In-Game Control Customization is now live!  You can access the menu through the Start Menu, Drone Bay, or Pause Menu via their respective Options screens.




Things to be Aware of When Customizing Your Controls

  1. DO NOT REMOVE ALL OF THE MAPPINGS IN A SECTION AT THE SAME TIME! There is an apparent engine bug where it will not save control configurations that are subsets of the default.  For each of the three sections (Movement, Actions, and Axis Configuration), you can't just remove a default item without some custom key/value in that section.  For example, in Axis Configuration, there are two listings for the four axes of the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro, as it shows up differently on different computers. Merely removing the non-functional version without adding some other axis or customizing one of the existing ones will result in the whole section getting blasted, meaning that if you boot the game afterwards, they'll be back.  As such, I recommend removing as little as possible.  Remove to bind elsewhere, sure, but don't just remove.
  2. The "Input Key" screen can be a little sensitive.  You might experience some difficulty getting it to stay on the input you want on the joystick, as the joystick is prone to moving when you hit the hat, for instance.
  3. Red X buttons mean remove, not close.  Just in case that isn't clear.
  4. For the pause menu version of the menu, you'll see Apply and Back in addition to the 3 buttons that appear at the bottom of the list.  Those are non-functional.  Use the Save and Discard buttons.
  5. "Go Back" functionality is not yet built in to the Discard and Save buttons.  They just remove the widget.  There are existing "back" buttons elsewhere.
  6. The sensitivity tester bars in the Axis Config section don't work unless they're "focused".  If you find that they aren't responding, click the bars.  Should be fine when you first open one, though.  It's only really apparent when you have more than one open.

Customizing Sensitivities

You can alter the sensitivity of your joystick or gamepad through the “Axis Configuration” tab.




Dead Zone

This number represents the percentage of deflection that is ignored before the controller is counted as being active. The number is written from 0.00 to 1.00, with 0.05 meaning 5% and 0.75 meaning 75%.


Sensitivity Power

This number is an exponent that affects the sensitivity curve of the joystick. A value of 1 will give a linear response, while a value of 2 gives a parabolic response.


Sensitivity Factor

This number is a multiplier on the deflection. A higher power will cause the joystick to produce a more aggressive reaction in the game. Please note that turning speeds, like movement speeds are limited differently for different vehicles.


Invert Axis

This checkbox reverses the movement control, so for instance right becomes left and vice versa. Some axes are inverted by default.

on Thursday December 03 by Keith McCormic

Game Information



Descent: Underground is built using Unreal Engine 4, our minimum system requirements are dictated by Unreal Engine's minimum requirements.

Minimum System Requirements

In order to run Descent: Underground, our current build requires at minimum:

  • 64-bit Operating System
    • Windows 7+
    • Mac OS X 10.9.2+
    • Linux Kernel 2.6.32+, glibc 2.12.2 or newer
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • DirectX 11 Compatible Graphics Card
    • NVIDIA: GeForce GTX 550 Ti or better
    • AMD: Radeon HD 7950 or better
    Please note that laptop GPU model numbers/specs are not always equivalent to their desktop counterparts. Check your GPU's specs carefully.
  • 20GB of Available Hard Drive Space

Additionally, computers whose specs fall below the following specifications will receive a skippable performance warning and may experience degraded performance:

  • 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • 8 GB of RAM

We are currently testing unoptimized Pre-Alpha builds, so minimum-specification computers may not provide the desired performance.

Recommended Specifications

For best performance while testing, we recommend a machine with the following specifications:

  • 64-bit Operating System
    • Windows 10
    • Mac OS X 10.9.2+
    • Linux Kernel 2.6.32+, glibc 2.12.2 or newer
  • 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor, or better
  • Graphics Card
    • NVIDIA: GeForce GTX 750 or better
    • AMD: Radeon R9 270 or better
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 50 GB of Available Hard Drive Space

If you are testing a Virtual Reality headset, the manufacturer’s recommended system requirements may be higher than ours in order to ensure the best performance with their device.

Microsoft also requires that your computer have DirectX 9, DirectX 11, and the 64-bit version of the Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2013:

Please remember that Descent: Underground is an Early Access title and System Requirements are subject to change as development progresses.

