We're now on The Journey to Release -- a four-phase plan to bring Dungeon Defenders II out of Early Access. The journey began with the The Journey Begins update (shocking, right?), where we took a deeper look into the early game. Next up is endgame, UI improvements and bug squashing!
Our #1 priority for Dungeon Defenders II is to create a rewarding hobby with the longevity to keep you entertained for a long time. That means improving core gameplay, fixing bugs and adding polish, polish, polish.
Elliot has more details on the next three phases:
Elliot Cannon, Creative Director (Myscha_Sleddog)
We’re mid-stream in our four-phase plan to launch out of Early Access. Phase I was the campaign revamp, setting the stage for Phase II, which I like to call “The Big Thing.” You may remember us laughing about this name during Devstream 66. The goal of “The Big Thing” is to get more new players into the game to help test out our Phase I changes. It’s also just really awesome. The marketing team has a media roll out plan, which has been a secret since February, so keep your eyes peeled!
After “The Big Thing” is Phase III. Phase III contains our endgame updates and improvements, which I’d like to go over at a high level here for you today. We’re designing and working on our Phase III features now, but they won’t be ready for a few months. It’s our goal to give them as much polish and iteration time as possible -- you’ve been eager for these changes, and we want to make sure they meet your expectations and meet ours, too.
We won’t share details now, but here’s a snapshot of Phase III:
New Tier of Gear
Improved Item Generation
Improved Inventory UI and UX for cross platform
Smart Loot System with Hero Specific Gear
Phase IV is another big surprise, which we’ll reveal over time and only after we’ve nailed Phase III.
We’ll share more details on these bulleted items over the coming months. This week, let’s dive into the Improved Inventory UI we’re working on. I’m going to let Joshua Javaheri tell you more about it. He has a superb redesign of the game’s inventory system, which includes more space, tabs, filters, cleaner interaction, and much more.
Joshua Javaheri (Javahawk)
Here at Trendy Entertainment, we are super well known for our groundbreaking UI design.
Just kidding, it’s not the best.
Don’t worry though, we’re workin’ on it.
Well, a few of us are.
(The ones who make UIs).
Anyway! With all these plans to improve the overall experience for early-to-mid-to-late game players, we knew we’d have to revisit how players experience and interact with loot. So what I’m talking about today is the Inventory Revamp! Or as I like to call it: Inventory 1.4. (Just because it makes everyone internally so mad. It’s really more like Inventory 2.0 and 3.0 in one.)
The idea behind revamping the inventory soon is super important for several reasons, many of which players are passionately (and perhaps somewhat painfully) aware of already. DD2 is a loot centric game. For me, the loot I earn defines my experience and validates my time spent in DD2. (It's also like... the reflection of my hard work...!) So it goes without saying that we should do whatever we can to make the experience of loot and what surrounds loot from a UX perspective as pleasant and obvious to our players as possible.
Right now, inventory management is a little rough. I know I just spent several grammatically correct paragraphs saying that. But here’s what I mean when I say that. It’s not good. It’s very not good. The UI is different on PS4 and PC. You can’t sort items. You can’t see what’s in all of your bags at once. The physical space we give you to navigate the Inventory is really small. In order to view the contents of a bag, you have to unhide and open them, which isn’t very intuitive. Moving items between bags is unintuitive. Bags come in different shapes and sizes. (Good for dating, bad for UX simplicity.) On PC, players cannot ‘lock’ or protect items. (I guess... from themselves?) Bags themselves are too small. And let’s not even talk about that scroll bar...
So what are we doing to solve these problems? Here’s what we have right now:
Unifying the UI on both PS4 and PC -- both versions will have the same Inventory system!
This means making an Inventory system that works for both mouse/keyboard and gamepad, which is great news for PC players who prefer using the gamepad.
Adding a display (called “All Bags” in the image above) that shows you all of your loot from all of your bags in one location.
Adding filters in this section so you can see:
All of your items at once, or
Just your weapons
Just your armor
Just your relics
Just your pets
Adding additional sorting selections so you can see, for example, all of your weapons from highest iPWR to lowest iPWR
Creating a tab system so you can move between bags more easily.
