News & Updates

Week In Review (7/31/2015)

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Well, another week in the books.

 


More bugs squashed, more features implemented, and lots more playtesting. Speaking of playtesting, you can actually watch this live from time to time. Be sure to keep an eye out for a message from Dunkelza about next the live stream.

 


Check out the playthrough from this week:

 


 


We've also made great progress toward getting a build out to the Advisory Board -- looks like sometime next week.

 


Now for the weekly Snapshot:


  • You get a look at the mining laser (still prototype) and those awesome mining blocks -- don't worry they're just placeholder. The real ones will be super awesome! That's a laser grid in the background... let's just say there are some creative uses for it.

  • You'll also hear a pretty amateurish "Someone... is charging" sound effect. Yes, that's just me playing around with Audacity. The real stuff will always come from Dan!

  • Hey! Is that Winglet in the next shot. Yeah, he spent most of the week with us in the office. Don't worry we put him to work.

  • In the next shot you hear Wingman admit to his cheating ways :D

  • Jason working and testing more VR stuff. He's done a great job with that and it is a lot of fun

  • You also get to see sort of a holo-lens view of the game while it is being played. This was kind of a happy accident. The level currently has one sided geometry, so if you are outside the map, you can see through the walls. The net effect is you can watch an entire match from the outside. I doubt we'll keep this particular "feature", but our plan is to have something like it.

 




 


There was an awesome Wingman's hangar this week. He talks to Todd Porter's current Kickstarter NecroVirus, talks about the new store, and he chats about the new ship color schemes.

 


 


Be sure to check out Rob Irving's Design Underground next Monday - 8/3/2015 (with a cameo by me). In it, Rob and I discuss the recharge zones you'll find in the game and how they are built using UE4 blueprints.

 


Last but definitely not least, come see us at the Rooster Teeth Expo next week. We are looking into getting a booth for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and might just find ourselves on the main stage one day. Stay tuned for more details.

 


Have a great weekend y'all!

 


BlueDog

Community Campfire #14

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Hey there, Descenters!

 


This week is already a whirlwind...

...and it's only Wednesday!

 


Lots of news for you- so let's just jump right in!

 


 




THURSDAY LIVESTREAM!!!!

 




We are having another livestream on our Twitch channel this Thursday, starting at 5:00pm CDT (2100 UTC)!

 


Why is this livestream worthy of not one, but FOUR exclamation points?

 


Because this stream will feature the devs actually playing the freshest build of the "Angel Food" vertical slice of the game!



Plus we might have some special guests in the game, too!

 




So crank up your web browser and head over to http://www.twitch.tv/descendentstudios on Thursday for the action and the updates!

 


See? Four exclamation points. ;)

 


 


 




STORE CHANGES

 




We've been talking about how the old Kickstarter-era rewards are going away for awhile now. This Thursday, they are departing forever!

 


Shortly before the Livestream, we will remove the current packages from the pledge store and replace them with the new "Pre-Release Era" rewards and the a la carte add-ons.

 


This means that Thursday is your last chance to pledge for a package that can opt into the exclusive Kickstarter-era "Invasion Stripes" ship skin pack. This skin pack will fit all of the ships in the retail release!

 


 




2315 Invasion Stripes Ship Skin

 




This pack celebrates those who were the vanguard- first in the fight to bring back Descent! It is free for any Kickstarter-era game packages pledged for by folks who backed during our Kickstarter. It is just $15 (half our expected retail price for skin packs!) for any Kickstarter-era game packages pledged after the end of the Kickstarter.

 


Only Kickstarter-era game packages can get this skin pack.

 


In addition, all of our Kickstarter-era game packages will receive a complimentary "Ravener" skin pack!

 


 




2316 Ravener Ship Skin Pack

 


 


 


The Ravener skin pack is available to Pre-Release packages for an additional pledge, but it will not be available after the retail release next spring.

