HM3: Shoulder to shoulder

I've just posted the Shoulder-Standard set of items to the HeroMachine 3 Alpha, with 59 mostly-new (including some from the Lordi version) illustrations including the following sample:


I tired to include a good cross-section of high-tech, fantasy, and modern items for your creative pleasure, hopefully they'll help make your characters closer to how you envision them in your mind.

Holler in the comments if you see that I've missed something egregious, or if there are any bugs that are getting in your way.

I believe -- and please, correct me if I am wrong here -- that this completes all the "Standard" items for the male figure. Which is pretty amazing when I sit back and think about it. It might not seem like it, but believe me, after two years of working through the Expansion for 2.5, and countless custom versions for Sales, and all the other stuff, once I got to sit down and actually work full-time on HeroMachine 3, it's come together at a rapid pace.

I posted "HeroMachine 3.0 Begins" on January 19 of this year. In just three and a half months, you have a functioning (if somewhat buggy) version in your hands with a full set of basic items. And as you have seen in the various "Cool Characters" posts, people are doing some amazing things already.

I want to be sure you understand how important everyone who has taken the time to comment on the program during this development period has been. Many of the items and features you see are directly attributable to input from someone in the community here, which I think is just fantastic. So thank you, very sincerely, for helping this application come to life at all, much less to be as awesome as it's turning out (he said humbly).

Not that we're done -- not by a long shot. I haven't done an actual count but I would guess there are probably three times as many more items just to convert from 2.x, not to mention any new stuff that gets added. That's a lot of drawing. Plus the female body template (which I've contracted out by the way) and the conversion of any gender-dependent items to fit on it. And all the feature enhancements and bug fixes.

In other words, we're a long ways from done. But not as long as we were three months ago, when this was just an idea.

Thank you for following along thus far, and I hope you'll be sticking around for the next few months as this thing eventually leaves alpha and goes to beta, and then to a full, formal "final release". It should be fun!

39 Responses to HM3: Shoulder to shoulder

  1. RJ mcd says:

    whooo hooo i get my shoulder cannons 🙂

  2. Worf says:


    1) Great set. Really unique items there. Now here I go again, redesigning characters from just a picture…

    2) Now what? More items? The load/save feature? Fixing bugs? Don’t leave us in suspense man! 😉

  3. Jeff Hebert says:

    I’m not sure what’s next. What would you rather I do? You’ve got a good list there. I can basically focus on:

    a) More item sets (polearms, belt buckles, ranged weapons, masks, etc.)

    b) feature enahncements (better zooming, more user-controlled options like auto-masking of items, load/save function, etc.)

    c) bug fixing (patterns covering the entire area, increased overall stability, occasionally locking you out of changing a given item, etc.)

    In the immediate, immediate future, I’m leaving on Friday for a trip to Oregon and won’t be back til Monday, so today and tomorrow will probably be some behind-the-scenes stuff getting ready for that (scheduling posts, researching new items, that kind of thing).

  4. TheNate says:

    More stability would help. I found that when I try doing things with patterns it overloads my browser.

  5. neon_n64 says:

    That’s an impressive selection of shoulder items. Well done.

    Every time I see/play/read some cartoon, anime, videogame, Rol Playing Game, comic or manga, I begin to imagine characters inside that universe, I can’t avoid it.

    That was a little frustrating because I can’t draw even a straight line. All those characters couldn’t leave my mind.

    But one day, that changed, a friend told me about Hero Machine.

    Allowing people to be part of such amazing project and giving us the chance to affect the development in such a direct way is really incredible.

    Thanks Jeff 🙂

    The final version of HM3 is going to rock even more than already does!!

    Yes, my english sucks 🙂

  6. Niall Mor says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I just want to echo what everybody else has said regarding how awesome HM 3 looks. I’ve done HM3 “alpha” versions of some of my characters already and I can’t get over the improvements.

    Here are my suggestions for the next steps:

    1) Implement the load/save feature.

