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ZackSmith
forge-Blog.jpg

Creating 3D art is so cool! Okay, I had to get that off my chest because it's the truth! Turning a flat 2D painting into an object that you can walk on, interact with or marvel at as you run by is truly rewarding.

When a concept is given to a 3D artist, or at to least me, I am flooded with so many thoughts that are usually instantaneous. The main thought is, "How will I create this thing?" I begin to break down the shapes that I see in a given concept and ponder how I will translate that given asset into the third dimension.

forge.png

Creating the Forge for Dungeon Defenders II was an exciting task to complete. I thought to myself, "I get to create a cool design that opens up, emits cool VFX, has glowly parts, and the Council helped design the concept!" This asset had a bit of pressure for sure, but a little pressure never hurt anyone.

Like any model, it all begins with a primitive geometric shape. I usually start off with either a cube or cylinder. Who would have thought that in high school I would literally work with geometry all day? It's a good thing the math is behind the scenes; I just work with the shapes. A given triangle count limit is given. This is the max limit of how many Tris (cool people say Tris instead of triangles) that can be used to create that given model. I try to not think of it as a restriction, but rather as a nice number that I have in the back of my head that will sometimes whisper to me: "Hey Zack, your Tri count is getting a bit high! Try lowering that number, okay?" I'm always happy to oblige to myself. Creating models efficiently as possible is one of the many factors that help regulate how well a game runs.

ForgeScreenshot02-1024x780.jpg

When creating the Forge, I broke the model into different parts. It was easy enough to do because the great design has very distinct landmarks that made it painless to figure out shapes and spatial relationships. This is crucial in my thinking process to get the model to look as close to the concept as possible.

Before the process of painting the Forge, I had to completely lay out the model to be flat. This is the process of creating UVs. The letters U and V are just the axes that a texture will be placed. Creating UVs is like unfolding a cardboard box completely flat. To save as much space as possible, UVs are overlapped and flipped in all kinds of ways to be snug tight. The better the UV layout, the easier it will be to paint the model's texture.

UVs.jpg

Texturing is one of my favorite parts. This is when the model really starts to come together. About 98% of my painting is done in 3D-Coat. This program allows me to paint directly on the geometry. Photoshop is used to do any minor clean-ups or color adjustments. The Forge involved painting lots of metal. The first part of the painting process involves putting down those nice base colors. Once that is done, I begin to paint the overall form a bit more. Little nicks and dents are added to give the overall piece an interesting look. Unlike realistic textures, not every minute detail is put into the painting. Implied paint strokes can be just enough to let the viewer understand what the material the model is made out of. We also do not want the model to become noisy with detail.

ForgeScreenshot01-1024x430.jpg

After hours of painting, the model is done. I do a quick visual sweep of the model to make sure I'm satisfied and to ensure there are not any technical problems before it's checked by the 3D art lead and art director. After critiques are given and changes are made, it’s handed off to rigging and animation!

forgegif_1.gif

Are there any other models that you'd like to see from concept to creation? 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 Tuesday. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join!

The random winner of the Javelin Thrower Boogie blog is TezNyanCatLipoca! There's still time to enter the Bold New World blog giveaway!
LAWLTA

Greetings Defenders,

The update is coming along smoothly and lots of work is being done as we speak. We released two DevLogs over the past two weeks, and there’s one more coming, but we didn’t want to leave a week without any beans spilling, so we’re going to spill a couple today. Just as an extra note, some of the terms discussed here and any content is still subject to change. Let’s go!

Shards

Gear and stat changes affect the entire game, meaning Shards are also affected. With the upcoming update, just about every Shard is going to change as a result (get ready for probably our longest patch notes ever). They should more or less retain their same power, but because of the stat changes and base damage increase on towers, you may find some Shards way more useful than before! There’s also an additional feature being added that affects Shards, what we’re currently calling Shard Dusting.

Shard Dusting

While a lot of Shards are gaining additional strength or coming into the spotlight because of tower/gear changes, there are many different Shards in the game. Very few people utilize all the Shards that drop. Some people like playing with the base four heroes and focus on Shards for them, and some like using just the Mystic and the Lavamancer. Getting Shards for the heroes you don’t use can sometimes feel like you aren’t working towards improving your own unique build. With Shard Dusting, you can now find a utility for unwanted Shards instead of just selling them for little gold.

Taking the Shards you do not want, and deconstructing them into dust, it now allows you to acquire another chance at getting a Shard you want. For a set amount of dust, you are able to go to our Shard vendor and trade your dust for another Shard container that contains a random Shard from the appropriate Chaos tier. This a feature the community asked for, and we’re here to deliver! Getting multiples of the same Shards also has an advantage as well. We know that many of you have been hording Shards in anticipation of something new to do with them, and now you can! We're introducing Gilded Shards!

Gilded Shards

Gear is getting a major overhaul and additional features to increase its power, we wanted to give Shards some attention as well. With this next update, the Shards (both wanted and unwanted) you find are going to possess more utility than they currently do. Gilded Shards are Shards whose power pushes past the current limits. When gilding a Shard, they gain increased upgrade levels, increasing their power. That’s not the only bonus — Gilded Shards do not get reset when you attain Ancient Power, alleviating some of the currency costs that come with resetting!

Now you might be thinking, “Lawlta, how do I gild my Shards?”, and that’s a great question. Gilded Shards come from combining a specific number of the same Shard. We’re not announcing any specific numbers yet, but we want to make sure this feature feels good to use, and are getting great feedback from our RPG and RQA testers. The goal for this is to allow players who are pushing in end game Onslaught to increase the power of their favorite and/or most used shards. This is our first step towards adding more goals for end game players that have long lasting impact on their power.

New Weapon Models

Professor Proteus is a man of intellect and sophistication, but also a man of style. There are more weapon models coming for every weapon type this update, and they may be attained in a special way. Here’s a sneak peek of what our artists created:

FT0G12Z2Qz9zSvi5l3_kyXw_fMGvMRkjZ5kEaA5L
WY6lQ-UMIwYoFWGEbCiS4yKBUZzGBOPM6gQXP94N

2D Concept Art by Zack Smith

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3D Models by Zack Smith

There are more weapons coming, this is just a sneak peek of the awesome ones we are introducing into this update!

