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.

HeroMachine Minis

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.

Planet HeroMachine

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.


27 Responses to What next?

  1. Kaldath says:

    Hey Jeff, why don’t you put this up as a Poll. People can still comment here if they have ideas beyond what you have already suggested ( Like .. ummmm 3.0 ? ). Myself of those suggestions you have made, I like the 2.x idea best myself. I would love to see additional body styles ( such as childern poses like in the Shakti Warriors version of HM ), but I’d forgo that for more items in 2.5.

  2. Jeff Hebert says:

    Good idea, Kaldath, done!

  3. AJ says:

    I think u should put in, like, some new skin, more guns (Pistols, maybe.) and a few better swords and axes

  4. Elsio says:

    How about putting up something about HM3… the last “update” was the old superhero toy… thing… I am really excited for heromachine 3 (probably because of the wicked cool poser). I think it will do better than HM 2 or any other HM.

  5. kryptkal says:

    I think maybe some more cape designs could be cool. Long swords too and robotic parts for cybors and andorids, etc.

  6. DeisT says:

    «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.»

    Why, do we have to understand here that these 3 suggestions put aside, nothing else (and by “else” I really mean the Hero Machine 3 project) is planned for release anymore?

    That’d sure be a real shame in my book!
    Don’t get me wrong though! Of course all 3 propositions above are very interesting ones in their own right.
    But anyway, what I’m really looking forward to is the new (3rd) version of this most fantastic program!!!!
    Anything else would be bonus-like to me, which is always neat to get, but can’t cope with an upgrade of the real thing, know what I mean? (^_-)

  7. Brad says:

    I have to say the 2.X version idea is awesome. This would lead to quite a few things I’ve thought about, like adding weapons from ancient China and Japan, such as hookswords, a straight katana, unicorn Knives, Kwando/Monk Spade type weapons, etc.

    No doubt this would allow for you to release entire sections dedicated to a particular time period, or even particular mythology. I do appreciate the one-offs, and support them, and I think eventually a Planet HeroMachine would be neat and all, but it’s apparently already got UGO forums, Uberworld, and its own Yahoo! group, so trying to make a standalone website could be stretching the project (and yourself) unecessarily beyond its means.

    When it comes to its own community, a little more promoting what you already have would probably be just fine, and with all the fans of HM altogether, it could quite simply take care of itself. I’m sure the one-offs would be fun… but in the end, I’d have to say releasing 2.X versions would be the best bet of them all.

  8. Joe Kenth says:

    With Abode air out now. You can make a real app for Mac and PC.:D Now that would be cool.

  9. Count Libido says:

    Definitely some more body types. Also, I’d like to see more symbols, insignias and logos. Sometimes you create a great costume for a character and there just isn’t a symbol that sums him up. Even if it’s just a random shape, something to create a focal point on the chest is sometimes all a character needs to set him off. A couple of big bold insignias would be nice such as a lightning bolt that comes from the shoulder and blazes across the chest would be cool.

  10. nikos says:

    I think there needs to be something where you can take a picture of something like a sword and add it to the character so if there is sword the person wants but he can’t make the sword look like he wants or their isn’t one like it he/she can put it on. I also agree with Count Libido there needs to be more body types or poses.

  11. Jimstrom says:

    Something that was in the original heromachine, but that’s been missing since then, was face paint, i try to use masks to make facial tattoos, but they look kind of wierd with the eyeholes, so my request is face paint, and body tattoos, a tattoo skin, would be awsome.

  12. Kaspar says:

    I would like to see an expansion of the objects that your hero can hold. i.e. A Les Paul guitar instead of just two strats, a Darth Maul double lightsaber, components of Jedi/Sith robes, a “force lightning” energy thing, a warhammer, a wizard staff (I suggest Sauraman and Gandalf versions). In other words, if you can expand the Star Wars and LOTR like content, then it will be one more step towards being the ultimate hero machine.

  13. Mistress Dizzy says:

    How about something like a sidekick maker? I mean, every good hero needs a little orphan kid running around with them, right? So it could be a junior hero machine, or something like that… Different costume options, like maybe a school uniform or some roller skates. I don’t know, kid stuff. It just seems like it would be a lot of fun.

  14. Danny Beaty says:

    Hi Jeff! Great job on “HeroMachine 2.5” I would like to see teen poses, and a lot more insignias (Tarot cards and playing cards, for example.). I would also like to see belt buckles. Four mechanical spider legs for the “Back” section would also be nice. It would be nice if costume parts could be decorated with more than two colors.”Pin-Up Machine” is a great idea! I anxiously await “HeroMachine 3.0”. Thanks for making life easier for wannabe comic book artists (Not everyone can be a Jack Kirby, Rich Buckler, or Neal Adams!).

