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  • Tencent invests in Robot. OMDU Phase 2 coming March 24th
    Dean
    7771

    Exciting news for Robot Entertainment fans across the globe as yesterday the studio announced that they have secured a minority investment from Tencent, a large Chinese publisher who recently also announced that they would be publishing Orcs Must Die! Unchained in China. A minority interest means that Robot maintains control over its operations, this is an investment which secures additional funding / capital for Robot’s endeavours.

    “Taking on Tencent as an investor gives us additional financial flexibility but, more importantly, it creates a long-lasting and valuable partnership with the world’s premier publisher and operator of games”, said Robot Entertainment CEO Patrick Hudson. “It’s a very exciting time for Robot Entertainment. We’re looking forward to showing Orcs Must Die! Unchained to fans at PAX East in Boston and releasing the game to market later this year on PC and PlayStation 4.”

    This is great news for the studio and will help the studio grow and maintain its already great record at delivering fun games. The future is looking very bright indeed for Orcs Must Die! Unchained. It’s shaping up to be a big 2015 for Robot Entertainment. You can read more about this investment news at the Robot Entertainment website.

    Phase 2 and PAX East

    Fans who have been eagerly awaiting news about the release of the OMDU phase 2 closed beta can now be informed that Robot will be releasing this major update on March 24th in the US and shortly after in the EU. Feel free to join in on the pictorial discussions happening on the forums!

    We are also just weeks away from PAX East taking place from March 6th. Robot Entertainment will be attending with their own OMDU booth. Representatives from Gameforge will also be in attendance. Those who come to Robot’s booth will get an exclusive chance to play Phase 2 OMDU gameplay, and as always, will be able to walk away with some sweet swag as well as closed beta access and a new skin for the War Mage.

    This years PAX skin will also be available for anyone who is currently participating in the closed beta. The scarf you see being worn with the War Mages approval will be given out to attendees at the PAX booth. If you’re heading to PAX be sure to pop by and get your scarf and first Phase 2 gameplay!

    First OMDU phase 2 gameplay footage shown with Insider Access
    Dean
    7764

    Did you see the OMDU Insider Access stream yesterday? If not you missed out on seeing the first stream showing phase 2 game play with Drew playing War Mage, Hogarth and Smolder through three matches with other Robot’s in the playtest area. Justin “SixOkay” Korthof and Ian “Mother” Fischer were on hand as commentary and Q&A with the stream chat.

    We get a look at some awesome art improvements to the two lane map, the art team at Robot have really done a fantastic job improving the already excellent visuals. New UI for various things including a new weavers pop-up selection box and war camp UI. Weavers have been re-worked where by each hero now has a set of weavers that players can choose from and the upgrades are unlocked as you a play a match. They are unlocked in levels. Its well worth checking out this in the stream.

    Be sure to catch up on the video-on-demand below to see this not to be missed Insider Access.

    Robot bringing OMDU phase 2 to PAX

    Something that was also let slip during the stream is confirmation that Robot Entertainment will indeed be bringing Orcs Must Die! Unchained phase 2 to PAX. Good news if you are attending!

    Smolder gets her red hair back, Paul Hellquist on Insider Access
    Dean
    7742

    Good news for all the fans of Smolder’s previous red head look. The Orcs Must Die! Unchained! Twitter account recently revealed that she will be returning back to her original red hair look. For those who might not know Smolder had her hair colour changed to red to blonde post alpha. Here she is with her fiery red hair ready for phase 2 of the closed beta.

    Community artist Moltenink celebrated the return of red hair Smolder with his own awesome fan art:

     

    Paul Hellquist on Insider Access

    Last weeks Insider Access was not to be missed. If you havnt seen it already be sure to catch up with it via the link below.

    Justin “SixOkay” Korthof introduces us to Paul Hellquist who recently joined Robot Entertainment as Lead Designer. Paul has previously worked on games such as Bioshock and Borderlands 2. Having had an opportunity to delve into Orcs Must Die! Unchained we hear about some of the changes that we can expect to see in phase 2 of the closed beta.

