Sunday, October 30, 2011

Files offline

So a quick story.  I bought a house in May of this year.  Since then we have had over 15 power outtages, totalling over 20 hours, and 2 of which were over 8 hours.  I'm about to go buy a freaking generator.

Anyway, so when the long outtages happen, I take my computer UPS, and go plug it into the fridge to give it 30 minutes of run time in the middle of the outtage, hoping to save some food.

Thing is, last time I did that, I plug the cables in the wrong plugs, and so the latest outage my computer went off, and my monitors stayed on.  Ugh.  The bad news is that for whatever reason, windows 2008 didn't like that, and my networking is all corrupted.  I haven't rebuilt in 2 or so years, so I am about due anyway.  

And since I'm rebuilding my primary workstation, I'm also going to plug in the 2k8 domain controller in my house, and get rid of my older compaq branded 2k3 server.  Thus, all the files I had on it won't be there for a while, probably a day or two, until I can get them back up.

Soooo, if you simply must have one of those files, and can't wait for it, shoot me an email and I'll try to get you a copy, but until then the files will be offline.  Sorry for any inconvience.

I have made zero progress anyway, just been busy with other things, and still kinda demoralized by the BT franchise.  Still on my plate though.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Well based on demand, and the fact I invested a LOT of time into the planet list, I will keep the system coordinate list updated on this blog, and for now use it for the non-BT cartographer.  I'm still not interested in using the BTU for anything, TPTB's attitude have ensured that I will no longer support that IP, which is probably a good thing based on their paranoia and MSFT being stupid with the IP.

The cartographer work is progressing, but will NOT be in any way a "Battletech Cartographer".  In fact, there will be nothing "battletech" about it, though it'll support all the features I had, it'll become a stand alone product and I'll probably make it support Traveller, Traveller 2300, Babylon 5, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc, etc.

Things like the Comstar overlay will be an additional definable graphic, where you put in a bunch of X/Y coordinates for lines and it'll draw them, or just provide a bitmap and specify a transparent color.  The word "Jump" is globally replaced by "Move".  Systems will have various methods of generation, most of which are FAR more detailed than the BT rules (often based on GURPS Space 4e and some older Traveller products)..

I'll try to have functionality to make this kind of a cyberboard, but specifically for space maps, though that'll come later.  

The systems.txt file linked to previously is updated, the complete one is not, and BT cartographer, the last version I posted earlier, will be the last BT specific product I'll ever make.  The excel file I released earlier is now deprecated, as it is no longer up to date.

Some "Interstellar Cartographer" updates:
- Removed all BT specific stuff
- Added multithreading for loading systems, should help initial load times
- Added multithreading for calculating transit routes, should speed that up a lot as well, though since it only happens on the first load its no big deal.
- Updated all the menus to make them more logical, added a LOT of new options
- Played with WPF for rendering, and though it worked GREAT for 2500 systems, when it got much larger speed decreased a LOT, and WPF just can't handle the amount of objects I'm dealing with as well as GDI+.  DirectX is in the same boat, so I'm stuck with using GDI+.

Sorry I am updating this after I said I never would, guess ya'll can call me a liar now :(

Perhaps the flip-flop was just practice for my congressional run next year, though I cross my fingers and toes that I don't get elected, its a horrible job and its no surprise only idiots want to run for office.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm done

Thanks to the overly sensitive moderators on the forums, I'm calling it quits.  This wasn't a spontaneous thing, it has been a long time coming, with reason after reason being presented to me until I finally just decided to move on, and will now spend my excess hours on something else.

If anybody knows how to code and wants to continue anything I've written shoot me an email and I'll send you the code.

Here is my latest version of cartographer:

Here is my working copy of all the planet data in excel:

Anything else your interested in I may have mentioned just shoot me an email.

I won't delete this blog, but it'll no longer be active.  I'll respond to emails or comments on here indefinately however.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cartographer Update!

Just a minor update to let ya'll know I'm still alive.

I am having hell getting the hexes to work right.  My math skills suck, and I couldn't figure out a formula for getting all hexes within a specified range, and hard coded 0, 1, 2, and 3 hex radius.  This means you can create a hex grid of as little as 10 LY, or as much as 30 LY, but nothing else.  I also broke the square/offset square grids, well, deleted the code actually.  I'll re-add them once I get the hex stuff working, those 2 methods are far easier.

