Monthly Archives: April 2009

HM3: Looking for belt suggestions

I'm working on belts now, and have quite a bit of room left. I don't feel like I've gotten a solid Standard set after adding some new stuff and converting over the HM2.x gear, so if you have ideas for me, please let me know in the comments.

I am probably going to do Belt-Buckles and Belt-ClipOns as separate sets. There are sooooo many of each, I thought I should probably just stick to actual full (or mostly full) belt-type items in the Standard set, and really go to town on the other two.

Let's play "Guess That Origin!"

That's right, kids, it's time for the game show sensation that's sweeping the nation, everyone's favorite super-villain costume design quiz we like to call "GUESS! THAT! ORIGIN!"


Judging from his costume, how did this unassuming "pool hall owner" (I'm not making that up) become the dreaded nefarious mildly irritating "Dr. Spectro"?

  1. Bitten by a radioactive "Lite Brite" set;
  2. Child of an unholy union between "The Dazzler" and "The Rainbow Rider";
  3. Body taken over by a sentient alien disco ball determined to make Earth dance to that funky beat ... til it is destroyed!! Or until they meet Olivia Newton John, one or the other.

You gotta love DC, the company whose mid-80's motto "No idea too ridiculous to publish" still serves as an inspiration to us all.

(Character and image © DC Comics, Inc. From "Who's Who in the DC Universe: Update '87".)

Random Panel: Fashion Pirate vs. the forces of ugliness


(From "Wonder Comics" number 11, 1947.)

Creating a woman, no ribs required

Kudos to UGO Forums user Isia, who posted an early attempt at using HeroMachine 3 to create a female character, Sirena:

Many of the elements are there, starting of course with the single female body template in BodyZombies. But the eyes, mouths, noses, and ears are for both genders, and you can (as you see here) make some nice feminine hair styles by combining the existing ones. I have to admire the clever use of Insignia as bra cups here, that's very clever.

With a little ingenuity, you don't have to wait on ol' Jeff to make your character, you can even go girl!

(Edited to add:)

I couldn't resist taking a crack at doing a female character myself after being inspired by Isia. Here's my attempt, The Female Warrior With No Name From The Land of Cold Enough For a Fur Cape But Not Cold Enough To Cover Up The Yummy Bits:


The key trick is multiple masking. For instance, the "gloves" and the pseudo-bustier are all masked to the body. Yes, an item can only serve as a mask to one object at a time, so what you see are actually THREE bodies, all stacked on top of each other, each acting as a mask for one other item -- the right and left square Insignia (rotated to make it look like a glove when masked) and the bustier (which is a Top masked and scaled to look like a bustier).

The tricky bit, which I need to fix on the back end, is that when you add the second Insignia to serve as a mask, it unmasks the first one you put on the stage. I got around it by nudging the second Body over twenty spaces, re-applying the initial glove mask to it, then nudging both it and the Insignia/glove back over. Painful, but do-able.

Everything else had to be scaled and moved to fit, as the boots were in the wrong spot. I chose the last MaleStandard head, which is sort of a Manga-inspired kewpie doll shape and works well for more feminine features. The hair is three main pieces -- the long back, scaled even longer; bangs; and the top part. I added two each of the pony tails and the long braids, flipping one of each. I moved the braids behind the Ears to make them look more 3D.

Like I said, the hard part was getting the gloves and the Top masked with the three stacked bodies. Once that was done the rest was pretty easy. If I was feeling really OCD I'd have created a fourth Body and masked the Belt to it so the top edges didn't stick out, but I was in a hurry.

Finally, Dalls Cowboy Cheerleader boots FTW. Yee-haw!

HM3: No longer only the lonely

Companions are now live in the HeroMachine 3 Alpha. I've got fifty cool new friends for your main dude, from your old favorites to all-new additions like more dragons, a big ol' squid, scary new griffons, adorable Wonder Dogs, and much more. Take a look and let me know what you think, any items you wish were in but aren't, etc.

Note that BigWeapons and Vehicles will be their own sets in either Backgrounds or the to-be-added Environment.

