Besides just involving the community as spectators in their new mode, the team is also hoping to involve the community in other ways, as well. The most recent is their release of a white-box map kit for backers who are interested in creating their own maps. Maps that are well-designed and fun will eventually make it into the official game.
This is a particularly cool way for the community to contribute, that’ll also serve to make the game much more attractive moving forward. The Descent community has a long history of mods, so it’s ideal this sort of crowd-sourced contribution. Additionally, games like Counter Strike and Team Fortress have shown how a little community contribution can take a game to whole new heights.
While the community around this game is still a little on the smallish side, they make up for it by being pretty heavily involved with the project, and that’s going to make for a really solid foundation as the game continues to improve and attract new fans. It’s still a little early to say if it’ll have the draw its predecessors enjoyed, but intelligent design decisions and a solid sense of fun is definitely putting Descent: Underground on the right track.
The Hot Rock mode in particular could be the defining point for this new addition to a solid franchise, and I suspect there’ll be loads of cool new ideas and rules later as the team iterates a bit on it. Whatever those new ideas are, they’ll have to wait a bit, though. Right now, I need to go ask Eric to pass along my Christmas wish list to the other jolly guy.