Archive for July, 2011

Friday Comic! (And the Tour)

Hey guys! You may have noticed I’m not Nick. I’m still going to be posting the Friday comics,  but Nick’ll be back next week with some other cool stuff. Happy Friday! :D

Jared says we need funny alt text for the comics. Like XKCD!

Introducing… well, myself.

FIRST…. post.

The good people of  Hero Interactive have decided to give me a job. Why? I do not know either. My name is Nick, and I am the new Community Manager.

This is good news for all of us, and here is why. First, I now have an excuse to go hang out in the Hero Interactive (HI) office, and not just annoy them. Second, I am technically no longer unemployed, I also have another job starting soon too, so I guess my lazy couch days are over. The third reason this is such good news is because I will be writing to you all 3 or 4 days a week, and also submitting at least one poll for you.

It will be my responsibility to keep all of the dedicated HI readers up to date with what we are doing, whether it be progress on a much anticipated game or just what new shenanigans are being preformed around the office. I look forward to working for you all, and answering as many questions as I can.

So who am I? Well I attended Central Michigan University, and studied Journalism/ Advertising/ Marketing and a bunch of other subjects I overpaid for. For a journalism student, I have just about the worst grammar imaginable. I enjoy being outdoors, but I mostly sit at a computer all day. I also have a dog named Basil, and that pretty much sums up my life.

I look forward to sharing with you all, and reading your most interesting comments. Just remember, keep it clean and please do your best to use proper English and I will do the same. Do not forget to “Like” us on Facebook,  follow us on Twitter and check in on Fridays for the comic, I promise it will all be worth your while.


p.s. I need to get a Nerf gun to be able to compete in the office battles. Any suggestions?

Shifty Trailer!

We’re still looking for someone to partner with for distribution of Shifty. In the meantime, here’s a trailer!

You can see how the game is played and the types of puzzles you can expect. For those of you not familiar with Shifty, it’s a puzzle game in which you are given colored stones they need to shift around in order to group all matching colors together (adjacent, no diagonal). Each stone has a number on it, indicating how many times it can be moved. There are 30 levels,  plus a survival mode in which you solve as many puzzles as you can as fast as you can! You can also see some of KC’s awesome background art in motion!

Friday Comic! (And the Bug)

We believe the pipes connecting to our bathroom sink lead down to the depths of Hell, as we have been plagued by this tiny monster on more than one occasion.

Roaming Fortress News

Soooooooo…………… about Roaming Fortress.  We’ve had it up on our site for a long time as under development and for a long time we were making progress with our partners YETi who were doing the bulk of the development on the game.   After a few scheduling hick-ups though we’ve been extremely short on news, mostly because we didn’t have any, we’ve been too busy.

So here’s the scoop- recently we’ve sold the rights to Roaming Fortress in full to YETi, they’ll be taking over the game from here on out!

I think this is going to be a good thing for everyone involved.  YETi has done nearly all the work on the project and with this they can continue moving forward on the game.  I don’t know what all their plans are for the series, but I believe they have some really cool stuff ahead, some of which will include better use of those Roaming Fortress collectable cards we were showing off.

For future RF updates, check out YETi’s RF page. and their main site at From what we’ve seen, it’s shaping out to be a pretty sweet game. The new enemies are looking sweet, and YETi has a bit more art available on there. Last we saw, it had a great upgrade system, cool game mechanics, and of course, SWEET graphics! We’re really excited to see how it turns out!

Friday Comic! (And Aaron’s Design)

This week, (actually last week) Aaron contributed some great ideas to the BTTD2 and SW2 discussion. We were quick to… uh, expand upon them.

For comparison, here is the actual design Aaron made (with our help).

It’s a tank. For StormWinds. The fish was Eric’s idea.

BTTD2: More Feedback, Please? :)

Bubble Tanks TD 2

Hopefully you guys aren’t too tired of giving feedback after that SW2 post. ;) Because now we’re asking you to do the same thing for BTTD2.

First off, the icon. The last poll was veeeery close, as many of you probably remember. Since it was so close we decided to make a new icon. So, here is that icon. Compare it to the other two and tell us what you think!

New or old?

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Now, onto the game!

New Key Features

New Towers

  • Charge Towers – Each hit the tower makes builds up a charge.  When maxed, the tower releases all it’s charges to do an ultimate attack.
  • Ghost Area Damage Towers – Towers that do area bursts that only affect ghosts.
  • Lightning Towers – Similar to the area burst in that it can attack a number of enemies simultaneously, but lighting chain jumps to hit enemies even outside the tower’s range.

