Category Archives: Suggestions & Ideas

Feature requests, future version enhancements, and anything else you want the program to do.

What next?

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.

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Expansion bug updates

I have now fixed all of the bugs from the Big List that can be fixed. Or at least, that can be fixed by me; I'm sure a better Flash developer could repair the LeftHand load bug, for instance. I want to thank everyone who took the time to post errors, having everything all in one place made the whole process much, much easier. You guys rule! Note that the fixes won't be live until the final 2.5 update, hopefully next week.

I'll now be moving on to copying over some of the component genre sets into other components. Here's what I am thinking so far (edited to add new stuff per the comments section):

  1. Copy Coats-Standard into Overshirts.
  2. Copy Coats-CapeFronts into Overshirts.
  3. Copy Coats-CapeFronts into Undershirts.
  4. Copy Coats-FantasyArmor into Overshirts.
  5. Copy Coats-FantasyArmor into Undershirts.
  6. Copy Coats-FantasyCommon into Overshirts.
  7. Copy Coats-FantasyCommon into Undershirts.
  8. Copy Overshirts-Standard into Coats.
  9. Copy Leggings-Standard into Overleggings.
  10. Copy Leggings-Standard into Pants.
  11. Copy Overleggings-Standard into Leggings.
  12. Copy Overleggings-Standard into Pants.
  13. Copy Pants-Standard into Leggings.
  14. Copy Pants-Standard into Overleggings.
  15. Copy Back-Standard into Wings.
  16. Copy Back-Standard into Tails.
  17. Copy Wings-Standard into Back.
  18. Copy Wings-Standard into Tails.
  19. Copy Tail-Standard into Back.
  20. Copy Tail-Standard into Wings.
  21. Copy Companion-Standard into Back.
  22. Copy Companion-Standard into Wings.
  23. Copy Companion-Standard into Tail.
  24. Copy Background-Expansion1 into Back.
  25. Copy Background-Expansion1 into Wings.
  26. Copy Background-Expansion1 into Tail.
  27. Copy Neckwear-Shoulders into Coats.
  28. Copy Neckwear-Shoulders into Overshirt.
  29. Copy Neckwear-Shoulders into Undershirt.

If there are other components you're dying to have, by all means please speak up, preferably in the comments to this post so everything's in one place. Each one of these duplications is easier than coming up with a whole new batch, but I do still have to manually position everything for three out of the six templates. I finally wised up halfway through developing this thing and started putting all components in the same spot so I could just cut and paste without repositioning, but it was too late for the first three.

Good costuming

I certainly have written enough words at this point about bad super-hero costumes, but I wanted to take advantage of the tidings of joy in the air at this time of year to point you to a site that features nothing but great design -- Project Rooftop. From their "About" section:

Project Rooftop is where cartoonists and illustrators bring their costume design skills to task in tribute to the superheroes and villains we’ve grown up with. This site is intended to promote excellence in costume design as well as foster continued interest for these amazing characters.

All characters are copyrights and trademarks of the respective publishers and creators. All of the designs here were created not for profit and this site is used solely for artistic enjoyment.

Whenever you feel the urge to see what other really creative, talented people can do with super-heroes, I urge you to browse through the Rooftop archives. They're really something special.

Interest in Making Your Own HM Items?

I was wondering if there would be interest out there in making your own actual HeroMachine items, which would be Flash objects just like everything else -- colorable, selectable, and usable on any of the six bodies. The idea is that I would release the Flash source files (like m1-RightHand-Expansion1.fla for instance) and write up some instructions for how to create your own items. People would draw their own items and send me their versions of the source files, and I'd compile them up into further expansion pack releases for others to use.

The source file for the main engine, heromachine.fla, would not be released.

The thing is, you'd have to own Flash and know how to use it. The code on the item files is very simple, all you have to do basically is change the name of the item in three places and you're good to go. What I don't know is how many people would be interested in something like that, and then how many would follow through and actually do something.


HeroMachine 3 Items

One of the members of the HeroMachine discussion group wrote the following suggestions for HeroMachine 3:

I have three suggestion for the HM 3
1- create a forhead component. Cool for jewel and other piercing but also for rhino or unicorn horns and for classi mask insignias.
2 - Separate belt in two components : the belt body and the buckle. It permit to create combos. You can introduce in hM3 stuff like metallic letters buckles or other symbol bucles and combinate that with all kind of belt.
3 - Patterning : Not just propose only color but also patterns. Those patterns must be color customisable, of course. It particulary interesting for components like undershirts, leggings and masks. But we can imagine different kinds of patterns and textures for each components. But i suppose it's less manageable.

These are excellent suggestions. The patterning is already in the plan (such as it is), but I hadn't thought about separating out buckles.

In my head, the basic idea behind HM3 will be that each spot on the body will have multiple sets of items you can load onto it. So for instance, among the slots available to place on the Torso would be four for shirts (Shirt Slot 1, Slot 2, Slot 3, and Slot 4). I'd have a bunch of separate files containing item sets that would fit any of those four slots, probably grouped into themes, like "Undershirts", "Overshirts", "Bandoliers", "Capes", etc. so it's easy to find the items you want. But you could choose to load all four slots up with the Undershirt items if you wanted.

One of the key differentiators between HM1 and HM2 was that in HM1, if you wanted a particular body, you were stuck with whatever components and items were made for that body. So if you wanted a big brickish looking guy, you couldn't get martial artist weapons, or if you wanted a melee warrior you couldn't get firearms. HM2 did away with that limitation, so all items and all components were available on any body style. But you still are stuck with, for instance, only one Coat slot. If there are two Coats you want to layer on a character, you can't. My goal with HM3 is to do away with that limitation, so that you can basically load any set of items you want into any component slot you want.

That raises some complications when it comes to masking -- for instance, fitting a gun into a hand without the lines from the gun overlapping the lines of the hand. But that's the general idea.

For whom the poll tolls …

One of the features I'm most excited about with the new site is the "poll" module in the right hand column. The current question involves matters nearest and dearest to my heart -- what do you want to see me and UGO spending our time on with the HeroMachine? I'm working on it full-time right now, so the possibilities are wide open. When you get a chance, register your preferences so I'll know what it is I ought to be doing!