Web Site of the Week: Hero Machine

Hero MachineLet's start with a very simple disclaimer: I am a dork. It becomes even more apparent when I tell you I found this site by accident, thought, "Hey, that's kinda interesting," and then proceeded to play with it for three hours. Real productive day, huh?

Regardless, this is the site where superheroes go to get that nifty fashion sense. No self-respecting consultant is going to say, "Spandex? Now there's a look that never goes out of style." So they have to go somewhere, and why not make it Hero Machine?

Built with the wonders of Flash animation, you can fabricate costumes for fantasy, superhero or sports characters. I recommend staying away from the sports section — you can only design basketball jerseys and that's boring, conversation-with-Celine-Dion boring.

For the other two sections, not only do you get a model, but gender control as well (note to lonely fanboys — you can create your dream girl, but she won't return your e-mails either). Fantasy gives two options (Human Female, Humanoid Male), while the Superhero ponies up an ass-load of categories (but only if you define ass load as "three"). Of the body styles (Blaster, Brick and M-Artist) I preferred Blaster, as it was the most realistic looking with more freedom in the character design.

The meat of the program comes from the supreme coolness in choosing what your hero looks like. Select skin tone, facial features, clothes, weapons, hair ... the whole deal. Change colors to suit your vision. Use the Random function to make weird combinations and garner ideas. While you can't save your creations as an image, Hero Machine is nice enough to provide codes so you can re-create the person when you come back. Not that you'd want to try to re-create your friends as heroes and send them the images. Nah, that would make you an uber-dork or something.

—Patrick J. Graney

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