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus


Sign In with your Descendent Studios Account results in an Error indicating you don't have access to play the game.



Attempting to Sign In with an account that is not associated with a copy of Descent Underground



If you bought Descent: Underground on Steam

Link your Steam Profile with your Descendent Studios Account.

If you backed Descent: Underground on Kickstarter

Link your Kickstarter Pledge to your Descendent Studios Account.

If you backed or purchased Descent: Underground on

Please make sure you are logging into the correct account. If so, please contact support for further assistance.

on Saturday November 07 by Jon Bartus

Windows Issues


After patching (if necessary), the Launcher closes when 'Launch' is clicked but Descent: Underground does not launch.


On Windows machines that newer versions of DirectX installed, certain older DirectX DLL files are not being installed or detected by default that are required by Unreal Engine 4.


We are looking into correcting this automatically during the game install/launch, however in the mean time if you experience the symptom where you click "Launch" and the launcher closes with no error and no game gets launched, please do the following.

  1. Download and install the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer
    Please note, this is necessary even if you are using a newer version of DirectX.
    Please be cautious as Microsoft attempts to bundle 'Bing Toolbar' with this installation. You will have to deselect the toolbar during install of this library if you do not want to install it.
  2. Run Windows Update
  3. Reboot Your Computer

Once these steps are complete, please attempt re-launching and you should be able to enjoy the game.

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus

A common adware engine (Lavasoft) actively interferes with the Launcher's ability to open the UI.  This product is often used to deploy bundled software included with certain free software products.  It is also a part of the anti-adware product ad-aware produced by Lavasoft.

This product does not usually show up in Add/Remove programs and may be completely invisible to the end user.  You can verify if you have the problem by looking for the C:\Windows\System32\LavasoftTcpService64.dll that gets installed with the product.  NOTE: please do not delete that file manually as it will cause a number of hard to fix issues.

To repair the issue, download adwcleaner ( and run it which will remove the problem and allow the game to launch.  Note this is not the core Malwarebytes product but a separate download, the core malwarebytes product does not seem to remove the problem at this time.


on Thursday December 22 by Sarah Tennyson

Mac OSX Issues


After patching (if necessary), the Launcher closes when 'Launch' is clicked but Descent: Underground does not launch.


On OS X machines which don't have the Simple DirectMedia Layer library (LibSDL) installed, the Game is unable to run. LibSDL is meant to be installed automatically but has been known not to install.


To remedy this situation on a Mac runninng OS X, you will need to install LibSDL. You will need to install the .framework bundle in either your /Library/frameworks or ~/Library/frameworks directory.

You can download the latest DMG file for Mac from the Simple DirectMedia Layer website.

Once LibSDL is installed, please attempt re-launching and you should be able to enjoy the game.

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus

Linux Issues


After patching (if necessary), the Launcher closes when 'Launch' is clicked but Descent: Underground does not launch.


On Linux machines which don't have the Simple DirectMedia Layer library (LibSDL) installed, the Game is unable to run. LibSDL is meant to be installed automatically but has been known not to install.


You will have to install LibSDL from your distribution's package manager. Here are the commands for some common distributions:

  • Debian, Ubuntu, Mint
    sudo apt-get install libsdl2-2.0
  • Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora
    sudo yum install SDL2
  • Gentoo
    sudo emerge libsdl2
  • SteamOS
    You should not need to install SDL on a SteamOS box as it is included by default with the SteamOS install.

For other distributions, please consult your distribution's website or package manager. Alternatively, you can attempt to do a source install from SDL Wiki.

Once LibSDL is installed, please attempt re-launching and you should be able to enjoy the game.

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus


Downloads are conveniently located on the Descent: Underground tab of your Client Area.

Client Downloads

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus

Steam Keys are conveniently located on the Descent: Underground tab of your Client Area.