I do kind of have the hex stuff working though, here is a map, with 10 LY hexes, drawn dynamically (so changing ownership of a system changes that hex background color as well).  There are a few orphaned worlds around, and a few gaps where no system is within a jump.  The grey hexes are "contested", meaning 2 or more factions have a system within that hex.  I plan on making the hexes break down into smaller chunks until there is only 1 faction per hex, but its not real easy, and I'm tired :(

If anybody can help me out with a hex algorithm that'd be awesome.  Simple stuff, like take a battletech mapsheet, pick a hex, and give me a formula to determine all the hexes within a specified radius.  I don't think its that hard, but it was eluding me tonight.

I still have a *lot* of very minor bug fixes (like the app crashes when you cancel an inputbox, instead of cancelling the function, stupid easy to fix stuff) before I get this sucker launched, but it is chugging along.

A new screenshot showing the hex based influence mapping thingy:

Here is a big version, though it'll be slow off my crappy TW cable modem.  The dots on it are little black circles around the systems so I could see them while testing.  You'll be able to toggle them on/off in the release.  The black gaps are just that, areas where no system is within a jump.  However, there are uninhabited systems everywhere, 110000 of them, so you'll be able to find *some* path through there!

Oh, my algorithm for determining jump paths seems pretty decent, but its just looking for the nearest systems.  If anybody could help me out with a hex based A* that'd be great too.

I want to try to get printing to PDFs done really soon, I want to print this map out on a 44" plotter ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Still working on it, the last couple days I haven't made much progress (but a LOT was made the few days before that) as I've been procrastinating on the hardest part of the code.

The hardest part IMO is getting a dynamic mapping system going.  You've seen some of my crappy versions in the past, here is a new version, with 7.5 LY squares, for 3075:

It isn't perfect, for a few reasons.  One, its only really working at all with squares, I haven't even touched the hex translation stuff yet, though honestly that shouldn't be *too* hard.  Its also not real fast, and never will be, though once you generate it I'll try to cache it so you only have to regenerate it if you modify system ownership.

But now a "bug" I see with my method.  Right now I'm taking a count of the number of systems within jump radius, and using that number to determine what faction "owns" the cell.  While it works fine in most situations, when it comes to those little arms that go off from one faction to another, it breaks completely.  This is because while there may be a system or two in say WOB Protectorate space, there isn't enough to be more than the WOB systems in range, so the world gets drawn with the wrong background.  While typing this I came up with the idea to automatically make any cell the same as any system within the cell.  There are a few exceptions with cells that have 2+ systems in them, but its looking better.  Here is a close up of the protectorate so you can see what I mean:

However, it may look better if I get my system to grid translation working correctly.  Its late, and I may be making stupid mistakes, but as you can see by some of the dots the dots/grids aren't lining up just right.

I *really* suck with geometry, even 2D stuff, this stuff is really easy math, and I need to go take me a class or two in it (even though I CLEP'ed it for my degree, I simply don't *know* it).

Now for the great news.  As soon as I finish this one little thing, this one "feature", I'll release a new version of cartographer for everybody.  The amount of new features and fixes are, well, long enough I think I'll just skip posting them ;)

A couple of screenshots:
OMG, what is that!

See all them little bitty dots?  Remember a reference to the 110,000 uninhabited systems out there?  muhahahaha

Looking for something?  Notice I changed the font *in program* :)

Oh yeah, thats a REAL nebula image backdrop!
What kind of mad options are those?!?!?!

Uhhhh, this aint just a mapping program anymore is it?

DISCLAIMER:  The features that are in red haven't been written yet, and may not be on this next release.  Most of them are relatively easy though, and once I get the influence mapping working correctly I'll starting knocking them out within a few days (days=days coding, not actual real world days).

