Friday, March 29, 2013

Squirrel Girl Released!


At long last, Squirrel Girl is released! This almost makes me want to get a membership, but re-"member" that I need to max out every hero I have currently to get one. Right now I'm on Hawkeye, but because my computer is slow I'm having trouble getting into the game every day.

But I'm working on getting a new computer soon, hopefully one that will be faster, and then I'll be able to review the newest heroes for you guys.

-- SHSOFan.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

JLA Week 4 - Behind the Scenes

Yaaaaaayyyyyy! So my JLA weeks have finally ended, and that means the What-If navigation bar has been replaced with... that's right! An official list of every What-If ever, so check that out right now and then come back and read this!

To start off, I wanted to pull out all the stops and end with a bang, which was hard to do since all I had were two heroes and no new mission. So what I did was I decided to showcase a part of the Darkseid mission that you guys hadn't seen yet in my What-If pictures. With floating houses.


This image was actually really, really difficult to set up. First of all the characters are actually in the environment, which helps me a little. I had some leftover houses from an earlier version of the mission that I'd modeled, so I just created an sort of floating cliff thing like in Avatar with a house on top of it. Then I used the same exact path from the previous pictures and stuck in a red-eyed Batman. I had modeled a bow for Green Arrow from a different image, (the one that goes with the COOL FACTOR section), and then I just used that and the extended arrow I'd made to make it look like Green Arrow was shooting at Batman. This was actually really, really, hard to do because I needed Green Arrow to hold back an arrow on the string of the bow, and so I had to manipulate the actual geometry of the string, (sorry, I dropped a few big words there. Basically I said that I had to bend the string to make it look like he was drawing it back).

Now it's time to talk about a different image that I created for this What-If, and that would be the COOL FACTOR image. I know I've tried to explain how I make these gameplay images before, but often I don't have enough pictures.

So basically I take an image of the game:


(It's actually a leftover image from my Thunderbolts What-If!)

Then I select a part of the ground, which in this case is really easy to duplicate because it's lit basically the same for the whole surface, (no large shadows). I copy & paste it to cover up Elektra, then I erase the edges with a soft edge to blend it into the rest of the ground. Now it looks like this:





Now I'm ready to place my model on top of it. For this image I actually rendered my model right on top of the background, without needing to paste it in later because I used the edited image as my camera (the 3d editor's camera) background.


Uh-oh, there's a problem! The hero icon still is Elektra, and she's level 5 which doesn't make sense because I was supposed to just have gotten the character. Time for some digital magic!


I pose the model in the same position that all of SHSO's heroes take in the icon. Then I render out the image at 300x300 pixels, to be scaled down later while I'm using my hero icon template downloaded from the CBR forum's SHSO wikispace page.


Then I flatten out the image by saving it as a .png, which also keeps the transparent background.


I import the icon and drag it over the other icon, this time it's Batman's, because I use a template where I've already cut out the Heads-Up Display elements that overlap the icon in the real game, and in the template I also have the name set up and a fake level, with the colors that would be underneath them covering up the real name and level number.


Add a few blurry motion lines and
TA-DA!

Now you know how much work it is. I'm just kidding, the whole process probably takes only 25 minutes.

Okay, one other question you might have is, "How did you make Green Lantern enrobed in green light in the EXPLORATION section?"

Well, here's how.

WARNING: Lots of technical jargon will be used. You've been warned.


Here's the image. If it looks like Green Lantern is enrobed in a green transparent coating, you would actually be right. What I do is I create a pose:


Never said it had to be a GOOD pose! Now I copy and paste the model in the exact same pose, in the hierarchy of objects, like so:


Then I "bake" the skeleton, (that is, get rid of the skeleton but keep the pose the model's in, and collapse the mesh so that everything is in one object):




Next, I use "Normal Scale" which scales things up but keeps them centered, so it goes around the model:



Then I add the transparent material and we're good to go!


Then I lower the transparency until it works, add a light and render!


DONE!

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Okay, I hope that answered all of your questions, past, present and future.
Don't forget to leave a comment if you still want to know how I created a particular image.