An Even Further Look to the Horizon!

The beans continue to flow! The systems discussed here build upon all of the things we discussed in the previous DevLogs. Believe it or not (actually just believe it), there’s even MORE coming!

The next DevLog is going to be a summation of everything we put out so far, as well as a feature that brings together a lot of the features revealed in recent weeks. There may also be a release date in there that’s sooner than you (don’t) think. It’s going to be our last DevLog before we release the Patch Novel (calling them notes doesn’t capture just how gigantic that post is going to be).

A lot of the changes that are coming give us a lot to create additional future content. Many of the changes within this huge update, including Shard Dusting, are a result of community feedback on what Defenders want. The feedback all of you provide is incredibly important. Game development is a very arduous process, and at times can feel like we aren’t listening if the changes you want are not released very quickly. These changes (and ones coming in future updates) have a heavy community influence to them. You all are great at providing constructive feedback and it helps us make sure the additions we make are something you enjoy! :)

If you want an early look (as well as helping us polish things before release), our testing groups are just for you! There’s so much coming, and every bit helps to make this expansive update great.

Want More Info On What’s Coming?

Check us out on social media for additional updates and game discussions with our awesome community:

There’s even more information coming next week. We’re really excited to share the last beans of this update, and hope you enjoy what’s coming. Stay tuned!

For Etheria!

The Dungeon Defenders II Team


iamisom

Patch 7.4 for Steam

Here are the notes for Patch 7.4!


Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a texture streaming issue that was causing the game to always crash on 32-bit systems. Unfortunately, this made loading screens blurry for all users. We have faith our 64-bit players will accept this temporary loss in loading-screen fidelity to assist our 32-bit brethren in defending some dungeons.

  • Fixed an issue where the Jump Key wasn’t working if it was rebound.

  • Fixed an issue with cutscene audio.
  • Fixed an issue where the item tooltips took fooooorever to popup while managing the inventory. Well, it took 2 seconds, but still. Way too long.

  • Homing projectiles now properly home in on targets.

  • Grabbed a dictionary to see if it was “home in” or “hone in” on targets. Apparently both are correct. [[7363,hashtags]]

  • Fixed an issue where dragging an item from one bag to another wouldn’t re-sort the bag.

  • Fixed an issue where entering Sell Mode while choosing a Bag Icon did terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things.

  • The Random Egg reward wasn’t displaying correctly on the Mission reward tooltips.

  • The Mission reward tooltips were missing when you tried to reroll that one Daily Mission for that other Daily Mission.

  • Fixed an issue that was causing other issues. Our servers now ride bicycles! Biii-cycle. Biiiiiiiii-cycle. I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike. Keep it going in the comments!

  • There was a grey box on the Mission reward tooltips. There is no longer a grey box on the Mission reward tooltips.

  • Fixed an issue where we didn’t say Mission reward tooltips enough. That has now been fixed.

  • Melee goblins couldn’t hit the broadside of the Dragonfall Bazaar cores. That’s not a weird diss. They literally couldn’t. Now they can.

  • Pets will now attack Betsy. Betsy fears not your puny pets and laughs at danger.

  • Fixed issue where Betsy would not properly fear player pets. Still laughs at danger -- will fix in future patch.

  • Fixed an issue where the lightning grenade pet ability wasn’t dealing damage. Now it does!
  • Fixed the issue where the in-game notification for the game going down wasn't appearing. But since it's in this patch, you wouldn't have seen it this time. It should be there next time!
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.

Whitebox-Layout-1024x511.jpg



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.

startingGeo-1024x187.jpg



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.

Ageo-1024x806.jpg



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.

MapEvolution-1024x792.jpg



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

Little-Horn-Valley-1024x764.jpg



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!
iamisom

Hotfix 5.9 and 5.10

Hotfix 5.10

Just a quick hotfix this morning!


Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug where previously rotten eggs were not turning into Shellium Shards as intended.



Hotfix 5.9

Good morning! Here are the notes for Hotfix 5.9!


Balance

  • Removed Item Power requirements for public matches

  • Turned off Item Power downleveling.

  • Free Play Experience Change:  Increased experience earned on all maps in Free Play mode on all difficulties (also includes Onslaught and Incursion modes)

  • Increased portion of the experience earned for keeping subobjectives alive.

  • Reduced Campaign Wyvern Den experience from 60,000 -> 35,000

  • Reduced Free Play Easy and Campaign Easy Physical/Magical Resist to 5%

  • Reduced Free Play Normal and Campaign Normal Physical/Magical Resist to 15%

  • Reduced Free Play Hard Physical/Magical Resist to 35%

  • Adjusted Free Play Easy and Normal difficulty ramp.

  • Free Play now has more core health.

  • Nightmare Wyvern Den now has Tier 3 Ogres

  • Drop Rates adjusted for Free Play to focus moderately more loot drops from Special Enemies and Victory Chests

  • Drop Rates adjusted for End Game to mostly drop loot from Special Enemies and Victory Chests



Bug Fixes

  • Fixed some of the issues where a new Daily Mission would not be given to players. If you’re still seeing this, please let us know!

  • Rotten eggs now give Shellium Shards. Once you let an egg rot after this hotfix, all of your previously earned rotten eggs will turn into Shellium Shards, too!

  • Fixed an issue that may have been causing the Steam Authentication error.

  • Fixed an issue where the Tower Siege and Tower Conquest Daily Missions were not updating.

  • In certain resolutions the Create Hero menu does not extend the full height of the window has been fixed.

  • '!' should now actually appear over the Colonel's head during the "Speak to the Colonel" quest.

  • Fixed an issue where the stat comparison tooltips for items on the Item Enhancment Wheel would go offscreen.

  • The tooltips for the Skill Spheres in the Shop should no longer go off screen once you start scrolling down the list of spheres.

