July is almost over, and we’re ready to share all the work we’ve been slaying since we last spoke! There’s a ton of information to go over since our last update for the work that we’ve been churning away for Dungeon Defenders: Awakened and Dungeon Defenders II. Note - the Dungeon Defenders II info is all the way at the bottom if you want to jump to it first. Anyway - let’s get right into it!
Last month we had a lot of really great things to share, concept art, goblin animations, beautiful maps, and a look into where each of our Chromatic departments were on the DD:A. We’ll be following the same format, but to pour through the June Update (in case you haven’t, which you most definitely should!), click here for more info.
As for June, it was really important for us to get a build put together with our awesome partners at Nintendo. We put in the time and got a really awesome build running on the Nintendo Switch! It brought some very pleasant surprises for us: the performance was good without applying optimizations, the controls felt great on gamepad, and most importantly — it was really freaking fun! For a lot of us here, it was a real moment where a lot of our work came together, something that has only bolstered our spirits.
There’s a ton that has gone on for July, and we still have a few days to knock out some really awesome work! We’re working with a lot of partners, doing a ton of feature work, fleshing out some story telling, and making (as always) really beautiful art. Should we break those things down into their own section for easy readability? We think so, LET THE GREAT SECTIONING BEGIN!
A Ship Full of Partners… Partnership?
We’re making sure that all of our partners are taken care of so that gamers far and wide have the opportunity to know the greatness that is DD:A, recruiting them to become glorious Defenders! We’ve been securing ways to show off to the world how awesome DD:A is, you might even see a trailer revealed towards the end of August…
There’s been rumors around the studio that our engineers have been tampering with black magic. It’s really the only explanation as to how they are getting such amazing work out. There’s been a weekly sacrifice of barbecue, though that might just be lunch. “Stop talking about barbecue, you’re making me hungry, and talk about that work” you’re probably thinking. All right, let’s do that!
Something design and engineering have given a lot of careful attention is giving the best experience fighting off waves and waves of the Old Ones’ army. AI (artificial intelligence) is crucial to really selling the fantasy of combating thousands and thousands of the enemies coming your way. Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) has made this so easy to setup and create the experience we want. Another one of our big focuses is making sure we don’t make them TOO smart. We’ve watched enough Terminator, we know the dangers.
We want to make sure that tirelessly pounding buttons on your respective controllers feels good and natural, so you’re not worrying about controls while defending Etheria. Based off internal feedback we received from our last update, controls are only feeling better and better. Getting around the maps, building defenses, and using abilities to fight enemies will help make DD:A be the perfect way to experience DD:A with some awesome couch co-op!
For all platforms, we’re wanting to have a great split screen experience. When it comes to building out DD:A performance-wise, we focus on split screen Nintendo as the bottom line to hit, and then scale it up from there. This means being very smart about how things are displayed when playing with 1, 2, 3, or 4 players! Four player split screen on Switch already feels nice, giving us very promising results without even applying our optimizations to the maps and how players see enemies from afar. Seriously, it’s going to be awesome playing this arm and arm with your “defrienders” on the couch! That pun was a bit much, we apologize, but it had to be made.
Art of Warfare
There’s a lot of content that we’re currently constructing with digital pens flourishing, mouses clicking, and frames being keyed for animation. While we got our trailers working, we didn’t want to give away too much of what’s coming up, but we know you need something… Hmmm.. Hrmmm… *shuffling folders and files* A-HA! Squire towers are the answer! This is just a taste of what you can expect from towers in DD:A.
The Bowling Ball Tower
This tower is a staple in Dungeon Defenders, and we’ve been having a lot of fun with it in DD:A, with cannonball bouncing everywhere (it was pretty OP before our first pass). This tower looks amazing in our internal builds, but here’s a sneak peek
Complete with concept artist notes, this bad boy can slay over 33 GPS (goblins per second). We showed a bit of our tech off in our Kickstarter trailer regarding this turret, where it carries and pins some of the enemies it hits to wall. It’s ruthless!
The Spiked Blockade
This is one beefy blockade! Metal, wood, spikes, gems, it’ll be surprising for enemies to take this thing down as they’ll be in awe at looking at the masterful craftsmanship this tower exuberates!
The Slice N’ Dice Tower
Don’t let it’s idle state fool you, not being careful around this tower leave more than just paper cuts, you might need to be glued back together! It gets hit, it spins. It gets hit more, it spins faster. You get it.
The Bouncer Blockade
It just looks like something you don’t want to touch. If it had a spirit animal, it’d be a porcupine. You get too close to it, it shoots out it’s spikes at about 1750.6 EYPS (Etherian Yalms Per Second), knocking back some of the strongest foes you’ll fight. We thought about calling it the “ouch spikey stabby tower”, but it just didn’t flow very well.