Now, coming up over the next couple months I'll be doing What-If Bonus features where I either update old What-If models or create new pictures with the same model. You'll be able to vote on which What-If gets the next Bonus feature in my upcoming poll, so look for that.

Bye for now!

-- SHSOFan.

Squirrel Girl Teased!


Looks like Squirrel Girl's coming!
I've been waiting for this release for a really long time!

-- SHSOFan.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

JLA What-If - Week 4


Note: the following post is fictional, and does not represent any actual gameplay or announcements from Gazillion Entertainment, Marvel or DC.

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Green Arrow and Green Lantern were released today, which is really awesome because I've been dying to try out another archer character, and the possibilities of Green Lantern attacks are just unlimited! :D
But let's get to reviewing, shall we?

GREEN ARROW


EXPLORATION

Green Arrow has a standard locomotion system, no double jump and no flight, that is.
But his cool factor makes up for it.

I give his EXPLORATION a 2/5! :D


FIGHTING

Green Arrow's fighting moves are similar to Hawkeye's, and, I'm guessing, Avengers Hawkeye's.
But that doesn't mean it's bad. Actually, it's quite good, I guess SHSO learned their lesson with the first Hawkeye release. 

I give Green Arrow's FIGHTING abilities a 3.5/5!


COOL FACTOR

Let's face it: bows and arrows are cool. So are hoods. So are shadowed eyes. So Green Arrow has a lot going for him here. I may be a bit biased, seeing as I watch the Green Arrow show on CW, but Green Arrow is a cool looking character indeed-y!

I give Green Arrow's stunning duds a 4.9/5! :D


OVERALL: Cool looking hood, and cool looking archery. He's worth it, even for non-Arrow fans. I give Green Arrow a 4.1/5 OVERALL!
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GREEN LANTERN



EXPLORATION

The normal jump is expected, but aside from that it sure is fun to fly around enrobed in green! It's a cool effect that I've never seen before in the game, I wonder how they did that? Anyway, it's awesome.

I give GL's EXPLORATION a 4/5 for it's originality. :D

I think that's dynamite.

That's definitely a fist!
FIGHTING

Fighting is actually Green Lantern's best quality. You can summon baseball bats, swords, catapults, fists, dynamite, axes, hammers, chainsaws, lances, pick-axes and I think I even saw a teddy bear once.
His combo is really awesome, starting out with the usual sword and baseball bat attacks and then ending with a huge fist and dynamite. Wow! Plus he has a sweet first power attack with an enormous catapult.

I give Green Lantern's FIGHTING a 5/5! It's unique and it's awesome. When the repaints come it won't be unique anymore, but who cares? It's still awesome!

COOL FACTOR


Okay, I admit that I'm not the biggest GL fan. I didn't watch the Green Lantern movie, and I only just got into the Green Lantern show that aired on DC Nation until it's recent cancellation. I've never thought of Green Lantern as a cool looking hero. His powers are awesome, but he's never screamed cool to me the way Batman or Green Arrow or Avengers Iron Man does.
 And sadly this Green Lantern is not the best looking one I've ever seen. I don't blame them though, because they had a ton of heroes to make for this month, but I for one am looking forward to a repaint.

I give GL's not-so-COOL FACTOR a 1.5/5.

OVERALL: Overall, while not the best looking hero, Green Lantern is really, really fun to fight with. Better then Pheonix. So buy him now! I give GL OVERALL a power ring punching score of 4.3!

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Well it looks like the Justice League month has come to a close. Let's hope they do another crossover event soon!

