Making Wilder Castles

October 12, 2020

Wild Castle is a casual castle defense with a steady 4.8/5 rating, made by one designer in a couple months using our Editor.

Fun fact! When Wild Castle first launched, it had no castles. The first version’s castle upgrades only had visual changes for the first 15 castle upgrades and looked more like a shoddy fort than a majestic castle (we have remedied this since launch).

Originally each castle piece was its own game unit, dynamically created and destroyed as needed. This was less than optimal as units can have a moderate performance cost (Wild Castle already has many units on-screen during battle compared to Wild Sky TD). We needed a better solution for when we had the final castle assets ready to be added to the game so created a prop layer system.

The prop layer system lets you toggle the visibility of groups (or layers) or props in triggers, so that each castle upgrade could be its own prop layer, rather than a static unit. Using prop layers also has the advantage of being able to iterate and modify castle visuals quicker, since editing props is done visually in the terrain editor.

Prop layers in action

While prop layers gave us more efficiency and flexibility in constructing the castle upgrade sequence, they don’t offer a way to smoothly transition between each upgrade. To achieve this, we ended up creating “builder” units for each upgrade piece, spawning the unit at the same position as the prop and using the actor system to animate the transition.

An actor event macro for “builder” unit actors

This actor-based approach let us create a collection of reusable preset builder animations, so that some props would animate-in by increasing scale over time, and others would just rise from the ground (or both). These actors are also responsible for creating the dust VFX. An upside of using actor macros, is that we can easily make the animations reversible.

As a bonus, here’s the full castle upgrade sequence:

Check out our games:
Android: Wild Sky Tower Defense and Wild Castle
iOS: Wild Sky Tower Defense

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