Category Archives: Previews

Jackrabbit Cover Design: Costumes

I’ve done a couple of covers for Friend of HeroMachine and author Ian Thomas Healy. The next book up in his “Just Cause” series is a more humorous super-hero story titled “Jackrabbit”. We thought it might be fun to include you all in the cover design process, so over the next couple of weeks I’ll be making posts here about how it’s going.

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HM3: Cityscapes

I’ve just updated the core HeroMachine 3 app to support a new set of items. They’re in the “Background” slot, and the set is named “Cityscapes”. Here they are:

The first one is the “Dark Alley” from Replacement Prize List 2. Since I didn’t want a whole set of items with just one thing in it, I went ahead and did the rest. Hopefully you’ll find them useful when making settings for urban characters.

I’ve just double-checked and the updates are live. If you don’t see the new set in the list, you’ll have to flush your cache.

HM3: Text save with custom colors

The “working” version of HM3 was just updated to support custom color loading. Your previously saved text strings should still work normally.

Note that you could now start a blank character, fill the entire set of Custom Color boxes, and save it as “Bob’s Custom Colors”.

Then whenever you started a new character up, you could first load “Bob’s Custom Colors” and all of your Custom Color boxes would be immediately set and ready for use. That way if you come up with, say, your own unique set of team colors for a group you’re building, or if you have a bunch of skin tones you’ve made that you like better than mine, you can have them saved and available for use whenever you want.

For the super-duper high-tech hacker-inclined out there, note that if you save a “custom color” blank character as text, you can manually edit the CustomColor entries with hex values in the order you want before using the Load as Text function.

As always, let me know how it goes and if you see any problems with this release. We’re getting closer and closer to beta status, folks!

HM3: Text save testing

If you’re feeling brave, mosey on over to the HeroMachine 3 Working version and give the new “Load/Save as Text” feature a whirl. After the jump I’ll post some screen shots and explanations.

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HM3 New Layout Test

If you’re feeling particularly brave, you might check out the new layout I’ve been coding for HeroMachine 3. It’s based on the excellent work of Mark Shute, who did a wonderful usability test for me a while back, and Jim Marcus of LiquidCrack.com who actually designed the whole thing (which I posted about in September). BIG thanks to both of those guys!

Here are a couple of screen grabs for those of you who can’t or don’t want to visit the live preview directly:


As you can see, it’s a lot slicker and more modern. The old gold and brown color scheme and layout were always intended as nothing more than placeholders for whatever design we ultimately settled on. And it’s certainly possible that at the end of the day, UGO will have their in-house design team do something different altogether.

In addition to the look-and-feel update, I’ve also moved some buttons around in an effort to group like-functions together more clearly and to make the initial user interface cleaner and less confusing. To that end I’ve moved the “Color All Skin/Hair” buttons to the new unified Color tab. I moved the “Flip” and “Mask” buttons to the Transform tab. I removed the “outline” feature since no one ever seems to use it, and it didn’t really work like I’d hoped.

I also added a few new features. For instance, you can now flip items vertically in addition to flipping them horizontally. Not sure how useful that’ll be, but it’s fun! I removed the “arrow action” buttons that were intended to be what you’d click to make the manual entries for alpha, location, rotation, and scale take effect, but which were rarely understood or used. Instead, you now just enter your value and either tab out of the box, or click on some other part of the screen, or hit ENTER, and whatever you typed in there will be implemented.

I also updated some of the more irritating text box limitations. For instance you can now manually enter a location figure up to 1000 if you want (note that this would put the item completely off-screen). And you can now enter negative numbers in the Rotate box.

Please give it a look-see and let me know what you think, any major bugs you find that weren’t there before, good and bad on the layout or control locations or really anything else you can think of. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

HM3: Undo testing

I’ve posted a test version of HeroMachine 3 here featuring the first pass at the “undo” feature for those brave enough to give it a whirl. This test version shouldn’t affect your “real” saved characters at all, they’re totally separate files. But caveat emptor and all that.

It’s pretty much what it sounds like — do stuff and if you don’t like how it turns out, click the “Undo” button:

It’ll undo until there’s nothing else to undo. Color changes, scaling, rotation, moving an item with either the mouse or the transform buttons, alpha changes, deletions, additions, “color all skin/hair”, “Clear All”, you name it, you can probably undo it.

Currently there is no limit on how many “levels” of undo there are, but I’ll probably need to cap it at some point.

If you’ve a penchant for life on the edge, I’d appreciate your trying it out and letting me know how it works for you. Hopefully we can work out the bugs in this and then, when it’s ready, make it the “real” HM3 alpha for everyone to use. I particularly want to make sure it doesn’t mess up saving and loading of characters, so if you can check that out that would be great.

Edited to Add: I’ll be taking down the “C” test version from a few weeks ago in a few hours, so if there’s anything you wanted from it, you better get it asap.

HM3: Export options

I’m currently working on adding options for how you want to export your character image, and this is the dialog box I have so far:

How do those sizes grab you? The 200×300 size I figure will mostly be used for portrait views, so you can have a handy image for using as a forum avatar, for instance. Should I have something similar intended for widescreen use? What size would that be?

Note that I am not 100% sure I can actually do all of this, especially exporting as portrait and widescreen, but I figure it’s better to start out aiming for the stars.

HM3: Celtic Knots

Me, Myself, and I … um, and I … have finished his prizes for a couple of contest wins, now available in Insignia-Nature:

He requested a strand of Celtic knots to use as a facial tattoo, but after chatting about it, we thought it would be more versatile to break the string into individual bits that can be manually strung together so you can get just the effect you’re going for. Here’s an example, showing one of each of the knots all lined up:

Because of the way the strands run, to get the colors to work exactly right you might have to flip alternating instances, and then rotate them 180 degrees, to line up properly. Hopefully you’ll find them useful.

Terminal Knees

Watson Bradshaw requested a set of legs that would terminate at the knees, as if the character were kneeling. Since that’s been requested by lots of folks, I thought it would be wise to go ahead and publish the first pass at it for general comment, though since it’s Watson’s prize he gets the final word. Here’s the screen grab of it:


It’s now live in “Body-Male-Standard” and once we get it finalized (i.e. Watson says he likes it), I’ll do a set for the female body as well. Let me know what you think, changes you think it needs to be fully functional, etc. I put in one for the left and one for the right leg.

HM3: New Right Hands

Finishing up Imp’s prize from Character Contest 33, I’ve converted these three hands from the Modern Warrior mini to HeroMachine 3 Alpha:

Thanks for your patience, and for the suggestion, Imp!