Dungeon Defenders doesn’t just provide a multiplayer gaming experience for mobiles — using GameSpy Technology, it obliterates the barriers between PC, PS3, iOS, and Android. Never before have players been able to connect to each other through so many platforms in one place; while other games have made vague inroads toward cross-platform functionality, Dungeon Defenders blazes trails into terra incognita, delivering connectivity that sets an entirely new standard for multiplayer gaming.
The indie developers at Trendy Entertainment used freely available online services from GameSpy Technology to deliver AAA-caliber game entertainment in Dungeon Defenders (Trendy is also the first developer to use the Unreal 3 engine on Android, to boot). Trendy employed GameSpy’s multiplayer matchmaking services to smash through walls that most major developers have never had the daring to cross: enabling cross-platform multiplayer. And they did it by bridging traditional and emerging platforms alike, connecting audiences across PC, PS3, Android, and iOS into a single, cohesive online multiplayer community.
No matter where they are, players can team up to mobilize against marauding monsters by logging in with their GameSpyID to access our GameSpy Presence services, including chat and buddy lists.
Goblins, Kobolds, and Orcs! Oh my!
A unique blend of action RPG and tower defense games, Dungeon Defenders pits brave adventurers against hordes of invading creatures. Co-op play is central to the game — only teamwork and the clever use of player towers can keep masses of monsters from shattering the player’s precious Eternia Crystals.
With co-op play so integral to the game being fun — but knowing that it can be difficult to grow a player base to critical mass quickly enough to support such a feature — Trendy took the approach of making newly supported platforms additive to the overall player base, rather than isolating them into their own walled-off communities. So, as the game debuts on PC and PS3 in mid-October 2011, those players will be able to join players already battling it out on iOS and Android. The pool of available co-op players will thus simply grow as new platforms come online, ensuring that new players have a great experience right away.
GameSpy Technology helped make this possible by providing Trendy with cross-platform compatible matchmaking services. This enabled Trendy to easily add new platform’s audiences to the overall co-op pool, and gives players choices to play the way they want and the players they want to play with:
- Players who want to immediately jump into the thick of battle can choose Quick Matches and play right away.
- Hosting Custom Games lets the player decide specific criteria for the game, like available campaigns and challenges, which platforms can access their matches, and level of difficulty.
- Private Games give player the option to make sure they get to play with their friends while still taking advantage of GameSpy Technology’s Player Metrics & Ranking service.
Lobby interaction comes into online play via Home Taverns, which allow players to invite others to trade items and gather prior to matches. They also give heroes access to a store where they can exchange items for mana and a place to level up and upgrade weapons outside of the hectic pace of Dungeon Defenders battles.
Eliminating Cross-Platform Problems
In the past, factors like disparities in processing power and different control schemes have prevented cross-platform play from becoming an industry standard. Players on consoles and PCs have more power to throw behind games than their mobile-gaming comrades, and often their respective controls give them an advantage over touch-screen input schemes; not to mention the fact that home wireless networks have classically been more reliable than mobile networks.
Rather than dividing their player base, Trendy circumvents these issues with innovative techniques:
- Controls: switching the focus of Dungeon Defenders from player-versus-player to co-operative play renders control disparities irrelevant — working together rather than against each other ensures that players can meaningfully contribute to their team despite any potential control inequalities.
- Processing: while the mechanic of enemy hordes invading dungeons is a core part of Dungeon Defenders, some platforms are better equipped to handle larger numbers of spawns. Trendy provides an elegant solution — when players on mobile platforms group up with PC and PS3 users, the invading enemies are fewer, but more powerful; the challenge of dungeon defense remains, but players are placed on equal footing.
- Networking: players on any network can join matches, but only players with Wi-Fi or wired Internet connections may host them. Doing so ensures that the host player has enough bandwidth and stability to host the match, but allows everybody to access games.
Who Doesn’t Love Stats?
Dungeon Defenders also uses GameSpy Technology’s Player Metrics & Ranking service — which enables developers to track thousands of data points for millions of players — for stat tracking to show players how they rank for each match in kills, defenses built, player deaths, damage done, and accomplishments earned, among other things. Leaderboards add depth to those stats by showing how players stack up against other heroes around the world.
Hang on to Your Butts, We’re Not Done Yet
Trendy Entertainment has devoted itself to making Dungeon Defenders a game experience transcending platform limitations and has several planned features in the pipe for post-release implementation:
- Cloud Saves: The same technology that makes cross-platform interaction possible also will also give players options for how and when they choose to play: by using one GameSpyID account, players will be able to access their characters anytime, anywhere, on any platform. Dungeon Defenders will use GameSpy Technology’s cloud data storage services to let players fight on their phones or tablets during the day and their PS3 or PC by night, all while continuing to make progress on the same character.
- Deeper Player Stat Tracking: Dungeon Defenders already tracks numerous player stats for things like kills and damage done. Trendy has plans to make use of the full power of GameSpy’s Player Metrics & Rankings service to blow the doors off of the stats that comparable games track. Future versions of the game will find it tracking deeper stats like damage done, kills made with weapon types and defenses, enemy types killed, and how players use the unique abilities of each class — to provide players with a rich portrait of their gameplay activity over time.
Dungeon Defenders already destroys old ideas of platform-limited multiplayer, and with more GameSpy Technology features on the way in addition to Trendy Entertainment’s incoming features — new character classes, more maps, and more accomplishments — the already-amazing Dungeon Defenders will continue to raise the bar for co-op standards on every gaming platform.
For more information on integrating GameSpy Technology’s services, sign up for a free account today at poweredbygamespy.com.