Despite my earlier plans to give up playing Desktop Tower Defense (which, you will recall, I consider harmful), I've been sneaking in a game now and then--nothing like how frequently I played in the past. But a little downtime in the hotel here in China motivated me to go for my goal: scoring above 7,000.

Several times I'd been within striking distance of the 7,000 mark but always came up just a bit short. Finally, I was able to really hone my technique and cross that line.

Over 7,000 in Desktop Tower Defense (finally)

I had been using the same board layout for a while now, so I can put the towers into place in my sleep.

Winning Layout for Desktop Tower Defense

But the keys to really getting a good score are:

  1. Upgrade towers in the right order.
  2. Be very, very aggressive about advancing to the next level.

I'm convinced that #1 matters to a degree, but it seems like #2 is what really provides the greatest gains for me. That's how I got my first two 7,000+ scores. I just had a push a little bit harder to get 7,102.


I don't know if Rasmus is going to start trying to top my sore or not (he'd only need 5 more points than his previous best), but part of me doesn't care all that much. You can't be on top forever. And I did finally make my real goal of getting over 7,000.

Now I suppose I could start playing on the "hard" level, but I really ought to do something more productive with my time...

Posted by jzawodn at May 21, 2007 01:04 AM

Reader Comments
# Jeffrey Friedl said:

7,000 miles in an airplane, untold timezones, centuries upon centuries of culture surround you, and you play a video game? You've earned back the geek points that you lost for not geoencoding your photos, but at what price? /-:

on May 21, 2007 02:27 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Heh. Something like that...

on May 21, 2007 03:41 AM
# Niall said:

Upgrade at least one or two Pellet towers to the top level (Sniper tower) and put them near the centre of the map. The range means that anything that escapes the main gaunlet will get the nice big sniper round dropping on them.

on May 21, 2007 05:46 AM
# Randy Stewart said:

Thank god they let you play that behind the great firewall.


on May 21, 2007 08:21 AM
# Al Pascual said:

Can you check if my blog is block in China for me?

on May 21, 2007 01:30 PM
# Phil said:

I don't understand - is that the beginning of your pattern, JZ? b/c I get overwhelmed without adding - even with adding. I'm going to try some sniper towers and freezes...

on May 21, 2007 05:07 PM
# Joe Zawodny said:

That is the whole maze. Just for grins I tried it out and got my highest score yet the very first time (6900+). I do not know how this will hold up on hard though. I've had to resort to a completely different layout at that level just to get past the first couple of waves without letting any sneak through.

on May 21, 2007 05:45 PM
# Prolific Programmer said:

Jeremy, my contacts in China tell me that Scoble's feeds are not blocked, however his blog is.

on May 22, 2007 01:23 AM
# Alden said:

I've already mastered "hard" and have been fruitlessly trying the 100-level challenge version. I blame myself for clicking on the link in the first place. :)

Congrats for breaking 7000. I haven't managed that yet!

on May 22, 2007 03:22 AM
# Andrew S said:

Wow, nice work! And thanks for posting the high score page; I had no idea made the y! board for the Hard level.


on May 22, 2007 01:23 PM
# David said:

I have been trying to remember who to blame for this DTD addiction until I saw this post, thanks !

And great job on the score.

on May 23, 2007 06:01 AM
# Ken Hirsch said:

The bonus points, as far as I can tell, are 2 points for every second that you advance early to the next level.

Plus, if you still have 20 lives at the end, there's an extra 500 point bonus. The regular points for shooting everything add up to 4992 points. So it's 4992 + 500 + time bonus.

People who get over 8000 have to play very dynamically. They let in many levels at once. One trick is to make the goons waste time going back and forth by alternating selling and building pellet towers at opposite ends of the maze.

Here's one video of someone getting 8120 points.
That means that he let the next levels in an average of 26.8 seconds early!

(8120-4992-500)/2/49 = 26.8

on May 24, 2007 12:28 AM
# Alan Parekh said:

I remember seeing that game some time ago, I think it was on Digg. I lost about 3 hours that evening. I had forgotten about it until today. :) Oh well I guess another few hours of playing won't kill me...

Congrats on the score.

on May 28, 2007 01:41 AM
# Michael Tanne said:

Hi Jeremy,

Microsoft has developed a whole new technology for you: Surface. Now you'll have the ultimate platform for DesktopTD!

on May 30, 2007 12:30 PM
# Rebecca said:

Thanks for the advice! That game is too addictive. Hope you have been successfully avoiding it!

Rebecca Roebuck
Stop Guessing About Conversion Rates

on June 4, 2007 01:36 PM
# -e said:

You can do significantly better (without doing the 8k+ method) by elongating your maze and sacrificing a few of the main cannons for the area of effect ground towers. I've been hitting 7400 or so with that idea.

on July 3, 2007 05:44 PM
# Joe said:

On hard, make a maze with one bash tower, preferably close to where they enter in the top center left.

Get it upgraded as often as possible. Juggle the creeps back and forth over the bash tower and send most levels in early (press "n"), pausing only to upgrade your swarm towers just before the air waves.

You'll consistently get over 7,000 points and won't lose any lives (the video game ones anyway).

Yeah I wasted too much time on this game too.

I guess everyone made a post about it. Here's mine.

on September 2, 2007 09:34 PM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.