DG 2 Dev Diary #1

07/24/2013 by trixie360

DG 2 Dev Diary #1

UPDATE:  Watch John and Jeff talk about the new features and bring you up to date with the first ever DG2 Development Update video on our YouTube channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/user/hiddenpathentertain 

Fans have been asking for an update on the progress we've been making on Defense Grid 2. Here's DG2 Lead Designer John Daud with the scoop!

Hello all,

I can finally start talking about some of the things we have
planned for DG2. Back in May we
discussed a few of the user voice suggestions that were in the “under review”
category. Particularly the idea of
manually controlling the targeting behavior of your towers. Just to paraphrase, the concerns
surrounding  the targeting options
feature included; the micromanagement of towers taking away from the key
gameplay of DG, the implication that towers weren't innately intelligent in
their targeting behavior, and the risk of over complicating the user interface.

Our concern here at HPE is what tower behavior is occurring
in the game to cause players to want to control the towers. Our first priority is to make the towers
behave intelligently and avoid any unnecessary frustration for the player. After that is accomplished then we look at
what can make this experience even more fun.

The related concepts of tower and gameplay customization
were also popular suggestions. Early on
in the development of DG2 we had a couple of concepts that would provide a way
for the player to change the gameplay to suit their tastes. The response on the forums to similar ideas
reinforced to us the popularity of this concept. Our challenge was to find a way to include this
ability in such a way that it didn't alienate the people who wanted to play in
the traditional manner and integrate the features so that they fit the DG
fiction properly. What we've devised
are the Tower Item and Command Team features.

The Tower Items will allow the player to activate a specific
Item that affects one tower type during a mission. This will modify a particular tower’s damage
or targeting behavior. For example, all
Cannon towers can have an Item active in a mission that replaces their default
ordnance with chemically tipped (damage over time) shells or shrapnel (area of
effect) ordnance. And, similar to what
has been suggested in User Voice, Inferno towers that target location instead
of targeting an alien for optimal damage to groups of aliens.

Additionally, we will also have a global gameplay modifier
in the form of the Command Team.  This
will take the form of additional characters that can be brought with the player
on missions. These characters will bring
with them certain perks such as special weapons that can replace the orbital
laser, bonuses such as increased score accumulation, or special abilities such
as quicker tower build and sell speed.  One of the examples of a new special weapon is the “paint target” ability
allowing the player to select a primary target for all of the towers in range
of the designated alien.

We will also be adding a new Difficulty setting to the
gameplay options.  This will range from a
casual mode to a difficulty level that requires both skill and the use of Tower
Items to achieve a competitive score.

The intention of all of these new features is to allow you
to play the game the way you want to play it and compete/compare yourself, via
the leaderboards, with like-minded players. The new Leaderboards will accommodate all gameplay tastes. This means the competing schools of Juggling
and Non-juggling players can have their own unique leaderboards without the
presence of the offending party on your leaderboard. We love all of you, and we just want you to
be happy in your leaderboards!

Of course, with all of these new features, we will need to
put these ideas into practice and play test them. With your help during beta testing we can
hopefully fine tune these to perfection or, if need be, cut them loose
altogether. The DG community is going
to keep an eye on the forest while we’re busy in the trees.

P.S. The Boost tower

I should mention the new Boost tower while I’m here. The idea of a blocking tower was explored
early on. It would be a cheap tower that
could be used to redirect an alien while they made their way towards their
goal. The upside: it was inexpensive to
build. The downside: it took up valuable
tower building real estate with a tower that couldn't damage the aliens
not to mention limit the line of sight for neighboring towers. Most likely a player would simply build gun
towers instead unless resources were really scarce. This would most likely make this the most
unpopular tower of the bunch. What
would make this thing more useful and fun? 
A blocking tower that doesn't prevent building in that spot would
help. If we can build on top of the
thing and add bonuses to the towers placed there…now we might have
something. The Command tower is an
underutilized tower. Granted, seasoned
vets know how to use it to perfection, but casual players mostly ignore the
thing. It was decided that we could take
the attributes associated with the Command tower and make them optional
upgrades for the Boost tower. This
includes a score bonus for the occupying tower, damage output bonus for the
occupying tower, or stealth and shield disruptor. The Boost tower will also be a good counter
strategy for a new type of alien, but we’ll talk about aliens in a future diary

Again, thank you, Defense Grid community!  We couldn't do this without you!

- John 

Want even more John, with a side of Jeff? Check out the video update!

Posted in Defense Grid 2 | Keywords: DG2