Thursday, May 31, 2012

What-If: Behind the Scenes!

Howdy there! I thought I'd walk through how I made the latest What-If, one that featured a SHSOified Batman! :D

To be clear, I'm obviously not a beginner, and I'll try not to get too technical. If I come across something that can only be explained in jargon filled paragraphs, I'll try to avoid talking about it at all.

First of all, Batman!
Batman was a tricky character to model, (manipulating polygons to form meshes to create an object in virtual space, but remember, I'm trying not to be too technical here so we'll stick with models and modeling), in the sense that if I got something wrong, it just wouldn't look like the Dark Knight. For the most part, I found that turning Batman into a SHSO character wasn't that hard at all. I just modeled directly off a picture of the Dark Knight for the head, and imported and improved a previously made SHSO body, (remember Darkhawk from this post?), and just tried to fit all the costume's parts onto a smaller body.

Rigging, (a process in which the model is linked to a "skeleton" so that you can move the arms and legs for posing and animation), Batman initially was easy to rig, but I found myself tweaking things all through the process.

Now for... the Joker! The second most recognizable character from the Dark Knight movie. I put off modeling him at first because I was afraid something might go wrong and he would look really awful. But in the end, I'm actually not that unsatisfied with how he looks. His hair is the only thing I'd change. I think that in trying to make it look more SHSO-y, I wound up messing up the hair. You'll notice that the hair texture is actually my own. Most of the textures are, actually. I usually make a rough texture in the 3d program, and then I bring it into Corel Painter X for refining. I'm pleased about Joker's shirt, I managed to find almost the exact same shirt material that the Joker wears in the movie. 

One of the things I noticed was that Joker wears many outfits. I tried to select one that wasn't too flashy, seeing as Batman is supposed to be the focus of the loading screen, and I knew he might be too dark to see.

For the textures on everyone, it was mostly solid color with a dull specular, (a specular dot is what you get when a light shines on a shiny object. For instance, if you look at a car in the daytime when the sun is shining, you'll probably see a place where the light intensifies into a dot. That is a specular. The shinier the object is, the brighter and more focused the dot is. If you shine a light on some velvet, the light will make a dull glow, not a shiny dot, because the light is broken on the rough surface of the-- ah whatever. It's just a light dot, okay?), a setup that works well with Batman's plastic-y costume.

Scarecrow is my favorite villain of al time. Unfortunately, he wasn't very fun to model because of the way he's portrayed in the Dark Knight and Batman Begins. I wish I could have been truer to the movie but I was pressed for time and unfortunately couldn't do a very good job. Sigh.

Ah, the batpod. When modeling this, I tried to be as accurate as possible to the movie, and still keep the polycount, (how many polygons are in the object, fewer means less detailed models, higher means more detail), low. Anyway, my main reason for discussing the batpod is that I want to talk about rendering.

This is the rendering engine WHILE it's rendering. Rendering is a process where the model gets all the stuff you can't see in the editor. Shadows, specular, Radiosity (I'll explain another time), HDRI (again, another time), reflection, refraction (yup, you guessed it, another time), caustics (once again, someday in the distant future), lights, depth of field, etc.

Here's the render when it's finished.


To start off, I didn't have to do everything from scratch because the guys over at the CBR forums have a page on their wiki where you can download a template for making fake hero icons in Photoshop.
It was a simple matter of rendering and moving layers, etc. to make this.
One thing I didn't have to do was mix and match heroes. Whenever they create a hero, they use existing heroes to form a new one, painting in the gaps and changing the colors, kind of like Frankenstein. However, I didn't have to do that because I actually had a model of Batman.
There's a handy tutorial on the same page of how they do it their way, if you're interested.

Okay, well the rest of the stuff was pretty simple. I took a reference shot of a random hero that was about Batman or Red Hood's height.

And then, without changing position, I took a picture of Wasp, the smallest hero I had.

I don't know whether Ant-Man would've worked better because I don't have him, but that probably would have worked too. Anyway, I simply replaced the tiny Wasp with Red Hood. In this case, I also put an orange colored light behind Red Hood to make it look like he was standing near the burning car.

