DunDef Digest 5/16/12

Our towers were laying waste to the enemy when the crystal shattered.

Wyverns from the northern Karathiki horizon swooped past our defenses, destroying the crystal and dashing our hopes of beating IceArrow and the rest of Red Team. Defeat left us hungry for a rematch. Basking in their victory, the glowing champions accepted our challenge. But we were prepared.

Last Friday marked the beginning of Trendy Friday Fun, our new weekly event. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST, join us for a good fight and a good laugh. If you aren’t able to join us in battle, you can watch us and ask questions on our live stream.

Summoner: From Paper to Playing Field

On May 23, players will wield the Summoner’s talents to summon minions and defend crystals from a new perspective. Being a curious fellow, I wanted to know more about the process of bringing the Summoner from concept to completion. I asked our lead developer and company president, Jeremy Stieglitz, and our lead character artist, Jerome Pourchier, to talk about the process of bringing the Summoner to life.

The Summoner marks a change in how our fans are going to play Dungeon Defenders. What inspired you to add a character who brings RTS elements to the game?

Jeremy: “On an intellectual level, I wanted to give players more of a personal sense of interacting with their Defenses — in this case, Minions — and also open the game up to tactical micro-management for players who were so inclined. But on an emotional level, I just really wanted to run around the battlefield with my goon squad of Dark Elf Warrior minions and tear stuff up — and yes, a Summoner can order his units to follow other Heroes.”

When building a new concept for a character, where do you begin?

Jeremy: “We begin by looking at the gameplay systems DunDef currently has, what new mechanics we’d like it to have, and what we can add that fits in with the essential Defense-oriented design of the game. That’s a dry way of saying, we think about what new fun we can have without breaking anything. *laughs*

Once we have a gameplay concept nailed down, which usually comes along with some rough visual idea for the hero in question, we pass it onto the concept art team to give it life.”

Jerome: “Well, the trick when designing a character for Dungeon Defenders is to keep it very generic, similar to general Western cultural understanding, but in the same time trying to add this little thing that makes the character instantly recognizable as a DD universe character. In this particular case, I stayed pretty close to the regular cloaked wizard, adding some elvish-looking ornament to his outfit to increase his presence.”

Has anything changed between the original idea for the character and the current implementation?

Jerome: “We don’t have too much time to spend on iterating for a character, but for this one I did four very different rough sketches: a hunchback, a small-and-fat one, an average one and a thin-and-tall one. The silhouette was very important to make a clear distinction between him and the Apprentice, so I went with the tall one. At the very end of the concept step, we realized that the spiky shape of the cloak wasn’t interesting enough, so we decide to let it fall on his back.”

Jeremy: “Yeah, originally we were debating having the Summoner use two Monk weapons. But then we looked at the Barbarian, which is a DPS hero class, and determined it’d be nice to make a character that was the opposite of direct hack-and-slash. Thus we decided to give the Summoner two Pets instead of Weapons. Sure, you could still bring two DPS Pets along and let them have at it, but you also could equip two Guardians of different Types, or two Fairies, etc… the strategic possibilities are very interesting.”

Jerome, not only did you create the visual concept for the Summoner, but you created the in-game model for the character, as well. Was there anything unique about this process with the Summoner?

Jerome: “Haha… Probably removing his legs at the very end. Making a character with a long dress walk is always a bit tricky since the bottom of the dress is stretched weirdly. In that case, it was a problem, so we decided to remove the feet and made him hover. After that it was a lot easier for Alex, our lead animator, to handle him.”

What was your proudest moment when creating the Summoner?

Jeremy: “The best moment was when we realized that the unit-command mechanics were so in-depth that we could go ahead and create a full-on RTS mode for the Summoner, called Overlord Mode, complete with a top-down camera and Warcraft-style drag-select and right-click ordering mechanics. It was an exciting thing to see the core Dungeon Defenders gameplay reinvented in such a fun new way, so we added two new Achievements for it as well!”

Jerome: “Probably once the line of the concept was done and tweaked. It’s like taking a huge breath and seeing all the ideas you got in mind mixed together on the screen in a nice way.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share about creating the Summoner?

Jeremy: “We think the Summoner is the most innovative Hero yet and is going to totally change the gameplay dynamic for players who master him. If you love Real Time Strategy or squad-based tactics games, this is the Hero for you. It’s going to be really exciting to see the community’s new strategies in the coming weeks, as this bold new way of playing is unveiled!”

Jerome: “Just a secret. The female outfit is a bit more … devil.”

If you’re interested in watching the Summoner in action, be sure to stop by our Summoner Sneak Peek next Tuesday! We’ll be streaming gameplay and giving out prizes on our Twitch account. Our beta team will be hosting various sneak peek lobbies for you to join, too. We’ll have more details next week.

On the horizon after the Summoner, we have a new mission pack coming to you set in the Talay Mining Complex, an unstable volcanic region of Etheria rich in minerals. We’ll reveal more details about what you can expect in this unique 6-player mission next week!