    Slowing things down

    One of the interesting things we find out is that Robot is trying to slow down the overall gameplay of OMDU by doing things such as adding cast times. This has been done to help players better understand what is happening in the gameplay and not feel too overwhelmed by all the things going on at once.

    Bigging things up

    Paul and the team of designers have also been working closely with Robot’s art department to look at making things like effects such as hero powers bigger to pack a bigger punch on screen than what they did before. For instance here is a screenshot of Ivy’s root ability which now has alot more presence.

    Because hero abilities now also have a cast time players will be able see heroes like Ivy power up her root and the area of effect it will be targeting, giving players a chance to get out of the way and avoid the root.

    Here we can see Smolder trying out her new visual effects for her Phoenix ability.

    Another hero ability that was well in need of being amplified was of course, Hogarth’s flying hatchet “E ability”. This has often come up in conversation as the somewhat invisible attack as often it would be very difficult to see this hatchet being thrown on screen in the midst of battle with everything else going on. Now however, this has been re-worked and Hogarth will now freeze his full size axe, throw that and then re-form his axe from ice. This results in a much bigger visual display as below, which is an excellent improvement.

    War Mage is having his abilities re-worked. As the main face of Orcs Must Die! it is reasonable to assume that players may well pick the War Mage when starting playing OMDU as a familiar face. However his current abilities are a little confusing, especially for new players and these were in-need of being simplified. Thus both abilities have now been changed. One of his new abilities allows him to shoot his crossbow and then the arrow will shatter into many arrows affecting a wider area.

    If you check the Insider Access stream there is some video footage of these new effects for the Ivy and the War Mage around 22 minutes in.

    These are of course just some of the changes coming in phase 2. It will sure be interesting to see what else we see on Insider Access over the next few weeks to see more exciting changes for Phase 2.

    Catch up on Insider Access
    Dean
    7732

    Over last few weeks there has been some pretty interesting Orcs Must Die! Unchained insider access streams taking place over on the OMDU Twitch channel. These shows have given fans a good insight onto what kind of things we can expect to see in phase 2 of the closed beta.

    Show #1 – Tencent announcement

    The first insider access was a biggie, it was where we found out that Robot has a new partnership in place with Tencent Games in China to bring OMDU to the eastern audiences. It was also where, much to fans excitement we found out that barricades are returning! Other traps were discussed along with some ideas about changes to the gameplay and in-game economy.

    Show #2 – Bosses and levelling

    In this Insider Access, Mother (Ian Fischer) took the hot seat to discuss the cool ideas the studio has about implementing bosses. We saw a ton of artwork for potential bosses and we learnt about the plans to introduce daily challenges, specific goals that players can work towards.

    Show #3 – Meet Doug Houserman, balance designer

    In this show we met Robot’s new balance designer, Doug Houserman who talked to us about some of the plans and ideas he has for game-balance. Not only that but we got to see a whole ton of new trap ideas fresh out of the box from Doug’s mind!

    Show #4 – Hero rewards, experience, bosses, XP and rewards.

    Shoop (Shovaen Patel) and Shade (Doug Houserman) join Justin for a detailed look at how things like experience, XP and rewards are changing in Phase 2. We learnt that there are plans to track victories for individual heroes, allowing players to level up on a per hero basis. Bosses were discussed again, and we also found out that at the end of each game players can choose a card from a random set to get a random reward.

    Reveal #5 – New Map!

    Something we have all been waiting eagerly to hear about, a new map, this time with a much darker Orcish map to give contrast to the two current fortress based Order maps.

    Catch up show - Tuesday, January 27

    With so much that has been covered in the last few weeks, it can be tricky to digest all the new ideas that Robot is working on. Luckily Robot’s community team have this covered with this weeks show going to be a “Reveals Overview” show where Justin “SixOkay” Korthof will be going through the key highlights of each of these five big reveal shows to give us the low down on the key changes that will be going into Phase 2.

