DG2: Defense Grid 2 - Joker
• Fixed the dreaded crash that could occur when rewinding!
• Fixed a bug that prohibited entry into the Custom Levels screen
• Fixed a crash involving the Tesla tower
• Fixed a crash that could occur when closing the Settings screen
• Fixed a crash that could occur in the Mission Summary screen
• Fixed a number of crashes and bugs in DG Architect
• Fixed a bug where particle effects would sometimes briefly appear at the world origin

Linux and Mac
• The Linux and Mac builds have not been updated
• Support for Linux and Mac is being sunsetted going forward
DG2: Defense Grid 2

Even turrets dress up for their graduation photos. Art by Michael Fitzhywel.

"We wanted to make a beer game," says Michael Austin, creative director and co-founder of Hidden Path Entertainment. "That's a game you can play with one hand while holding a beer." 

Though Austin and his fellow veterans at Hidden Path had previously worked on several games, Defense Grid: The Awakening was their first self-published title. They released it in 2008, when the tower defense genre was still mostly mods for games like Warcraft 3 and a few smartphone and browser games. Austin saw a fellow employee playing Desktop Tower Defense, and became inspired. "I wanted to make a AAA tower defense game, since the genre had only been in mods and flash games so far. I wanted to make Defense Grid because that's a game I wanted to play."

Defense Grid: The Awakening was originally set to release on Xbox Live Arcade, through a publishing deal with Microsoft. "Two months before we were going to launch on Xbox Live Arcade, they delayed us a by a year, because they had a similar game launching at the time," says Austin. (That other game was South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play.) "But we needed the funding, so we went to Steam. It was a new platform, maybe it'll be big some day?"

Defense Grid: The Awakening was one of the early third-party games released on Steam—Austin boasts that it has a five-digit Steam ID—and proved hugely successful. The campaign featured 20 levels with multiple medals to earn and challenge modes to unlock, making for a large variety of replay with minimal design work. 

When you're playing this game you feel like you are the last bastion defending earth against the invaders. Having someone cheering you on and appreciating what you're doing was really important.

Michael Austin

"The design challenge is making a game that everyone can pass, but that still has a ton of depth," says Austin. Defense Grid achieved that with its cores—each map featured a number of glowing orbs that needed to be protected from the onslaught of invading aliens. If enemies reached a core they would pick it up and begin the long trek back, giving players a second chance at redemption. It gave them a unique sliding scale of victory. 

"That presented a huge amount of difficulty range," Austin continues. "The expert players wouldn't let the aliens touch a single core, while beginners could be proud that they survived with a single core left. It gave a wide range of challenge within a single map, without having to select a difficulty."

Another of Defense Grid's memorable qualities is the minimalist story, told through the solitary AI character, Fletcher. "We originally wanted cutscenes but didn't have the budget," says Austin. "We wanted to do interactive dialogue between the player and the computer AI. It was frustrating because people didn't care about the story. I went to our writer and told her we needed to get rid of one of our characters. We only had two characters!"

The story was further hacked up and refined, until a succinct, poignant tale of a lonely AI defending the world was left. "I look it at as this great loss of a fantastic story and cutscenes," says Austin. "But now when you play the game people praise the story and the talking AI. When you're playing this game you feel like you are the last bastion defending earth against the invaders. Having someone cheering you on and appreciating what you're doing was really important."

Though GLaDOS is a lot less friendly, comparisons between the story and that of Portal are not lost on Austin. "I think Portal was definitely an influence," he says. Valve didn't seem to mind—they were so impressed by Defense Grid they licensed GLaDOS for a special DLC level pack. The partnership didn't end there. "We got a lot of opportunities from Defense Grid, a lot of reputation," says Austin. "We did a little game called Counter-Strike: Global Offensive purely because Valve loved Defense Grid and wanted to work with us."

In the decade since, Hidden Path has returned to tower defense several times, including a series of DLC level packs and a Kickstarted sequel. Or was it an expansion? "We wanted to make Defense Grid 2 for a while, but we didn't have the budget for it. We went to Kickstarter and learned a valuable lesson," says Austin. "We wanted to Kickstart a Defense Grid expansion, and if it funded enough we could do Defense Grid 2. Turns out that's a really complicated message to explain."

The campaign technically funded, but only enough for an expansion to the original game, leaving lots of backers and fans confused and disappointed. The expansion, Containment, released in 2013, five years after the base game's initial launch. 

Defense Grid 2 was eventually funded thanks to an angel investor. Hidden Path added two major features they weren’t able to fit into the original: multiplayer and a level editor. But during development they may have forgotten the reason people loved the original story. "We went big on the story, which we probably shouldn’t have," Austin explains. Defense Grid 2 sold well, but not well enough to produce a third game, and the map editor had replaced the need for DLC.

In the following years Hidden Path has successfully pivoted to producing VR games, applying many of their design choices and philosophies to their new best-sellers. "We've pulled the degrees of success—that you can succeed, and there's a harder success bar to cross—into a lot of our games," says Austin. Their latest VR game, Brass Tactics, is an RTS that creates the feeling of miniatures in a tabletop wargame. Even with their experience on the Defense Grid games it took them six months to nail the interface, and trying to drink a beer while playing VR is probably not recommended.