Red Hood, without the background.

And now Red Hood with the background. You'll notice that I simply covered Wasp's name, (it is, thankfully, short), and replaced it with Red Hood's name in a font that was close to the font they used.

Same with the loading screen. I actually stitched two loading screens I found online together, trying to find one where the central loading screen thing isn't covered, turned that completely black and white, colored it yellow again and the gave it back a white point so that I could have a perfect composite.

And here, of course, is the final image.

Anyway, there is tons more I could say about this, but for now, I'm tired.
Please vote in the poll to your right whether or not I should Make SHSO Adam West Batman with Robin, Batgirl and the Riddler, OR concentrate on making a VIDEO with TDK Batman walking around the Daily Bugle zone and shopping for Joker and Scarecrow missions!

-- SHSOFan.

Friday, May 25, 2012

SHSO What-If: The Dark Knight Comes to SHSO!

What if Batman was part of Super Hero Squad Online? What if when the Dark Knight movie was released, they had an awesome Dark Knight themed month? Well, let's find out...

New Dark Knight Themed Heroes:


Description: Batman dresses to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, but this dark knight detective has a soft side as well.

Team: Bat Family
Playable: Yes
Cost: 1200 Gold
DC Lore: +3
Fight Style: Melee
Movement: Flight, Batpod
Combo Damage: 10+11+(7+7)+(15+15)+19=75
Power 1: Batarang Strike -1 Star- Throws a batarang at an enemy dealing 11+12 Damage.
Power 2: Flash Bomb -2 Stars- Batman throws a small bomb that explodes in a bright flash, stunning enemies and dealing 18 Damage.
Power 3: Bat-Grapple Attacks -3 Stars- Shoots a bat-grapple at an enemy and pulls it closer, stunning and dealing 21 Damage.
Hero Up: Swings around in the air on the bat-grapple causing 100 Damage.

Quotes Upon Entering: "Criminals of Gotham, beware."
Character Select: "Pick me, I never pull my punches."
Using Door: "An unlocked door? Careless."
Eating Pizza: "This is better then the pizza in Gotham."
Citizen Greeting: "Don't believe everything you hear."
Going in Water: "Killer Croc had better not be in here."
Destroying Trouble-bot: "You weren't made by Wayne Enterprises, that's for sure."
Chasing Robber: "Time to rid the streets of crime."
Chasing Dog/Loki Statue: "No crime is beneath my notice."
Using Hotspot: "Lucius made some modifications."
Using Wheel: "Two-Face would have a field day here."
Visiting Shop: "Put it on my 'Wayne Enterprises' tab."
Visiting Parker House: "Joker once made pies. I didn't enjoy them half as much as yours."
Sitting: "There's no time to rest, I must rid the city of crime! Well, perhaps for a while."
Other (Ice Cream, Cheese, Unable to lift, etc.): "I cannot detect any fingerprints..."
Solo Mission: "I work alone."
Mission with Other Squads: "It's against my nature to work with others but in this case I'll make an exception."
Mission Complete with Other Squads: "Gotham needs more fighters like you."
Power 1: "I hate guns."
Power 2: "You aren't very bright, are you?"
Hero Up: "Get a taste of justice."
To Red Hood: "This doesn't change anything."



Description: Red Hood may be more on the villainous side now, but he's still Batman's former Robin! In the end, he'll always do the right thing.

Team: Bat Family
Playable: Yes 
Cost: 600 Gold
DC Lore: +1
Fight Style: Melee
Movement: Grapple Swing and  Parkour Wall Climb
Combo Damage: 12+8+4+(10+10)+20=64 
Power 1: Boot Kick -1 Star- Flying kick at enemy dealing 17 Damage. 
Power 2: Under the Red Hood -2 Stars- Jumps around putting red hoods on enemies, blinding them and keeping them from attacking. Deals 25 Damage.
Power 3: Crowbar Slam -3 Stars- Red Hood pulls out a giant crowbar and starts whacking enemies, dealing 39 Damage.
Hero Up: Jumps around on all enemies, kicking and punching dealing 79 Damage. 

