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Defense Grid set the standard for tower defense games and now we're giving you the power to make Defense Grid 2 real for everyone.
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To Delay or Crunch: The Making of Defense Grid 2, Part Four

Posted by Hidden Path Entertainment, AMD & Razer (Creator)

Russ Pitts over at Polygon has been following Defense Grid 2 throughout its development. This is the fourth installment of his series, The Making of Defense Grid 2. 

"Hidden Path has left every door open. No meeting has been off limits. No team member 'unavailable.' And slowly, over the course of seven months, a clear picture has emerged of exactly how a video game is made and why that process is fraught with complexity."

You can read his full article here:

Jonathan Leard, Chuck Staples, and 6 more people like this update.


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    1. Invictus - Gardener of Valoria

      Jeff - Thanks for the insightful response. It's great to get an inside look at the development process for the game. Looking forward to playing it!

    2. Hidden Path Entertainment, AMD & Razer Creator on

      It is not the same engine as was used in the original Defense Grid. It is an engine that was developed for a game the company was going to do after the first Defense Grid, but that game was cancelled after a year and a half due to management changes at the funding company where the people we were working for left the company and the new folks coming in wanted to go in a different direction. That kind of thing happens a lot unfortunately in the game industry.

    3. Hidden Path Entertainment, AMD & Razer Creator on

      Hi Eden,

      Jeff here. In a world where we have all the money and confidence that we know what players want, we might have decided to skip it, but even then there are good reasons for showing something new to potential customers in advance.

      Building for PAX was much more than a dog and pony show though, it told us if some of our fairly significant changes would still appear to be "Defense Grid" to customers. It told us if people would react well to competitive multiplayer - even though the forums say that it isn't important to people (but the market studies say it is important to the silent majority - PAX showed that the market studies had some truth to them). It helped us determine what elements of the game resounded with people and what elements didn't - for what we were able to show.

      And because we were on a completely new engine (that isn't quite as old as the article described) it also helped us get to a place where we could at minimum show ourselves we could have the same features as the original game, but on a new technology base. Those were all very important steps and completed a phase of development where we had our proof of concept of what we thought would work, could adjust it based on real interaction with players, and then could move forward from there building content and adjusting our plans as we move towards beta.

      It was a key and integral part of building what is an amazingly complex game experience that will likely have over 200 person-months of work put into it before it ships. Some things that are exactly the same as you have built before, you can just build them and call them done after all the work is complete. But complex systems like video games often have something new in them and something inherited from other games whether they be previous games in the same franchise or pull from mechanics that have been done in other franchises.

      When building something new like that, it is critical to have points where you bring the work so far together and really look at it through the customers' eyes. Beta will be our next step for that. We've been pushing beta back for a while now until we have enough of the new things in the game working so that the feedback in beta can really make a difference in the development of the game.

      The folks at Steam are giving us a huge opportunity to use some new features, and put them in a premium game rather than in a free to play game, where we think they can add to the entertainment value rather than try and be an additional monetization. Items for example, will be something you get as you play the game and aren't something we intend to sell. But by making them part of your Steam inventory, you'll be able to collect them, give them to your friends, and trade them if you want.

      Likewise premium user created content is not just a way for people who want to make levels to share them with others, but we really want to reward players who make the best levels, and so by allowing great content to be sold to others, those who build great content can actually earn a royalty on those sales. We think those features will be great for players and won't take away from your initial Defense Grid purchase, so we're excited about including them in Defense Grid 2.

      Once they're online and our multiplayer play is tightened up a bit, we'll start the beta. We keep thinking we know when that will be, but new things keep coming up. This isn't horrible though, because while the team waits for APIs to come from Steam, they're able to already work on things they would have scheduled to be doing after beta, and we're still accomplishing development tasks at a healthy pace. We're just moving the order of tasks around to accommodate the partnership we have with Steam.

      I hope that makes sense.

      You could ask, why do a beta, and why not skip directly to the end, but we expect to learn so much from players playing the beta, and trying out the level creation tools, and receiving items over time of play, that it will help us have a much better product when it comes time to ship. I believe the same was true of the PAX build. I think we learned a ton of things that will help the game be better when it ships, and we're looking forward to sharing it all with you.

      Hope that helps clarify things a bit.

      Thanks for your support!


    4. Missing avatar

      George J. King on

      I've been working for a games developer myself (IT) and from what I can tell, demos are the bane of games development. It takes time, ressources, creative energy and much more away from the real development of a games. Sometimes it's like creating a spin-off of the real game. And crunch time may increase work hours, but the amount of useful work done isn't increased by the same amount. Instead, family lives and people's mood and quality of life suffer. It was a good choice not to crunch just for a beta version.

    5. Rob Merritt on

      I'm sorry, I meant is it the same engine. In the article, it reads like the engine, HPE, was developed 10 years ago and wasn't looked at until now. If so, what was used in the first Defense Grid? Or am I reading it wrong?

    6. Invictus - Gardener of Valoria

      In retrospect, do you think prepping the game for PAX was a bad idea? From the outside, it seems like getting the product beta-ready should have been top priority and that marketing it at conventions would make more sense after that point.

    7. Hidden Path Entertainment, AMD & Razer Creator on

      Hey Rob, are you asking if we developed the first Defense Grid? If so, the answer is yes.

    8. Rob Merritt on

      Cool update. I have a dumb question I should know the answer to. Was HPE used in the first Defense Grid?