I've been hard at work on the tower-defense game. Tomorrow is the half-way point and everything is on schedule. All the monsters and heroes are finished, along with special effects and some revised user interface art. The game is playable, but of course is not balanced yet because that comes last. Audio and music should not take long. I do all my art in Flash and then export everything to be packaged into sprite sheets using Spriteloq. Here is a screenshot of the main stage that I use to maintain consistency:
Heroes (6 of them) either attack with physical damage, fire, ice, or poison. Pirates throw bombs that do both physical and fire damage. Likewise, each enemy (20 of them) has a weakness to one of the elements. The icons on the right are the hero upgrade buttons. A lot of the work to be done next week is not even shown in the screenshot. It will include a global map to choose what path to defend (probably 1o) and some permanent upgrades the player can select through experience, initially constructed from a choose-your-own story at the beginning of the game. I've definitely acquired a lot of my inspiration from other tower-defense games, but especially the Protector series.
Update: I'm experimenting with different styles of environment art. I'm not satisfied with it, but it's still a whole lot better than the previous design. Environment and background art is my weakness, but no surprise I spend so little time doing it.