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Our Big Announcement!

Posted by dunkelza in Studio Updates, 01 November 2017 · 12,293 views

Our Big Announcement!

Hey Descenters,

 

For awhile now, we’ve been hinting at some exciting news that we couldn’t yet share with you. Well, now we’re going to tell you about it!

 

 

Way back when we started this project, we had two big goals in mind:
  • Give Descent the full, modern, high-quality rebirth it deserves
  • Do it in the “Indie” spirit, with devs and fans working together to make the best game possible

 

We let number 2 get in the way of number 1.

 

As we told you over the summer and when we pulled back from Steam Early Access, we found ourselves spending way too much time supporting the game-in-progress as if it were a live product. This stretched out our timeline way beyond where we wanted it to be- and time equals money. Wingman and Stormwind started going without pay. The rest of us followed- but we kept working full-time on the project because of our commitment to bringing back Descent.

 

We crunched the numbers and realized that without a distribution partner, it would take us at least another two or three years to finish the game we described in the Kickstarter, with folks working for the most part for free.

 

We needed a partner.

 

Not just any partner, but someone with that Indie spirit. Someone who understands the importance of gamers and shares our vision for Descent’s renaissance...

 

Someone like Little Orbit.

 

You might have heard about Little Orbit a few months back when they stepped in as developers to finish Unsung Story. These guys are in the trenches as devs, they care about gamers, and they also have a publishing arm.

 

Little Orbit is providing resources to help us finish the game much faster. They’re making it possible to go beyond a single-player prologue to build our full storyline campaign! They’re porting the PC version to XBox One and Playstation 4 to bring Descent to a new generation. Plus, they’re making it possible for us to boost up the graphics and reach for that AAA experience we really want you to have!

 

Together we’ve developed a schedule that gets this game in your hands a heck of a lot sooner than if we’d tried to go it alone. When? That’s Little Orbit’s tale to tell, but keep your eyes peeled for an announcement at one of the big 2018 conventions.

 

We are still the lead developers on Descent: Underground, we’re still in the driver’s seat creatively, and if you’ve been following us on BrightLocker, you’ve seen that we’re still involving gamers like you in the game-making process. If you’ve already bought the game in early access or as a crowdfunding backer, you’ll still get it. The goal hasn’t changed, but now that goal is more clearly in sight.

 

Thank you for your patience and support on this journey. Together, you, we, and Little Orbit are reigniting the flame of Descent and we absolutely can’t wait to share the full game with you!

 

-The Team



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Studio Update for Sept. 29, 2017

Posted by dunkelza in Announcements, 29 September 2017 · 4,972 views

Studio Update for Sept. 29, 2017

Check out our latest updates on BrightLocker.com to find out
the latest news and happenings!
Read the update here!

 

Also, we are delisting the game from early access to focus on
our storyline campaign. Read more here.



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Delisting from Early Access

Posted by dunkelza in Release Notes - Production, 29 September 2017 · 495 views

Delisting from Early Access

Hey there, Descenters,

 

We want to thank you for coming along with us on this journey and for all of your playtesting feedback in early access. We very much appreciate your support and your trust as we finish the storyline campaign for our upcoming official release. In order to make that release happen sooner, we are taking the game off of Steam Early Access to focus on implementing single-player, tech trees, and the other cool features we’ve talked about.

 

This was a tough decision and the deciding factor was our commitment to you. We’ve found that for a small team, early access requires a tremendous time investment that slows down the development cycle. We want to speed the game-making process back up, which requires dedicating our time to creating new content rather than supporting a work-in-progress as if it were a finished game. This means we aren’t planning to update our Production environment until around the time of our official release. However, if you’ve already bought the game, you’ll still be able to play the current build while we work to finish the game.

 

You can continue to follow along with us on BrightLocker.com, where we are posting regular updates. It is also the only place we are continuing to offer early access as an option. As we mentioned this summer, we are focusing most of our communications on BrightLocker to save time for development. We understand that stepping back from early access is unusual. However, we wouldn’t take this step unless it were the best and most efficient way for us to deliver the gaming experience we are all dreaming of.

 

Thank you for your continued support,
-The Team



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Movement, Mass, and Mice... in 3211!

Posted by dunkelza in Release Notes - Proving Grounds, 07 April 2017 · 1,816 views

Movement, Mass, and Mice... in 3211!

Hey Undergrounders & Alpha Backers!
We have a very, very important set of changes for you to test!
We are experimenting with new movement numbers to add a feeling of weight and smoother turning for mouse users.

 

In addition this should help with dogfighting, especially 1v1.

 
Please test this as soon as you can and tell us what you find in this Feedback Thread.
Thank you!
-The Team

 

Build 3211 is a hotfix for 3207 that made some fixes.
Build 3207 is a hotfix for 3198 that adjusted the movement again and made other changes.
Build 3198 is a hotfix for 3196 that adjusted the movement numbers back toward the original values.

 

Things to Test:

  • MOVEMENT -
    • Rotational acceleration has been increased.
    • Translational acceleration has been decreased.
    • If you play with a mouse, we recommend making sure Mouse Inertia is enabled (Settings [Gear] > Controls > Advanced Options).
  • SURVIVAL -
    • We have removed the flypaper from some of the mining rocks that was causing some bots to get stuck.
    • Bots now all self-destruct at the end of a stage.
  • TRAINING -
    • Improvements to flow.
    • Fixes to certain objectives that could be prematurely completed and block further progress.
  • MULTIPLAYER MENU should now notice if there is no match of the selected type.
  • DOOR FRAMES - Square frames should now have collision again.



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Are shooter games stuck in the mud?

Posted by dunkelza in Dunkelza's Campfire, 15 March 2017 · 4,735 views

Are shooter games stuck in the mud?

Ever since the earliest first-person shooter (FPS) games in the 1990s, the majority of shooters chained gamers to the ground. From Wolfenstein 3D up to recent AAA blockbusters, "boots on the ground" was the name of the game. But does it really have to be that way?

 

 

Attached Image: 20170314-BlogDunk_OldFPS.png

 

Way back in 1994, Descent exploded onto the scene as the world's first fully-3D shooter. While games like Doom only simulated 3D, Descent rendered a completely three-dimensional world. Its designers made use of this by encouraging the player to move in every direction- what fighter jocks call "six degrees of freedom" (6DoF).

 

Attached Image: 20170314-BlogDunk_OldDescent.png

 

Maps hid secret areas above and below the player's expected path. Enemies might suddenly spring out from a hole in the floor or ceiling. Hardcore shooter fans know the value of having your "head on a swivel". Descent built on that skill and dialed up the action to 11!

 

But it didn't last. Despite two Descent sequels and a host of 6DoF copycats, shooters went back to ground pounding by the early 2000s. Industry executives preferred to play it safe, making derivative products that didn't challenge gamers to develop their skills in new directions. Sticking to a flat game also made shooters cheaper to develop, which was good for the big publishers' bottom lines. Unfortunately, it didn't lead to a lot of great new game ideas.

 

Attached Image: 20170314-BlogDunk_daikatana.png

 

For years, industry watchers have suggested that gamers, especially hardcore shooter fans, were becoming bored with "rinse-and-repeat" gameplay. Player feedback and studies by game design psychologists lent more and more credence to the idea that gamers prefer new challenges as they gain skill and proficiency at a style of game. As home to some of the most intense action in all of gaming, FPS games stand at the cutting edge of that skill curve.

 

Fast forward to 2017 and we're now seeing a renaissance in full-freedom games like Descent. Even giant publishers like EA have begun to dip their toes in the 6DoF pool, adding zero-gravity levels and verticality to big-name shooters like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Mass Effect: Andromeda. From spacesuits and jump jets to starfighters and giant robots, modern gaming is blasting full-bore back into six degrees of freedom.

 

Attached Image: 20170314-BlogDunk_COD.png

 

And the granddaddy of them all, Descent?

 

It's back, baby!

 

Kickstarted by loyal fans and now in active development with players, Descent: Underground is rebooting the franchise with all the insane action of the originals, plus modern advanced like role-based team multiplayer and support for all three of the major VR headsets.

 

Attached Image: Descent-SurvivalAction1-Logo-360.png

 

While 6DoF games like Descent: Underground used to be solely the province of hardcore PC players, a quick look at crowds from last year's SXSW Gaming conference reveals its appeal to a diverse range of modern gamers. Also, a quick glance at the team behind the game reveals industry veterans who worked on classics like the Wing Commander series and Ultima Online.

 

 

When heavyweight indie developers and big-ticket publishers both start driving towards a particular style of gameplay, it's a sure sign that gaming is undergoing a paradigm shift. While ground pounders will likely stay with us even after real warfare moves to the stars, the future looks bright for full-freedom shooters.

 

So kick the mud off your boots and shake up your shooter with six degrees of freedom!



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Descent: Underground - Winter update

Posted by Wingman in Wingman's Blog, 10 December 2016 · 1,474 views

Descent: Underground - Winter update

Hello Descenters!

 

We just released a major update to Descent: Underground, with lots of goodies for you to enjoy. Things like Radar, auto-leveling, new cockpit and hud, and so much more - you can read all about it here.

 

Also, all of our ships now sport Ugly Sweaters for the holiday season, go to the forums and vote for the ugliest sweater, in addition, we have angry snowmen megas, ornamental prox mines, snow filled energy zones - well it is a veritable plethora of holiday spirit - but don't forget to shoot first and ask questions later.

 

Also, we need your help, some of the feedback we have been getting was about shield orb farming, and how after a kill the victor would run around filling up their shield indicator and forcing the new players to have a major task of killing them (because they would have all the goodies) so, as a test we removed the shield orb power ups in ONE map, Valor, and we want you to test it out and tell us what you think.

 

Currently our office is focused on Single-Player and the story, there will be a lot more of that coming up in the near future as we set the tone for the Universe - should be fun, more bots to fight, some evil corporations, and what? There are actually groups who think that people should be IN the cockpit, you don't say....!!!!!

 

A reminder that we will be closed the week after Christmas - but will still be in the game playing - so come join us and let's have some fun, shooting those hideous sweater clad ships.

 

We will also be launching on GOG this month and will be at 50% off on Steam and our website - a good time to pick up a copy and get your friends into the game - (yes yes, that is my marketing moment).

 

If you missed this week's Wingman's Hangar here it is in all of it's ....uh.....well....glory.

