I’ve played through my share of tower defense games in my day — and have gotten hopelessly addicted to a few of them — but none really approach Andy Wallace’s Doodle Defense when it comes to execution. You see, instead of dragging and dropping pre-made parts onto a field, players must defend against invaders by drawing their own towers and obstacles on a whiteboard.
Wallace cobbled Doodle Defense together as a project for an algorithmic animation class, and the result is a simple-but-novel approach to a cherished genre of time waster. Draw black lines to block or divert the invaders, while drawing red, green, and blue dots create towers that have varying effects on the enemy. Just don’t overdo it with the drawings — a counter nestled in the upper left side of the game field keeps track of how much ink is left at your disposal, a la Okami.
Fun as it looks, Doodle Defense does require a fair bit of setup. The game itself runs on a Mac, and Wallace uses a projector to display the game field on a giant whiteboard. From there, the game interprets the user’s drawings as inputs thanks to a connected Kinect camera, and seeing it in action looks like an ink-slinging good time.
Ultimately, Wallace is looking for crowd-sourced funding to bring Doodle Defense to a handful of other platforms, including PCs and the iPad. I’ll be honest here, it seems like much of Doodle Defense’s appeal disappears when you’re stuck using a more conventional mode of input to play. Still, it’s a very promising project, and I’m looking forward to what Wallace (and the team of artists and sound designers he hopes to recruit) will do with it next.
If you’d rather not donate but still want to play around with the game, you could also just pore through his code: the entire project is open-source and available on Github.