Quotes Upon Entering: "I'm the best at what I do." 

Character Select: "I'll always be the better vigilante. Pick me!
Using Door: "Aww, it's unlocked. Now I can't have the fun of kicking it in." 
Eating Pizza: "Alfred's pizza can't compare to this." 
Citizen Greeting: "Hey there, it's your favorite vigilante!" 
Going in Water: "My hood has an oxygen mask built in." 
Destroying Trouble-bot: "Just what do you think you're doing?" 
Chasing Robber: "You're pathetic." 
Using Hotspot: "Time for some parkour." 
Using Wheel: "I've never cared for money. But one spin or two couldn't hurt." 
Visiting Shop: "If only I had Black Mask's resources..." 
Visiting Parker House: "I... can't... get it through... my hood! Ah, there we go." 
Other (Ice Cream, Cheese, Unable to lift, etc.): "Is this one of Joker's tricks?" 
Solo Mission: "It's just me and me." 
Mission with Other Squads: "Okay, as long as I don't team-up with Batman." 
Solo Mission Complete: "Another trophy for my wall." 
Power 3: "Take that! And that and that!"
Hero Up: "You'll never defeat me." 
To TDK Batman: "No... no no no not you!"



Description: Joker's minions have placed a giant Jack-In-The-Box bomb in the middle of Gotham! Get past the goons and deactivate the bomb!

Cost: 200 Gold

Boss: TDK Joker

Opening Monologue (TDK Batman): Joker's gone too far this time. He's placed a giant Jack-In-The-Box bomb in the middle of Gotham. If we don't get to the bomb in time it'll explode, sending joker gas all over the city. Shut off the power grid, and the bomb will be stopped. Let's go, squad.

Enemies: Joker Goons

Tips: Turn off the electrical units, but be careful to only approach them after defeating Joker's goons, or it will shock you.

Boss Fight: Joker's odd assortments of weapons like pencils, flaming money, joker gascans and his 100 dmg Truck Attack can be deadly. Pick up the Joker Masks and throw them at him to increase your chances!

Difficulty Rating: 4.6/5

Description: Scarecrow is slowly filling Gotham with his Fear Gas! Shut off the valves and stop him before it's too late!

Cost: 200 Gold 

Boss: TDK Scarecrow 

Opening Monologue (Alfred): Oh my goodness, it appears that the "Scarecrow" has devised a malicious experiment! Shut off the gas valves and do stay out of the way of his minions. I wouldn't want you to get bruised like poor master Wayne!

Enemies: Scared Victims, Scarecrow Goons

Tips: Use the containers of anti-fear gas to cure the scared victims. After you do, they help you fight for a while before running away.

Boss Fight: Scarecrow is a difficult boss because of his fear attack. This attack twists the world into a hallucination where Scarecrow is you and you are Scarecrow! As long as you keep your wits about you though, he's easy to defeat.

Difficulty Rating: 3.9/5


Well, that's it for this What-If! 
COMING SOON: Behind the scenes of this What-If!
Also, if you have an idea for a What-If leave a comment below! :D

-- SHSOFan.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Remember My Ticket?

Remember back on May 9th when I showed my ticket that I submitted about the amount of gold changing from eighteen to five on the Adamantium medal? Well, whether they read it or not, now everything appears to be back to normal! :D

So tomorrow is the day where I finally release my What-If. To hold you over until then, here's a tiny sneak peek:

What the heck is that?! Well, you'll find out tomorrow!

-- SHSOFan.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Hypothesis

When I logged on today, I didn't see Black Widow and Hawkeye in the store. And I just realized why.
In July, as dedicated Marvel fans know already, The Amazing Spiderman movie is coming out. SHSO is trying to water things down far enough so that they can work on the Spiderman-themed month coming up. This means releasing Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury in June. The best we can hope for, I think, is that they will release one of them at the beginning of the month. In the meantime, they're throwing some sales our way, and today's sale is Pheonix and Psylocke. I already owned Phylocke, so I got Pheonix. But anyway, that is why there won't be many heroes for a while. If we can hold out long enough, we'll be spectacularly rewarded, because slowing down releases means they must be working extra hard to give us the coolest content ever, right? Anyway, you still have my What-If post to look forward to on Friday. All the material is complete, now all I have to do is wrote the post.