 

 

Also, every Friday after the show we play with everyone else and get your feedback - check out this week's Dev play here:

 

 

Thanks everyone for joining us on this adventure, help us spread the word, and 2017 will be a great year for our Universe.
All the best,

 

Wingman



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Descent: Underground builds open-source gaming depot

Posted by dunkelza in Press Releases, 09 September 2016 · 1,251 views

Descent: Underground builds open-source gaming depot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Descent: Underground builds open-source gaming depot

Austin, Texas – September 9, 2016Descendent Studios, makers of Descent: Underground, announced the open-source release of several Unreal Engine 4 plugins they developed for the game. The studio rolled out their GitHub repository on the heels of last week’s announcement that Descent: Underground won an Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) Fund grant from Razer. Descent: Underground was the first high-end action title to natively support all of the major desktop VR headsets: OSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.
 

 

“We use open-source tools and libraries in the development of Descent: Underground,“ said Descendent Studios' CTO, Jason “Stormwind” Spangler. “We wanted to give something back to the development community by making some of the code we've created available.”

 

Among the new open-source offerings for Unreal Engine 4 is “Blinken,” which adds support for color-changing peripherals like Razer’s Chroma line, AlienFX, Logitech G in both Blueprint and C++. Other plugins facilitate XMPP chat support, more robust configuration menus, and ping time displays. The repository also features contributions, additions, and fixes to a number of other open-source projects, such as the OSVR-Unreal plugin, nodervisor, discord-xmpp, and more. Descendent’s GitHub repository is available at https://github.com/DescendentStudios.

 

The Early Access version of Descent: Underground is available at http://www.descentunderground.com, Steam, and other online resellers. The game already features a number of multiplayer competitive and cooperative game modes, among them a horde-style “Survival” mode, and a tongue-in-cheek capture-the-flag mode called “Miner Mayhem”. Single-player “Survival” and “Vs. Bots” modes allow offline play in advance of the upcoming storyline campaign.

 

Descent: Underground is also bundled with the OSVR HDK2 VR headset now through Sept. 19, while stocks last at http://www.razerzone.com/store/hdk2.
Notes for editors About Descent: Underground
The officially-licensed prequel to the enormously successful Descent series of games, Descent: Underground combines first-person shooter action with six-degrees-of-freedom vehicular movement. Players take on the role of celebrity pilots commanding combat spacecraft in high-stakes battles for control of warren-like asteroid mines. Descent: Underground was one of 2015’s most successful Kickstarter projects and is scheduled for release later this year on PC, Mac, and Linux. More information is available on the company’s website at http://www.descentunderground.com.
About Descendent Studios
Descendent Studios, Inc. is an independent game development studio based in Austin, TX. The studio’s team includes several industry veterans who worked on titles such as Wing Commander, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Conquest Frontier Wars, Starlancer, Star Citizen, and Ultima Online.

 

Press Assets:
http://descendentstu...media-inquiries
(SXSW Gaming Expo VR demo video)

 

Contact: Keith McCormic
keith.mccormic@descendentstudios.com
9600 Escarpment Blvd. - Suite 745
Austin, TX 78749
Ph: 413-563-3746
Twitter: @DescentUground
###



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Road to SimPit - Behind the Scenes

Posted by Louhikarme in Louhikarme's Modeling Madness, 07 September 2016 · 1,774 views
Descent Underground, 3d modeling and 2 more...

Road to SimPit - Behind the Scenes

In its current form, Descent: Underground uses unmanned drone ships (for now, more on that in Single player). For VR purposes though, it is best practices to have a cockpit.
From the idea side, things were easy, just use the existing hud and make a cockpit/Simpit around it. However, our existing HUD is a single plane that’s attached to the player's camera view. Having a 3D model just slapped on the front doesn't not look good when you would turn your head in VR mode. Without VR you could have pulled this off, though.

 
It comes down to perspective, and when you have single flat plane that houses all the information, you need to get sneaky and cheat. That means, you need 3D objects that don’t skew when you turn around and yet look normal to the eye. That is why the first iteration of the cockpit looks rather wonky from outside. The back wall also was something that was way too big in retrospect (more on that later).
Initial planning included lots of reference pictures from existing cockpits, bomber turrets, etc. The process in itself was simple- first create a few different mockups of the would-be cockpit layout. Then, I'd show them to the team and get feedback of what worked and what needed changing... maybe.

 

So, once there were a few iterations and variations, we agreed upon a very simplistic approach that wouldn't obscure the player's view. The key was to give screen space as much as possible. Even then, it took a couple more variations to come up something that would still look good. On the texture side there were also a few alterations. The first one was way too bland and didn't have depth!

 

Even once this one was finished, we knew this was always going to be a placeholder cockpit. We are still going to break the HUD down into separate pieces and have a much better one...

 

Behold the Simpit v2:
Attached Image: cockpit_v2_9.png
Now to start off with, this was that the HUD elements themselves wouldn’t be changed, or at least very little. So this time around I was able to approach this like screen panels. I made a 3D model around the HUD elements matching the size of them. I had placeholders for those and started moving the panels in their places in real 3D and this time I had the help of the Miner as a reference for the size and placement.
As we are pushing towards a working radar, its base now needed to be more prominent in the HUD. Once again, I made a couple versions and the back wall got more attention to be more like a cockpit. The screen stayed though, something for people to snap their neck trying to look at.

 

Once that was done, I moved to create a rig for it so it would work in the world properly. In this case the rig is pretty simple, however there were a few for programming things to do. I had to make sure the panel placement’s was set up so it would be easier for Tyler to position everything, including the radar and reticle points.

 

Attached Image: cockpit_v2_8.png

 

In both versions, the little details were painted using a normal map, since adding bolts and stuff that way is faster than actually making the geometry for them. I just needed to plan ahead on what will be geometry and what I would paint. In this case, since the player’s head is the same distance from everything, it works better with a normal map.

 

Once the actual model was ready, textured, and pushed into the editor, it was then time to hand it to Tyler. He's going to do his programming magic and actually add the HUD elements and make it all work.

 

But wait, things don't end there!

 

Small things matter, things that make you think "something is off but I can't really put my finger on it". If they are there, you know things are right. So here is a really early prototype version of having the glass fracture when you get hit. I can't stress enough that this is very early, and might not even make it in the game if we see it hurting framerates too badly. So, the very first view on the prototype:

 

Thanks for being a part of Descent: Underground with us!

 

-Louhikarme



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Achievements, Kickstarter link-ups and other topics...

Posted by elfindreams in Elfin's Dreams, 04 August 2016 · 3,193 views

Achievements, Kickstarter link-ups and other topics...

So this week you might see me as a guest on the Wingman's Hangar show.... talking about Achievements so I thought I should resurrect this old blog and put some more information out there for the people who would rather read or additional information for those that did watch the show.

 

Before I do that, just a few small announcements / reminders.

 

Wingman's Hangar airs on Friday at 11am Central and you can watch it at https://www.twitch.t...scendentstudios or afterwards on Youtube at https://www.youtube....ugOmyubzn6lzPPQ. You will even see me on it this week putting the K back in quality.

 

Those 912 of you who were Kickstarter backers and still haven't registered an account with us, you really should and join us in the game. The game has been making some huge leaps and the new survival and miner mayhem modes are a lot of fun! As a reminder, if you haven't linked your Kickstarter account, please go out to https://descendentst...m/backer-portal and fill out your information and you should be able to join us in the game. You can download the game or link your account with Steam to get it delivered there by going to the downloads area here: https://descendentst...ts&page=du-game.

 

Also, Keith "dunkelza" McCormic has been busy lately and as a preview of what is to come check out this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JNIBV70. The other shirts will be up soon and a little bird indicated that some time in the future things other than shirts will be available too.... so keep an eye out for a blog post from him Posted Image

 

Now onto some boring details about achievements.

 

We have put in place an achievement system that activates achievements after the match is completed. So when you exit a match you should see any achievements you haven't had activated before activate. There are four categories of achievements we are looking at currently:

  • Achievements based on awards here on the site- Right now the only one of these we have active and plan to have active is the Steam Link achievement which you can earn by simply linking your account with Steam and completing a game. Easy achievement available now if you are looking for one for kicks.
  • Achievements based on medal criteria- These are currently the easiest for us to implement and are going through the art cycle now and you should start to see these pop up as the art is completed for them. These activate based on total number of medals earned over a career. Right now they only focus on medals earned after a specific point earlier this week when we added environment tracking to the medal tracking code and forward so there are very few people who have earned these yet. There are 5 active at the time of this post (all based on the Kill Streak medal) and more to come as the art is finalized.
  • Achievements based on more complex criteria- These require custom code in the API to detect and they will start showing up once we are done with the medal criteria achievements. They are based on more custom type criteria like "50 different medals earned over the players' career".
  • The Mystery achievement- If you want to know more about this one, watch this week's Wingman's Hangar but be prepared to be underwhelmed.
One thing to note about the achievements that is important is that these are all still in testing and while we are finalizing these we will be potentially wiping user statistics and resetting people's stats. We have no intention of retroactively removing achievements from people but be aware that achievements might appear and disappear as we test and review and decide what the final set of achievements will be. In short bear with us as we are under construction.

 

Either way, enjoy and I hope to see you all underground!

 

-Elfindreams



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Designers vie for eyes at charity drone paint-off

Posted by dunkelza in The History Of Things To Come, 05 July 2016 · 1,200 views

Designers vie for eyes at charity drone paint-off

Yù Fashion
Designers vie for eyes at charity drone paint-off
By Lucy Patten - Friday, June 30, 2316
AQUARIUS STATION - In the lead up to this year’s Zodiac Fashion Week on Aquarius Station, designers whet our appetites for new fashions with stylish new drone looks for the 2317 Sky Cup season. Originally a way for up-and-coming designers to draw attention to their fashion collections, this so-called “Drone Fashion Week” has become a regular charity event, attracting even top names to compete.

 

This year, designers were given a stock “Typhoon” drone similar to the one favored by Miranda “Merciless” Denaro of the Pyromancers. Event sponsor Aisha outfitted each of the twenty-eight teams with a complete studio for the four-day decorating phase.

 

Today, designers unveiled their creations to throngs of guests and Fashion’s most sought after critics. We spoke with two of them- Jared Li-Kepler and Natasha O’Donnell to get their top picks.

