Detailing Process

I still want to prototype a new arrow type for Dreadwood, but Pedro finished the tilesets so I’m getting the detailing done today.

Detailing is pretty easy in TowerFall because we use a lot of auto-tiling. As you can see in the first editor screenshot above, I simply paint the solid (black) and background (gray) tiles to form the basic geometry of the level. TowerFall will load this data and automatically tile those areas. The auto-tiler uses a random number generator seeded by the file name of the level to ensure it generates the same way every time.

The next step is to hand-place detail features on top of the geometry. TowerFall reads this data after auto-tiling, and simply overwrites the auto-tiled cell with mine if I placed one there. This way I get the best of both worlds: the ease of auto-tiling and the control of painting by hand.

Today we finished The Amaranth! For Versus mode, at least. To celebrate, here’s five of the levels. The final set has 13 stages total.

The ghost platforms present in every level of The Amaranth mix things up. Usually they’re scrolling vertically or horizontally across the stage, but in a few arenas they’re rotating around the center.

You can jump through the bottom of them, or shoot upward through them from below, but from above they’re solid. If you need to get underneath one, you can duck and hit the jump button to pass through it.

The expansion will have four new Versus towers in total. Next we’re finishing up Dreadwood, the dark world version of Thornwood.

Work on Dreadwood continues! That green goo near the bottom slows down your movement speed, so it’s not a great place to be.
I’ve already shown off the crusher block looming in the center of this stage. It detects motion below it and then slams down. Players running underneath will set it off, but so will arrows, corpses, and ghosts. The skull in its center lights up to match the color of the archer who triggered it, and that player gets points for any opponents lured under to be flattened.

Work on Dreadwood continues! That green goo near the bottom slows down your movement speed, so it’s not a great place to be.

I’ve already shown off the crusher block looming in the center of this stage. It detects motion below it and then slams down. Players running underneath will set it off, but so will arrows, corpses, and ghosts. The skull in its center lights up to match the color of the archer who triggered it, and that player gets points for any opponents lured under to be flattened.

Minutiae

Spent the better part of an evening on these subtle effects for when archers or arrows phase through ghost platforms.

It’s not just for show - the player also gets a boost leaping through the platforms, which allows them to board from lower jumping points. Having lots of movement options is always important in TowerFall.

I went back to the old towers and added more Team Deathmatch levels! Most of these are modified versions of existing free-for-all arenas - the first three screenshots above are new Team Deathmatch versions of old stages. I tried to work with the more iconic layouts from each tower. If you’re familiar with the levels you may be able to spot the differences.

Sunken City, however, got a whole new level! This one’s playable in free-for-all as well as team fights.

Previously, most towers had 3 Team Deathmatch stages. Now they all have 5. I also took the opportunity to rebalance a few of the old team maps. Time for a lot of 2v2 playtesting!

RIP Rose Amulet, 2014-2014
I prototyped the Rose Amulet powerup for The Amaranth. Collecting it makes your archer leave brambles behind as you run.
Lore-wise it’s a perfect fit and it sounded interesting mechanically, but in reality it turned out to be more of powerdown.
TowerFall is a game of ranged combat, and it turns out that spawning deadly obstacles in your immediate vicinity is not super helpful. In fact it resulted in accidental death-by-your-own-brambles pretty much always with no real upside, and everyone started avoiding the powerup altogether.
Even when the Rose Amulet works out in your favor, it tends to result in tiny pockets of brambles scattered over the entire level. These are a lot less fun for everyone to navigate than the larger, concentrated patches spread by bramble arrows.
I’m glad we tried it, but it won’t make the cut.

RIP Rose Amulet, 2014-2014

I prototyped the Rose Amulet powerup for The Amaranth. Collecting it makes your archer leave brambles behind as you run.

Lore-wise it’s a perfect fit and it sounded interesting mechanically, but in reality it turned out to be more of powerdown.

TowerFall is a game of ranged combat, and it turns out that spawning deadly obstacles in your immediate vicinity is not super helpful. In fact it resulted in accidental death-by-your-own-brambles pretty much always with no real upside, and everyone started avoiding the powerup altogether.

Even when the Rose Amulet works out in your favor, it tends to result in tiny pockets of brambles scattered over the entire level. These are a lot less fun for everyone to navigate than the larger, concentrated patches spread by bramble arrows.

I’m glad we tried it, but it won’t make the cut.

I’m playing around with a new mechanic I’m calling Dodge Stalling. The idea is that players can hold the dodge button to get 5 extra frames out of their dodges.
It may seem like nothing, but in TowerFall 5 more frames to catch arrows can make a huge difference. A normal dodge lasts only 20 frames, so you gain a quarter more catch frames! However, stalling will slow you to a complete stop and your cooldown doesn’t start until the dodge ends, so you’re left pretty vulnerable.
It feels super cool to hold the dodge button and barely grab that last arrow flying your way. I’m very interested to see what strategies emerge from dodge stalls, and how it affects arrow timings.

I’m playing around with a new mechanic I’m calling Dodge Stalling. The idea is that players can hold the dodge button to get 5 extra frames out of their dodges.

It may seem like nothing, but in TowerFall 5 more frames to catch arrows can make a huge difference. A normal dodge lasts only 20 frames, so you gain a quarter more catch frames! However, stalling will slow you to a complete stop and your cooldown doesn’t start until the dodge ends, so you’re left pretty vulnerable.

It feels super cool to hold the dodge button and barely grab that last arrow flying your way. I’m very interested to see what strategies emerge from dodge stalls, and how it affects arrow timings.