News & Updates

Descent: Underground gives bots the sixth degree with Kythera AI!

blog-0025107001468516959.jpg

Descendent Studios, developer of Descent: Underground released a significant artificial intelligence (AI) update for its reboot of the classic 1990s FPS, Descent. This patch features Moon Collider’s advanced Kythera AI system, cooperative play against “bot” opponents, new ship types, and additional gameplay enhancements.

 


 
Moon Collider’s Kythera AI is renowned in the gaming industry for powering some of the most challenging AI opponents in games with unique gameplay requirements. In Descent: Underground drones navigate complex, maze-like maps in which “up” is relative! Moon Collider swiftly integrated Kythera into Unreal Engine 4 to power Descent: Underground’s rich and diverse stable of robotic enemies.

 


“I was blown away by how quickly Moon Collider was able to translate our game designs into working Kythera AI behaviors,” said Descendent’s CEO, Eric “Wingman” Peterson. “Within a few days, they turned our bots from flying bricks into dangerous, terrifying enemies! Just wait until you see what they can do in Survival mode and our upcoming singleplayer campaign!”

 


Moon Collider worked with Descendent Studios to push the envelope of AI navigation. With improved awareness of three dimensional combat and voxel-based wayfinding, enemies make use of Descent: Underground’s full six degrees of freedom without any intervention from designers.

 


This game update allows players to fight these smarter opponents in offline, single-player practice and online in cooperative battles with up to four players in a match. In addition, this patch includes two additional player-controlled ships- the Warlock and the Goliath. The Warlock is a stealthy infiltrator capable of bypassing security doors and stealing from enemies. The Goliath is a hulking cargo transport that can compress ore into blocks to barricade tunnels. More details are available in the Release Notes:

 


https://descendentst...n-kythera-2371/

 


The Early Access version of Descent: Underground is now available through Steam, DescentUnderground.com, and other online sellers.

 


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 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 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.

 


About Moon Collider

Moon Collider is an artificial intelligence company that brings life to virtual worlds. Developed in partnership with games studios, its Kythera middleware has unlocked gameplay potential across diverse titles since 2012. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, the company is funded by private investment and is privately held. For more information on Moon Collider and Kythera, see www.kythera.ai.

 


Press Assets:

http://descendentstu...media-inquiries

 


Kythera AI demonstration video

 


SXSW Gaming Expo VR demo video

 


###

Most Valuable Post for July 9, 2016

blog-0345084001468083590.jpg

Hey there, Descenters!

Jittress has made numerous videos and posts, an overall positive contribution to the community!

 


https://www.youtube....

Congratulations, Jittress!!!!!!!

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

 


Our MVP award is given to forum members who actively contribute to making Descent: Underground 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!

You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Everyone else, remember: Our MVP badge is awarded to a member of our forums 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.

Get to posting!

 


Warrior of the Week is on a short hiatus.

 


Until next time, fly safe!

-Dunk

Most Valuable Post for July 2, 2016

blog-0559182001467505579.jpg

Hey there, Descenters!

raptur made a neat tutorial video showing one of the ways to use six degrees of freedom to your advantage!

 




Congratulations, raptur!!!!!!!

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

 


Our MVP award is given to forum members who actively contribute to making Descent: Underground 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!

You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Everyone else, remember: Our MVP badge is awarded to a member of our forums 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.

Get to posting!

 


Warrior of the Week is on a short hiatus.

 


Until next time, fly safe!

-Dunk

Most Valuable Post for June 25, 2016

blog-0956933001466806990.jpg

Howdy, Rock Jocks!

Xyphon suggested a cool variation on Vs. Bots mode involving bots trying to destroy or capture a core you're trying to defend!

 


https://www.youtube....

Congratulations, Xyphon!!!!!!!

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

 


Our MVP award is given to forum members who actively contribute to making Descent: Underground 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!

You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Everyone else, remember: Our MVP badge is awarded to a member of our forums 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.

Get to posting!

 


Warrior of the Week is on a short hiatus.

 


Until next time, fly safe!

-Dunk

Update with a little Roadmap

blog-0641659001466825423.jpg

Hello Descenters!

 


Are you ready for some Co-op?

 


Yep, that is right, we are about to release our first version of Co-op along with our last two of the 9 ships, the Warlock (theif) and Goliath (Hauler).

There is so much going on - and truthfully we hoped to have this out sooner, but when we upgraded to the new version of Unreal Engine 4, it broke our game into pieces, and Tyler and Jason have been slammed putting Humpty back together again!

 


Better to show you though, here is our very own Pixley struggling with the bug, during an all nighter.

 


 


And if you missed this week's Wingman's hangar - how DARE YOU!

 


 


And here is what some of the rest of the team was doing while the programmers were working on the big bad bug.

 


 


A lot of people have asked for a release schedule or road map, and while as a small team it is hard to commit to actual dates, you can see what we have planned over the next couple of months.

 


Assuming the bug is squashed - next week.