  • Skeleton Orcs and Goblins spawned in Onslaught Mode as part of the "Undead" round theme now properly drop Mana Crystals. This does not happen with Skeletons spawned by Dark Mages.

  • Updating Incursion-win tracking stats to count both Free Play and End-Game Incursions


Content

  • Added 4 Daily Mission theme icons (Gold, Token, Egg, XP).


Feature

  • Added support so users will get a "Wait for Transaction” message while waiting for Steam/playverse callbacks.


Note:  It appears a temporary version of our currency purchasing screen has snuck its way into the build. It's not pretty, and it's missing all our final art, but if for some reason you're out of all those gems we gave you-- feel free to use it and let us know what you think!

This screen also snuck out with non-final pricing packages , so enjoy the deals! We’ll be updating this screen with the proper art and pricing next week. At that point in time, the gem packages will be:

$4.99 – 500 gems

$9.99 – 1100 gems (10% bonus)

$19.99 – 2300 gems (15% bonus) 

$49.99 – 6000 gems (20% bonus)

$99.99- 12500 gems (25% bonus)

iamisom

Begin the Awakening


L5PH1xU.jpg

The Harbinger is coming. His power is growing, and so must ours. Join the Steam Group to obtain legendary galactic weapons, and together, we will Begin the Awakening.

As a community, meet the milestones below to add the following items to the game beginning December 15th:


80,000 members:  

  • Open the War Cache!
  • Gain access to the War Cache (disguised as a present in the Tavern) and get one random legendary galactic weapon!


LpfcxEM.jpg

125,000 members:  

  • Wield the Squire’s Crystalline Saber! 
  • This weapon will be added as a permanent drop to the game.

  • The War Cache will refresh, giving you another random legendary galactic weapon.


ivvyBQP.jpg


175,000 members:  

  • Brandish the Huntress’ Bow-Blaster!
  • This weapon will be added as a permanent drop to the game.

  • The War Cache will refresh, giving you another random legendary galactic weapon.


a0QX2bI.jpg


??? members:  

  • Command the Apprentice’s Blaster-Caster! 
  • This weapon will be added as a permanent drop to the game.

  • The War Cache will refresh, giving you another random legendary galactic weapon.


TelFMqP.jpg


??? members:  

  • Unleash the Monk’s Crystalline Twin-Blade! 
  • This will be added as a permanent drop to the game.

  • The War Cache will refresh, giving you another random legendary galactic weapon.


Go forth and spread the word to join the Steam Group to Begin the Awakening!

Notes:  When you open the War Cache, the legendary galactic weapon will roll based on the currently selected hero, but the weapon type inside is entirely random. And when you reach the milestone, the weapon is added as a drop to the game. You will not automatically receive one.

niugget
Meet the Kobold King
Kobold King Wallpaper



 

Emerging from the sewers of Etheria is...



The Kobold King!



On his hero page, you can learn about his tyrannical rule of fellow kobolds and the shady business that keeps him afloat.



 



Kobold_King_FinalSHEET



 

Claim royalty among your minions with the Kobold King™s wallpaper. You can download the 1920x1080 wallpaper on the Media Page.



How do you feel about the Kobold King? Let us know in the comments section. Our favorite comments will win a DD2 beta code! Winners will be chosen on June 11.



 
iamisom


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The patch is now live on both Steam and PS4! Here are the patch notes:

Series EV2 Hero Sale!

  • For the next two weeks, Series EV2 and the EV2 bundle are on sale!

    • Series EV2 Hero:  900 Gems

    • Series EV2 Hero + Costume Bundle:  1,400 Gems


Lavamancer

  • Defense Medal cost reduced to 10,000!


Improvements

  • Map-specific item drops (like the Toxic Shock bow) can drop up to iPWR 700 in NM4, regardless of the iPWR of the map.

  • Loot drops for the Gun Witch, Abyss Lord, Series EV2 and Lavamancer now have Loot V2 stat pairing hooked up.  This was fixed for the Molten Tome. We're working on getting this fixed for the new heroes! 

  • Players kicked from a public game can no longer rejoin the game.

  • Added a DPS Numbers Only option for Target Dummies in the Options Menu.

  • Reduced the number of enemies in an Onslaught Horde wave.

  • Controller:  Interacting with NPCs and picking up items is now bound to R3. Ping is now functioning properly on L1 > R1.

  • Earthshatter Fault Line passive changed to have a chance to knock enemies up.


Balance

  • Fissure of Embermount starts dealing damage to enemies at Tier 2 now.


Bug Fixes

  • Several memory leaks that caused players to fall through the game world have been plugged. If you are still experiencing this issue, please contact our customer support and attach your client log from the session where it occurred. Directions for this can be found here.

  • Material and texture loading optimized to decrease loading times.

  • Maw of the Earth Drake no longer gives nearby towers attack speed boosts when under the effect of Eruption.

  • Incursions should now drop the correct rewards.

  • Fixed a bug where the Earthshatter was still causing AoE damage.


New Weapon Drop Locations

  • The Wyvern Den 

    • All Betsy Weapons

  • Harbinger’s Warship

    • Squire Harbinger Shield

  • Nimbus Reach

    • Storm Boots

    • Apprentice Harbinger Staff (Hero)

  • Greystone Plaza

    • Storm Chest

    • Squire Harbinger Sword (Hero)

  • Assault on Throne Room

    • Storm Gloves

    • Huntress Harbinger Bow (Hero)

  • Buried Bastille

    • Storm Helm

    • Monk Harbinger Polearm (Hero)

  • Wyvern Enthusiasts Incursion

    • Huntress Phantom Phoenix Bow

    • Huntress Harbinger Bow (Defense)

  • Malthius Incursion

    • Monk Infernal Combustor Polearm

    • Apprentice Armageddon Staff

    • Squire Scarlet Enforcer Sword

    • Huntress Armored Cleanser Bow

  • Griblok’s Horde Incursion

    • Squire Impaling Cutter Sword

    • Squire Harbinger Sword (Defense)

  • Chrome Enemies Incursion

    • Huntress Toxic Shock Bow

    • Monk Harbinger Polearm (Defense)

  • Forest Poachers Incursion

    • Apprentice Chilling Touch Staff

    • Apprentice Harbinger Staff (Defense)

  • Unholy Catacombs Incursion

    • Squire Sword of Unholy Fire

  • Kobold Bling King Incursion

    • Huntress Bling O’ Midas Bow

  • Bastille Master Incursion

    • Apprentice Ghastly Halberd Staff

  • Power Surge Incursion

    • Monk Glaive of the Storms Polearm

  • The Demon’s Lair Incursion

    • Abyss Lord Molten Tome


PS4 players will get these changes later this week!

