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Ice

Greetings Defenders,

Welcome to the new forums! There's quite a bit of changes that had to happen in order to facilitate this move so please read everything to hopefully answer any questions you may have.

  • Logging In
    • Email/Password Login: Your password did not carry over from the old forums and must be reset by going here: https://forums.dungeondefenders.com/lostpassword/ . Make sure to check your email junk/spam folders in case the reset email goes there.
    • Steam Login: You must login with email first and re-link your Steam account to your forum account.
  • Post Counts
    • Since the new forum had to re-index everything during the migration, post count numbers will be to what posts you do have and not include any deleted posts, non-copied over old forum posts, or forum restore numbers.
  • Messages
    • Messages between members on the old forums were not moved to the new one. Sorry 😞
  • Threads with pages that show "There are no posts to show"
    • Older threads that had deleted/bad spam bot posts in them were cleaned up which may cause the error message above. Once new posts are added or you go to an earlier page instead of last post should work fine. New forum posts started on the new forums will not have this issue.
  • Reporting forum issues
  • Titles/Ranks
    • We're working on bringing back some custom groups and post count promotion fully. Right now after you make a post you should see yourself get the correct rank updated on your account.

Thank you!

pmasher

Defense Council



Etheria Needs a Hero



Only a handful of Eternia Crystals remain. The rest have shattered, and the Old Ones--a threat believed to be contained--are now free. In a brief period of time, theyve organized armies and conquered much of Etheria. We need the most valiant heroes to band together and form Etherias first Defense Council--the Sunderguard--to prepare for the fight against the relentless hordes!

Your Feedback Influences the Game



Next week, starting Monday, November 11th, 500 of you will have the opportunity to join this Defense Council. As Council members, you will gain access to bi-weekly sessions where youll get to play the game and give feedback on systems, maps, heroes, and more. Youll also be granted access to an exclusive forum and blog, where you can deliver your feedback directly to the development team.



As we get closer to alpha, your responsibilities will grow and you will have more opportunities to play the game and impact development in exciting new ways (sorry, we cant reveal what they are just yet!). Then, when the game launches, youll serve the first term of the in-game Defense Council, influencing decisions that shape the war against the Old Ones!



Council_MapReveal

One of the maps Council members will be the first to play later this year!





Council Seats Are Available November 11th



Were proud to announce that were partnering with Humble Bundle and Childs Play to bring you the Defense Council. There are three ways you can obtain a place in the Council:





    1. Donate $30 or more to Childs Play by using the Humble Widget above starting at 6pm EST on Monday, November 11th. There are only 500 of these slots available, so act quickly!

    2. Bid on additional seats on our Trendy eBay page found HERE.





Once again, all proceeds will go to Childs Play, an organization that provides video games to improve the lives of hospitalized children around the world.

Council_EmblemReveal

Our heroes receiving their Council emblems.





Miss Your Chance? Theres One More Way to Join



The final slots will be given through the community itself, so stay tuned to these forums over the next week to find out more ways you can get a spot on the council. Who knows, maybe a comment on this thread will earn you a seat!



If you have any questions about the Defense Council or how to enter, ask in the comments below. You can also find more questions answered here, in our FAQ. Were excited to see our Defenders come through for Childs Play and we cant wait to get you playing Dungeon Defenders II!



 
drod1000



Greetings, Defenders!

My name is Darrell Rodriguez, and I am the new CEO of Trendy Entertainment. I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for the vast majority of my career, where I have been privileged to work with some of the foremost creative and tech leaders around at companies such as Disney, EA, LucasArts, and now Trendy Entertainment.

I am here to empower the developers at Trendy to achieve their amazing vision, technology, and creativity. I am here so we can continue to build games you will love and create technology that will empower other independent developers to take their games to a place they could not have otherwise gone. Like everyone at Trendy, I am a big believer in collaborating with you, our community. So I’m also here to build systems to empower, to better listen to you and to make your input a reality in the games we make.

I, like you, have been captivated by Dungeon Defenders’ unique gameplay and pledge to bring more of that to you in the future. Both in the form of Dungeon Defenders II, whose evolving art style and gameplay continue to impress me every day, and other (more secret) projects for Dungeon Defenders lovers. I ask for your patience and trust as I help guide your beloved Dungeon Defenders. I am human, and like us all, may stumble. But through listening and learning from you all, I am confident we will work together to make Dungeon Defenders future as bright as possible.

As an independent developer, funding is tight and decisions need to be made that enable survival and empower developers to make games you will play and love. So to start, I have a question for you. The Kickstarter concept of voting with your wallet to fund products you would like to see built has been popular for many independent studios so far. What are your thoughts on using this concept, not to fund a game, but to grow and expand one? For example, would you chip in with other players to help create new features or content for everyone to play as opposed to just buying content for yourself?

The random winners of our Wyvern blog are Baxter and Beorn424!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Blacksmith
idea-Blog

Hey Defenders,

It’s finally back to your weekly Dungeon Defenders II programming! First up, we have a new DD2 teaser for you. We created this for a partner last week and wanted to share it with all of you:



But more importantly, we have a question for you. When developing a game, there are often many different ideas that get pooled together. Sometimes the ideas are awesomely obvious, like the new combo system we’ve developed in DD2. Other times, ideas take a good amount of iteration to get right or are pretty clear to stay away from. For us, being a sequel to a beloved game, we’re always careful about big changes to something core to the game, and we have an idea that we’re really excited about and want to see if you will be, too!

In Dungeon Defenders II, we’ve been talking about changing it so that, instead of having individual heroes you level up, you level up your hero deck instead. This means as you level up your deck, all the heroes are the same level. This idea came around because, internally, we’ve been playing the game this way since the beginning of development, and we often find it a lot of fun to switch between heroes seamlessly.

We want to add a lot of fun aspects to leveling up your hero deck to give you more options for how you manage your heroes. For example, you’d receive a pool of stat points that you could place amongst all of your heroes, allowing you to focus your stat points in heroes you like the most. Also, when your deck reaches max level, you’ll have an option to reset your progress, like a prestige system. Each time through will give you exciting rewards, like additional stat points, magic find bonuses, special visual customization options, or maybe even a new gear slot! This gives almost limitless replayability and helps with solo play a ton, too.

Why we want to do this:

1. More Even Progression Curve: If you level up multiple heroes at a time in your hero deck with the old system, you’ll constantly be bouncing back to lower matchmaking brackets to get hero experience. With the new system, you get to choose how you spread your stat points amongst your heroes (making them powerful), but you can also use any of the heroes whenever you want without XP sharing concerns. If you're a hardcore player, aiming to max stats for all heroes, you still have to play multiple times just like you would before. However, now you can use all the heroes as you go!

2. More Replayable: Quite simply, this system allows us to make Dungeon Defenders more replayable. If you prestige your hero deck, you can replay the experience for better rewards, or sync up with a new friend who just started the game. It works kind of like a New Game+ feature, and many members of our team talk about liking these types of systems in other games.

3. Awesome Matchmaking: Though we have some cool ideas on how to make matchmaking work well with hero levels (i.e. no more lvl 2 Squire mooching off the 30s doing all the work), the new hero deck leveling system keeps matchmaking very simple. Instead of having to manage your hero deck to guarantee you have the right hero levels for the content you want to play, you can just pick a level range and go. We think this is faster, easier, and gets people playing together in positive ways.