New Enemy Types

  • Decoy Spawner – Spawns decoy bubbles which towers can target for no reward.
  • Accelerator – Every time this enemy is hit, it’s movement speed increases.
  • Scout – An enemy that doesn’t follow the same path finding as the rest of the enemies, instead taking wacky paths that may severely interrupt the user’s strategies.
  • Heavy Ghost – A slower, stronger version of the normal ghost type

Radial Upgrade Menu

When a tower is selected, a radial menu will appear with all available upgrades for that tower. Each upgrade will immediately show the tower art, the cost and the hot key for that upgrade. The position of each upgrade in the menu will be adjusted to make sure all are visible, no matter where the selected tower is on screen. Each upgrade will display detailed information in a pop-up on roll-over.  No longer are we restricted to only 4 possible upgrades, we can make the tree however we like.

Consumable Items and Abilities (Purchased with bubbles)

Purchase bombs that you can drop on enemies or boosts that affect all your towers for a short period.  Some examples of these include:

  • Tower Damage Boost – Temporarily increase the damage all your towers dish out for a brief period.
  • Tower Range Boost – Temporarily increase the range of all your towers for a brief period.
  • Tower Fire Rate Boost - Temporarily increase the fire rate of all your towers for a brief period.
  • Skip a Wave – Allows you to skip a wave (very expensive and banned in some modes).
  • Area Effect Bombs – Damage, weaken, confuse, slow, stun, poison. All effect bombs are drag and release and do damage or an ability to the area dropped on.
  • Boss Wave Convert – Converts the next wave into a boss wave, giving you more bubbles for destroying that wave.

Fixed Path Levels AND Open Path Levels

The game will include fixed path levels (the path is laid out and you can’t place towers on it) in addition to the already seen open path level types of BTTD 1 & 1.5.  There will be 20 levels total, 10 in each category.

Do you prefer Fixed Path or Open Path?

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Numerous Game Modes for each Level

Each level of the game will be able to be played in a number of different game modes. Many game modes will be locked, and will be unlock-able by gaining experience or beating the easy-hard modes for the standard level.  We will have 20 total levels, each will have 15 modes available, which means a total of 300 unique games of BTTD  can be played!  Completing a mode will unlock achievements which grant you XP.

  • FML – Ridiculously hard mode where wall tiles are randomly placed on the grid in locations where there is open space periodically throughout the level, severely compromising your “mazing” ability.
  • Dark Mode – Everything on the game stage is blackened out, with the only visible area being a circle radius around the mouses location as you move it.
  • Night Watch – A mode where all of the screen is blacked out, and the user must use ‘sensor towers’ to help make the grid viewable. Towers can only target enemies if they are viewable.
  • Direct Control (Mega Tower) – User controls a pre-placed Mega Tower that can fire anywhere on screen, controlled by the user’s mouse.  You can place the towers before you begin any waves, but once you start shooting you can no longer place towers.
  • Influence Mode – Similar to Direct Control mode, but with multiple towers. You can place towers in this mode, and in order for them to shoot, the user must hold down the mouse, at which point any tower in range of the mouse will fire at the mouse’s location.
  • One Life – User only gets one life.  You must get a perfect.
  • Endless (Unlimited/Survival) – Unlimited enemy waves.
  • Fixed – Place all of your towers before starting the waves. Once waves are started, you cannot upgrade, place, or sell any towers.
  • All Splitters – All waves are Splitter enemies.
  • Ghost Buster – All waves are Ghosts and Cursed enemies.
  • All Scouts – All enemies are Scouts.
  • All Decoys – All enemies are Decoy enemies.
  • Random/Surprise – User can’t see what wave is coming up next. All waves in wave slot will just have question marks on them.
  • Defend the Castle – User has a set castle/object that it needs to defend. Towers will actually be able to block off completely the path to both that object and the end location (if there is one). Enemies find any open paths to the destroyable castle/object if any, else find the shortest path to it and destroy any towers in it’s way to that object.
  • Like a Boss – All waves are bosses.

Tentative level select screen.


BTTD 2 will include over 300 achievements that can be unlocked throughout the insane amount of game play types.  Each mode on each level will have an achievement and we’ll also include some fun ones as well such as for beating a level with only 1 life left or losing on the very last enemy of the last wave.  Each achievement gives you some XP.

Upgrade System

XP awarded from achievements can be spent on new modes for levels as well as on permanent upgrades that affect your tower and abilities.  Purchase abilities that boost your damage for normal towers by 2%, decrease costs of area burst towers, or allow your lightning towers to make more jumps.  These abilities last throughout all maps of BTTD 2, so you don’t need to keep repurchasing them.

Tower AI Customization

Users will be able to customize tower AI depending on how they want each tower to target enemies.  For example you can set individual towers to target the enemies closest to it, or nearest to the exit.