I_PASS_BUTTER

The Serpentiny Beastmaster contest is over! Thank you to everyone who participated, and thanks again to Mapatti for handy dandy charts and general knowledge bombs. Your winners for this contest are:

Congratulations, Beastmasters! PM I_PASS_BUTTER for your codes or if you have any questions. 

Defenders, are you ready for the next contest? Imphants! Go find those drooly little devils! Make the strongest one you can! You have until May 27th at 11:59 PM EDT to submit your Imphant in this thread.

As a reminder, please include a link to your Steam profile with your entry. Entries without a Steam profile will not be eligible to win. The pet must be in your profile at the time of verification in order to be eligible to win. For full contest rules, please refer to the original contest post

Good luck, Defenders! 


iamisom



Dear PC and PS4 Defenders:

The Buried Bastille Update is coming out on June 21st! That’s right, it’s our first simultaneous release, which means PC + PS4 PARITY IS HAPPENING NEXT WEEK. From this point forward, our goal is to have the PC and PS4 releases be no more than a week apart. This is huge. We’re so excited for our PC and PS4 players to experience new content together!

So what’s in The Buried Bastille Update?


  • New Map -- The Buried Bastille:  As selected by you in our Influence Vote, we’re releasing The Buried Bastille in this update! This sprawling, ancient prison is a remake of DD1’s Glitterhelm Caverns. Four cores lurk in these shadows for you to protect. The Buried Bastille is the biggest map released in Dungeon Defenders II to date, so we’re eager to see how you feel about its size and complexity.

  • New Incursion -- The Bastille Master:  It’s a race against time to kill all of the enemies in The Bastille Master Incursion! Not only is time and the size of The Buried Bastille working against you, but you only have a limited number of lives, too!

  • New iPWR 750 Apprentice Weapon -- The Ghastly Halberd:  If you complete The Bastille Master Incursion, you’ll earn the new Ghastly Halberd Apprentice weapon! Using this weapon turns the Apprentice into a ghost, reducing damage taken by enemies from 35%-90%! Using the alternate fire of the weapon will spawn a variable number of halberds that will attack nearby enemies. Halberds scale off of Hero Damage and Ability Power.

  • New iPWR 750 Helmet:  This Incursion will have a chance to drop an iPWR 750 Helmet from the Victory Chest.

  • New Apprentice Elemental Variant Costume -- Guardian of the Dead:  The Apprentice is joining the Monk and the Huntress in getting an elemental variant costume of his own!

  • Improved Daily Missions: In our last update, we introduced Bonus Missions as part of our ongoing effort to increase the earn rate of Defender Medals for all players. In this update, we’re doing two things. The first is improving the Daily Missions themselves. Our Daily Missions will now be about winning a certain amount of maps (some with extra provisions, some without). No more Daily Missions like “Ignite X Enemies” or “Gain X Pet Affection Levels.” It’s all about winning and being rewarded for winning. Play how you want to play and get rewarded for it -- unless how you want to play is to lose, in which case, we’re sorry. The second thing is...

  • Temporary Change -- Increased Daily Mission Payouts:  For the next two weeks, we’re increasing the amount of Defender Medals gained to 225 - 450 Defender Medals apiece. We’re going to pay close attention to the number of people completing Dailies and how these new reward amounts are affecting the Medal earn rate for all players. So please login, play with the Daily Mission changes and let us know on the forums how you feel.


The PS4 version of the update will also contain Series EV2 and the entirety of The Bling King Update!


Here’s what we’re working on this week:


James Reid, Software Engineer (Driscan)

Full steam ahead on the Game Browser! Still very much work-in-progress:

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Daniel Haddad, Design Director (@DanielLoony)

We now have a good idea on how to make DD2 potentially more fun with the Enemy Redesign I am proposing. We are trying to figure out a plan of attack since it is not a small task and ideally we would like to involve you all along the way as we revamp our enemies to make sure we are on the right track. Until then, we want to try to make the game a little more bearable until the time comes.

This week I’m doing my best to take the first 4 heroes and buff them to be as close to the Abyss Lord and EV2 as possible. There isn’t a lot of time and support to do this task (which makes sense since we still want to revamp these heroes at some point), so all I will be doing is buffing the numbers and changing a few things to make them more viable. After that, I’ll be taking a look at the many build passives (build passives being things such as Frost Fire and Phoenix's Call on the four original heroes) and nerfing them. Why are we nerfing them? Well, since we are about to buff the first 4 heroes, their build passives do not need to be as powerful as they currently are, especially since the new heroes do not have build passives. Like we mentioned before also, we aren’t very happy with how build passives ended up and ultimately we will be moving away from things that are structured in that regard. So the end result of our changes should be that the four base heroes are near the same level as our newest heroes.

That is already a lot of work we are trying to get done this week but on top of that we are also trying to add a little “something” to DD2 for you guys to chase after and enjoy… I won’t dive into details here because we might not get around to it, but time will tell, and hopefully you will enjoy it!


Daniel Diaz, World Builder (DanielKaMi)

Once again, you guys proved to be true Defenders! The level we're working on is, effectively, Endless Spires with a pirate theme. We’re trying to keep a similar gameplay space with some new features. Also, this time it will be easier to move around the level due to multiple player-only paths.

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Jesus Diaz, World Builder (N3oDoc)

We are almost done with the art pass for the pirates themed level. Just need to focus now on the farther out-of-bounds areas. I think this is going to be one of the most enjoyable DD2 levels so far!