4. Encourages Play with New Heroes: When new heroes come out, you can play them instantly, having a good time experiencing the content without having to grind up hero levels to make them viable. We really like this idea, that when we release new heroes players aren’t forced to grind from the beginning to enjoy the new experience. Maybe you choose to respec to give points to the new hero, or maybe you just prestige to play from the beginning anyway, but now the choice for how to play is yours.

5. More Flexible Solo Play: Each hero has their own unique role in Dungeon Defenders II as we’ve worked to expand the cooperative elements of the game even further. This means having access to multiple heroes in solo play, and leveraging interesting strategies without having to excessively grind is a big positive. You’ll still need to prestige to unlock enough stat points to fully empower multiple heroes, not to mention finding good loot for them too, but all heroes will be at the same level regardless, and can be used effectively with or without stat point bonuses.

These are only the choice aspects of this new feature we love, and we have a lot of details to get sorted. At its core, we feel this can make Dungeon Defenders II a deeper, more approachable game, which meets up with many of our pillars we talked about when we started this journey together. However, we know this is a big change, and we want your feedback before we commit and start figuring out the specific bits. As we get closer to Early Access, we’re excited to build this game together, feature by feature, and your input is absolutely critical to us making the game you want to play.

So what do you think? We’re eager to read your feedback and help make the choice on where we go from here. Love it, hate it, we’re all ears, so head to the comments section and let us know!

The random winners from our Ambient Sounds of Etheria blog are The Osamodas and IGN_ejfaro!

Share your honest feedback in the comments below, and you could win a pre-alpha code for Dungeon Defenders II! We’ll pick TWO random posters and reveal the winners next week. You have a full week to leave a comment. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join the community!
JBrawley

air-Blog.jpg



Balancing the roles, quantity, and power of enemies in DD2 is no small task. The enemies we place in a level affect nearly every vector of difficulty in the game. This is one of the reasons it is imperative that we experiment not only with different types of enemies, but how we use those enemies, as well.

Wyverns were a staple of the original Dungeon Defenders’ gameplay, but it was clear the role of air units in DD2 needed to evolve. Fundamentally, an air unit poses a different tactical question than a ground unit. Units on the ground can be blocked using a barricade, permitting time to react to their presence. Wyverns required players to develop different strategies that were based around anti-air defense.

wyvernPackgif.gif



The Trouble With Wyverns

But DD1’s Wyverns had numerous shortcomings, and in order to make Wyverns more interesting to engage in DD2, we had to resolve two main problems:

  • There was little variety in their behavior, making any gameplay that involved them monotonous and predictable.
  • They utilized extremely basic AI, flying straight for their objective without deviation.

Fixing these problems in the long term was going to take time. But there was nothing stopping the intrepid level designers from hacking their way around these problems. Early on, it was clear that we needed different types of Wyverns.

heavy_RegPackV1-1024x576.jpg



Creating Different Behaviors

Initially we developed the Heavy Wyvern by creating a copy of the standard Wyvern, making him larger, and changing him to a rich purple hue. The Heavy Wyvern was a bit slower, but could take a much larger amount of abuse. We coupled this change with making the standard Wyvern much faster.

The difference was immediately noticeable in terms of strategic consideration. The heavy Wyverns did a fantastic job of diverting the attention of players, and when they appeared in early prototypes, everyone reacted to their presence. Internally, we had to devise new ways of counteracting the presence of the Heavy Wyverns. Players devised new defense setups to combat the Wyverns, such as groups of Frostbite Towers that would freeze and then shatter them when they hit the ground, or Cannonball Towers placed in positions that were advantageous to attacking air units.

baby_wyverns4-1024x576.jpg

In another playtest, we created a small, fast, black Wyvern that could bombard players and their defenses from a long range. These opponents created a different type of player reaction: If not controlled quickly, the black Wyverns could severely disrupt the team’s defensive layouts.

Tweaking the Flight Path

Resolving the Wyverns’ flight paths was actually surprisingly easy. With a little manipulation, we were able to create a chain of flight waypoints that forced the Wyverns from a specific lane to follow a tightly controlled path. This allowed us to create predictable air lanes (making it much easier for players to position anti-air defenses) instead of having Wyverns simply spawn on the outside of the space and fly directly towards their targets.

The result of these two initiatives was much stronger aerial gameplay, allowing air units to play a clearer role in the combat space. But we continue to iterate on our air units with new ideas and new prototypes, so if there are any air unit types you might like to see in the game, leave a comment below and you could win a seat on the Defense Council.

The random winner of our QA blog is Ikulity!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We're going to be at PAX East this week so there won't be a blog this Friday. That's why we're going to pick two posters from this blog and reveal the winners in next week's blog post!
I_PASS_BUTTER

Defenders, our first Beastmaster Contest has come to a close, but a new contest begins now. Our next Pet: Purrlin. Go find those magical little gatos, Defenders! You have until May 13th at 11:59 PM EDT to submit your Purrlins in this thread.

There was a lot of awesome participation for the Growld contest. Thank you to everyone that participated. We understand that getting Growld in the timeframe was a little difficult, and we are adjusting the rules accordingly. Starting with this contest, we will pick the top 3 pets as winners, and their owners will all receive the “Beastmaster” title.

Without further ado, the winners of the Growld Beastmaster contest are:


Thank you to our winners for being such good sports and a huge thank you to Mapatti for making handy-dandy charts! We love data! Winners, keep an eye on your PMs early next week for your title code. 


For full contest rules, see the previous post.


I_PASS_BUTTER

Want to win an exclusive “Snapshooter” in-game title? We’re looking for the funniest screenshots! If yours is funny enough, that title can be yours!

From now until August 19th at 2 PM EDT, go on a quest for the funniest in-game screenshot you can take and submit it in this blog! We’ll pick three winners on August 20th!

To enter, take an in-game screenshot and upload it to Steam. Embed the Steam image in a comment below along with a link to the image on Steam. You may submit as many screenshots as you want, but please only submit one image per post.

The Snapshooter Contest is judged by a panel of Trendy community team employees with zero sense for good taste or art. Here is a loose guideline on how we’re judging the screenshots:

  1. G.U.T. -- Genuine, Ultimate Tummy-feeling. If the screenshot tickles something inside our abdominal food synthesizers that makes us say “wow” or “good gravy,” chances are we’ll pick it as a winner.

  2. No HUDs -- Screenshots with the Heads Up Display activated will score lower than HUDless shots. Press “H” to let the game shine.

  3. Originality -- Don’t steal from other players. We’re watching you.

  4. Terminus -- If you can incorporate Terminus, the Roman god who protected boundary markers, into your photos, you’ll earn extra points. How you’re going to do this with an in-game screenshot is beyond us, but we like to be surprised.

You must have your Steam account linked to your forum account. All screenshots must be taken by the Steam account that’s linked to the forum account. Any entry that is stolen from another player will result in the permanent removal of your forum account.

Happy Snapshotting, Defenders!