Btw, I'm *really* starting to kick around the idea of creating a universe, *very* similar to BT but all names/factions will change (map roughly same scale, but different systems in difference places too).  By doing this I can freely create a full game system without worrying about canon and the lack thereof.  If anybody wants to help come up with unit names, faction names, and world names, I'd be grateful, even that simple stuff is beyond my creativity.  I can do all the rest of the code though ;)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Other interesting maps

Since I had the code written to test HPG stuff... some other interesting maps:

Red = the systems that we have atmosphere, gravity, temperature, etc for:

Red=3025 systems with forces present, looks like pirates love the outback:

Systems that were on a map at some point, that are no longer on the map in 3130, RWR/OA/CC got screwed!:

Factory production line size, from the Combat Operations chart, for 3052, the green dots are there, but hard to make out, this makes sense tho:

Got any more ideas?  All I need is a list of systems and a parameter...

More HPG stuff

Ok, going through the 300 or so system we have data for appears to add about 76 new systems with A class HPGs, for a total of 124.  The map still has enough gaps that a large portion of the inner sphere simply doesn't get news except by whoever is kind enough to bring them computer updates.

It just really appears the HPG network simply isn't very effective.  I wonder if jumpships help with that, say they have a core computer that has all the "news", whenever they jump into a new system the computer automatically updates with the planet based computers, and vice versa.  This could have massive hack potential, but would be one way to help keep everybody in the sphere abreast of the latest news.

Or perhaps there are enough systems we just don't have information for, the original 48 systems were when the HPG system was only in the Hegemony really, and ComStar has since built lots of new systems.

Still, it seems silly that ComStar hasn't built 2xA stations on every planet, as that would enable an interstellar near-real time communications system.

HPG Network

So I was tinkering with the HPG network to see how it'd work.  I need to ask some more questions over at, but I don't think it *can* work as published.

However, I'm using the initial list of HPG A systems that I think was in the old SLDF book, but there are more A networks than that from planet data, I'll update this graph tonight.

Class A HPG stations are on 49 worlds.  These have a range of 15 pc (48.9 LY), and transmit to all surrounding B and some A stations every 24 hours.

Class B HPG stations are on all the other worlds (minus a few in the periphery).  These have a range of 9 pc, just like a jump, or 29.34 LY.  These only receive from adjacent class A stations.

Now here is the problem represented on a 3075 map:

The red circles are A networks, and all systems in that should be sending communications to the central red dot every 3 days.  Now, those A systems, or the red circles, *should* be far more spread out and always overlapping.  If they are not, there is simply no communications from Terra out past about 200 LY.  NONE, ZIP.  This means even folks on New Avalon, have to wait for a jumpship to tell them that Amaris just took over.  Ack!

Within Hegemony space however, I think all the planets are in range of an A network.  If planets could have TWO HPG A's on planet, instead of 1, then technically all of the hegemony could have real time communications as each planet could send to another planet, and receive from another planet.  Essentially a really large token ring network!

I'll post more on this later, once I have access to my data again, but I thought this was rather curious.

Monday, September 5, 2011

System Coordinates

Due to some nazi rules on the CBT forums I got banned for a week.  Not saying its a bad thing though, I waste too much time on there anyway and may try to avoid them in the future unless its to post a new program update.

Anyway, a few people have been going over the coordinate list I made a couple weeks ago.  We have found a lot of various issues, not really related to the coordinates but just systems that were renamed, duplicates, and I added all the systems on the faction creation maps that weren't in that faction.  I also updated cartographer to work with the new systems, however I think some of the last features I implemented are gone, oops :(  I'm working on a new update though.

This is a list of system names and coordinates only.  Some systems have another name and year+ in parenthesis, this means it was renamed.  Some systems have a faction code (FWL, HL, Clan, Periphery, etc) following the name in parenthesis, this represents duplicate names usually.  Some systems have "Last YYYY" in parenthesis too, this would be the last map year that system was drawn on, and sometimes it could have been renamed and reappeared later.  The first 2 lines represent the version, and whenever updated this URL will be valid.  It is about 73kb.

This file has a list of faction abbreviations (FWL=Free Worlds League), and the RGB color codes I use to represent them.  If you want to give me a new pallet of colors to use instead, I'd be very happy to use them, I just grabbed colors randomly.  The first 2 lines represent the version, and whenever updated this URL will be valid.  It is about 3kb.

This file represent the whole shebang.  It has system names, coordinates, and owners for every year we have a published map for.  The owners are comma separated list, the first element is the faction, after that it'll have things like region/march/province/etc names.  At the end of the owner there can be things like Faction Capital, Major Capital, or Minor Capital.  The first 2 lines represent the version, and whenever updated this URL will be valid.  It is about 1mb.  

