News & Updates
WOOHOO! Shaman Unlocked!
(Yes, I'm terrible at making GIFs... I was just really excited!)
Our backers have unlocked the Shaman by reaching a total of $625,000 in pledges!
This means that the Shaman will appear in Descent: Underground, ready to rebuild your shields when the enemy takes them down!
If you already have the Shaman as one of your pledge rewards- awesome!
If not, there is still time to upgrade your pledge before the packages get rebuilt. The Kickstarter-era packages will be departing the store soon...
A fast and agile dueling drone and a predecessor to the "Pyro GX", the Torch is designed for close-quarters combat.
Every backer who has pledged for a game package BEFORE we reach a total of $650,000 in pledges will get a complementary Torch in each game package they own!
Once the Torch is unlocked, it will be available to other players in-game...
Community Campfire #10
We have lots of juggling balls in the air this week in the Descendent Studios community office!
From our ongoing Build-A-Bot contest, through office visits and a design meeting livestream, to the big changes in our store and getting ready to show off the Vertical Slice to the world...
Our Build-A-Bot contest, where YOU have the chance to create a bot for Descent: Underground, is chugging along. We just finished taking entries for Stage 2 of the Art Path, and we have five great submissions from our fans!
Be sure to VOTE HERE for your favorite!
Voting closes this upcoming Monday at 10am CDT (1500 UTC).
There's also still time to enter the Stage 2 Design Path, where we've asked for a backstory that places the bot in the world of Descent.
Remember, constructive feedback...
Tech Underground - Virtual Reality Edition!
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.
Most Valuable Post for June 27, 2015
Our MVP award is given to members who actively contribute to making
Descent: Underground a better experience for us all!
Back before the contest, defcon_x was creating fan bots and encouraging others to do the same.
That creativity encouraged us to launch the Build-A-Bot contest!
Keep the creativity flowing!
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 enter Stage 2 for both Art and Design!
Get your entries in SOON!
[font='comic sans ms']SUPER SURPRISE SALE![/font]
This weekend, we are testing out the discount system on our updated store.
You can get the "I Did It My Way" for 15% OFF but only until Monday!
Tell your friends!
Be sure to check out Monday's Tech: Underground where Stormwind talks VR with Portalarium's Finn Staber!
Oh, and in case you missed it, here is yesterday's Wingman's Hangar:
Week In Review (6/26/2015)
That thumbnail to the left is not an official logo, but is something Kaji has been tinkering with and I kind of like it.
In keeping with tradition (well a tradition that kind of started last week ), we have the weekly snapshot video Viewmaster put together.
- First up, Tyler tells us about the laser grid -- and supplies his own sound effects! What's a laser grid? Well, it's a gadget that you drop behind you as a countermeasure. It can fill a tunnel or large area outside of a tunnel enabling your escape. Any ship that attempts to go through the laser grid will take damage.
- Next up, you see the placeholder login screen. Since we are building a vertical slice, we want to implement an end-to-end (as much as we can at this point) system. That, of course, includes logging into the game. So this snippet is about logging in and entering your Drone Bay. It works!
- The third and fourth clips feature Rob Irving, Michael "Smitty" Smith, and Tyler "Would You Like To Use My Controller Scheme, Cuz It's Kinda Kool" Pixley discussing the finer elements of the HUD. In case you were wondering, Smitty is a fantastic UI artist and all around good dude.
- And finally, Jason talks about some of the physics we put together quickly for the Kickstarter but are revisiting now.
We also had a first this week! We...
Developer Descent Deathmatch!
In about an hour, the devs here in the Austin office are going to start playing the original Descent- for research, of course...
We're going to be livestreaming on our Twitch feed starting about 5pm CDT (2200 UTC):
Come watch us kick each other's posteriors!
Oh, and don't forget to tune in tomorrow for Wingman's Hangar - same Twitch channel - at 11:00 am CDT (1400 UTC)!
Fun over reality
Today we had a great meeting with the Advisory Board where we were discussing various topics and the issue of "FUN FIRST" came up.
This is something very near and dear to my heart so I thought I would let you guys know the philosophy the team is working under.
Fun First means that sometimes we have to throw out a bit of reality if it adds to the players experience- does doing X, Y, or Z make the game more fun? For us, that is the deciding factor as to whether we include it.
We were discussing having some really beautiful map elements, and going over how they looked, and would appeal to folks when they got in the map. Immediately we stopped and said, yes, it is pretty, but what can we do game play wise? It is not enough to make something pretty, it has to be fun to the players, over all else.
When we design a level, we do what is called a "one sheet", where we outline the number of players, the type of map, the objectives, the points of contention, and have a check list of things to put on the map for all styles of players. And then we have some special areas which enhance the experience.
We want to create the sandbox and let you guys figure out what works, and let us know what doesn't. That is why people that join in now will be much more involved, because you guys are helping us shape the game. That is super important to the team and community and for that we thank you.
So, when we get a level ready there will be a few layers of community involvement:
- We will invite a small number to come to the office and play test it, we will record it, so you can see, but we want to get hands on feedback before we go further.
- Once through that it will go to the Proving grounds - where it will have a larger group play with it and hone it even more.
- Then the level will go to our Alpha group - again, even more balancing etc.
- Then to the Beta group.
- Finally to release.
Community Campfire #9
This past week has been a wild ride, from a redone website, to the countdown to the "Vertical Slice" (Mmm... Cake!), to the conclusion of Stage 1 of our Build-A-Bot Contest!
BUILD-A-BOTStage 1 has ended, YOU voted- and the devs agreed with the community, choosing to advance the fan favorites to Stage 2!
defcon_x and ShoGun!Each of you has earned a "Forum Games Winner" badge and five "Pals", the in-game premium currency!
Your swoop-winged concept and flamethrower boss design are uniting to become the challenge for Stage 2- a backstory and a 3D concept...
Houston, we have Separation...
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...
Monday Morning Blue(print)s
In today's Design: Underground, Keith "Dunkelza" McCormic and I talk a bit about math, whiteboards, spreadsheets, design theory, and how NOT to build the perfect mining system from the ground up. It's possibly far more exciting than it sounds...
The end result, however, was very encouraging. (Note that everything in here art-wise is placeholder, but it served my purposes for making it all work.)
Hopefully, you'll be seeing more of this system - and in much prettier shape - in the upcoming weeks.