Share Your Feedback on a New DD2 Idea

Blog - August 6, 2014 - By Daniel Haddad, Lead Designer/Creative Director

idea-Blog

Hey Defenders,

It’s finally back to your weekly Dungeon Defenders II programming! First up, we have a new DD2 teaser for you. We created this for a partner last week and wanted to share it with all of you:

But more importantly, we have a question for you. When developing a game, there are often many different ideas that get pooled together. Sometimes the ideas are awesomely obvious, like the new combo system we’ve developed in DD2. Other times, ideas take a good amount of iteration to get right or are pretty clear to stay away from. For us, being a sequel to a beloved game, we’re always careful about big changes to something core to the game, and we have an idea that we’re really excited about and want to see if you will be, too!

In Dungeon Defenders II, we’ve been talking about changing it so that, instead of having individual heroes you level up, you level up your hero deck instead. This means as you level up your deck, all the heroes are the same level. This idea came around because, internally, we’ve been playing the game this way since the beginning of development, and we often find it a lot of fun to switch between heroes seamlessly.

We want to add a lot of fun aspects to leveling up your hero deck to give you more options for how you manage your heroes. For example, you’d receive a pool of stat points that you could place amongst all of your heroes, allowing you to focus your stat points in heroes you like the most. Also, when your deck reaches max level, you’ll have an option to reset your progress, like a prestige system. Each time through will give you exciting rewards, like additional stat points, magic find bonuses, special visual customization options, or maybe even a new gear slot! This gives almost limitless replayability and helps with solo play a ton, too.

Why we want to do this:

1. More Even Progression Curve: If you level up multiple heroes at a time in your hero deck with the old system, you’ll constantly be bouncing back to lower matchmaking brackets to get hero experience. With the new system, you get to choose how you spread your stat points amongst your heroes (making them powerful), but you can also use any of the heroes whenever you want without XP sharing concerns. If you’re a hardcore player, aiming to max stats for all heroes, you still have to play multiple times just like you would before. However, now you can use all the heroes as you go!

2. More Replayable: Quite simply, this system allows us to make Dungeon Defenders more replayable. If you prestige your hero deck, you can replay the experience for better rewards, or sync up with a new friend who just started the game. It works kind of like a New Game+ feature, and many members of our team talk about liking these types of systems in other games.

3. Awesome Matchmaking: Though we have some cool ideas on how to make matchmaking work well with hero levels (i.e. no more lvl 2 Squire mooching off the 30s doing all the work), the new hero deck leveling system keeps matchmaking very simple. Instead of having to manage your hero deck to guarantee you have the right hero levels for the content you want to play, you can just pick a level range and go. We think this is faster, easier, and gets people playing together in positive ways.

4. Encourages Play with New Heroes: When new heroes come out, you can play them instantly, having a good time experiencing the content without having to grind up hero levels to make them viable. We really like this idea, that when we release new heroes players aren’t forced to grind from the beginning to enjoy the new experience. Maybe you choose to respec to give points to the new hero, or maybe you just prestige to play from the beginning anyway, but now the choice for how to play is yours.

5. More Flexible Solo Play: Each hero has their own unique role in Dungeon Defenders II as we’ve worked to expand the cooperative elements of the game even further. This means having access to multiple heroes in solo play, and leveraging interesting strategies without having to excessively grind is a big positive. You’ll still need to prestige to unlock enough stat points to fully empower multiple heroes, not to mention finding good loot for them too, but all heroes will be at the same level regardless, and can be used effectively with or without stat point bonuses.

These are only the choice aspects of this new feature we love, and we have a lot of details to get sorted. At its core, we feel this can make Dungeon Defenders II a deeper, more approachable game, which meets up with many of our pillars we talked about when we started this journey together. However, we know this is a big change, and we want your feedback before we commit and start figuring out the specific bits. As we get closer to Early Access, we’re excited to build this game together, feature by feature, and your input is absolutely critical to us making the game you want to play.

So what do you think? We’re eager to read your feedback and help make the choice on where we go from here. Love it, hate it, we’re all ears, so head to the comments section and let us know!

The random winners from our Ambient Sounds of Etheria blog are The Osamodas and IGN_ejfaro!

Share your honest feedback in the comments below, and you could win a pre-alpha code for Dungeon Defenders II! We’ll pick TWO random posters and reveal the winners next week. You have a full week to leave a comment. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join the community!


NVIDIA® SHIELD™ Giveaway

Front Page - August 1, 2014 - By Rosa Vitale, Community Coordinator

nvidia-Blog

We’ve teamed up with NVIDIA® to giveaway a newly unveiled NVIDIA® SHIELD™ tablet and five NVIDIA® SHIELD™ portables! Plus, we have five GeForce GTX 760 graphics cards to sweeten the pot. To enter, all you need to do is sign up for the contest on our Facebook page by clicking here!

One grand-prize winner will receive an NVIDIA® SHIELD™ tablet, an NVIDIA® SHIELD™ portable, a GeForce GTX 760 graphics card, a DDE mousepad signed by the dev team, a DD2 T-shirt and a NVIDIA® SHIELD™ controller — an $800 value! Four runners-up will receive an NVIDIA® SHIELD™, a GeForce GTX 760 graphics card, a DDE mousepad and a DD2 T-shirt!

