Hey there, Reddit! My name is Joshua Bennett, and I'm one of the founders of www.heroforge.com. Hero Forge is a service that lets you design custom tabletop miniatures in full 3D, right in your web browser. Originally funded through a hit Kickstarter campaign in 2014, we've gone on to ship hundreds of thousands of unique miniatures to dozens of countries around the world.

In January, we launched a follow-up campaign to add our biggest and most ambitious feature yet: full color design tools for full color, 3D printed custom miniatures! The response was bigger than we possibly could have expected, and after six months of intense development, we're thrilled to bring a whole new spectrum of possibilities to the tabletop gaming world.

These new color tools were released just this past Tuesday, and our team is ready and eager to answer your questions! Ask us about custom tabletop miniatures, color 3D printing, fulfilling Kickstarters in the time of covid, content additions on Hero Forge, developing the most flexible and colorful character creator on the web, or whatever else you're curious about!

Proof: https://twitter.com/HeroForgeMinis/status/1311372713080975365

UPDATE: Welp, that was a blast! Thanks so much to everyone who dropped by, asked questions, and voted. Now, back to work making minis!

Comments: 127 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

Sycon10 karma

First off: love you guys and have since I first discovered the service many years ago! I'm a sucker for custom minis.

Now with the launch of color printing I've had a few questions since backers started getting early orders:

  1. The quality of color prints throughout the early access has seemed to improve quite a bit. What went into that process? I'm trying to understand what changed to enable better prints given that the core technology was the same.

  2. One of the weak points to date are "shiny" materials. I know it was stated that shiny materials are done via color shading. I've seen online the ability to 3D print with shiny materials. Is this something we can look forward to in the near (<5 years) future or is there a bigger limitation with regards to materials and printing techniques that needs to be overcome?

HeroForgeMinis10 karma

Hey there, Sycon! Thanks for your questions.

  1. Every printer has its own quirks and capabilities. We also listen really closely to user feedback to help guide our sword toward the most important development efforts. There are so many individual settings to tune, but a great example would be the coating we use for our figures. When we ran the Kickstarter, we were using a thicker, almost wax-like varnish coating, and got feedback that it was a bit too thick, and obscured detail a bit too much. So, we went back to the drawing board and tried a bunch of others. We ended up landing on a more matte, thinner coating that smoothed out the surface and brightened the colors much more effectively. Dozens of little improvements like that add up, and now we're really thrilled with the output.
  2. We also tried on a bunch of different printers, including recent ones from Stratasys and HP. Ultimately, we got the best results from the printers we're using now, which are from Mimaki. They support a lot of cool features, but don't currently support metallic ink. We've put a lot of work behind improving out "non-metallic-metal" rendering and think it has improved a lot since early-beta, but currently, metallic printing is not something that's supported by this printer model. We'll see where the tech goes in the future though! We adopt the latest-and-greatest printers whenever we can. We can't even begin to guess where the tech will go in the next five years, but you can bet we'll be watching closely.

Sycon5 karma

Thanks :) I'm very hopeful that we'll be able to see metallic and even translucent ink in the future.

As someone who has hand problems that make mini painting painful, color printing is amazing.

HeroForgeMinis5 karma

We're definitely watching the 3D printing field for exciting technology. We actually don't offer any of the materials we launched with ~five years ago; the plastics have all been updated with better, more detailed, and more durable materials. We are always exploring the latest and greatest tech, and I'm sure that will be true of color over the next several years too.

kmgenius6 karma

I know there's been talk about an STL subscription service. Is there any info you could give about what that would possibly look like?

HeroForgeMinis9 karma

We are absolutely very interested in adding an .stl subscription component. Right now, we're still exploring what that should look like, and how we can best meet home-printers' needs. One way that people can support that is to hop onto our official request form and tell us exactly how YOU would like it to work. In almost everything we do, we are guided by user feedback. The official survey link for STL subscription feedback is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B53QNRZ

sgtwoegerfenning6 karma

Hi, been loving the colour features since the beta and it's become a bit of an obsession.

Do you have any plans to make Heroforge compatible with 3D digital tabletops? The tokens are great for Roll20 etc. but as fancy 3D platforms with all the cool lighting and effects are starting to become more of a thing I was wondering whether you were thinking of getting in on that too.

As a big ole fan of the custom posing feature you added a while back I also wanted to ask whether you have plans to look into making the lower body poseable too? I know it's probably difficult with needing to make sure the minis are stable (and printable) but sometimes there's just that tiny little adjustment I'd like to make to avoid clipping or help out the silhouette.

