to fall into the same issues that endless TD games fall into, Eventually I'm able to create super towers that just decimate everything.
    I didn't immediately get the whole upgrading system and I couldn't click on it to select the upgrade option itself but I did get the hang of it, also I can understand that due to the nature of the jam you could only have one enemy type.
    I also found out that I can place towers on top of towers, which is unintentional I presume?

    Overall really fun game that i played through till the end, can't wait for more!
  • Tuism said:
    Thanks for the Mac build :)

    I played the first Jam version:
    - Looks good :)
    - Where's the settings menu? It was a bit laggy for my mac so dunno whether that affected the game balance, because...
    - The game felt impossible. A combination of factors made it almost impossible to survive past the second wave.
    - It felt like a crap shoot as to where you placed your towers because you have almost no idea what route the enemy is going to take. If they're always the same, you would only know that after playing a few times AND THEN you'd have to memorise it, and memory is the least fun thing to test. Not knowing how the enemy would move is a bit of a big issue - tower defence games are usually about building things with predictable enemy movements, whether through the map or through the player herding them. This was not only unpredictable, it was 360 right from the start. I think 360 could work if it came later and ramped up to it.
    - I usually got to build 5/6 towers before losing. I really wanted to experiment with other things, but it never felt feasible. I once built the digging thing and immediately lost. It wasn't clear what that did.
    - Also no idea how upgrades worked, it seemed to need something else I wasn't getting. (gems on top right or something, I guess that comes from digging). I guess this was the crafting part? Would be good to get introduced to that earlier.
    Thanks @Tuism for the feedback. :) The 360 design was a design decision to stray away from the predictable and sometimes boring nature of a TD where one particular strategy may reign supreme. I was going for a more RTS type approach which included the ability to instantly destroy towers with a full refund in order to place them wherever needed. I have since nerfed the difficulty and made it easier to begin building drills and gain gems. The gems are used for upgrading the towers. I have been working on making the UI/UX a bit more straight forward.
    Fengol said:
    Please let me know if you're based in CT, JHB or where?
    @Fengol I'm based in Centurion.
    Trian said:
    Played the current build and I survived! I'm a sucker for tower defense games so it came as no surprise that I enjoyed this.
    In terms of how the game progresses it tends to fall into the same issues that endless TD games fall into, Eventually I'm able to create super towers that just decimate everything.
    I didn't immediately get the whole upgrading system and I couldn't click on it to select the upgrade option itself but I did get the hang of it, also I can understand that due to the nature of the jam you could only have one enemy type.
    I also found out that I can place towers on top of towers, which is unintentional I presume?

    Overall really fun game that i played through till the end, can't wait for more!
    @Trian yeh haha I found the same issue with upgrading towers to the point where they just become so overpowered. The problem with testing as a developer is you intuitively avoid certain tests such as placing towers on top of one another (which I have since fixed). With regards to the enemies, I'm working up some golem type creatures that are elementally based so certain attributes will be raised based on that.
    Thanked by 1Trian
  • Loved this one :) I enjoy tower defense games in general.

    Really like the visual style and mystical feel too.

    It's quite challenging!
  • @greatheightsaudio thanks man. I think I’ll be purchasing your drum packs very soon to finish off. :)
  • This felt polished, nice work!

    Here are a few notes I jotted down while playing:
    - Feels like repairing got exponentially more expensive?
    - In some cases it was 20+ coins to repair a 10 coin tower?
    - I like the idea of crafting tower upgrades, but i didn't have time to plan my crafting, particularly initially. I ended up just quick clicking the upgrade gems applying the the first upgrade I could.
    - it wasn't clear to me initially that a purple gem is the only gem that can form the square / base of an upgrade.
    - It would have helped me a lot to have differentiation on upgraded towers.
    - E.g. Just changing the roof colours would have helped me a lot.
    - I found myself wanting the ability to upgrade drills.
    - Environment looked cool and I was impressed with the models and animations of the enemies.
    - I often got confused about which tower i had selected.
    - There is a ring that goes around towers but that seems to happen when it's attacking / an enemy is in rage.
    - It would have helped me to have a ring like that to indicate what is selected.
    - There are a lot of really nice details.
    - I liked the firefiles? particle effect
    - The custom mouse pointer
    - The upgrade UI(and it's subtle juicy animations)

    Overall I enjoyed this.
  • @ashashza thanks for all those great points! Adding them all to my todo list. A couple of them I have already noted and have fixed in my ongoing development :) Stay tuned for the next version.
  • By the way I tried to run 1.2 on mac, it just crashed as soon as the game map loaded up and wave 1 was supposed to start. It's possibly a performance thing. Dunno why you didn't include the settings menu? :)

    Oh and the mouse cursor is HUGE like literally half the size of the screen. That's the same bug from the first version but I forgot to mention.
  • @Tusim sorry for the issues you're having. I haven't been able to test on a mac so I was unaware of these issues. It's certainly not supposed to be that way. I'm going to remove the mac builds from Itch until I can resolve the issues and test correctly. :)
  • I've really been enjoying this concept and have been hard at work on the game since the jam. I've just released an updated version of the game (1.4) with a ton of changes:
    - Gameplay
    - Visuals
    - Audio
    - VFX
    - UI
    - UX Feedback
    - Level Design

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated. :)

    Check out the unedited gameplay footage below.
    Thanked by 1GiGGa
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