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DunDef Digest 9/19/12 Discussion Thread

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Courtesy of DouDouneman




At 8 p.m. last night, my phone buzzed. It was a text from Laura.

The forums and mods are saying that Shards IV is out on PSN.

That was news to me.

I chomped down the rest of my chicken strip and pulled up the forums. Sure enough, our Console Discussion forum was packed with threads about the new DLC. People were able to purchase it from the PlayStation Network.

There was just one problem -- the necessary patch to play it wasnt out.

Luckily, Phil sent out several emails to Sony to correct the issue. A few hours later, our PSN US fans were able to dig through all of the new content, including the ferocious Insane+ difficulty.

For the rest of the night, I watched our fans write about their experiences with the new Shards and patch. Sometimes people ask me, Whats your favorite part about working at a game studio? The honest answer is watching your excitement and reactions to new content. I might not have made the content myself, but I still feel some ownership to it. The kind words sing, and the harsh words sting.

I hope youre enjoying the content, gang. As for our 360 and PSN EU fans, were hoping to hear back from Microsoft and SCEE soon. As soon as we know, youll know.


Trendy Friday Fun: PS3 Console Event Livestream

This Friday is our PS3 console event, and were streaming it live on our Twitch channel! Be sure to follow the channel to be notified the moment we go live.

Were running through Glitterhelm on Insane (not Insane+), and participants will earn a ridiculous amount of XP. If youd like the chance to play alongside the Trendy team, you have until midnight tonight to sign up in our official PS3 event thread on the forums. Due to the small size of our team, we can only invite in so many people, so tomorrow well post the lucky winners tomorrow in the Console Event Google Doc. Think of it as a lottery.

Some people want to know why we do it this way. Early last year, we started off the official Trendy events on consoles. We asked people to send us a message on PSN or Xbox Live, and we would go through the list on a first-come, first-serve basis. The problem behind this method is that people would wait around for hours hoping for an invite that would never come. Using this new method ensures that people know ahead of time if they are going to be invited and around what time they would be invited.

As a reminder, 360 fans, if youd like to join us for next Fridays event, sign up in the official 360 thread by midnight, Sept. 26.



Courtesy of Jonathan




PC/Mac Patch 7.42

Earlier this week, PC/Mac fans got their hands on patch 7.42. In the patch were several fan-requested notes, including a Huntress/Hunter buff, a speed buff on the Super Legendary Parent costumes and slightly better high-end randomization.

Here are the full patch notes:


  • Super Legendary Parent costumes are now nearly as fast as the legendary-parent costumes. (To those who have earned the Super Legendary outfits, we bow to your righteous might!)
  • King's Game now about 10% Easier
  • Hero Selection & Swap Hero now display 8 Heroes in a page
  • Huntress and Hunter 20% exponential ramp damage buff (high-end heroes approximately +50% end-result)
  • Raised level cap to 93 along with slightly better high-end item randomization possibility (which requires 93), in preparation for upcoming Event
  • Weapon types which had a lower Ultimate damage boost per level than Transcendent damage boost per level have been fixed, Ultimate is now at least as good per Upgrade as Transcendent in all cases. (is not backwards compatible to pre-existing Equipment however)

For those wondering about the Mac fixes that we mentioned in last weeks Digest, we had to delay them for further testing. Were incredibly sorry about that. Stay tuned for more information.


Ask Us Anything with Jeremy Stieglitz

Jeremy graciously stepped up to the plate to answer more of your questions. Have a question for the team? Maybe youre curious about the art direction or level design? If you have any question about Dungeon Defenders, Trendy Entertainment or the team, head to the new Ask Us Anything thread and ask away!


How did you guys come up with the name 'Trendy Entertainment'? - OnE_AwSuM_NiNjA

Jeremy: I wanted a name which would reflect that we'd be on the 'cutting edge' of game development, while still being a little kistchy. Thus, Trendy!

Hey, at least I didn't call it 'Lionheart Games,' which was my first name... or '****y Games.' [Ed. Note: It rhymes with Rocky Games.] Yeah, look up the .coms and you'll see they were registered, as they were on the shortlist. ;)

Are there any hidden Easter Eggs that haven't been found yet? - Mincygrape

Jeremy: Yes!