LzSNQ6R.jpg

Blacksmith

Loot-Blog.jpg



When it comes to loot in Dungeon Defenders II, there is simply so much I could talk about. I honestly felt a bit overwhelmed when I was asked to write this blog. But there is one thing that stands out. Something a little special…

Stat Progression vs. Visual Progression

The earliest versions of armor in Dungeon Defenders were purely stat-based, with no cosmetic benefit. When we first approached loot design in Dungeon Defenders II, we wanted to find a way to balance this. To do so, we developed the following philosophy:

Players should never have to make a choice between the best stats and the coolest looking gear. They should have access to both! From a gameplay perspective, armor should give players stats that allow them to progress heroes, abilities, and defenses to fit their playstyle. But aesthetically, that armor also needs to feel satisfying; to become more and more awesome as you progress within the game.

To accommodate this we decided to separate the two concepts. Instead of being stuck with a set of gear you hate just for the benefit of good stats, you now have the complete freedom to mold and shape your heroes’ look as you see fit.

So how do you improve your character’s stats? To keep the visual progression separate from the stat progression, there will be two types of armor in Dungeon Defenders II:

  1. Armor that provides visual progression: This allows you to change the way your hero looks based on your playstyle. (Lots of exciting things I can’t talk about just yet!)
  2. Armor that provides stat boosts: Stat pieces that drop in the world and can be equipped. We call these pieces Relics!

DD2_3Relics-1024x576.jpg



Relics: Applying Stats to Cosmetic Pieces

Relics are powerful, enchanted artifacts that drop from enemies and chests. At this time, there are three main Relic classifications: Tomes, Medallions, and Totems. Tomes represent intellect and magical affinity, Medallions represent courage and strength, and Totems represent fortitude.

Each hero will have four Relic slots: Boots, Hands, Chest and Head. Additionally, heroes are restricted in which Relics they can equip based on their role. For example, the Squire can only equip Totems and Medallions in any of the four slots. We’re currently testing Relics with this distribution in the Council build.

When a Relic is dropped in the world it will have four main components:

  1. Relic Type: This can be a Talisman, Tome, or Totem.
  2. Who Can Equip It: The item info will display which heroes can equip the relic.
  3. Where It Can Be Slotted: This is indicated by corresponding visuals.
  4. And all of the other things you've come to expect from loot: Stats, tiers, etc.

DD2_relics.gif



Speaking of tiers, you’ll be pleased to know that Dungeon Defenders II will have 6 tiers of loot! From worst to best, the new tiers are:

  1. Worn
  2. Sturdy
  3. Powerful
  4. Epic
  5. Mythical
  6. And the much coveted Legendary!

This is only one small part of a very large, complex, and rewarding system that is loot in Dungeon Defenders II. I look forward to sharing even more exciting loot news with you in the future, but until then, leave a comment below and let us know what you think of the Relic system so far.

The random winner of our Conceptual Level Design blog is Olot!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
LaurawantsaCow

press-Blog



One of the hardest parts of working on a video game is figuring out when it’s ready to be shown. While it’s twice as much work to maintain a stable “live” build alongside a development build or create a completely separate build for an event, the feedback we receive -- be it from comments, surveys, or previews -- is invaluable to the process. That’s why we’ve committed ourselves to showing Dungeon Defenders II at every opportunity, whether it’s to our community, the press, or even students at the local university.


Level Designer Steven Collins hard at work making a PAX specific build of the game.



DD2 Makes the Rounds
We’re constantly adding new features to our development build so that we can “fail” quickly and learn what content is fun versus what needs major retooling. When we show the game, there are even more features we need to add for each specific event. This past press tour, we decided to demo the mid-game experience of Dungeon Defenders II, along with one of our newest features: the elemental combo system. With that experience in mind, we created a build and balance for level 18 heroes and took it to San Francisco and New York City.

We assumed everyone playing the game had been a part of our first press tour in February, so we dove straight into stats, elemental weapons, combos, enemy tiers, advanced maps, and more. Unfortunately, we forgot that some of the journalists playing hadn’t had the opportunity for a hands-on before, so for them it was a bit overwhelming. And of course, like any early build, there were bugs aplenty:

ogreDumb2_1
Surfing Ogres made it even more difficult!


All that aside, the response was very positive. Below you can see some of the writeups, livestreams, and videos that came out of the press tour. And we’re still expecting more!





  • Game Informer: “There Are Even More Reasons To Team Up In Dungeon Defenders II”
  • GamesRadar: “Rube Goldberg machines of death abound in Dungeon Defenders 2”
  • Digital Trends: “Dungeon Defenders 2 grows up with a new focus on colorful loot.”
  • Buzz Focus: “Hands-On with ‘Dungeon Defenders II’ – Promise in Pre-Alpha”
  • GameSpot: “Dungeon Defenders II - Now Playing”
  • Joystiq: “Teaming with Trendy in Dungeon Defenders 2”
  • Destructoid: "Dungeon Defenders 2 Pre-Alpha Gameplay with Max Scoville"

The Road Ahead
Now it’s time to create the build for PAX. Luckily, this past press tour allowed us to “fail” quickly enough to learn a lot for our biggest showing thus far. To satisfy new players and veterans alike, we’re preparing two maps for the PAX East show floor: Dragonfall Gates and Nimbus Reach. Players of the first map will have two defenses and two abilities unlocked, and players of the second map will have three of each. We’re hoping the first map will serve as a good introduction to the new game mechanics and the latter as a challenge for hardcore DD1 fans. Even then, we still have questions to ask ourselves, the biggest being: How can we make loot relevant in just a 20-30 minute demo?

What do you think is the best way to demo the full experience of Dungeon Defenders? Is it even possible in a short session? Let us know in the comments below!

The random winner of our Apprentice blog is a474247132!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
PutmickJ

Dungeon-Defenders-2-qacrab-Blog.jpg



Greetings Defenders, and welcome to this month's QA column: Bugglemania! [Working Title] Today I present to you a fun bug and another silly video. Without further ado, let's get started on slugging those bugs!

The Squire’s Super Shield

If you enjoyed the recent blog post about the Squire and always dreamt of using two shields at once, then this bug’s for you! Recently, while testing the loot drops on each character, we noticed something a bit odd about the Squire when he switched shields. Instead of swapping out for the old shield, the new one would stack on top of it, doubling the stats! Even better, in a feat of Squire engineering, the shields appeared on top of each other, leading the Squire to carry some ridiculous-looking combinations. Here's just one of the over-the-top shields donned by our lovable Squire:

CrabShieldThing-1024x576.jpg



Rise of the Ramsters

The Squire bug came up fairly recently, so I already had another thing to share with you guys, just in case we didn’t have a great bug we could get behind. I spent my free time working on something I thought would be funny, something you would all like, so I present to you: Rise of the Ramsters!

[video=youtube_share;vTA9tOHoHN8]http://youtu.be/vTA9tOHoHN8[/video]



Using one of the assets we had in the editor, I placed the skeletal mesh of the ramster onto the wyvern and a couple of other enemies. The results speak for themselves.

So there we have it, a fun bug showing the Squire's adeptness at shield-building, and the cutest thing to ever attack your core! What did you think of the mesh swap, or the Squire's ingenuity? What would you guys like to see or learn more about when it comes to QA? Let us know in the comments, where I’ll also clarify how the Squire bug came to be!

The random winner of our Monk blog is Uchihia!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Blacksmith

Combat Improvements



Greetings Defenders!

