8th August 2019 - Latest Report of the Character/Costume Creator

Progress on the CCT continues.

We've been experimenting with how to solve the dilemma we've created...we're giving players so many choices, so many options, that no other MMO character creator we're aware of can match us. But this also means that an individual player could literally spend weeks trying out options.

It's important to realize that most of us are not artists, and it is actually complex to fiddle with all of the sliders individually, while trying to achieve a certain "look." How do you want her jawline to look, now that you can control that, for example?

So we face a dilemma -- make it simpler by reducing player choice, or do something else. We opted for something else.

We're adding in some randomize buttons, so that once you choose a model (male, female, or big guy) a player can click the button to see many different versions of character. You can still fiddle and adjust a character one slider at a time of course. Or find a randomized character you like and make adjustments to that.

Then, for costumes, you can use the randomize costume button and see your avatar in different kinds of costume and clothing combinations. And of course you can manually override that and just choose what you want from the options.

Then you can hit the randomize colors (for the clothing, not the hair, etc.) and see how it looks. Or just pick the colors you like manually.

And you can go back and forth if you want to change something that occurred earlier in the process once you have run through it all once.

We now have it on our list to create a video of this, but give us some time, we're still coding and adjusting. But this selection process is going to make it much easier for a player with modest art skills to get what they want, in a reasonable amount of time.

Of course, "reasonable" is in the eye of the beholder.


Another update for the character/costume creator beta

From Consultant:
During the upcoming character creator beta, we're going to give participants an option to run around the city and explore. Some buildings will be open, including one building in the Warehouse District, and of course Ivar & Sons Auction House. But also we'll allow people to jump into the hospital lobby and poke around, and in addition we're going to have a nightclub with a hidden entrance, called the Beta Club.
There'll be a badge for finding the entrance and getting into the club. It's not quite finished, but it is looking pretty darn good.
Shinies! One thing I did like doing in City of Heroes was running around collecting badges. We'll be getting them in Ship of Heroes too :)


So far, the only information we have regarding the date of the character/costume creator beta is that it's pencilled in for the end of August. This isn't a firm date so be sure to check back here (or the official SoH site) regularly.

As far as I know, all you need to do to qualify for the character/costume creator beta is have donated enough towards the development of Ship of Heroes to have reached the 'Stylish' level - that' means having donated at least 50 US Dollars. And, yes, donations made over any period of time on the same account accumulate.

CCT Beta Update dated 29th July 2019

From the official forum:
Here's the current update (monday morning, eastern US time). 
We just finished some testing on the FPS for the CCT Beta map of Apotheosis City, and it looks pretty good. As always, we have a few spots with lower FPS that we're looking at. And we added emissive windows to the City Hall and to a large building in the Science Park so it is easier to run around the city at night. And we're testing with cars and civilians all over the city. It looks really good, at least to us. 
We're working on a "beauty pass" for the characters. Females are done and males are being worked on. One thing we decided to add was a slider for raising the position of the eyebrows a bit. This makes a difference in how the face looks -- intent or happy or surprised -- so we thought players would want to have this option. 
We have a good deal of work to do but we're on track, at least right now, for a late-August CCT Beta. We're also working on a few surprises for the Beta, in terms of exploring the city.
Latest bit of news from Consultant:
We reviewed the hair models for the female characters and we spotted a couple of places where, from certain angles, you can see through to the scalp. So we were fixing that yesterday, and have a couple more hair fixes for today. 
Another item is that we're adding cars and civilians all over the city, on the new draft map for the CCT Beta. This stuff takes a bit of time, and we're trying not to get it too full, or too empty. FPS is still good, because we've been planning for this stage for a few years.
We're doing a review and some polishing to the animations we've shown recently.
We're also investigating nvcloth, which is the latest Epic tool for making capes move, to see if it is better than what we already have. The jury is out on that one right now.
And we're doing a bunch of other stuff too, of course. Steady progress.
Consultant posted a relatively long reply to answer questions about launch dates and such things. Here's his very interesting post, quoted from the official forum.