This is a version of cartographer that works with these same files.  It isn't fully featured, and can be considered an "alpha" release.  There are a LOT more features I plan on implementing before the next release (see previous post), and some features (like links to and isatlas) have been removed.  This doesn't really replace previous versions, but it does show you new coordinates and you can push F1 for help.  There is no version, and it could be updated anytime.  It is about 165k.

Let me know if these links don't work for you or you have any questions on the stuff at bad_syntax@

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CBT Cartographer

Well since I've released the planet coordinates the time has come to look at the cartographer again.  I apparently don't have the code for the latest EXE, and some features weren't implemented yet.  However, I've already gotten it running again with a couple new features!

However, there is a LOT I want to do to it, and now is the time, so instead of a quick update it'll take me a while.

Though many of these items on my "todo" list may not mean anything to you, you may be able to figure out a few of the upcoming features!  The last 4 items I could *really* use some help with, if you think you can assist please email me.
File MEnu
- Set Faction File
- Save Changes
- Load Changes
- Load From Website
- Save To Website
- Set Font
- Exit
Render Menu
- Draw Names in Faction Color
- Draw Planets in Faction Color
- Draw Systems in Star Color (or any number of other methods)
- Draw Planets
- Draw Capitals
- Draw Regions
- Draw Borders
- Draw Hex Grid
- Draw Square Grid
- Draw Offset Square Grid
- Set Grid Size
- Toggle Jump Circle
- Toggle LF for Jump Circle
- Graphics Render Method
- Text Render Method
- Comstar Overlay
- Terran Hegemony Overlay
- Stellar Direction Overlay
- Mouseover Toggle
- Mouseover QuickTip Toggle
Tools Menu
- Jump Route Calculator
- HPG Delay Calculator
- Find System (option to show ONLY found results)
- Find Unit (option to show ONLY found results)
- Find Component (option to show ONLY found results)
- Find Factory (option to show ONLY found results)
- The finds come up with a listbox with all matches, can click "hide" to make it go away and clear the find queue
- Set Specific Zoom
- Set Zoom Between 2 Worlds
- Zoom Fit A Box
- Production Map
Universe Menu
- Set Turn Length
- Add Turn
- Remove Turn
- Add System
- Remove System
- Change System Owner
- Edit System
- Regenerate System
- Add Unit
- Remove Unit
- Move Unit
- Set Password (If set, nobody else can do edits)
- Other commands to modify stuff
About Menu
-Submit Bug
-Check For Update
-About Cartographier

'Web Browser to Sarna
'Web Browser to ISAtlas
'Known Map Links
'A* instead of whatever I'm using for jump pathing
'Planet Details, or generate when not available
'Fill Regions for Factions
'Insert graphics (like a Nebula)
'System Icons (water, factories, units, etc)
'Export to HTML
'Save to PDF
'Button interface, can hide
'Nuke A planet easter egg!
'Finish Jump System
'Colorize grid based on owners
'System Filter (can filter by various things, all other systems just an empty ring)
'Legend with faction colors
'Legend with system icon meanings
'Better Help Window
'Area Report, draw square and it'll create a textbox with targets, units, etc
'War Report, history kept of changes, can report who moved where, suffered what casualties, etc
'Screen Saver - Randomly go through eras, clicking on worlds, histories, factories, etc
'Strategic Unit Tracker
'Random Unit Tables
'Random Unit Generator
'Handle planets with multiple-owners

'Need Help To Do:
- I can draw a system, but need some help calculating "Hohmann transfer orbit's (  This would allow intersystem travel!
- I could use some help determining la-grange points as well ( - these are "non-standard" jump points I think
- I could use some help detemrining transient jump points, these are "pirate" points
- dynamically creating planet surfaces, to 10km accuracy (Earth would be 4000x2000 pixels).  Those 10km maps would be custom maps made for various kinds of terrain, and would just plug into the larger system.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Planet Coordinates!

Well the planet coordinates are in a usable state, though I really wish that HBHK would come out already so I could be much closer to complete.  You can get them at CBT Forums.