Do any of you remember our Five Pillars of Design? The Fifth Pillar talks about the unique, symbiotic relationship between the three different aspects of the game: Tower Defense, Action, and RPG. Our Fifth Pillar demands that we make sure these three sides of the game work well together.

We’ve shared some of the new Tower Defense features of DD2, but how are we integrating that with the other two? I’ll be focusing my blogging efforts on this very question, starting first with Combat and how it came to be what it is today.

DD1’s Combat - The Good, The Bad, and the Floaty

When developing a hybrid game like Dungeon Defenders, it’s important that we keep in mind all the different sides of the game. We have to evaluate their strengths and their weaknesses. Most importantly, we have to isolate and identify how those sides can work with -- and not against -- one another. The first Dungeon Defenders featured a simple, yet entertaining combat system. It supported the Tower Defense side of the game and was improved by a rich loot and stat system coupled with unique character progression. But it wasn’t without its problems.

When development began on Dungeon Defenders II, we decided to take a good look at all three sides of the game and see where we could improve them. While DD1’s combat was entertaining and symbiotic, it felt a little too “floaty” in that it didn’t give you solid and powerful feedback. Internally we refer to this as the Lawn Mower Effect since it basically had you mow down loads of enemies without providing you with any sense of contact.


Dungeon Defenders Lawn Mower Melee



Building and Testing Combat Prototypes

Over the course of one week, Trendy’s development team split into three teams, each eager to prototype and showcase their vision for combat in Dungeon Defenders II. While two teams focused on refining DD1’s approach and pushing it further, the third team cooked up something rather special.

Their prototype featured the Barbarian stomping heavily on the battlefield. He slashed his famous axes through the air with monumental force, cleaving through his enemies before slamming his weapons into the ground. Each attack propelled the Barbarian toward his enemies, and each could be chained with another attack. His full body was animated, opening up the potential for attacks that looked both complicated and impressive. With every swing he gave a loud roar, and his axes shook the screen as they pummeled enemies and terrain alike.

When it came time to review all three prototypes, it was obvious which one we were most excited to move forward with. The third prototype was simple, but it very clearly showcased the type of weighty, visceral combat we wanted to give our players.


New-and-Improved Melee in Dungeon Defenders II



Since then, we have been hard at work on this new combat system. In the future, melee heroes will utilize an action chaining system that allows them to combine different actions seamlessly. Your Squire will be able to jump into combat. unleash a flurry of light and heavy attacks, turn and fire a few abilities, repair a defense, and then jump out of combat, all in quick succession. By the time we are through with our system, players will be able to fluidly chain actions together in the heat of combat.

Refining Ranged Combat

We are also improving how Ranged Combat feels in Dungeon Defenders II. One of the simplest (yet coolest!) additions I can talk about is the Hot-Spot mechanic. This allows Ranged heroes to target special spots on enemies and deal even more damage than normal. The prototype was first tested by adding headshots on a single enemy type, and we are continuing to apply this system to different parts of our game. For example: When hit on an unarmored spot, our Ogre will suffer more damage from attacks.



This Hot-Spot system can be used in a lot of interesting ways. What do you all think? Should we invest the time into implementing a full-fledged Hot-Spot system for our Ranged Heroes?

It is important to keep in mind that this is just the beginning for our Combat Systems in Dungeon Defenders II. There are still plenty of things we are working on that are hidden away deep within Trendy’s lair. You can imagine how the Squire’s combat plays out now, but what about a hero that wields two weapons? How do the weapon choices influence the combat?

That’s a conversation for another time, but until then, your feedback is vital! Be sure to leave a comment and let us know some of the things you are hoping to see improved in DD1’s combat system.

The random winner of our Community Feedback blog is papafhill!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Blacksmith

Assasin-Blog



Greetings Defenders!

So far the Old Ones’ army has been primarily focused on taking down whatever stands between them and the objectives you and your friends are trying to defend. This month, I’d like to share one of the more sinister additions we have planned. This new enemy is only concerned with isolating and eliminating players. We’re calling it the Dark Assassin for now, and it’s still in early development, so please let us know what you think of the design!

FlyingAssassin
New enemies go through a lot of iteration, including names!



An Old Terror With a New Face
The Dark Assassin replaces the Dark Elf Warrior we had in DD1. We know he wasn’t a fan favorite, but he fulfilled a very important role: Providing a real threat for heroes that could otherwise stand back and avoid the thick of battle. Without him, high-damage ranged characters rarely faced the fear of death.

That said, the Dark Assassin isn’t a 1:1 replacement. He differs from the Dark Elf Warrior in a few key ways:

  • He has absolutely no interest in your defenses or the map objectives, he will never attack them
  • He’s a flying melee enemy.
  • He has lower health and higher damage compared to other enemies.
  • There are clear tells as to when he’s approaching.
  • Higher tier versions of this enemy are initially cloaked, but savvy players can initiate combat with him first.

Once a Dark Assassin spawns into a map, it picks out a player based on a set of criteria favoring:

  • Ranged heroes, like the Huntress or Apprentice.
  • Weakened heroes that are low on HP.
  • High-priority threats, like heroes with a high damage build.

Dark Assassins have the potential to do a lot of damage to their target if they aren’t dealt with quickly. They’re relentless and will stick to the hero they’re pursuing even after they’ve killed them, waiting for the next respawn to charge again.

The Cloaked Assassin
The Dark Assassin comes in three tiers. Starting from the 2nd tier, he gains the ability to Cloak himself and disappear as he moves toward a target. While Cloaked, the Dark Assassin cannot be damaged by any defenses. Perceptive players can spot the Dark Assassin from a distance by the Cloak ability’s distinctive shimmer, and those with particularly sharp ears will hear him approach. The Dark Assassin can be damaged while in cloaked, and a quick attack will disrupt its Cloak, making it visible to all players. But should you ignore the signs and fail to stop him, you’ll be subjected to a massive attack before the Dark Assassin even reveals himself.

What do you think of the Dark Assassin’s design? Will he make a good addition to the Old Ones’ army? If you have any comments or suggestions, leave them below!

The random winner of our World Building blog is Tedion!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
iamisom

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In the first Dungeon Defenders, players could swap between an unlimited number of heroes during a match. This had several benefits, including the ability for individuals to access more than just one set of defenses. It also encouraged players to create multiple heroes -- and sometimes specialized versions of the same hero -- to use in a single match.

But this system created a few issues. Leveling multiple heroes became the only way to play -- you couldn’t complete the late-game content using a single hero. In addition to this, it discouraged true, four-player co-op in which every player has the chance to contribute to the build strategy. Instead, designated builders would bring in their heroes and tell other players not to take part in the defensive setup.

Ultimately, we want players to embrace the strengths of their teammates. We also want to make it possible to complete the entirety of the online co-op game with a single hero, if that’s what you desire. To facilitate this, we’ve created the Hero Deck, which plays up the positives of the DD1 system while fixing some of the key issues.

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The Hero Deck lets you bring a selection of heroes into battle. At the moment, players can add three individual heroes to their deck. Just like the first Dungeon Defenders, you can go to the Forge to swap between these heroes during the Build Phase. And your ability and defense mana now transfers between heroes when you swap, so no more dropping mana on the ground and cursing when someone walks by and swipes it!

