Bubble Tanks University

Since Bubble Tanks 3′s release we’ve gotten a lot of questions regarding enemies such as:

  • Why can’t I find the enemies I made?
  • How does the game choose which enemies show up?
  • When does the game find new enemies on the server?
  • How does the game stay balanced?

In this article I’ll run through all of these questions  and explain how the whole enemy thing works as well as provide you with all you need to make Enemies that are frequently found and used.  Very soon we are going to start featuring some user created tanks so we are excited to see some amazing tanks of all types!

The Big Question: Why can’t I find my own tanks?

The answer has to do with game balancing.  Essentially what happens is as you are swimming around the game says “I need a fighter enemy” or “I need a mini boss”.  These unit types are at the heart of how BT3 balances the game and chooses enemies for you to fight against.  When you enter a bubblefield the game might look for 3 units of a DeadHead type, a 2 units of a Small Fighter type, and 1 unit of an Early Heavy type.  It are these types that allow the game to pull in the appropriate enemies at the right time- you don’t want to end up with 4 mini bosses or 3 heavy units every bubblefield at the start of the game.

Once it knows what types of units it wants you to fight, the game has to do two things: 1) know how to tell the difference between a fighter and a heavy tank and 2) know where to get these tanks, from your local machine, the server, or elsewhere.

The answer to item #1 is Unit Definitions.  Each unit type has a definition that tells the game exactly what constitutes that type, and it is VERY specific.  For example, the Small Fighter type is designated as a class 1 tank with difficulty either 1 or 2, exactly 1 gun point, speed of 1.9 to 3.5, 15% or less bubble complexity, returns 2 to 5 bubbles, and has 4 to 8 life.

BT3 Tanks

These guys look tough!

That’s pretty clear to the game what it is looking for and unless you make a tank that fits all those exact properties, you didn’t make a Small Fighter.  That’s okay though, because we have a number of different unit types and for the most part there is a unit type for everything.  But you didn’t want to make a Small Fighter anyways did you?  Who cares about a little Dead Head?  Not you.

Although there are a TON of really cool enemy tanks made by players on the server, over 75% of them have a difficulty rating of 8 or greater.  There are only 4 unit types that have a difficulty in that range: Super Fighters, Very Heavies, Fighter Mini Bosses, and Heavy Mini Bosses.  And you have to go far out to see all of those (at least 20 or so bubblefields out), and when you do, the game only needs so many of them.

The number #1 reason players don’t find their created tanks is because they make tanks that are too difficult.

So there you go!  Most players are out to make the most awesome killer tank ever that destroys EVERYONE.  That’s awesome.  But the problem is that you often make enemies that the game finds too difficult.  You know what the game wants a lot of?  Small Fighters.  Early Heavies.

Alright, so the game knows what makes up a Small Fighter.  The next thing the game needs to know is where to get the tanks from.  Based on your selections at the start of the game, that will determine where the game looks first.

If you want to increase the likelihood of seeing your tanks, select Local Tanks ONLY.

Because there are a number of pre-built tanks that are local as well, this does not guarantee you’ll see your units, but it makes it FAR more likely because the game won’t pull tanks off the server.  If you make a Light Heavy and you only have 4 tanks that fit that unit type, you have a 1 out of 4 chance instead of the server’s chance of picking your tank out of hundreds.

BT3 Editor

You can edit some settings via the Enemy Info tab.

Additionally, we’ve done more to make it so that users tanks can come into the game.  If you select your source to be any type other than just Hero Interactive Tanks only, the game adds a number of unit types such as Open Fighter and Open Heavy.  The definitions for these types are much more lax so more user created stuff can fit them, but it does make the game slightly less balanced.

Finally, how often does the game find new tank types?  There are two triggers: 1) distance outward and 2) total bubblefields traversed.   Most of the triggers to do a search are based on you moving outwards.  We don’t bother loading up Very Heavy tanks when you are within the first 5 Bubblefields, that would be a waste.  We also do searches as you keep moving, so even if you spiral, you’ll eventually see some new easy types.

Is this system perfect? Definitely not.  It’s got a lot that can be improved.  We definitely need a way for players to test out their enemies and that’s on our to-do list.

Want to know what the definitions are for all of the standard types?  You can download the OpenOffice file below:



GO TO OpenOffice.org