Lastly and this is the biggest one... WHY IS ARE THE SHOULDER PIECES LISTED BEFORE THE TORSO BITS? I WANNA GO THROUGH SECTION BY SECTION BUT DOING PAULDRONS BEFORE TORSO MAKES NO SENSE!

HeroForgeMinis9 karma

I can say that the space you mention is of great interest to us. No news right now, but being able to support the many neat VTTs out there, including 3D ones, definitely looks like a good space to move into.

As for leg posing, here's a copy/paste answer from a similar question in this thread: The biggest technical consideration is maintaining a nice model that is sound for printing. If we start accepting orders that are actually multiple different "shells" (like a character posed in such a way that it is disconnected from the base) then it throws a wrench in the production process. We may be able to offer things like leg posing some day, but in the short term, most of the flexibility is likely to come from some combination of additional base-poses.

Good note about the shoulder pads! I believe the idea behind the order was "working in order from the top to the bottom."

sgtwoegerfenning3 karma

Great to hear about the 3D VTTs and figured about the posing. Just a quick followup cos I'm greedy, are there plans for adding more poses to the new large base (and other similar bases)?

HeroForgeMinis4 karma

We are definitely going to add more epic bases since it was a stretch goal, but I think for the foreseeable future, we'll probably just have the one lower-body-standing-on-the-base pose, and rely on Advanced Posing to let folks do whatever they want with the upper body/arms.

radhat2406 karma

are there any new poses that will be added?

love the site, i made a figure for everyone in my family with it and they turned out great.

HeroForgeMinis6 karma

Hey there! Thanks for your question and the kind words! We actually just added a new two-handed "Heavy Weapons" pose to support the new Gatling guns/chainsaws/handheld cannon/etc. so we definitely add poses periodically, but when it comes to our immediate development and art efforts, we are very much focused on fulfilling all the cool stretch goal content that got unlocked during the Kickstarter campaign.

radhat2402 karma

no problem, using your site has been a pleasure

i have one more question that i just thought of and i hope i'm not crossing any boundaries by asking but the two kick-starter goals that weren't reached, is it a case of they are lost to time forever or maybe in a year we'll get them?

HeroForgeMinis6 karma

We unlocked such a crazy number of stretch goal features that it really only seems right to have a single-minded focus on fulfilling them right up until they are complete. So we haven't committed to doing any of the stretch goals that didn't get unlocked, but we definitely pay attention to what excites folks and what they ask for in our official survey. That particular feature was a wildly, hugely ambitious one from a tech-standpoint, which is why it was one of the very last ones listed. We'll never say never though!

Brutzkrieg5 karma

I love you guys! I'm active on your FB page, and love seeing all of the amazing creations everyone does! I couldn't subscribe to the service fast enough!

  1. Why don't the size of the bases change based off of the scale of the mini? On a maxed out slider the character usually ends up partially off of the base.
  2. I just am so happy that you've been giving sci fi content more love lately. How close are aliens and multiple arms to launch? ;)
  3. Speaking of aliens, will it just be the head that was featured on the KS? I've got my fingies crossed for a classic Gray alien.
  4. As long as you're all here and spilling your guts, how about a sneak peek at the next item, hmmm?

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

We love you guys too! So excited to be offering the new subscription options. So far it seems like it really fills a need for some folks, which is exactly what we'd hoped. Our biggest goal is to offer a ton of value.

  1. Most folks, when using tactical maps, need their bases to fit exactly into the 1" grid size that's standard for games like D&D. We designed our base options to match.
  2. Us too! There is SO much we want to add across all genres, but sci-fi is especially fun. We don't have a date yet for aliens or multiple limbs, but seeing where our artists are at, it is looking pretty great! We gotta wait until it 100% meets our quality standards though, so the unsatisfying answer is probably "It'll be ready as soon as it's ready." :p
  3. The alien head featured in the stretch goal promo image will not be the only one! Can't spoil the surprise though. :)
  4. This will feel like a dodge, but if you're interested in seeing preview/pre-release content, we recently added an option for Hero Forge Pro, which gives 1-week early access to Treasure Tuesday content releases. :)

titancraftminis5 karma

How on earth do you achieve those beautiful shadow effects in three.js? The ones that load a half second after changing poses, I mean.