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Tim Shannon, PS4 & Live Producer (TimmyTrashTier)

What isn’t happening this week? A much needed hotfix for PS4 came out on Tuesday that should hopefully drastically improve stability on the PS4. We’re also working on finalizing the next PS4 update that will include EV2, the Bling King Incursion and the Buried Bastille Incursion as well as an update to both the Bonus Mission system, an improved Daily Mission system and all of the other changes from those updates. Right now we’re targeting to get that out next week, but with things still coming together that may change if we run into something serious.

On the live team side, it’s a similar story. The Buried Bastille Update will be coming out next week (barring anything unfortunate), and we’re working on some final improvements and polish for that release.

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!
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!

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pmasher

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Greetings Defenders! We’re here to announce our next batch of events -- Hero Focus Weekends. Each of these weekends we’ll be increasing the drop rates for specific items, passives, and legendaries revolving around one (or more) of our heroes!

We encourage you to combine these items, your skill spheres, and other heroes to create your own unique builds. And then share those with the community! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Event List

  • Weekend of 8/14 - 3x Hearty Harpoon Squire Weapon Drop Rate  + 2x Legendary Drop Rate

  • Weekend of 8/21 - 3x Frost Fire Apprentice Weapon Drop Rate + 2x Legendary Drop Rate

  • Weekend of 8/28 - 3x Phoenix Call Huntress Weapon Drop Rate + 2x Legendary Drop Rate [Updated 8/26/15:  Monk was originally planned for this weekend, but his build will not be ready in time for the event.]


This weekend’s event is for the Frost Fire Apprentice! You can find more information about the Frost Fire apprentice passives, items, and skill spheres here.

All events will run from Friday 1 PM EDT to Monday 11 AM EDT. Weapon Drop Events will take place on all maps in Free Play and End Game modes. Legendary Drop Events will only take place in all maps on Free Play mode.

Tune in to this Friday’s Devstream at 5 pm EDT for a sneak peak at our new Huntress build!
iamisom



The Dragonfall Carnival is here! Login to experience the whimsy and wonder of the Carnival before it disappears.


This update includes:


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The Dragonfall Carnival Map

A silly map filled with weird enemies, zany traps and a jesting ringmaster! You can play the Carnival for free by Sneaking In, but if you purchase Admission Passes, you’ll get to spin the Bling Wheel at the end of the map!



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The Bling Wheel

The Bling Wheel contains 16 exclusive rewards, including the Harbinger’s Veil Costumes, the Shadow Costumes and golden premium pets! Get all of the rewards to receive the grand prize:  the Carnival Costumes!



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Heroes Marketplace

Thanks to your Influence Vote, there’s a brand-new social hub:  the Heroes Marketplace! Access the Dragonfall Carnival from this sunny locale.



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Carnival Prize Wheel

While the Carnival is in town, you’ll earn red Wheel Tickets from any map in the game. Gather those tickets, and then head to the Carnival Prize Wheel located in the Heroes Marketplace to win temporary stat buffs, masks, fireworks and more!


For the full patch notes, head to the Dragonfall Carnival landing page!


As for the next update, we’re tentatively working on:

  • New Hero:  Abyss Lord

  • Hero Deck Changes

  • And so much more!


We’ll have more information on those new changes in the next few weeks. This year, we’re going to improve existing features, add lots of new heroes, make more fun content for you to enjoy and get out of Early Access. Stay tuned, and enjoy the Carnival!


Love,
The Trendy Team

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When the doors opened at PAX East, things didn’t look good for the Trendy booth. The announcement rang from the PA: “The show floor is open!” And in the blink of an eye, people charged past us to get to Riot’s massive League of Legends booth. Others booked it to the Oculus Rift booth. And there we were, sandwiched in between the two, without a single person in our line.

But within an hour, crowds gathered around our monitors. Our line maxed out. And almost everyone who played told us the same thing: Dungeon Defenders II was damn fun.

For us, PAX East was about more than letting our fans play DD2. It was a chance for feedback from people who had never played before -- some of whom had never even played the first game! Armed with a pen and a notepad, our team gathered their feedback. Here are the top 3 pros and cons:

Pros:

  • New and old fans really liked the faster-paced gameplay and revisions to tower placement -- not being locked in place while build/upgrading/repairing.
  • People loved the new tower/ability kits and combo possibilities between players.
  • Players felt the difficulty of all three maps was spot-on. (We brought an early-game map, a late-game map and a special challenge map to PAX.)

Cons:

  • Chest & Key system was difficult for players to grasp. It was hard for them to understand how chests were instanced, what keys were, and how to use them. (In DD2, players get their own chests. Players are given keys to unlock those chests.)
  • The Relic system was hard for people to understand. Oftentimes, people were not picking up relics that would make them more powerful. This could also have something to do with the convention center.
  • On the early-game map, players wanted to be able to place more defenses (mana shortage). On the same token, players felt that they were able to place a good number of defenses on the late-game map.

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    Of course, feedback is a two-way street. So we closed down our booth for 30 minutes on Saturday afternoon to hold a Q&A event for our fans. Co-creative directors Danny Araya and Daniel Haddad, along with Lead Technical Artist Joshua Javaheri, answered questions in an intimate chat at our booth. Highlights included a discussion about player hubs in DD2 (yes, you will have one), which hero was the hardest to mature (the Monk), and if bosses will be returning in DD2 (yes, and you may have already seen the first one).

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    Every day at 4:30 p.m., we held a raffle at the Dungeon Defenders II booth. Everything we could possibly get our hands on, we gave away to our fans. This included DD2 pins, buttons, signed art prints, mouse pads, Razer headsets, scarfs, and mice, Dungeon Defenders T-shirts -- and on the last day, we gave away 4 Defense Council codes. We hope you all enjoyed Brys’ (our MC’s) antics for the raffle! We received a ton of positive feedback for the raffle. We would like to thank everyone who posted pictures and commented about it online! It let us know we should definitely do raffles this way in the future.

