For those interested, here’s a long post about the chargen based on my experience using it last night.
First, I want to thank warcabbit for taking the time to meet. I was expecting 30, maybe 45 minutes, given it was after work and he has a 2nd full time job with CoT. However, he was kind enough to spend almost 4 hours with me. Which is insane now that I think about it…
So the character generator - just, wow. 3.5 of the 4 hours were spent playing with the generator. We were using a laptop pc from 2013. At no point did the chargen crash, it didn’t even suffer operational degradation during that time period. It was as responsive at startup as it was 3+ hours later. The laptop never gave indication of struggling - warcabbit opened other apps a few times and had programs running in parallel all without any issue. Frankly, one of the things I was most amazed by was a non-mac laptop still functioning after 5 years. ;)
The Good. The Sooo Very Good
Customization. OMFG. The options!
Lets customize the helmet with multiple elements of each helmet being customizable by color and texture. You want a steel combat helmet wrapped in a star pattern fabric? Go for it. You want an iron man-esque helmet with all sorts of ear attachments or horns or spikes or whatever? Simple. Let’s do hoods. Lets do cowls.
Lets do eyes. Oh what’s that, you want one eye that’s one color and another eye another color? Please – how about one eye an android eye and the other a cat’s eye. Or better yet how about we turn one eye into a batman/deadpool/spidey/storm white eye. Oh you want to see the ring of the iris in the white eye? Sure, why not. And there’s a lovely little eye choice I won’t give away because it made me laugh out loud and I don’t want to spoil that. You can scroll in to within centimeters and see the vibrancy and detail of the each iris up close.
That’s just eyes. Can we talk skin? Lothic, you like your android ‘skin’? Yeah, that’s there in a couple different options. You want blue skin? No worries. You want captain kirk love interest alien green? You got it. You want shiny vs not? Have at it.
Lets look at the body armor options. Oh what’s that, you say you like this full tactical armor but you think your Olympian physique crime fighting toon has been foiling one too many pizza and donut shop robberies and is now a tubby crime fighter? No worries, the armors all scale with the body type. Adjust the slider for fat or slim and watch the armors (and anything else you’re wearing) respond in kind. You want one arm a robot arm and the other a fat man arm but with a robot hand that has a repulsor-like glowing palm? Pfft, child’s play. How about we also let you customize the color and texture in multiple spots on each of these parts? Yeah, you like that? Well here are 100 colors and an untold number of textures.
How many textures? There are scores. Dozens and dozens and dozens of options. You want chain mail? You got it. Scale mail? Go for it. Actual reptilian scales? Sure, why not. You want high tech carbon composite? Please, make it a challenge. You want old cracked leather, or brand new leather, or plastic leather, or, well you get the idea - you got it. You want fabric or metal, cloth or felt, steel or iron, shiny or matte, etc., etc. You want to scroll in and be within centimeters of the texture and see it perfectly – scroll away. You want raw flesh rather than skin? Well that’s there (though they said they might not launch with it due to it being too extreme. I thought it was brilliant but it was also Halloween, so maybe that was coloring my opinion….nah, it was great!)
Yeah that’s a pretty weird toon you built – oh what’s that? You want to see what it would look like as a woman? Click. You want to make her an homage to a certain comic character who whips ass – sure…now lets add a few details and make her better with more detail than she’s drawn in the books.
You want to make a crazy clown mage mechanical spider legs out of your back stalking visage of armored death? Silly rabbit, i'm the cabbit - I thought you were going to make this difficult…
What’s that? You like capes, huh… Ok, well do you want it long or short, Dr Strange or Dr Doom collared? You want the inside a ropy textured chartreuse color but the outside pure reflective chrome…click. Done. You want wings? Don’t even get me started.
You want to have the avatar floating, crouched and menacing, just standing there without a care in the world, or standing there and looking proud and powerful, etc? No problem. By the way click and spin and watch the toon rotate happily while we set it within backgrounds ranging from high tech environments to red-lit streets, to what looked like a private eye’s office, to green screens, to more.
Overall, the UI was pretty solid. The radial buttons were intuitive and easy to use and the 'option' boxes and other menus were simple and straightforward.
The chargen UI still needs a bit of work with respect to the color scale choice 'box' and things like grouping the texture options a bit more intuitively to make finding them easier since there are so many. So. Many.
There were a few unavailable options for various items (helmet types, hair types, etc) because we were working on an older version.
There were a handful of minor glitches - example: giving a toon a particular makeup scheme and it not immediately manifesting, or manifesting quicker when I clicked a new head format and/or returned to the original one. The majority of these were due to us using an older version.
The avatar’s hands tilt at an odd angle because they’re stylized like a gun fighter who’s ready to draw. The hand is angled about 40 degrees off the forearm line. It takes a little getting used to.
The set of character body and costume items/themes that are ‘in the pipeline’ were almost as numerous as what’s currently available. I won’t give anything away but it goes waaaaaaaay beyond anything I’ve seen from other games I’ve played to date. Some of them elicited giggles as I was watching them animate. Certainly way beyond CoH or Champions and beyond what’s been shown by the other community-developed games thus far. So even after launch, expect a ton of cool stuff coming down the pike.
I’m going to bring this up in a separate thread when I have more time because it warrants it --> MWM needs to begin getting this material out into the world.
What I saw was miles beyond the bits and pieces they’ve shared to date. We’ve seen a couple videos and a few stills or gifs. For almost 4 hours I was playing with the chargen while warcabbit and I discussed various mechanics, operations, issues, triumphs, etc. There is SOOOO much that can and should be shown not just for the benefit of the community frequenting the boards, but also to raise awareness among the wider gaming / comic book community. There's so much, well, FUN!, to be had just playing with the thing - you could let a bunch of kids and a bunch of adults use it, video them, and you'd see the same smiles of pure joy. That's marketing gold right there.
As MWM begins to transition toward beta testing and production release they’re going to need market momentum. This is the easiest way to build that momentum and it’s available now. I’d STRONGLY recommend they start getting this stuff out for consumption. The amount of material they have could be released weekly…for years…and not scratch the surface. They’re clearly out of the development hell and quite close to beta release. I know they’re a volunteer staff and beyond that aren’t by any definition a large staff, but it’s now time to start cranking up the marketing and p.r. machine!
All in all I don’t believe the community has anything to worry about with regards to the character generator. From what I saw they are on the cusp of release. I can imagine they want to fine tune things and they certainly suffered a set back with the repository crash, but they’re legitimately very close to having something releasable. Warcabbit made it plain they are gunning for delivery before the end of the year. If it’s not out by then it has to be immediately thereafter considering the state it was it and its stability.
There were some other delightful things that were shown that I was asked not to share but I will say that I’ve not seen their like in other mmo’s before and the possibilities, both for costumes and pve/pvp combat, are genius.
I’ll end here with one particularly special teaser/treat that caused me some paradigm shifting cognitive dissonance because what I thought I was seeing was only a tiny portion of what was actually available. When warcabbit corrected my assumption, I actually paused a moment or two while my brain rewired for what to expect from this game, followed by the instant realization that MWM has eclipsed anything that CoH could have hoped to deliver.
See you on the other side, my friends.