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Building system in Band of Defenders

by Jakub Dockal on 05/25/17 01:45:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Band of Defenders isn’t regular modern coop FPS. It may look like one until you kill first wave of enemies trying to kill you and destroy object you are protecting („base“). But after that, you will have an opportunity (and you better use it if you want to win) to build protection around your „base“. And while we made sure that Band of Defenders is also a great first person shooter, it is this building part that makes it extraordinary.

Balance, it’s so much bigger!

Thanks for the words of wisdom from a man who lived long time ago. We somehow decided to follow similar path. We knew that next game after Killing Room will be another FPS – it was just too tempting, using experience gained from many mistakes made during development of our first big PC game. But we also wanted to create game that will be special, mixing popular ideas from games we love – most notably building of a base, defending it against hordes of enemies and cooperation with other players. You know, something between Killing Floor, Yet another zombie defense, Sanctum and 7 days to die. For that, we had to make sure that our building system will be robust and fun to use.

We chose these game not only as our inspiration, but also as our boundaries and stepping stones – we knew that Sanctum is too much tower-defense (for us), we knew that Killing Floor (2) is a little bit too focused on gore and doesn’t provide character development in the way we wanted, we knew that Yet another zombie has only good idea but that we could execute it much better and we knew that 7 days to die is a little bit too complex and time-consuming (for purpose of fast multiplayer game).

Building and upgrading

It brings joy – building and upgrading useful stuff. We like it in tower defense games, strategies and also survival games. Your base is your home, you are changing in-game world to suit your needs. And because Band of Defenders is about defending, it was quite easy to make decision to build barricades and turrets.


They serve as obstacles in the way of enemy movement towards your base, your turrets and your character. We wanted to let players create fortification that looks and works well. It wasn’t easy, actually it was the hardest part of development so far. Are we going to build on grid or free like in Fallout 4? Are we going to make seamless walls and if so, how big will be building blocks? Is it better to have monolithic appearance or some imperfections that repeat on each building block? We didn’t hit the nail on the head for the first time, or second time. It took a lot of time but we are quite happy with the result that can be even improved if we happen to have some spare time in the future.

  1. Player will build on grid on predetermined places around his base (not only level design is easier that way)
  2. Player will build small barricades (1x1m max) that seamlessly connect to each other – not only in line but also in various other shapes (X, T and L)
  3. Upgrading (most) barricade types (concrete barricades are one of the 5 types planned for release) to higher level is continuous (see below) – barricades of the same type share one basis and only some parts change/upgrade

In the end, after few experiments, we knew what to do and how to do it and creating each barricade doesn’t take too much time.

Seamless barricade walls


Barricade upgrading


With turrets we had to solve different problems. We knew that they don’t have to be connected to each other or to barricades - you don’t want to make wall of turrets. But we had to figure out how big should turret be, how should it rotate it’s barrel in the limited space given by building grid rules (each turret and barricade has to stay in its 1x1m or 2x2m space so they don’t collide with other structures). Also it isn’t so easy to upgrade a turret – it isn’t necessary to just attach a new plate of steel on it to make it look better/upgraded. How did we solve it?

  1. Turrets will have more space – they will occupy 4 grids (2x2m) so their barrel has a room to rotate (it brought other problems – some turrets had too much space around so we had to fill it with tires, barrels etc. to show player that enemies cannot go through that space)
  2. Upgrading will change whole model
  3. Our graphic designer tries to re-use most of the parts in more upgrade levels of turret type so it doesn’t take too much time to create each turret

Upgrading burst turrets – first 3 levels of 9 (this type is one of 7 turret types planned for release)

There is always room to improve and we know that bigger variability in structures would be great. So one of the things that we want to add to the game are random objects on barricades/turrets. Each barricade could be built with object (for example iron rod, poster, stone,…) on one of the predefined positions so wall of concrete barricades wouldn’t be so monolithic but it would still feel as one wall, just with few imperfections that make it more interesting.

You can learn more about Band of Defenders on its web page.

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