Engine Update Newsletter - January 2020

Here's an interesting update early in 2020...

First of all, we want to let everyone know that we’ve upgraded to the latest version of the Unreal 4 Epic Engine, 4.24! We spent most of 2019 in 4.21, which helped us with stability and consistency throughout the year while we developed and tested major new systems. Now we’ve accomplished a significant upgrade to 4.24, which will help in several areas, so we’re getting a lot done. Of course, there’s always more to do.


  • Beautiful skies, both for day and for night – our Truesky plugin is not available in newer engine versions, so we need to recreate the day/night cycle we had in an earlier version of SoH without it. We are working hard on this right now, and while it is not done, it is going well.
  • We’ve solved the memory leak we found during the CCT Beta using 4.24 features.
  • 4.24 lets us make a significant costume and character art workflow improvement. This will help us to be faster in turning out new costumes.
  • We’re replacing Popcorn FX since it also did not follow us to 4.24, and we’re generally improving FX using the Epic Niagara system.
  • We’ve been adding features and improvements to the CCT since the Beta, in response to the requests of over 500 participants. Thank you all for the feedback! And we’re especially proud to say that everything in the CCT works as planned. Every morph, and every piece of clothing or armor.
  • While it is not a function of the engine upgrade, we’ve made huge progress with animations. Our team of animators has been working steadily all through 2019 and is continuing in 2020. We have the animations in place, mostly polished, for 18 full powersets.
  • Updating our engine is a big deal, but it’s not the only thing we’ve been doing since the start of the new year. We’ve taken the time to review comments from our CCT Beta event and added two new headpieces for the female body type, a variety of alien-shaped ears, and a feline-styled eye mask, among other items.

As usual, you can read the entire newsletter on the official Ship of Heroes site.

Post CCT Q&A Notes from Chat Logs

Chat logs from the end of event Q&A under the arch have been released. The logs were incomplete but what is available has been posted on the official forum. Thanks to Sara-Clare McGeever of Heroic Games and Golden Ace for the work they did in making these logs available. You can read the entire log at the chat log thread.

I've picked through the logs and listed the points that I found most interesting...

UI


  • UI elements can be moved around and resized. Alt-U toggles the UI on and off (for uncluttered screenshots).
  • It's expected that there will be 4 additional power bars available.
  • We are working on controller powersets now. After we recover from this Beta we'll begin some early testing.
  • Player housing is after we work out harvesting and crafting.
  • The number of civilians wandering around can be changed. System Settings-> Manual Tab there is an option called Civilian Density.
  • Badges will be available, giving experience (and hopefully titles).
  • It's expected that we'll be able to click to interact with things like benches, etc. No more shuffling back and forth trying to find the right position to sit on something.
  • Capes will almost certainly be in the future Betas... unless we find them impacting FPS too much. It's expected that capes will be earned, like they used to be in CoH.
  • Hair supports movement but most of the models currently lack the physics to enable movement.
  • Lots more costume pieces, including civilian clothing, are expected to be available by launch.
  • We had a world-class artist make multiple eyes with imprints from real people in some cases.
  • Players will be have a choice of weapons but not be able to create their own.
  • We're close to having what COH launched with in terms of hero costumes.


Game


  • Team sizes up to ten.
  • Other worlds are definitely on the list, but for the future.
  • We have a variety of mission goal types in that system so far including kill, interact, destroy, etc.  and you'll be able to specify multiple goals for a mission. We're also looking at our version of Mayhem missions.
  • Positive community is a big part of this game. We want to make it safe to join a PUG again.
  • On player collision, we are currently not planning for it. In COH an old man with a cane could shove aside a level 53 Incarnate. Also player collision provides an opportunity for griefing.
  • The public quest system supports mutating PQs. So every stage has a success or fail. If the players fail to repel an attack, some dust gets stolen and, presumably, the players can raid the enemy to get it back or the enemies could take over a section of the ship and the players would have ot take it back. The possibilities are enormous.
  • The Beta Club will remain after launch.


Beta/release


  • The next beta, date undecided as yet but expected to be Q1 2020, will be a combat beta, an invasion by NPC's. In the next Beta players will get to make a character or use the one from this Beta. Before the invasion, you’ll have a chance to level up your character, buy augments and infusions, and test your powers.
  • The next Beta will proceed in waves. Each wave will have some number of players... 30 - 50 if we can manage it.

Others


  • It's expected that there'll be a discussion on respecs on the forum at some stage in the future.
  • A different server provider was used for this test, Heroic Games were not completely happy with the result.


Finally, from Consultant: Be active in the forum, and let us know what you want. we do pay attention.

CCT Beta Character and Archetype Distribution

Here's some interesting stats from the CCT beta...

Of over a thousand characters created during the beta,
42% were females,
40% were males,
18% were 'big guys'.

Of those,
28% were tanks,
25% were brawlers,
31% were devastators,
16% were support.