To retrieve a Steam Key the following must be true:

  • You must be logged in to your Descendent Studios Account
  • Your Account must own a copy of Descent: Underground obtained through our Store or Kickstarter
  • You must have redeemed your copy of the game to your account

Client Area

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus

Please follow these instructions to activate your Steam Key on your Steam Account:

  1. Launch the Steam client software and log into your Steam account.
  2. Click the Games Menu
  3. Choose Activate a Product on Steam...
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

Paraphrased from

See Also:

Where can I access my Descent: Underground Steam Key?

on Friday November 06 by Jon Bartus


Please be sure to check your Spam Folder, as well as any other filtered folders on your email account.

  • Gmail Users
    We have recently begun getting reports of our emails being directed to a non-Inbox category by Gmail. For instance, we have received reports that some of our emails are being classified as 'Promotions' by Gmail.
    Gmail Help - Inbox tabs and category labels
on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus

We've built a custom portal to make the process of linking your Kickstarter Pledge with your Descendent Studios Account as easy and painless as possible.

Backer Portal

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus

Account Security

Two-factor authentication adds a second level of authentication to an account log-in. When you have to enter only your username and one password, that is considered a single-factor authentication. 2FA requires the user to have two out of three types of credentials before being able to access an account. The three types are:

  • Something you know, such as a personal identification number (PIN), password or a pattern
  • Something you have, such as an ATM card, phone, or fob
  • Something you are, such as a biometric like a fingerprint or voice print

Naturally, biometric options aren't practical for our purposes, but thanks to apps like Google Authenticator, we are able to offer support for using your phone, tablet, or other device as a second factor to increase your account's security.

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus

Two-factor authentication can be enabled on your account through the User CP (Control Panel) on the Descendent Studios Website. (link)

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus

Two-factor authentication is available on mobile devices using the Google Authenticator app for Android Eclair 2.1 or newer, Apple iOS 5.0 or later, and BlackBerry OS versions 4.5 through 7.0 and on Windows Phone using the Microsoft Authenticator app. There are also a variety of options for authentication using non-mobile devices such as desktop computers, as well as cross-platform apps for synchronizing authentication across multiple devices.

Descendent Studios implements Google Authenticator on our website and services. Other authentication apps and/or devices may be compatible, however Descendent Studios assumes no responsibility for testing or maintaining compatibility with other autentication apps/devices. The information regarding alternative apps provided above is strictly informational in nature, issues with these apps should be take up with their respective developers.

on Thursday October 22 by Jon Bartus


We have a launcher that sits before the actual UE4 game client is launched.  This performs a number of functions for us:
  1. On platforms (like our own website) without a patch/distribution element it handles the downloading and updating of the game client and itself.  On steam and the like those functions are handled by the distribution platform.
  2. It handles initial "tokenization" of logins allowing us to abstract multiple different login platforms (steam, our website, etc) without having to change the game client itself.
  3. It handles multiple environments like our proving grounds with different versions of the game client.
  4. On platforms that don't verify requirements (like DX11) it handles the installation/detection of these

However as with any piece of software, having a launcher can add some complications and sometimes has its own bugs that need to be diagnosed/etc.  This post is an attempt to get down and maintain a list of advanced features and troubleshooting steps to help you help us figure out any problems you might have with our launcher/patcher.

Hopefully these notes will help you out or at least give you some insight into the pieces of the launcher.


Under normal circumstances the launcher logs to the following directories:
Windows: %AppData%\descent-underground-launcher
Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/descent-underground-launcher
Linux: ~/.config/descent-underground-launcher
And creates two log files:  
launcher.log:  this is created during normal launcher activities and its overwritten each time you launch the launcher.
launcherUpdate.log:  this is created when the launcher "self-updates" 

Advanced Logging

If for some reason logs are not being generated, setting the environment variables "ELECTRON_ENABLE_LOGGING" and "ELECTRON_ENABLE_STACK_DUMPING" to true will output log information to the console so that we can get more information about what is going wrong so for example on a windows default steam install you would open a command prompt and run:
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Descent Underground\launcher
And it should output all the log information to the command prompt console.


The launcher has some basic options available through a gear in the upper right and contains things like saving authentication and such.  These options are output to a file in the same directories as the logs named options.db
If needed this file can be deleted by hand or by launching with the --clear option on the command line or in Steam's advanced options.