 

Yù: Let’s start with your favorite design from a relative unknown. Who should we be keeping an eye on as we head into Fashion Week?

 

Li-Kepler: I don’t know about you, Natasha, but I was really blown away by that green checkered skin from Jack Babangida. Choosing to pair it with a green team color might have been a bit over the top, but the overall design was daring and bold.
Posted Image

 

O’Donnell: That was a nice piece, but not my favorite from a new designer. To me, Brittany Silva’s honeycomb pattern was perfectly sweet. We rarely see designers willing to embrace controversial subjects, and her attempt to call attention to the endangered honeybees felt daring and poignant to me.
Posted Image

 

Yù: It’s always wonderful to see new artists competing in the big shows, maybe even knocking a few of the major players out of the running. Who do you think is ready to take a fall? Let’s hear about someone who you think should’ve stayed home.

 

O’Donnell: Kessel.

 

Li-Kepler: I agree. We've known for awhile that the Accardo brand has been in decline, slipping from haute couture to couture over the last few years. This season, though, it’s clear that Kessel’s acquisition of Accardo in 2313 was just a marketing move. They’ve clearly stunted this once-great design house’s creativity.

 

O’Donnell: Absolutely. I don’t know if this was an attempt to distract shareholders from Kessel’s troubling earnings reports or just a misguided attempt to make people think their drones are stylish. I mean, look at it. It’s the same Kessel colors, no interesting patterns or anything. A total waste of Accardo designers’ talents.
Posted Image

 

Yù: Ouch. Somehow I don’t think they’ll be invited back next season. By the way, if you want more info on Kessel and their business, check out Yù Financial. Okay, the big moment… What was your favorite? If you had to pick best-in-show by yourself, who would it be?

 

Li-Kepler: I think I’d have to go with the “Dark Neon” design from Castellazzi. If I was taking my drone out for a night on the town, that’s exactly how I’d want it to look. Sleek, sexy black with sultry red geometric patterns. I want to marry that drone!
Posted Image

 

O’Donnell: (Chuckles) I know how you feel! It’s a very pretty ship, but I think it would be more of a one-night stand for me. If I was going to settle down with one of these designs, it would have to be Nicollier’s “Thundernight”. I loved the stormy paint scheme and that blue! Wow!
Posted Image

 

Yù: Those are both fantastic works of art. Thank you so much for joining us. I hope you will come back and give us your thoughts after the official winner is revealed.

 

(Update 21:17)

 

Yù: Welcome back! We’ve seen the official announcements and Prasada took the top prize with this tiger-striped beauty. Could you give us your reactions?
Posted Image

 

Li-Kepler: Absolutely a stunning piece! I was initially put off by their choice to pair it with a purple team color, but…

 

O’Donnell: (interrupts) it was a perfect contrast. It made the carrot tones really pop!

 

Li-Kepler: Very true. When I’d seen “Bengalistic” before the show, they were using different room lighting. On the runway, oh my goodness! A very well-deserved win.

 

O’Donnell: Well-deserved indeed. I’ve even heard rumors that Prasada will be unveiling a matching swimwear collection on Tuesday!

 

Yù: Well, sign me up for that! Thank you so much for your insights. We look forward to having you back next week for the human fashions!



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Week In Review (5/27/2016)

Posted by BlueDog in BlueDog's Blog, 27 May 2016 · 973 views

Week In Review (5/27/2016)

 
Hey Descenters,
How's tricks?
Don't look now but co-op is very nearly ready and will be published soon -- very soon for those of you in the Underground. On top of that the dumpste.... err uh Goliath has some additional capabilities. Mining will become very important in single player as well as some multi-player games.
Be sure to read the patch notes Undergrounders, but here's a few highlights:
  • Ships have a bit more health
  • As mentioned above, Co-op
  • Both the smart and homing missiles have had a few tweaks
  • And, of course, more!
Wingman's Hangar is here:

 

 

Sadly, no studio snapshot this week Posted Image
Have a good one Descenters!
Cheers,
BlueDog



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Proving Grounds Build 2065 - Featuring the FUSION CANNON

Posted by Pixley in Pixley's Cleverly Named Blog, 07 April 2016 · 1,472 views

Proving Grounds Build 2065 - Featuring the FUSION CANNON

Greetings, Undergrounders!

 

We need your help! We have some things to test out and you guys are wonderful for helping out!

 

Proving Grounds is getting updated today with a few changes we think are pretty cool. Skylab has undergone a performance pass, ping now shows up in the Match Browser, and, oh yeah, the FUSION CANNON is in!

 

 

 

NEW STUFF & Patch Notes (2065)

  • FUSION CANNON - this super-powerful primary weapon releases bolts of energy directly from your drone's fusion reactor. Charge it up to increase damage, but charge too much and you'll start taking damage from the excess energy. And don't think you're safe behind someone else if one's aimed at you, because it goes straight through ships, dealing massive damage on the way through. Look for it when flying around Skylab!
  • SKYLAB PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS - Skylab turned out to be too much for VR, so we've made some optimizations to make it run more smoothly. Players on lower-end machines should also see an improvement!
  • IN-GAME FPS COUNTER - To make things easier on folks when evaluating performance (such as with Skylab and VR), we've added an optional FPS counter to the HUD (right next to the ping). You can enable it by checking the box in the Gameplay Options sub-menu.
  • MATCH BROWSER FIXES - Your ping to the game server now shows up in the Match Browser. Also, the "time remaining" column has been fixed, so now you can see how much time is left in a match before you join it. Finally, the Match Browser's default channel has been changed to "General" (thanks, tsa!).
  • Various minor bug fixes and improvements.
Known Issues:
  • Combat, Graphics, and Sound
    • The explosion particle effect for destructibles took some much needed holiday in Rio and is currently visiting Mr. Drax.
    • The Drone Bay has too many lights and so some people are getting poor performance while admiring their ships.
    • Objects near the corners of the screen can experience "barrel distortion" because of the way that 3D objects are mapped to a 2D screen. Using the Field-of-View slider can help with this in some cases.
    • Our guard bots in "Vs. Bots" mode did not pass the Drone Efficiency Recruitment Protocol and need more education.
    • Collisions are more sticky than they are supposed to be, sometimes causing ships to catch on each other.
  • Launching, Installing, and Platforms
    • Installer & Launcher need to be run as administrator on Windows.
    • Streaming software may need to run as administrator to capture video.
    • Standalone (non-Steam) launcher not correctly self-updating on Linux and Macintosh.
    • Uninstalling & reinstalling the launcher may not properly clear settings.
    • Steam Overlay doesn't work on Mac and Linux.
    • Part of the ship selection panel in the Drone Bay can get cut off on 4:3 displays. Selecting a 16:9 resolution can sometimes help with this.
  • Input
    • In VR, drop-down menus may not respond properly.
    • Some menus are not interacting with the VR head-look pointer correctly.
    • The axis configuration menu is somewhat clunky and uses too-technical language (power changes the curvature of the sensitivity curve, factor scales the sensitivity curve)
    • Linux appears to not be detecting joysticks in many cases.
    • Many joysticks do not yet have a default mapping and need to be configured manually.
    • Controller customization issues are still being experienced by some users. Control customization needs a "reset to defaults" button.
    • If you are having mouse issues, please make sure that your Mouse axes and sensitivities are NOT inverted and reversed at the same time.
    • Multiple joysticks of the same model cannot currently be distinguished by the game.
  • Matches
    • Private matches can launch even if some players are marked "not ready".
    • Auto-start timer in the match lobby doesn't yet display. Keep an eye on the status shown above for an indication as to how soon your match will start.
    • There may be a wait for matches at times. While our all-backer player base is much larger than the beta pool, player play times can vary.
    • In a match lobby, gamepad users sometimes cannot exit the lobby using the gamepad.
    • All servers are currently in the U.S., other locations are planned.
General Information
If you need to get the installer, CLICK HERE for instructions.
This test is public and we are happy if people want to share on Twitch and YouTube. In the event that something is running poorly or breaks while you're streaming, please let your viewers know that this is an Early Access build that you are playtesting. It is NOT the final retail release.
If you do plan to stream, you may need to run your streaming software as an administrator.
Our game manual is a series of forum posts:
http://descendentstu...46-game-manual/
If you have any questions about downloading or playing the game, that's the best place to check for a quick answer.

 

Bug Reporting
Please report bugs in our bug reporting forum with as much specificity as possible. If you can provide screenshots, that's awesome!
We've also compiled a list of known issues so that you can skip those when reporting bugs.

 

Fly safe!
-Descendent Studios



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Navigating the Minefield & Infinity Battlescape

Posted by Designopotamus in Designopotamus' Blog, 16 November 2015 · 4,630 views
design, weapons, proving grounds and 1 more...

Navigating the Minefield & Infinity Battlescape

Howdy, Descenters,

 

You may or may not have noticed that there hasn't been a Design Underground popping up on your favorite YouTube Channel today...

 

<- I can only blame this little guy for making life so difficult.

 

"Now, Rob," you may ask, "How hard can it be to put something into the game that just sits there and blows up when you get near it?"

 

Well, let me tell you: there's a long road between a simple concept and a full in-game implementation. There are a lot of moving parts that go into getting a fairly lightweight object into the game and having it cooperate with all of the other systems. Let's see if I can break down for you the whole story of the proximity mine. (I guess that this is sort of a written version of Design: Underground.)

  • We had to assemble a gadget blueprint that combines the explosion, the audio, the in-game behavior, the collision detection sphere, and the actual art. The blueprint also had to provide proper launch behavior so that it didn't hit you - and explode on you - the second you launched it.
  • We had to take the splash damage functionality - originally in the missile class - and pull it out into a weapon function library to be accessible to all objects.
That's all pretty straightforward. Now we have a bomb that deploys and explodes when you go near it. Done, right? Just need to test it....

 

But wait - no ships have proximity mines on them. So let's add proximity mine loads to each ship as our new default. (Some ships, based on the original balance calculations, will have mines and laser grids, but some only have proxies.) That led to a lot more steps than you might think...