-- SHSOFan.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

No Ads


I deliver regular content about a game a lot of people play and that seems to have bumped up my pageviews quite a bit since I started. So far, I have delivered this content for free and it takes a lot of time to make. Does that mean that it's time to make a profit from my readers? Does that mean that I'm suddenly going to "monetize" my blog and add ads? Well I'm happy to tell you that I will not be doing any such thing. Despite this blog being the most viewed out of all of my blogs, I am not going try to make money off of it. The reason is that I love this game. You love this game. All you're doing is reading stuff about the game that you love by a guy who wrote it who also loves it! The What-Ifs I make I create because they are fun to create, not because they bump up my pageviews or give me more money from ads on this blog. When you put ads next to your content, it not only slows down loading time, but it's unfair to the person who wanted to see your content. It's like the ad is saying, "You love the content right next to me, and because you're here you'll look at me!"
That kind of thing seems wrong to me, so you can rest assured that this blog will never, ever become monetized.


So that's your mostly text post for today! Check back in a few days for the first JLA What-If Week 4 teaser! Don't forget to click on every ad on this blog so that I'll make tons of money!

-- SHSOFan.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

JLA What-If Week 3 - Behind the Scenes

Well it's another week and another What-If, and this week saw the "release" of no other then DARKSEID!

You may be wondering, "Just how much detail goes into these game images anyway?"
Well, it's time for me to explain.


First I model the characters and pose them by telling the computer how to move their arms, legs, etc. using a process called "rigging". I basically draw a skeleton on each model, and the skeleton tells the computer how to move the model.

The dots and lines represent the skeleton of the character in the 3D editor.


 As you can see, I've already added the fog effect, which is a tag that I can place on the camera. When I'm really building the scene, all the characters are already textured, because I import them into the scene fully textured, but for the purposes of "peeling away" the scene, that's what it would look like if I rendered it without textures.


Then I light the scene. Here's what it looks like without the anti-aliasing effect, (which makes it look like it's from the game).


Here it is with the HUDs added, plus a few modifications to the image, and it's done!

If you have any other questions, as always I'll answer them in the comments section below.

-- SHSOFan.

Quicksilver Released!


Quicksilver has been released!
But, there are a few caveats. For starters, he's Agents-Only! Now that would be absolutely fine, IF he was silver. But he isn't! Instead he's 900 gold! Now, what?! Agents-Only character should not be gold. The reason they are Agents-Only is because only Agents, who have already paid money to get extra benefits, can purchase them. But instead of rewarding these paying customers with a nice silver hero, it seems like their trying to get you to shell over even more money for gold packs! And these are people who are already paying!

I'm fine with Quicksilver being Agents-Only, because he's well liked by fans who would pay the membership fee to play as him. But making them either save up a whopping 900 gold coins, (last time it was 170 gold a day if you got on the wheel and managed to collect it, which means it would take six days or a little less then a week to get 900, BUT, I don't know whether members get less now because of the limited gold rewards on the wheel and daily rewards). This is not the time to be forcing players to buy more gold. This is the time to be releasing silver heroes, putting some effort into the loading screens, lowering all the 900 gold heroes to 600, (which is still a lot of your a non-member), bringing back more tickets and releasing gold codes. Remember: REWARD the players, and while that may seem a bit self-serving, it's a well known developer's rule. They are the people who are playing your game, and if you're mean and limit everything, then you'll lose customers. I see it all the time on the Facebook page, where people decide not to play the game anymore because of the limited rewards.

I believe they can pick up again and go back to fifteen tickets per Adamantium medals won, 20, 10 and 5 gold slots, and all silver heroes in the Agents-Only section of the store.

You can do it!

-- SHSOFan.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

JLA What-If - Week 3

Note: the following post is fictional, and does not represent any actual gameplay or announcements from Gazillion Entertainment, Marvel or DC.

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The new mission was released today, entitled "Darkseid of the Moon". The title also doubles as a handy mnemonic for how to pronounce "Darkseid".

Anyway, let's jump right into the mission review!

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DARKSEID MISSION REVIEW

MAIN GAMEPLAY



Darkseid is one of those really overpowered JLA enemies, and I imagine it must have been tough to figure out which of his powers to use. They do a pretty good job of showcasing all of them, though. Darkseid shoots plasma blasts, teleports, grows to the size of a giant, shapeshifts into your teammates, and even controls you during the mission! Darkseid has taken control of Justice League members and throughout the mission you fight evil red-eyed versions of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Flash. I expect Green Arrow and Green Lantern will be added when they are released. It reminded me of the Onslaught mission a lot, especially since it took place mostly in an alternate dimension.