That’s not all. Everyone who enters the contest will receive a code for an exclusive in-game Squire “NVIDIA® Shield” for Dungeon Defenders Eternity!

squireshieldnvidiagoblin

 

For your chance to win, click here!

For the full contest rules, click here!

Good luck!


Dungeon Defenders Eternity Out Now

Eternity - July 22, 2014 - By Ben Craven, Associate Producer

launch-Blog

Surprise! Today marks the release of Dungeon Defenders Eternity, the definitive version of the original Dungeon Defenders. Eternity takes the best missions from the original game and includes a host of new features, content and anti-hacker security as requested by our loyal Defenders!

Eternity was created to give you, our fans, an opportunity to revisit Etheria while allowing us at Trendy to test an alpha version of playverse, the server technology that will host Dungeon Defenders II. This project has already undergone rigorous testing and feedback from a group of dedicated Defenders, and we can’t wait to continue improving and refining with the help of our entire community.

As you can see from the trailer above, we’ve included many fan-requested changes, additions and bug fixes to the game, including:

  • An entirely redesigned loot system that fixes the issues from the original game
  • Rebalanced enemies, difficulties and heroes
  • Four brand-new maps, plus Moonbase, the winner of our last map contest
  • Equippable amulets that let you customize heroes with all new abilities
  • Pet hatching and activatable pet abilities
  • A new crafting system
  • Visible armor
  • And so much more!

Want to get a jumpstart on Dungeon Defenders II? Very soon, we’ll be patching a new way for you to unlock rewards for DD2 by playing Eternity! This will be in the Tavern’s new Hall of Triumph, where you will earn unique items, titles, and pets to gear up for DD2. Then travel to Embermount Volcano for a fiery new mission and storyline that paves the way for the sequel, beginning your journey towards the next era of Dungeon Defenders!

Eternity is secured on our new playverse platform. All of our game data is stored server-side, so that means no more hackers interrupting your dungeon defending! Unfortunately, this also means Dungeon Defenders Eternity does not support importing your saves from the original Dungeon Defenders.

Also, you can now take Dungeon Defenders Eternity on-the-go with our new cross-platform integration! At launch, you can seamlessly play Eternity with other Defenders on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android Tegra devices, and even in your browser! Post-launch, we’ll include support for iPhone, iPad, and more Android devices. All versions of Eternity include the same content, and all the progression you earn on one device will be available on all the others!

Upgrade Now!

or get the Android version!

NOTE:  At launch, you will not be able to play a private session with fewer than four players. You can, however, launch a public session of a game with fewer than four players, if it can’t find others. Private session capabilities with fewer than four players will be coming soon! View the list of known issues, here.

Thanks for the support, and we look forward to hearing your feedback!


EDIT #2 8:25 PM 7/22: Single player and private sessions are now live. After updating, you will now be able to play in private sessions. Simply click the “Host private session” in the play menu. While hosting a session you can invite your friends through playverse to join your game or you can play by yourself. You can also create a party through playverse and kick off a private session to play just with your party.


The Ambient Sounds of Etheria

Blog - July 10, 2014 - By Zack Donovan, Audio Implementor

Greetings, Defenders!

So far we’ve given you quite a bit of insight into how our levels are developed visually from start to finish. There is, however, one final element that greatly contributes to the atmosphere of our beautiful maps: audio. Once our level designers have finished building and scripting a map, and our VFX artists have gone through to make sure everything is appropriately shiny, it’s finally time to implement sound.

When a map is ready for sound, my first step is to generate an audio asset list for our talented sound designer, Afshin Toufighian. It is during this process that I decide which environment pieces and effects will require an audio element and which areas of the map will require their own stereo ambient sound waves.

Stereo Sounds

Unlike mono sound waves, stereo sound waves utilize both your left and right speakers to create one sound, and as such are not spatialized. This means that they don’t seem to come from any one direction in particular, which makes them useful for establishing an ambient backdrop to a given area. Most indoor maps like Siphon Site D only require one stereo sound spanning the entire level. In contrast, outdoor maps like Nimbus Reach can have a variety of environmental settings that each require their own stereo sound.

With Nimbus Reach, we wanted the starting area near the main cores to sound windy and devoid of wildlife. As we imagined the player approaching the forest area towards the back of the level, we wanted the sound of wind to fade out as the sounds of wildlife faded in. Of course if the player were to approach the waterfalls and rivers on the sides of the map, we wanted the sound of rushing waters to fade in. You can see how this was achieved below.

Stereo_Zack
Yep, with circles. Mystery solved.

Here you can see I’ve placed a stereo sound wave on each side of Nimbus Reach. The inner and outer blue circles surrounding each sound indicate its minimum and maximum attenuation, respectively. When inside the inner minimum attenuation circle, the player will hear that sound at full volume. As the player leaves the minimum attenuation circle, the sound’s volume will dynamically fade out as the player approaches the maximum attenuation circle, beyond which the sound will no longer be audible. By fine tuning these attenuation values, I am able to make these stereo ambient sounds fade in and out as the player traverses the level, giving the sounds a sense of 3D placement.