 


 


 


[font='courier new']{LIBERETE NODE 09AE:B11D:1B0D:C29D-0A43:C2B8:D221:01A6 ONLINE AT 23150728.033411.Z}[/font]

 


 


 


[font='courier new']{Wrenched 23150728.033411.Z} I finally got a spaceside job and the greasemonkeys keep telling me that something called "Raveners" will eat me if I'm not careful. I can't believe these guys think I'm that gullible! {EOP}[/font]

 


 


 


[font='courier new']{DarkBunyip 23150728.034524.H} Yeah, the Raveners are just a legend, mate. Whenever a harvester goes missing, people whisper about roving scavengers that carried it off to hell. {EOC}[/font]

 


 


 


[font='courier new']{MrSmith23 23150728.041425.S} Sorry to burst your bubble, DarkBunyon, but the Raveners are real. Back before compound harvesters were standard, the corporations used to station people out in the asteroid belt on long term assignments. Some of those corporations went bankrupt, stranding the crews. They started scavenging to survive. {EOC}[/font]

 


 


 


[font='courier new']{DarkBunyip 23150728.041425.H} Seriously, mate? There's no way some bunch of random bogans could've survived out in the Belt for what, fifty years? Sixty? The Raveners are totally made up. The corporations blame them to explain away shoddy manufacturing and equipment failures. {EOC}[/font]

 


 


 


[font='courier new']{NODE DISABLED - UCIA ACCESS DETECTED}[/font]

 




As a final note, the departure of Kickstarter-era rewards means that all of the multipack pledges will be going away. While you'll still be able to pledge for multiple game packages (and soon be able to gift the extras), none of those will come with add-ons like Beta or Alpha access. Those will be separate pledges at a higher per-package price.

 


 


 




BUILD-A-BOT

 




We've selected a winner for Stage 2 of the Design contest!

 


 




Congratulations

ShoGun

!!!!

 


 


 


 


 


 


Your backstory will drive the lore for the bot in the game!

Congratulations also to Groundhound and Whiteshark, our runners-up!

 




Stage 3 of the Design Path starts NOW, so go submit your ideas today!

 


In addition...

 


We are getting ready for Stage 4 of the Art Path, so start thinking about textures and paint jobs!

 


Remember, whoever gets the most points from participation, entries, and victories will will an AMD 290X Video Card!

 


So get all the info about Build-A-Bot and jump in today!

 


 


Until next time, fly safe!

 


-Dunk

Design Underground

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Hello Descenters,

Our very own Rob Irving is out today on important government business (well so he says) - and as such he has asked me to stop by and help out.

 


Lots of stuff going on here at Descendent Studios - we had an impromptu livestream Friday night on my Ustream channel where we gave a first look at the current map and game play - it was awesome to see folks reacting to what we were showing, unfortunately I forgot to hit record, so if you missed it, yeah, blame me.

 


We will be showing more of that this week though - and this time, I will hit record ( I Hope! ).

 


Anyway, today is Rob Irving day here in the office, it is the Rob Irving show, starring Rob Irving, and hosted by Rob Irving, so without further adieu, here is ....well, Rob Irving with a tiny bit of help by Tyler Pixley discussing ship dynamics.

 


 


Also, we are getting the build out to our Advisory Board members who will be playing it with us to balance and get it ready for our Proving Grounders.

 


We have decided to add Proving Ground access as part of your Underground membership, so if you want the earliest possible look at the game, join the Underground.

 


That is where folks will be playing the game long before alpha, and also where all the new weapons, ships and maps will be tested first.

 


Thanks for your continued support and enjoy the Rob Irving show!

All the best,

 


Wingman

Most Valuable Post for July 25, 2015

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Howdy, Folks!

 


 


 


 






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

Descent: Underground a better experience for us all!

 




Congratulations



Vorxion



!!!!!!!

 




 




Vorxion posted some great ideas about music for the game!

 




Keep up the creativity!

 


 


Enjoy the MVP forum badge that will appear on your account!

 




You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook



and Twitter pages.

 


 


Everyone else, remember:

 


 


Our MVP badge is awarded to a member who



has supported the game in a positive way (creativity is encouraged!).

 


 


Our great moderation team picks a member each week who goes above and beyond.

 




===

 




Speaking of Build-A-Bot, there's still time to vote for Stage 2 Design finalists



and we're accepting entries for a high-detail 3D model!

 




Get your entries in SOON!

Week In Review (7/24/2015)

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Hello Descenters,

 


This week has flown by -- probably due to all the playtesting and fun we've had in-game.

 


 


 


 


 


We now have:


  • A zone that is almost complete. We have just a bit of tweaking to the lighting and some LOD issues to resolve.

  • 3 of our ships in-game, flying around, shooting, and dying :D. Each ship flies a bit differently due to the various roles they play in the game.

  • Just one game mode for now (kills and deaths), but many more on the way.

  • All the UI is hooked up and fully functional

  • Multiplayer matches. Our server is up and running and all you have to do now is join the match to play and test. When one match ends another spins up immediately.

  • SFX in-game, hooked-up, and working properly.

  • Doors! Need I say more?

