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What is GROSS?
GROSS is a classic Tower Defense game, combined with First Person Shooter mechanics. It’s a passion project, an idea born from a big hole where a game like GROSS should have been.
What is wrong with similar games?
While there is a small handful of games that combine these two genres, they always seem to end up crippling either the Tower Defense or the First Person Shooter part. Even worse than that, the two genres often don’t serve to complement each other, quite the contrary. Enemies quickly become bullet sponges, because both the player with his guns and the legion of towers/turrets ultimately only do one thing, which is to reduce the enemies health bars to zero. There is also usually very little mobility required from the player, as there is a clear front line.
What does GROSS try to do better?
The goals were clearly outlined from the very beginning:
- Complete Tower Defense experience. Build what you want, where you want. Build a maze, upgrade turrets to hold choke points, use synergies to maximize your bang for the buck.
- Complete First Person experience. A variety of guns with individual strengths and weaknesses, different abilities (equipment) to suit or complement different play styles.
- Turrets feel powerful. Smart construction is rewarded.
- The players actions are meaningful. The player can’t always fight on the front line, but when he does, it can turn the literal tide of battle.
There were a few ideas how to make this work. Some of them revolved around the player interacting with turrets – like repairing them, manually controlling and firing them for extra damage, directing them on certain enemies or areas.
Another one was that there could be different types of health bars like armor/shield/health. Each turret would be somewhat efficient against one type, just like the players guns. Some enemies would only take damage if two types of damage occurred simultaneously. Others would first need to be damaged by the turrets to be finished off by the player, or vice versa.
In the end, GROSS chose another path.
Traditionally in Tower Defense games, once you kill an enemy, you are rewarded with a resource. This resource is then used to buy more defensive structures or upgrade current ones. GROSS is no different, except the resources rewarded by killing attackers needs to be picked up by the player himself.
GROSS only knows one resource, cash. Here are the major game mechanics revolving around it:
- When a zombie dies, it pays a certain amount of cash into a pool. A roll of dice then decides whether the current cash pool actually spawns at the spot where this zombie died. This makes sure the amount of the resource cash distributed to the player remains consistent and not based on luck, but the locations are somewhat unpredictable.
- Cash pickups are vulnerable. There are always tax drones in the area that scout for cash pickups. Also certain zombies have discovered that money is sweeter than brains. This creates an urgency for the player to divert his attention from the front line for long enough to secure his reward.
- Cash pickups take damage from explosions. Guns like the grenade launcher, equipment like the sticky grenade, and turrets like the missile launcher all deal explosive damage which hurts all enemies in the area. This mechanic prevents the player from overusing or abusing explosive damage. It also allows ridiculously powerful attacks like the RPGs cluster bombs, because in turn they leave nothing to loot. No loot means no money to improve defenses, which means the next attack will hit even harder. Lastly, it means a player that is more involved in picking up cash can in turn use more and more powerful explosive weapons, because he makes sure to rescue the cash pickups in time.
- The player can only carry a certain amount of money in his pockets. Once they’re full, no more cash can be picked up. Taking as much money as possible out of the combat in order to improve his defenses is one of the main goals of the player. The player can transfer money from his pockets to his (limitless) bank account by using ATM turrets, which frees up his pockets and allows him to pick up cash once more. This can be done either by walking up to the ATM and depositing in person (time consuming and subject to a fee), or by literally shooting or throwing money over a long distance (requires the respective equipment and the player can miss). This once again gives players something meaningful and fun to do that’s not just shooting the attackers.
All these mechanics feed into one central theme: Allow both the turrets (representing the TD side of the game), and the player with their guns and equipment (representing the FPS side of the game) to be powerful on their own. This can only work if the player can’t afford to deliver his firepower all the time.
The games name is a direct result of its central themes: gore and money.
Fact Sheet (GROSS)
Developer: hangry owl games
Hawthorn Games (China)
hangry owl games (rest of the world)
Planned Release Date: 11.01.2023
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
Price: to be defined
Genre: Tower Defense / First Person Shooter
Multiplayer: not currently planned
Sanctum & Sanctum 2
7 Days to Die
Orcs Must Die series
Press Contact: email@example.com
Fact Sheet (HOG)
Nettie Stauffer (admin, feedback)
Chris Stauffer (everything else)
Based In: Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Fact Sheet (Chris)
Horizontality: More than it used to be
Walking & playing with my dog
Watching the old telly
Listening to music at deafening volumes
Avoiding human interaction
Life & career:
My first gaming experiences were with hand held LCD games, soon replaced by a classic Game Boy that entertained me for thousands of hours.
At around age 13 I got my first PC, a 286 running at a whopping 12 MHz. Although this device was outdated even back then, and couldn’t run anything that you’d call a game, the Game Boy was quickly cast aside.
In the absence of games I read the DOS (3.3) manual and experimented with GWBasic, creating my own timeless classics like “can you guess the number?” and “Yahtzee”.
A year later I got a 386 with twice the CPU speed and four times the RAM. This allowed me to play games like Colonization, Tyrian, Might & Magic 3-5, Wolfenstein, Jagged Alliance and many others.
At age 15, through lots of luck, I managed to score a position as an apprentice in the role of an “Informatiker”, which loosely translates to “IT professional” at Swiss software company Infosystem. (Shameless advertising here: If you’re in need of bespoke business software, they’ll take great care of you.)
For most of the next quarter of a century I developed and debugged software, became a system engineer, an Oracle Database Administrator and team lead, not necessarily in this or any particular order. If it’s IT, I’ve probably dabbled in it at some stage.
Although born and raised in Switzerland, life took me to Ireland in 2012, after meeting the love of my life which happened to be an Irish gal. Her homesickness had us move from a country where everything runs like clockwork to one where the weather can change twelve times an hour and as soon as two houses are built too close together a pub spawns in between them.
It was only in early 2020 that I decided to give game development another try. Work on GROSS started in spring 2021 part time, and July 2021 full time.