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    Cosplay and video games go hand-in-hand at any convention, and PAX East was no exception. We got to see people dressed up as all sorts of characters, but our favorites were the fans who came to our booth in Dungeon Defenders cosplay. We had a variety of heroes stop by, including a red DD1 Apprentice and a grown-up DD2 Squire. A Jester came to our merch booth and dropped some "mana" and some presents for the Trendy Crew. We even had a Propeller Cat drop in and say hi! It was great seeing our fans in their Dungeon Defenders gear. Hopefully next time you'll see some of our Trendy Crew all dressed up as well!

    We want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by and played the game. Thank you for sharing your feedback and helping us get a clearer picture of what we need to do to make DD2 even better. Without a doubt, this was our most successful, popular PAX adventure yet. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

    The random winner of our New CEO blog is StillPad!

    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.


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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!
admin
DD2 beta code winners chosen!

The winners of the DD2 beta code giveaway are Narica, Vidurr, xjoshieboox, upwake and bobbysinger! Winners, keep an eye on your PM inbox tomorrow for your code.

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Original post:

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Want a Dungeon Defenders II beta code? How about a Razer mouse and keyboard and some awesome Dungeon Defenders swag? Enter the giveaway here!



Post a comment below for your chance to win a DD2 beta code! Winners will be chosen on Tuesday.
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!
iamisom

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The Calling All Heroes update is coming in April! This update includes:

  • The New Hero Deck: Major changes to the Hero Deck, including the much-requested ability to build with all of your heroes, leveling up all of your decked heroes at once, quickswapping your decked heroes at the press of a button and inspecting other players' decks!

  • New Hero, The Abyss Lord: This is just the first of many heroes coming to the game this year!

  • Defender Medals:  A new earnable currency used to recruit new heroes!

  • And more!

Learn more about the update on our new landing page!

Before the update comes out, meet the Abyss Lord!



Want to see the update in action? Tune into the Devstream on Friday at 5PM EDT! We’re going to show off the Abyss Lord and all of the new Hero Deck changes, and then we’re going to give you a sneak peek at our strategy revamp, which is scheduled to come out in a future update. Tune in live for a chance to win the Dark Arts Apprentice costume!


Dev Log 63:  Strategy Revamp Progress

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Elliot Cannon, Creative Director

We’re on the home stretch! Be sure and check out the cool Abyss Lord video above and the Calling All Heroes anchor page the guys put together. It’s bug fixing mode in the studio this week as we push to the finish line. This next release is another big step towards making the game cooler and more fun. Being able to build with any hero, swap in combat, and level them all at once while melting face with the Abyss Lord is fun business. The new UI looks slick and will really allow us to move towards a cleaner cross-platform development flow over time. I’ve been sorting through a massive backlog of robust features and improvements for the game, which we’re prioritizing this week. We need to keep pushing. Our big goal, as I’ve said before, is to get that hero library built out and never stop adding to it, but at the same time there are tons of fixes, improvements, features, and more to do and we won’t forget them. EV2 is the hero up next, but who’s after her is up to you. Keep your eyes peeled for the influence vote! As a former RR 80+ Slayer in Warhammer Online, Age of Reckoning (RIP) I’m going to vote for the barbarian! “Give me death!”

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Steven Collins, Lead Level Designer (Esorath)

Working on the changes to lanes / enemies / and towers. This is an overhaul of the strategic depth of DD2, so we are making sure we get this as fun as possible. As you can see, this lane is comprised of Air Enemies. You can also see they are flying right over my traps and barricades. This is one example of the types of changes we want to make to ensure build variety. We're going to talk more about this on Friday's Devstream!


Daniel Haddad, Design Director (Blacksmith)

First there was the great flood that shut us down for a few days. Then I got terribly sick again. Ultimately we lost a lot of time that we could have spent solving world hunger, curing cancer, but most important of all, we could have spent that time making the Abyss Lord eeeeeeeeven cooooooooooler. Have no fear! I’ve successfully constructed a time dilating device that allows us to nearly double the amount of time in a day. I call it, the Don’t Sleeper 3000 X PWN!!!!

For the past three weeks we had early builds of the Abyss Lord playable to a close circle of hardcore DD fans. (BTW if you guys want to join this super awesome cult write a comment and reach out to Dani. The initiation ceremony is not bad at all and we only require you to donate one or two organs.) These DD fans gave us a lot of feedback on the Abyss Lord, and we’ve been tweaking him and making him more and more awesome with each increment. Now I’m working on his Skill Spheres and Passives and playing with him trying to place the final, final touches before he goes off to college and you can all start playing with him. Treat him gently, he’s always been a special boy… girl… er… Cthulhu thing...


Tim Shannon, PS4 & Live Producer (TimmyTrashTier)

This

Also, we’re down to finalization of the PS4 update, so we’re hoping to get the Harbinger + Carnival update out to you in early April. Keep an eye right here for more news.


Jason Yu, Associate Producer (urfyness)

Last week, the Flood of Trendy 2016 closed the building from Tuesday all the way through Monday. A water main had ruptured in an elevator, flooding the basement overnight with 5000+ gallons of water and caused the transformer to shut down, disabling electricity throughout the building. Several Trendy guys came in Thursday to drag a generator onto the roof, snake an extension cord down into our server rooms, and power on the internal servers so we can continue development. After several hours of troubleshooting, a thunderstorm rolled into town forcing them to stop for the night. Luckily power was restored to the building on Friday, and the team rallied for the final push towards our patch release. The effort from the team has been incredible thus far, and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.

This week, we’re in finaling mode, one of my favorite times of the project. We get to solve problems and see the fruits of our labor, but by the end of it, I’m ready to get back to making features.


James Reid, Software Programmer (Driscan)

Lots more work on the new Hero Deck UIs. The team has been busting their butts getting all this new functionality in. This has also been a deep dive of our UI System and what it can/can’t do.  This allows us to make future UIs easier and quicker but requires a ton of upfront work and time.  Anyone who’s worked with UE3 native UIScenes will understand.  

So while the below pictures might not look like much has changed since last week, the innards are muuuuuch better.

Also, did you see that Abyss Lord video!?  That thing is the bee’s knees!