First, sometimes we get people asking why we don't post the launch date, with the apparent belief that we know the launch date with absolute certainty, but we're just withholding it for ... well, reasons. 
No we do not know the launch date with certainty. And you are right, the schedule to complete is out of date.
So let's talk about that.
Here's what we are trying to do, and also the dates associated with it: 
1. We're trying to enable $50 and up donors to join a CCT Beta, and we'd like to pull this off in late August. From where I sit right now, I can see this slipping into September, but we will definitely get this done. Some activities are on the critical path, and several of them have piled up on a single dev -- and we cannot take those activities from him because he is our expert. Still, this is going to be a big deal, because the participants in the CCT Beta will be able to do the following:
A. Pick one character name and hold onto it for the game.
B. Create a character using what we think is the best character creator in any MMO today.

C. Take their time -- the Beta will likely last for a week or two.

D. Run around Apotheosis City and see the current city build for themselves.

E. Assuming that we do not find some horrible flaw in the CCT during the Beta, we hope that the participants will be able to use their characters in an invasion test (Combat Beta) later in 2019.
 
2. Which pretty much means we plan to have an invasion test or combat Beta later in 2019. Which month, you ask? That depends on how the CCT Beta goes. Again, we expect things to work very, very well. They worked well for us when we were testing this week, as a single player. But sadly, in the history of game development, disasters have often followed successful internal testing. So we are cautious about over-promising. There is far too much over-promising going on in game development already.
3. After the invasion test, in early 2020, we want to set up a series of live Beta tests of the whole game, beginning with mission testing. And we need to establish (by talking to the community) how many missions we need to have before we should launch. We're told COH had approximately 380 mission at launch. That's a lot of content -- far more, in fact, then most games are launched with today.

So those are the highlights for perhaps the next 6-8 months of development. Could we launch next summer? Yes, if everything goes really well. Or at the end of 2020 if something goes wrong, or we lose key people, or the community wants something changed and we think we can do it...
But in the meantime we plan to let the community do a lot with SoH. Character creation, invasion testing, followed by mission testing...and then launch when we we are sure how much minimum content we need to have. You could be playing/system testing, and giving feedback for development, on and off for a lot of the next 8 months.

So, breaking things down into plans for the future, we're looking at tentative targets as follows:
CCT Beta - late August/Early September 2019
Combat Beta/Invasion Test - late 2019
Game Beta - early 2020
Game Launch - when ready (probably middle to late 2020)

As always, you can look up the original thread on the official forum.

Latest news from Consultant posted on the official forum - 18th July 2019

Latest news from Consultant posted on the official forum (dated 18th July 2019):
We're working away on issues related to the CCT Beta, and we're making progress. 
We will have a Beta as soon as we can manage -- most likely in late August. We're having some fun working everything out and we're pretty happy with a lot of stuff we have working in the CCT now. More preset faces, more skin options, better hair options, more costumes, a very powerful set of morphs that can be applied to every preset face... This is going to be fun. 
We're also working up a new map of Apothesosis City, so participants in the Beta can run around a bit and explore. There won't be combat in this Beta (it is the character creation Beta, not a combat Beta after all), but we think you're going to be pleased. And we're going to organize some events in the City at different times, so people can get together, chat, ask the devs questions, etc. 
Stay tuned, we're going to start showing off some aspects of the CCT.

And here's another update from a day later:
We actually have kind of an issue with the CCT. A player can make so many different kinds of characters with different faces, different sizes and costumes, that it becomes an issue to explain the range of the possibilities for us.
We made an internal video just showing the preset faces for the female model, and slightly cycling the skin tone and hair models. A real quickie video. But since we have more than 40 present faces, the video ran to more than eight minutes. 
And that had no changes in hair color, or facial morphs, or exotic skin colors, or SciFi implants...and it was only the females, and there was no consideration of the costumes at all... 
Just the preset female faces took 8+ minutes. 
I guess that means we need to warn all of you that you might want to schedule some real time to fiddle with the options, when the Beta comes out...

