As we mentioned in yesterday’s Looking Ahead post, we have a new creative director -- Elliot Cannon! We’re super excited to have him on the team. Some of us also have new job titles. In this week’s Dev Log, we share what those new titles are and talk about what we’re working on this week:
Elliot Cannon, Creative Director
Hey everyone! This year is going to be tons of fun for you. We’re unifying the game, getting PS4 and PC on the same content and release rhythm, refining what’s rough around the edges and finishing up those missing elements every game deserves. We’re expanding the game’s hero library to give you more ways to play DD2 with a deck you create that suits your play style with greater options. We’re improving matchmaking so it’s easier to play solo or with friends, and creating ways to measure your success for yourself, against your friends, and the world. Right now, everyone is cranking on the Dragonfall Carnival while design, art, and programming are designing and building new heroes. I’m working through all the details of this, the UI, the game loop, balance, community requests, and everything under the sun, all driven by the goal of elevating DD2 from its awesome foundation into something even more fun and addicting.
Daniel Haddad, Design Director (Blacksmith)
Hello everyone! I’ve now successfully transitioned to my new role as the Design Director. This allows me to focus all my efforts on the design aspect on DD2 and work closely with Elliot. My primary goals right now are focused on designing and implementing our first new hero, the Abyss Lord! I’m working with Derek (programmer), John (animator), Joseph (vfx artist), and others to ensure we make a strong first impression with this new hero. Additionally, I am working closely with Brys to revamp our matchmaking flow with a lot of new and exciting changes that should be a drastic improvement. While I’m not juggling those two watermelons, I’m also working a lot with Elliot to formulate a plan of action to execute a lot of the ideas we have for 2016. It should be a fun year full of blood, sweat, and tears (hopefully joyful ones!).
Danny Araya, Art Director (DannyAraya)
I am now Art Director! My responsibilities will be focused on working with the art team to maintain and continue improving the visual style of all future content for DD2. I’m also working closely with Elliot on all writing tasks and churning out tons of concept art!
This week it’s dialogue, dialogue, dialogue! Working with the world building team to solidify the aesthetics, lighting, and the color pallette for the new map! Also working with Afshin as he composes (IMO) one of the best tracks we’ve seen so far in DD2!
Tim Shannon, PS4 Producer (TimmyTrashTier)
Getting everything set up for a big February and March for our PS4 users and trying not to freeze in Wisconsin. The next couple months will be pretty busy as we move to catch up to the PC version and release some five milestones worth of content in the process. Make sure to check out the PS4 subforum on an ongoing basis for regular updates and discussion on the direction and future of the platform.
Josh Isom, Community Manager (iamisom)
You’ll notice a few new titles in this Dev Log, but we’ve also reorganized to open up more resources for our weekly patches. So what does this mean? We’re hoping to get more community-requested feature/balance/quality of life changes into our weekly patches along with our bug fixes! Did someone say cutscene skipping?
I also want to give a special shoutout to u/shadowlaunch on Reddit for creating a Dungeon Defenders II Planner! If you want to share your builds with other players, check it out.
P.S. While our Dev Logs are primarily about DD2, I want to give an extra special thanks to the DD1 Community Development Team, whose efforts were recently showcased by MMORPG.com! We’re so grateful for their passion and dedication. I’ll leave you with this choice quote from the article:
“Most games and companies would kill to have this sort of devotion. Most players would kill to have the developers take them this seriously.”
James Reid, Software Programmer (Driscan)
Lots of work on UI and flow for thing #1 and it’s coming together nicely. Lots of meetings about thing #1 and thing #2. Still doing some minor work on thing #3 as well. Hopefully soon I can replace thing with what it really is.
Jeffrey Bickel, Technical Level Designer (TE_Jeff)
This week I’m ensuring all my work’s in a solid place to use some vacation days and take a short trip. It’s looking good so far, and I’m excited to do some battery charging and sip some fruity drinks on a beach. I’m really excited for the new direction DD2 is headed in - this year should be a fantastic one for Defenders!
Steven Collins, Lead Level Designer (Esorath)
The new map is coming along nicely! Setting up all the difficulties we want this map to be located at. Also moving forward with any extra little hidden items located in this map!
Chris Flores, Supreme Warlord and Commander (likethatwhenigothere)
A bit later in the week we’ll get started on Patch 9.7 builds, but currently we’re hacking away at getting the PS4/PC projects together in one mamma jamma project. Should make development on both platforms easier. As soon as that’s done and merged, we’re full steam ahead at testing the new update as it comes in.
Abraham Abdala, Lead Tech Animator (Broham)
Lots and lots and lots of prototyping for… the Abyss Lord, new towers, abilities, animations, simulations, you name it. A super awesome hero awaits!
Joshua Javaheri, Art Producer (javahawk)
Adam Stow, Project Manager (TE_Stow)
A new title for a new year!
Managing a whirlwind of development in production for 4 years here at Trendy (seriously!) has made me want to aspire to something more holistic. I’m glad I’m being given that opportunity, and I hope I can provide for you all in time a holistic view of where we’re going.
Jason Yu, Associate Producer (urfyness)
The focus this week is to finally start putting all the pieces of the puzzle together so we can see what we’re building. The goal is to have all the big features in place so we can understand how it’ll feel and make any adjustments before polishing. The pieces this week are fun prizes, the Carnivall, the outdoor hub, normalization, a buff bar, and more!
Javier Barreto, Lead Software Programmer (javo)
And they are gone; my parents that is. They’ve been staying at my place for about a month and man that was fun… and somewhat exhausting… but a good exhausting. =) [Ed. Note: Javo, man, you gave me a heart attack.] My parents got to bond with my daughter pretty nicely (which was the original purpose of their trip). While doing so she learned to stand (definitively), wave her hands saying goodbye, say “hola” (we believe... ) Yeah, lots of fun, lots of driving.
And so a new year begun and with it some changes; we are bringing the PS4 project in-house! We hope that by doing so we will get feature parity faster; it’s almost a must as we are consolidating the code between the two SKUs. The immediate target is to define and get the cross-platform development wheel spinning once and for all (in this case, cross-platform means working on two platforms at once). A lot of challenges open up with this change in the process (UIs, controller support, stores, etc.), but we are confident and excited about this; in a way we’ve been waiting for this to happen for a while now… and the time has finally come. =D
On a personal note, I feel like I’m doing more code reviews than ever. I want things to go as smoothly as possible when we fully switch to cross-platform development for which I (we) need to know with a lot more detail how things are wired across both platforms: where could they break, what should we be looking out for and where should we make exceptions and why… find a good balance between “make it work” and “that should be abstracted/refactored/generalized.” We are running a live game here. We need to deliver.
Well, it wasn't my intention to write a long post. I don’t have a banana to share (nor a potato); sry =P
Jesus Diaz, World Builder (N3oDoc)
Been working on the Carnival -- most of the time in the out-of-bounds areas.
Daniel Diaz, World Builder (DanielKaMi)
It's been a week since we've started the world building on the Carnival. Everyone is doing great efforts to have it finished very soon. I think it's coming out quite fun!
Dani Moore, Remote QA Manager (Dani)
Fumigating the Carnival area for nasty bugs. Trying really hard not to be distracted by the shiny lights.