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Jesus Diaz, World Builder (N3oDoc)

At this point we have just started to work on a visual test for what might be the next Dungeon Defenders II level. All I can say this is going to be another dungeon type level. Here's a sneak peek. :)

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Daniel Diaz, World Builder (DanielKaMi)

We loved watching you guys what the level was last week. Lots like a good number of you guessed correctly! Now, we are starting a new level.


Dan Pingston, Character Artist

Making heroes and costumes and costumes for heroes and accessories and marketing illustrations and icons and all kinds of fun things.


Chris Flores, QA Lead (likethatwhenigothere)

We’re still full swing with the new UI testing, Defender Medals, the Monthly Mission for April, Abyss Lord, and a bunch of other stuff that creeped up. Business as usual.


I_PASS_BUTTER

Greetings Defenders,

Welcome to our first Open Alpha Devstream! This time we showcase the first of Ascension: Part II’s two maps, give you a special sneak peek at our next boss, and more!



Also, this weekend Madwick is back! This time Madwick is a guaranteed drop from Incursion minibosses or from Round 5 in Onslaught on Free Play Normal and Free Play Hard. The event will run until Monday at 12pm EDT.

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iamisom

Dev Log 2: Dec. 3, 2014

Daniel Haddad, Creative Director (Blacksmith)

Working on Pets! Also working on adding some retention mechanics to Dungeon Defenders II.


Danny Araya, Creative Director (DannyAraya)

Working on sketching out the needs of our Intro cinematic!  


Chris James, Lead Level Designer (ceejeh)

Working on new maps! Looking forward to sharing what will be some very exciting Dungeon Defenders II experiences.


Joshua Javaheri, Lead Technical Artist (javahawk)

Setting up some documentation on standardizing UI Icons and streamlining some simple UI shader functionality.


Chris Flores, QA Lead (likethatwhenigothere)

Helping to verify the next bug-fix update and research some of the performance issues that have popped up since the release of the last update.


Abraham Abdala, Lead Technical Animator (Broham)

On vacation!


Javier Barreto, Lead Software Programmer (@javo)

The end of the year is time of reflection… and release. =)


Philip Asher, Marketing Director (pmasher)

All sorts of trailer, website, PR, asset fun getting ready for Early Access this Friday (and The Game Awards!). Also reviewing the Defense Council’s suggestions for our Steam Early Access description to see what changes we should make before launch.


Josh Isom, Community Manager (iamisom)

Like Phil, I’m getting everything ready for Early Access -- making sure our community support processes are in place, answering tons of great questions and gearing up to help out the newbies in Etheria throughout the weekend. It has been an exhausting week so far, but we’re almost there. I can see the light. It’s so beautiful.

JBrawley
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Deciding how enemies spawn in each lane requires careful planning on the part of the level designer. Each of the three lanes -- ground, air, and the optional, sub-objective blocked lanes -- are balanced differently, and each designer has different balance goals depending on the map being created. Ultimately, though, the goal of all level designers is to provide a fun and challenging experience for the player.

Ruins02OvershotV2Nimbus Reach has six ground lanes (yellow), three air lanes (green), and one sub-objective lane (purple).


We want to avoid the need for players to build the same defensive structures in every lane, as we feel it robs them of any sense of choice or agency. Until recently, we had a limited selection of core enemies to use -- just the standard Orcs, Goblins, Kobolds, and other monsters from DD1. To promote as much spawn diversity as possible, every ground enemy was placed in every ground lane, creating situations where you knew you were going to have a certain mix of all enemy types in each lane.

But as more enemies become available for the design team to use, we can strategize the lanes differently. We might even be able to create specialized lanes, where only one enemy type spawns. For example, one lane on the map might be the "Kobold" lane for that particular match, and players would have to build accordingly.

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The Spawn Schedule

When we balance a map, one of the first things we do is write a spawn schedule that determines when enemies spawn. Each designer has a different way of approaching the spawn schedules on a map. I personally prefer to create a plan that outlines where I want players to be during each wave. I try to make spawn layouts that will encourage players to move from location to location to react to threats on the map. For this to happen, each threat has to be spaced out. Once I have a good idea of where I want each player to be during a wave, I can plan them in a way that creates the movement I am hoping for. For example, I may start a wave with a heavy assault on the east side of the map, but then rotate the attack to the west side of the map near the end of the wave.

We write one schedule per wave, and of course we try to include some surprises along the way. We also try to ensure that each wave is progressively tougher than the previous. Additionally, we keep guidelines to ensure some level of consistency in difficulty across different maps, and to be sure that the challenge increases in a fairly obvious way. This set of guidelines is constantly evolving, but it helps us turn a complex balance system into methods with somewhat predictable results.

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Under Pressure

The next part of balance is deciding how much “pressure” should be exerted from each lane at any given time. Generally, I use five levels of pressure in a lane, from low to high. A “high pressure” spawn is intended to require the presence of two heroes, or a single player unleashing most of his abilities. When a high pressure group hits a lane, I expect the player to lose defenses if he doesn’t react. Obviously, high pressure groups are used sparingly, with anywhere between two to four appearing in a single combat wave, depending on the difficulty and length of the wave.

Another example are “skirmish” groups -- small groups that contain a limited number of light enemies that a reasonable defense setup should be able to take out. When a skirmish group is in a lane, I expect the player to be able to break away from the lane if a teammate needs help somewhere else.

These are just some of the methods I use to make enemy spawns as engaging as possible for players, so that every lane presents its own kind of challenge. Moving forward, what would you like to see from specialized lanes in maps? How would you adjust your strategy for a lane that spawned only Kobolds? Let us know in the comments and you could win a seat on the Defense Council!

The random winner of last week’s QA blog is Chubby McGiggles!

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!

Also, the random winner of our Elemental Weapons blog is going to be chosen on Tuesday, so there’s still time to enter!


http://bit.ly/1oe1vZm
iamisom

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Over the past year, we’ve worked under the cover of darkness on a game-changing update so game-changing we’re compelled to do something special. Something extraordinary. The game is evolving. The name should evolve, too.