  15. Eric says:

    Heromachine rocks! You should make a heromachine for anime characters for the manga fans out there. That would be Awesome!

  16. Wrestling Manaic says:

    I love Heromachine.

    How about prowrestling Hero Machine. Also have all of the logos of Prowrestling and etc.
    Naruto Hero Machine and other Anime shows Machines.

  17. Luke says:

    So is ther still going to be a HM3? Because from what ive seen from the stuff that was shown to us it looked really cool

  18. Borgity says:

    Dude I’m not really sure if this would b completely possible but if u guys could somehow create a way for us 2 like somehow design our own insignia online and use it 4 our characters that would b really kool.
    For a new heromachine i disagree with the mini-hero thing, I think you should make it close to the heromachine 2.5 version but with more poses and lots more stuff to choose from. THX CYA

  19. Borgity says:

    also I forgot to put this in my last comment but it would also be really cool if you could put like a LOT more insignias for HM3 because it kinda sucks picking some dumb insignia for one of your better super heroes and making it look stupid thx that would be cool

  20. kerean says:

    im a big fan of the hero machine series and i have to say.. good job. but in the future hm i would like to see some of the best costumes for spideman and batman etc. thanks

  21. Jon says:

    We totally need a place where we can share creations: I just made a look-a-like of Gears of War’s Marcus Fenix.
    Check it out:

    2.5b5*m3*Mark Phenix*Hair:Standard,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,23,Eyebrows:Expansion1,eyebrows4,000000,000000,100,100,21,Eyes:Faces,face17,FFFFFF,F6B652,100,100,20,Nose:Standard,widelong,F6B652,FFFFFF,100,100,27,Mouth:Standard,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,18,Beard:Expansion1,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,26,Ears:Expansion1,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,19,Skin:Standard,fraBlank,F6B652,F6B652,100,100,6,Mask:Standard,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,22,Headgear:Masks1,topbandana,181818,181818,100,100,29,Undershirt:Standard,long,313131,202020,100,100,7,Overshirt:Expansion1,scifi,848484,727272,100,100,8,Coat:FantasyArmor,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,25,RightGlove:Expansion1,wrought,848484,727272,100,100,17,LeftGlove:Expansion1,wrought,848484,727272,100,100,16,Insignia:Expansion1,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,9,Neckwear:Collars,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,24,Belt:Expansion1,buckle,848484,727272,100,100,15,Leggings:Standard,stockings,202020,313131,100,100,10,Overleggings:Pants,blox,848484,727272,100,100,11,Pants:Standard,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,14,RightFoot:Expansion1,mecha,848484,727272,100,100,13,LeftFoot:Expansion1,mecha,848484,727272,100,100,12,Back:Standard,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,3,Wings:Standard,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,4,Tail:Standard,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,5,Aura:Standard,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,2,Companion:BigWeapons,fraBlank,FFFFFF,FFFFFF,100,100,31,Background:Expansion1,forest,000000,FF0000,100,100,1,RightHand:Firearms,grenadegun,848484,434343,100,100,30,LeftHand:Expansion1,fraBlank,848484,4B4B4B,100,100,28,#

  22. Amara says:

    Is there any way to add a necktie over a dress shirt without layering 2 collars?

  23. Amara says:

    Perhaps more everyday up/back hairstyles in the female section?

  24. Avellante11 says:

    im going for 2.x expansions cuz even tho there are a lot of things in 2.5 there are a lot of things missing. i was rly surprised wen i first got heromachine that the chinese cone hat which is extremely common was not included. i feel that there also needs to be more hair syles, include some from real life edition. Also for a heromachine mini a gears of war theme would be realy awesome. oh and jon its marcus but i checked it out and it ws still awesome

  25. Avellante11 says:

    oh i almost forgot but Borgity i totally agree they need more insignias and i think it would be cool to see the green lantern symbol or the superman logo and also more poses cuz when i try to make my guy look jacked and i use the normal one but its too skiny and the giant one is too bug something in the middle would be nice

  26. Shinigami76 says:

    hey jeff i hope you get this . it would be great if we could have more “fat person” limb settings like how you had a fat person body type as well as a gut & jowl chin for 2.x , it would be great if you could add to that concept by making each limb fully customisable in terms of the cellulite on the limbs it would be a great addition for someone making a Sumo-esque body type or a comedic hero

  27. Jeff Hebert says:

    That’s the plan, Shinigami.