A decade later Defense Grid: The Awakening remains one of the most beloved tower defense games ever made. Many tower defense games hybridize the genre with varying degrees of success (Austin is particularly fond of Sanctum and the many ways it plays homage), but Defense Grid maintains its position as one of the best vanilla tower defense games there is, and is uniquely enjoyable by both newcomers and hardcore veterans alike.

"As somebody in entertainment the best feeling ever is having someone tell you about their story with your game and their experience," says Austin. "Defense Grid has brought me many stories, like their eyes lighting up when they tell me about a juggernaut about to make off with the last core, only to get gunned down at the final second, giving them the victory. That's why I'm in games."

This article is part of the Class of 2008, a series of retrospectives about indie games that were released 10 years ago.

DG2: Defense Grid 2 - Devgamer
Want to save the cores on your tabletop? Now's your chance! http://kck.st/2j2D55s
DG2: Defense Grid 2 - Devgamer
Check out the new Defense Grid Board game with board game developers and the DG2 Devs!


DG2: Defense Grid 2 - Devgamer
Please join and ask him any questions you might have about our games, VR, or Rocket Science.

DG2: Defense Grid 2 - Devgamer
ːsteamhappyːCheck it Out!


DG2: Defense Grid 2 - Valve
Save 75% on DG2: Defense Grid 2 during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Defense Grid 2, DG2, is the highly-anticipated sequel to Hidden Path Entertainment’s 2008 Defense Grid: The Awakening. Setting the bar as the definitive tower defense game, Defense Grid 2 introduces new worlds and threats to test your tower placement strategies. With a bold new look, a compelling single-player campaign, and the addition of new game modes, online player-versus-player and multiplayer co-op, every play-through brings fun new opportunities and challenges.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
DG2: Defense Grid 2 - pobst
DG2 May Steam Update - PC only (Mac soon)

  • DGArchitect custom scripts now support all game modes

  • DGArchitect maps can now include Classic Open mode scoring

  • DG Architect ray tracing bug fixed that prevented block properties from being selected

  • DG Architect Point lights now appear in DG Architect

  • Classic Open string entries updated or added

  • For the PC & Mac update, UCC formats needed to change making them unusable on Linux. We hope to change this in the future, but it may take longer than desired because of some conflicting Linux issues.
DG2: Defense Grid 2 - Nerdmaid
We recently sent a newsletter to our community. In case you missed it you can read the full newsletter here: DG2 Spring Newsletter

Some Highlights:

Defense Grid 2 now more affordable than ever!
DG2 is now the sweetest deal out there. Get and gift your favorite tower defense game for only $14.99 for the Regular Edition or $19.99 for the Special Edition. DG2 launched in Autumn 2014 to critical acclaim from both media and gamers. If this has been on your wish list or a loved one’s, treat yourself today!

Did you download your FREE map on Steam?
If you haven’t already, be sure to login to Steam and register your email for a free DG2 map. Insider Tip: Every now and again we hold some really great drawings with the emails from this list. Be sure to use a real email address, it's our only way to connect with you. Recently we gave away four NVIDIA Titan video cards worth $1019 each. Register your email today.
DG2: Defense Grid 2 - Nerdmaid
  • New Game Type: Classic Open. Classic Open introduces the original DG scoring model to DG2. It is available for all single player missions and modes. No medals are awarded in Classic Open.
  • Tower Limit Mode Fix: Fixed bug in which boost towers could automatically sell out from underneath a tower in the middle of upgrading.
  • Strategy Camera Added: Edge scrolling camera for single player can be toggled on / off using Shift+C or can be set to be the default by adding “-freecamera” to the Steam launch options (library, right-click->properties, set launch options)

  • Fixed top ten crash bugs responsible for majority of remaining reported game crashes.
  • Fixed a significant number of OpenGL rendering issues for Mac (and soon SteamOS) improving both quality and performance rendering
  • Fixed Mac launcher race condition where launcher might not appear while Steam is still initializing launch of game
  • Fixed multiple DG Architect crash bugs
  • Fixed DG Architect block thumbnails not appearing

Leaderboard Validity:
  • Added ability to remove scores from leaderboards that aren’t possible to achieve in an unaltered game session
  • Removal of invalid scores will take place some days after update release

User Created Content (UCC) Tools Enhancement:
  • New UCC file format – must have update to download new UCC maps
  • Enabled UCC maps to have story mode leaderboards
  • Enabled UCC script asset creation with DG Architect and game loading of that script
  • Enabled UCC script assets to be packaged in Steam Workshop upload
  • Stopped UCC map creation process from creating multiple leaderboard versions for the same map
  • Mac: Users can load custom levels now. Custom levels are looked for here: /Users/<user_name>/Library/Application Support/Steam/userdata/<steam_user_id>/221540/local/DG2/<custom_map_folder>

  • Restored Mouse button bindings to match system settings in Windows

Search news
Nov   Oct   Sep   Aug   Jul   Jun  
May   Apr   Mar   Feb   Jan  
Archives By Year
2018   2017   2016   2015   2014  
2013   2012   2011   2010   2009  
2008   2007   2006   2005   2004  
2003   2002