The Hero Deck has encouraged teams in our Defense Council to develop strategies that involve all players, not just a designated builder. We’ve watched players use our revamped Ping system to ask each other to build blockades, auras, towers and traps, which is something that was rarely seen in DD1 public matches.

The Hero Deck is still in the early stages of development, and it’s already sparked some great discussion among our Councillors. For example: What if you’re playing solo and you want to access every defense and hero combination? Or what if you’re playing with friends, and you want one person to build everything like in DD1? We’re still working on how the Hero Deck system will address these concerns, but this feedback and perspective is invaluable to us as we move forward with development, so keep it coming!

How do you feel about the Hero Deck system? Let us know in the comments below, and you could win a seat on the Defense Council and a chance to try out the Hero Deck for yourself!

The random winner of last week's Ping System blog is MasterElodin!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha! You have a full week to leave a comment. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner next Tuesday. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join!

Also, the random winner of our Javelin Throwers blog is going to be chosen on Friday, so there's still time to enter!
iamisom

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O-A! Pings are back in Dungeon Defenders II, and we’ve made several improvements to their design and functionality to help you communicate with ease.

In the first Dungeon Defenders, pings were only on your person, and only the basic “O-A” ping existed. This was great if you needed help, but these limitations could not account for situations where you might want to instruct other players in more detail. For example, if you needed a Spike Blockade placed in a specific location, or if you wanted someone’s attention in another lane, you had to walk over to that spot, press the Ping Key, and then type in the chat what you pinged for. Not exactly intuitive.

With these issues in mind, we’ve made two major changes to the ping system: separating pings from the player, and creating context-sensitive pings.

ping_gif2



We Claim This Land!
Pings are no longer tied to your location. You can ping as near or as far away from yourself as you want! Press the Ping Key to activate a preview of the ping, then select where you want to place it -- just like a defense.

At the moment, pings are represented by flags that slam down from the heavens and pierce the ground, which -- let’s be honest -- is pretty cool. But it isn’t as intuitive as we’d like. Some new players have been understandably confused by the sudden, repeated appearance of a flag, which ultimately defeats the purpose of the system.

We’re thinking about going back to the graphical display from DD1 to better communicate the purpose of the ping. This goes hand-in-hand with our new context-sensitive pings!

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This menu is in-progress and temporary.



A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action
Now you can use hotkeys to give more in-depth information about your ping. When you press the Ping Key, a menu of ping options will appear. You can activate the Basic Ping from here, or you can navigate the menu with keyboard shortcuts to select an Action Ping. There are now Action Pings for building defenses (including what type of defense you need), repairing and upgrading defenses, and defending/attacking specific lanes. Both the Basic Ping and the Action Ping will create a line of text in the chat that corresponds with the ping -- for example, “Need a Blockade here!”

The contextual ping system maximizes communication between players, so that even if you’re in a game with someone you’ve never met, you’ll know exactly what they need the moment they ping the map. This feature has already seen a ton of use in the Defense Council, and the feedback has been extremely positive on the conceptual level.

There’s still lots of work to do on the system, of course. Players are having problems noticing the pings on the minimap, and in some levels the flag is hard to see. But we plan to address those concerns and try out new things to make the ping system easy and rewarding to use.

What do you guys think? Should we change pings back to the simple icons we had in DD1? Should context-sensitive pings use different art? Would you use this system instead of voice chat to communicate clearly and effectively? Let us know!

The random winner of our Dark Assassin blog is Sinamoi!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. This time, you have a full week to leave a comment! We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner next Tuesday!

We have two other Defense Council code giveaways: one on our Facebook page and the other on our Twitter. That's three chances to win!"
Blacksmith

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The life of a young Javelin Thrower in the Old Ones’ army is hard work. Since birth these adorable-looking critters are told to focus on one thing and one thing only -- beefing up the strength in their right arm. All in hopes of being drafted into the army to get that one throw that might pierce through the Heroes’ defenses and shatter an Eternia Crystal. Or at least that’s how I imagine it.

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“Just Like Brad Pitt in Troy”

The Javelin Thrower is designed to be a medium-to-long range Artillery style enemy. He bombards your defenses with a massive, high-speed Javelin that can pierce several targets in one throw, depending on the tier. The Javelin is weakened by each target it impacts, doing less and less damage until it finally shatters.

But the Javelin isn’t just designed to slice through defenses. The Javelin Thrower can hurl his weapon from a very long distance, and if there aren’t enough targets for the javelin to pierce through, he could easily damage your cores.

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Bringing Out the Whimsy

The Javelin Thrower is certainly one of our more whimsical creatures, and thanks to the art team, it shows. They really wanted to push the goofy and lighthearted nature of the Javelin Thrower, from its disproportioned figure to its facial expression, animations, and even sound effects.

What do you think about the Javelin Thrower? What sort of name should we give him, and what do you think happens to the poor young Javelin Throwers who don’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!

The random winner of our Pings blog is going to be chosen on Tuesday of next week, so there is still time to enter!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. You have a full week to leave a comment! We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner next Friday! Don't have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join!
LaurawantsaCow

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So far we’ve given you a preview of the Squire, the Huntress, and the Monk. Now it’s time to introduce the Apprentice!

After the events of the original Dungeon Defenders, the Apprentice finally proved he was ready to attend the Magic Academy and further his studies. While his dedication to the magic arts troubled his father, his pursuit of knowledge never wavered. He channeled that resolve into perfecting his craft, and although he’s not the strongest hero physically, he makes up for it by having a devastating and diverse toolkit of elemental defenses and abilities.

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Get Lifted
Have you ever wanted to rock someone like a hurricane? Well, the Apprentice can make it happen! With a swift flick of his wrist, he conjures up a cyclone that spirals toward enemies. The Cyclone sweeps up any foes in its path, suspending them in the air while its lightning deals Storm damage over time. While suspended, the enemies are vulnerable to any anti-air defenses, and take extra damage if affected by water debuffs. Once the Cyclone disappears, they crash to the ground taking smashing damage, which leads us to….

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Ice Ice Baby
Alright stop, collaborate and listen. The Apprentice is back with a brand new invention: The Frostbite Tower. This tower shoots a beam of frost that damages an enemy and freezes them over time. Once frozen, the enemy can be shattered and killed instantly by defenses and abilities that deal smashing damage (see above). Not all enemies are built the same, though: Smaller enemies freeze much faster than larger enemies, so keep that in mind when lining up a combo for this tower.

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Momma Said Knock You Back
Don't call it a comeback. This wall has been here for years. What used to be the Magic Blockade in the original Dungeon Defenders has evolved along with the Apprentice, turning into the Arcane Barrier. This defense blocks the path of enemies and uses magic to periodically knock back any that try to get past. Taking a page from the Monk’s book of tricks, the Apprentice can position this barricade so that it points toward a nearby ledge, knocking enemies straight to their demise. It also does great when paired with high-damage, low-health defenses, as the knockback gives them more time to unleash their power without fear of being damaged in return.

Now that you’ve seen Hero Previews for all four of our main heroes, tell us what you think about them in the comments below and you could win a seat on the Defense Council!