  • We have Co-op ready to be released in the next few days
  • We have the last of the launch ships read in the Warlock (thief) and Goliath (Hauler) ready to be released with Co-op


Next sprint:

  • Survivor map with new bots will be released to coincide with being the featured HTC Vive game passed out to major influencers like PewDiePie and Angry Joe etc
  • Our first cockpit in the game – you can toggle it on or off.
  • EU Servers come on line as an option
  • Persistent lobby working
  • Offline vs. Bots and Survivor available
  • Map updates for Hauling and mining – new Arena maps for play.
  • Cockpit - so important we said it twice.


Next sprint: QOL Pass (Quality of life) – These are just some of the things we are working on improving.

  • Game, general - Improve “bullet hell” gameplay. More dodging, weapons "fill space".

    • Weapons - Rebalance
    • Weapons – Vulcan: Improve

  • UI - Control Configuration: Improve
  • Game modes - Game types need to have single victory based upon what it is named, and not points. Capture the core needs to be about the core being captured. Anarchy about kills.
  • Ships - IFF indicator & Sound/Notification for shooting friendlies
  • Game, general - Framerate limiter when in a menu
  • Loading Screens - a splash screen up while the main menu (and maps) is loading. It can take a long time with just a black screen
  • Launcher - Launcher needs to look more like our website in style and have a voice or music playing
  • UI - Menus: Improve consistency - example: back button changes location and label on different screens, making harder to use.
  • UI - Make overall UI design pattern and guide, apply everywhere.
  • Additional maps for all modes.
  • Achievements updated

 




So much more – these are just the highlights.

 


And as we are doing all of this, we are also working on the Single Player campaign - most of the systems are in place now which will allow us to focus most of our attention there.

 


Also, we have a Demo planned to help bring more attention to the game after we have our QOL pass done - we have purposely been somewhat low key until we feel it is more balanced and fun, and you guys have been and still are instrumental in making that happen, we thank you!

 


So, apologies for the length of time between the last update - but that is development at times.

 


See you all, Underground!

 


WM

Launcher Update, Bugs, & Upcoming Priorities

blog-0455482001466629377.png


  • We updated the launcher to work better with non-Latin characters to fix some crashes.
  • We are working hard on a new patch, but we're wrestling with a bug in Unreal Engine 4.12.2.

    • VR is only accepting controls from XInput gamepads at this time because of an earlier engine bug. UE 4.12.2 was expected to fix this bug, but it introduced other major bugs.
    • Next patch will include online co-op play in Vs. Bots mode, two ships, and more!

  • We sat down today with our Advisory Board to help us prioritize a massive list of user-requested quality-of-life improvements.


 


Launcher Update

We had some users who reported launcher problems. One of our dedicated players, Hunter, helped trace it to using Windows in a language that uses non-Latin characters, such as Korean or Russian. Our awesome backend guy Elfindreams dug into it and:

  • When in standalone mode on a non-EU, non-US version of Windows or with the code page set to a non-EU, non-US language fixes an infinite loop on launcher start and potential problems with self-update.


Thanks for the help, Hunter! Enjoy the Bug Hunter badge we've awarded your forum account at DescentUnderground.com!

 




New Patch & Engine Bug

We've had our noses to the proverbial grindstone for the last month or so working on a new patch for everyone (Production). It includes a way to play Vs. Bots mode with other people online, two new ships- Warlock & Goliath, and a host of other improvements.

Another big area we've been working on for you is fixing a number of significant VR issues that cropped up in Unreal Engine 4.11. That's why a lot of VR users have been experiencing crashes and controller problems. Epic (makers of Unreal Engine) released a major engine update that included fixes for some of those VR issues, so we upgraded to UE 4.12.2.

Unfortunately, that broke a number of key features of the game- like shooting lasers! Our programmers have been battling this bug day-and-night and we hope to have a new build out to all of you soon.

 


Upcoming Priorities

We sat down with our Advisory Board today to go through a gigantic list of user-requested improvements. Here's the list of our top ten priorities for our next quality-of-life patch:


  • Game, general - Improve “bullet hell” gameplay. More dodging, weapons "fill space".

    • Weapons - Rebalance
    • Weapons – Vulcan: Improve

  • UI - Control Configuration: Improve
  • Game modes - Game types need to have single victory based upon what it is named, and not points. Capture the core needs to be about the core being captured. Anarchy about kills.
  • Ships - IFF indicator & Sound/Notification for shooting friendlies
  • Game, general - Framerate limiter when in a menu
  • Loading Screens - We should put a splash screen up while the main menu (and maps) is loading. It can take a long time with just a black screen
  • Launcher - Launcher needs to look more like our website in style and have a voice or music playing
  • UI - Menus: Improve consistency - example: back button changes location and label on different screens, making harder to use.
  • UI - Make overall UI design pattern and guide, apply everywhere.
  • UI – Cockpit: Option for all users


We have a much, much larger list than this. However, these are some of items we are going to focus on first. These improvements should be appearing over the next few patches.

 




Thank you so much for your support and participation!

