Updates & Surprises
06/30/2011 by Jeff Pobst
Thank you for your passion for Defense Grid! Over the last several months and even years, we've carefully read your posts, your emails, your suggestions, your requests, and because the Defense Grid community is so active we've been able to address several of your requests in today's June 30, 2011 update on Steam.
First off, Defense Grid now supports Steam Cloud and automatically merges your existing offline profile with whatever is in the cloud too! That means that when you first run this update all your medals and unlock progress will transfer over to the new cloud profile, but it also means that if you need to play the game in offline mode in the future, it will keep that profile locally and update it to the cloud when you next connect again. If you have two different sets of medals and unlocks on two different computers, they'll now be merged - the best result is kept. Many of you have been asking for this, and it starts today. Enjoy your Defense Grid wherever you'd like, as all data for DG on Steam is now stored online.
But there is a lot more than Steam Cloud in this update as well. Recently on the forums it was pointed out that as computers have gotten faster and faster and hard drive seek times are getting shorter, that perhaps our load times are being artificially kept longer than was needed. A bit of investigation showed that this was in fact the case (on the newest and fastest computers), and so we removed any wait times associated with the splash screens and move forward when we're done loading as soon as possible - just spacebar or enter through the splash screens to get to the loading screen right away and it will progress as soon as it can.
The Xbox 360 leaderboard has for a long time been easier to navigate than the one on Steam and we've updated the Steam leaderboard to have the same filtering approach so you can quickly get to the particular leaderboard for the map and mode you want to check. It's much easier to show people your high score now.
We also went ahead and removed any "locks" on levels. As people were installing or reinstalling the game, sometimes they'd lose their progress data and get frustrated. We don't want any frustration, so in addition to Steam Cloud saves, we've removed locked levels as well. If you're learning how to play the game we recommend starting with The Awakening, and playing the levels in order, but if you get stuck on a level or just want to go back to a level from a while back and a profile ago, no worries, they're all unlocked now.
One really large request for advanced players was to have the fast forward button be a toggle rather than a hold down to fast forward. This of course can be really confusing for new players, but we found a way to have both approaches available, and in the settings screen shown above you can now decide whether to have the fast forward button only operate when being held down, or you can live dangerously and toggle fast forward on or off.
Some DG users have passionately wanted shortcut keys, and while they aren't documented in the help text, they're now in the game. The number keys 1 through 0 each represent a possible tower from Gun to Command, and if you push a number key while your cursor is over a buildable spot (and you have the needed resources), you'll see your tower build right then and there. Want to upgrade a tower? Press the 'u' key when your cursor is over an existing tower. Want to sell a tower, press shift and u to sell that tower (it is a two-key combo to make sure you don't accidentally sell that tower).
We also cleaned up all of the potatoes from the UI that were put in there as part of the Portal 2 ARG, and we fixed the voice audio in the C.H.A.S. levels such that the voice volume slider now affects those levels as it does the rest of the levels. The console remains in so you can poke around and read about some of the early DG back-story, but the account passwords have been removed and it is a lot easier to explore.
There are a couple of other popular requests that we aren't able to get to at this time, and we want you to know we looked into them carefully. We would like, and you have said you would like, both multiplayer options in the game and an editor for the levels. The scope of those changes reach into such fundamental systems of the game, that we're just not able to bring them to you in this Defense Grid product. Please know we seriously looked into it.
So, we're excited to share this update with you today. It's available now, so if you launch Steam, you should see your Defense Grid update to the latest version, and all the new features should be there.
Let us know right away on the forums if you run into any new issues. You can always use the contact form as well on the web site, but sometimes that means you're waiting on us to get to the emails, and when you use the forums, other smart DG users can jump in and respond to you, sometimes faster than we can. There also is a lot of activity on the Steam forums. Either way works, it's just a question of which method will get you a faster response.
The Steam summer camp sale has begun, and you'll notice that Defense Grid is on sale, and you can cash in your tickets for free map packs as you earn achievements in other games. Keep an eye out for more Defense Grid opportunities as the summer camp activities are unveiled each day.