JACE: Hello, Calvin. Thank you for meeting with us.
CALVIN: Sure, no problem.
JACE: Let’s start with you, Calvin. Would you tell us a little about yourself and then maybe your heroic alter ego?
CALVIN: The alter ego is probably more fun to talk about. He laughs self-consciously. Well, I’m 19. I’m a sophomore in architectural engineering at Drexel University. I don’t do a lot of sports, well, any sports, and I study a lot. The most exciting thing I do is sometimes I play an RPG game called Elven Fire with a group at school who’s into that. I’m kind of a nerd.
JACE: Nerds are important, too, Calvin. What about your hero?
CALVIN: His face brightens up a little. That’s where things get more exciting. He’s a super hero, obviously. I made him with blond, surfer hair. He’s pretty athletic. He has a castle-hemmed cape, and a dragon on his chest. The dragon is for my school. I picked a pair of powers to start with: Statue and Lead Feet. Statue is a single-target freeze, and Lead Feet is an AOE slow. Of course, each one costs energy, so there’s some strategy in using them. It’s fun.
JACE: And AOE is short for?
CALVIN: Area-Of-Effect. It means it hits several enemies at the same time.
JACE: I see. That does sound like a good combination. Let’s talk about powers a little bit. Can you tell us how these powers work, and how you learned them? Press A to shoot, B to jump? Certain hand motions for certain tricks? Is there a tutorial, or do you figure it out in game?
CALVIN: He laughs comfortably. No, this game isn’t like that. There aren’t controllers; you’re completely inside the game. Whatever you do, you’re really doing in the game. A lot of players, when using classic controllers, jerk the controller up when they press the jump button. The game doesn’t care if you lift your controller or not. In some more advanced games, lifting your controller will make your character jump. In Hero Games, if you jerk your arms up, your character just jerks his arms up. If you want your character to jump, you’d better jump yourself. You and the character are really the same person.
JACE: Okay, so I know how to jump, and walk, but where did the real you learn how to cast “Statue” or “Lead Feet”?
CALVIN: Oh, that happens in the Training Room, with TrainerBot and his TAs.
JACE: That sounds interesting. Can you tell us a little about that?
CALVIN: After you make your character, you go down a mirrored hallway to the Training Room. It has a very high, arched ceiling and is mostly steel walls. You go back to the Training Room any time you learn a new power, to learn how to use it. TrainerBot is a floating robot. He’s metallic humanoid on top, but the bottom half of him is a round floating set of equipment. He guides you on using the powers, and the TAs, Training Assistants, are basically the practice dummies. They look like gym class rejects until they start coming at you.
JACE: The TAs attack you?
CALVIN: I think it depends on the kind of power you have. Mine is actively offensive/defensive, so yeah, they attacked me so I could use my powers on them. Using the powers is mostly a matter of concentration and focus. Since the entire game is wired into our heads, it makes sense that using the powers would just be in our heads, too.
Other Hero Games Introductions:
Nick “Virgil Ante”
Paul “The Peace Keeper”
Erin “Vanessa Pyre”
JACE: Hello, Erin. Thank you for taking the time to join us today.
ERIN: She shrugs. It’s no problem. They said you were interviewing all the Beta testers.
JACE: Yes, we are. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself to get us started?
ERIN: Okay. I’m seveteen. My birthday is October 8th if you want to send me a present. I read a lot. I do okay in school. I’ve never been arrested, but I beat up the last guy that said I was emo. When I was a kid, we had a lizard in our backyard, a gecko, and I got friendly enough with him that he would let me feed him. I like your goatee, and I think I’ve run out of things to say.
JACE: I’m caught a little off guard by her reference to myself. We were supposed to be talking about her! Ah, thank you, Erin. What about Hero Games? Are you enjoying being a Beta tester?
ERIN: Yeah, it’s fun. When I read, I kind of fall into the story, you know? This game is even better than that; I’m really in the world and action.
JACE: Can you tell us a little about your character?
ERIN: Sure. Her name is Vanessa Pyre. She’s kind of a vampire. She wears a gothic corset and dress, and she can do some of the traditional vampire stuff, like turn into mist and bite people. Her bite just puts them to sleep right now, though.
JACE: Traditionally, fire is one of the ways to kill a vampire. Was the irony in your character’s name intentional? A pyre is a burning structure.
ERIN: She flashes that pretty smile again, perhaps even slightly longer and larger. I think you’re the first person to get that. I didn’t start with that in mind, but I liked the idea, so I went with it.
JACE: So, Vanessa is a vampire. Is that one of the options when you make your character? I don’t think we’ve heard much about that.
ERIN: No, the Character Creation isn’t like that. There are tons of options, and none of them are stereotypes. Obviously , you can stereotype if you want to, but it isn’t setup by default. There aren’t even player classes like in most games.
JACE: Could you explain more about that for our readers who might be less game-proficient than others?
ERIN: Well, most games like this, you choose a ‘class’ of character, like an tank, or a blaster, or a mage.
JACE: I think you lost me there, Erin.
ERIN: A tank is the term for someone who can take a lot of damage. They run in and keep the bad guy’s attention, doing a little bit of damage, but taking all the hits while the other guys attack the same bad guy. A blaster is someone who attacks from a distance, like an archer or gunman. And a mage is someone that uses magic. There are other types, but that gives you the idea. When you choose one of those characters, you choose powers or abilities or weapons that work for that type of fighter. In Hero Games, you don’t pick a class, and all the abilities are open for anyone to choose. You can make your own class, or spread it around and be a little of everything. It changes the strategy a little bit that way, and that’s cool.
JACE: What about the social aspects of the game? Are you making lots of new friends?