 I also posted 2 PDFs with a list of planets and lots of system data for them, maybe it'll help somebody in a campaign.  I can make these suckers in milliseconds ;)

The files are Here, are PDFs, and not very big.  There is a discussion at CBT for them here:  Planet Data

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Selling my stuff

This is just a duplicate of a local craigslist posting in the Dallas area.  I'm essentially getting rid of nearly all my miniatures & terrain, as I just don't play anymore, and if I did, I'm totally happy with counters made from megamek graphics and mapsheets.

I am looking at offloading a *lot* of miniatures, mostly battletech. Roughly 10 regiments, now YOU can actually field an SLDF division, with unseens!

Within this group there are:
351 Metal Mechs I bought online, and can't be 100% sure they are real (all but about 20 look *very* good if they are fake, those 20 *are* fakes I'm sure, the rest I simply can't tell), almost all with bases
544 Metal Mechs (at least a company to battalion of most of each type of unseen, 6 of each unassembled celestials, all stripped, primed, or never painted), almost all with bases.  Quite a few battledroids in there too, including 3 Behemoths!
286 Plastic Mechs (maybe 10% have been spraypainted, from 3 different styles of boxed sets, mostly the new one)
96 Turrets from various vehicles for defenses (with mountain dew lids for structures to mount them on)
525 Vehicles (20 Wet Navy, 6 VTOL, 1-2 full companies of most vehicle types, 2 battalions of savannah masters and 1 of gabriels)
43 ProtoMechs
833 Battle Armor (usually 16, 25, or 36 of a type, a hundred or so glued individually to pennies)
275 Infantry (most glued to pennies individually)
64 Warships of all sorts
101 Various Dropships
25 Small Scale Aerospace Fighters (Clan)
3 Full Sized Aerospace Fighters
An 18 gallon tub FILLED with MW Dark Age stuff, and I mean filled, every little gap has something in it. There is also a whole box of some complete set on top of that, not sure which.  They were gently set in there, and have been taken care of, but still probably a few broken ones. I think I have an inventory on it somewhere....

The price is for just the BT stuff, I also want to sell the following:
100 or so tanks and lots of infantry for the B5 GROPOS game, all unpainted/unassembled
4-8 boxed B5 fleet action sets, including the ancient one and quite a few additional EA/Minbari ships, nothing painted, also some regular scale stuff
A *lot* of 40K epic stuff (6 or so titans, 6 thunderhawks, *huge* numbers of tanks/infantry from all races, only some spray painted)
Some 40K stuff, some dark eldar I think, package of fantasy knights/lizard people things, a few tyranids, most older stuff
An essentially brand new box of geo hex that can 100% cover a 4' x 6' table in hills (this is the 1' hexagon stuff, some with roads, none with hexes).
A bunch of terrain pieces, boxes of unassembled trees, big felt desert hex map, a bunch of unpainted styrafoam I've collected over the years that look like good bunkers, buildings, etc
A box of game stuff I had duplicates of. SFB Captains logs, some 40K books, D&D, some battletech books, etc
1 company or so of gears for Heavy Gear for both north and south, plus a few Allers, a couple Nagas, and a Mammoth, and a few other things thrown in.
And some stuff I forgot, surprise!

Now for the rules!!!

#1. I will be *very* amiable with getting this stuff to you, heck I'll take it to your house if your close by, but it may take a couple car loads!
#2. I will NOT sell the BT stuff piecemeal, its one freaking lot, there are no exceptions to this, and I won't even reply if you ask me to part with "X number of Ys"
#3. You gotta pay up front, and there will be no checks. I'm 100% fine accepting cash, but that is a lot of cash and something like paypal may be a better bet.
#4. All the non-battletech stuff, if your interested hit me up, I'll try to get a better inventory and price on it.
#5. The price isn't negotiable on BT, its worth *easily* 50% more than that if I was to sell it on ebay, ebay is just a pain, and I don't need the money, I'm just sick of the game.
#6. Unless I'm paid in cash, there will be a written contract to protect both of us from any fraud.
#7. I would accept a trade for various things, but that is a lot of money, and there isn't much I need. Some of the items I would consider as some or all of this trade would be:
- New quality HP 44" color printer, it could even be bought and delivered to me instead of cash, in case your worried about fraud or something
- A high quality like-new microscope/telescope
- A 3D printer
- Software development. I need help working on a UI for a project, and a 2D world mapping project, both .NET, VB.NET preferred. Some Photoshop skills in making 2D terrain wouldn't hurt either.
- Janes Fighting Ships, All the Worlds Aircraft, and Armor & Artillery, for 2000+
- 79 Nova in mint condition (my wife's favorite car!)
- A like new boat!
- A huge amount of landscaping for a house I just bought

Got enough cash/stuff I want, and I'll be more than happy to give you *everything*, this would be optimal, as I don't want to inventory it all... your free to come look at it if your considering making a serious offer, just don't waste our time if your not.

