Daily Design: Day 183

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on randomly generated words. Today, they are; 

Planting, Estimation and Radius.

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Cover Crops


Cover Crops is a tower defense game in which the player fends off enemies with plants, which as far as I know is a totally original concept.

The player uses these plants to defend against zombies insects that are attacking their garden. From a top-down perspective, players can choose an area (not a grid-based area, but a free form one) to plant. When choosing a spot to plant a radius will appear that shows the plant’s attack range.

Once planted, plants will take a certain amount of time to grow. The rule of (green) thumb is that more powerful plants will take longer to grow. Once grown, plants attack for a certain amount of time before wilting, where the player has to dig them up and remove them.

Even though plants take time to grow, the game is designed to be played in short bursts. Levels run anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, though there’s also a survival mode that allows for longer sessions.

There’s no resource generation – players are limited, however, by a total “Plant Level” (which would hopefully have a catchier name). Each plant contributes to this, with more powerful plants contributing more. If a plant would push the player over this cap, then it can’t be planted. Once a plant has wilted and is removed the cost of that plant would be taken from the plant level, meaning another can be planted. Plant.

The idea is to fix a long-standing problem with tower defense games in which there’s a point where the player mostly stops playing. While that can be satisfying, it’s rarely fun or strategic – a player can build a solid set of “towers” and just wait the rest of the game out. This works well in certain games and some people see it as a kind of pay off for learning the best layout/s, but I think there’s room for improvement.

This is the idea behind the wilting system. Because the plants eventually die, the screen must be constantly managed. However, this can’t be simply overcome with resource saturation because of the “plant level” system. It’s hard to say how this would actually perform without building a prototype, but I like the idea!

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another quick game concept. 



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