As 2013 comes to an end, we’re already feeling the icy chill of winter here at Trendy. I had to take out my winter coat to endure the frigid 65 degree weather. And that’s not even counting the cow blanket that permanently warms my office chair!
We’re going to take a detailed look at this past year in review in January, but for now here’s a brief summary:
In addition to sweeping gameplay changes from the MOBA, Dungeon Defenders II has also changed artistically in the past year. Our focus on a mobile release has diminished, and this has given us the opportunity to explore a greatly increased technical budget. Through this change we’ve experienced fun, artistic freedoms that just weren’t possible before.
The team has been cranking away on one of our most recent areas, currently referred to as “The Ruins.” We’re clever like that. Normally when creating a new map, the game designers supply the art team with a written description of the area, then the magic-wielding concept artists turn words into a fully realized image! If this were 1692 Salem, they’d probably have to go into hiding. Fortunately, progressive as our modern society is, they are generally encouraged in their conjuring arts.
In the case of The Ruins, circumstances worked out a little differently. The area had already made its way through level design before enough concept paintings were completed to inform what the map should really be.
A wave of kobolds just spawned. You killed their brothers and sisters, and now they want revenge.
They sprint toward your blockades like a ravenous pack of wolves. You catch one last look of terror in their eyes before an explosion rocks your world. When the dust clears, you look for your beloved defenses. They’re gone. Your beautiful blockade children are gone.
A new wave of kobolds appears. You have a choice: Stand and fight or rebuild your defenses. You start to rebuild. Slowly. Oh so slowly. You can’t do anything else. And then you hear it. A loud, persistent scream. It starts off faint. But it gets louder. Closer. The blockade is almost complete. The top of the wall is coming into existence when BOOM. You’re blown to smithereens, and the blockade disappears.
We don’t want you to ever make the choice between repairing and death again. Building defenses should add to the fun of combat, not inhibit it. With Dungeon Defenders II, we took a closer look at what was and wasn’t working, and how we could better achieve one of our pillars: Tower Defense, Action, and Role-Playing working together seamlessly.
In the first game, defense placement was jarring. It left heroes vulnerable during combat, and it typically involved more pre-planning than strategizing on the fly.
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!
Etheria At War
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.
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.