HeroForgeMinis8 karma

We build a lot of custom rendering tools on top of the normal WebGL stuff you see out there. A lot of our staff have extensive experience in the video game industry, so we really chase that tippy-top-level rendering. A lot of the basic 3D-on-the-web demos you see out there don't support things like ambient occlusion, and it makes a huge difference in how real and detailed models look, for sure!

titancraftminis5 karma

I'm a competitor so feel free to not answer if it's a trade secret :) Y'all have built an amazing site.

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Thank you so much for the kind words!

CarnageCrayon5 karma

Hey guys, I love how 2.0 turned out. With 2.0 being released now and a good amount of the kickstarter stretchgoals already rolled out, are you already making plans for the next big thing or can you take the time now to enjoy what you accomplished and wind down a bit after the surely stressfull last few weeks?

HeroForgeMinis5 karma

Heyya CarnageCanyon! Thanks so much for the kind words. It's awfully exciting to have rolled our Hero Forge 2.0 to the wide world, but we still have a lot to do! We're always trying to take the long-view on how to best grow the tabletop hobby, so we have lots of ambitious long-term projects in mind, but we are definitely keeping our eye on the ball with stretch goals first and foremost. We released a bunch already, but our Kickstarter backers helped us unlock a crazy breadth of new features, so there's plenty left to do: we've released about 11 of them, but unlocked a total of 39!

2sexy4ewe5 karma

Howdy! To cut straight to the question:

Have you guy looked into or considered allowing more articulation and posing freedom regarding the legs or body as a whole?

I can understand the printing difficulties that may arrise but admitedly after buying 5 or so figures, Ive really been using heroforge for the photo tool and creating visual references and scenes for my dnd campaign. It would be awesome to be able to pose figures laying prone with a rifle or sitting down to put them on ledges and ect.

HeroForgeMinis8 karma

You definitely hit on the biggest technical consideration there, which is maintaining a nice model that is sound for printing. If we start accepting orders that are actually multiple different "shells" (like a character disconnected form the base) then it throws a wrench in the production process. We actually have to pay a lot of attention to how the foot connects with the base, and at what angle. It needs to be a really solid, clean connection. We may be able to offer things like leg posing in the long term, but in the short term, most of the flexibility is likely to come from some combination of additional base-poses.

SumwanElse5 karma

I love the service you offer. I have spent hours playing with designs and having so many options helps me better visualize both PC and NPC options for my games.

The new token generator option is an immense help for my Roll20 games, as well.

Keep up the good work!

My question is in regards to mount options. I specifically would love to see a Goblin Dog to go along with my goblin character. What other mount ideas are you considering for future enhancements? Monstrous? Smaller mounts for small characters? I can't wait to see!

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Thank you, SumwanElse! We'll definitely keep it up! :)

With regards to planned content additions, we almost never announce what we're working on ahead of time, but we really do listen to fan recommendations and requests. We have an official user-request-submission form which creates a massive spreadsheet of user's requests. We consult this list constantly in order to make sure we're working on what had the biggest demand. Definitely submit your suggestions to get 'em counted: heroforge.com/request/

Nincadaguy3 karma

I love you guys. How are y'all doing today? :)

HeroForgeMinis4 karma

So happy to be here and talking to you guys!

Jakeofnone3 karma

Hey HeroForge! Love your work! I have a few questions. How long do you expect the process of releasing all of the kickstarters unlocks will take, do you one day plan to also release the things on the kickstarter that did quite get backed? (ie the weapon forge)

Also (feel free to skip this question if you can't anwser it) why did you remove the mindflayer heads? Was it an issue with a developer? Or just wanna make some improvements? Thank you so much!

HeroForgeMinis5 karma

Hey there, Jakeofnone! Thanks for the kind words--we love doing what we do, and it does our hearts good to hear that people enjoy it.

We are basically releasing Kickstarter content as quickly as our art team can produce it and get it working to our quality standards. After our original Kickstarter, we rolled out all the stretch goal content features over the course of a year or so. This time, we unlocked WAY more (about 39 content-related stretch goals!) but we're also a bigger, more fine-tuned team now. Over the last six months, we've done about a dozen stretch goals. A big batch of the remaining ones are decal assets (like images on shields, or gradients on hair) which are pretty quick to produce, but take a long time to set up the groundwork for. Can't commit to a specific timeline, but I think once we start releasing batches of decals, they will start coming more quickly. Unfortunately, we can't be much more specific than "they'll be done when they're done!" :)

As for your second question, we unfortunately no longer offer our Octofolk. Wizards of the Coast and Hero Forge have settled their differences regarding the use of Wizards' Illithids/Mind Flayers. So we have removed the Octo-Person / Tentacle Feature + head from our site.