In-game they look and feel amazing to use. There are more that we’re going to keep throwing your way, so get hyped!
Designing games is super easy, especially something as simple as Dungeon Defenders, a Cooperative Action Roleplaying Tower Defense (not a mouthful at all). Oh wait, it’s exactly the opposite (take that, idea guys)! Our designers might be using some of that black magic the engineers are conjuring, because they are making great strides through what would seem impossible. Let’s start talking about the walk design’s been walkin’!
Inspector of Defenses
One thing that was a big improvement was tower inspection in Dungeon Defenders II. It provided a lot of valuable insights and experience (alongside a ton of feedback) to really make defense inspection in DD:A the next step in a super useful feature. On a per tower basis, you will be provided the most important information first. You’ll see the stats that matter for your towers, as well as what the towers area of influence is, making it easier to create perfect builds to efficiently cover and fend off the hordes that await you.
QOL (Quoogle Oogle Loogle?)
There’s a ton of Quality of Life coming with DD:A, and we’ve got an update on the work we’ve done so far. As for quoogle oogle loogle, we’re not sure how that affects the game, probably not at all… Probably?
This is something that really helped new Defenders in Dungeon Defenders II. It really helps give an understanding of where threats are on a map, something very important on a first, second, and third visit to any given map. Lane wisps, for the uninitiated, show the paths that enemies are going to be taking as they spawn and march towards your core (why are they doing that in DD:A anyways?). However, we’re very aware of the thoughts on this feature (*cough* feedback *cough*), so we’re currently looking at ways to make this dependent on the difficulty.
Replay From Wave
An amazing feature to get through some of the most challenging content in Dungeon Defenders II, Replay From Wave allows you to learn from your mistakes, and not lose all the sweet progression made while taking on some of the toughest enemies. This feature gives you another chance at losing a wave, like winding time back a wave, and understanding where things may have gone wrong, helping learn as you progress. As for where it’s usable, we’re still mulling over, but it is part of an awesome feature you’ll see in DD:A.
Sometimes typing in chat, in the heat of battle, is not the best way to communicate. Our focus is to have an easy to use ping system that let’s your fellow Defenders know where enemies need to be slayed, towers need to be built, or areas with too much danger. Your teammates can’t hear your screams for help, so this helps soothe those vocal cords.
Gear of War
Gear is probably the lowest priority in DD:A. Of course it’s not! With all of the different stats in Dungeon Defenders, it can be hard to gain a good understanding of what each stat does, what’s best for you, and what challenge your ready to take on. It’s very important for us to make sure that gear is easy to understand, feels good to get, and allows you to know what challenges your equipped for. Our designers are up for the challenge, and they’ve got the tools to take it on!
Inventory (How Are My Bags Full?!)
Making gear better to understand is one piece of a big puzzle. Inventory is another very large piece of that puzzle. Dungeon Defenders had an inventory system that could definitely use some improvements. DD2 made some improvements to that system, but there were some things that were lacking. Inventory in DD:A is setup to cover those gaps and more. We’ve poured through feedback to make sure it was easy to manage the items in your inventory, locking items, selling items, sorting items based on their type and stats that are important to you. Some things, less is more, but in regards to inventory tools, more is more!
Dungeon Defenders II Update!
We’re currently working on a DD2 update that is coming in August. We’ve had multiple weeks of playtesting with our RQA and RPG groups (shout out to all the hard work you fine people have put in) to help sculpt this content into a great experience. We’re preparing a challenge for tested Defenders, setup to be a blast and give awesome rewards. There’s still some things these testers haven’t seen yet, so there’s going to be nice surprises for everyone! Also our small studio is working on TWO games at once… it’s pretty insane how pizza fuels such amazing work.
Recently we sent out rewards for DD2 that our Kickstarter backers should have received (Corrupted Gunwitch, Golden Costumes, and Crystalline Costumes). If you haven’t received them, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org (make sure you know what you’re supposed to get at the tier you backed).
We’re thinking that another update should come in August. What do you think? Well TOO BAD, we’re going to do one regardless of what you think! It’s been an absolute blast to work on DD:A and DD2, and we can’t wait to show all of you more. A very hearty thank you for your support, there’s only more and more coming your way!
For August, internally we’ve got a build milestone that sets us up for success. Maybe more polished gameplay can be shown afterwards… maybe! Taking the systems we’ve setup so far, and giving them a nice layer of polish so that we can continue to create an awesome experience for new and veteran Defenders.
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!