The random winner of our PC Giveaway Winners blog is CBlue413!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Javahawk

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The visual style of the original Dungeon Defenders was quite memorable, but not really for the right reasons. More in the “Wow those colors sure are… Noticeable!” way. The running joke was that the visuals of the game sometimes reminded everyone of a bag of Skittles that had materialized out of one of those jet-powered blenders. Part of this was because the development cycle only allowed for time to create and commit visual effects (VFX), not necessarily polish them. While I’m extremely proud of my work, I felt the finished product could have been more cohesive overall.

For DD2, we’re taking the extra time to ensure the highest possible quality in our game. Even before the pre-production phase started, our artists were determined to deliver visual effects that were extremely stylistic, elegant, and polished. VFX in DD2 would be unique and recognizable, acting as an accent to the art and immersing players in the experience.

Creating Visually Satisfying Combos
When it came time to develop DD2’s combat, we wanted players to seek out and look forward to complex interactions. To do that, we created a combo system for devastating enemy minions that was both visually rewarding and fun to use.

Our first challenge was to conceptualize how these interactions might look. My personal favorite is the water + electricity combo. In this combo, once a minion is hit by the drenched debuff, it becomes vulnerable to electric-type damage and is stunned while lightning arcs through it.

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Yes, that’s a lightning elemental sword. And yes, it actually does something cool now!


In this particular example, our FX team had to come up with a solution for not only an emitter-based electricity effect that would play on the enemy, but also a material-based electrocution overlay, as depicted in the GIF above.

Our minion materials were already designed so that when an enemy is set on fire, oiled, drenched, or poisoned, you see the effect on the character model itself. Because we wanted a similar debuff effect for electrocution, we needed to add that state for each minion’s material.

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This orc is just doomed to die a horribly painful death.


This material effect went through two iterations. Initially, we decided to depict it so that lightning played over a dark ‘scorched’ enemy, but in our first FX review, we realized this was too subdued and wasn’t giving enough incentive for players to activate the combo. So we decided to add a pulsing electric overlay to the minions. That coupled with particle-based glow and lightning beams allowed us to reach something pretty cool and immersive.

This process was a great example of a multidisciplinary effort coming together successfully. With everyone on the team dedicated to polishing the visual effects, we achieved something we feel is a great example of what’s to come in Dungeon Defenders II.

We can’t wait for you to experience the immensely satisfying combos we’ve got in store for you. Leave a comment below and tell us what combo you’d most like to see and you could win a spot on the Defense Council!

The random winner of our DD2 at PAX East blog is abbazabba!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Blacksmith


Greetings, Defenders!

The Old One’s army is full of diverse enemies, each fulfilling a unique -- and sometimes specialized -- role. This week’s reveal introduces an enemy that’s completely different from anything we’ve shown you before. So far, it’s the only enemy that doesn’t directly attack you or your defenses at all. Let’s take a look at the Witherbeast!

An Enemy With a Very Specific Purpose

The Witherbeast is designed to reinforce the principle that the player’s attention is the most valuable resource in Dungeon Defenders II. He’s a menacing, bulky creature that moves quickly and has low health compared to our other enemies. Instead of attacking outright, this beast rushes your clustered defenses and begins to burrow.

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As soon as he starts to dig, he becomes harder to kill, gaining a large boost to his health and armor. But that’s only the beginning! If you don’t manage to kill him before he’s fully burrowed, you’ll soon understand why he’s called a “wither” beast.

Withering Your Defenses One Dig At a Time

Once he’s fully burrowed, he plants himself into the ground and emits a pulse that cripples any defenses around him, causing them to take more damage.

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While he’s busy making it much easier for enemies to smash through your defenses, he becomes even harder to kill. His health regenerates so much that in our internal co-op games he often requires a focused effort to take down. Once the Witherbeast burrows, he will never resurface. To avoid players hunting for them at the end of the Combat Phase, we plan to have them self-destruct if they’re the only enemies left, damaging nearby defenses in the process.

Everything about this enemy is designed so players will react to it immediately. When these creatures enter the battlefield, we want you to be faced with a very clear choice: Do I stop what I’m doing right now to deal with this threat? Or do I set up defenses that can delay his ability to burrow? That’s a question only you can answer, and it will change from game to game--maybe even from moment to moment.

We’re still working on the specifics, though -- especially in regards to his detonation -- so if you have any comments on this new enemy, leave them below! We’re also looking for ideas on what to name him, and where this creature might have originated.

The random winner of our Core/Subcore Destruction blog is Ioxp!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
LaurawantsaCow

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Environmental Traps are a fun new feature in Dungeon Defenders II, and one that we're continuously fine-tuning as we create new levels. When we first started building levels for DD2, we wanted to provide interesting motivations for players to move around the map during combat. We also wanted to think about how players could place defenses that synergize with the maps. We decided to try out a concept of traps built into the level's construction that players could use to their advantage.

Traps that are pre-built into the maps:

  • Encourage players to learn the traps and, by extension, to learn the map.
  • Encourage players to move around the map to use them.
  • Provide a wildcard to help players regain control in an emergency.
  • Add choice to the action gameplay and to defense placement.


Our First Attempts

We tried a number of different concepts for how traps could work mechanically. An early version of Greystone Plaza had a group of archers across the top wall and the player could switch which lane they were firing at. This trap didn't work so well because it wasn't that gratifying to use. Another early draft had steel floor grates that could be shot out, dropping enemies into the lava beneath -- but this didn't work because players spent more time using the grates to kill each other than enemies. In the end, the most satisfying traps tended to be those that had a lot of punch to them and those that encouraged tactical timing or positioning.

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After we had built a few levels with compelling traps in them, it became clear to us that traps weren't quite powerful enough. When players disengage to fire a trap, they are giving up their own DPS in order to use the trap -- so without sufficient lethality, players didn't want to disengage and risk losing control of a lane.

For example, given the choice between these two traps:

  • A trap that can be used frequently to low effect, or
  • A trap that can be used infrequently to high effect


Players almost always preferred the latter trap because its use was more engaging, less tedious, and felt more powerful and fun.

In another example, given the choice between these two traps:

  • A trap that fires a constant, high-DPS stream while the player holds down the attack trigger, or
  • A trap that fires a single, high-damage explosive burst when triggered


Players generally preferred the second type of trap in this case, as well, even if the first trap was actually more powerful. The fire-and-forget trap allowed them to be in control of the situation instead of pinned in one location.

Refining the Idea

One of our most engaging traps is the water trap in Siphon Site D, which blasts enemies off the walkway with a high pressure shot of water. This trap was a lot of fun to use in early tests, even though the visuals were extremely basic when it was first built. Like many of the other successful trap designs, it is quick to activate, slow to recharge, and has a very high impact effect with rewarding visuals. And, as a bonus, you get to watch enemies plummet to their deaths.

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Greystone Plaza now features a dynamite trap that sets off multiple, high-yield explosions and starts fires in the nearby area. This trap was also selected for its high impact and larger recharge times. When properly timed, it can wipe out dozens of enemies and belch out a sea of damage.

Most of our levels now contain traps that have a long cooldown time, but a high payoff. We're looking to make traps that are both spectacular to watch and fun to use -- nothing beats the excitement of seeing what a trap does to enemies the very first time. The Valley's gate trap is another great example of this and a favorite conversation topic at our first internal playtest for the Valley map.

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As we continue to build traps, we’re keeping these fundamental design principles in mind. We can’t wait for you to try them out and feel first-hand how satisfying it is to bombard a horde of Orcs and Goblins with dynamite, or to freeze and shatter a group of Wyverns. Do you have any ideas for traps that you’d like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments and you could win a seat on the Defense Council!