Mono Sounds

After the stereo sounds are in place, it’s time to start adding in mono sounds for singular environment details. Mono sound waves only utilize one speaker channel, so I set them to be spatialized. This means a player standing near the sound will hear it travel from speaker to speaker as the they turn their camera and experience a direct audible link to where the sound is coming from. In Nimbus Reach, I’ve implemented mono sounds for things like rustling grass, glowing plants, and single crickets chirping throughout the level.

Crickets_Zack
All my single crickets, chirp your hands up.

The Big Picture

When used together, mono and stereo sound waves can create a complete and convincing soundscape for the player to experience. For example, while the water areas in Nimbus Reach do have a stereo water sound encompassing them, each individual waterfall also has a mono sound associated with it as well. These mono sounds communicate to the player’s ears that each waterfall is indeed making its own sound, while the stereo sound communicates the reverberations of water sounds a player should expect to hear that close to the base of a few waterfalls. To put it simply, the stereo sounds function as my broad brushes, while the mono sounds function as my detail brushes.

The finished product can look a little messy…

AllSounds_Zack
It’s ART, okay?!

…but we think it sounds pretty good. You don’t have to take our word for it though. Check out the video at the top of the post for a tour through Nimbus Reach and hear for yourself!

The random winners of our previous blogs are:

Enemy Tiers: Holliewood
Enemy Tiers: xFuNz
The Concept Art Process: MyGoldfish
The Concept Art Process: Alih789

What did you think of the ambient sound process? Tell us in the comments below, and you could win a pre-alpha code for Dungeon Defenders II! You have a full week to leave a comment. We’ll pick TWO random posters and reveal the winners next week. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join the community!


New Reveal: Enemy Tiers

Blog - July 2, 2014 - By Steven Collins, Level Designer

tiers-Blog

In the original Dungeon Defenders, we used different colors to designate enemy difficulties. This was a clear way to show that one enemy was harder than another, but it didn’t allow for variety in the way enemies were presented during each wave.

In Dungeon Defenders II, we’ve thrown out the color system, and we’re now using a tier system. A tier is basically an “upgraded” version of an enemy. We’ve shown you different enemy tiers in previous blogs from Javelin Throwers to the nightmare-inducing Ogres. These enemies and almost every other enemy in the game will come at your defenses in different tiers. Below, you can see a Tier 1 Orc, a Tier 2 Orc and a Tier 3 Orc.

orctiers

As you can see, each tier is not a new enemy, but there is a visible progression between the three Orcs. The first Orc can be pretty threatening when first encountered, but then you meet the second tier of Orc. He’s stronger, hits harder and can withstand more damage from towers and heroes. Then you move on to fight the Tier 3 Orc. Basically a walking tank, this armored foe is no joke. If he’s not dealt with, a Tier 3 Orc can do some serious damage to your defenses.

Using this system, level designers will have more fine-tune control on how the difficulty of the game ramps up. We’re able to introduce enemies early on in the game like the Orc and the Kobold for players to learn how to respond to that type of threat. The higher-tier versions of those enemies allow the level designers to generate harder difficulty late game without needing to send out hundreds of Orcs and Ogres.

wrecking_gifOrc

New Tiers, New Fears

Some tiers aren’t just stronger versions of an enemy. Many Dungeon Defenders fans are familiar with the tower-busting enemy known as the Kobold. He’s back in DD2, and by utilizing the tier system, we can vary the gameplay of the Kobolds to generate different difficulty from one enemy type.

The tiers of Kobolds progress not from the front, but from the middle. We have a standard Kobold or Tier 2 Kobold in the center. This run-of-the-mill exploding menace makes his return as he was in DD1. But his tier setup goes down to a smaller and faster version, the speedy Kobold. Upon setting off his wick, this Kobold skates his way at high speeds towards his target. His speed comes at a cost, though, as he does a smaller damage amount than his medium-sized compadre.

speedy_gifKobold

On the other side of the scale, we have our Heavy Kobold. This third tier of the Kobold is the heavy hitter. He packs a harder punch than the regular Kobold but at the cost of speed. He moves much slower, making it easier to take out before he is able to blast through the towers.

This new tier progression is a way to generate a much smoother and enjoyable ramp in difficulty for players. It also allows a variety of enemies to challenge the players without creating too much confusion when trying to learn new enemy types.

Do you have an idea for an enemy tier? Tell us in the comments below, and you could win a pre-alpha code for Dungeon Defenders II! You have a full week to leave a comment. We’ll pick TWO random posters and reveal the winners next Tuesday! Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join the community! Also, there’s still time to enter The Concept Art Process blog giveaway, where we’ll also select two random winners!

Instead of our usual two blogs per week, we’re going to post one dev blog a week moving forward. Don’t worry: We’ll still giveaway four pre-alpha codes per week — two on each blog and two on each Facebook post!


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