Night of the Clones

Enhancing their already impressive reputation for transparency, Heroic Games are highlighting the results of their latest network stress test. The highly significant video shows an early, large-scale raid test for their pre-Alpha game, Ship of Heroes. The intention was to create 80 clones and have them all onscreen walking around at once while maintaining a minimum 30 fps. They exceeded that by a huge margin. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, in the video.

Why is this Significant?

One of the questions that comes up when talking to MMO veterans about Unreal Engine 4 is about its ability to handle large numbers of players in an MMO environment. MMO's, by their nature, have many players all in the same place at the same time, they're wearing different clothes/armour and  have different expressions, faces and hair, they're engaged in different animations, facing different directions, etc. and the players expect to be able to see each other clearly. MMO players typically spend a lot of time creating a character and want others to be able to see the results.

The Ship of Heroes character creator allows for an astonishing range of modifications right down to some great hair and totally amazing eyes - you really have to see what they're done with those! You can take a look at the progress on the eyes from a youtube video posted back in March 2017.
And, yes, the hair moves realistically :)

The Network Test

The test, which Heroic Games recorded and released in a video on their youtube channel, shows 200 highly customised clones onscreen on a single map with the framerate still above their 30fps target. The clones were designed with SoH's character creator using their own assets.They pushed it to 300 clones and still achieved over 20fps. These results are from a normal PC running at 1920x1080 with shadows on. The clones were logged in as normal players would be from 100 separate accounts created for the purpose. A number of desktops and laptops were used for this and four developers from the US and EU were logged in to record their stats (fps, etc.)

The video ends with 100 clones onscreen spread out all simultaneously attacking an unfortunate NPC.

100 clones attacking an NPC

Unreal Engine 4

Ship of Heroes is the first MMO to show the possibilities of such large numbers of players onscreen simultaneously with Unreal Engine 4. The engine allows for the usual customisations by the players to improve performance on their own machine - none of those customisations were used for this video.

It doesn't take a huge leap of faith to realise the possibilities those sorts of numbers open up for the game. The intention is to have raids involving up to at least 50 players from level 1, this is in stark contrast to the majority of MMO's which feature raids as endgame content.

And, of course, if the engine can handle that many players, then it can easily cope with many NPC's which typically require less bandwidth. Ship of Heroes is gearing up for some epic battles!

Ship of Heroes conducted a successful Alpha test of their character creator in September, and plans to do their first combat Alpha test next month, with a Beta launch at the end of 2018.

SoH Youtube Video Index (from 31st March 2017)

Chris from mmoreporternetwork interviewed Casey McGeever, the CEO of Heroic Games on 31st March 2017. It was a long video, over an hour, and packed full of really interesting information. I've created a basic index into that video. Please note that this video was pre-kickstarter and a lot of the information is liable to change.

Apotheosis City
01:30Heroic Plaza, two huge symbolic statues representing the last two heroes who had to have secret identities
02:45Apotheosis City is about 1.25 sq miles, in a circle, arch is at the centre, ship is a nation in space
03:45Looking out of the ship, through a porthole
04:30A city built with superhero flight in mind with ramps and landing points all over the place
05:45Probably won't be able to run up vertical surfaces, more than one travel power possible
06:40About the heroships and human exploration out on the rim
07:50About the arch, unobtanium and dust
08:5020 levels on the ship, plus engineering at back and command & control at the front. Each level has above and below ground sections.
09:50characters progression through the ship as they level
10:30Hazard area and water front
12:00Making the game (in discrete pieces)
13:30Development and selected game engine (UE4)
14:40About eyes
15:50A 'choose your own adventure' or 'linear progression' discussion
20:25Casey talking about playing CoH
Character Creator
25:00Showing off the Character Creator
26:00A little about about power sets, not necessary to be a glass cannon (minor self buffs, etc.)
27:40Creating a female character (49 basic face shapes to start from with over 300 morphs available)
29:50Stunningly beautiful eye variations
32:40Confirmed no connection between appearance and character's stats or abilities
33:25Confirmed costumes/appearance can be changed after creation
34:05Confirmed power respecs will be possible
35:45Discussion about the reasoning behind the amount of work going into the character creator
37:23Capes confirmed
38:30Character creator was the first thing Heroic Games started working on
General Chat
39:0011 costume slots per character
40:00The game is packed into a 'release version' every week for testing purposes, combat videos shown are actual combat not made up
40:15Showing an early combat scene
41:05Casey's take on what makes a 'playable alpha' and how useful players input is at this stage
43:20Type of progression/mission types with instanced missions as well as street sweeping
44:08About raids, incoming from enemies plus us raiding them in return
46:00A game for both casual and hard core players
47:30Ability to increase/decrease mission difficulty
49:00PvP (arena, co-op, adjustable rules for matches)
50:00Invasions by aliens (potentially triggered by player actions)
52:00Plan is to build the minimum to make a really good game at release then use the income from subscriptions, etc. to make it into a great one
52:20View switches back to the ship in space
53:40About the subscription model
56:00A game for the community
1:00:10Chris, from mmoreporternetwork says a few words about Ship of Heroes

List of SoH Youtube Videos I have indexed

Crowd Control and Status Effects

Heroic Games have just released a newsletter detailing their thoughts on crowd control and status effects for their upcoming MMO Ship of Heroes. If you'd like to have your say on the crowd control abilities and help shape a brand new MMO, head on over to their forum, sign up and get posting :)
The thread created to have your say on these powers is located  at

Here's a shortened version to give you some idea of what's planned. I really recommend reading the full listing on the official newsletter though - it's well worth a read.