The random winner of our Q.A. blog is mordyo!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Luska Arco

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Defenders! Welcome to another edition of QA’s bug blog: Ninety-Nine Problems But A Bug Ain’t One [working title]. We’ve got a great bug this month: A mysterious, truly awe-inspiring issue that seemed to affect players at random!

Fire in the Dungeon! Fire in the Deeper Well!

For seemingly no reason, players began to burst into flames. We’re not talking a little spark, either. I mean this was undeniably, spectacularly broken and unignorable. This happened so infrequently that for a long time we couldn’t reproduce it with any reliability.

Let me put it into perspective. You’re playing the game with friends, having a good time. You notice one of the sub-objectives is being swarmed. The exchange goes something like this:

"We need a hand by the East Gate Lock," you say, pinging the map.

"I'm on my way," they answer, rushing to your side. "Incoming Heroic Wave!"

As the horde falls at your feet, you celebrate your hard-earned victory. "Yeah! We rule. Towers for days. Orcs got no game."

And while you're taking a victorious swig of your brand soda of choice, you turn back towards your monitor and see...

[video=youtube_share;Ix4Nr76q40Y]http://youtu.be/Ix4Nr76q40Y[/video]



...And so you say something to the effect of: “Sweet sassy molassy! щ(゜ロ゜щ) What’s happening?!”

Just as quickly as it appeared, it ceases. Not only was this bug very rare, occurring maybe one in every thirty games, but it was such a distraction that it completely captivated us, even though the fire visual effects only lasted two or three seconds at most. We gathered no new information as to what caused it or any steps to reliable see it again, so it slipped through our fingers for a while.

We had to extinguish this bug. We focused up, and after some time, we managed to get it to happen again. We found out it was due to a specific part of our Town Square map, specifically an animation, or what level designers call a “cinematic event,” that played as part of the background.

Bug Type: VFX
Time Spent On 100% Reproduction Rate: 4 months
Time Spent On Fix: 3 hours


After I saw the bug and began eliminating possible explanations, I remembered browsing through the internal build when I first started working here and going down each letter of the alphabet to find console commands. I found one for castleseige2 -- yes, siege is misspelled in the actual command line -- that made me catch on fire randomly, but I didn’t link the command to the bug since the fire didn’t happen right away. I had to do a lot of experimenting once I found the command, because using it once didn't give any results. It only made me burst into flames maybe once in every dozen times, so I used another command to keybind the castleseige2 cinematic event. Spamming the bound key made the bug happen within seconds, which gave us a reliable way to see it and fix it.

What happened was this: There’s an animation of cannonballs striking the castle in the background of that map on the northeast side that helps visually communicate the siege. This animation has different parts to it, like say, a fire visual. The frequency of the animation sometimes meant that the fire visual would sort of “overflow” and wouldn’t know where to go. For whatever reason, it went to the last thing that was affected by something with a particle effect, like fire from a goblin’s bomb, for instance. The end result was that it transferred to enemies and sometimes even heroes.

This bug is easily my new personal favorite. Easily. ( ̄︶ ̄)

Let us know what you think in the comments. This bug is fixed, but we’re interested in hearing how you might use this awesome superpower of random self-combustion. Maybe to roast a few marshmallows during your victory celebration? Tell us below, and you could win a seat on the Defense Council. Until next time!

The random winner of our Press blog is HPTSparky!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
LaurawantsaCow

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Last month we took you a bit deeper into the mind and arsenal of the Squire. If you’re reading this, you somehow survived the trip. We hope you’re ready for another, because this month we’re taking a closer look at the Huntress!

When she was younger, the Huntress spent her time learning to use a crossbow and making mischief with all sorts of traps. After making the journey to her destroyed homeland, she traded in her crossbow for an Elven-made longbow. The switch has only improved her marksmanship, as she can concentrate on a precise and well-aimed shot.

But devastating archery skills aren't the only thing she’s bringing to the table. Her toolkit is also equipped with ample crowd control, along with traps and defenses that deal burst damage as well as damage over time.

Geysertrap


It’s a Trap!


In the original Dungeon Defenders, the Huntress’ traps were primarily built for damage and could easily clear out cannon fodder in a lane. Some of these, like the Darkness Trap, helped control the flow of battle. These days, the Huntress is more aggressive in her means of crowd control. Her new Geyser Trap triggers a massive spout of water that blasts enemies into the air, delaying their pursuit of the core. It also makes them vulnerable to anti-air defenses like the Monk’s Sky Guard Tower, and applies a drenched debuff. If a drenched enemy is zapped by a Storm-infused weapon or defense, they’re immediately stunned, taking massive damage as lightning courses through them.

OilFlask


E.V.O.O -- Exceptionally Volatile (certified Organic!) Oil


The Geyser Trap isn’t the Huntress’ only means of control, or even her only tactic for supporting her allies! When the time is right, she chucks an Oil Flask at her enemies. It shatters on impact and coats foes in a thick layer of oil that slows their movement. Did we mention it’s highly flammable? Whether they’re ignited by the Huntress’ Piercing Shot or any other source of Fire damage, oiled enemies spread that fire, taking consistent damage while the Huntress picks them off with headshots as they amble toward her.

PoisonDartTower


That Girl is POISOOOOOOOON


But being a hero in Etheria means having a well-rounded arsenal, and for the first time, the Huntress has a true tower of her own: The Poison Dart Tower! This defense fires multiple poison-tipped projectiles into enemies, dealing immediate damage and afflicting them with a damage-over-time debuff. It can also tilt vertically, making it deadly to both land and air units, and especially lethal when placed behind a spawn point, allowing the Huntress to take out a good amount of enemies’ health even while they progress through a lane.

These are just some of the Huntress’ new abilities and defenses. True to her nature, the Huntress isn’t showing all of her cards, so you’ll have to be on your toes if you want to discover new tricks!

Now that you’ve seen what the Squire and the Huntress can do, what kind of combos can you come up with? Let us know in the comments section and you could get your hands on a Defense Council invite!

The random winner of our Puzzling Paralleltress blog is reyrey!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
bgoodsell


One of the challenges we faced in Dungeon Defenders II was creating interesting defenses that did not restrict our map design. While many defenses have no problem being placed on bridges, hills, or other sources of uneven terrain in our maps, there are a few that needed some additional tweaks. Today I’d like to discuss some of the steps we’ve taken to help our traps and auras look good on any type of terrain.

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Huntress Traps


In the original Dungeon Defenders, traps were just a decal on the ground. We decided to actually design the physical traps in DD2 so the effects would come from an existing structure. Unfortunately, a physical object designed to lay flat always assumes the ground is level, so it won’t look as good on uneven terrain. This results in object clipping.

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For the Huntress's traps, we were able to fix this problem by aligning the trap to something called a surface normal. What this means is when you place a Blaze Balloon trap (for example) on a set of stairs, it automatically rotates to align itself with the surface underneath it. Once the defense has been adjusted, its visual effects still play in something called world space, which basically means up is up, so you won't have the balloon floating off sideways.

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Monk Auras


DD1 auras were an interesting problem to solve.