    2)Start working on the subsets. That way, as you add features, we can go back and reload the characters, add the new components, and tweak the design as necessary without having to rebuild the characters from scratch each time.

    3) Bring on the ladies! Some of my HM colleagues are quite skilled at creating female characters even with the limited resources of the alpha version, but every time I try to do it, the results are ::::::shudder::::: not pretty. Please, please, pretty please with a cherry on top, give us a basic female body template, some female hairstyles, and gender-specific clothing (female spandex, skirts, dresses, bustiers, etc). My “flagship” characters are female (Hmmm. Dr. Freud, call your office) and I’m itching to see how they’ll look in HM 3.

  7. Niall Mor says:

    @neon: No, your English does not suck! 🙂 I feel much the same way about HeroMachine, and you expressed it quite well. HM has been an amazing way for those of us who don’t think of ourselves as artists to express and expand our creativity.

  8. violodion says:

    Good deal on the Lordi stuff making it through. Has iconic “bad guy” feel (if by ‘feel’ one means huge neon sign flashing type of ‘feel’).

    All look good…except the shoulder cannon.

    “Shoulder Cannon” is uncharacteristically showing ‘Pattern’ through the “opening”, and a bit spills off the edge. The “Shoulder Chain”, however, displays as one would expect.

    And, of course, no ear plugs to go with that cannon. 🙂

  9. violodion says:

    Relevant reference image for post #8 (above):

  10. violodion says:

    Heh, think everyone wants #1 (Save/Load). 🙂

    Jeff has alluded it is a _huge_ deal, progammatically. Can go with that…Probably needs to HAVE everything out there to know *what* to Save/Load.

    Your English is great. No worries there.

  11. hofter says:

    i go for more items on weapons, i need a bow and staffs fire guns shields,…
    but as im going to be the only one asking for weapons,… i will also ask for bug fixing, maybe in the process you can find a way so that the browser dosnt overload.

  12. Dan Gonzalez says:

    I’m not sure how difficult it would be to get “save” and “load” working, but that would be great. Even the old text string save and load from HM2 as a get-by would be helpful.

  13. JR says:

    i’d love some female stuff and …uh.. we don’t have a background standard and yeah some of the features such as an in-the-adbox-preview box thing so we don’t have to mess around trying to click the right athing and i have an awesome? idea?……what if u had a perspective changing toolthat would change the entire character’s perspective along with it’s items attatchd? i know this would take a LOOONNNNGGGGGGG TIME but it’s just an idea i had in mind.
    😀 😉

  14. Jeff Hebert says:

    Thanks V, I’ve uploaded a fixed file for the shoulder cannon pattern. Unfortunately I had to remove the hose, apparently the curve was just right to mess up the masking function in Flash.

  15. Tim says:

    Incredible…Just incredible, Jeff! I think its safe to say my mind is already blown! 😀

    I would also like to see the save/load options up and running at this point. Thanks to you and everyone here, we can create some incredible, creative characters and the save/load option would fit in well at this point.

    Afterwards possibly tattoos, firearms, female poses and items.

    It’s amazing to be apart of the HM3 development 😀

    Thanks, Jeff.

  16. Tim says:

    I just thought of something else in association with the save/load buttons. I apologize if someone has already suggested this, but how about Undo/Redo buttons? I sometimes make mistakes that would be easier to fix with these buttons.

  17. Jeff Hebert says:

    I’d like to have an undo button, but I have literally no clue how to go about it.

  18. violodion says:

    Rhetorically musing on post #14: Wonder if the ‘flatness’ setting (if available) could be selectively changed to better accommodate that sort of thing. After all the chain appeared as desired.

    @JR: That sounds like an added feature wish for a “Transform” setting of ‘skew’ &/or ‘distort’. Which _would_ be a great thing.

  19. Jigglypuff says:

    I want you to begin on the women’s stuff so i can make more female characters, as well as work on the women’s hair, like the one I showed you.

  20. Anarchangel says:

    Again great work Jeff.

    As for what you should work on next I’d definitely vote for female body parts and items.

