It’s finally time for a Dungeon Defenders: Awakened Developer Check-In! We have a ton of information to share today that covers our post-Kickstarter work, studio changes/improvements, and Dungeon Defenders: Awakened as a whole. Let’s go ahead and start getting into it!
First things first, we want to apologize for a couple of bumps that we ran into. The first thing is something we’ve covered quite a bit, that something being Kickstarter shipping for our approved regions. We’re not going to dig into it more (the conversation can be seen here), but understand that it is not something we will have happen again with any future projects in regards to fulfillment. It was our first foray into this area, and we learned quite a lot.
Second is that we have been silent for a little over a month. We want to have more regular check-ins with where our progress is, show off some of the new art (something we just started this week on social media), and more info to share on our plans. As for the why, it’s all based on growing the team out, foundational setup, and working with outside partners.
Dev Level Up!
As a studio, we’ve been incredibly busy with getting our team bolstered by additional teammates to really make Dungeon Defenders: Awakened an amazing game, and also set us up for success on any additional projects. A good portion of the team was involved in tons of interviews and tests to make sure that we only brought on high quality LEGENDARY additions to our ranks. We’re still growing the team out more, but we’re a developer power house with the people we’ve brought on!
We’re wanting to make sure that we’re employee-owned while also making sure we have all the tools necessary to create awesome games. We’ve been working with partners like nVidia to bring some awesome graphical opportunities, Azure PlayFab to bring out awesome features (like Cross Saves!), Nintendo to provide an optimal experience on Switch, and so many more! We’re wanting to blow it out of the water with Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, so that we can then knock it out of this world with future titles. And so far — it looks really, really good!
Art — What Is It Good For?
Absolutely everything. What would an update be without some awesome art to show off! Heroes, enemies, and Maps, are some of the many amazing creations that we’ll be including in this and future updates.
As we showed on social media this week, we have revealed the concepts for our four main heroes, which you can see the Apprentice, Monk, Squire, and Huntress below:
We’re going to be revealing enemy concepts as we’re working on finishing the Heroes animations, but we wanted to show off the new Goblin model for the first time here, which has been fully animated! This is the awesome quality that our animation team has put out, with so much more coming:
Excited to destroy some cores!
What they lack in finesse, they make up for in ferocity
Oh no, he was poisoned!
Even goblins know, if you’re on fire: STOP, DROP, and ROLL!
Death came to take him, all things go, all things go
There’s a lot of models we’re currently working on/with, but for a SNEAK PEEK, we wanted to show a model we’re currently animating. Striking fear in many, check out the WIP (that’s just a quick way to say Work-In-Progress, which with this explanation, maybe it would have just been easier to say that in the first place, but we’re committed already, and don’t have a backspace) Dark Elf Warrior:
All of these new hero and enemy models are going to also be receiving some epic animations and VFX to really bring Dungeon Defenders to modern standards. We can’t wait to share more, so we won’t — Next up, MAPS!
Maps, Maps, Maps!
Many of you have seen the Deeper Well map showcased in our Kickstarter and during our dev stream. Well get ready for MORE Deeper Well. Or maybe we’ll show some different maps? Actually, that sounds like a much better idea. We’re not going to be showing the entire maps just quite yet, but here’s the kind of diversity and quality you can expect:
Oh the places you’ll go! Dungeon Defenders: Awakened is going to have a lot of familiar locations, including a lot of fan favorites, but also new places in Etheria that you’ve never seen before!
Design — The Blueprints of DD:A
Creating Dungeon Defenders: Awakened has been a very enjoyable experience, but not an easy one! Really digging into the original Dungeon Defenders and emulating what made it fun is a noble quest, but not a very easy one. Our designers have been working hard to breakdown Dungeon Defenders into formulas and building blocks, so that we can build a skyscraper of awesomeness!
The overall goal is to recreate that Dungeon Defenders feeling, while giving it the same treatment we’re giving art — bring it to modern standards. Let’s get into some of the things we’re doing.
This has been a hot topic between many Defenders, and we’re ready to share what we’re doing. Hero swapping was something introduced in Dungeon Defenders II that affected the gameplay greatly. It helped streamline gameplay, and while we love it, we also understand it’s not necessarily the best thing to be able to do all the time if we’re wanting to go back to our roots.
In Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, you WILL be able to swap between four of your pre-assigned heroes on the fly ONLY during the Build Phase. You’ll still be able to access your other heroes in traditional methods (only during Build Phase as well). We wanted to bring back some of the strategy when it came to swapping heroes, especially with the challenge that later difficulties bring with timers. These timers will be adjusted to ensure that difficulty is still there and that strategy is rewarded!
We’re going to be bringing plenty of camera options in Dungeon Defenders: Awakened. One of those features is something that Defenders of old and new will enjoy: Perspective Swapping. In Dungeon Defenders, the camera was placed top down when placing towers, which gave a good perspective of how close you could get your towers placed. In Dungeon Defenders II, this view was traded for an over the shoulder view to see where the actual effect of longer range towers would be.
In Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, when you are placing a tower, you will be able to toggle between BOTH of these modes. You’ll be able to select a default mode within the options, but with this addition you now have an even better understanding of placement and efficacy than ever before!
We’re not looking to overhaul our heroes entirely, but we did want to give attention to some weaker abilities, or some that just are overall not enjoyed. We’re adding some cool functionality to some of these abilities, but we’re also adding a new ability: Elvish Agility.
Elvish Agility is a new ability for the Huntress that increases movement speed, jump height, reload speed, and rate of fire. The Huntress is an agile ranged fighter and we wanted an ability that reflected that. We polled hundreds of our users, and the least liked ability (it wasn’t even close) was Invisibility, something very few used, and that there were very few situations to justify using it. Our goal was then to bring an ability that felt great to use for Defenders who wanted to use her. The internal tests with this ability have been a ton of fun and really give that feeling of hunting down your enemies with agility and efficiency!
One of the weakest points in the Dungeon Defenders franchise has always been UIs. In UE4, we are given a lot of options to setup a UI the way we want, which is why when we grew the team out, we made sure to bring on a UI/UX expert to make an awesome experience. We’re making a sleek, modern HUD, arted up with that Dungeon Defenders charm. We’re making sure that the HUD looks amazing from every way you’d play — from on-the-go with the Nintendo Switch, at your desk on a PC, or on the couch playing split-screen with up to four players.
Everything currently icon and text-wise is placeholder until we take our art pass over it, but so far it’s been performing really well, and has been a ton of fun to use on internal play. Without showing TOO much WIP, here’s a picture of our build so far:
Oh also, it’s our first picture of the game running on Switch! This isn’t the final HUD at all, and we don’t think the stats in the middle of the screen are going to be covering gameplay. Probably not. Probably. (spoiler alert: it won’t, we’re just being a little cheeky :> )
There has been a HUGE amount of work of getting just the base functions of Dungeon Defenders into Unreal Engine 4. The Engineering Team has been making some amazing strides helping to capture the feel of the original so that the rest of the team can build upon their incredibly sturdy and efficient codebase foundation. They’re the binary heart of bringing some amazing features to Dungeon Defenders: Awakened!
They’re currently working on making multiplayer and split screen work as best as possible, making sure we squeeze out as much performance as possible. They’ve made great strides, to where our performance on the Switch, with multiplayer, has been surprisingly very good right off the bat. It’s because they’re wizards.
Another feature they’re working on currently is Cross Save functionality. Making it so that you can use saves between platforms is no simple feat, but our engineers are legendary, so they’ll make it happen! Lastly, they had a secret message they wanted to pass on:
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Our goal is to do monthly check-ins to show off our work and progress, similar to what we’ve done here. There’s a ton still left to do, but we’re getting through things at breakneck speeds! We’re also currently working on additional end-game content for Dungeon Defenders II. As a studio, it’s our goal to make incredibly fun games that you want to play. Thank you for your support so far, we have a lot more to come!
In regards to Kickstarter Digital Rewards, we’re continuing to get the Dungeon Defenders 2012 Complete Collection codes out to backers who purchased the appropriate tiers that included them. Our next step is to get the Dungeon Defenders II costumes (Gold, Crystalline, and Corrupted Gunwitch) out in our next patch. This patch is currently planned to come out next week with those costumes included. After the patch is out on all platforms, we will begin getting codes sent out!
To get reliable updates on what’s to come, be sure to check out our social platforms for the latest juiciest beans to be spilled:
The entire team has had a blast making this content, we cannot wait for all of you to get your hands on our next update. Stay tuned for more info soon!
The Dungeon Defenders II Team