I'm not looking for guidance on any specific Tower Defense game, but a general strategy for those TD games that allow you to place towers anywhere on the map to form the maze, such as Xeno Tactic, Robo Defense, etc. There are a lot of walk-through/guides for these games online, across which a few common patterns can be identified. However I couldn't find any article that compares these patterns.

Is there one or few patterns that could be much more effective, in terms of damage output, than the others, or all patterns are similar as long as there are no obviously wasted room? I am looking for answer/reference to a comparison of the patterns backed up by mathematical analysis or experiment.

This question is not asking how to build the longest path, but rather, whether longest path is the most efficient and why. Path itself takes space, so when the path is longest, the number of towers on the map isn't maxed out. Is it possible that the total damage is higher with a shorter path but more towers on the map?

Even if the longer path the better, there are more than one way to build the long path, which I do not believe are all equivalent. Is there one pattern easier to start small and expand along with game progression than the others? Is there a pattern that is advantageous than the others when it comes to dealing with long line of enemies? Some say the 'twist in, twist out' pattern (see screenshot below) has the max utilization of the tower coverage, is that really so?

Here are some common patterns that I see: No maze; Light maze, heavy firepower; Zigzag; Diagonal; Twisted.

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Isn't this basically gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/20038/…? That's just about maze length, but anything more specific requires an actual game. – fbueckert Feb 24 at 23:35
@fbueckert Does max length guarantees max efficiency? Is it possible a shorter maze can achieve higher tower time utilization than a longer one, or the utilization can be only increased by lengthen the maze? Though the best strategy for individual games may vary, there are generalized formulae that I seek. – NS.X. Feb 25 at 2:00
Efficiency defined how? By maximum damage? Total time it takes to run through the maze? I'm not exactly sure you can define anything but maze length without delving into the game's specifics. – fbueckert Feb 25 at 2:03
I'm still not sure I understand. If everything else is equal, the most efficient route is going to be the longest. Unless I'm completely missing something. – fbueckert Feb 25 at 2:31
Voting to close this question. This is too vague, it depends on the game. Depending on the kind of towers you have available, the answer can be completely different. If you have towers to slow down, if you take advantage of grouping them, if you have long range, etc. It depends also on the enemies. If they are slow, you might even prefer a straight line with the maximum damage towers. It depends how they are taking their curves, also. Might not be effective to make them zigzag. Point is, there is too many ways to influence the possible answers. – Gnoupi Feb 25 at 9:19