July 2019 - latest bit of launch date news

A common question that comes up is 'when will SoH launch?'

The answer is that no date has yet been set. Here's a couple of quotes from Consultant on the official forum dated 15th July 2019:
...we need to complete and assign quite a few animations to powers and create quite a few missions.
At the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 we will be taking a lot more community feedback into consideration, looking hard at the remaining technical issues and picking a date. We are not picking one now.
So, still to come in 2019 is the Character/Costume Creator beta, then an Invasion beta. When those are completed and they've dealt with any issues that may arise and taken the communities feedback into account, we can look forward to a launch date.

Devs Looking for Info -- Can You Help?

The Heroic Games team is looking for some information. Here's the content of the post on the official forum. Head on over there if you can help...

What we want to know is the actual date (month and year) that the first closed Alpha or Closed Beta of some other MMOs took place (list below). And if you have a link to a source document that supports your data, that is awesome! But some of this may be stuff that you remember, because you participated.

So, first (this would usually be closed) Alpha or Beta for these games:


  • Dark Age of Camelot
  • Star Wars Galaxies
  • World of Warcraft
  • Everquest 2
  • Warhammer Online
  • Star Wars, the Old Republic
  • Elder Scrolls Online
  • The Secret World
  • Guild Wars
  • Guild Wars 2
  • DCUO
  • Path of Exile
  • Crowfall


If you know any of this, or can figure it out, we'd like to get your help. If there are both alpha dates and Beta dates, please tell us which one you have uncovered.

Thank you.

Heroic Games is on LinkedIn

A reminder for those who haven't seen the forum post. Heroic Games is on LinkedIn.

If you are interested in following, it is simple and free. You log in to your LinkedIn account, search for Heroic Games, and what pops up should have a big blue button with white letters saying "Follow."
Click that and you are in.
LinkedIn is part of the overall social media outreach for Ship of Heroes. We know that our audience skews a bit older and more professional than most games do, so many members of the community will already be on LinkedIn.

FAQ - Ship of Heroes

There's a really useful FAQ in development over on the official Ship of Heroes site.
Adding an index into it here for completeness...

Basis Of The Game And Why We Are Here
Donations
Lore
The FHS Justice
Zones
Combat, Missions And Leveling
Loot, Augments, Temp Powers, Infusions and Crafting
Enemy Groups
Archetypes
Power Sets
Game Cost and Tokens


Auction House and 4th July Celebration Video

The devs at Ship of Heroes are involving the community in the developmental progress of their game.  In this video they are wishing everyone a great 4th of July, and showing that another piece of their game is now in working order.  In this case it's the auction house, which is named Ivar & Sons.  This is the 30th video that devs at Heroic Games have published about SoH.

In this video hero Snow Drift demonstrates that the auction house is working by putting an augment up for sale.  It’s a simple thing, but it's one of hundreds of seemingly simple things that need to be in place to enable a modern MMORPG.  Functional trading system for players?  Check. 

The devs are still polishing their starting gameplay area, known as Apotheosis City. But it already looks great, especially with the day/night cycle and the fireworks over the city center.  This is another small detail that speaks to the immersive power of this game.

Ship of Heroes is being developed in an extremely transparent manner.  One nice aspect of this is that progress shown in previous videos reappears in later videos.  We've seen Ivar & Sons on previous tours of Apotheosis City, going back to 2016.  But now it looks completed.  It's decked out with plants, signs, and working NPCs.  The heroine in the video, Snow Drift, has been shown before to have super-speed with an ice-based FX trail, and she still does.

Since the arrival of private servers with the old City of Heroes content on them, the SoH dev team hasn't slowed down at all.  They’ve shown combat with leveling, augment, power-ups, and buffs all working.  They’ve shown the super-speed travel power, and some great little additions to their city.  And now they’ve shown an auction house with trading functionality for players.

Watch the video on the official Ship of Heroes Site.

Ship of Heroes has conducted three successful Alpha tests, one in 2017 and two during 2018. The next big test with their community will be a character creator Beta, which is scheduled to be followed by a raid test.