Require Administrator / Process Escallation (Windows Only)

Because the launcher/patcher contains self-updating elements and updates files in the Program Files directory on windows, by default when not run through a platform that handles distribution, it "escalates" on launching.  This is where if you have UAC enabled it prompts you allow the process to run with administrator rights.
If the user running isn't an Administrator it will simply bypass this requirement but might run into permission issues during updating the launcher or game client.
While running with administrator rights takes care of a lot of issues for a lot of users, not all users want to run the software with administrator rights.  You can accomplish this by adding the --user command line parameter when launching and it will bypass escallation.  Note: it might have permission issues while updating the launcher or game client depending on where it is installed.


Sometimes things just don't go the way we want them and we have a hard time figuring out what is going on.  There are a number of command line parameters that you can run that do some debugging things.  Note these are not guarnateed to work (in fact some of them are engineered specifically not to work) and may change or go away without notice:
--repair - This forces the launcher to "re-download" itself and update itself.
--dev - This enables a "dev mode" that opens a logging/debug window on launch and changes the behavior.  It is generally not useful but there might be some circumstances where we have you run this and enter some commands to give us more information.
--bypass - This disables/bypasses requirements checking (such as checking for DX11 and that there is enough memory)
--clear - as mentioned earlier this clears the launcher's options database
--keeplog - don't overwrite the log, append to it
--nolog - don't log

Advanced Debugging

There usually isn't a good reason to run these unless we tell you as they break core functionality, I include them here just for completeness/curiosity.
--debug-blank - Runs the normal initialization and code but instead of launching a UI, launches the debug pane and a blank page.
--debug-plain - Launches with zero customized logic, and just a debug pane and blank page.  This is used to test when all else fails if there is a core compatability issue with Elecron (the platform we use for the launcher) and some software on the OS
--debug-main-init - This emits dialog boxes at key points during the launcher initilization to determine where in the init the process might be dying if it does die.
--nostart - Runs as normal but doesn't init the UI 

Advanced Options

In addition to the above there are some simple options that change the way the launcher interacts that might be useful for some users so here they are:
--user - as mentioned earlier this bypasses administrator escallation on windows
--DX12 - this launches with experimental DX12 support, note this can also be enabled in the options screen.
--steam - this launches the launcher in "steam mode" where it attempts to authenticate against steam.  If you have steam and want to launch this from a command line/etc this is the way steam launches it and how you would do that.
--webuser - this is how steam launches the option to use a web username/password instead of steamid.  It implicitly handles things like disabling escallation/etc.
--manual - this is a shortcut to launch a web browser to our online manual
on Thursday December 03 by Sarah Tennyson

Billing & Store

Unfortunately, due to the way the Paypal-based preapproved payments are structured, we are unable to cancel Paypal preapproved payments directly through our website. Please ensure that you cancel your membership on Paypal as well as through our website to ensure that you are not billed for future months of membership. You can follow these easy steps to cancel your Paypal preapproved payment:

  1. Log in to your Paypal account at
  2. Click the Settings icon, shaped like a gear, next to "Log Out" at the top of the page.
  3. Select Preapproved Payments from the list in the "Payment settings" section.
  4.  Select your Descendent Studios agreement from the list.
  5. Under the "Billing Details" section select Cancel from the 'Status' row.
  6. On the "Cancel Confirmation" prompt, select Yes to complete the cancellation.

This is an unfortunate side of offering flexible payment options for our subscriptions and we regret that we're unable to automate this process further but, unfortunately, the recurring payments are handled directly by Paypal.


on Monday April 06 by Jon Bartus

You can gift your additional packages using our gifting interface. You can access the gifting interface through the Descendent Studios Store.

Navigation Instructions for Gifting a Package:

  1. Navigate to our homepage at
  2. Log in to your Descendent Studios user account.
  3. Select 'Store' from the main navigation menu.
  4. Once in the store section of the site, select 'Gifting' from the store navigation.
  5. Select the package you wish to gift and follow the instructions on the page to send the gift.
  6. Let your recipient know that they should check their email to redeem the gift.
on Friday February 19 by Jon Bartus

Developer Tracker