HM3: Body thoughts

I’m working on new alternate body types starting today, and am sort of feeling my way along here. My thinking (such as it is) is that I want to do up a series of complete bodies in a whole new set called BodyMaleAlternate. These will be completely integrated bodies that are greater or lesser departures from standard human norms, and which will NOT work with many (if any) of the clothing items in the program already. But, they’ll be fun changes of pace and will allow you to make some really bizarre monsters.

In addition to the piece-parts broken out from these complete figures, of course, there will be other distinct arms or legs or torsos or bottoms (like ghost tails, mermaid tails, etc.) that aren’t part of a bigger set.

How does that sound? Useful, not useful, good, bad, indifferent? Here are the first two samples to give you an idea what I am talking about (the ghosted-out images in the background are the standard male figure, for reference):

bodyalt-1
bodyalt-2

I’ll also probably put in a couple of regular-looking human bodies like a dedicated dwarf and an adolescent. The key thing to remember is that I am not — repeat NOT — redrawing any of the clothing items to fit on any of these. If you can Transform them to make them fit, great, but I am not redrawing everything to fit a dozen different styles.

47 Responses to HM3: Body thoughts

  1. I dunno. Having alternate humanoid bodies that don’t work with the clothing sounds like you’ll be frustrating a lot of novice users. “I can have a naked dwarf but none of the clothes fit?”

    What if you designed the humanoid bodies to a particular scale, and then made that scale public somewhere? Like “For dwarves, set tops to W:120% H:85%, legwear to W:105% H:70%, footwear to… etc.” If you purposefully draw the naked bodies to a scale we can reliably use, then you’ll be giving us the versatility we need have a dwarf or an elf or an orc in the exact same outfit. I’m sure that will make a the drawing a little more complicated for you, but I think it will pay off big time down the line.

    Can that work?

  2. I think you should add these regardless. It would be good to have them for the people who want to use them but those who don’t like them don’t have to use them.

    It would be nice just to have the option.

  3. Well, yes, that’s the way it’s intended to work as-is. I mean, the idea is that you can make any sort of body with the parts you already have — if you’re scaling tops to 120 and 85 you just do that with the torso, too.

    By launch, the plan was to have an intro screen that would ask what sort of figure you wanted, if any. Brick or Dwarf would have everything pre-scaled and set, Standard would just be the default values. That’s still the plan.

    But clearly, some people don’t want to go through all that work, and with the save feature not working right I can’t always blame them, because it takes a fair amount of tweaking to get everything more or less where it needs to be. Hammerknight has done great with this stuff already — I don’t need to make a “Chibi” body because, clearly, you can scale stuff how you need to make it work. The same is true for Bricks and Dwarfs already. But people don’t seem willing, overall, to invest time in setting that up.

    These new bodies, as you can see, are more like the lobster claws in Hands or the alien heads that don’t work with Headgear. They’re extras, which you can use or not as you like. There is already a lot of stuff like that in the app, that doesn’t work right with most of the clothing or other options. It does get frustrating for the beginner.

    There will have to be a “Novice” setting that will basically hide everything that’s non-Standard, so people who want to sit down with their kids or who just want a quick in-and-out aren’t confused with a lot of the advanced stuff. I might even hide the Transform tab for that setting, so it works just like 2.5 — pretty much everything fits, pretty much everything goes with everything else, all you do is click click click and you’re done. I’ll need to go back and clear out some of the stuff from BodyStandard, in particular, that doesn’t work off-the-shelf with the other clothing items (flying legs, I am looking at you). They’ll have to be moved to Alternate.

    “Advanced” mode would unlock everything, even stuff you have to work hard to make fit.

    But the options screen where you can load pre-set rotations and such will be an important addition to make everything a lot easier.

  4. I’m torn. On one hand I think it would be a cool addition, on the other, I’m not sure how much I’d use them. I use HM3 for Character and costume design, I’m not sure if I’d use it to make monsters.

    Although, a monster maker would be cool. we’d probably start bugging you for a lot more monster parts. :)

    “We need a Mutant head flipper with backwards facing thumbs!!!”

    Like I said, it’d be cool down the line, but I’d rather see focus towards getting the core components done first.

  5. “By launch, the plan was to have an intro screen that would ask what sort of figure you wanted, if any. Brick or Dwarf would have everything pre-scaled and set, Standard would just be the default values. That’s still the plan.”

    Now that sounds really, really cool! :)

  6. I think it’s a good idea. I never really found the scaling and repositioning to be all that hard, even when it first came out in the preview that only had the torso and arms. Plus, from looking at the two examples you have up, who would really be thinking of putting any kind of outfit on these guys anyway? I say go for it, Jeff…

  7. I say add the bodies. Every mutated hero doesn’t have clothes. Besides, if you remember, when the clothes didn’t fit the female form, there were people making great looking clothes anyways. With a little or lot of tweaking, people could have clothes on them if they really wanted.