Which enemies will YOUR turrets go after?

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So, what do you think? Let us know what you like or dislike, or anything else you think should be added!

StormWinds 2 – Tentative Designs

First off, let me say that this is NOT a SW2 announcement. It is still in the discussion stage, so development has not started. Officially, we have not even decided if we will be moving forward with this. That’s where you guys come in! We’ve been putting together a tentative feature list and we’d like your feedback on it.


StormWinds 2 continues the original saga with an all new game engine with a new interface, new units, weapons, upgrade system, levels, abilities, and more. Focused more around the story, the game will consist of 10 stages of 3 waves each.

Gameplay consists of choosing a stage then a story mode->build mode->battle mode cycle.

Key Features

Completely New Game Engine

  • Built from scratch with improved efficiency and none of the old bugs.
  • Built for easy expansion. We can easily expand the game to make other ones later such as World 2, World 3 and so on.
  • A lot more emphasis on story and levels. Each stage can be very different, some will be at night in the rain with lightning, others will allow you to use enemy weapons against them, and so on.

Larger Battlefields

  • Battlefields go beyond the width of the screen and allow you to place MANY more turrets than the original games.
  • Minimap feature allows you to control the battle regardless of where you are.

Mockup of the game screen. At the bottom is the mini map with unit cards that allow you quickly view all your turrets whether they are on the screen or not, as well as jump to them or take control of them. Above the mini map are abilities that can be used with their cool-down timers.

Ground Units

  • Full support for enemy ground units such as tanks, soldiers, and more as well as varying terrain features.
  • Build structures on the ground such as barricades and traps.


  • Not only can you build towers to defend with, but you can use Abilities. These actions have cooldowns or limited uses but can be called from anywhere. Abilities might include calling down a barrage of missiles, summoning your own fleet of airships, or being able to place a limited special type of tower.
  • Some abilities will be researchable, others you can get based on the current level. For example, you might destroy a super powerful boss ship which gives you the Ability to build a tower that features it’s weapons that you can now use against your enemies.

What abilities would you want MOST? (pick two)

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New Upgrade System

  • Upgrades are permanent! Once you upgrade your machine guns, ALL machine guns get the upgrade.
  • Research points allow you to discover new types of weapons and expand on the abilities and stats of existing ones. You can even unlock new abilities such as ally vehicles and massive weapons.
  • Grid structure upgrade system allows you to focus on the weapons you love.

The upgrade tree allows you to focus on expanding the abilities of current units or work towards researching completely new towers and abilities.

Do you like the idea of an upgrade tree?

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  • All of your turrets will fire automatically when enemies are within range!
  • Take over any of your turrets personally to greatly increase their effectiveness. More damage, increased fire rate and range allow you to personally destroy enemies- crucial for destroying the incoming horde.


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Turret Experience

  • As placed turrets destroy enemies, they build up experience for their operating crews, gaining better accuracy and fire rate when in auto mode.

Enhanced Story

  • Prior to stages there will be a number of story elements including pictures, journal entries, and so on. Before each wave you may also get other story elements such as battle orders.
  • Abilities tie into the story. A mission might involve you nearly getting destroyed and then having a huge reinforcement fleet coming to your rescue, or getting access to a new weapon in the nick of time.

Enhanced Missions

  • Stages can be significantly different. One level might have you battling on the side of a cliff, another on a plateau against tanks. Another level may be during a lightning and thunder storm, and you can only see enemies clearly when the lightning flashes!

Better Build System

  • Rather than having to cycle through one tower at a time to place, you can page through as many as ten types at a time.
  • There is a repair all button allowing you to quickly mend all damaged structures.

In build mode you can repair all towers, move towers, get info, and build new structures and traps. Now, you can see a large number of towers at once instead of having to painfully page through each one to find the one you want.

More Content

  • New towers, new enemies, new abilities, and lots of new bosses!

So, what do you think? We really want your feedback on these new designs. Does this seem like a fun game? Is this is the right direction for StormWinds? Which features do you like most? Are there any you feel won’t pan out? Any that can use improvement?

Friday Comic! (And New Towers)

This week we have another Star Forge comic for you! Building towers in the war zone is hard…

Introducing… Aaron!

Guess what? We have a summer intern – Aaron! He’s been with us for a little over a month, so we figured it was about time to introduce him to the community. :D

He’s currently a game design student at Ferris State University. So far we’ve taught him Nerf swordsmanship, Spider-Ball, and various Nerf-gun combat techniques. Oh yeah, and we managed to squeeze in a bit of game design along the way.

Welcome aboard, Aaron!

Friday Comic! (And a New Recorder)

This week, we decided it would be a good idea to record our meetings. But first, we had to test the new recorder…

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