Lionwoman3 karma

Hi! Thank you for taking questions!

  1. There are plans to include fur patters (spots, srtipes...) as options for the colour tool in a future?

  2. There are plans to include in the future more beast like heads like boar (for wereboars and other werebeasts) or more options for the current ones (more variants like the dragon ones? which are absolutely beutiful and diverse. I would like to see more fierce looks to made cursed werebeasts!) like lion-like faces for the cat-folk since D&D released this summer the Leonin race?

  3. This is more like a doubt but... if we buy the .stl I don't know if it is currently possible to change the size of the model to print a bigger figure. If not, would it be contemplated to do so or offer different size options? (I know we are talking aobut miniatures and there is an option to increase your figure's height in measures, but I would like to see an option to bigger ones).

Thank you for your time!

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Hey there, Lionwoman! thanks for the questions.
1. Absolutely! Animal patterns were two of the big stretch goals we unlocked, and they are under development.

  1. There's a long list of features we hope to add, but we're currently very much focused on the content that was unlocked during the Kickstarter. That said, we always love hearing people's suggestions! Our official request form can be found here: heroforge.com/request/

  2. It should actually be very easy to scale the .stl up! We use the very same models to print our double-sized statuettes (in the "show more" section of the "buy" menu)

mrfluckoff3 karma

Will there be any plans to develop the weapon mix/match feature from the Kickstarter? It's a shame that perhaps the best possible feature of the entire Kickstarter was locked behind a $3.5 mil stretch.

HeroForgeMinis6 karma

Hey there! We unlocked such a crazy number of stretch goal features that it really only seems right to have a single-minded focus on fulfilling them right up until they are complete. So we haven't committed to doing any of the stretch goals that didn't get unlocked, but we definitely pay attention to what excites folks and what they ask for in our official survey. That particular feature was a wildly, hugely ambitious one from a tech-standpoint, which is why it was one of the very last ones listed. We'll never say never though!

CobaltMoon983 karma

Hey all, just want to say thank you for getting me into the great hobby of miniatures. I ordered and painted my first ever mini from you guys a few years back and have continued to paint ever since. I now have an instagram page with 700+ followers that wouldn't be possible without you all (especially since you've featured some of my minis). HeroForge minis are still my favorite to paint even after trying all the other big names in the hobby.

Guess my only question would be.. you hiring? Halfway joking, but HF seems like my dream job someday. Keep up the great work and thanks for all that you've done already!

HeroForgeMinis5 karma

That's awesome to hear, thank you for the kind words! We absolutely love painters, and hope that out color tools will make it even easier to plan color schemes, or communicate with commissions to make sure it lined up with their intentions.

We aren't currently hiring painters, but we appreciate the thought!

IamJoeCell2 karma

My first question was already answered, so thanks for taking the time here today!

I guess I would ask how your business had to adapt with COVID this year? Were there any particular challenges you faced?

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

So far, it has primarily impacted shipping speeds, due to the disproportionately heavy load on UPS/USPS. We're still producing figures just as quickly, but we're seeing a bit wider range of travel-time.

Lord_Drakgo2 karma

Hello there!!!

I was wondering if there's any plan to make skeletal versions of body parts, such as skeletal hoofs and animal-like torso?

HeroForgeMinis1 karma

Good question! We're currently very much focused on all the stretch goal content, and I don't believe additional skeletal options are in the works, but to copy/paste a relevant chunk of text:

Definitely add your voice/request to our official user-request-wishlist if you get a chance! All feedback summited through the form ends up on a giant spreadsheet that our developers and artists consult when deciding what new features to work on. That helps us make sure we're putting our effort where it's most wanted/needed for the community. heroforge.com/request/

shadeasassin2 karma

I'm not sure if anyone posted this yet, but for the STL purchase options, would it be technically possible to buy the Model and it's base separately in the future? I know many people in the home printing world prefer to print those parts separately for ease of adding supports.

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Hi there! That's definitely something we have heard before, and exactly the kind of thing we want to hear more of as we plan how to expand our .stl services in the future. We actually have a dedicated survey form for .stl and .stl subscription feedback. If you get a chance, can you add that here? https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B53QNRZ

We use those kinds of surveys and look at requests and feedback in aggregate in order to figurer out how to best serve the tabletop community.