  • I mentioned last week that Jason had a nightly build working and that continuous builds were on the way. Well, continuous builds are here. This is the kind of thing that makes game development easier. If you always have a fresh build to test, you find and stomp bugs faster and identify enhancements sooner. He also was able to shrink the build down to under 1 gig (from 6!)

 




We will provide the Advisory Board (you know who you are ;) ) with the game very soon. They'll be able to join us during our playtesting soon. I have no doubt we'll get some great feedback from them.

 


Next up will be a build for the Proving Grounds. We'll give you guys a heads up when that happens. If you don't have access to the Proving Grounds you can get it by joining "The Underground".

 


Ok, now for the SnapShot!!


  • Jason has VR working nicely! I flew around for quite a while. It gives you a true 3D feel!

  • Some great footage of all of us playtesting. At one point, we had 7 playing. No frame-rate issues and loads of fun!

  • You can also see, we need to tone down the missile smoke -- just a tad :blink:

  • Homing missile testing! In that shot, yours truly, tests the accuracy of the homing missiles.

 




 


Did you see Wingman's Hangar this week. No! Unpossible!

 


 


I know you guys love Design Underground with Rob Irving (featuring Rob Irving). So I figured I'll give you another opportunity to check it out from earlier this week. Rob and Josh fly through the map -- together.

 


 


That's it for me, for now. I'm off to play... DESCENT UNDERGROUND!

 


Cheers,

 


BlueDog

Community Campfire #13

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Hey there, folks!

 


I have to confess that I'm a bit sad because I can't see (in person) all of the awesome progress the team's been making!

 


Normally, I'm in the office and I see lots of cool stuff just floating through the air. But this week?

 


 


This week, the "Devil's Food" vertical slice is being transformed into the "Angel Food" slice. Stuff that was broken and buggy is being fixed, things that looked ugly and "placeholder" are becoming polished and beautiful...

 


... And I'm helping my folks load boxes. :P

 


That said, I still have some exciting information to share!

 




PROVING GROUNDS

 




We've had a long discussion about expanding the Proving Grounds and went over a lot of suggestions from our community. We do need more testers, and that meant that we had to come up with a fair way of respecting our backers who already had Proving Grounds access while expanding the pool of playtesters.

 


In the end, we decided to add Proving Grounds access as a part of membership in The Underground. Boxed Out backers will continue to have lifetime Proving Grounds access, while access through The Underground is tied to an active membership.

 


Also, as a token of our gratitude to our Boxed Out backers, we will be giving them a complementary year of Underground membership starting around the time that Proving Grounds goes online. We have some technical details to work out to implement it, but Boxed Out backers who are already members of the Underground will see that year added to their current membership.

 


This leads us to...

 




PLEDGE STORE RELAUNCH

 




We are rebuilding the pledge reward tiers to move away from Kickstarter-style rewards and to move towards a tiers based on our pricing for next spring's retail launch.

 




Our current plan is to make the switch to the new, "pre-release" tiers on Thursday, July 30, 2015.

 




From that date forward, Kickstarter-era reward packages will not be able to upgrade on a package-to-package basis, only through a la carte pledge add-ons. This is because of a technical limitation in our site software.

 


Because of this upcoming change, I wanted to give you an idea of how the new tiers would work and how current and future backers will be able to customize their pledge rewards more freely than with the Kickstarter era packages.

 


Check out this comparison of our entry-level pledge rewards:

 




[attachment=262:Entry-Level Comparison.PNG]

 




As you can see, we've structured the tiers so that our early backers get more stuff. We're also making an exclusive skin pack (fits every ship in the retail release) to celebrate our earliest supporters.

 


We are adding this skin pack FREE to any game package pledged for during our Kickstarter campaign (at Kickstarter or at our site). This includes anyone who upgraded a package first acquired from the Kickstarter.

 


In the case of Kickstarter-era game packages pledged AFTER the end of our Kickstarter campaign, we are going to leave the window open to get this exclusive $30 package for a token $15 pledge- half off!

 


The NEW pre-release pledge reward tiers will not have the option to get this skin pack.

 


We are also offering another pre-release skin pack (the "2316", also a placeholder name) that will be given FREE to any Kickstarter-era game package. This skin pack will be available to new reward tiers, but for an additional pledge- notice the difference between the "2316 Sky Cup Edition" and the "Be Prepared" package:

 




[attachment=263:Top-Level Comparison.png]

 




This means that our Kickstarter backers will see another $60 worth of limited-edition content in their rewards. Our early backers who came in after the Kickstarter will see an additional $30 to $45 worth, depending on whether or not they choose to make use of the discount on the "2315" pack.