    Its definitely a show not to be missed so be sure to check out the next Insider Access Tuesday, January 27 at 2PM Central Time on the OMDU Twitch channel. If you have a burning question be sure to come along and ask it in the Twitch chat.

    See you there!

    Spotlight On: Rimmon and Atypical Neurons
    Dean
    7711

    We’ve got another special Fan Friday feature this week. We’re interviewing Rimmon of the OMDU EU community. Those who check the EU forums will probably know that Rimmon is currently working with Muchcoffee on a brand new OMDU community website called “Atypical Neurons“.

    The duo have some BIG things planned for this new website and is set to be jam-packed full of very useful features and tools for players to make the most of OMDU. The website has been described as an Information Hub and Theorycrafting Platform. It certainly lives up to its description boasting a fully detailed heroes, weavers and card database, a game guide detailing leadership, maps trap placement and more.

    Looking ahead the duo have plans to introduce some excellent features including:

    • Attribute Calculator and Deck Builder will help you plan your builds, and share them with others to get feedback.
    • Click on 5 Heroes and the Setup Planner will automatically tell you how many Trap Disables, Stuns, Roots, Escort Abilities, (and more) that the setup includes. It’ll show all relevant hero and minion synergies.
    • The Warcmap Editor will let you put minion cards in to a warcamp; displaying the minion formations, minion speed, and which buffs or debuffs they provide. It will point out if any minion will run ahead of the pack, or get left behind, and other useful information.
    • Plan whole trap rooms with the Trap Layout Editor. Showing unique combo points, debuffs, the individual and total coin cost, and more.
    Not only that but there are also plans afoot to develop a guide writer for the heroes, Tournament Tracker, Podcasts, Competitions, and even a Mobile App. Rimmon and Muchcoffee are certainly under-taking a big project here. So we thought we’d find out a bit more about the people behind Atypical Neurons – starting with Rimmon!

    Lets find out a bit more about him!

    Interview

    Name: Joel Bergqvist

    Age: 27

    Home Town: Västerås, Sweden.

    Questions

    • What do you do by day?

    I’m unemployed while waiting for further diagnosis and treatment. I have a preliminary diagnosis of Bipolar disorder, and my professional life completely fell apart due to it about two years ago.

     

    • How about outside of work – what hobbies / interests do you have?

    I love interior decorating, which ties in to my interest in thrift shopping and building furniture out of salvage. I also read, and practice philosophy, mainly stoicism.
    During the not so cold parts of the year I spend a lot of time outside picking berries, mushrooms, fishing, etc.

     

    • What was your highlight of 2014

    2014 was an amazing year to pick Porcini, and some other mushrooms.

     

    • How did you discover Orcs Must Die! ?

    I’ve played Tower Defense games for over 10 years, so I’ve always been on the lookout for nice games in the genre. I was a bit late to the party when it came to OMD, only found out about it a few months after OMD2 had been released. I was probably just browsing games on Steam, often a fruitless endeavour for me, this time however I struck gold.

     

    • We hear you are working on a new website for OMDU – can you tell us a bit about it?

    I’d be delighted to! Atypical Neurons is intended to support the OMDU community, and work as a hub for everything OMDU related. Our main focus will be to provide tools for players to better plan their tactics, but we’ll also post news, videos, guides etc.

     

    • What made you want to start Atypical Neutrons with Muchcoffee?

    Back in August when I first started playing OMDU I was doing trap layouts in excel, and I wished there would be website with a trap layout editor. Muchcoffee was over here from Norway to visit, and we started talking about what such a website could contain. That turned in to a three day long brainstorming session. And a few days later the first version of the site was online.