Banandanista2 karma

Apologies to be this direct, but I filled out a submission for a monkey familiar on the heroforge website. I love monkeys, and this addition would be really useful to a character I've been playing for a while and I'm sure other users would love it as well. Do you have any plans to add anything like that to heroforge? That, or custom posing for existing familiars?

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Hi there! We don't have any current plans for monkey familiars at the moment, but we're always listening. Definitely add your voice/request to our official user-request-wishlist if you get a chance! All feedback summited through the form ends up on a giant spreadsheet that our developers and artists consult when deciding what new features to work on. That helps us make sure we're putting our effort where it's most wanted/needed for the community. heroforge.com/request/

ExtremelyUnusual2 karma

Hey there, I was wondering if there were any plans for implementing prosthetics for specific body parts? BTW, I'm loving the new color tools.

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Actually, yeah! Arm options were one of our big stretch goals that got unlocked. This should include multiple arms, as well as some arm prosthetic options! We don't have a specific date announced yet, but we're working towards it.

awiseman932 karma

Hope I’m not late.

What is the suspected turn around time on the colored miniatures?

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Not too late at all! Thanks for asking. We currently anticipate it falling in line with most of our materials--around 2-3 weeks. One neat thing about these new color printers is that they have very large print beds compared to our other plastic printers, which makes scaling up production much easier. Check it out: https://imgur.com/a/hGTIBsX

vivas52 karma

I hope I'm not too late.

First congrats to you all for this.

Here's my question: any plan in the future to have stuff to build children minis? I know it can be done by tweaking settings, but since you plan everything to be for adults character, it can look a bit special. Thanks.

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Not too late at all! Thanks for your question. We don't have any current plans aimed at making children minis. We haven't actually heard much demand for that feature, but definitely add your voice/request to our official user-request-wishlist if you get a chance! All feedback summited through the form ends up on a giant spreadsheet that our developers and artists consult when deciding what new features to work on. That helps us make sure we're putting our effort where it's most wanted/needed for the community. heroforge.com/request/

ZeroFreud2 karma

I love you website, especially the new updates! If possible I would like to know what the remaining stretch goals from Kickstarter?

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Hey there! We unlocked about 39 stretch goals and have done about 11 of them so far, so there's probably too many to list, but some of the ones I'm most excited about are "Light Emanating Surface Effects" which will allow for Object Source Lighting in the color scheme (amazing) and what will be the most technically complex stretch goal, the face customizer which will be a new face option where you can select individual features, like nose shape, rather than just the whole head!

Jake_GS2 karma

hey, big fan of your website and i've been really enjoying the color tools since i've had access for awhile through the kickstarter.

just have two questions for you guys.

1: what happened to the squid folk heads you guys had for awhile?
2: how soon can we expect to have decals/make-up to show up for use on characters?

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Thanks for saying so, Jake_GS!

  1. We unfortunately no longer offer our Octofolk. Wizards of the Coast and Hero Forge have settled their differences regarding the use of Wizards' Illithids/Mind Flayers. So we have removed the Octo-Person / Tentacle Feature + head from our site.
  2. Decals are definitely one of the features that folks are most excited about, and we're hard at work on them. While we don't have the ability to give release dates for content ahead of time, but there were a huge range of decals unlocked during the campaign. We basically fast-track the release of content as soon as it is completed to our quality standards. Makeup options aren't quite done baking just yet--gotta cover a lot of weird bases, like putting makeup on a bird head or what have you--but we're hoping to start rolling out some of the first batches of decals in the near future.

Mattman_The_Comet2 karma

Do you guys plan on implementing patterns to the color feature to help users better create certain races, such as Gith or Goliaths?

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Thanks for the question, Mattman! We actually have a pretty comprehensive list of planned color features in the form of our list of unlocked stretch goals from our Kickstarter campaign. It includes things like tattoos, animal patterns, mud and blood splashes, hair gradients, beard and head stubble, and a bunch more! Definitely check out the Kickstarter page if you're curious: we really laid out our whole vision, and are still hard at work on a bunch of development and art.

Ildona2 karma

Absolutely love the service you guys provide, and the color tools have been fantastic so far. There's one thing that hasn't been implemented that I would really love to see, though.

What's the likelihood of animal companions getting models available? Beyond the "share-a-mini" familiars. (The penguin is still so cute.)

Currently playing a druid in a PF2E campaign. Companions scale from small through huge size as you invest more into them, so getting proper minis isn't necessarily an easy feat. And, of course, I'd prefer to have my minis match aesthetically.

