News & Updates

04/30/2016 - Friday Update #178

This week, we’ve been doing some more work on coding our powers system, with the focus still on getting the basic framework in place and functioning before we start adding more to it. One of the key goals for this system – as well as others in the game – is to set them up in a way that allows non-coders on the development team to still be able to input some data into them, to maximize the efficiency of the game’s development, although this approach does mean that the initial work takes longer in the short term, but will pay off a lot in the longer term.

We’ve also been expanding more of the story and setting ideas that have been in place in the backstory for a while now, but have been given less attention while we’ve been focused on developing Titan City, as that’s going to be the first part of the game that players will see, and will always be the central hub, both story-wise and socially, of the entire game setting, no matter how many other settings we might eventually add to it.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team

04/29/2016 - In Game Character Models - Part 4

Here's a small art update from 'Heroes and Villains' to mark the 12th anniversary of the launch of CoH, featuring 5 more in-game NPC models, all villains this time:

A gifted but ruthless surgeon, Doctor Deathmask is obsessed with superpowers and the people who have them, and has dedicated his life to unlocking their secrets for his own purposes.

Professor Plasma has had much of his body reduced to plasma following a laboratory accident, and now relies on his armored suit to contain it.

The gang leader Corvus, who runs the Crows, based mostly in the Salem City district.

The leader of the Sewer Rats gang, Razortooth.

To mark the 12th anniversary of the launch of 'City of Heroes', we'll be releasing another small art update to show some more of our NPC character models, starting with Razortooth, the leader of the Sewer Rats gang in Titan City.

And finally, a third gang leader - the mysterious Kobold King, head of the Kobold Klan, who've been terrorizing Titan City since the 1960s.

04/22/2016 - Friday Update #177

This week, we’ve been doing some more work on the animations system for the game – we’ve been finalizing the way that we’ll be rigging the standard human and humanoid models, for both players and NPCs, as well as how to handle the extra costume parts such as capes, wings, hair and so on.

Because of the increased level of detail of the models n ‘Heroes and Villains’ compared to the ones in ‘City of Heroes’, the animation rig for them also needs to be more complicated than the one used in CoH – for example, as our models have separate fingers and thumbs, these all need separate bones on the rig to make them move properly, unlike the solid block of fingers on the CoH models.
Another area where we’re adding a lot more detail are the faces, so rather than the fixed painted on faces used in CoH, the ones in HaV will be fully expressive, not just for emotes, but during other gameplay moments too, such as combat.

This means that it will take longer to create the animations, but we feel that it’s easily worth the extra effort because of the extra level of realism that it brings to the character models.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team

04/15/2016 - Friday Update #176

This week, we’ve been doing more work on the game backstory and the timeline and fleshing out some more of the important historical events. One of the things that we need to be careful with is that we don’t have too many events that players will feel disappointed to have missed out on, but at the same time, we don’t want to have too few of them, otherwise it will give the impression that the world only really started getting interesting as soon as the player arrived on the scene.

Fortunately, because of the structure of traditional comic book storytelling, the concept of recurring events is well supported, with things such as Marvel’s “Secret Wars” series, and DC’s multiple “Crisis” storylines justifying the idea of having variations on an event occur more than once. ‘City of Heroes’ did this too, having the first Rikti invasion as major backstory event before the player’s arrival, but also staging a second Rikti invasion later on, so that players could still experience a version of it.

This doesn’t mean that we have plans to rerun every single major historical event in our timeline, but we are designing them not just as pure story elements, but also as potential gameplay events at some point in the future, if we decide to take the overall game storyline in that direction.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team

04/08/2016 - Friday Update #175

This week, we’ve been doing some more design work for some of our NPC groups, with a focus on the ones that villainous players will be encountering. This presents a particular challenge because it’s a very clear example of where the inspiration for the game – City of Heroes’ and traditional comic books – clashes with conventional MMO mechanics. Villains traditionally fight mostly individual heroes or groups of heroes, with the only major non-individual heroic group being the police, or occasionally the military.

But this becomes harder to do in an MMO, where normal gameplay requires enough enemies to be challenging for a team of players. ‘City of Heroes’ dealt with this by having villainous players frequently fight other villain groups, with Longbow being pretty much the only major heroic group that they’d regularly encounter.
This did lead to a couple of complaints from villain players though – firstly, that fighting other villains so often didn’t make them feel as villainous as if they’d been frequently taking down heroic enemies, and secondly, so many Longbow encounters began to feel repetitive after a while.

The main issue with trying to correct this is that while we still need to be able to give villain players a challenge, we also can’t create a huge amount of non-individual heroic groups for them to fight, as the real world setting used in traditional comics doesn’t support it – Titan City is a large American city, so there’s no justification for creating multiple law enforcement groups for it when real world American cities and the versions of them that appear in comics only have a single police force – this means that we’re going to need to use some creative solutions to give villain players the same variety of enemies that hero players will face.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team