In regards to the new PC patch: What exactly does 'slightly better high-end item randomization possibility (which requires 93)' mean? - some_guy

Jeremy: Rare Ultimate items can now get about 40 more upgrade levels on the high-end, and when they do, they'll have a level 93 requirement.

Any chance of increasing item storage in our box? - elmo

Jeremy: Consider it done for the next event.

What have you learned about balancing/play testing that you'll put to use in your next game? - Jonzor

Jeremy: 1) Pre-release: Play-test often and early, and include volunteer (mature) community members in that process as early as you can.
2) Post-release: Listen to your community's feedback :)

Jer, how long have you been working with Unreal Engine? Have you ever considered CryEngine or Frostbite? - Junbao

Jeremy: Since 2005, when I sold Reality Engine to Epic Games and got a Unreal Engine 3 license in return.

I love Unreal tech, it's really versatile and powerful. I have considered other Engines, but none really scale so well between the high, high end (think Arkham City) and the low, low end (think Dungeon Defenders Mobile). ;)



Meet the Trendy Team: Mia Goodwin



In this week's Meet the Trendy Team, I spoke with Mia Goodwin, concept artist at Trendy, about her career in video games, her work in the comics industry and how the two fields differ and overlap.

Hi, Mia. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello! Im currently a concept artist here at Trendy and at the moment. Im mostly responsible for designing props and environmental assets. Before this, I was a professor of sequential art/illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was responsible for teaching all of the concept art classes and the occasional comic scripting/manga class when needed. I also work as a comic artist and writer and have been fortunate to work on many great books such as Princeless and the Twilight Zone graphic novel series.

Is this your first job in the gaming industry?

This is my first job on-site in the game industry, which I am extremely excited about.

What drew you to Trendy?

One of my former students/interns and I were actually having coffee and talking about new job prospects we were both looking into at the time -- Jenn was waiting to hear back on an internship with LAIKA (which she got!), and I was looking at taking a break from academia and finding a staff position in games to further broaden my experience base -- when she mentioned one of her friends worked for Trendy. As Id played Dungeon Defenders, this sparked Jenn getting into contact with Danny Araya, our lead concept artist here at the studio, and it just so happened they needed someone rather immediately. I spent the next four days drawing up a new portfolio of props and assets to meet the style of art needed, and after those first 100 props, I did another 26 for the art test that came soon after.

I was very happy to be offered the concept art position here at Trendy: Im a big fan of Dungeon Defenders and the art team here is full of amazing people.





Whats your daily routine as a concept artist?

Generally, I bike to work in the morning, make coffee, gather reference and then spend the next ten hours with my butt glued to my chair drawing. My daily tasks are always different, which keeps things interesting and engaging. I was partly hired on for my speed, and Im currently providing concepts for three of our 3D artists, so most days are extremely fast paced and often Im concepting and handing off paintings the same day theyre being modeled. Music is great, but most of the time, I work while listening to old episodes of MST3k and lot of Day[9]. Once I finish my work for the day, I head home and either work on commissions, comics or play video games. Whew!

I started working here last July when most of the major concept work was finished, so the concept process is a bit foreign to me. Can you describe the creative process of concepting at Trendy?

Right now, Im more or less this strange middle man in the process. Ben Greene (our art director) and Ben Burkart (our lead level designer) meet to discuss what needs to be concepted in terms of the environment, and then that filters through Adam Stow (our project manager) who feeds those assets to me as daily assignments. Some days, I have one or two things to work out...the most Ive done in a day I think was 35 or so.

The first thing I do on a new concept is to gather up any reference I may need and then sketch out as many variations/concepts as I can before noon. Then the art director reviews these concepts with me, and I do full color work-ups of his picks. Sometimes, the concept cant just be done-in-one, and with Bens input, Ill try new variations or change aspects of the concept to better fit the overall need for the design. In other cases, such as with themed sets of things, where one item must relate to the next in the series, Ill make certain Im not only concepting the item itself but also the cultural benchmarks that need to be mirrored or carried through into the next items. Once Im done with the concepts and theyve got the art directors approval, the paintings are passed off to the 3D team for modeling.





Whats the atmosphere like in the art room?

