Independent once more: Defender's Quest 2 Progress for June 2020

Notes on ending my contract with Valve, and a progress update for June

Hey everyone, it's time for another DQ2 progress report!

First and foremost, I should announce some news. My tenure at Valve on the experimental venture Steam Labs has come to a close:

Steam Labs continues on without me, of course. I will be seeking another day job eventually, ideally one that lets me work remote and keep working on DQ2 at a respectable pace.

Here's a retrospective thread on everything I did there:

Given that the last few months have involved a lot of wrapping things up over at Valve, not to mention everything else that's been going on, I've been a little scattered lately. So I took my own advice and just started working on whatever was the easiest and most immediately actionable issue, no matter how small. So basically I spent the last month of DQ2 work hitting a bunch of bugs that I've been neglecting for basically forever.

It's not the sexiest progress report, but it's the kind that gets my momentum up, and eases me back into the swing of things. Additionally, last month we've continued to plug away at more art for the game, but we're not comfortable showing any of that yet because things are still piecemeal and out of context.

Anyways, blah, here's the progress report:

  • Redesigned shop UI

    • Removed flavor text tooltip in favor of dedicated side panel
    • Moved different item types into one consolidated menu (sword/guns both under single heading of "weapons")
    • Fix centering of special text
  • Save screen:

    • Fix slightly offset buttons that has been annoying my OCD for years
  • Party screen:

    • Fixed various missing skill descriptions
  • Overworld:

    • Fix bug where tutorial arrow highlight isn't lined up
  • Battle:

    • Removed last trace of star coins
    • Added delayed trigger to spell cast for better pacing in early tutorial
    • Fixed ugly rendering on tutorial arrow
    • Fix phantom "crystal" spell showing up in black hat missions
    • Fix "NEED PSI" disappearing on spacebar push
    • Bestiary tutorial popups now show 4X-sized enemy art (so it isn't blurry zoomed in)
  • Art stuff:

    • work with artists on designs for three different enemy types

So, not the most exciting progress report, but there are new builds up for Windows and Linux as of this posting on Steam for our early backers, version 0.0.10.

An uncertain word on future Mac support...

TL;DR – I'm putting the odds that DQ2 will officially support MacOS on release to about 50%, and dwindling. I love you, Mac users, I really do, but I just can't keep up with Apple's constantly shifting goalposts.

This is not an official cancellation of Mac support – yet. In the event it does happen we'll of course refund anyone who was counting on playing on their Mac. (And a friendly reminder that our general policy on preorders is we will refund any order at any time for any reason, no questions asked – just email And I think I'll still be able to ship DQ2 with legacy Mac support – certainly for pre-Catalina machines, and probably Catalina itself. But anything after that is really uncertain.

The reason I'm uncertain about my long-term ability to support Mac is Apple's announcement they'll be moving to an ARM architecture for new models. Before the coronapocalypse hit us all like a ton of bricks, I had just barely finished a month-long dive into untangling all the flaming hoops that MacOS Catalina imposes on developers, getting all the way to the end only to terminate with the realization that I'd have to get a bunch of changes upstreamed into two libraries I depend on before I could finally ship. But, right before I could put a bow on that and get a fully notarized Mac toolchain put together, the quarantine and all the rest of it hit and I just haven't had the time or energy to check back in since.

If Catalina was the only thing I had to worry about, I'd just bite the bullet and do it. But given that we're now looking at not just OpenGL deprecation, expensive hardware, mandatory annual fees, Catalina's intrusive proctology exam... but also a deprecation of the entire Intel x86 architecture in newer macs, I'm simply losing the will to keep doing this. I just bought a refurbished Mac mini to handle the Catalina nonsense, and I'm not buying another new Mac just to properly work out all this ARM nonsense.

Maybe there will be some lovely turn-key, drop-in, no-changes-necessary compatibility layer that makes x86 OpenGL-based mac games work perfectly swell on the fancy new ARM Macs. But I have to be honest with you – if it requires another overhaul of my toolchain just to satisfy the whims of Cupertino, I'm just done.

If I was a Mac user wanting to play games on my device, I'd avoid upgrading to Catalina, and I certainly wouldn't buy a Mac for my next machine.

Windows is windows, it's exactly what you expect, but did you also know that Linux gaming no longer sucks and has actually become pretty dang good?

In any case, not trying to scare/disappoint all our Mac fans. Just trying to be honest.