 


I also wanted to point out something about the dollar amounts associated with each pledge tier. The newest reward tiers have a scale, say from $30 to $60 for "Enlist Now". This reflects a diminishing discount over time. Since these tiers don't come with the Kickstarter-era rewards, the bottom end of the scale for the earliest adopters looks cheaper... but only for a time.

 


We are planning to roll back the discounts over time. The idea is that someone who pledges on our site for "Ready For Action" or one of the other new tiers on July 30 will pay less than someone who pledges in November. If we'd had this functionality set up earlier, we would have used it sooner- instead we're adding exclusive rewards to the Kickstarter-era packages as a thank you for stepping up to the plate first.

 


Steam Early Access will probably work more in pulses but that's because Steam folks love their sale weekends. We can't really do much to change that expectation. Then again, folks who buy Early Access on Steam aren't going to be able to earn a free Torch or skin pack by pledging early.

 


As you probably gathered from the charts, some previously package-specific rewards, like Alpha Access, are now going to be available a la carte. We are looking to add in some of the higher-end rewards as add-ons- for instance, an invitation to our launch party next spring. Of course, those who got that invitation as part of their package will have pledged less for it, but we didn't want to exclude hard-core fans from the party just because they didn't hear about us earlier.

 


We will also be offering pre-release backers the option to pledge directly for ships at $7.50 each, either individually or in bundles of "ship tokens" at a slight discount. Individual ships will be giftable once the gifting system is operational, but the discounted token bundles have to stay as a group.

 


Ships that are tied to stretch goals will only be available for pledging after the stretch goal is reached, however "gold" ship tokens will be able to be exchanged for those ships after their stretch goal is reached.

 


I know this is turning into a wall of text, so I'm going to stop here.

 


I've started THIS THREAD for questions, discussion, and feedback about the plan we've presented here. While a lot of sweat, tears, and even a tiny amount of blood (I got a papercut) went into this plan, we know that it's not perfect and some folks may have ideas about how to improve them.

 




BUILD-A-BOT

 




Stage 2 of the design competition has moved from semi-finals to finals voting,

so go here and cast your vote for the best backstory!

 


We are also looking for polished, high-detail versions of the bot in

Stage 3 of the Art competition- click here for the info on how to enter!

 


Remember, the ultimate winner of Build-A-Bot wins an AMD 290X video card,

so enter a stage and/or give constructive feedback today!

 


Until next time, fly safe!

 


-Dunk

Monday Night Look How Far We've Come Blog

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Howdy, Descent community!

 


Seeing as how I've spent a good chunk of today working on getting all of our power-up effects (visual, audio, and game play) up and running, I figured that it would be interesting to throw up one of our images from waaaaaaay back in the Kickstarter days of some of our original power-up concepts in our very first map.

 


At this point, we're dividing our efforts between getting all of the vertical slice map into final shape (I believe that there's some sort of cake joke here, but I'll leave that to Keith) and starting to look at exactly what lies ahead to get us to something that we can put into the hands of the broader community.

 


We have nearly accomplished our goal of getting a test bed of all of our primary functionality into playable state so that we can suss out the rousing successes, bridgeable gaps, needed improvements, hopeful expansions, and regrettable bad choices (*sigh*) of this first in-depth pass at what our game will be. That means that you'll get to see some of it in action this week, but it also means a lot of hard discussions in the near future about how we move ahead.

 


Fortunately, you're all along for the ride, so we're confident that we can get to the right place together.

 


If you absolutely can't stand to wait for a look at our upcoming demo of multiplayer play in the vertical slice, we're giving you a sneak preview of the gameplay before anyone else gets to see it on today's Design: Underground! Join me and my special guest, Josh Parker - our esteemed art director - as we show off what's been done on the map, demonstrate the new flight dynamics of some of our ships, and talk about what's still to come.

 


If you want to take a look, I'm happy to provide a convenient link to keep you from spending your web miles.

 


[font='times new roman'][/font]

 


Meanwhile, look forward to a week full of reveals about how everything is working. (I know Jason is messing around with VR stuff right now. Could that be pertinent?)

 


Thank you all so much for your support, your participation, your encouragement, and your love for this storied franchise.

 




See you underground,

 




Rob

Week In Review (7/17/2015)

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Happy Friday, Descenters!

 


So we finally have almost all of the vertical slice in the game. We've moved on to bug fixing and polish. To that end, we had a big review of the game earlier this week. It generated about 40 issues we want to have fixed by the end of next week. A large number of changes have already been made, so it looks good for the end of next week.