The art room is awesome, and the people who work in it are amazing. Were very much a team and support each other throughout the day both in morale and in work. There are a lot of misconceptions about what we do as artists -- one of the biggest being how easy our jobs appear to be -- so having a team thats extremely talented, dedicated and amicable with each other is super important. Ive worked with a lot of talented people over the years, both famous and otherwise, and I truly enjoy the people on the art team here at Trendy. Its always exciting to see what we can create together.

Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy while youre not working?

Honestly, I play a lot of video games. I started on the Colecovision way back in the day and havent really stopped since. I even met my husband playing TF2. I have a great group of friends that have been playing together for years, and when Im not at work, were generally all hanging out online in some game or another. Besides gaming though, I do a lot of drawing and painting, and I really love reading. Audio books are doubly awesome as I can work while listening to them.

Youve worked on a number of comic books. How did you get into that industry?

Much like games, I have always been into comics and coming from the Detroit-Metro area helped a lot with getting into the comics industry. My friend Chris Sanchez and I used to go to Motor City Comic Con every year where we met and hung out with a lot of the local artists. Guy Davis and Paul Sizer helped mentor me so much when I was a teenager -- they were just really awesome about keeping in touch and answering questions and such. I really started in self-publishing and small press doing books here and there both before and after college. Eventually, I transferred to the Savannah College of Art and Design for their Sequential Art department and things further took off from there. Ive done everything from graphic novels to motion comics, and Ive been extremely fortunate to have worked with a lot of wonderful people and companies. My first love is still self-publishing; however, and my friend Jon Verrall and I are now working on several projects together well be putting out on our own in due time.

You were nominated for several Glyph Awards for your work on Princeless, including Story of the Year, Best Artist and Best Female Character. Can you describe the comic series for those of us who havent read it?

Princeless is a really great book. Along with winning two of the four Glyph Awards I was nominated for, the book was also nominated for two Eisners this summer. Its a story about a princess who decides to save herself and her sisters rather than hanging around her tower waiting for her prince to come. Its aimed at young girls but has been well received by people of all ages. The production schedule on the book was extremely fast -- I drew and colored the entire 28 pages of Issue 3 in less than four days -- but it was worth living in the rush. I even had the chance to team up with Jim Zub, as he and I did a short crossover between Princeless and Skullkickers that was released this last Spring.





What are the differences between drawing panels of a comic and drawing concepts for a video game? Are there similarities between the two fields?

The biggest difference in drawing a panel versus drawing a singular concept is the space in which you have to tell a story. For a panel, you often have a lot more space to tell that story in -- from characters, dialogue, environments, action -- but with a singular concept, the story is the object, or the character or the weapon. Its a bit different when youre concepting out mood paintings or full environments, which are closer in similarity to panels, but designing the singular concept is really exciting because you have so little time and space to develop as much story as you can so that its not only part of a whole, but also has interest as a standalone piece. While concept for games is really about developing ideas for things that will be built into the game, there are a lot of similarities the discipline shares with sequential art, especially in terms of story telling. That and both disciplines are more or less trained with the idea that you have to be able to draw anything and everything.

When concepting a new character, what do you focus on the most?

While I really dont draw a lot of characters for my job here at Trendy -- thats primarily Dannys department while Im drawing props and assets beside him -- when I do get to focus on a character, my process usually goes something like personality > silhouette/movement > fashion. I think the first thing I like to find with any character is their personality -- who are they, why do we want to play them/interact with them, whats their story? -- and that generally leads into playing around with shape and gesture until I get the form to pair up aesthetically with the function. After that, its a lot of designing clothing/weapons/accessories, which is the super fun part. Even with concepts, I carry over a habit I have when writing/drawing comics of sort of acting out the character as Im drawing them. This generally involves making lots of faces as the drawing is happening and writing out dialogue that would fit for the character. It just helps me get into it more.

Finally, do you have anything else that you would like to share?

"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight!... ." Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it! And then he perfected it, so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor!

~Words to live by :3c





Weekly Workshop: The Pit

I fell in the pit. You fell in the pit. We all fell in the pit.

This map by InvaderZim is similar to his other map, The Arena. It features a single crystal in the middle of the map to defend, and various enemies are cheering on your death around the edges of the map. The Pit is larger in size, so it's better suited to group play than The Arena.

With each successive map, we're watching InvaderZim mature as a map maker. We can't wait to see what's next.

Be sure to subscribe to InvaderZim's map and check it out for yourself!


Creations of the Week (with a new prize!)

