One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was so that all of you out there would have the chance to be involved in an ongoing development project by providing insight and input throughout. Over the last few months there hasn't been a lot of opportunity for that, as the Expansion was in the "grind the items out to the additional templates" mode.
But now that the 2.5 expansion is finally getting to the wrapping-up stage, it's time to start discussing what you would like to see next out of the HeroMachine team. I've been talking with the UGO team, and here are the ideas we've put forth as big projects. I'd like to know what you all think about them, or if there are other things you'd like to see us work on.
Create a series of small, focused, self-contained HeroMachine applets, which could be released on a rapid basis (every two or four weeks, for example). Each applet would be focused tightly on a single theme – "Powered Armor", "Soldier of Fortune", "Martial Artist", and so forth.
This model would make it a lot easier to create new poses, but each would have dramatically fewer options than the full 2.5 version. In essence they would be like the "Rock Star Edition" or "Real Life Edition", new items on new bodies, but with a much smaller set of options. Versions would come out very quickly, though. Essentially 2.5 would still be the mainstay for building the most detailed and complete character possible, with each sub-Edition being focused on a very specific archetype to add a little variety to your options.
Create a new pseudo-social-networking web site where HeroMachine users could put character images and stories, and network their creations with those of other users to form teams. The basic model for this kind of thing can be found on the Uberworld site I built, where users can create their own set of characters to inhabit their world, with the additional ability to write full stories about them, to invite other characters from other creators to join their world via links (and vice versa), and in general to be a place where users can showcase their creativity.
A lot of this sort of thing in a more straight-jacketed form goes on now on the UGO forums, with some truly inspired and cool character images and backstories are posted every week. Essentially this idea would take that to the next level.
At heart, Planet HeroMachine would exist to answer the question "What next?" you get when you're done making your character in HeroMachine.
Additional 2.x Expansions
Just because the massive 2.5 expansion is done doesn't mean more items can't be added down the road. Smaller, more focused sets can easily be created and released on an ongoing basis. In theory another body template could be included, although that would involve such a massive time investment I can't honestly say I'd be motivated to do it -- converting thousands and thousands of items would be a huge headache. Essentially this would roll the "mini-HeroMachines" idea into the main program, without the flexibility of having new poses or new components to put them on.
So there you have it, the three main ideas we've come up with for how I should spend my time over the course of the next year. It's possible my contract will get extended beyond that, but there are no guarantees; it's entirely possible that one more year is it, and after that there will be no HeroMachine work done by me at all. Keep that in mind, and tell me what you think about those concepts, and what you would like to see me do.