This is getting unhealthy, but here is some more in-depth stuff on the game:
Most of my strategy from yesterday was based on intuition. I decided to run some tests and see if I could prove what I’d been thinking. The very first level is great for running these kinds of tests, so I played the first level several times with differing tower configurations.
This seems like a good place for a tower:
It covers the entrance, the exit, and part of the middle. However, the way towers work is that they always aim at the guy in front. The tower deals 6 damage, and each sheep has 10hp, meaning you need to nail everyone twice. The tower Starts nailing each sheep once as they come in the door, but they move out of range too fast for it to get the second hit.
Then they come back into range from below. It turns its attention from the entry point and begins zapping the sheep at the head of the line for a second time. It’s killing them, sure, but they are moving by just a little faster than it can shoot. Meanwhile, more are coming in the door which have not been shot at all, and are still at full health. Because the tower is focused on the head of the line, one or two sheep manage to slip by this tower unscathed.
Then as they approach the exit – passing the tower for the third time – we have about half of the sheep left, which have all been hit once, and one or two sheep which have not been hit at all. Those uninjured sheep need 2 hits, and the tower can’t bring them down quick enough before they make it off the edge of the board.
But placing a tower here works. As they walk by the first time, it cleanly destroys the first third or so of the sheep, and leaves the rest with exactly 1 hit. Nobody gets by unharmed. Then they come back around for the second pass, and the tower is able to finish them off without missing anyone.
So, I played the first level through several times, using just one tower. The image below shows how many sheep got by with the tower in the given position:
As I suspected, the towers on the right did much better. What really surprised me was how poorly the towers on the left did.
UPDATE: I wrote this post early this morning, and as of right now the author has messed around with the game again. The sheep move just a little faster now, so you won’t get the results I describe above. However, a tower placed in the location indicated in the second picture will still clear level 1 all by itself.
Now, this is only true because the line is long and moves just a tiny bit faster than the tower can fire. Even when it is killing sheep, each one dies a step closer to the exit than the previous one.
There are a few “BOSS” levels, where you have just one creep which has a whole bunch of hitpoints. However, the first boss is several levels in, so there is no good way to experiment with it repeatedly. So, I can’t really test how towers work in these situations. It’s also tough to get an accurate reading for the BOSS hitpoints, which means measuring performance becomes difficult.
In any case, I speculate that when pounding on a single boss, the tower performance is directly linked to how much path area the tower covers. In these cases, I think my bottom tower which let an abyssmal 12 sheep slip by might actually perform the best. Very little of its coverage area is wasted, since it is nearly surrounded by path.
The second level is interesting because the creeps have 42hp. Towers do 6 damage by default, so we need to nail each sheep 7 times. This means that even if we put our towers on the right where they will do the most good, three towers will not be enough. We would need 4 towers, and some of their potential will be wasted, since we could deliver 8 hits to each sheep if we needed to.
Each tower costs 7g, and delivers 6 damage. For 13g more, you can upgrade a tower to do 16 damage. For another 32, you can upgrade to 39 damage. Now, this would be overkill at this point in the game, and it would very nearly drive us broke here at level 2, but let’s look at what we get for our money:
Tower Level 1: 6dmg / 7g = 0.85 damage per gold
Tower Level 2: 16dmg / 20g = 0.8 dpg
Tower Level 3: 39dmg / 52g = 0.75 dpg
Contrary to the advice I’ve read elsewhere, it looks like you get less for your money by doing upgrades. This seems a little counter-intuitive to me, but there it is. Each upgrade gives the tower a small boost to its range, which is hard to evaluate.
In any case, here in the early stages of the game our goal is to deliver 42 points of damage to each creep without going too far over, thus wasting money.
Without upgrades, we will need 4 towers, with a total cost of 28g. These towers will do 24 damage, so if they hit everyone twice it will overkill our poor 42hp creeps.
If we build 2 towers and upgrade one of them, our total cost is 27g. The towers will do 22 damage. We’re no longer overkilling, but we only saved one gold. That’s no good. Its also better to have more towers, because if they are spread out enough you can avoid overkilling the lead guy in future levels.
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