I give the MAIN GAMEPLAY a 3.5/5!

BOSS BATTLE


Darkseid is a powerful enemy, but during the first part of this boss battle, you don't even get to fight him! Instead, he shoots plasma blasts at you with his hands ala Dormammu, and his JLA minions fight for him.


After you defeat him, he comes down to the actual battle stage and fights you.
It's nothing we haven't seen before, but it's still fun.

I give the BOSS BATTLE a 3/5!

OVERALL: A fun mission with one of the JLA's best and most powerful enemies, but it lacks originality and feels like a remix of Onslaught and Dormammu's missions.

I give this mission OVERALL a score of 3/5!

---

Well, I'm excited to play this mission through once again with Green Arrow and Green Lantern, who are most certainly coming next week! (Or maybe they'll pull another Mysterio smoke and mirror trick on us!)

Let's hope not!
-- SHSOFan.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mayhem Mode Review


Mayhem Mode is a quick way to earn a neat reward— and probably my new favorite way to.
Various bosses are hidden around each zone. Spiderman's villains are in the Daily Bugle Zone, (like Venom, Doc Ock and Green Goblin), the Fantastic Four's villains are hidden in the Baxter Plaza zone, (like Doctor Doom and Super Skrull), Thor's villains are in Asgard, (Loki, Enchantress), and who ever's left is in Villainville. I say, why not just make an X-Men zone already, but that's off topic.
When you click a villain, a dialog box comes up. When you click "OK", you are sent straight to the boss battle. Since that's the part of the mission I usually look forward to, this is pretty awesome.
I played through the Green Goblin and Doc Ock boss battles. This is a great way to earn tickets and silver quickly, and if you get Adamantium somehow, I assume the benefits are high.
I say go in with a super strong hero like Avengers Hulk, or Red Hulk, or just plain Hulk and smash through the mission in no time.


Also, I forgot to mention this before, but there's a new potion that I assume is only there for a limited time: turn your hero green for St. Patrick's Day!

Well, that's all there is to report at the moment!
Make sure to check back on Wednesday for a new JLA week!

-- SHSOFan.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

JLA What-If Week 2 - Behind the Scenes



So. Wonder Woman. Rather then try to model her usual costume, which is considerably more elaborate and would have been difficult to pull off, I used a costume variant that looked way cooler, in my humble opinion.


I couldn't find the exact same picture, but the one I referenced didn't have the jacket, so that's why my version doesn't have it.


Wonder Woman's face, though still not quite like SHSO's real female faces, is better then Moonstone and Songbird's faces from my Thunderbirds What-If.
You can also see the texture on the hair, which is not really visible in the final What-If, however I struggled to find an appropriate texture for around five minutes. I ended up blending together multiple textures in my painting program, and it ended up quite nicely.

The full-res hair texture, which you are free to use, (all textures came form various images I got online).
Closer view of the hair texture on the model.

There's obviously a lot more to say here about modeling, lighting, etc, but I'll let this movie I created do the rest of the talking.


In case you're wondering, I composed the music that accompanies this video myself JUST for the video. :D

Anyway, there's one last thing I'd like to talk about in this post.
Every time I release the What-If of the week, I change the background image to show the two new heroes I release, which is something new that I introduced with this What-If. I also put links at the top of this blog in the tab bar to help you navigate the weeks of the What-If. what will happen when both of these features are no longer there? Well, the backgrounds will go back to the way they were before, changing ore or less whenever a new hero is released to showcase that hero. The header image will be changed to a brand new one that I hope will look way better then my old one. And finally, I plan on releasing a special What-Ifs page that will give out links to each What-If post I've ever made, from my Batman TDK What-If to this one. So look for all of that soon. :)

Thanks for reading this Behind the Scenes Post!
If there are questions you may have, you can ask them in the comment section below.

-- SHSOFan.