  • We originally had only one gadget - the laser grid - and ships didn't have an idea of a default gadget selected. Add that. To all of the ships.
  • Like the laser grid, we don't want your initial loadout of mines to drop when you explode - just the extra ones. So we needed a base count for each gadget type (in addition to the current count and the max count). Get those added to all of the ships as well.
  • Once there was a default gadget and a set of mines on each ship, it's testing ti... oh, wait: they don't show up when you launch the game.... Huh?
  • It turns out that some of the functionality was coded with the assumption that the starting gadget was always the laser grid. Rip that out and make everything generalized:
  • Make functions for getting a ship's stats based on the gadget type passed in. (Count, max, base.) Add this to the gadget component class which is attached to the ships.
  • Make a function for setting the current amount of any given gadget, based on the selection passed in.
  • Change the initial ship spawn behavior to get a current count of all gadgets and a default gadget and set the correct count and image on the HUD.
Almost there... At least it's testable now, and a few tweaks get the behavior working well pretty quickly. Awesome! Now switch to my laser grids to make sure nothing got broken on those while I was messing around with the base gadgets. Oh, crap - nothing happened. Phase 3....
  • Get key bindings set up for gadget switching. (Note to self to let John know to tweak the launcher to open up that control category behind the scenes on the next launcher.)
  • Go into the gadget component class and set up the functions for actually switching based on the key/button press.
    • Make sure that the forward and backward buttons work. Forwards and backwards. (Duh!)
    • Just for completeness' sake, make switching skip any gadget category for which you have no ammo. If all of your gadgets are gone, don't switch at all.
    • Research odd behavior and learn that in Blueprint, returning out of a loop does NOT stop the loop. On purpose. WTF? Fix that. Tell the other programmers. Make them sad.
    • Add a sound for switching.
  • Hook that up in the flight HUD. And the flight player controller. And the main HUD interface. And the main HUD. (Yes, there are that many parts for making the HUD communicate with the game and you.)
Hooray! I can switch gadgets! And they both still work. (Gotta check that, too.) Now I just need to be able to pick them up. Fortunately, there's already a power-up built for the proximity mine, so that should be simple. Just add a few to the test map and pick them up, and it's time to move on to some other feature.

 

But it doesn't work.

  • Go back into the HUD and base ship code and rip out a few more places that assumed that laser grids were all you wanted to know about.
  • Make the HUD not change your gadget count if you're not picking up your currently equipped gadget.
  • Make sure the power-up Blueprint itself is also using your gadget count, and caps you at the max. (Good thing that I made those functions in the gadget component to quickly get your counts.)
  • Actually hook up the correct image on the HUD for the prox mine. (Whoops.... missed that.)
Now I can pick up gadgets! Lay a few mines, blow them up, pick up some more mines... and I only get 1? But I told it to give me 4.
  • Make a base gadget pickup class to be the parent of laser grids and prox mine pickups, so I don't ever have to do this again.
  • Hook up that class to accept the ammo count from the base pickup class and pass that to the gadget component code that updates the FPC that updates the HUD...
  • Check that the count of the prox power-up in the test map is 4, just to be sure.

 

Back in the game, lay some mines, blow them up, pick up some mines, lay them all down, make a magnificent chain reaction, wait for them to respawn...

 

Oh, wait. I didn't hook that up yet.

  • Teach the power-up manager about respawning different types of gadgets. (So many steps, and my fingers are tired...)
  • Teach the power-up manager how to properly drop excess gadgets when you die.
Now, at last, the gadgets can undergo the full circle of life in Descent: Underground. Although I'd still like to hook up auto-switching on gadgets and make them spawn in groups instead of singly, at least we can get this out there in the Proving Grounds to test how they change the game balance. (And they will...)

 

Wait... you can't access the Proving Grounds? But that's only one click away....

 

If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed the ride.

 

See you Underground,

 

Rob

 

Wait, what a Double BLOG? Yep, this is Wingman dropping by and gravy training on Rob's most excellent blog to say there is a space game that is in need of our support.

 

Battlescape Infinity is a passion project that will have hundreds of people flying around shooting each other IN SPACE, and it is indie, so heck yes, we backed this.
There are 3 days left, the guys are doing a great job over there, if you are looking to back another TRUE indie space game, this would be one that deserves your attention.

 

And we need more INDIE Space games - right? RIGHT? HECK YES WE DO !

 

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It is worth checking out - for sure.

 

Thanks for your continued support.

 

WM



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Release Notes 0.0.995a

Posted by dunkelza in Release Notes - Alpha, 15 October 2015 · 2,474 views

Release Notes 0.0.995a

We are opening up the "Alpha" test environment running Pre-Alpha build 995a.
This test is open to backers whose package rewards include Proving Grounds, Alpha, and BETA access and to members of The Underground.
If you need to get the installer, CLICK HERE for instructions.
This test is public and we are happy if people want to share on Twitch and YouTube. In the event that something is running poorly or breaks while you're streaming, please let your viewers know that this is an early Pre-Alpha that you are playtesting. It is NOT the final retail release.
If you do plan to stream, you may need to run your streaming software as an administrator.

Please note that the Proving Grounds environment is turned off for this test. We will bring it online again next time we need to test new features. Backers with access to the Proving Grounds environment also have access to the Alpha test environment.

 

General Information
Our game manual is a series of forum posts:
http://descendentstu...46-game-manual/
If you have any questions about downloading or playing the game, that's the best place to check for a quick answer.
We recommend voice chatting on the DS Official Unofficial Teamspeak server when playing or looking to set up a game.

 

Bug Reporting
Please report bugs in our bug reporting forum with as much specificity as possible. If you can provide screenshots, that's awesome!
We've also compiled a list of known issues so that you can skip those when reporting bugs.

 

Patch Notes

  • Mouse sensitivity has been reworked again (Player Feedback)
    • You may want to readjust your Sensitivity Factor in "Test Flight".
    • If you are having mouse issues, please make sure that your Mouse axes and sensitivities are NOT inverted and reversed at the same time.
  • Client-side Weapon Prediction is now active, you should see a lot fewer hanging lasers and missiles.
  • Hit indicator have been added to the HUD.
  • Damage taken indicator has been made more visible.
  • Sounds have been adjusted to focus on impacts to your ship.
  • Doors have been tweaked to open with more consistent speeds across door types.
  • More spawn points have been added to Apophis to help prevent spontaneous Wazerphoons.
  • Lava sounds have been added to Mobius.
  • The Mega Missile explosion is now more epic-looking.
  • Powerup pickup color flashes have been removed for adjustment.
  • Some missiles have been made larger so you can see them more easily.
  • Team killing now subtracts points from the killer, but not the team.
  • Keyboard respawn keys have been removed to prevent exploitation.
  • Minor tweaks and bug fixes.
Known Issues
  • Controller customization issues are still being experienced by some users.
    • Control customization needs a "reset to defaults" button.
    • Mouse controls were imparting drift on high-DPI mice, we are testing to see if this is fixed.
  • Installer & Launcher need to be run as administrator on Windows.
    • Streaming software may need to run as administrator to capture video.
  • Mac & Linux installer is not always setting correct POSIX permissions on the descent executable, requiring a "chmod +x" shell operation to correct.
  • Uninstalling & reinstalling the launcher may not clear settings.
  • Up/Down Arrow keys are mapped to a volume control and need to be freed up for players to map.
  • Most menus do not work correctly in VR or on gamepad controllers.
  • Players who die right before the end of the match may not see the score screen and may return to the start screen instead.
  • Players who die while in the <ESC> menu may not be able to reopen that menu until the game is restarted.
    • Using "Free Flight" mode to tweak control settings can help to avoid this until it's fixed.
  • Occasionally, in-game scoreboard can get stuck behind the HUD.
  • Players can sometimes still control a ship in the background at the end of a match.
  • Clicking "Drone Bay" on the end of match Score screen can return the player to the level for a brief time.
  • Laser levels 1 & 4 have art, levels 2 & 3 do not have their own bolts yet.
  • Control customization screen can get stuck if player dies while changing settings.
  • Some sounds are audible everywhere and need attenuation.
  • Shield and hull hit sounds and visual effects are not clear enough in many cases.
  • Some placeholder sound effects were accidentally replaced with a different set of placeholder sounds.
  • Matchmaking sometimes puts players into matches that are about to end.
  • Matchmaking sometimes creates lopsided matches.
  • Teams can become unbalanced if a player drops and rejoins the game before their player state is purged.
  • Team scores are negatively impacted by player departure.
  • Selecting your ship on death in VR requires a bit of work due to the way 3D widgets work - look directly at the ship you intend to fly next and click with the mouse, without moving the mouse itself
  • VR can sometimes stay stuck "on" after match ends, even though player goes back to Drone Bay.
  • The axis configuration menu is somewhat clunky and uses too-technical language (power changes the curvature of the sensitivity curve, factor scales the sensitivity curve)
  • The mid-game and endgame scoreboards do not have separate sections for teams.
  • All servers are currently in the U.S., other locations are planned.
  • Sometimes missiles may register as fired with the server but not appear on client machines.
  • There may be a wait for matches at times. While our alpha player base is much larger than the proving grounds, player play times can vary. Matches won't begin until they have at least 2 players, and will not add players if there are 8 players.
  • In free flight mode, weapons do not continue to fire if the trigger is held down.
  • Trichording is not working for some reason... DRILLSEY!
  • Collisions are more sticky than they are supposed to be, sometimes causing ships to catch on smooth surfaces.
Thank you for all your help!
We'll see you in the mines!
-Dunk



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"I'm ready for my closeup Mr. Wingman."

Posted by Viewmaster in Viewmaster's View, 03 September 2015 · 3,272 views

"I'm ready for my closeup Mr. Wingman."

Another week. Another episode of Wingman's Hangar. And now, it's time to get you on the show!

 

If you backed during our Kickstarter campaign with a pledge tier including a guest appearance on Wingman's Hangar (such as BE A LEGEND), it's time to step up.

 

If you're interested, have a webcam, mic, and Skype, head on over to this spiffy sign-up thread and give us your details. We'll coordinate a call date and time and get you on the show!

 

Even if you didn't pledge for a reward that includes a guest appearance, you can always submit a video question for FFFForum FFFFeedback. We love video questions!

 

AND IN OTHER NEWS...

 

Last night, we streamed some live gameplay using the most recent build we've tested with the Advisory Board!