Console News Updates

This week was a busy time for our console players. The third Shards DLC released on PSN US and XBLA, with PSN EU getting the content next week on May 23. Shards 4 will be a particularly exciting time for console players. Around its release, we will be introducing a new difficulty mode that will challenge even the most hardened console player. This mode won’t be quite as devilish as Nightmare mode, but it will give our fans something new to sink their teeth into. We’ll have more details as we get closer to the launch of Shards 4.

Map Contest Spotlight: “Kings Valley” by Nexus

Map Name: Kings Valley
Author: Nexus
Game Type: Crystal Defense
Player Count: 4+
Objective: Defend the Crystals at 4 unique locations.

We’re continuing our spotlight of the work-in-progress contest maps with “Kings Valley” by Nexus. This week, we decided to mix things up a little. As you can see above, our beta team created a video walkthrough of the work-in-progress Kings Valley. But that’s not all! Skott and Kayd from the beta team, along with Laura (LauraWantsACow) and myself, interviewed Nexus about the process of creating the map, his inspiration for it and what you can expect to see from the map in the coming weeks. He also shared a few wise words about using the DDDK. Click the link below to check it out!

Map Contest Podcast: Kings Valley (12.6 MB)
Download Here (Right-click, Save As)

Remember, you have until June 21 at 11:59 p.m. EST to submit your completed maps to [email]contest@trendyent.com[/email]!

Beta Team Update: 5/16/12

We’ve been taking the Summoner for a spin with the beta team! Having a character that basically plays RTS style in a tower-defense game is a bit weird, and we’re still adjusting to the concept. Lots of numbers are getting tweaked for balance, so we can’t provide any firm comments in that direction. Instead, we’re looking into a few of the more interesting questions we’ve asked and answered.

1. Does he work with a gamepad? Yes. A couple of fine points are being worked on here, but they’ll be sorted before release.

2. Does having access to two pets make any bosses ridiculously easy? No. His HP scaling is not as good as a monk’s, thus making him a little fragile compared to other boss-slaying options.

3. How do summons interact with NM creatures? Being able to turn and shoot in any direction is good against Spiders and Djinn. Moving back into place automatically is helpful against Sharken.

4. If I am in Overlord Mode (the one where your hero is in top-down view and not on the map) with a genie, and a reflect wall bounces a projectile and hits something, will I get mana (if I am the player that summoned the wall)? No. The genie’s ability is in part linked to its ability to do the mana gain animation. No animation, no mana.

Code Drop Tuesday

We tasked our fans on Twitter to draw an enemy creature using MS Paint or Paintbrush. Here were our five favorites!

Courtesy of @kiwitomato

Courtesy of @CipeTheEpic

Courtesy of @TerasMinas

Courtesy of @DemonicChocobo

Courtesy of @migueenando

Community Calendar

[PS3] Underwater War

Dates: May 18 to 20
Hosts: Dark_AssazinZ
To celebrate the new release of Aquanos on PS3 on the 15th, I am hosting an event to all gamers who have purchased the map by the 19th. The event is on Aquanos Hard. All levels are welcome (although a level near 70+ is HIGHLY recommended).

The rules of this event are as follows:
- Only 50 defense units are allowed
- Only Blockades allowed (spike blockade, bouncer blockade, slice & dice blockade and magic blockade)

I haven’t finished with this event setup yet, and I will supply you with more information as the map comes out and I check my times.

[PS3] Etheria’s Super Events — Super Totems!

Dates: May 18 to 20
Hosts: Classic22 (event coordinator), CaptBoxershorts, TitoDaddy, Raknar2011, Flaming_cows, Thedarkcrucible, Uprisinq, Gashen-Sai, Deathdealer1877, xNoxONEx
- Challenge Map: Monster Fest
- Difficulty: Hard
- Huntress and Apprentice NOT ALLOWED
- The host will place 3 Slice’n'Dice Towers marked on these three spots on the >>>MAP<<<, from there each participant will have to stay on top of the Slice'n'Dice until the game is over. Fall off, or get knocked off will render you useless for the rest of the game, you may run to the other towers so you don't waste valuable lives.
- You must not attack if you fall off or get knocked off. Your pet will still be usable.
- To win, one person on your team must remain until wave 8.
- You may build defences whilst on your Slice'n'Dice only.
- If your Slice'n'Dice is destroyed, you must follow the fall off procedures.
- The host may help at their discretion. They will only build the defenses outlined on the map. The host will avoid being killed or pulling aggro on the mobs, that's only fair
Sign-Up Thread: http://forums.trendyent.com/showthread.php?61907-PS3-quot-Etheria-s-Super-Events-quot-Week-3-Sign-Up

[360] TeamLEGIT Summer Events — Second Event

For more details, visit the team’s thread.

If you have an awesome event you’d like to share with the world, click the Add New Event button on the Calendar page. Be sure to include PC, 360 or PS3 in the title of your event, a brief description of the event and the times you’ll be hosting. We might spotlight your event in a future Digest!

Screenshots of the Week

Courtesy of ludda1

Courtesy of MiniMinhMo

Courtesy of Gigazelle

Have a cool photo you’d like to share? Send it cool to contest[at]trendyent.com with the subject “DunDef Screenshot”! Be sure to include your forum username or Steam username in the email. Our favorites will appear in future Digests!

Until next time,

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