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.

Create (or load) a character and click on Save, and check out the new tab structure:

The first tab is labeled "Your Saves" and has all the stuff that you're used to in the Save window -- file names, dates, delete buttons, etc.

The "Text" tab is all new. It shows the text string representing whatever configuration of items you have up at the moment. As soon as you load this screen, all that text is loaded into your clipboard so you can paste it into a text document or email just like you do with HeroMachine 2. I need to add an "info" dialog explaining that here, but for now it's a little basic.

The "Load" screen actually has two new tabs, "Text" and "Templates":

Taking those in order:

  1. The Text tab is where you paste in the save character text string you get from the "Save" text tab for loading characters.
  2. The second tab is labeled "Templates", which at the moment has only two entries. Basically these will be the pre-generated characters loaded into the menu from the server. In HM2 these were the entries under the "Samples" button, like "Fantasy Wizard (Male)" or "Male Dwarf" or "Modern soldier" or whatnot. I imagine down the road we'll be having contests to fill these out.
  3. At the bottom, below the "OK" button, is an option when loading a character (whether via text or a previous save) to keep the items you've already got on the canvas.

The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but the last one is really exciting. Basically this means that if you create a nifty looking weapon, for instance, out of ten different parts, you can save it as "Bob's Awesome Gun" or whatnot and then load it with one click into any character you like. Or if you have a cool environment you've assembled, again you can save and load it without losing the new character you've put together.

The only drawback is that the new "character" you load with this option appears in front of whatever's already on the screen.

I could definitely see expanding this feature so that in the "Templates" area you'd have all sorts of neat stuff (like the great "Fire Hair" recipe from MMI or the portal to another dimension effect a few people have done) you could download and install into your creation instead of having to figure it all out on your own and build it by hand. If you can't tell, I think this is a real game-changer.

Anyway, if you're of a mind to run the new stuff through its paces I'd appreciate hearing about what you think of it, any bugs you find, or anything else you want to say.

23 Responses to HM3: Text save testing

  1. Hammerknight says:

    Third one sounds great. I’ll have to load that one up with some of my recipe items.

  2. Myro says:

    Custom colors don’t seem to carry over from a loaded text save. So far, everything else seems to be fine (tried resizing, rotating, moving and masking items, and reloading them).

  3. Aaron says:

    the templates seem like a real good idea and the third one also seems great

  4. Myro says:

    Alpha value changes seem to work as well. Also found out, custom colors do load, but only if you have those custom colors loaded up in HeroMachine already. If you try refreshing the window, that’s when the custom colors do not load.

    Jeff, any chance that you could just have the colors save and load their RGB values instead of the current set-up? That should take care of that problem.

  5. Frevoli says:

    Cool stuff, can’t wait to try it out

    On a side note Jeff – I don’t know what your usual process is, but I had an idea for a character contest.
    In the same vein of the Governator (Stan Lee’s imagining of Arnold Swarchenegger as a superhero) how about similar reimaginings of famous people / characters as superhero type characters
    (e.g. Mila Kunis as an X-man or Sherlock Holmes as a Sheild Agent)

    … just a thought I had earlier

  6. Jeff Hebert says:

    Oops, forgot about saving custom colors with text. I’ll add that.

    Great idea, Frevoli! I’ve put that on “The List” of contest ideas, I think it sounds fun.

  7. Myro says:

    Hey, speaking of contests, when are you going to open this week’s character contest? I don’t want to come off as pushy, but…

  8. ams says:

    I loaded the PRINCESS in the templates, locked the image, and then loaded the BLANK MAN and tried to shift him to the right. I then hit the undo to bring him back and Crazy stuff happened. The blanck man’s body was duplicated and woud not budge.

  9. Myro says:

    ams (8): Want to hear something else? I did the exact same thing you did, and had the same problems. Then I erased everything, hit the undo button, and it all came back, and everything was fine again.

  10. Me, Myself & I says:

    OMG. This will be Capital “A” Awsome for group shots!!!

    Sorry, got a head of myself. The 3rd load function that is.


  11. Myro says:

    MMI (10): Nice! I never actually thought about using that function that way. That is going to be Awesome.

    Sweet! And my RPG mates already freak out about the amount of visual crap I stick into my gaming material.