    Also, I know you’ve said in the past that you wont be adding any different body shapes but I would kill to be able to make a fat character. Because lets face it, not everyone’s as chiseled as as your average superhero.
    I know there’s the transform option but that only makes it a larger or smaller but still muscular character.

  21. Worf says:

    @Tim: I hit upon the undo button a while back.

    @Jeff: Don’t know how you’re doing the save function, but thinking about that gave me an idea about the undo… As the save has to have the WHOLE state of the character being created right now, how about you always keep two “slots” in memory for that? the second one contains the current state of affairs and the first would have “one step before”… that means that undoing (one step) would be just copying the previous slot to the current one and redraw. Using this idea (my knowledge of flash being an absolute 0 here) you could even have 4 or 5 levels of undo… Again, no idea how heavy this would be…

  22. Jeff Hebert says:

    That’s a pretty good idea Worf, I’ll look into it.

    It looks like save/load is the next priority, anyway, so hopefully something good will come of it.

  23. Tim says:

    @Worf: Ah okay sorry about that, I wasn’t sure if anyone suggested it before. I would like to see any type of undo option and I like your suggestion to Jeff.

  24. Worf says:


    Been thinking some more about the undo/redo feature, and I got a question: Does flash have pointers like C/C++? If so just decide how many levels of undo you want, have a list of saved positions and move the pointer back and forth to the one currently being displayed. If not then please disregard everything I said. 😉

  25. Socrates says: – could we see some styles like these in ‘shoulders’ perhaps? different types of epaulettes/shoulder boards would be good for military -themed characters

  26. Solander says:

    Jeff, what about neck items?

    Oh, and I found this image of a hawk-warrior guy in one of your previous blog threads:

    Any way they could be added to Heromachine? Cause they’re really awesome, especially the helmet!

  27. RJ mcd says:

    jeff if your doing pole arms next can we have a sledge hammer with a steel handle instead of wood

  28. RJ mcd says:

    and yes i know i’m spoiled 😉 shoulder cannons and other stuff i got 🙂

  29. Kalkin says:

    Yeah, neckwear is missing. I’d still like to see some neck armor.

  30. Jeff Hebert says:

    Neckwear’s going in Tops.

    At this point the consensus seems to be for Load/Save to go in before anything else. So I’m going to work on that. I’ve done a little investigating already and it’s alternatively super duper easy and mind-numbingly hard. So we’ll see.

  31. The Imp says:

    Excellent, just excellent shoulder stuff. Especially that missile launcher. I can see I’ll be re-designing Yellowjacket tonight. 😀

  32. RSC5 says:

    As you get into the female conversion, are you going to be asking for requests and suggestions for the more lady-centric clothing and articles like you’ve been doing for this male standard set? And will you be doing them yourself, or contracting them out too? It’s gonna get mighty specific…and girlie. So, so girlie.

  33. Jeff Hebert says:

    Sure thing, suggestions all the way. The contractor is just doing the basic body, I’ll be doing the items.

  34. Jigglypuff says:

    These would make good spandex overlays for the women, as well as neckwear and bracers, reapectively.

  35. Niall Mor says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Great work so far! Unfortunately, however, as I was giving one of my HM 2.5 characters a 3.0 makeover, I realized there is no bow in the 3.0 weapons set. There’s a quiver of arrows, but no bow! Oops! 🙂 I’d appreciate it if you could add a bow to the “Horror” subset (seems more appropriate than “Tech”) and then maybe later you can add a whole subset of bows, crossbows, etc. Thanks!

  36. Jeff Hebert says:

    @Niall: That’d be in the Ranged set from 2.5 which, like all the other non-Standard sets, will be converted in due course.

  37. Where do you paste the text when you click save?

  38. Jeff Hebert says:

    Gabriel, paste it into any text editor you like (SimpleText on the Mac, Notepad on Windows), or in an email to yourself, or wherever you want. When you want to load it back again, open the file, copy it, and paste it into the LOAD box.