    We quickly understood that the project would work wonders for both of us, on a personal level. It was the first thing to ever motivate us to the point where quitting was no longer an option. If I allow myself to use hyperbole I’d say it brought meaning to our lives.

     

    • With lots of features planned – what are your top 3 best features for the new website?

    1. The Card Database

    My speciality lies in Data Management, so building the database and the means for people to search and filter through it, is really exciting to me personally.

    2. Planning Tools

    There’s so many tools planned (ha. ha.), that it’s hard to pick just one. They’ll all tie together to let you plan and share a whole team’s strategy. But since the Trap Layout was what set the project in motion it’ll feel really special to launch that.

    3. Guide Writer

    We have some ideas on how to streamline user submitted guides. This will simplify the process of submitting a guide, a lot.Players will be able to display heroes, minions, traps, and anything else by choosing it from our database. No need to link to pictures or copy the skill descriptions. This will speed up the writing process as well as ensure consistency even in the user submitted material on our site.

    • Looking further down the road, what else would you like to implement on the site?

    We’d love to have user accounts linked to in-game accounts, so you can use your in-game inventory for our deck editor etc. Our wish is that Robot will provide the community with a nice API in the future, making such things possible.
    If the game would grow bigger than we expect, a mobile app might happen. So you can see current special offers from the in game store, read news etc. A simple version of some of our planning tools could also be included.

     

    • Roughly when are you planning to Go Live out of alpha?

    We’ve been working really hard the past few weeks to put together a working alpha version of the site, which is intended to be live at the time this interview is published. Before this we’ve considered ourself to be pre-alpha, if we are to use such definitions.
    If we can enter beta during phase 2, and get far enough to have a functional, user friendly site once the game is released we’d be more than happy.

    • Is there anything the community can do to help with this big task?

    Tell us we’re pretty. Every time we get feedback, and see that people use what we create, it motivates us to work even harder.

     

    Spread the word, engage in the discussion about our site on the European forum, give us feedback. And spread the word about the game, our site is nothing without a player base to support.

     

    While we don’t expect it, we wouldn’t mind if you would donate money to help us out. We hope to prove ourselves capable of realizing all of this, and once we’ve proven ourselves capable we hope someone will feel us worthy of a small donation.

    Shout Out

    Is there anything you would like to say to all the OMD fans out there right now?

    Keep playing, keep discussing on the forum, keep watching the streams. If you’re interested in seeing this game succeed, be an active community member! It might not be much, but providing towards an active community is the easiest thing we can do to further the success of the OMD franchies.

     

    We’ll be catching up with Muchcoffee a bit later on to see how things are going with Atypical Neurons. In the meanwhile be sure to check out their website, currently in alpha, to see how things are going so far. Be sure to leave feedback on the forums or the comments box. They would sure appreciate your thoughts.

    http://atypicalneurons.com/

    We look forward to seeing these excellent features come to life!

    Robot welcomes Paul Hellquist to the team as Lead Designer
    Dean
    7706

    New year, new Robot staffers! Today Patrick Hudson, CEO at Robot Entertainment announced on the studios blog that Paul Hellquist has now joined the team as Lead Designer. Paul has an impressive career in the industry having spent a considerable number of years at Gearbox Software and Irrational Games before that. Paul has worked on Bioshock as Lead Designer and Borderlands 2 as Creative Director. Needless to say Paul brings a great amount of experience to an already strong team.

    Patrick Hudson took the company blog, posting:

    I spent a considerable amount of time with Paul recently, and I was consistently impressed with his breadth of thinking, passion for great design, and humility. His remarkable portfolio of work is clearly well-earned. Paul is a great fit for Robot, and I expect him to have a profound impact on the games we make, starting with Orcs Must Die! Unchained.

    Speaking to Gamasutra, Paul said:

    “It’s always difficult to leave a place you’ve spent a huge chunk of your career, but it is always exciting as well. Robot has a great track record and I’m thrilled to join the talented and veteran team. I look forward to adding my perspective and skills to Orcs Must Die! Unchained and future projects.”