 


We will have another review next Monday. That will, undoubtedly, generate even more issues but I really doubt anything serious will come out of the review.

 


Some of the big happenings this week:


  • Jason has the build system working. We kick off a build each night, so we can have a fresh build to play each day. Eventually, we'll have a continuous build system that will generate builds throughout the day.

  • We have multiplayer working now!

  • As you know, each ship has special tools. Well, those were implemented this week and, I have to say, I kind love the Typhoon spinning attack.

 




How about a Snapshot video?!? Here goes:


  • Drakona flies around the map she grayboxed herself. In the future, we'll provide our graybox "legos" to those of you interested in making levels. We might even have a map making contest soon! Who knows? Your level might make it into the game!

  • Drakona also demonstrates the newly implemented flight mechanics.

  • Lotharbot gives us a critique of what he saw last week and offers some excellent advise.

  • Tyler then shows off the Typhoon spinning attack. Trust me, it is awesome!

  • Next is a first glimpse at the homing missile. It homes alright! In fact, it doesn't give up. Yep, a few tweaks are in order.

 




 


We always like to show Wingman's Hangar in this blog. So here it is! In this episode, not only do you get your usual allotment of the Wingman and Designopotamus, you also get to meet Ben Jones of Fugitive Games.

 


Here's the link to Fugitive Games. Also take a look at there game Into the Stars. Early access for $19.99!

 


 


That's it for me this week. Hope all of you enjoy your weekend!

 


Cheers,

 


BlueDog

Most Valuable Post for July 18, 2015

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Howdy, Folks!

 


 


 


 


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

Descent: Underground a better experience for us all!

 




Congratulations



Mad



!!!!!!!

 




 


Mad started a great discussion about shields and game design!

 




Keep up the creativity!

 


Enjoy the MVP forum badge that will appear on your account!

 




You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook



and Twitter pages.

 




Everyone else, remember:

 


Our MVP badge is awarded to a member who



has supported the game in a positive way (creativity is encouraged!).

 


Our great moderation team picks a member each week who goes above and beyond.

 


===

 


In Build-A-Bot news, we are voting for Stage 2 Design semi-finalists



and we're accepting entries for a high-detail 3D model!

 


 


Get your entries in SOON!

Visitors, Ahoy!

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Today we had a nice visit from a couple of our Undergrounder supporters who happened to be in town...

 


...and they got to fly around in for a little bit in the current work-in-progress of the "Devil's Food" vertical slice!

 


They also got to see Pixley's ship doing cartwheels or something when he was testing out some new feature implementations- more on that later.

 


Here's a picture of our guests, Bitwise and Xyphon, with Designapotamus, Stormwind, and Pixley:

 




[attachment=266:20150715-Blog-VisitXyBit4.JPG]

 


 




Then, as is our tradition... we put them to work!

 


Xyphon and Bitwise flew through Drakona's "Valor" map to test the flight controls:

 




[attachment=267:20150715-Blog-VisitXyBit.JPG]

 


 




Then both of them checked out the details in our "Apophis" test map:

 




[attachment=268:20150715-Blog-VisitXyBit2.JPG]

 


 




Afterwards, the guys moved on to testing out various systems, like lasers and mining...

 




[attachment=269:20150715-Blog-VisitXyBit3.JPG]

 


 




...and discovered that someone had forgotten to give the Wasp's mining laser a power level. Oops!

 


 


Our visitors reported their feedback to Wingman:

 




[attachment=270:20150715-Blog-VisitXyBit5.JPG]

 


 




Then, just as our guests were packing up, Stormwind announced that he and Pixley had solved some issues with the netcode and everyone got to see the two of them facing each other down in a network game!

 


Then Pixley's ship started doing some kind of disco spin...

 


 


It was so great to have Xyphon and Bitwise stop by and I want to thank them for scheduling a time with us in advance.

 


Because we're such a small, focused team, it's very important for us to be able to plan ahead for visits. We love sharing our work with you and it takes time to get set up for these demos- computers have to be moved, files updated, cables run, etc.

 


I'm not sure when our next window for visits will be (I hope soon!); but, if you want to schedule a visit, please send me a PM via our forums.

 




Also, don't forget that this Friday Wingman's Hangar is streaming LIVE from the Celestial Citadel (well, Viewmaster's studio...) so be sure to tune in at 11am CDT (1600 UTC) on our Twitch channel:

 


http://www.twitch.tv/descendentstudios

 




Thanks for being awesome!

 


Fly safe,

 


Dunk

Developer Tracker