Increasing the number of visible slots so you can see more of your Inventory at once.
Easier ways to auto-collect and group up trash loot for faster cleanup.
Making it easier to move items from one bag to another.
Oh and we’ll probably consolidate your bags into larger bags with significantly more space... by like... 2-4x.
Most players will probably end up with a bit more space than they had before, as all bags will now be 64 slots.
In today’s update, we released a new community bug reporting site! You can find it at bugs.dungeondefenders2.com. We’re going to direct players who’d like to report a bug to this new site.
This new system replaces the current in-game bug submission form (you’ll be able to access it from inside the game at the Tavernkeeper), and you’ll also be able to find it here on the site.
Why the new system? Well, the old system had a bunch of flaws, some of which we couldn’t find a good way to fix. One of the biggest flaws was updating and tracking bugs from the public and player perspective. Once you submitted a bug, it would be gone and you’d rarely hear back from us unless we needed more information - this sucked because other players would submit the same bug, and with big issues, we’d see multiple submissions over multiple days and weeks, and with everyone reporting the same issue it’s easy to ignore little details that could be unique in each case or get lost in the pile.
Speaking of lost in the pile, it was very difficult to track all of our community bug submissions and difficult to understand which bugs required the most immediate attention. We receive reports on our forums, Steam forums, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, old bug reporting form, Twitch chats, private messages, support emails...it’s a lot to stay on top of, especially for our small team. It’s our hope that a public, more accessible site will allow us to gather bugs in one place and give us greater visibility into which bugs are currently causing the most frustration. It’s our goal to fix as many bugs as possible, but with your help, we can prioritize the most devilish ones first.
So this new system works a little bit like Reddit. You submit a bug, you provide the details and then it’s posted for everyone to see. You can upvote bugs that you think need the most immediate attention. You can also reply to a bug and add more details. This way other players can add their unique details all under the one umbrella.
An important point about this new system, along with transparency and reduction of redundancy, is that you’ll have Trendy QA folks look at and confirm your issues. Sometimes we’ll reject bugs, but most of the time we’ll verify your submission and put that issue into our internal bug tracking workload.
We wanted to open up the entire bug cycle - from finding, reporting, fixing and shipping - and give everyone more reassurance that we take all issues seriously and that submitting bugs is never a waste. It all matters, and we appreciate it each time folks take the effort to help us make the game better.
Tim Shannon, Live & PS4 Producer (TimmyTrashTier)
A new bug reporting site rolled out today that we’re hoping will allow us to better gather information on the scope and impact of issues that you all are experiencing. It’s going to be a site that is as useful as we all make it, so please take note of Dani and Josh’s entry above where they explained how it will work in more detail.
On a different topic, the old monthly pets are back! They’re in the Defender Medal shop with some notable updates to their effectiveness.
The thing I’m most excited about though, is that we are about to set series of fixes live that should address some of our longest standing crashes on PS4. To give you some context, one of our most common client crashes on PS4 was the result of functions on two separate rendering threads trying to access the same memory. This sounds simple enough at face value, but because of how multi-threaded rendering works, finding the exact moment when this occurs and the exact line of code that is causing it is quite the daunting task. These crashes have absorbed man-months of time since launch, with the most recent effort taking almost two uninterrupted weeks of Matt’s time. Interestingly enough, the only reason we were able to find this at all is that some other changes we did around improving our render pipe, exacerbated the problem to the point where we could gather enough data to track the problem to its source (in this case, two short lines of code). We’ll be monitoring the crash report server closely once the patch comes out to track the impact of these changes, but assuming all goes as expected, I’ll be excited to scratch this line item off my list.
Jesus Diaz, World Builder (N3oDoc)
I've been working on the Heroes Marketplace doing something I can't talk about and fixing some collision issues. Last but not least, I returned to work on the Hot Springs level (an old level which hasn't been released yet), this time doing a collision pass.
Daniel Diaz, World Builder(@Danimix1983)
We've been working lately on some new/old levels doing some optimization/collision passes. We’re also working on Heroes Marketplace, so expect some cool changes and new visuals/atmosphere. Hope you like it!