    REF also welcomes Paul to the Robotic studio – we’re looking forward to the next phase of Orcs Must Die! Unchained due to be announced soon.

    For more on Paul’s hire, check out the Robot blog and the article on Gamasutra.

    Spotlight On: Cremvursti & Dubioasa (Part 2)
    Dean
    7699

    Following on from part 1 of our interview with our streaming couple Cremvursti & Dubioasa we now get Dubioasa’s answers on the same questions. Without further ado, here we go!

    The Basics

    Name: Cristina (in-game: Dubioasa)
    Age: 21
    Home Town: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

    Questions

    • What do you both do by day?

    We’re Journalism students, away from our homes to study at the university, but we are too lazy to do that. I am an intern at the European Youth Capital (Cluj-Napoca is going to be that in 2015 xD) and I sometimes go there to write articles for the websites and to promote the city. If I could, I’d sleep all day long, like our cat, Skittles.
    Otherwise, we like to watch TV series while we eat. I love to cook and I`d stay all day in the kitchen preparing Italian food especially. Generally speaking, that’s our day: movies, OMDU, food and playing with the cat.

    • How did you first meet?

    We were in the first year at the university and we had a Facebook group. I posted an invitation to a concert I didn’t even wanted to attend, but he thought I like his kind of music and asked me out. I forgot about it and went out with my friends, and I felt embarrassed. So I asked him out next time. We dated for like a week, then he never left my house. It’s true, I have a nice apartment.

    • What made you want to start streaming?

    He said that it would be great, `cause I’m cute, not bitchy and annoying. Turns out that didn’t help a lot. I’m still a beginner at everything regarding games and streaming and I really feel uncomfortable being in front of the camera and talking by myself. Hope it’s not gonna be like that for too long.

    • Outside of OMD and streaming, what other things do you both do for fun?

    I like to dance a lot. I could dance for hours, it’s a thing I do to relax and to cheer up. Sometimes we go out with friends.

    • What are your highlights of 2014?

    Hmm, I think visiting Amsterdam and getting a new laptop were #1.

    • What are you doing over the New Year?

    Next year, we’d love to visit Germany during Gamescom. I really want to meet the OMDU community sometime. I’m very friendly and enthusiastic if it’s about people I have something in common with. Seriously, I want to make myself a Sorceress outfit and meet with everyone and play together. Ball & Chain costume may be a bit too large for me, heehee.

    • How did you discover OMD?

    It`s the first game I actually played recently. I used to play when I was little, but then I stopped. I have to give credits to Cremvursti for that. I said I might enjoy if he found some tower defense based games. He showed me OMD 2 and we played in co-op. Then we moved on to other games, but I just couldn’t. OMD is my love.

    • Which are your favourite heroes and why?

    Sorceress. I played with her in OMD 2 and I liked her. I tried Blackpaw but fed too much. Then I started with Ivy and Ball & Chain and I like them both. Still, I prefer long-ranged, otherwise I feed like a grandma.

    • If there was one thing that you would most like to see phase 2 bring to Unchained, what would it be?

    More maps and more heroes. And more traps. *breathing heavily.*

    • When can we see you streaming next?

    We’ll try to get back live from the beginning of January. Now I`m not in Cluj and my internet is not so great, but I hope asap. I love streaming and I hope to get better and less boring at it.

     

    Shout out

    • Is there anything you would like to say to all the OMD fans out there right now?
    I love you, guys. Devs, fans, from FaTeReLLa to Yolteotl, from Rimmon to CrystalStorm. Playing with you doesn’t feel like standing in front of the PC and wasting some time, but more like playing with friends from childhood. Hope it’s not a cheesy message to send. If it is, it’s okay, I’m a cheesy girl then.
    Remember you catch catch Cremvursti & Dubioasa on their Twitch channel. We’ll let you know when they are streaming next!