We’re excited to introduce the world to Gobu Defenders II!

Become a Goblin Warrior and defeat the evil Heroes standing between you and your rightful claim to the Eternia Crystals. This update introduces five new Goblin Warriors, completely new gameplay, the Commander system, and more.

Become a Goblin Warrior

Despite an average height of 4’10”, the Gobu Legion stands tall. The Legion represents all Goblins within the Old Ones’ Army, but only a select few are called upon to be Goblin Warriors. These brave few are gifted with incredible powers -- which includes the incredible power of dying fast and often!

Play as one of these brave Goblin Warriors in the update:


  • Mudgrinder, the Siege Roller Expert

  • Steampot, the Mech Engineer

  • Screechy, the Expert of Death

  • Fastrocket, Death with Wings

  • Mr. Bombs, the Demolitions Gobu


We’ll reveal the full powers of our Goblin Warriors in a future news update.


Begin the Gobu Assault

As a Goblin Warrior, it’s your job to lead the charge on the battlefields of war. Gone are the days of playing as those pathetic humans. They’re the enemy now! Beyond your incredible power of dying, your biggest strength is the size of the Gobu Legion. Your best tactic is to run in a straight line directly at their defenses. Don’t dodge. Don’t jump. Just run straight ahead until you overwhelm their defenses with your claws, your jaws and gallons of your goblin blood. And when their defenses are down, kill the Heroes, destroy the Eternia Crystals and then...the thing happens. You know, the thing. The crystal blows up, the world gets dark, and it has something to do with the Old Ones. There’s totally a strong lore basis for it. And it’s up to you to make that happen, gobu!


Become the Commander

The Gobu Legion is vast, but they need a leader. Someone cunning. Bloodthirsty. Someone willing to sacrifice as many gobu as it takes to win. They need a Commander. And they need You.

Every three months, a new Commander is selected by the community. The Commander is the ultimate authority over the Gobu Legion. Commanders decide where to attack, what resources to gather and what daily objectives to complete. As the Gobu Legion completes these orders, new bonus reward options are unlocked, and it’s up to the Commander to choose which rewards to give the Legion. Commanders also get a unique, full-size Betsy mount to display their awe-inspiring power to other players. Our first Commander is none other than dreamanime, whose dedication to the Gobu Legion is second-to-none.


We’re very excited about this next step. If you want to talk about the next evolution of our game, @Kaoelol has set up the Gobu Defenders II subreddit and Gobu Defenders II Discord!

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And you thought he couldn’t get any uglier.



Big, strong, and with an indiscriminate hatred for all things heroic, you won’t catch this Ogre meandering through the fields of Etheria with his trusty donkey companion. He’s not on a quest to save the princess. He’s on a quest to destroy your defenses, pummel your friends, and wreck your day. And it’s a quest he’ll complete if you don’t have a few friends to back you up.

In the original Dungeon Defenders, you had to rally your allies around the appearance of the very first Ogre. He was big, he was mean, and he didn’t care that you’d just spent all your mana upgrading that barricade. If you didn’t have friends to help you, it was toast, and so were you.

But after time you could outgear him, bulk up your defenses, and treat him like a superpowered Orc. In Dungeon Defenders II, we want to change that. The moment an Ogre enters the battlefield, you’ll know you have to step up your game at all levels of play.

An Offense to Counter Every Defense

So, what can you and your comrades expect when facing the revamped Ogre? Well, remember how he could easily hit you through your defenses in the first game? Yeah, his cleave is still massive -- just don’t say that to his face. And with his new Stomp ability, he unleashes a seismic wave that knocks back and damages anyone caught in it, making it harder to strafe around him and get in a few pokes.

Just like in the original Dungeon Defenders, you’re going to be in for a terrible surprise if you try to casually take pot shots at range. A slimy, wet, green surprise. Globules of… Who knows what explode on impact, doing a hefty amount of damage to anything in range. If that wasn’t enough, they also slow heroes and corrode defenses, making them less effective.


Plus, who wants to touch defenses covered in… that.



And those are just his basic attacks!

The Many-Layered Ogre

Like many of our other enemies, the Ogre has three tiers of progression. As he advances, he gains powerful armor. You can hear an excruciating thunk as your blows glance off of a Tier 3 Ogre. Distract him with a well-placed defense, or get a teammate to help: Either way, you'll need to think on your feet to make your hits count.


Aim for the fleshy bits.



Prepare Your Defenses!

So far, the Ogres haven’t been deployed to the front lines. The Old Ones’ army has been pretty confident in its ability to destroy Etheria without resistance. But with the Sunderguard’s heroic response, they’re definitely thinking twice about which soldiers they send into the fray. Gather your friends and expect to see the Ogre on the battlefield soon!


Are you ready to face him?



There is one thing that makes him a little less intimidating than we’d like, though. A fierce warrior should have a proper name for his weapon. What do you think we should name the Ogre’s club? Leave a comment below with your most terrifying (or funniest) name, and check back next month for a look at another new enemy!

The random winner of our QA Bug blog is Carionis!

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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Drumroll, please!

The Grand Prize winner of our NVIDIA® SHIELD™ Giveaway is April C.! April will receive not only the NVIDIA® SHIELD™ portable, GeForce GTX 760 graphics card, a DD2 T-shirt and a DDE mousepad, but as the Grand Prize Winner, she has also scored the the NVIDIA® SHIELD™ tablet, NVIDIA® SHIELD™ controller and gets her mousepad signed by the Dungeon Defenders Eternity dev team, Nom Nom Games! Congratulations, April!

The four runners-up who won the other NVIDIA® SHIELD™ prize packs have been contacted by email. Check your inbox to see if you won!

A big thank you goes out to the thousands of people who entered the contest and to our generous friends at NVIDIA® for helping us do something awesome for our fans!

What did you think of the giveaway? Do you have any ideas to help grow the Dungeon Defenders community? Do you have a cool idea for a contest? Is there something you’d like for us to giveaway? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick TWO random posters and reveal the winners next week!
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