  12. Panner says:

    Alright, I’m pretty much going to be up all night playing with this, since these changes are going to be the best thing since sliced bread. But before I lose myself completely, I want to comment on a few things mentioned above.

    Myro/Jeff (2/4/6): Custom colors work even worse if used both for the current character and an ‘overloaded’ character. The custom colors for the current character get overwritten as soon as the project is saved and loaded (likely through undo). My not-so-educated guess is that this will take quite a bit of coding to get working as desired.

    ams/Myro (8/9): I’m pretty sure that what’s going on is that the “Keep loaded items” if checked applies not only to loading characters, but also to loading undo saves. This has fairly disastrous consequences.

  13. Frevoli says:


  14. Jeff Hebert says:

    Panner, I need to just outsource my brain to you. I think you nailed the problem ams & Myro posted about, and a different iteration of it had me pulling out my stubble all morning. Thanks for that insight, that’s hugely helpful already.

    The custom color thing not being saved I’ll definitely be adding, but the way it is generally does mean that if you add to your current installation, the previous custom colors will get completely overwritten, it’s true. I can’t think of a way around it that doesn’t involve a fairly significant rewrite of the entire custom color system. Which is something on the list, but down quite a ways.

  15. Jeff Hebert says:

    Up now, Myro. I like to let the previous contest winner have a couple of hours to enjoy the victory without everyone stampeding on over to the new one.

  16. Panner says:

    Don’t worry about it Jeff, I thrive on this stuff. As I said, I’ll be here a while, so get used to it! Anyway, there is no time to waste.

    When overloading characters, toolbars aren’t generated correctly, they end up pointing at items they have nothing to do with. Tiny example to reproduce:

    1. Have a save file with one belt item. Not text save, file save.
    2. Start HMwork.
    3. Add an insignia.
    4. Load the belt save file with the “Keep items” option.
    5. Click the belt on the canvas. The toolbar will say ‘0’.
    6. Click the arrow on the toolbar. The Slot and previews will switch to insignia.

    If more than one insignia was added, the new toolbar will always point at the oldest item, the one that was added first.

    During an investigation, I had added a head, a headgear and an insignia, in that order. I then loaded in a belt and a boot (one save file) that were added in that order. The belt toolbar ended up pointing at the head, and the boot toolbar was pointing at the headgear.

    This is a shot in the dark, but it looks like the new items are inserted in the beginning of some item list, but toolbars are generated before that can happen, therefore pointing at the old items.

    It is just the toolbars though. If the whole mess is saved and then loaded, all items will be proper (remember to uncheck overload box!).

  17. D says:

    @Frevoli (5): While I like the idea of reinterpreting famous fictional characters, you’re going to run into trouble with celebrities, because it’s illegal to use their likeness without their permission.

  18. dblade says:

    @D (17): In the case of creative work inspired by celebrity likeness, it is not illegal (at least not in the USA).

  19. Wade says:

    Wouldn’t it be OK though since its not being done for profit? It can also be seen as a kind of parody, which is also legal.

  20. Jeff Hebert says:

    I just updated the heromachine3-working file to A.24, which tries to fix the Undo problem:

    1. Load HM3 clean.
    2. Load the Princess 2 file from the “Templates” tab.
    3. Load the Blank Man file from the “Templates” tab, with “Keep Current Items” checked.
    4. Drag the male body either with the mouse or the Move control.
    5. Click undo.

    Previously this would result in whatever item you clicked on getting duplicated and all sorts of chaos ensuing. With the A.24 version, it should work as you expect.

    Note that it will NOT “undo” the complete character load.

    Let me know if that’s what you were seeing and if this fixes it as it appears it does from this end.

  21. Kountkill says:

    There are numerous examples of artists creating works inspired by actual people, such as Andy Warhol’s famous painting of Marilyn Monroe, so people wouldn’t be doing it if they couldn’t.
    The one problem I see with such a contest is that the program probably doesn’t have enough depth of facial features to re-create a wide range of famous faces, so a lot of the faces will wind up looking similar even if they’re different famous people. But, with some of the people who post here, they would probably take it as a challenge to somehow change the facial features to more closely match the famous face.

  22. Me, Myself & I says:

    Kountkill (21) I like a challenge.

  23. logosgal says:

    Kountkill (21): It’s amazing how much difference a little tweaking of size and position will make.