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Dungeon Defenders II game Status:
Greetings Defenders, and welcome to our first monthly lore column!
My name is Courtney, and I, along with our Creative Directors, am in charge of Dungeon Defenders lore. This month I’m excited to share the story of Siphon Site D, one of our newest maps and one that Defense Council members will get to try out very soon!
When the threat of the Old Ones was but a distant memory, Etheria suffered its worst possible fate: The Eternia Crystals shattered. Foul creatures spread like a plague through the land. The Old Ones amassed such an army that even the largest cities crumbled beneath them. Etheria was in ruin.
Champions were immediately summoned to the front lines. The men and women who answered the call became the Sunderguard, and they stood toe to toe with the armies of the Old Ones. But the enemy’s number was too great. Etheria was overwhelmed, and the Sunderguard had no choice but to fall back to the northern territories.
Resources were at an all-time low, and miners were forced to delve into previously unexplored sites. In a system of caves far from the larger cities, they discovered a thick slab of decorated stone. They dug further. After three days of hard labor, the slab was revealed to be only one small part of an ancient temple.
The Sunderguard was called to investigate. They descended through the labyrinth, their torches illuminating massive pillars and intricate reliefs. The sound of rushing water grew deafening, and after hours of descent, they discovered the source: An underground spring with a faint light billowing from its surface.
Convinced the temple was built to guard the spring, the Sunderguard drew some of the water into a phial and sent it to the Magic Academy for analysis. Their hunch paid off. The spring was imbued with some sort of magic. The nature of the enchantment was unclear, but the Sunderguard was willing to take any advantage they could get. Once the site was fully excavated, they made the difficult decision to build pipes and tanks directly into the temple.
Several other sites were discovered with the same mystical springs. It was the first glimmer of hope since the war began. But the enemy was closer than the Sunderguard suspected. Drawn to the springs, they quickly overwhelmed workers. Orcs smashed through pipes. Kobolds forced devastating cave-ins. Many sites were lost in a fraction of the time it took to find them.
Siphon Site D is one of the few that remain, and one of the last hopes for recovering a key asset that could give Etheria a fighting chance.
Want to win a seat on the Defense Council? Leave a comment in the comment section below, and we’ll choose one lucky winner!
Starting today, we’re showing off Dungeon Defenders II in earnest: new levels, new enemies and new features, along with more design philosophies on how we’re shaping the game.
Today, I’d like to share a new level the Council will be playing very soon: Siphon Site D. This underground level is one of our most compact maps in Dungeon Defenders II, making for exhilarating, fast-paced matches.
The main goal for Siphon Site D was to create a level in which the player could access all enemy lanes with a minimal amount of travel time. To pull this off, a large focus had to be placed on player paths and how the player reaches important points on the map.
A compact map creates a number of issues, though. To make the level work well, you have to add more height so the lanes can remain separated and ultimately more engaging for the player. This is a bit of a double-edged sword, as adding more height limits the player’s ability to reach every path quickly.
To account for this, the level has a corkscrew shape that funnels downward toward the main objective. No matter where players are in the level, they can jump down and defend the objective in a matter of seconds. Pipes also allow easy access to every lane as well as the sub-objective and many of the trap triggers. Additionally, the pipes give the player a safe place to spawn and provide a fun vantage point for ranged characters.
From their conception, layouts are designed with a particular theme in mind and the architecture, objectives, environmental traps and overall layout must all adhere to this theme. The above picture is from the whiteboxing stage, where a level is essentially roughed out. Even then, key visual elements are in place, such as the lighting that only illuminates the most important spots on the map.
After the gameplay passes have been finished on our end, the maps are handed off to the Diaz brothers who do most of the art implementation. They use 2D and 3D art from our talented teams and turn our whiteboxed levels into the beautiful maps you see in the game.
Readability, or the ability for a player to instantly understand what’s happening, is a key focus in the process of building levels for Dungeon Defenders II. Included in this is the ability to clearly see enemies from more points in the level, which is illustrated in the picture above. Notice how the lane to the right curves instead of remaining flat. This allows players at the bottom of the map to see and shoot enemies in lanes above them.
In the final picture below, you can see the culmination of these ideas: The pipes that allow more direct access, the bright beam of light shining on the main objective, the patches of light that highlight key points, and the overall theme expressed through the layout and the art.
