Alpha Test for the CCT

The first Ship of Heroes Character Creator Alpha is occurring.  As promised, we started a small-scale alpha test of the character creation tool (CCT) in late September.  Currently about a dozen non-dev testers, selected from our community, are using the same character creation tool that our devs use.  They are looking for bugs, generating ideas for additions, and letting us know in a completely unfiltered fashion what they like and what they need that we don’t have (yet).  We thought you might like to see some of the characters our testers have created.  Sometimes the results are good, and sometimes they reveal issues we need to resolve.

This is a striking character made by one of our Alpha testers.

You can see a couple of different looks here.  These heroes are wearing mostly civilian clothes, because we need to create more hero costumes than we currently have.  A very wide array of facial characteristics has been enabled.

Bikers and invading terminators can be heroic too, right?

These two characters are using more traditional hero costumes.  We’ve been asked for an increase in masks and headgear.

And there are also issues and problems being uncovered.  Given that we have several hundred morphs for each of the three models, it is inevitable that a few morphs have issues.

And still more issues being uncovered.

Among the most frequent comments are variations on the following themes:

  1. We love the character creator. Thank you, testers.  There is a lot of room for improvements, but it seems that the basic tool is very robust.
  2. We need more hero costumes. This is true, and we are steadily adding more articles of clothing.  We’ll have more to say in a few weeks when we see how our new workflow for costume production is operating.
  3. We want a wide variety of hero costumes. We’ve had some very specific advice on populating the CCT with more variety, and we plan to address this topic.  Basically, we’re saying “yes.” Yes, there will be plenty of variety.
  4. More skin tones and colors, please. This is also a goal now.
  5. We want more ability to morph the bodies, including height. We always wanted a height slider, and it did not make it into this CCT test – but we will build it, and more control of the body morphs, too.

We’ve also received an excellent selection of user insights from our testers, including questions which tell us which features were hard to use or hard to find.  These comments ranged from the simple (give us scroll-over text) to the practical (can we have more zoom cameras?) to the subtle (will the lighting in Apotheosis City impact the hair color I’ve selected in the CCT?)  On that last question, we had to go look, so here’s an example:

So the answer is yes, but like the question, the lighting effect is subtle.  The shots on the right show how a character looks in maximum daylight.

We’ve had requests for every sort of addition to the CCT; we’ve received 21 pages of comments from our testers so far, and they are still pouring in.  Big shoulders on costumes, golden eyes, non-human ears, eyes and tails, specialized headgear and masks, more hair options, a color palette for hair, more capes, skin texturing, more headgear, cyborg body parts, and many others.  So as a start, we decided to fulfill at least one item right now: the new eyes, which the tester has already added to her character.

In this case the request was quick to deliver on, so we have added a golden eye color to the CCT.  You can see how that helps the eyes pop on this character.  The two in the top are original, the two in the bottom have a new eye texture.

According to the community’s feedback so far, this has been an extremely successful Alpha test.  Everyone who has reported back likes the CCT, and it has performed perfectly on a very wide array of devices.  One of our testers has substantial IT experience and tested the CCT on multiple computers with operating systems spanning from Windows 7 all the way to Windows 10 without difficulties.  It looks like we are on track to our long-term schedule of a Beta launch for Ship of Heroes at the end of 2018.

Our current schedule is for this CCT Alpha test to be completed next Saturday.  After that we will continue to gather information from our testers, and we expect to publish a more complete summary of what needs to be fixed and which things we are going to try to add to the CCT by the end of 2018.  You can also expect quite a few poll questions on our website of the format “if you have to choose between the following four CCT features, which is the most important to have at launch?”  We believe in community feedback.

Finally, we want to thank the alpha testers for spending so much time helping us. Their insight has been invaluable. We appreciate their efforts and we look forward to being able to reveal the improvements made to the CCT during the Beta launch in 2018.