Power Effects Type Threat
Slow Run speed, health/energy reduction, flight suppression Targeted AoE Yes
Immobilise Prevents enemy movement, flight suppression Targeted AoE Yes
Hold Prevents enemy movement and attacks, flight suppression Targeted AoE Yes
Sleep Enemy immobilised and senses cancelled, enemy has no awareness of the effect Targeted AoE No
Confuse Target's perception of allies and enemies is temporarily reversed Targeted AoE No
Intangible Targets can neither receive nor deliver damage or debuffs Targeted AoE Yes
Terrify Targets are forced to run away but returns after a while Targeted AoE Yes
Interrupt Target is prevented from completing an attack or other action Single Target AoE Unknown

Entries in dark green are not expected to be in the game at release, they will be added later.

New Images for the Gallery and Heroships Pages

I've updated the gallery and the heroships pages with some new images including some exciting concept art kindly provided by Heroic Games.

I also made the site more mobile friendly - apologies for that oversight.

SoH Youtube Video Index (from 10th March 2017)

I was looking through some of the older video interviews for information that I could use on my blog (and the SoH wiki) and started indexing some of the more interesting points. Then I thought that someone might find the index useful - so here it is...

From a Youtube Video posted by 'Dirtylittlesecrets' on 10th March 2017 - bear in mind this was pre-kickstarter and a lot of information may have changed - I found it a really interesting video and, in fact, a lot of information not previously publicly shared was revealed in that video.

Apotheosis City
04:35Possibility of multiple travel powers per character confirmed
05:00Respec confirmed
08:25The Arch
11:30NPC's, numbers expected, etc.
12:10The Hazard Zone
14:30Complex goes down a thousand feet below the city level
15:30Casey not keen on level caps, prefers to continuously expand the game
16:00Hostile aliens, heroes and the storyline
18:00About Unobtanium and foes
20:00No player villians planned at launch
22:30About the ship, its ramming nose and a possible use for it in the future
24:00No pet classes planned at launch
27:00Auction House building (auction, crafting, harvest under one roof)
29:00Confirmation that characters of various 'widths' will be possible
Character Creation
30:00The Character Creation Tool
31:45Creating a female character
44:20Confirmation of eleven costume slots
45:20About capes
45:50Almost all parts available from the start, no need to have to earn costume pieces
General information
46:00A few words about developers playing their own game
48:00Moderation - a family friendly game
49:00About masterminds and pets
52:50Preventing content getting old and stale by moving from one planet to another
54:00Possibility of (costume) animal tails, ears, etc. in the future
57:00Character bio, up to 1023 letters, visible to other players
57:50Initial alpha/beta dates, etc.
1:00:00Talking about the importance of support characters
1:01:30Why the game is being made
1:04:20About supergroups, maybe under a different name

List of SoH Youtube Videos I have indexed

SoH Community Wiki Needs Your Help!

The Ship of Heroes Community Wiki, set up by Broxen, needs more people willing to assist with creating/updating pages and uploading material of interest to the SoH community. If you can help, please head on over to the site, create an account if necessary, and join in.

Unobtanium. Unob...what?

What on earth is Unobtanium? According to the backstory on the official website, it's the rarest material in the galaxy and infers all sorts of interesting benefits including being a power source for the ships we use to travel through deep space. It affects life forms in strange ways, sometimes accelerating their evolution.
For humans, exposure to the material results in an increased birthrate of super powered children and such exposure is actually encouraged in order to advance the humans on board as much as possible. That's the explanation for the number of super heroes on board, anyway. Such a material also provides handy hooks for fans to fit their own characters evolution into the backstory.

The rarity and value of Unobtanium causes it's own issues, of course, and that's where we, as fans of superhero games, come in...
  • Unobtanium is a hugely valuable material to all species. The dust produced as a by-product from running the engines can be converted back into whatever form of Unobtanium any particular species needs and the amount carried in the heroships makes them a target for marauding pirates and aliens. The super heroes help to protect the ships and ensure the safety of the citizens living in them.
  • It's not only external forces that we have to guard against. On board the ships are bands of mercenaries and villains who frequently carry out raids on the major cities in the quest for Unobtanium dust so a super heroes work is never done.
  • There have been little snippets of information revealed about robots being affected by Unobtanium too and turning against their human masters. That opens up the possibility of them modifying other unaffected robots, turning them to the anti-human cause. The possibilities seem to be endless and I'll be looking forward to seeing the story develop through the life of the game.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the name of this material but it was chosen by the community early on by a hefty margin when the developers of Ship of Heroes carried out a poll. There was a brief discussion on the forum about it and it's been a source of contention ever since. The question seems settled though so we have to accept the name and move on to the next exciting thing in the game.

It is, actually, quite refreshing to see a team of developers taking the views of their fans into account at every stage. Of course, Heroic Games are ultimately responsible for putting it all together so not all ideas can be implemented but it's nice to be asked for input and actually have it considered. There are exciting times ahead for fans of science fiction and super hero games.

New blog!

Old posts wrt Ship of Heroes are over on my 'general' blog. I'll be starting afresh with this new fansite/blog but any important information will, of course, be copied across. Admittedly, it's a bit sparse at the moment but it won't stay that way for long. Please feel free to send any comments about the theme, etc. via the form on the contact page.