Community Announcements - [TrendyEnt] iamisom
While browsing through the comments on the fantastic World Building blog that was posted last month, I happened upon a question from Defense Councillor Gigazelle, who asked about how we use Kismet — a system for setting up the things that happen inside a map — in Dungeon Defenders II.

Well… *cracks knuckles* Now you’re talking my language. But before we dive headfirst into the ocean that is Kismet, let’s tread into the Whitebox Phase itself.

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Community Announcements - [TrendyEnt] iamisom
All art made for games is super easy to create and we, as artists and animators, can speed through pretty much everything. We are guaranteed that anything we do will always work with the tech, design, and overall style the first time, every time.

…Yeah, right.

The reality is that solid, polished art takes time. So much so that terms like “polishing” or “fleshing out” are extremely commonplace, and it is not unheard of that production deadlines be missed because of it. Thus it’s out of necessity that game animators find ways to make fast and simple versions of each and every one of our assets before we devote ourselves to the lengthy process. This is known as “iteration.”

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Community Announcements - [TrendyEnt] iamisom
Deciding how enemies spawn in each lane requires careful planning on the part of the level designer. Each of the three lanes — ground, air, and the optional, sub-objective blocked lanes — are balanced differently, and each designer has different balance goals depending on the map being created. Ultimately, though, the goal of all level designers is to provide a fun and challenging experience for the player.

We want to avoid the need for players to build the same defensive structures in every lane, as we feel it robs them of any sense of choice or agency. Until recently, we had a limited selection of core enemies to use — just the standard Orcs, Goblins, Kobolds, and other monsters from DD1. To promote as much spawn diversity as possible, every ground enemy was placed in every ground lane, creating situations where you knew you were going to have a certain mix of all enemy types in each lane.

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Community Announcements - [TRENDYENT] LauraWantsaCow
In the original Dungeon Defenders, elemental weapon drops added a lot of variety to an already loot-rich experience. However, the elemental visuals were, in retrospect, an afterthought. If we wanted to convey that a sword was poisonous, we simply attached a poison idle ‘smoke & bubbles’ effect to the weapon and added a secondary noxious gas hit effect on top of the base hit effect. This method did a reasonably good job of getting the point across, but the process and the media that resulted was far from polished.

We had a simple library of about 20 VFX to represent 3 different elemental idle and impact effects (electric, fire, and poison) that could be applied to any one of the 150+ unique models for our four basic weapon types.



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Community Announcements - [TRENDYENT] LauraWantsaCow
Salutations! Welcome to this month’s installment of the QA Blog: Bugs, Bugs and Beyond! [Working Title]. Today, we present a look at the QA process itself via the lifecycle of the bug (to give it its proper Latin name, Qaticus Mebur Bugis).

Discovery


The QA process begins when a bug is discovered:



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Community Announcements - [TRENDYENT] LauraWantsaCow
In the first Dungeon Defenders, players could swap between an unlimited number of heroes during a match. This had several benefits, including the ability for individuals to access more than just one set of defenses. It also encouraged players to create multiple heroes -- and sometimes specialized versions of the same hero -- to use in a single match.

But this system created a few issues. Leveling multiple heroes became the only way to play -- you couldn’t complete the late-game content using a single hero. In addition to this, it discouraged true, four-player co-op in which every player has the chance to contribute to the build strategy. Instead, designated builders would bring in their heroes and tell other players not to take part in the defensive setup.



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Community Announcements - [TRENDYENT] LauraWantsaCow
The life of a young Javelin Thrower in the Old Ones’ army is hard work. Since birth these adorable-looking critters are told to focus on one thing and one thing only -- beefing up the strength in their right arm. All in hopes of being drafted into the army to get that one throw that might pierce through the Heroes’ defenses and shatter an Eternia Crystal. Or at least that’s how I imagine it.

“Just Like Brad Pitt in Troy”


The Javelin Thrower is designed to be a medium-to-long range Artillery style enemy.



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Community Announcements - [TRENDYENT] LauraWantsaCow
O-A! Pings are back in Dungeon Defenders II, and we’ve made several improvements to their design and functionality to help you communicate with ease.

In the first Dungeon Defenders, pings were only on your person, and only the basic “O-A” ping existed. This was great if you needed help, but these limitations could not account for situations where you might want to instruct other players in more detail. For example, if you needed a Spike Blockade placed in a specific location, or if you wanted someone’s attention in another lane, you had to walk over to that spot, press the Ping Key, and then type in the chat what you pinged for. Not exactly intuitive.

With these issues in mind, we’ve made two major changes to the ping system: separating pings from the player, and creating context-sensitive pings.



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Community Announcements - [TRENDYENT] LauraWantsaCow
Greetings Defenders!

So far the Old Ones’ army has been primarily focused on taking down whatever stands between them and the objectives you and your friends are trying to defend. This month, I’d like to share one of the more sinister additions we have planned. This new enemy is only concerned with isolating and eliminating players. We’re calling it the Dark Assassin for now, and it’s still in early development, so please let us know what you think of the design!

An Old Terror With a New Face

The Dark Assassin replaces the Dark Elf Warrior we had in DD1. We know he wasn’t a fan favorite, but he fulfilled a very important role: Providing a real threat for heroes that could otherwise stand back and avoid the thick of battle. Without him, high-damage ranged characters rarely faced the fear of death.



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Community Announcements - [TRENDYENT] LauraWantsaCow
Greetings Defenders,

When thinking about what our community might like to see from our dev blogs, we often draw from topics that excite the team. This month, we’re sharing one that’s always been a conversation-starter: The process behind turning a bare-bones map into the beautiful level you see in game. Today we’ll be sharing how Nimbus Reach was designed, from start to finish.

Starting From White Box Levels


Nimbus Reach was a large undertaking, and it all started with a layout made by the level designers called a White Box.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXaMNi4SM4M

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