Overall, I feel the map for Siphon Site D was a success in creating a fun, engaging level within a relatively confined space.
So where does this map take place? Why is Siphon Site D important? Stay tuned to learn more.
Want to win a seat on the Defense Council and play this level for yourself? Answer the following question in the comments below: “Why do you think our Defenders must protect Siphon Site D?”
Thought you could get rid of me so easily? Think again, Defenders.
Starting today, I’m back at Trendy Entertainment! I’ve rejoined the community team as their fearless (and oh-so-humble) leader. My job is more behind-the-scenes now, but rest assured that you’ll still find me in the various realms of our community.
I am stunned by how much Trendy has changed in the past six months. When I visited the studio last week, the atmosphere was incredibly positive. During a company-wide presentation, various designers, artists and programmers stood before the team and shared what they were working on. There is now a clear passion and attachment to Dungeon Defenders II. I could tell that this was the Dungeon Defenders sequel the team and I want to be working on.
This reinvigorated spirit has spread through every department, including the community team. Our biggest goal is to help rekindle the strong developer/community interactions that made the DD1 community so memorable. Expect to see more of that in the coming months.
If you need me, you can contact me several ways:
I can’t wait to take back Etheria. You have my sword, Defenders.
Until next time,
P.S. Answer the following question in the comments below for your chance to win a Defense Council seat: “What community issues would you like to see fixed or improved?”
Greetings Defenders, and welcome to this month’s QA Column: QA Bugstravaganza![working title] We’ve got an exciting and hilarious bug for you today!
When we discovered this bug, one of my personal favorites, we’d just finished a test for the Council members. As soon as we booted up the game and prepared to start on our normal daily tasks, we spawned into the map and were met with quite possibly one of the silliest bugs we’ve ever seen:
When choosing the Apprentice, everyone was met with what could only be called a “monstrosity,” or more accurately, a fusion of the Huntress and Apprentice now lovingly known as the “Apprentress.” This model combination led to some hilarious results as you can see from the video above, with the Apprentress firing off her awesome Cyclone and Mana Bomb. The Huntress and Apprentice weren’t alone in this strange splicing treatment, however, as the “Monktress” had his/her day in the sun, too. This Monk had all of the Huntress’ abilities and, as if that wasn’t enough, had also stolen the Squire’s sword and managed to make it float beside him.
After everyone in the office had a good laugh, a fix was quickly found and our Heroes were fused no longer. Many screenshots were taken, though, so whenever someone needs a pick-me-up, this bug never disappoints.
So there you have it: This month’s best bug. Let us know what you think about our weird Hero fusions in the comments, and what you believe would be the funniest accidental combination of Heroes! Also, if you think you can create a better title than QA Bugstravaganza, we’re taking suggestions!
Pathing is one of the fundamental elements of gameplay in Dungeon Defenders II. It has a significant impact on how a level feels and plays, and the process of building these paths is an important part of any Dungeon Defenders II level. Because this is a complex topic, there’s a lot I can’t cover in one post, so if you want to hear more, be sure to let me know in the comments below.
When creating paths, I typically start with a global concept: What sort of place am I building? A sewer? A town? An interdimensional fortress? The type of setting has a big influence on how I visualize the space.
In many cases, I make a bullet list of visual or geometric components I’d like to include, such as a large pipe system traversing the map. Then I create a lane flow diagram. This is just a quick sketch of squiggly arrows leading from the spawn point to the objective. This sketch lets me experiment with various configurations until I get something interesting, like a way for lanes to cross each other vertically.
After I’m happy with the lane flow graph, I plot out how the space actually fits together. At this point I’ve done some work in the editor to visualize the space in three dimensions.
Before I block out the geometry of a level, I run my sketches through the following checklist:
There are also elements I try to avoid:
Once that’s done, I move on to the full construction of the geometry, after which I’ll run around the space for a couple of hours and visualize the gameplay. This leads to lots of smaller changes where I double check jump distances, visibility, and movement times. I also do a pass to ensure that the spatial relationships between lanes are clear.
When I’m done, I have a space that I feel is fun to move through, even before any gameplay is put into it.
Which maps do you feel had the best pathing in DD1? Let us know what you think in the comments below for your chance to win a Defense Council seat!