    So yeah add them, please.

  8. As a matter of fact, I could put a decent pair of pants on the rock creature, using pre-made pants, insignias, and masking, gurantee it

  9. I think these extra bodies are a great idea! Even if someone doesn’t want to use thee entire body set, the separate pieces alone give added options, even for normal characters. And it’s just like MartianBlue said, if people want to put clothing on a body, they can make it work.

  10. @Jeff: When rescaling, does each individual part have to be locked as soon as it is added? As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I make a character, rescale it and save it, everything is of normal size. Hope you respond soon. Be there. Aloha.

  11. I think this is a great idea. I think we have seen from what little there was to work with for the females (just the female zombie body) just how inventive we can be with some simple masking. Bring them on. I’ll figure out how to use them! :D

  12. I think this will be great. I mean, clothes won’t fit but there are already loads of extra things you could add to these things.

  13. In making the extra bodies I’d like to suggest you make alternate Material versions of the standard body, same exact ( or as close to it as possible ) dimensions and poses/pieces as the standard male and female bodies, but that like like they are made of stone, or water or ice etc. The Pattern option work well on clothing and backgrounds and what have you but are not all that great for making a character that looks like he is made of stone, or steel, or fire etc.

  14. I think this is fantastic. I’d love to see a good hairy/disjointed body a`la classic wolf-man. Also good naga and mermaid tail/legs are something I know I’ll get a lot of use out of too. Is there any intention of doing a set of more feminine hands at some point? Repositioning them isn’t that hard, but some with nails/portions different would be Fantastic.

  15. The Dudemeister

    I love the idea. I also like the idea of variations of the Male Standard body made out of different materials like HM2.

  16. The Dudemeister

    Alien looking bodies would be great too. It adds so many dimensions to be able to mix and match body parts that are not quite human.

  17. Maybe you could try a robotic body with an open chest so you could put a human body in it, or a body with scales and gills, or a body with a lot of tentacles like Chthulu or a scarred body that has blood on it, or maybe a body with a thin abdomen and a big chest area like a bug or bat creature, and maybe a body torn in half with a centipede like body in the gap.
    But so far it’s an amazing machine that never gets boring.

  18. I don’t think that clothes not fitting with the “monster” bodies is a problem. What would be the point of having cool monster bodies if you’re going to hide them with clothes? I don’t think many people will be interested in doing that.

    What really excites me, intrigues me and worries me is the adolescent body.

    With scaling you can create a good variety of characters by making them taller, shorter, wider, etc, but they always have all those impressive muscles. If you’re making the standard hero that’s perfect, but there are many types of characters that should look less muscular.

    The inclusion of an adolescent body should take care of that(this really excites me), but the idea of not having many items available worries me. Being a regular human body it should have most items available (of course, some “tight” items like the spandex and some tops and legwear wouldn’t fit 100%, that’s completely understandable).

    And what intrigues me is what do you really mean by “adolescent body”. I’m guessing/suggesting that it should be a body type with the Same Proportions and Position of the regular body, but less muscular. That way most items should fit well with some scaling (and with the eventual inclusion of the pre-scaled sets it shouldn’t have any problems).

    The idea of having a Novice and an Advanced mode is brilliant.

    For regular users the current features of HM3 may seem easy to use, but if it is the first time you’re using a HM all those buttons, tabs, numbers and options will probably intimidate you.

    Having a Novice mode that works like HM2 as the default, should let beginners have fun by simply clicking on whatever item they like and then coloring them. If eventually they feel like making more intricate designs they can switch to the Advanced mode.

    A common phenomenon in any business is “Overshooting”. This happens when a company, trying to satisfy their most demanding and loyal customer/users, adds “too many” features alienating possible new customers/users, therefore the user base becomes stagnated.

    The 2 modes idea seems like a good way to avoid that problem.

  19. I’m disappointed with the way Patterns work with the body parts. I really hoped that would do away with the need to draw umpteen versions of the same figure, just with a pattern added to it … It’s even worse now, since each material has to be broken out into three arm pieces, three leg pieces, two hands, two feet, and the torso. Lots and lots of work for each.

  20. @Neon: Good thoughts there, thank you. I definitely intended for HM3 to be for the harder-corps users, with all the advanced options, but still very usable for a beginner too. I hope I can thread that needle, but it’ll be challenging.

  21. I’m completely for this, but would like to also suggest a “softer” version of the default male for those of us who want characters who are not built like superheros.

  22. Demented The Clown

    OMG, Awesomeness In A Bag! I Love The Muscular Body. I’ve Had A Character In Mind For It For Sooo Long. Who Might I Add Doesn’t Require Clothing.

    I Say Fill It To The Brim, With Everything You Can Imagine, And Give The Beginner’s A Novice Mode. I’ve Noticed Most Beginners Using The Older Versions Anyway.