 

If you haven't seen it yet, you can still watch it but be sure to fast forward to the 10 minute mark if you don't want to see us setting up:

http://www.twitch.tv...dios/v/14130636

 

Attached Image: 20150903-BlogVM-GameStreamPlayButton.PNG

 

Also, be sure to tune on Friday at 11 AM Central time for the latest episode of Wingman's Hangar:

 

http://www.twitch.tv/descendentstudios

 



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Tech Underground - Virtual Reality Edition!

Posted by Stormwind in Stormwind's Blog, 29 June 2015 · 8,027 views

Tech Underground - Virtual Reality Edition! Greetings Descendents!

Rob Irving's Design Underground with Rob Irving has taken the day off - giving a chance for Tech Underground to rise to the occasion!

Silliness aside, in this inaugural episode of Tech Underground I discuss Virtual Reality development in general and specifically in regards to Descent: Underground with Finn Staber, VR advocate extraordinaire and Programmer/Designer from fellow indie dev Portalarium (making Shroud of the Avatar).

(Please go easy on me - I'm new at speaking for more than a few minutes at a time on camera. For example, I need to stop saying "uh" so much!)



We continue to plow forward on our first vertical slice - the game engineering team has recently worked on the following:
  • Flight Mechanics continues to be worked on - integrating our flight model and UE4 physics and network replication is proving a fun challenge.
  • Shields, Armor, Hits, and Explosions are in - shields then armor takes damage, effects play, and ships blow up.
  • Basic HUD has been completed - showing shield and armor status, energy, ammo counts, and more.
  • Basic Anarchy Game Mode, Basic Login, and Drone Bay are almost done.
  • Build System - we continue work on our automated and continuous build system built upon the open source Buildbot.
Have any ideas for topics of future Tech Underground segments? Share them in the comments and we'll see what we can do!

Preparing for Descent,
- Jason

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Houston, we have Separation...

Posted by Fallarnon in Fallarnon's Web Development Blog, 22 June 2015 · 10,702 views

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Here we are again!

It seems like just the other day that I wrote my Launch Control blog, and just yesterday that we kicked the site live. (Without a corresponding Lift-Off blog, oops!) Since then, we've come a long way and just like a Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo missions to the moon, our website has stages. We have now entered the second stage.

When we launched the site back in March our needs were very specific, drive traffic to the Kickstarter and get our project funded. To this end there were a bunch of calls-to-action designed to drive traffic to the campaign. Happily, as you all know, we were successful in this and production of Descent: Underground is rolling along nicely.

Today, our community has different needs than it had when the campaign began and the changes we rolled out this week, along with the future changes we are working on, are designed to meet the needs of our growing community. Our entire Web Team has been hard at work developing an improved user experience for our community with John (elfindreams), Josh (Stealthguy), and Jarred (VoidSpider) developing out the back end functionality while I get to hog all the glory by making their work look pretty on the front end, all under the guidance of the one and only Jason 'Stormwind' Spangler. It's a real team effort every time we push new features to the site so if you see these guys around be sure to let them know what you think! This week's update focused on two key areas of our site, the Home page, and the Pledge Store.


The Home Page

The Home page is the portal to everything our site offers, and it was our goal in this redesign to make it easy for our users to find the content that most interests them. Over the weeks since our Kickstarter campaign closed, video has become a big part of our outreach. Unfortunately, before this update, the only way for users to find these videos was for them to subscribe to our YouTube channel, manually check each day for new videos, or for us to blog about each video as we put it up. Thankfully, this will no longer be necessary. The new Recent Updates carousel on our Home page provides easy access to the latest official news feeding from both our Development Blogs and our YouTube channel.

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Immediately below the Recent Updates section is the new Featured Rewards section which we think will help propel us toward unlocking stretch goals like the Torch. One thing we noticed after we pushed the Pledge Store live toward the end of the campaign was that users were having trouble finding things like add-ons and how to upgrade in the store (more on that later!) and some didn't even realize we had things like T-Shirts for sale! No more! With this new carousel users will be able to see a featured selection of products from our store. Stay tuned to this section if you're interested in new reward packages, add-ons, special offers, and more!

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Finally, at the bottom of the Home page we've made some further improvements to help users find the content that interests them. Previously we had a really big section of the front page dedicated to the latest blog post which, while useful, was somewhat redundant and overbearing. We've replaced it, and the now-redundant Recent Blog Posts module on the front page with a section we like to call the Mini Blog, a short snapshot of a blog post with navigation options to help users find additional content. Additionally, for reasons I can't seem to wrap my head around, members seem to take an inordinate amount of interest in the forum posts of developers, so we thought it would be nice to expand the Developer Tracker to feature more posts.


The Pledge Store

There have been a myriad of changes to the pledge store, many of which won't be readily apparent at this point in time, things like mini-descriptions (still in progress for some items) when you hover your mouse over an item. These are nice but the biggest change, and the one I am going to talk about here is the Upgrades section. We've received a myriad of tickets from users who couldn't find their packages when they wanted to upgrade them, or simply to see what they owned. We've taken the first major step toward improving this situation, now, when you visit the Pledge Store, Backers should see a new tab for Upgrades. On this page you can see all of your game packages, view the details of each package you own, and view the available upgrades for these packages. We hope that all of our members will find this page helpful!

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The Future

We're not done yet. We're hard at work on a variety of additional changes to help improve the user experience for our community. Stay tuned for future updates! If you've got ideas for things we're not doing that we should be, shouldn't be doing that we are, or things you'd just plain like to see, please let us know, we've got a special forum dedicated just to Site Feedback!

Until next time, this is Jon 'Fallarnon' Bartus - Signing Out!

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Annie Get Your Gun

Posted by murchie14 in Annie Get Your Gun, 28 April 2015 · 2,155 views

Annie Get Your Gun Hey everybody!

I'm Annie, y'all may have seen me announcing last week's MVP. Sorry about the hat - it was a long class day.

A little bit about me - I watch far too much TV, love popcorn, basketball, and all things Batman. I'll be helping out as Media Coordinator for Descendent Studios, reaching out to bloggers, streamers, and writers to help get the word out about Descent: Underground. I'm so excited to join the team and would love hear any suggestions y'all may have. We're all pumped about Descent: Underground and could not do it without your continued support!

Just a couple of reminders/updates: backer status should be coming out soon and each week's MVPs are decided by forum moderators. In case you missed it here is last week's MVP.



Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter ,and also check out our Youtube page for the latest updates!


Thanks for your support!

Annie

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Community MVP!

Posted by Whitener in Whitener's Blog, 05 April 2015 · 1,859 views

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Hello Community!!!


Our MVP award is given to members who actively contribute to making

Descent: Underground a better experience for all!


Congratulations
BeckAltarr and Void Stalker!


Thank you BeckAltarr for creating an AWESOME radio show to help spread the word!:

http://descendentstu...on-k-tam-radio/


and Void Stalker for sharing his AMAZING promo video!:



Please enjoy the badge that will appear on each of your your DS website Avatars!


You will also receive a shoutout on our Facebook (https://www.facebook..._homepage_panel)
and Twitter (https://twitter.com/descstudios) pages.


Like and Follow us to get more news from Descendent Studios!


Everyone else, remember!
Our MVP badge is awarded to a member who
has supported the game in a positive way (creativity is encouraged!).



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Drone Bay Sneak Peek

Posted by Zaubermancy in Zaubermancy's Blog, 17 March 2015 · 4,222 views
Kickstarter, Development and 2 more...

Drone Bay Sneak Peek Get ready, awesome sneak peek ahead: here's the future home of your hulking Panzers, your teched-out Augers, all of your personal space-crusading death machines.

The drone bay is a 3D hub screen and tool for preserving your ships between missions.

But this hallowed hall isn't just a place to patch hull dents and scrape off molten slag. It’s where you’ll tailor Descent: Underground to your gaming preferences.

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You'll configure your ships' armaments; you’ll swap in new wings, noses, and tail pieces; paint on decals and art; make custom looks on the fly - and it will all take place in your personal drone bay.

Now is your chance to be a part of this exciting Kickstarter campaign.
Join us as we re-imagine a PC gaming classic - Descent: Underground.

SHOUT OUT TO SOME EXCELLENT DEVELOPERS!!!

If you are like us here, at Descendent Studios, I am sure you are a huge fan of the Gold Box Dungeons and Dragons games.

TSI, the spiritual successor to SSI, has just launched a brand new Kickstarter.

In Seven Dragon Saga you will shape the wild and dangerous Drakelands with your choices. Impress with noble deeds. Coerce with threats and violence. Or simply lay waste to the empire's enemies without mercy or regret.

The game will feature tactical, turn-based combat and a dramatic storyline with plenty of side content to explore. If that kind of game thrills you as well, then hop over to their Kickstarter and show those guys some love and let's get a great new game funded.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support.
Zane

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Studio Update for Sept. 1, 2017

Posted by dunkelza in Announcements, 01 September 2017 · 3,222 views

Studio Update for Sept. 1, 2017

We've dried out & we're hard at work on the
storyline campaign! Plus, we've got some new
artwork and more!
Read the update here!

 

Got a friend who hasn't tried the game yet?
Tell them about our FREE demo on BrightLocker!



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Down Under, Demo, & Dang that's BIG in "Concorde"! (3370)

Posted by dunkelza in Release Notes - Production, 24 July 2017 · 960 views

Down Under, Demo, & Dang that's BIG in "Concorde"! (3370)

Hi Descenters!
If you've read our update, you know that much of our work these last few months has been focused on finding a way to speed up development. We've been carefully defining our scope and clearly tasking out the steps we need to take to get there.

 

However, we do have a few minor improvements we want to get out into the world. Some of these are going to Production with an eye towards giving our current players more people to shoot at and a new server region to offer our friends Down Under a better ping!

 

We are also testing a gigantic new map on Proving Grounds with the help of our Undergrounders (Diamond). This map, Tartarus, is our largest yet! Playing it helps us make sure our servers are ready for playing campaign missions in co-op! It also shows off some of the grandeur (and secret areas) we talked about for Corporate War in the Kickstarter. Finally, Tartarus was largely built using assets we're developing for the new mapkit- the most important use of which is... you guessed it- the single-player campaign!