Starting this week, those featured in our Digests will win 10 billion mana for their screenshots, videos or fan art! Each week, well choose five winners and display them here. In order for your content to be in the running, you will need to upload it to Steam, with the exception of fan art, which you can email to [email]contest@trendyent.com[/email]. If you want to make sure that we see your submission, email it to us. This prize only applies to PC/Mac Steam users. Please provide your Steam profile link in the email.

This weeks winners include the two screenshots used by DouDouneman and Jonathan earlier in the Digest and the three submissions below:


Courtesy of PlantedAquarium






Winners, well update your profiles with your reward by Friday.

Here are some tips for your screenshots to increase your chances of winning:

1) Unless the HUD is important for the shot, turn it off.
2) I am a sucker for scenery.
3) If possible, turn post-processing on. I like the purty colors.

Keep the content coming!

Until next week,
Hitmonchan

Discuss this Digest here!

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HC,

The EU patch was submitted the week after US patch right?

If i presume Sony are on set timesecales... could you give me a what you think % chance there is of our good old EU patch beingreleased next week?....

IN YOUR OWN OPIONION.... dont worry if your wrong... i just want you to make us EU fans like OMG OMG OMG! :D

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HC,

The EU patch was submitted the week after US patch right?

If i presume Sony are on set timesecales... could you give me a what you think % chance there is of our good old EU patch beingreleased next week?....

IN YOUR OWN OPIONION.... dont worry if your wrong... i just want you to make us EU fans like OMG OMG OMG! :D


In my opinion, I've learned to never give a rough estimate on things that I couldn't begin to guess about. :^)

If we hear back from SCEE, we'll let everyone know.

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In my opinion, I've learned to never give a rough estimate on things that I couldn't begin to guess about. :^)

If we hear back from SCEE, we'll let everyone know.


dang... its so difficult to catch you out... one day... *plans*

My guess is next week! i have to believe that sony would stick to the same timescales! we can hope i suppose! :D good digest thanks as always for all your support for us! :)

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Yes! My question got answered! :D I'm interested for whatever the next event will be. By 40 more upgrades is the 444 max?

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0_0 My screenshot made it in. Thank you Trendy! The mana will go a long way to helping me with getting into nightmare. :)

I'm glad you all like the screenshot. :3

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hi!

thanks for the kind words and for writing about the pit!

what is next, well i'll tell you i'm doing more mini bosses, you'll see that in my next map and micro bosses. which are basically the mini bosses scaled even down more so that i can have a whole lot of them in a wave, more like normal mobs. so wait til you see dozens of demons, dragons, goblin mechs, ect coming at you at the same time in a map.

finally, it's interesting that you quote the legendary Sun Tzu military general, strategist, philosopher and author of the "The Art of War".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War

here is another quote from Sun Tzu

"To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

or

"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

for short :)

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Is someone at Trendy evaluating the findings of the PS3 community about the new DLC for the purpose of giving us a synopsis about which of the issues with it will either be patched or not?

Is it a foregone conclusion that there will be no more patches for PS3 regardless of what might be wrong with the Shards 4, or are there deficiencies serious enough that, if found, a patch will be made available?

Glancing through the now-once-again-very-lively :) threads, do you see any problems being reported so far that may warrant a patch?

Thanks Hit, you guys do good work in trying to satisfy a community for whom good intentions are seldom enough. :)

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Jeremy: Rare Ultimate items can now get about 40 more upgrade levels on the high-end, and when they do, they'll have a level 93 requirement.


So, just to get this straight, there isn't a better chance of getting rare items, there's just a chance they'll have more upgrade levels and require level 93?

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Hey Hitmochan I won the 10 bill mana but when I went on the game on Friday there was nothing there please reply :)

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The "Meeting Mia Goodwin" section was by far my fav. I hope to go into Concept art for games, so that interview was a good read.

I'd love to see a video version of some "meet the Trendy Team". Something like this in video format would be more helpful to me, and possibly others possibly looking towards gaming industry

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Hey Hitmochan I won the 10 bill mana but when I went on the game on Friday there was nothing there please reply :)


Please send me a PM on here. :^)

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Alright Ok


I won't be able to add it to your file until tomorrow because I'm not in the office at the moment. :^)

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Please do patches more often and add some new content every now and then:( This game is too good and unique to just throw it away.

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