  23. They look great Jeff. I say, bring them on!

  24. I completely agree with everyone here, I say add the alt. bodies. We can all find our own methods of making clothes fit them, if monsters really need full attire lol.

  25. I am in Advanced Mode right now. Give us the mosters and mutants.

  26. its been so long since ive been on here, i haven’t really played with the beta too much but from what i seen i think this would be a nice addition, Pans Labyrinth is a good movie you could use. Would love to see Pan body and head on here

  27. I like the idea of alternative bodies. heres some a different version of a rock body that I think is prettey good.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/Tristan.comic.freak/SkyHigh#5425617400688400786
    http://picasaweb.google.com/Tristan.comic.freak/SkyHigh#5425617395560824514

  28. I can dig.

  29. Those are cool we can make a lot with them

  30. I haven’t been able to read eveyone’s comments thoroughly, but while we’re on the topic of bodies I was thinking about the scaling problem. Jeff, I know you’ve already made clothing tailored for the female body and don’t have any plans to redo most of the male items. Which makes sense as a lot of them are gender-neutral and can be scaled down.

    That being said, I was wondering about the possibility of doing a permanent resize/reposition for all the items that are currently male only. Like a one-time deal where everything is resized and repositioned and saved that way, so ideally there’d be a male & female standard set for every item.

    It would be something to be done after the main elements are all in place, but it could potentially make the whole process a lot smoother and provide solutions for the non-human bodies.

    Aside from all that, those prototype monster bodies look great. I’m not really worried about having to dress up a troll or tree person, they’re cool as is. I also think that the full body versions could make useful companion selections which I know is one of the things you’re looking to add on to.

  31. HomicidalClown

    I know you said you’re not going to redraw every piece of clothing so that they’ll fit on the knew bodies, but why don’t you draw clothing just for these bodies? Just a couple generic uniforms that fit the bodies. So it’ll be easier to make them part of a team, if that’s what someone wants to do. I mean The Thing has a different body type than Johnny and Reed, but he still has a uniform. Beast and Colossus are different than the other X-Men, but they still have uniforms.

    I realize I’m not sitting there drawing everything like you do, but just adding a couple new pieces for these characters would give everyone a better character-making experience.

    Also, it’d be kind of cool for you to make male and female versions of those two up there, and whatever else you’re going to make. The rock creature as female would be slightly slimmer, and would have the appropriate detail where her breasts would be.

  32. I have looks at the two pics that jeff has posted here as examples and have already figured out a couple ways to add some clothings to them especially if he were to break these down into seperate pieces like the other bodies. ( would be cool to have one of those stone arms on a regular character )

  33. Torso for reptiles like in HM2.

  34. William A. Peterson

    Add me to the ‘undecided’ camp…
    On the one hand, more always seems better.
    On the other hand, HM3 already has so much stuff in it, I don’t even try to use it, any more!
    HM 2.5 was about the limit of what I consider “user-friendly”…

  35. I say go for it. If I might suggest a small change, position the “hulking” body’s feet slightly sideways like the standard model. That way we can cajole the shoes into fitting. Otherwise it would always have to go barefoot.

    Overall though, the more parts the merrier. Even if it would be only for the advanced. I think we’ve proven with the contests that the parts can be used in very un-standard ways to make new and interesting characters.

  36. JesterTheGreat

    He could just always make the hulk’s frontway face feet as separate pieces. That way we could ridiculously oversize boots to fit the footless muscular legs, and still have those rather cool feet as options for non-hulking characters (Such as a malordous mutant named Dr. B. VonStinkyfoot!)

  37. If you don’t want the feet, just cut them off. Place another object (insignia) over it and select line color white. And there you go.

  38. Firecracker1965

    Jeff will you also be doing a BodyFemaleAlternate? That would be great! I like the idea of different body types…you give us the basics — let the creative types here figure out what to do with ‘em!

  39. Yes, female versions of all this stuff will be done.

  40. That’s awesome! Just break the body parts down into their components too I’d say, the way you’ve been doing (hand, foot, arm, and then all of it together).

  41. I’d say go for it these look fantastic. I hope you include a robotic/techno-organic type body. Some of the alien heads have a techno-organic look to them they would work nicely with a body like that.

  42. Good idea. Like it.

  43. hmm…no resized parts. SOUNDS LIKE A JOB FOR…HAMMERKNIGHT!!!

  44. I totally agree with adding new bodies- I don’t just use HeroMachine for human characters, after all. I think the broken-up parts will be very, very helpful.

    I also like the idea of novice and advanced bodies. I haven’t used the 3.0 version with my nieces yet because of all the complex stuff like scaling and rotating, but I’m looking forward to the day.

  45. have you thought about taking the standard clothes and skewing them in another program -i.e. photoshop- to fit? that way you are not drawing all new stuff just doing what isn’t currently possible with a flash program.

  46. are you going to trans fore the bodies from hm2 to hm3?