Welcome to this month’s QA Bug Blog: Let’s Go Bughawks! [WORKING TITLE]. When enemies aren’t barreling their way to your core, they like to kick back, relax and have some fun. We were able to capture one of these rare moments, and so we present to you Etheria’s hottest new dance craze: The Javelin Thrower Boogie!
We’ve talked about the process of building playable areas, and we’ve shown you how we bring them to life with kismet. But what about the world beyond the playable area? How do we create those epic vistas in the distance in our DD2 maps?
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.
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.
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.”
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.