Well, I just barely finished my game! Would have posted it yesterday, but was too tired of looking at screens so I decided to go outside and do some gardening instead
It’s a racing tower defense game where you try to defend your racetrack from waves of giant boxy cats. Before each wave, you spend money to place and upgrade towers. Then, you have to complete 2 laps around the track before time runs out. You get bonus income based on quickly you finish the race.
I’m pretty satisfied with how the game came out.
I spent a while just tweaking values on the racing physics, and I ended up with something that’s fairly challenging/deep, but hopefully also fun. The tower/cat physics are definitely my favorite part. I think there’s a lot of interesting emergent gameplay because everything is physics-based. You have to think not just about the tower’s radius, but also about the angle-of-attack, and where the projectiles/cats will get pushed. For example: it’s very effective to place towers on the inside of a curve to push cats outwards off the track, but this also creates a risk that your car will get caught in the crossfire.
There were parts during the jam where I was worried that the tower defense gameplay wouldn’t feel very satisfying. I was thinking that I would need a lot of different enemy types, tower upgrades, etc. to make it enjoyable. But I think the pure physics mechanics are fun enough that they were able to stand on their own.
After coming up with the initial “tower defense + racing game”, I was initially imaging the traditional “kill monsters who want to kill you” tower defense game. But I asked myself the question: “Could I make this a non-violent game?” So I changed from “kill monsters using weapons” to “distract cats using toys”. I think this made the game much more unique and interesting. But I do wish I had a little more time to push the “distract” mechanics further. I had ideas for “sticky” yarn balls where the cats would pounce and get stuck on the yarn, and “catnip” balls that would suck in nearby cats. I also wanted to have more animations, sounds, and maybe some cute heart particle effects to make it clear that the cats are having fun playing with the toys that your towers are launching.
The 3D modeling took longer than I hoped, I guess I need to practice using Blender more often. For the textures, I layered and modified a lot of paper/cardboard textures. It looks decent, but if I had more time I would prefer to create proper normal-mapped PBR materials. I didn’t quite have enough time to throw in some of the other effects I wanted, so after the end of the jam I went back to throw in a better skybox, anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion, and better lighting in a “post-compo” version. I also added some quick tire animations that I forgot to do, but it’s not very noticeable with the camera position.
I threw in some sound effects at the absolute last minute, and used an old pentatonic scale trick to randomize the pitch. I’ve used this trick in previous game jams, and I always love how it sounds. I do wish I had an extra hour or two to make a little looping music track.
I also really wanted to put in a bunch of particles and trail effects for drifting, but that stuff is a tricky mix of technical + artistic skill, and would have eaten up a lot of time during the jam. I really wish Unity had some kind of built-in tool for tire tracks! Unfortunately, both the “Trail Renderer” and “Line Renderer” kinda suck. I think I’d either need to cobble something together using particle systems with trails, or write some code to manually generate and place line renderers.
You can play the game here:
I’m really looking forward to playing everyone else’s games. I saw a lot of Tower Defense, Dating Sim, Golf, Fishing, Card, Pet Sim, and Racing mashups so it feels like everyone’s reading my personal game genre wishlist!