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

We have a lot of interest in adding more familiars and animal companions! "More Familiars" is in fact one of the stretch goals we unlocked. Those are going to be the "share a base" variety, however. In the long term, we want to eventually explore more non-humanoid figures on their own bases, but we're going to be pretty head-down working on the huge amount of stretch goals you guys helped us unlock first. Gotta clear our plate of those promises first and foremost.

sabrina_grace2 karma

Hi! I was wondering if there would be a chance to purchase a lifetime subscription to pro like on the Kickstarter? I totally misunderstood what backing the unlimited token maker meant and missed out on lifetime pro ):

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Hey there, Sabrina Grace! Thanks for your question, and thanks for backing. We genuinely wouldn't be here without Kickstarter and our generous backers--that's what helped us launch Hero Forge back in 2015!

The truth is, if we had had a notion of what Token Maker Unlimited would develop into following the Kickstarter, we probably never would have offered a lifetime access option to begin with! It’s hard to overstate exactly what a huge commitment that is to maintain. Kickstarters are an awesome tool for getting a jumpstart on delivering awesome new projects--but it also means that you develop the best vision of your new service or product that you can, with the best information available.

SapTheSapient2 karma

I love the tools. They are exceptionally intuitive and responsive, considering how complex they must be under the hood.

My questions: You are basically defining the space as you go, being so far ahead of similar efforts. What has surprised you about how your service has been used? Did you expect so many people to use the tools for character visualization (as opposed to designing miniatures they plan to order)?

HeroForgeMinis6 karma

Really appreciate it! We worked really hard on the new UI for a good long while, and it feels so good to get it in front of people.

I think we always knew that we would see a huge number of users designing characters just for the joy of it. Folks love spending tons of time tweaking in video game character creators, and we're like that, but for free, and on the web! It's also a really mutually-beneficial thing to have people design and share those characters that mean so much to them. It's humbling and awesome every time someone realizes their character's vision in Hero Forge and shares it with friends. We really couldn't ask for better endorsements, or better examples of what we can do. We want people to care about what they make, and feel like they're really expressing their own creativity. It means a lot on a personal level, and it's also awesome for business!

Engineer_Eastern2 karma

Have you guys thought about incorporating a lower scale body option for the minis? Female characters look really manly as the body ratio is 50 50 right now. The only way to make them look more proportional is by adding boots...

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Hi there! Thanks so much for the feedback. Definitely add your voice/request to our official user-request-wishlist if you get a chance! All feedback summited through the form ends up on a giant spreadsheet that our developers and artists consult when deciding what new features to work on. That helps us make sure we're putting our effort where it's most wanted/needed for the community. heroforge.com/request/

cracksmurf2 karma

The Kickstarter for HeroForge 2.0 sold the idea of the expansion of features. This is what your backers/supporters paid for. While yes pledge rewards are an added bonus to drive more support to the campaign, the core of the Kickstarter remains to be those features. Some may argue that since rewards were delivered then you got what you paid for. However, that is not how Kickstarter works. You are backing the project and the rewards are a driving force to advance the project. In some campaigns the rewards are the project. However, that is not the case for this Kickstarter where Heroforge 2.0 is clearly marketed as the project.

One such feature was the Token Maker. A pro tool aimed to be a subscription service method of monetization for Heroforge. This concept is great. It adds expanded value at a small cost for those who find those features useful. This means that the development costs are covered and provides a future revenue stream to continue development of new features. Win-Win.

However, at some point it was decided to remove the current transparent screenshot tool in order to roll it behind this pay wall of a subscription. To add more value to that pro tool and to remove competing features that could reduce the value of the subscription in the eyes of those advanced users who had already had processes for creating tokens through their own efforts. Yes, that is not what HeroForge was marketed for, but it definitely is what gave the proof of concept that lead you to develop your own version to monetize upon. Essentially backers were now paying so that they could develop a feature set that would monetize on existing features.

In my eyes, there is nothing inherently wrong with the act of moving this feature into the pro tool. However, the way that the change was brought about definitely alienates and screws over a large subset of your users who are long time supporters and backed the expansion of HeroForge 2.0. You have been extremely open and vocal about mostly all your features. However, had you been open about this one change many backers could have made much more informed decisions in their backing and taken advantage of the unlimited access tiers that were provided as options for the limited time of this campaign. A simple solution of giving existing backers of the campaign the ability to pay to receive the unlimited or multi year discounted rewards would do much to restore faith and resolve the feelings of unfairness that you have created. It would cost nothing and fix so much. It’s hard to believe that backers who did take advantage of those tiers would feel it unfair that other backers be given the same opportunity; especially in light of the way these changes to the service and Kickstarter campaign came about on delivery instead of from the outset.