 

Thank you for your support and your hard work!
We'll see YOU in the mines!
-The Team

 

Production Patch Notes:

  • OCEANIA SERVERS - Players can now start matches on servers in Australia.
  • DEMO - Launching without owning the game will limit the player to using the Wasp.
    • This feature will be live on BrightLocker later this week, so tell your friends!
  • Miscellaneous tweaks and bug fixes.
Proving Grounds Patch Notes:
  • TARTARUS (New Map) -
    • Largest map yet, approximately the size of some single-player missions.
    • Multiplayer modes: Corporate War, Conquest, Anarchy, Team Anarchy, Miner Mayhem, Co-op Vs. AI
    • Single-player modes: Vs. AI, Test Flight
    • Still has a little beautification to finish.
    • Yes, it is possible to find the yellow key in the main part of the map.
  • .



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Tougher Survival, Better Training, Pretties, and MORE in 3178!

Posted by dunkelza in Release Notes - Proving Grounds, 27 March 2017 · 1,479 views

Tougher Survival, Better Training, Pretties, and MORE in 3178!

Hey Undergrounders & Alpha Backers!
We have a brand new test for you!
We've reworked our training mission, added new difficulty to Survival mode, tweaked some stats, made some menus prettier, and generally done awesome stuff we need you to try out!
Note: 3178 is a hotfix for 3175.

 

 
Please test this as soon as you can and tell us what you find in this Feedback Thread.
Thank you!
-The Team

 

Things to Test:

  • SURVIVAL -
    • Added more, tougher spawn waves for additional stages past 20.
    • Added a special version of the AI.
    • Gave Incendius his homing missiles back.
  • TRAINING - Substantially reworked. Our original narrator has been fed to a møøse. Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretti nasti...
  • We apologise for the fault in the patch notes. Those responsible have been sacked.
  • MENUS -
    • Added a multiplayer mode splash screen before the Match Browser. Dive directly into whichever game mode your heart desires.
    • Server browser interface has been updated to be a bit cleaner. Only functionality change is that the quick match button has been moved to the new MP menu.
    • Added color images for the game modes to replace the old white outlines.
  • WEAPONS -
    • Plasma balls are now more plasmier.
    • Låser bølts are now møøch fäster.
    • We apologise again for the fault in the patch notes. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.
    • Laser bolts are now slower.
  • GAME MANUAL - Our game manual threads have been redone. Please give them a look in case we pulled a Drunkelza.
  • CHA-CHING! - Kills are now more prominently displayed to the player who scored the kill.
  • INTRO VIDEO - Bohemian Rhapsody has disappeared.
  • MEET THE SHIPS - The first three videos in the "Meet the Ships" series have been added. You can find the Meet the Ships menu with videos for the Wasp, Panzer, and Shaman in the Drone Bay.
  • Respawn menu should no longer appear for players who died just before the end of a match.
  • Survival matches should now terminate correctly once the last living player leaves.
  • Fixed some compression artifacting on region icons
  • Energy recharge zones in Micro Tycho should no longer block shots
  • NEW - We fixed a couple typos in the new Survival stages. Thanks for the help, folks!
  • NEW - Added an extra step to hopefully prevent people from getting stuck on a black screen after the Meet The Ships videos.



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Most Valuable Post for March 27, 2017

Posted by dunkelza in Dunkelza's Campfire, 27 March 2017 · 777 views

Most Valuable Post for March 27, 2017

Hey there, Descenters!

 

afroholic78 wrote some great feedback from the standpoint of a first-time player.

 


Congratulations, afroholic78!!!!!!!
Enjoy the MVP forum badge that will appear on your DescentUnderground.com forum account!
You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

Our MVP award is given to forum members who actively contribute to making Descendent Studios games a better experience for us all!
If you don't yet have a Descendent Studios account, you can link your Steam account to enjoy the benefits of both sites with ease!
Our great moderation team picks a member each week who goes above and beyond.
Get to posting!

 

Until next time, keep being awesome!
-Dunk



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From Concepts to Game Asset

Posted by Louhikarme in Louhikarme's Modeling Madness, 09 March 2017 · 1,452 views
blender, substance painter2 and 4 more...

From Concepts to Game Asset

On the video below, I talk about how we are creating evil bots for single-player mode. It outlines the main principles and techniques and has some tidbits on certain obstacles we face while bringing these things to life.

 

I start with discussing the specs we have in the Game Design Document (GDD), followed by an initial meeting on what the bot should look like. Then I do quick drafts using just primitive shapes to get the shape what we are going for. This process usually takes a few to several days, depending on how many modifications are needed.

 

Once we are happy with the basic shape of bot, I move into "high-poly" (high polygon count) modeling- adding details and the actual look to the bot. Also at this stage, I color code the materials onto the high-poly model for the texturing phase.

 

After that, I do the actual game asset- this means reducing the number of polys (polygons) as much as possible while still keeping the shape of the bot. I forgot to mention at this point in the video that I'll copy this mesh (3D computer model) to become a "cage mesh" for the texture "bakes". A cage file basically covers the entire high-poly model altogether. The actual game mesh, on the other hand, will have some places going slightly through the high-poly model.

 

Once I have that finished I "bake" (pre-calculate) the textures in xnormal, colorid, normal, ambient occulsion and curvature for use in the Substance Painter software. In Substance Painter, this colorid approach helps me to set up initial materials for the model quickly and I can start the actual texture detailing faster.
Another stage in the process is "rigging," which means placing "bones" in the mesh to allow it to move. I have two sets of bones, the actual bones that will deform the mesh and bones that I use for animating. The animating bones have constraints on them so they only move the way they should, no matter what I try to do them.

 

Finally, in Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) everything starts to come to life. I make an animation blueprint that lays the groundwork for Tyler. He can then add the code to call (trigger) the animations when needed in-game.

 

Thanks!

 

Louhikarme

 



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Auto-Leveling: How to Align a Ship

Posted by Pixley in Pixley's Cleverly Named Blog, 19 December 2016 · 830 views

Auto-Leveling: How to Align a Ship

One of the most frequently requested features from the classic Descent games for DU was auto-leveling. Many players swear by it, and it's also a good set of "training wheels" for those unfamiliar with 6DoF or more traditional flight games. It's taken a lot of thought regarding implementation, and it's finally here in DU with the second "Jingle" build (2881).

 

Terminology

 

Auto-level - a system by which the roll of the ship is automatically adjusted to align the ship to its environment, such that the player can stay focused on pitch and yaw when flying.

 

Roll - rotation around the forward-reverse axis. When a plane banks to make a turn, it's rolling.

 

Pitch - rotation around the left-right axis. Look up and down. You've just pitched your head.

 

Yaw - rotation around the vertical axis. Look left and right. Your head just yawed.

 

Posted Image

 

Raycasting - travelling along a straight line from a source point to a target point and reporting the first (or all) surface(s) hit along the way.

 

Cube - in classic Descent, the fundamental building block of any environment in the game. Every space in those games is built out of deformed cubes whose sides can be closed or open. The data structure behind these cubes was fundamental to the way the classic Descent engines worked, right down to the renderer.

 

A History Lesson

 

Posted Image

 

The implementation of classic Descent's auto-leveling system was simple - the game knew which cube the player's ship occupied, so it was a simple matter to determine which face of the cube the bottom of the ship was most closely aligned to, and it could be rolled to match. This does not adapt well to modern games, and there are a few reasons for this:

  • The concept of the deformed cubes was essential to get the games to run at an acceptable rate back then. Graphics cards hadn't been invented yet, so the functionality we now rely on them for was performed by the ill-suited CPU, using a software-based renderer. One could go into all sorts of detail on this topic, but, basically, cubes made it a lot easier to run. Nowadays, we don't have those kinds of limitations, so structures like that have fallen to the wayside. As such, the data that these cubes tracked is no longer simple to keep, as a ship now exists in "space", rather than a location relative to the cube in which it resides.
  • Because environments are built out of arbitrary geometry, there's not necessarily a flat, well-defined "floor" to which to align. Take BAMM, for example. The bottom section is mostly rough rock. Barely any of that is flat, even checking against simpler collision geometry, so aligning the ship to the surface directly below it is out of the question, as that would result in something like this:

 

Posted Image

  • Even putting aside rough surfaces, there's another kind of geometry that causes even an approximation of the classic system to fall apart: round tunnels. Alignment to the surface of a round tunnel is basically impossible, because the target changes as the ship rolls. This would make flight in Tycho infuriating.
Posted Image

 

What to do?

 

The first line of thought, and this was kind of alluded to in the section above, is simply checking the surface below the ship. While we don't have cubes anymore, we do have the magic of raycasting. We could raycast straight down (relative to the ship, of course) from the center of the ship, but we'd run into the issues mentioned above.

 

Another idea pitched way back when was to simply auto-level to -Z (straight down relative to the world). There are three issues with that approach that caused us to reject it: First, it is a severe step back from the functionality that existed in classic Descent, since a ship wouldn't be able to flip over with auto-level engaged. Second, it'd make levels like Tycho completely unflyable, since Tycho relies on being able to realign to the plane of a ring to fly through it effectively. Finally, this approach does not handle the all-too-common situation where a ship's nose is pointed directly up or down.

 

In case you've never met a programmer before, here's something that drives us nuts: unhandled cases. A programmer must always be on the look out for so-called "edge cases", otherwise, those sorts of situations don't get explicitly handled, which leads to a programmer's worst nightmare: UNDEFINED BEHAVIOR. So, yeah, that last issue with the -Z option really cheesed my onions.

 

So, once we decided against these approaches, we kind of let the issue sit for a while. "A while" in this case probably being well over a year. Meanwhile, every so often, we'd get someone asking where auto-leveling is. And then just a couple of weeks ago, I had an idea.

 

The Running Average

 

Doing a simple raycast from the bottom of the ship wasn't going to work, I knew that, but what if I did multiple raycasts and averaged the result? And then, from there, to keep flight smooth, keep a running average of the results over the past second or so?

 

The basic principle was something like shocks in a car. Each wheel is equipped with a spring, such that, when a car goes over rough terrain, the springs keep the chassis from jerking suddenly and allow the wheels a bit of freedom in vertical movement. That was the thought, anyway. In practice, it didn't do much better than a single raycast would have. In addition, there was a case I hadn't even considered, one that would have never come up in classic Descent: corners.

 

Of course there are corners in classic Descent, but they're the unrealistic old-game kind: infinitely sharp. Real corners have curves (heh), and so modern games, including DU, have corners that have in-between surface geometry. On no map is this more apparent than Rama.

