We’re all so excited for the Steam Early Access release of Dungeon Defenders: Awakened on Feb 21st! We wanted to share some of the awesome work the team’s been working so hard on to get ready for the Early Access at the end of this week. This Dev Log will have some sneak peaks from different departments here at Chromatic: Art, Design, and Engineering! Also, if you haven’t and wanted any of the goodies that come with the preorder editions of DD:A, make sure to get them ASAP since they’ll be gone at 11:59PM EST 2/20!
Some of The Team
Mary — Community Manager
Hi there! I’m Mary, the new Community Manager and I’ve been working for Chromatic for a little over a month now. I worked at Artix Entertainment previously for almost five years before coming over here. It’s been super fun and I had a blast at PAX South talking to everyone there about DD:A. I’ve been really enjoying reading all of your feedback and suggestions regarding DD:A, and making sure that your voices are heard by the team. I’ve also been working on ways to revamp some of our social media platforms like Discord and hopefully you’ll see those changes soon. I’ve also been getting together some little gif teasers together and getting feedback from the Discord community. Here’s some examples:
I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on the Steam Early Access of DD:A! It’s only 2 days away!
Brent Caulfield — Jr Designer
Hello, my name is Brent Caulfield and I am a Jr. Designer at Chromatic Games. I first started game development about 6 years ago when a friend and I started making a FPS game with wizards and magic instead of guns and ammo. That eventually evolved into a commercial project called Grimoire: Manastorm which was released on Steam in late 2017. After that I started a design internship at Chromatic and then accepted a full time design position shortly afterwards!
There have been a lot of interesting tasks, but my favorite would have to be the final implementation of gameplay elements for all the maps. Placing the final parts to make the gameplay work and then being the first person to playtest it was really exciting. Seeing the waves of enemies all come out on the maps full of beautiful art was a great experience and one I’ll remember for a very long time. There were so many talented peoples’ work that went into making it all happen and to be one of the first people to see it all come together into a full gameplay experience was very special and was definitely my favorite thing I’ve worked on!
Reverse engineering and breaking down DD1 code to find out exactly how and why different systems work was definitely the hardest stuff I’ve had to work on. In order to create an authentic DD1 style experience the Engineering and Design teams spent a lot of time going back into the DD1 code to see how it all functions. One of our major goals with the project is to bring back that awesome gameplay experience that so many people love and while we have extremely experienced people on the team that know how it all works there were still some surprises along the way that we never would have figured out without digging into the source code. This was very challenging at times, but extremely rewarding at the same time.
After the initial hazing (Javahawk told me it was possible to beat DD1 Insane Deeper Well on a fresh character) things have been great! Gainesville is my hometown and game development is my dream job so I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to find a place at such a welcoming studio that is working on a game I genuinely enjoy playing! There are so many amazing people on the team and it's a great feeling to wake up every day and be excited to go into work. I am really excited about everything we are working on and think the community is going to love all the awesome content we’ll be putting out in the future!
Jade — Jr 3D Artist
I go by Jadeite in the art world and I have a slight obsession with video games and all things nerdy! So much so that I decided to make some kind of a career out of it through the art side of things. I've been practicing 3D art since my junior year of high school, and it's my favorite medium to date. My life basically revolves around games, whether I'm at work making them, or at home playing them! I'm also a big fan of tabletop games like King of New York, Boss Monster, D&D, and Necromonda just to name a few.
I've had a lot of fun working on the many assets I've been tasked with, but if I had to pin down my favorite it would probably be the pets! I'd say I had the most fun when making these little guys, they're just so cute! I wouldn't really say I'm a character artist, but working on them gave me a chance to essentially be one for a small time and I learned a lot from it. Besides that I also really did like making weapons and shields, super fun especially when I got to make my own spin on old weapons or even just remake them from the ground up.
I haven't had to make anything that frustrated me to the point of thinking it wasn't fun in the slightest. But for the hardest thing I’ve worked on I guess I would have the pick the new version of Ancient Aegis. From the start I just had no idea where to go with the new concept, and then actually carrying that out in 3D form was a bit of a challenge. I've also had a few issues come up with this particular model, having to add more or fix things in regards to texture, smoothing issues, etc. It was still a very interesting take on a "sword" and I learned quite a bit from it.
My time here has been nothing but enjoyable! I was more than thankful when I first got my internship position here just a few months after graduating, and it's been a blast ever since. One thing my university always said was that you never fully learn this art form until you land your first job, and man were they right! I've been practicing this art form for about 5 years now and I definitely struggled my first week here. I kid you not, I took an entire week making a bench haha. But I've learned a great deal of information, new techniques, and even made some friends along the way! I'd say this is an experience I'll never forget :D
(Also here's some more of my work)
Derek Stroud — Sr Programmer
One of my favorite things that I’ve worked on was setting up our abilities using Epic’s own AbilitySystem, which is a very neat and robust system to work with. Abilities are such a key component to the game as they include everything from placing towers to the Genie pet giving you mana. Setting up our core flow for this and making some of the base abilities was very satisfying and fun as it is one of the very direct means of adding fun interactions to the game. In previous development on the original Dungeon Defenders and Dungeon Defenders II, this was a lot more difficult. Swapping to Unreal Engine 4 is like a dream come true when it comes to setting up abilities and being able to do a lot more in a shorter amount of time.
With any project, there’s always going to be that mountain to climb, and it’s usually the hardest thing you work on. For Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, we needed to mimic the original Dungeon Defenders stats on every piece of gear and balance for gear, enemies, difficulties, you name it! Due to Dungeon Defenders evolving beyond its original scope (especially post release) there were a lot of tacked on additions to various formulas that became very hard to translate into an easy to work with system for DDA designers. Tracking down all the various additions and small stat tweaks that could happen in DD1 and making sure we incorporated them into DDA but also trying to keep the new systems intuitive and manageable was quite an undertaking... not quite sure we hit intuitive but I think we got manageable down.
My favorite thing that has been added to Dungeon Defenders: Awakened that wasn’t in Dungeon Defenders (2012) is double jump! Anything that makes navigation feel better, also every game should have it cause it is the best. As someone who worked on both games, you should take this as a fact — double jump is best jump.
Everyone has been working so hard on polishing things up for the Steam Early Access release of Dungeon Defenders: Awakened on February 21st and working on getting it ready for the full launch in Q2! A few of us are also getting ready to head out to PAX East at the end of the month, will we see any of you there? If you go, make sure to stop by and visit us, we love to hang out with some of our brave Defenders whenever we get the chance!
To keep up with us and get the latest news on both Dungeon Defenders and us folks here at Chromatic Games, make sure to follow us on our social media: