CCT Alpha #1 Status: Successful

In this newsletter, we want to summarize what we have learned in our recent Alpha test of the Character Creation Tool (CCT) in Ship of Heroes.  The Alpha showed that the CCT is a robust tool which functioned well on every computer, and that it has some amazing features, especially for customizing the face of the character.  But we also found some bugs.  This is good news – the point of Alpha testing is to find potential issues early enough to fix them.  We still have over a year before the Beta is scheduled to launch, so feedback now allows us to make changes and improvements.

The issues identified fall into three categories: technical bugs, CCT layout issues, and options for customization.  We’ve analyzed the feedback and distilled this set of goals:

  1. We need to fix all of the identified bugs.
  2. We’re going to adjust the way the CCT operates to give more camera views, and more close-ups for greater usability and customization.
  3. Since the Alpha ended, we have created and are now benefitting from a new process to make costumes, so we’ll be able to produce more costume pieces than previously anticipated before the Beta.
  4. By popular request, we will add a slider for height, and expand the range for the waist width. Some sliders that don’t create large effects will be eliminated.
  5. We plan to re-vamp all of the hair models to increase the number of colors and shapes available, but there is no easy way to do hair well in UE4. We have ideas, but this aspect is likely going to take a while to sort out.
  6. We’re going to expand the adjustability of the skin in several ways. There will certainly be more color options, and possibly some texture changes as well. This will allow for a wider range of human skin tones and a variety of non-human effects, for alien and extra dimensional origin heroes.
  7. We’re looking at allowing players to add symbols to the costume to customize them further, but this is a lower priority than things like bug fixes and improved hair design.
  8. We’ll be adding more items like eye types to the current selection.

Fixing bugs includes fixing clipping, wherever we find it.  This is a little like weeding a garden: clipping has to be fixed for every new costume piece in relation to each existing piece, so the task is ongoing.  We are actively looking at some other options to improve customization as well.  We’re also doing the normal things a development team does at this stage, like installing and reviewing LODs, and doing ongoing network tests to ensure that the game operates as expected.  In the meantime, we thought you might want to look at some additional characters created by our testers during the Character Creation Tool (CCT) alpha.

You can see them on our website.

November Player Costume.  This is the first full costume designed after our Character Creation Tool (CCT) Alpha test, made with the community’s ideas in mind.  We’re showing it on the standard male model, and it will be available for players to use in creating and customizing their characters.

This particular outfit has seven pieces which can used together or independently: the chest, arms, hands, pants, shoulders, belt, and feet.  As is generally true for Ship of Heroes designs, primary and secondary colors can be controlled independently on each component, or set to match the colors chosen for the chest with the click of a button.  In this case we’re showing off several combinations of primary and secondary colors on the same costume to illustrate how much difference the color system makes.  Here’s the same costume in green and black, as an example:

The individual parts can also be mixed and matched with other costumes, or with street clothes.  Want a different belt?  You can change it.  A different mask?  You can change that, too.

All pieces of this costume, and all of our prior signature hero costumes, were created in-house for Ship of Heroes.  We’ve established a new process in house to develop costumes and take them through the stages from concept art to final product at a faster pace.  We’ve also added some new art talent to our team to help us create these costumes.  In this case, the costume has enlarged shoulder and arm pieces, which was feedback we received directly from our CCT Alpha Test last month.

The back of the costume is as complex as the front, and carries over the same primary and secondary color themes.  The red and silver, and the green and black versions above are shown below in Apotheosis City along with several other color combinations.  We’re sure some hero groups will want to coordinate their look – similar outfits in different colors, or different outfits with the same colors, which some NPC factions will do.

This particular costume has a highly reflective surface, which is one vision of what futuristic armor might look like.  We’ll be discussing this costume on our forums, so be sure to post your thoughts and suggestions.

This is the last costume we had promised to reveal during 2017, so we’ve hit our milestone on this topic for the year.  Nevertheless, we plan to show some progress with in-game 3D NPC costumes next, and possibly one more costume for the female character model that was inspired/ requested (more or less) by two of our testers, before the end of the year if possible.