 


Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for the latest updates!

 


Fly safe,

 


-Dunk

 


P.S. - If you haven't yet given us a thumbs-up review on Steam, we appreciate them very much! If you feel like you can't yet give us a recommendation, please let us know why on the discussion forums so we can earn your positive review.

Most Valuable Post for June 19, 2016

blog-0866019001466383611.jpg

Howdy, Descenters!

Skeletonbane started a thread to discuss cool ideas for co-op and Vs. Bots mode!

 




Congratulations, Skeletonbane!!!!!!!

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

 


Our MVP award is given to forum members who actively contribute to making Descent: Underground 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!

You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Everyone else, remember: Our MVP badge is awarded to a member of our forums 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.

Get to posting!

 


Warrior of the Week is on a short hiatus.

 


Until next time, fly safe!

-Dunk

Descent Underground - Production update

blog-0420746001466204945.png

Hello Descenters!

 


There is a lot to talk about with Descent Underground. We have been very busy working on the Single player portion of the game, and getting some cool new fun stuff for you guys to play with and enjoy.

 


 


Here is sort of a mini-roadmap for what to look for in the next couple of months:

  • Warlock and Goliath in the game for everyone to fly.
  • Co-op released - so you can play Vs. Bots with your friends.
  • Survival mode - neverending swarms of bots.
  • EU servers - choose which region you want to play the game - for better pings.
  • Offline play for single player Vs. Bots and Survival.
  • VR improvements - Gaze Input working correctly.
  • Quality-of-life and polish pass for the game.
  • Medals and achievements galore.
  • Different bots to fight.
  • Drastically better AI.
  • In game voice comms in addition to text chat.
  • Cockpits
  • Persistent lobbies - stay with the same group of players if you want to!


And so much more!

 




That being said, this week has STUNK - as we upgraded to UE4 build 4.12.2 and it broke the game. We have been working our arses off trying to run down the bugs, first the ships would not fire, and missiles crashed the game. Now, missiles are not crashing the game but they are hanging in the air, and we still can't fire lasers. This is infuriating because it all works in the editor but not in the build. We will figure it out, but I know Tyler and Jason and John T, have been pulling out their hair with me in the background going "Are we there yet?" ...."Are we there yet?"

 


Our programmers are heroes!

Here are some of the things we are working on in this week's Studio Snapshot.

 


 


Hopefully we can squash that major bug and get Co-op out next week, that is our goal - then survival sometime in July - for a big promotion with HTC Vive and major Youtubers - got to get that flight working though first!

If you missed this week's Wingman's hangar we did it a bit differently as Mike "Viewmaster" Morlan is out shooting a movie, but we combined the elements of live-streaming and edited, for the best of both worlds, or the worst, you decide!



This is a big weekend for us fathers out there, as Father's day is Sunday - give your dad a call and a great big hug from us, heck, I will bet he would like a copy of Descent: Underground too?

 


If not, well... get it anyway.

Posted Image

Thanks and have a great weekend.

 


Eric "Wingman" Peterson

 


PS - why weren't we at E3? Because you guys weren't there - we focus on shows with passionate fans and not just publishers and brick and mortar locations. We are doing this with you - thank you for being a part of it and helping us out!

Most Valuable Post & Warrior of the Week for June 11, 2016

blog-0700407001465669776.jpg

Hi there, rock jocks!

We're honoring Jobode this week, but not for the usual reason!

He discovered and reported a potential exploit to the leaderboards that we are now working to fix.

 




Helpful Jobode receives a Bug Hunter award on his DescentUnderground.com forum account!

Warrior of the Week will return as soon as we get this fixed up, so be sure to play early and play often to climb the leaderboards and become our next Warrior of the Week!

 


Most Valuable Post

Flufball started a post to solicit practice tips from top pilots, helping to improve their own skills and that of other pilots in the community!



Congratulations, Flufball!!!!!!!

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

 


Our MVP award is given to forum members who actively contribute to making Descent: Underground 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!

You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Everyone else, remember: Our MVP badge is awarded to a member of our forums 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.

Get to posting!

 


Until next time, fly safe!

-Dunk

Most Valuable Post & Warrior of the Week for June 4, 2016

blog-0169513001465080080.jpg

Hi there, rock jocks!

This week's champion crushed the competition to retake the throne!

Jobode returns as Warrior of the Week!

Who will challenge this fearless warrior?

 




Our champion Jobode receives the Laurel Crown of Victory on his DescentUnderground.com forum account!

Be sure to play early and play often to climb the leaderboards and become our next Warrior of the Week!

 


Most Valuable Post

Groundhound was spotted helping another user solve a video card problem in our chatroll- We appreciate your service to the community!



Congratulations, Groundhound!!!!!!!

 


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

Our MVP award is given to forum members who actively contribute to making Descent: Underground 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!

You will also receive a shout out on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Everyone else, remember: Our MVP badge is awarded to a member of our forums 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.

Get to posting!

 


Until next time, fly safe!

-Dunk

Developer Tracker