Here's a comparison of some of the Companions in 2.x and their new redrawn 3.0 versions:



Random Panel: Bizarre Ads from Yesteryear


(From "Wonder Comics" number 11, 1947.)

Caption Contest 56: Golden Lad

Now folks, I'm going to be trusting you here to keep this clean, and to help I am re-instituting the "appropriate for prime time network television" rule, but I just couldn't pass this image up for our next Caption Contest:


If you come up with the funniest, best entry to replace the missing dialog balloon, you'll get to choose either a) any one item in any one slot to be included in HeroMachine 3 or b) an illustration of your head and face to be included in HeroMachine 3 so you can serve as the basis for millions of super-heroes across the world! The rules are simple:

  1. Keep it clean, appropriate for a prime time network television broadcast (this means no use of the Seven Words You Can't Say on Television);
  2. Your entry must be left as a comment to this post;
  3. Be funny.

On a personal note, I tend to find violent homophobic humor un-funny. VERY un-funny. I post a number of "queer" references from the Fifties because it makes for humorous reading in the modern usage of the word, given the fact that you've got a bunch of muscle-bound men in stockings running around beating up other men while being followed by young boys, but the spirit of the thing is important. I don't like implications of violence against homosexual people, and calling stupid, silly, or feminine things "gay" is just kind of lame.

So while technically that sort of thing isn't against "the rules", I don't find it very funny. And I'm doing the judging. Do the math 🙂

Now, lecture over, start with the funny!

Capstan Character Contest Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the first Character Contest! I had a good time seeing the visuals and reading the stories, thanks to everyone who took the time to send in an entry. After careful consideration that kept me pondering til this late at night, I have decided that the winner is ... Imp! He'll get to choose any one item to be included in HeroMachine 3, which I'll be sure to let you see as soon as it's done. Here's Imp's winning entry:


And here's his write-up:


Real Name: Sanjay Singh
1. Cybernetically enhanced nervous, skeletal, muscular system, giving him superhuman strength, speed, and reflexes.
2. Cybernetic tentacles, able to carry various types of onboard weaponry.

Sanjay Singh was a cybernetics engineer working for the Indian government, working on methods of enhancing the combat abilities of soldiers. He was paralyzed by a bomb planted by Muslim separatists, and volunteered to be implanted with his own creations in the hopes of being able to walk again. The surgery was a success, and Sanjay has since become one of India's premiere superheroes.

I'm not quite sure what that has to do with the word "capstan" but luckily for Imp, the visual made up for that small shortcoming. I like how simple the image is, without a ton of complications distracting from the basic design. The combo-logo looks great, too, and I like the power circles on the tentacles. The patterning on the metal arms was the final piece to the puzzle, making them look mottled and dirty and seaworn. Even though he doesn't have anything to do with the sea. Go figure.

Anyway, congratulations to Imp. Imp, be sure to drop me a line and let me know what you're thinking of for the prize.

I wanted to include some designs I thought were especially nice as Honorable Mentions after the jump, so here goes:

Continue reading

HM3: A slight change in plan

I've spent all morning gathering reference for the Insignia-Nature set, and I'm overwhelmed. I'm thinking there's no way to fit everything in under that one heading. So I will probably separate it out into Elements (rain, wind, ice, fire, earth, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.); Plants (trees, leaf icons, acorns, etc.); and Animals (animal heads, paw prints, insects, etc.).

But that's a ton of work, easily several hundred items. So I am going to backtrack here a bit and shelve the remainder of the Insignia until I get the remainder of the slots without Standard items done, as I'd originally planned. I'm going to do Companions first, because it's easy and fast. In the meantime, let me know in the comments what slot you want to see get a set of Standard items next. I think the remaining ones after Companions are:

  • Background
  • Belt
  • Facial Hair (there's one CALLED standard at the moment, but it's very incomplete)
  • Shoulders

As a reminder, "Auras" will be sort of built in to the Body, Hand, and Foot slots so you can get a more accurate outline. Similarly, a lot of slots will have an "Extras" set for odds and ends like scars, pockets, bullet holes, etc., things that aren't complete items in and of themselves but which are intended to enhance others.

Random Panel: On how not to keep secret escape attempts SECRET