 

Posted Image

 

This edge right here made the development of the running average approach incredibly painful. One would typically fly the main room of Rama aligned to the floor, but that stupid edge, even with only one cast hitting it, would cause the ship to roll, which would then get the other casts to hit the wall below it, so you'd end up sideways, more or less. Disorienting and unfun.

 

Speaking of disorienting and unfun, another place where this method broke down was the U-shaped tunnels in each base of Colosseum. I tend to fly through them vertically, not bothering to rotate with them. With this auto-level implementation, I would invariably come out of them sideways.

 

Posted Image

 

There was another issue with this approach: raycasts take up more CPU time the farther they go, so there needed to be an upper limit on how far they cast out. This creates a -gulp- unhandled case. Wanting to avoid UNDEFINED BEHAVIOR (which, in this case, ended up being turning over infinitely), I came up with a way to handle the out-of-range case: default to the world axes.

 

For the sake of map-builders' sanity, our map kit is built to align to the world axes. As such, it can very easily be assumed that any given room large enough to let a ship go out-of-range on its level casts would be completely aligned to the world. So the ship would just roll to the nearest world axis. Easy enough.

 

So a ship near the floor would level to follow the geometry of the floor, while a ship up high would not. Playing around with this, I realized that the world-alignment just felt better. So I decided to try it with only world-alignment.

 

Finish Line

 

Stupid edge in Rama: resolved. Curved walls on the side of Rama: resolved. Curved tunnels which still exhibited some of the behavior mentioned above: resolved. Uneven surfaces: resolved. Grates: resolved. Random slants: resolved. The Colosseum U-shaped tunnels: resolved.

 

It felt so good. Again, the map kit is aligned to the world axes, so, as it turns out, any space within a map would be aligned to the world, at least in the direction one would be flying anyway. This difference is best made apparent in the outer ring of Mobius. All those tunnels are slanted, so flying sideways down them would have a ship drag along the floor or ceiling. But who does that for any appreciable distance?

 

Because the world-alignment method was so successful, I completely removed the raycasting code and packaged it all up. This was finished a day before the first "Jingle" build (2874) was put out.

 

Of course, you can, just like in the 90s, just turn it off in the settings. Personally, I haven't even bothered to turn it off, and I despised the implementation in the old games.

 

The Rest of the Story, for Pedants Like Me

 

For those of you familiar with 3D math and linear algebra and the like, you'd know that of course you can't roll to align perfectly to an axis if you're pitched away from alignment with it. Technically, what's actually happening is that the nearest world axis is projected onto the ship's YZ plane (X being the forward direction for Unreal) and then the roll is made towards that direction.



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October update - BAMM the torpedoes full speed ahead!

Posted by Wingman in Wingman's Blog, 24 October 2016 · 3,641 views

October update - BAMM the torpedoes full speed ahead!

Hello Descenters,

 

I wanted to let you guys know where we are on development. Currently we just released a build with a new map made by Jobode - called BAMM.

 

Lots of comments have called it the best map yet, have you been in the mines to try it out? If not, get in there and get to fighting!

 

 
And if you missed last week's Wingman's Hangar (Fridays at 11am)- here it is in all of its glory:

 

 

We are hard at work on the single-player campaign right now, Rob has gotten the training mission into a good place, and that is going to be entering the Proving Grounds for all of you Undergrounders to play with and help us get it just right.

 

Also, we are working on the bots, story, setting, and how we deliver the mission briefings to you guys and still maintain our Triple-III status!!! Yep, Triple-III - or High-End Independent, and proud of it. Independents rule!

 

Pixley has the radar working, and we are adjusting the HUD to fit the new pieces. Information is better displayed and the usability experience is much smoother.

 

So, enjoy BAMM, and the Halloween goodies that are in there now, next up will be the radar and new and improved HUD....

 

Onwards and upwards Descenters! Be sure to like our Facebook and Twitter to hear the best stuff first!

 

All the best,

 

Wingman

 

P.S. - Did you see who was playing Survival mode recently?

 

 

Yep our pal Jovenshire and the rest of the Smosh crew...Woo-hoo!



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Open Source at Descendent Studios

Posted by Stormwind in Stormwind's Blog, 04 September 2016 · 1,134 views
open source, blinken, chroma and 1 more...

Open Source at Descendent Studios

I'm happy to announce our open source initiative here at Descendent Studios!

 

We use both open source (including many tools and libraries) and available source (like Unreal Engine 4, which is commercial with source publicly available - and uses many open source libraries itself) in the development of Descent: Underground, so we wanted to give something back to the development community by making some of the code we've created available.

 

You can find Descendent Studios' open source and available source development at: https://github.com/DescendentStudios

 

Our projects include:

  • BlinkenPlugin, a plugin for Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) that controls accessory lighting like Razer Chroma, Alienware AlienFX, and Logitech G from both C++ and Blueprint.
  • PingPlugin, a UE4 plugin that allows ICMP pinging of hosts from Blueprint so UIs can display ping times.
  • XMPPChatPlugin, a UE4 plugin to use XMPP chat (think Jabber) via Blueprint so in-game chat systems can be implemented more easily.
  • ExtraConfigPlugin, a UE4 plugin to manipulate input and graphics configuration from Blueprint so configuration UIs can be implemented more efficiently.
  • Our contributions (additions and fixes) to several existing open source projects like OSVR-Unreal, nodervisor, discord-xmpp, and others.
We hope the development community finds these projects useful - we'd love to hear if you use them! And if you improve them, please submit a pull request to us as we'd be very excited to continue development together with the community. We also hope to add more projects in the future.

 

Thanks!
-Jason



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Week In Review (5.13.2016)

Posted by BlueDog in BlueDog's Blog, 13 May 2016 · 1,478 views

Week In Review (5.13.2016)

 

Hey Descenters,

 

Last week, we delivered not one but two builds (ok, yeah the second one was to fix some broken stuff in the first one) and we're still chugging. Let's talk about some stuff we worked on this week:

  • The Deactivator. What? Yep, the deactivator is a special attack in the Warlock's arsenal. It gives the Warlock the ability to steal power-ups from its target. Random -- for now.
  • More Bots! Incendius is about to have some friends.
  • Co-op is taking shape. This, for now, is Survival mode. The bot AI is much improved and we have a new map just for this. We'll also add some achievements for this game mode.
  • Designopotamus has adjusted the ship stats. Get in there, fly, fight and let us know if he got it right.
  • Much more -- including some secret stuff I'm working on. Don't tell Rob!

 

A big Wingman's Hangar this week, take a look!

 

 

How about that Studio Snapshot:

 

 

BTW, if you're around on Fridays about 11:30 AM CST or so, you can jump into the game with the team while we live stream. Trust me, there is no more fun than killing Pixley!

 

Cheers,

 

BlueDog



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About Darn Time We Get a Monday Blog...

Posted by Designopotamus in Designopotamus' Blog, 03 November 2015 · 2,325 views
Design, Design Underground

About Darn Time We Get a Monday Blog...

Hello, Descent Community,

 

There's been a whole lot of discussion in our forums on hit boxes, weapon placement, and the initial experience of people playing Descent: Underground for the first time. This, in turn, led to a rather significant amount of internal discussion, which then led to a new episode of Design Underground about that very same topic.

 

If you haven't seen it yet, you can take a look at it right here.

 

 

The end result of all of this excellent exchange is that we're launching a new version of the game into the proving grounds with the weapons on the ships moved closer together, as well as improved collision detection on weapons and missiles. We think that the game is much more fun now, and we want you to check it out.

 

All of this should (barring catastrophe) appear on the proving grounds tomorrow, along with a familiar friend. (See blog image for hint...)

 

If you don't currently have access to the proving grounds, all it takes is a one-month subscription to the Underground, which also comes with even more inside access to the development process.

 

See you in the Proving Grounds - and Underground!

 

Rob



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Invitation to 0.0.902a

Posted by dunkelza in Release Notes - Alpha, 08 October 2015 · 5,405 views

Invitation to 0.0.902a

Thank you Alpha backers for your support!
We need your help to stress-test our servers...
...so we are happy to welcome backers with Alpha access in their rewards to help playtest our Pre-Alpha!
We are opening up the "Alpha" test environment running Pre-Alpha build 902a.
This test is open to backers whose package rewards include Proving Grounds or Alpha access and to members of The Underground.
This test is public and we are happy if people want to share on Twitch and YouTube. In the event that something is running poorly or breaks while you're streaming, please let your viewers know that this is an early Pre-Alpha that you are playtesting. It is NOT the final retail release.
If you do plan to stream, you may need to run your streaming software as an administrator.

Please note that the Proving Grounds environment is turned off for this test. We will bring it online again next time we need to test new features. Backers with access to the Proving Grounds environment also have access to the Alpha test environment.

 

Planned Tests
We are planning to conduct intense tests of our server infrastructure on Friday, Oct. 9 right after Wingman's Hangar (about 11:30am CDT) and again at 5:00pm CDT (UTC-5). Watch our Twitter and Facebook page for announcements of other tests. Please be aware that there is a higher likelihood of server-related issues during these tests as we are trying to see if the game breaks our server.

 

General Information
We've now broken out the game manual into a series of forum posts:
http://descendentstu...46-game-manual/
If you have any questions about downloading or playing the game, that's the best place to check for a quick answer.
We recommend voice chatting on the DS Official Unofficial Teamspeak server when playing or looking to set up a game.

 

Bug Reporting
Please report bugs in our bug reporting forum with as much specificity as possible. If you can provide screenshots, that's awesome!
We've also compiled a list of known issues so that you can skip those when reporting bugs.