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We didn’t want to re-use the domes because of how much it visually overwhelmed the map. After careful experimentation, we re-purposed the dynamic decals we used for traps in the original Dungeon Defenders. This allowed the auras to be projected on and conform to any surface, which was really nice. Problem solved.

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The one issue we ran into was with the Lightning Aura. This defense is meant to shoot bolts of lightning toward the ground, but unfortunately it assumes a flat surface. While everyone on the team loved our initial pass, we had to get creative with our tweaks to make it conform to our design rules.

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We solved this by using another Unreal system called beams. A beam works by procedurally creating geometry between two endpoints, one of which is always at the top of the defense. The other one we fire off into the world to detect the nearest surface it can interact with. Not only does this help simulate how lightning functions in the real world, but it helps the Lightning Aura that understands the surface, regardless of the location it is placed.

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Defenses orienting to and understanding the surfaces they’re placed upon is just the beginning. We have several other cool systems that give defenses more interesting and distinctive effects once they’re placed in the map. I look forward to sharing what we have learned and how we applied it in the future.

-Brian Goodsell, VFX Intern

The random winner of our Environmental traps blog is Ubara-tutu!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
LaurawantsaCow

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Dungeon Defenders II is coming to PAX East!

That’s right! From April 11th to 13th, the Trendy Team is heading to Boston, and we’re bringing the latest build of Dungeon Defenders II with us. We’ve been hard at work making tons of additions and improvements since our showing at NYCC, and we can’t wait for you to see them!

Stop by Booth [[4431,hashtags]] to play the game on one of our 16 stations, enter to win some awesome swag, and say hello to the team!

Test Your Skills and Win Prizes:
Bring your friends and try out two new maps on our custom Alienware gaming rigs. Earn raffle tickets and enter to win a Razer headset or mouse in one of our daily giveaways. Defenders can complete a special challenge at the booth to win an exclusive prize!

Get Some DD2 Goodies:
We also have tons of exclusive DD2 merch for sale. And don’t forget to pick up a raffle ticket when you stop by! We’ll be giving away plenty of T-shirts, mousepads, art prints, and more.

Hang Out With the Dev Team:
A large portion of the Trendy team will be making the trek to Boston to meet our fans. Whether you’re just dropping by to say hi or you have specific questions about our game, feel free to talk to any of us at the booth.

We can’t wait to see all of you on the PAX show floor!

The random winner of our Perils of an Uneven World blog is happyguy3216!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Joesith

A Bold New World

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Recently, we overhauled our visual effects style in DD2. Our old VFX style used the soft shapes and smooth gradients from the first Dungeon Defenders, but it didn't match what the game was currently achieving in its art style. DD2 uses bold colors and hard shapes, especially in the way we design and build our worlds. Our amazing 2D Animator Alexey Mescherin was already using a more hard-edged and bold color style in his animated flipbooks, so we needed our basic particles and accent components to match that same style and feel. Our goal was to emphasize very simple shapes, simple gradients if any, and bold colors in our VFX.

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We went through our library of VFX assets and picked out the textures that no longer adhered to the visual style we wanted to achieve. I selected a group of textures that used soft shapes and gradients to experiment with. I brought these into Photoshop and played with ways to turn these textures into the hard-edged and bold look we wanted. I tried to find the basic shapes and elements of each texture to break them down to these core elements. I also made them uneven and nonuniform to bring more interest to the textures.

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Then I compared the old and new textures side-by-side with a slight blur added to make sure they still had a reasonable enough similarity between the two. Because we were replacing the old textures with these new ones, we didn’t want to completely change the intent and feel of the VFX.

We didn’t change every soft shape and gradient, though. There are some visual effects that we kept in the old, softer style. For example, we kept certain types of smoke and fog -- volumetric fog, candle smoke and distance fog/smoke -- in the old style for places that are more ambient and less volatile.

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Adjusting to this new style of VFX has been a major hit internally at Trendy, and we are continuing to move forward with it. The hard edges add a very nice banding to our VFX that really push the cartoony stylized feel we want to achieve with DD2. We hope you all enjoy this new approach with our VFX as much as we do!

How do you feel about the bold new VFX style? Tell us in the comments below, and you could win a pre-alpha code for Dungeon Defenders II! You have a full week to leave a comment. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner next Friday. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join!

Also, there's still time to enter the giveaway on the Javelin Thrower Boogie blog!
DanielKaMi


Greetings Defenders,

When thinking about what our community might like to see from our dev blogs, we often draw from topics that excite the team. This month, we’re sharing one that’s always been a conversation-starter: The process behind turning a bare-bones map into the beautiful level you see in game. Today we’ll be sharing how Nimbus Reach was designed, from start to finish.

Starting From White Box Levels

Nimbus Reach was a large undertaking, and it all started with a layout made by the level designers called a White Box. The main purpose of a White Box layout is to define the gameplay before going too far into the visuals. White Box levels have the fundamental gameplay elements: defined enemy lanes, objectives, Kismet integration, and the basic architecture of the map. Most of the geometry is created with primitives like cubes and cylinders, but sometimes temporary meshes are used for clarity. Once the White Box level for Nimbus Reach was done and properly tested by our team, we moved on to the next stage.

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Where We Get Our Inspiration

Before we can build any geometry, we have to have some inspiration and a strong idea of how the final map should look. This is where our talented concept team comes in. At this stage in the process, they create concept sketches and mood shots to inspire the rest of the developers. Later on, they paint over the geometry to show new assets that need to be built or any tweaks that need to be made.

How We Build

Once the concept artists have given us an end goal to work toward, we study the initial layout and make it more visually interesting by replacing the basic primitives (cubes, cylinders, etc) with more complex shapes and curves. In the process of doing this we have to be very careful to keep the gameplay intact, especially the enemy lanes and the objectives.

We always start working with the floor areas first, because enemy lanes are one of the most important things on our levels and they define the final gameplay. In the picture below you can see an example where we did a complete ground path mesh based on the initial White Box layout which is defined by the red lines. In this example, a basic shape is turned into a finished, vertex-painted mesh in Maya.

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So this is for the basic geometry of the level -- floors, walls, ceilings, etc. -- but there are other types of geometry we don't need to create from scratch. These are based on our environment artists’ work.

They create new meshes with superb, hand-painted textures based on concepts for every level. And although most of these new pieces are modular, sometimes we need to make modified versions to fit them to complex areas of the level. This can done in 3D software using blend deformers like lattices, curves, and also the classic modelling tools.

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Adding the Lighting

After the geometry is created and placed, we then need to add lighting to the map. In DD2, we’re trying to define strong focal points by creating depth. Lighting plays an extremely important role in this, and not just visually. Good lighting should help players find the critical areas in the level, while drawing attention away from less important areas.

The Final Result

Once all of that is done, the map is passed off to the VFX artists where it’s really brought to life. You can see the final result and the evolution of Nimbus Reach in the picture below, from the White Box layout to the final level.

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And here’s another example from Little-Horn Valley:

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It takes a lot of hard work and a team full of dedicated artists and designers, but we’re extremely proud of the level of polish we’ve achieved with our maps and hope to bring you the same quality in the future.

Of the maps revealed thus far, which would you like to see from start to finish? Let us know in the comments and you could win a seat on the Defense Council!

The random winner of our Witherbeast blog is Satori!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
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