See ya!

-- SHSOFan.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hulk No Like Similarities!

I was fortunate enough to find an Avengers Hulk sleeping in the Daily Bugle zone and snapped a pic. Now there can be absolutely no doubt in my mind that the two Hulks are almost the same. I think they may have even reused the old body. But hey, it sure beats modeling a whole new one! I think its good that they reduced the amount of work by not having to remodel a character.

Any, on Wednesday comes Black Widow and Hawkeye! Maybe the reason this update was so long in coming is that they were changing Hawkeye's hair color at the last minute, (his hair was brown in the movie).

Also coming very soon is the amazing, the awesome, the epic, the incredible...

This new feature asks "what if" there were certain new characters, zones, missions, goodies etc. and what they would look like in the game! I'm relying on my CGI modeling and compositing skills to pull it off, so you won't want to miss it! Plus, you'll have the exciting option to leave a comment with YOUR What-If idea! So keep your eyes open for that!

-- SHSOFan.

Mission Review - Doc Ock

It's time for... my new Mission Review!

Today I'll be reviewing... Ock It to Me!

Things to Watch Out For:

There's not much, except the usual blue and grey ockbot at the end of stage two. As mentioned before, just pick up an object and throw it at them, or try to stun it, to defeat that annoying ockbot!

Boss Tips:

This battle with the doc is MUCH easier then the other one. Just wait until he's in the yellow circles, then walk onto the switch in the center to weaken him! Watch out for Otto's Instant KO, though!

Difficulty Rating: 3.5/10

This mission is easier then the doc's other mission, but it is made harder by the instant KO and the blue and grey ockbot. Because of those threats, this mission is a 3.5!

Next Week: Modok, Mo Problems!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dark Surfer!

Well, I saved enough silver, (finally!), to get one of the available Silver Surfers. I chose Dark Surfer, mostly because of his cool sword but also because I've heard that the original Silver Surfer isn't a great fighter. Anyway, I was expecting either Black Widow or Hawkeye today, but, upon finding nobody new in the shop I can only assume that either they're waiting until Thursday to release both, or until next week. There are other possibilities, but here's the good part: I'll be getting whoever comes out immediately, since I have enough gold! :D

So sorry, but you'll have to wait until Thursday or next week for my usual new hero review. Also, coming soon: "What-If"... I'll let you think about what that means for a week or so. :D

-- SHSOFan.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mission Review Moved

My weekly Mission Review will be moved to Monday. Previously, I had been scheduling the posts, (because I don't go on the computer on Sunday, long story), but for some reason it doesn't automatically post nowadays. So I'll just be writing them on Monday from now on. Expect a brand new Mission Review next Monday, as I am too busy to write one now.

-- SHSOFan.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tony Stark's Face!

What an easter egg! :D
When you sit down as the new Avengers Iron Man, you get a look at Tony Stark's face! :D
I assume that he lifts up his helmet in some kind of later emote, but for those guys who haven't maxxed him yet, this is a good way to get a preview of what's coming!

-- SHSOFan.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Avengers Iron Man

I finally bought Avengers Ironman! :D
Let's get right down to business and start reviewing, shall we?


With the usual Ironman one jump, you'd think Iron Man would be boring to play as as you explore the zones. Fortunately, thanks to his Cool Factor, it's actually pretty fun.

I give his EXPLORATION a 3/5!


Ironman has some pretty sweet fighting moves in his combat chain and power attacks.

I give his FIGHTING a 3.9/5!


There's no other way to say it, Ironman looks totally awesome. All the detail on the panels and legs and... well, you get the idea. Being awesome all over sure has its benefits!

I give his COOL FACTOR a 4.9/5!

Well, that's all for today. Yes, that IS me and Avengers Hulk up there in the new Loki mission. I was experiencing a glitch at the time where the opening speech was there throughout the whole mission.
I hope they get that fixed soon! :D

-- SHSOFan.