The Superspeed Travel Power Video

Back when we first announced Ship of Heroes, we planned to launch with three travel powers: flight, superspeed and teleportation.  Of these, we judged that flight was the most difficult to get right, so we created that one first.  Now we’re introducing superspeed to the game.  We’re also taking the opportunity to show off a few other movement-related animations that we’ve added to the game.  And we’re planning a future video on improvements to our combat animations.

Fire FX on superspeed at night in Science Park.

Travel powers are really important.  Players see them much more often than most powers, for the simple reason that we have hundreds of powers in powersets but only three travel powers at launch.  For this reason we can’t simply use the Unreal Engine to increase ground speed while keeping the same animations as for running; that actually looks pretty bad.  What looks good is to create new animations just for superspeed.  We use animations that are specific to our three skeletal models.

Snow Drift sitting on a park bench.  Sitting locations need to be specified in-game.

We’re planning to allow players to select from five options for the appearance of Superspeed as a power, as a mean of customizing their characters.  The possible FX that can play at the feet during a superspeed run are electric sparks, fire, ice, darkness, dust, or nothing at all.  These can represent either magic or energy, depending on the character.  Superspeed is so fast that the ribbon contrails from the upper body will always be present.

Snow Drift leaves an ice trail on the ground during Superspeed, which evaporates quickly.

Other animations include things like walking, sitting in a chair – surprisingly complex to animate – lying down, and getting up again.  As with most AAA games, we have different versions for the female characters than for the male characters, which again increases immersion.  In each case we used a pair of professional animators in concert with our team to perfect our animations.

Ice is a subtle FX during the daytime.  We are evaluating if it should stand out more.

During the video you’ll see Snow Drift running through Apotheosis City, and it is possible that some scenes will cause supporters to wonder where they are.  We haven’t shown the city in a few months, other than the central area under the Arch, but we’re continuing to make architectural improvement and additions that take advantage of the fact that Apotheosis City is not flat.  Curves, hills and other changes in elevation make the world more real.  You’ll also see one spot inside the Hazard Zone.  While we do not expect for the Hazard Zone to be finished when the open Beta begins, we’ve already started building it up.

Sometimes the landing FX gets to be pretty spectacular.

One of the most common questions we receive about superspeed is whether it can be combined with a superjump power to give a sort of low-level flight power.  The answer is yes.  Even without superjump, the default jump height is pretty good, and with the Unreal physics engine, the combination of jumping and superspeed is quite powerful.

Is the Fire FX too bright at night?  Tell us in the forums.

Another question we often hear is whether a character can superspeed into combat, attack, and superspeed back out before they are hit.  We do not allow this right now; if you are attacked, superspeed turns off while you’re in combat.  However, we’re adding a small increment of stealth to superspeed to reduce the chance of being attacked by same-level enemies while you speed past them.  Higher-level enemies can easily attack you, though, so be careful.

Our first cave complex begins in the Hazard Zone, and has something to look forward to.

Technical Notes:

  1. Snow Drift is a hero we created specifically to show off superspeed and related new animations.

Female characters have more of a runway walk. Males do not. This is common in other AAA-quality MMOs.

  1. The walking and sitting animations reflect the fact that Snow Drift is a female character. These animations will look different for a male character.  Surprisingly, these animations are harder to get right than might be imagined.
  1. Snow Drift’s native superspeed FX is Ice, as might be guessed from her name. Therefore she has an icy landing FX.  However, if you want to see it as dust, and use if to support other stories, that can work too.
  1. We wanted to make sure the Darkness FX is visible at night. It is.
  1. The train is still a bit jittery. We’re aware and planning to fix that.
  1. Currently we are combining superspeed with superjump. We will also be soliciting opinions on our forums as to whether the community likes this combination, or wants us to separate these powers.

Darkness FX does look different at night.  But it is still visible.

  1. As is usual for us, this video was recorded by one of our devs in a client/server arrangement, exactly the way a player experiences the game.