 

Patch Notes

  • Mouse sensitivity has been tweaked to work better with high DPI mice- please readjust your Sensitivity Factor. (Player Feedback)
  • The "Free Flight" button now launches Valor in single-user mode to allow for safe control tweaking. (Player Feedback)
  • Laser shot speeds have been increased to improve accuracy. (Player Feedback)
  • Shield and Energy powerups now spawn less frequently. (Player Feedback)
  • Weapon upgrades now increase in number as players join a match. (Player Feedback)
  • "Black Screen of Death" should now be dead. (Player Feedback)
  • Matchmaking queue now reports your status. (Player Feedback)
  • Sound settings are now in the options menu. (Player Feedback)
  • Return to Drone Bay should be working again after Drillsey broke it.
  • Mining Lasers should open doors again.
  • Mobius Capture-the-Core is in the rotation.
  • Respawn screen should no longer break the options menu.
  • Graphics options should now save.
  • Vulcan tracers are now showing up properly.
  • Options menus should now be the same in all locations.
  • Mining laser no longer continues playing sound/using energy when you release the tool use control.
  • Minor tweaks and bug fixes.
Known Issues
  • Client-side weapon prediction is not implemented:
    • Weapon shots occasionally still hang in mid-air or are invisible during heavy lag.
    • Weapons fire is sometimes delayed in firing.
  • Controller customization issues are being experienced by some users.
    • Do not remove all of the control mappings in a category!
    • Control customization needs a "reset to defaults" button.
    • Mouse controls were imparting drift on high-DPI mice.
  • Installer & Launcher need to be run as administrator on Windows.
    • Streaming software may need to run as administrator to capture video.
  • Mac & Linux installer is not always setting correct POSIX permissions on the descent executable, requiring a "chmod -x" shell operation to correct.
  • Most menus do not work correctly in VR or on gamepad controllers.
  • Players who die right before the end of the match may not see the score screen and may return to the start screen instead.
  • Players who die while in the <ESC> menu may not be able to reopen that menu until the game is restarted.
    • Using "Free Flight" mode to tweak control settings can help to avoid this until it's fixed.
  • Occasionally, in-game scoreboard can get stuck behind the HUD.
  • Sometimes the respawn screen disappears without spawning a new ship.
    • Pressing <Y>, <U>, <I>, or <Shift+X> on the keyboard will still spawn a ship if this happens.
  • Players can sometimes still control a ship in the background at the end of a match.
  • Clicking "Drone Bay" on the end of match Score screen can return the player to the level for a brief time.
  • Laser levels 1 & 4 have art, levels 2 & 3 do not have their own bolts yet.
  • Control customization screen can get stuck if player dies while changing settings.
  • Some sounds are audible everywhere and need attenuation.
  • Shield and hull hit sounds and visual effects are not clear enough in many cases.
  • Some placeholder sound effects were accidentally replaced with a different set of placeholder sounds.
  • Matchmaking sometimes puts players into matches that are about to end.
  • Matchmaking sometimes creates lopsided matches.
  • Teams can become unbalanced if a player drops and rejoins the game before their player state is purged.
  • Team scores are negatively impacted by player departure.
  • Selecting your ship on death in VR requires a bit of work due to the way 3D widgets work - look directly at the ship you intend to fly next and click with the mouse, without moving the mouse itself
  • The axis configuration menu is somewhat clunky and uses too-technical language (power changes the curvature of the sensitivity curve, factor scales the sensitivity curve)
  • The mid-game and endgame scoreboards do not have separate sections for teams.
  • All servers are currently in the U.S., other locations are planned.
  • There may be a wait for matches at times. While our alpha player base is much larger than the proving grounds, player play times can vary. Matches won't begin until they have at least 2 players, and will not add players if there are 8 players.
  • Anisotrophic Filtering sometimes reverts to 16X.
Thank you again for being awesome!
Now get in the mines!
-Dunk



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Gifting, Items and Websites oh my!

Posted by elfindreams in Elfin's Dreams, 19 August 2015 · 2,955 views

Gifting, Items and Websites oh my!

I am guessing some of you might know who I am :) For those of you that don't, I am Elfindreams aka John Tennyson. I am among other things, a member of the Advisory Board, the first backer and I even help out developing and managing servers for Descendent Studios in my spare time.

 

It is in that last role that I get to talk to all you good folks today. You might have seen something new show up in the site store on Monday. You might also have noticed that if you look at your purchases you have a lot more than you used to. We have been working very hard the last couple of weeks (special thanks to Stormwind aka Jason, Fallarnon, Stealthguy and Dunkelza for all their work on this) to get you gifting and start the database back-end work necessary to eventually get you your items in the game. Those two items are the visible parts of the fruits of those labors.

 

If you didn't notice them, that's what I am here for :)

 

If you have extra packages or packages that contain "giftable" packages, you should now be able to go to the Store and see a new tab named, appropriately enough, "gifting".

 

Posted Image

 

It is from that screen that you can choose one of your giftable packages, scroll down to chose an email and message and send gifts. You can also see gifts that you have sent that haven't been claimed yet and resend or cancel them (in case you put in the wrong email, etc).

 

Attached Image: 20150819-BlogElf-Gifting2.PNG

 

When you send a gift, the recipient will receive an email with your notes and a link that they can use to claim the gift. If they are not already a member of our community, they will be led through creating an account and once the gift is redeemed they will have all the special items (ribbons, etc) that you graciously gifted them.

 

Speaking of ribbons and special items, if you go to the store and select the client area and choose purchases you should see a lot of new items.
Posted Image

 

A part of the database work we have been doing to make sure you get your items in the game and to enable gifting meant we had the pleasure of breaking out the many, many sub-items. You may notice a few items missing. Ships that have not yet been unlocked (like the Torch), ship cosmetic items (skin packs) and currency (Pals and script) have not yet been awarded. Don't worry you will get them, there are just some dependencies that mean we will be adding them at a later pass.

 

You may also notice (if you have them) ship tokens in your inventory. Right now we do not have the user interface to allow you to select a ship from a token, but rest assured it is on our list.

 

We also know that the user interface on the client area is a bit cumbersome to work with. That too is on our list :)

 

In the mean time, I sincerely hope you enjoy gifting, thank you once again for all your support and most of all I hope to see you all underground.

 

Elfindreams



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"It's your show and you can try if you want to."

Posted by Viewmaster in Viewmaster's View, 11 June 2015 · 4,218 views

"It's your show and you can try if you want to." "Try if you want to. Try if you want to..."

I'm wrapping up the week's video productions and gotta say we enjoyed having so many community Forum Feedback videos on Wingman's Hangar. Be sure to check those out on Friday. So, let's take this further.


WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ON WINGMAN'S HANGAR?



We're always brainstorming ideas for new segments and bits. Perhaps, you have an idea or two you can share that could be featured on the show. In the past few years we've brought you;
  • Weekly Weather Report (in space);
  • Masterpiece Citizen with Alistaire Sinclair Fitzsmithy;
  • Wingman's Nosecam;
  • Hazy Thoughts with Mark Skelton;
  • This Week In Space, and;
  • many off-the-cuff hijinks we couldn't possibly have planned in advance.
So put your beanie thinking caps on and, between you, me and six-degrees-of-awesome ™, let us know what you want to see.

Viewmaster

----------------------------------------------------------------


IN OTHER NEWS:

Here's this week's Wingman's Hangar promo:




Also, Eric, Rob, and Keith were on Starr Mazer this week. Check out their interview:



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MVP!

Posted by Whitener in Whitener's Blog, 29 March 2015 · 1,473 views

Posted Image


Hiya Everyone!!


Our MVP award is given to members who actively contribute to making

Descent: Underground a better experience for all!


Congratulations
Jaxley and SGT-Craig!


Thanks Jaxley for your AWESOME downloadable promotional graphics:

http://descendentstu...s-going-strong/



and SGT-Craig for starting a conversation about traps and tricks:

http://descendentstu...pic/1028-traps/



Please enjoy the badge that will appear on each of your DS website Avatars!


You will also receive a shoutout on our Facebook (https://www.facebook..._homepage_panel)
and Twitter (https://twitter.com/descstudios) pages.


Like and Follow us to get more news from Descendent Studios!


Everyone else, remember!
Our MVP badge is awarded to a member who
has supported the game in a positive way (creativity is encouraged!).



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Remembering Terry Pratchett

Posted by Fallarnon in The Many Facets of Fallarnon, 12 March 2015 · 2,139 views
terry pratchett, discworld and 1 more...

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"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?"

The world has truly grown poorer these past few weeks, first with the passing of the legendary Leonard Nimoy, and once again today with the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE. Sir Terry passed at home this morning, surrounded by his family and his cat, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease.

I still remember the first time I cracked open the cover of The Colour of Magic, the first novel in Terry Pratchett's Discworld universe. What a fantastic concept, a flat world, borne upon the backs of massive elephants, themselves carried by the Great A'Tuin, a turtle much like any sea turtle found here on Earh, if those turtles were to somehow become spaceborne Star Turtles. The Discworld was a world of fantastic and wonderfully comedic things, from walking luggage to a comedic and endearing version of the grim reaper, Death, I have yet to recommend the series to anyone who did not find something to cherish within its pages.

Terry Pratchett was truly a genius of the literary arts and I will mourn his passing with great sorrow. While we can never have him back, I know that he is still with us. Sir Terry had a way with words when it came to the concept of life and death, and I truly agree with this sentiment: "No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away..."

For those of you not familiar with his work, I wholeheartedly recommend you take a look. He published nearly 70 novels throughout his lifetime but if I had to pick just one to start off with, I recommend beginning with the first novel of his Discworld series, The Colour of Magic which can be had in eBook format for only $3.99.

During his struggle with the disease that ultimately stole him from us, Terry was a staunch supporter of Alzheimer's Research UK, having made significant public donations to that organization. I can think of no more befitting way to honor his memory than to support this institution in the battle against Alzheimer's Disease. Barring any announcement from the family regarding Terry's wishes to the contrary, I plan to donate in his memory.

"So much universe, and so little time."

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First Update on a Fantastic Kickstart!

Posted by Zaubermancy in Zaubermancy's Blog, 11 March 2015 · 1,554 views
Kickstarter, Update, Maps and 2 more...

Greetings and many thanks to everyone in the Descent: Underground Community!



As the type enters this blog post, we have received $142,095 in pledges from 2,186 backers. Already we're a staff pick!

On that first day we earned about 20% of our entire goal! We're trending to an amount that will give you a stellar space experience with incredible graphics, varied and detailed maps, intriguing ship designs and customization options, and all the other aspects of a perfect space game.

The enthusiasm is rushing forward with hull-shattering force, and we have you to thank! From these beginnings, we're on track for a smashing success.

So how can you help now?

Make sure to spread the word to your friends, and keep visiting our website and Descent: Underground's Facebook page. This game needs more love and support to come to life!

Here is a little link to our Kickstarter update. Take a look, and you'll get another cool surprise: a sneak peak video of a WIP battle map.



As a side note, Zaubermancy is glad to be back!



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