That all looks pretty good from a distribution viewpoint. If this is maintained at launch, all roles will be nicely supported and there should be no problems creating well rounded teams :)

November 2019 Newsletter - Conclusions from the CCT Beta

Here's an excerpt from the newsletter:
The first Ship of Heroes character creator Beta is over, and it was a big success! Participants had a lot of fun creating characters, exploring Apotheosis City, using travel powers, entering new maps like the Beta Club and the hospital, and joining a costume contest and scavenger hunt. Players who were in the costume contest and the hunts gained some Dust and could buy infusions and augments to upgrade their powers. The devs were surprised by how many players went swimming in Lake Fortitude, and tested out their first powers on top of the Justice Corps headquarters.

As always, the rest of the newsletter can be read on the official Ship of Heroes website at https://www.shipofheroes.com/conclusions-from-the-cct-beta/.


And some important notes from the dev team:

The next beta test will be a combat beta sometime in Q1 of 2020; those of you who were with us will remember that our last combat alpha took place in March 2018. 
1. We plan to release the chat dialog from the Closing Q&A on the forums soon! Several people have requested a record of the fun times we had at the wrap-up of the CCT Beta event.
2. After looking at the powers during the Beta, we believe that the engine version 4.21 is the likely cause of the memory leak in superspeed – not all superspeed particles are actually being destroyed. Our next engine upgrade to 4.23 should fix it.
3. We are likely going to change server suppliers for the next Beta, because our new supplier underperformed the previous ones.
4. According to our calculations, we used 46 costume pieces for the male, 46 for the big guy, and 68 for the female in the Beta. We fully expect that this number will continue to climb as the game is developed!
5. We plan to publish a short video highlighting the changes, bug fixes and improvements we’re making in the near future. After that, the remaining changes prior to launch will mostly be in the area of adding more costume pieces.

Post Q&A Session at the end of the CCT Beta

The last part of the CCT beta was a Q&Q session under the arch. Quite a few people had to leave before the end so they weren't included on this line-up we arranged at the end with our characters holding torches as has become a custom.



We're awaiting processing of the chat logs for further details of what was discussed since none of us was able, at the time, to take adequate notes (!)  Watch this space for further info :)

What's interesting, in this image, is the variety of costume designs, considering the rather limited set of individual costume sets available to work with. The number of costumes available was, apparently, very similar to the number City of Heroes originally launched with but lots more are promised as the game development proceeds.

More Screen Shots of Apotheosis City

Took a number of screenshots of Apotheosis City during the CCT beta. It's looking um... shiny! We now have civilians wandering about doing their thing, hover cars buzzing around and we had some (rather overpowered) travel powers to play with.

Apotheosis City - bids eye view!

Apotheosis City - Looking Up

Apotheosis City - City Hall in the foreground

Apotheosis City




The Hospital was open as well, during the beta. Here are some screenshots of that building too. No doubt some characters will become quite familiar with this building - it's the respawn point for defeated heroes...

Apotheosis City - Hospital Interior

Apotheosis City - Hospital Interior

Apotheosis City - Hospital Interior

Apotheosis City - Hospital Interior



And, finally, screenshots of a couple of my new characters out in the city...

Apotheosis City - My obligatory darklet hovering before the arch

Apotheosis City - Calypse selfie at the arch

Next Beta

The latest bit of exciting news is that Heroic Games are planning the next beta for Q1 in 2020. That will be a combat beta in which players will be able to create a character (or maybe more than one), level it up and go out to fight some invaders. That's about all the information we have on this at present but... watch this space :)

The Beta Club Revisited

The Beta Club was open during the CCT beta. I took some screenshots of the inside, naturally. During the Q&A session, we discovered that the Beta Club will still exist at launch but not what would it would be called or where it would be located. That's good news, it does look nice in there, far too nice to be a one use place for a beta test :)

Beta Club - at the entrance

beta Club - Corridor to the Dance Floor

Beta Club - Dance Floor

Beta Club - Onstage

CCT Beta - A few Screenshots

I took a few screenshots of the characters I created in the beta. It certainly has come a long way in the last few months and, though there were only a few costumes at this time, we were able to mix and match quite nicely. As people who know me will testify, I usually create female characters (usual disclaimer about preferring to look at female backsides) so here are some of the characters I created for this beta.

The names will be saved by Heroic Games while the costume designs were saved to the PC so they could be reloaded for the next beta. Great news :)





End of the line

Last minute reprieve for the site. Since it's the only one, apart from the official site and the wiki, dedicated to Ship of Heroes I decided to keep it going, at least till launch...

Ship of Heroes Costume Creator Tool Beta Press Release

Here's something we've all been waiting for: Ship of Heroes Announces Start of Beta Testing on Character Creation Tool.

1st November 2019 is the date.




From the press release:
"We are fulfilling our 2017 promise to open the CCT to everyone who has donated at least $50 over the last couple of years, and let them create original characters using our character models and costumes," Casey McGeever, CEO of Heroic Games, said. "We've received a large volume of suggestions and requests over the last couple of years, and most of these have been added to our character creator. Also, as we promised in the past, participants in this Beta will be able to create characters and save their character names for future use." Those wishing to participate in the Beta have until October 15th to donate a total of at least $50 to Heroic Games. Donations are cumulative.
 Here's an interesting video about the character creator...