Can you please speak as to the decision making process behind these changes. As well as the decision not to try and right things with those backers who had gotten screwed over because of your lack of transparency in the removal of existing features. Backers whose money funded those changes. You have responded to backers concerns on Kickstarter by talking around the issue and giving marketing speech responses of how we can now pay subscriptions to regain the features we already had, or how you are over-delivering on rewards such as turning token maker 1 year/lifetime access into full subscription access. However, those expanded rewards are to the users who aren’t getting screwed over here. Had we been informed and backed those tiers it would be a moot point. Many of us have supported through hundreds of dollars of backing only to lose features in the long run. Please explain.

HeroForgeMinis4 karma

It’s true that we offered cut-out functionality for black and white images for several years for free. We understand that the ability to have transparent backgrounds for .pngs was preferable for some use cases, like for the creation of virtual tabletop tokens. I think it’s also fair to say that for the majority of our users, screenshots are mostly used for saving an image of your creative design for sharing.
Prior to the addition of color, cut-out-backgrounds on its own, would not have been a big enough feature to support a subscription. But that did change with the addition of color and Token Maker, and all the additional development and art we threw behind it. We did offer the black and white cutout option for free as long as we practically could without it being a detriment to our growth and additions to the site, though.
For folks who use the image output for other purposes, like the generation of virtual tabletop tokens or other staged images of characters, we hope that they will find the additional features included in the Hero Forge Pro subscription and the new photo “Booth” tab compelling, where this feature is not only still available, but comes along with a wide range of new options to make the site even more useful for token generation and portrait creation. All the extra steps that would previously need to be done with an image editing program like Photoshop now easily accomplished in-browser.

We know we won’t persuade everyone, but we think that we're providing a ton of value for a pretty modest monthly rate, and for the sake of our continued growth and expansion of options, we can't be our own worst enemy there. While we aren’t able to offer transparent background options for free any longer, we definitely want to hear feedback on what we could add to Hero Forge Pro that WOULD make it seem worthwhile for the folks who don’t think it’s there yet. We set up a dedicated form specifically for that kind of feedback here: http://www.heroforge.com/color-feedback

OneLastHoorah2 karma

I bought the token maker unlimited tier. Thanks for pro! Because I do a lot of VTT, Im more interested in how a token looks compared to how a mini looks. Minis can't help but look a little cartoon like. Thats in part because of the mechanics of the plastic and machines used to make them.

VTT tokens don't need any of that. Is there any thought to changing textures for hair and material look in the token maker tool? Also it would be really nice to see things like arrows and hafts slim down to a more real scale. Instead they are stuck in,"this is what we can print"

Love the product, but would love the tweak also.

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

That's certainly an interesting idea. You're right that our art is designed to look good at mini scale, so some things like arrow shafts are thicker than real-world proportions. That said, most of the larger, bolder shapes tend to translate well into VTT tokens as well, since they are normally viewed while zoomed out quite far. All that said, no current plans for what you describe, but it's the exact kind of thing I'd suggest adding to our official wish list using the request submission form at heroforge.com/request/

Inside-Literature-872 karma

Any chance for more animal companions (ie wolf) and the ability to change where the item goes on the base? Also, more positioning of items in hands (still can’t get my owl to face the same way as me). Huge fan of these, I’ve made my entire party!

HeroForgeMinis1 karma

Thanks for the feedback! For feature suggestions, definitely add to our official user request list to have them counted. That can be found right here: heroforge.com/request/

RJ6french2 karma

Hi, I just want to know who own the blueprint of the figurines i do when i have bought it?
Me or you?
Can i sell it to other people who want to have a copy of it to print it or something?

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Hi there! We retain the copyright to all of our art assets and their combinations, so you would not be able to resell the, or redistribute them as part of a commercial project.

SolidSquid2 karma

Have you ever considered offering obj files as well as stl? I'd love to be able to build a character in Hero Forge and then incorporate it into a scene from the game I'm playing in (or even the whole party)

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

Based on the user feedback surveys we host, there honestly hasn't been much of a demand for alternate file formats. That said, now that color is an option, more folks are asking about formats that might more easily be imported into other platforms, like VTTs or what have you. No news at this time, but definitely add your voice to our official request list-- heroforge.com/request/

OldCrowGaming2 karma

What's considered when new item/armor/clothing/feature requests are submitted? Is it based on how many similar requests you receive?

