City of Heroes: Ask a Dev

CoH Community Quiz: Jay Doherty Answers Your Questions


City of Heroes Community Quiz
Answers by Jay Doherty (Art Director)
Questions from the CoH Community

imageCommunity Qestion: If you could only design three more costume pieces ever for City of Heroes and Villains, what would those be?
Jay Doherty: A chef costume set, an evil clown costume set, 1930’s robot costume set

Community Qestion: We’ve seen costume pieces in a samurai theme, a pirate theme and many other themes. If you had all the resources in the world, what theme would you love to see in the game personally?

Jay Doherty: Cowboy, really. I didn’t make those cowboy boots without wanting to finish it up. But seems to me that players would rather have other things before I finish that one up.

Community Qestion: Will we see more ‘free’ costume pieces in future, or will all new pieces be inventions? It’s very frustrating to have a great costume concept but need to get the right recipe and salvage to make the costume pieces required.

Jay Doherty: Here is what I do. I make all of the new costume pieces for players, make all the NPCs, and fix costume bugs. What I do not work on is power sets, FX, or Animation. Also, I don’t decide how and when costumes are given to players. There is nothing I like more than making new stuff for you; it’s damn fun. But… how you get it is not up to me.

Community Qestion (FREDO62): As a villain, I would really like to be able to have a misshapen or deformed character, but the basic character models are all perfectly formed. Will we ever be able to have truly ugly characters?

Jay Doherty: All costume pieces need to work with all other costume pieces, so having a body type that was shaped like the elephant man, or a huge fat guy just would not work. I did and still do want to make a torso that has a hole right in the middle, I don’t know if I’ll make it in but we’ll see.

Community Qestion (Belga): Can we be given access to the NPC costume pieces? Many players would love to use the Carnival of Shadows pieces, for example, and I’d really like to have access to the Mu Mystics costumes.

Jay Doherty: When NPCs where first made there was no intention to give players those costume pieces, mostly because they would not work with other costume pieces (ex: clipping, overlapping) When the PPD exobot guys were first put into the game, players really wanted those pieces for themselves. Unfortunately all those pieces where made to work with each other not as separate pieces, and they look really silly if you don’t have all the pieces on. So to address this we have come up with a few solutions. First, while not completely copying the carnival of shadows I have built a completely new costume set with the flavour of the carnival. Second, there will be a new NPC group that was built with the player in mind, all costume pieces from this NPC group will be something players will be able to wear. Now depending on how the players respond to this is how we’ll handle more things in the future. Please don’t think that every NPC costume group from this point on will be given to the players, but I will put forth the effort to do as many as possible.

Community Qestion: Quivers and scabbards! Please let us have them, Jay! Please!

Jay Doherty: Yeah, I know. If we do implement these, you ain’t getting it till I’m happy with they way they work. If I’m not happy with them then I know for a fact that you will loathe them.

Community Qestion: Would it be possible to give high level characters access to two ‘auras’ at once, so you could (for example) have flaming hands and glowing eyes?

Jay Doherty: Maybe, I don’t know. Even though auras are in the costume creator they fall under FX. I do not do the FX for the game. There is higher priority stuff that needs doing right now, but I have written it down in “the book of stuff to maybe think about possibly doing sometime.”

Community Qestion (Belga): Are there any plans for any new basic body types, in addition to Male, Female and Huge?

Jay Doherty: Sorry, NO. Now, here is the long reason why. For every costume piece that goes into the game; for example the Gear Pads, it has to be “ported” over to the other body types (MALE, HUGE, FEMALE). When I port a costume piece I need to make sure it works with all other costume pieces; this takes time, I might take up to 2 days just to port a single costume piece. We have a rule here in costume land “If it works with 80% of the costume pieces then it can go in the game.” With the Gear pads, they work with almost everything, yes they clip with some animations and some costume pieces, but that’s what happens when you have hundreds of each. If we added another body type every single costume piece ever made would have to be ported over, there are hundreds of costume pieces. It would take very long to make a new body type. We could probably do a whole lot of other great things with that time and I don’t think the players want to wait even longer for more NPCs and costume sets.

Community Qestion (Alpha_Ryvius): What goes into creating and designing a costume piece? Aside from artistic skill is there anything you would need or have to take into consideration in creating something a massive group of people will or will not use.

Jay Doherty: Yes, I want to make badass stuff that the players want. With every issue I’m always disappointed that I didn’t get more stuff out to the players but good work comes at a price, time. When I started the “Jay’s Costume Request thread” I didn’t expect it to be so popular. As of today there is 4520 posts, and there are even more requests. Everyone as requested everything, some good some bad. Some requests are practical and some very outlandish and impossible. I’m getting to as many as I can within reason. One on the biggest requests that keep popping up is long skirts. Well I gave it a go and it turned out looking like crap, there are too many animations that the players go though that just causes the long skirt to clip and look awful.

Community Qestion (AnitaCocktail): What I would like to know is that with so many suggestions on the CoX forums that I know you take time to read, how do you get any work done? For that matter how do you decide what to actually work on and what actually gets into the game?

Jay Doherty: Everyday I make a PB&J sandwich for lunch, bring it back to my office, check my e-mail, look at the latest news on the drudge report, and check the request thread. I look at the thing everyday. As for deciding what goes into the game, I usually consult a magical sea shell I keep under my desk. The sea shell tells me to do good things, but sometimes it tells me to do bad, very bad. It takes about 15 beers before that sea shell starts to talk.

Community Qestion (Alpha_Ryvius): Is there a piece or set that you wish was in the game but couldn’t get in for some reason or another?

Jay Doherty: There are a lot of things that aren’t in the game yet. It’s just a matter of time.

Community Qestion (Ubie2000): From the sound of your bio and your general attitude when you post, you seem like a person who really loves what they do and has a passion for it. Do you ever have those moments where you’ll either hear a song or see something that suddenly inspires you to passionately start work on an idea and keep working on it until you finish it? If so, is any of that work in-game right now or going to be?

Jay Doherty: Yes, there was this one night that I was ready to go home but had to drop the browns off at the super bowl before I left for home. While on the throne it hit me. I stayed for a few more hours and that why we have the pain pads in the game.

Community Qestion (Alpha_Ryvius): Also how much has the players suggestions influenced your designs or decisions in creating new costume pieces?

Jay Doherty: The player suggestions have the most influence here on out. The list of things to do is a giant one and it keeps getting longer. The wings, samurai set, rocket boots, new patterns, vet pets, kilts, trench coats, and even the Greek letters were all player suggestions. I have, as of today made finished 4 new costume sets for issue 10. 3 of the 4 were player suggestions, and I’m still working on more.

Community Qestion (Alpha_Ryvius): From your profile you mentioned Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. Do you watch anime, if so what other anime do you watch, any favorites, and what are you currently watching if you do watch anime?

Jay Doherty: I do watch some anime, but I have burned myself out on it. I went to a college called digipen and everyone there was an anime nut. All day long, nerds arguing about the inconsistencies between the original Japanese version and the dubbed version made for the American audience. They drove me mad. It was just a geek competition to see who knew more about some loser guy that looked like a girl. Besides I can no longer stand story lines about male characters that question every damn motive that they have for the way they live, why they fight, or why they love some girl. I just can’t relate with the introspective nightmare that all anime characters seem to have. I more into the American stuff on adult swim, I did like “Berserk” though.

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