ERIN: A slightly disgusted look crosses her face. I don’t make friends. Yes, you can group, and there are options for that in the game, but you’ll have to ask someone else about that; I work alone. Everything’s going social these days. People act like you can’t do anything on your own, like it’s a bad thing to be by yourself.
|Image created by HeroMachine.com|
JACE: So you don’t talk to or interact with anyone else in the game?
ERIN: Well, there’s this one guy that’s helped me out a couple of times. He’s kind of sweet, really, but that’s the sad part, cause he’s just going to get hurt in the end. Nice guy, though.
JACE: Well, if you don’t go in for the social aspect, what is your favorite part of the game.
ERIN: She clearly ponders this for a moment, her watery blue eyes looking off into the distance. I like the pure freedom of it. I get to experience things without worrying about getting trapped, or getting hurt. I’ve jumped off a building and faded into mist half way down, drifting gently to the street. I can talk tough to the bad guys, cause their just computer pixels. Yeah, I like the freedom to feel anything.
Other Hero Games Introductions:
Nick “Virgil Ante”
Paul “The Peace Keeper” Granados
Over the course of the last month, I’ve been running a contest on the blog for my current Work-In-Progress, Hero Games. The idea behind the contest was to use the wonderful tool Hero Machine to create a hero much like the ones for my main characters that I would then cameo in the story.
It turned out that making the hero, capturing them, and sending them to me was more work than I had realized when I set it up. (I’d have known that if I had taken the time to ask any supervillain about capturing a superhero alive.) So, despite some fantastic promotion from other bloggers (Thank you, Donna) and positive feedback from interested readers, I actually received very few submissions. Even with so few entries, it was difficult to choose from among them.
One entrant even created a nude superhero! Well, almost nude; she was wearing a very nice leather jacket. Perhaps I’ll save her for a different genre all together!
I have decided, however, to write a scene for each of the heroes I received and put one or two in the novel, posting the remainder as bonus material. Posted here in this blog entry are the top finalists for the Hero Games Contest. Thank you, one and all, for your willingness to have some fun!
Obviously, the heroes’ promotional photos aren’t the only thing you need to know to like the hero, but feel free to offer your opinion of the heroes here in the comments, or even to suggest character ideas to include in the scenes! You can click on the images for larger versions
I’ll have my regularly schedule post in the Writer’s Toolbox Series up later today, but first I wanted to remind all of you that the deadline for the Hero Games contest is THIS FRIDAY!
If you are having trouble with it, I posted a “how to” on my blog, also. Go on over and give it a whirl! Everyone who has gone over has reported having fun, so what do you have to lose? Plus, you have something to win!
I heard some people were having trouble navigating the Hero Machine while trying to design their entry into the Hero Games Contest. So, below is a short tutorial. Also, I apparently neglected to set an end date for the contest. Your entries must be emailed to me by Friday, July 22nd. Email entries to Contests@davidjace.com.
Guide to creating and submitting entries for the contest:
Go to the HeroMachine website. Under the banner, you’ll see the Hero Machine 2.5, which consists of a blue box on the left with the Hero Machine logo, and various buttons and images on the right.
Choose one of the hero body-type sketches by clicking on it. A little box will pop up that offers three loading options.
Unless you have a slow connection, choose the top one, marked ‘Complete.’ If you do have a slow connection, click the middle one, marked ‘Partial.’
Once all the parts have loaded, you have many tools to work with. Let’s look at one tool at a time.
Under the number 1, which originally said Pose, is now the word Hair. Click on the arrow beside the attribute Hair, and you get a dropdown menu of all the available attributes. Whichever one you choose, the selection window will populate with those choices. Choose hair, and you get lots of hairstyles; choose Belt, you gets lots of different kinds of belts. You get the idea.
Directly under the Attribute Selection (Hair, Skin, Belts, etc) is the Genre drop down. By default, it shows Standard, but you can see other options (fantasy, capes, monsters, etc) by clicking the arrow.
Choose a style from the various choices available (the little slider bar under the pictures shows you more options). Each time you click one of the pictures, your hero will be updated. You can also switch between hero attributes by clicking on the hero in the blue box at the left.
That attribute will light up in green when you do so.
As you add attributes to your hero, you will most likely want to color them. The color box at the bottom is your tool for this. Clicking the left hand box under 3. Color Items will color your highlights. The right-hand box will add the main color. Not all items will use both colors.
Explore the various options. This creator has a ton of them. Once you’ve got your hero the way you want them to look, click in the box at the bottom that says Character Name and give them a cool Super Hero name.
Now, this is the part that gets a little tricky. You can’t just click Save. It won’t actually do you any good. It’ll give you a code that you can save in a text file, and return to this site to Load in. Do save the code, just in case. What I want you to do, however, is use your Print Screen button on your computer. It might read ‘Print Screen’ or ‘PrntScrn’ or even ‘prt sc’. It is usually close to the home and delete buttons right around backspace and beside the F-keys. When you use that button, it won’t actually tell you that you’ve done it right. Annoying, I know. Open a simple program like Paint (It’s in accessories, if you’ve never used it.) and press Ctrl + V on your keyboard. That will paste the image into the paint program.
If you’ll look in that black box I’ve outlined at the top of that image, you’ll see the only two tools you need to use. Select, which is turned on by default, and then Crop, right beside it. Click on Select to start a new selection, then click and drag on the image to put a box around the section you want to keep (just your Hero’s image in the blue box, including the name), and then click Crop. Save the file at the very top, and then email it to me at Contests@davidjace.com. (If this is absolutely too much for you, you can click the Save button on the Hero Machine and send me the code. I promise not to be mad. ;) )
I hope you have fun with this, and I can’t wait to see your entries! If you have heroes you don’t want to enter, but would like to share, feel free to paste them (or the code) into the comments of the Contest post. If you do have any other questions, please feel free to comment them here, or ask me on Twitter.