HeroForgeMinis2 karma

That's right! We have an official request form at heroforge.com/request/ which basically compiles users' requests into a giant spreadsheet. We use that to make sure we're prioritizing what the majority of the tabletop community wants to see added whenever we can.

Itsdawsontime2 karma

Hello there - u/HeroForgeMinis team -

Thanks for making an excellent and exciting product! A couple of questions:

  1. Have you ever considered a feature where you can upload a photo of a face / take a photo of yourself and it will customize the mini's head based on that?
  2. What is your favorite tabletop RPG and campaign you've ever played in?

PS: Per the people that complain about the mini snippets being behind a paywall - it 100% makes sense to me. You're not a big box retailer who has a diversified portfolio and are completely flush with capital where you can provide features like this for free - especially with not a lot of people playing in person right now.

For the people saying "Well they made $3M during their kickstarter!" - They did this to improve their product / R&D, pay their people and hire new people, retain staff, and to build out all the extra features that were unlocked. If people really are complaining they can still take a snippet / screen grab and easily design their own on other websites (and I'm sure that if your team really wanted to they could block this somehow).

All-in-all, I'm hoping you and your employees are doing well right now during COVID!

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Thanks, friend! Happy to answer:

  1. It's unlikely we'll add the photo-face option. Projecting a texture map across pre-existing geo would, in most cases, produce a pretty funky looking figure. Also keep in mind that the mini's faces are reeeeeally small. Millimeters. Currently, the color printing technology is pretty amazing, but tiny features like irises or whatnot can be indistinct. So, it would be hard to capture someone's whole face and have it be recognizable at only a couple mm high.
  2. That's a tough question! Different members of our team each have different preferences, but since I'm currently steering the keyboard, I can say that I always come back to Dungeons and Dragons. 5e felt like a breath of fresh air, and approachable enough to use it to introduce new folks to the hobby.

Regarding your P.S. - We really appreciate that. Happy to offer some peek-behind-the-curtain insight into how we decided on and implemented the new Hero Forge Pro features. First up, we can share that color saves are much, much heavier than before. All that customization and control has a real impact on file size, and we’ve found that color saves take up almost 10x the server storage space when compared to our old black and white character saves. That has a tangible impact on what it takes to manage that amount of saves, both practically and financially.That said, putting color behind a paywall felt so absolutely wrong to us. We wanted to find a way where we could offer that to everyone for free, but also provide extra value that felt worth paying for, for users who just design characters for fun, may not use minis, or who want to create tons of high-quality tokens for virtual play. That described a truly massive proportion of our day-to-day users. These options make us much more sustainable, and allow us to continue offering the huge amount for free that we do, while also growing and adding content ever week, like we have been. I suspect that same sort of thing is what has made Patreon so successful for artists to continue their work too.

We're all healthy and working from home--thanks so much for the well-wishes!

RoitPls2 karma

Why is the price so high? How much do you make per mini?

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

While we can't share how much we make per mini, we can share that the reason color figures are more expensive is that the cost to manufacture in color is significantly higher than in non-color plastic. Practically, if you think about the cost of buying a figure, and how much it would cost to commission hand-painting, we think we actually come out ahead in most cases!

Arcane_Truth2 karma

I just found out about you guys on Sunday and spent 3 hours making figures. Imagine my delight when 2.0 rolled out just 2 days later!

My question to you: I have always been interested but never gotten involved in tabletop gaming. Where do you suggest I start, given COVID has made gathering in-person more difficult?

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Virtual Tabletop options have gotten pretty good! Or if you just do "theater of the mind" without maps, Skype also works great in my experience. Just to plug our new service, we just launched Hero Forge Pro which include "Token Maker Unlimited" for creating high-quality tokens for use in virtual tabletops too, if you want to add a little visual pizzazz.

A__Glitch2 karma

I just wanted to say, big fan of all the content that you guys push out for free on a regular basis.

Are there any plans for us to be able to purchase miniatures STL's with the colours as exportable textures so they can be used in other programs? it would be great for animations and such!

HeroForgeMinis3 karma

Hey there! So, for 3D printing at home, the most useful file format is .stl, and for optimum file size, this does not typically have "UVs" for texture layouts. Folks primarily pick those up for 3D printing, but there's a growing need for 3D, color, virtual tabletop tokens. I mentioned it elsewhere in another response, but it is a space we're watching with great interest. The file formats and model needs for that are likely to be different than 3D printing/STLs though.