Make a Tower Defense Game
As with all of our guides, we are assuming you are using Unity to build your game. Also, you understand the power and value of the asset store. We often link to purchasable assets. This is in the best interest of you the developer and streamlining your project.
Great Starter Project
After creating many prototypes and demos of various game genres, this has to be our favorite. Why? You can quickly put together a game that feels rewarding to play right away.
That’s why if you want to create a game, but I have no idea what type of game to create, we always suggest a tower defense. Creating is fun. Testing is fun. And scaling the levels and difficulty is easy. So let’s jump into it!
Tower Defense Kits and Maps
There are several out of the box custom tower defense assets. Deciding on the target platform should help you choose which one is right for you.
2D Tower Defense Kit
If you’re thinking you want a 2D style and to target mobile eventually, our recommendation is to go with Tower Defense 2D. Which is a very complete TD kit. And as with most projects, it’s easier to optimize a 2D game for mobile. Easier on player’s phone batteries as well.
• Tower Defense 2D
While we’re on the topic of a 2D style, we should definitely mention some great 2d maps built specifically for tower defense games. Definitely a solid starting point to prototype your game on various levels.
• SLG RTS Tower Defence
3D Tower Defence 2D Map 2
It would be an absolute shame to talk about a 3D Tower Defense game and not provide the most comprehensive template that exists. This is where you need to start. With the Tower Defense Toolkit asset. One of the best template assets on the store.
• Tower Defense Toolkit
3D Maps and Towers
If you’re looking for an ageless art style for your game, we usual suggest that hand-painted style. Kind of like World of Warcraft. It always ages better over time vs the hyper realistic graphics. Also better performance when you fill the screen with hundreds of enemies and lots of towers shooting. Low poly is key when you’re filling the map with a high number of objects. Tower Defense and MOBA art pack pulls off this look beautifully. Huge amount of assets to get your game off the ground.
• Tower Defense and MOBA
If you’re still looking for some more assets to bolster this look and feel, we have the perfect companion asset. Tower Defense Level Kit really captures the same look and feel. Giving you some more props, level textures, and a lot more turret options.
• Tower Defense Level Kit
Or if you’re trying to capture that sci-fi feel, as well as hand painted look, Sci-Fi Tower Defense Pack is the exact fit you’re looking for.
• SCI-FI Tower Defense Pack 1
Enemies – Fantasy
If we’re going to have a very Warcraft feel, we should probably have similar fantasy type enemies that players are similar fighting. These are some excellent packs by a very talented publisher Polygon Blacksmith. Some Toon RTS Units – Orcs. Let’s have some fun with this. Throw in some Undead. Heck, let’s get some Elves in their while we’re at it. The really great things about these packs is customization is simple. You can change the appearance of their skin or gear. So scaling to harder versions is quick and easy.
• Toon RTS Units – Orcs, Undead, and Elves.
Enemies – Sci-Fi
This is a much trickier topic if you’re looking for a ready made solution within the Unity Asset Store. We did our best to bring you the most suiting type and aesthetic appeal for your theme. We’ll start off with some Drones. Typically your enemies mindlessly wander through a set path getting blasted to death. So drones are very suiting.
• Space Drone – Craw
Another decent set of assets that all have some customization. Again, key for having some style difference for when you scale your enemies up in defense and difficulty. A package that comes with animations will also save you some time. The Galaxy Robots Pack is excellent for this.
• Galaxy Robots Pack 01
Enemies – 2D
You’re going to want to populate your game with a variety of enemies. Suiting to the graphic style in the kit. Luckily another publisher has some fairly polished 2D enemies that would be sufficient for your game. They have a five pack of each; Undead, Demons, and Orcs.
• 5 RPG Characters – Undead, Demon, and Orc
Hits and Effects
One very important aspect that lacks in a lot of indie games and early projects is the visual feedback on a hit. Animation showing a character lurch back on a hit is usually only half the battle. Changing the entire tint of said character to a lighter color and hit markers are crucial to giving players that feeling of success as the battle. So you should be highly considering implementing Hit & Slashes into this game. Or any game you make really. •
• Hit & Slashes Vol.3
Systems and Tools
A lot goes into the inner working behind the scenes. This can all be hard coded. But they call it “hard” coded for a reason. Not very easy from scratch. Luckily for the modern day developer, there’s a ton of assisting development tools to make life easier. And keep you in the zone actually creating a game instead of pulling your hair out
Visual Scripting Tool
Absolutely necessary for efficient development. Killer support and a large userbase. We can’t recommend this asset enough when it comes to starting a project. With over 5000 five star reviews, Playmaker is the go to.
We’re going to assume you are going to have waves and waves of enemies. With increasing difficulty, numbers, and variation. The amount of input data with become staggering. There’s also an amazing tool for that, Game Data Editor.
• Game Data Editor
There are rogue like non-saving tower defense games out there. But chances are, you’re going to want a way for players to save their progress. Easy Save does exactly that. Makes it easy.
• Easy Save
Graphic User Interface – GUI
There are plenty of GUI’s to choose from on the asset store. So keep in mind, even if we suggest some excellent ones, there’s still plenty more that could be even more suited to your project.
When it comes to what we feel is a suiting UI and menu system. We couldn’t arrive at just one complete solution. We feel the following two assets can be combined to get you everything you need. First off the Steampunk GUI Pack has a great level progression screen with start values as well. Very suiting to unlocking new maps or a path forward in a progressive tower defense.
• Steampunk GUI Pack
Next we have the Fantasy Game GUI Pack 01 which has a slightly more mature style of menus and graphics. Also containing excellent victory screen stats and lay out. This is one you really have to click into to see the incredible work as the banner does not do it justice.
• Fantasy Game GUI Pack 01
A sleek, modern, almost StarCraft feel to it, this is a very looked over asset on the store. Blue Sci-Fi UI Skin Pack. It’s incredible comprehensive for a GUI. It has basically everything you could need for a space themed tower defense game.
• Blue Sci-Fi UI Skin Pack
Music and Sound FX
This section will be a little more casual on the music selection. Obviously we don’t know what style or theme of tower defense you settled on making. So we’ll outline a few excellent choices for music selection
If your style is a lot like Warcraft 3, then we can’t recommend this asset enough. Fantasy Music Pack 1 has that tower defense feel to it. Reminded us of the days when players created an immense amount of custom tower defense games. The music loops perfectly. Obviously necessary for most games.
• Fantasy Music Pack 1
IF you’re building your game out with the space theme in mind, then we have the absolutely perfect music pack for you. Another incredible package put together by Micheal La Manna, his Galactic Adventure Music Pack 2 is the perfect fit. Properly looping tracks. Just enough action to be exciting but not so over the top that it’s hard to listen to on repeat.
• Galactic Adventure Music Pack 2
There could be a massive amount of sounds you could possibly need. Luckily if you didn’t want to shop around for each sound specifically, we have the perfect pack for you. It should cover almost all of your sound needs. Not only for this project, but it contains a wealth of sound FX for future games! The mega pack, Universal Sound FX.
• Universal Sound FX
As with any of our articles, this is an ongoing and evolving process. Feel free to join in the comments with your advice for newly budding developers!