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October 2020 Avatar Builder Instant Preview

Happy October! This is the traditional season of Tricks and Treats, and this week we have a treat for you.

During our normal development process, we’re always looking for ways to make things easier for our players. Recently, our new veteran coder Iathor, with help from ShadowElusive of our tech and UI team, set out to overhaul our Avatar Builder.

A lot of changes were made in the underlying code. In addition to general bug fixes, work was done on how the Avatar Builder handles lists of information. The underlying data tables were reorganized, clearing up several costuming issues for both the male and female avatars. Cleaning up the underlying data made it possible for the lists to be better indexed, making it easier to add new items, making them less error-prone, and reducing the chance that future additions will make unexpected changes to your existing characters.

Along with those changes, we’ve streamlined the character creation process. We’ve put together a video to show off the new features you can expect in the new patch that is available through your launcher, now..

There’s a lot of new things to take in, so let’s take a moment to break them down a little more.

- INSTANT PREVIEW: All costume parts, patterns, details, colors and materials will now appear on the avatar when moused over in the selection menu. Once you make a selection, you will continue to see the previews, but they will not override your choice until you make a change.

-THUMBNAILS ARE GONE: The new instant preview completely eliminates the need for the Thumbnail window. This also frees up a lot of space on the right side of the screen, which allows us to spread out menus and other items that were a little cramped before.

-NEW SKIN COLOR OPTIONS: We’ve expanded the skin color palette to include a wider range of common skin tones. You’ll find a selection of more exotic colors at the bottom of the list if you prefer a more ‘alien’ character design. As we mentioned under instant preview, the skin colors will show up on the avatar as you mouse over each one, and any selection you make will not be overridden by the preview until you make a different choice.

-CHANGES TO EXISTING PATTERNS: Calihari from our art team has worked with our tech team to enhance male spandex patterns. Many of the pattern changes include different locations for materials. As a side effect, existing characters using these patterns may need to switch materials around. The easiest way to do this is to copy all the existing materials to the shelf from the four material buttons, then select each material button and select the currently-wanted material back from the shelf. This should only need to be done for top and bottom spandex pieces.

As we mentioned earlier, we’ve taken steps to minimize unexpected changes caused by new costume piece additions, but changes to existing costume pieces will still cause this situation to occur. We’ll keep you informed about these changes as they happen.

-EXPANDED DETAILS: Missing details are now available for many spandex patterns that did not have a match. "Lightning 3" and "Fire" are still missing male detail patterns. This is a known issue that we’ll be fixing in a future patch. As with patterns, some female details are also missing. These will also be fixed in future patches.

When a spandex pattern is selected, its matching detail type will move to the top of the detail menu to make it easier to find. For example, if you choose the ‘commander’ pattern, the ‘commander’ detail moves to the top of its menu. This is currently in place for only patterns and details at this time, but could be added to costume parts if their lists get too long.

-CLIPPING ISSUES FIXED: Costume parts that modified body settings, such as certain headwear that hid ears, did not apply modifications consistently. This has been fixed, and hidden ears should no longer pop out occasionally. Some clipping issues still exist with other costume pieces on both male and female avatars, but we’ll be correcting those as we are able.

-DUPLICATE BUTTONS REMOVED: The torso and legs selection buttons no longer have the duplicate access buttons for top and bottom spandex. These buttons were redundant. Since shirt and pants will now be the initial settings for torso and legs, this should make the whole process smoother.

-ADDITIONS TO THE ISLAND: In keeping with the holiday season, Artstrong has been hard at work on some extra special surprises for the island. Once you’ve had a chance to try out the new features of the Avatar Builder, jump onto the island and check them out. We think they’ll be a blast.

-As an extra treat, check out this video from Artstrong talking about some new costuming items, and a special project he’s been working on.

Thanks go out to Iathor, ShadowElusive and Warcabbit for their work on the technical aspects, Artstrong and Calihari for their additions to costuming, Doctor Tyche for putting together the preview video, and our music composer Tal Kliger for the sound track.

Thanks again to all of the art and design team members that continue to improve City of Titans, and Happy Halloween to all of you. We promise more Treats, coming soon.

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