Oh heck, just make an offer, I'll take anything into consideration, I don't *need* the cash, and in this economy you probably wish you *had* the cash, but if you have something that I find useful, we can negotiate. If you want pictures I can do it, but it'll take some time in most cases, as its a lotta crap :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Influence Mapping Done!

Giggity, while its not perfect, especially in areas where there is a VERY small sliver of space somebody owns, it works really well, is accurate to 3 LY, and calculates pretty fast on my box.

I'm attaching all of the ones I just made, with and without circles for systems, in the following order:
2750 and 2786 (notice how Kurita space isn't done, waiting on the handbook)

Notice that clan space is all goofy looking as I have all the owners of each world, eventually I'll figure out a better way to display those, perhaps with pie charts.

Influence Mapping

Well I'm working on mapping planet coordinates again.  I now think I have the coordinates of all 2973 systems down.  Still working on the ownership, not having the Kurita housebook is a REAL pain :(

There is also the matter that most of the scales on the maps are incorrect....

There is also the matter that not all the maps line up, 3075/3130 do (thank goodness, I used 3075 as my base template), but the 2596 map is all screwed up.  Its like the X coordinate added a percent or two in *both* directions, so my coordinates vs those on that map are off by up to 5 LY.  Any world that is on the 3075 map is accurate to like .001 LY.

Anyway, I'm working on getting an influence map to work.  This process would dynamically recolor the space ownership based on who owns the most nearby systems.  I'm not 100% sure it'll work, but early progress is promising.  I had to restrict the calculations to 10 LY grids, as 1 LY grids used like 6GB of ram and kept killing the app (with 12GB of ram, go figure).  More to come soon, as well as listing of all the planet coordinates, but here is my first influence mapping shot:

And my 2nd attempt:

Now to get that perfect formula in between :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm dumping it

I'm dumping the miniature lot, see the add on craigslist here:

I'm just sick keeping all these miniatures to a game I never play.

I'm still thinking about abandoning the game all together, I'm just so fed up with TPTB giving 80% of the info only to never fill in the blanks.  Maybe a new release soon will change my mind, like IO :)

If you've read War of Reaving, and want to give me a synopsis so I don't have to read it, please shoot me an email.  Basically I just want to know what happened to each clan and a brief summary overall, and I don't care enough for how the style in which it is written to read it all myself.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I am really starting to wonder about TPTB that run the BTU.

Here is what I know that could be influencing decisions:
#1.  The lawsuit from Harmony Gold over the unseen
#2.  The times the IP has changed hands
#3.  Paranoia (of people, loosing fans, etc, etc, etc)

There are a LOT, and I mean a LOT, of inconsistencies in the universe.  Not big stuff, but little things.  Some unit appears in 2 places at the same time, or is omitted from the rosters entirely, numbers of jumpships being "scaled by an order of magnitude or more", battles on planets being written like the planet has 10K people on it, when its got 3 BILLION, just a huge amount of inconsistencies, and they are really starting to frustrate me.

The latest is planetary coordinates.  We have coordinates from each of the original house books, awesome, of course they have quite a few errors, that was a LOT of typing at some point.  However, there hasn't been errata once to fix the errors, instead they are completely abandoned.  There are coordinates for clan systems, but with Strana Mechty at 0,0, and all the coords rounded to the nearest light year.  Not very accurate or useful in any way.  Yet there is no new initiative to fix them.  There are now 2977 systems in the universe, and the original house books had 2085, with no periphery.  Oystein has produced some great looking maps, very few that are the entire inner sphere at once, and not one that includes the clan worlds in an accurate enough format to determine where it lays.  Interstellar Operations will come out in a year or so, and any campaign where you need to see if a system is close enough will be, well, a crapshoot.  

On top of that, we don't have a single year in the entire universe where we actually know the strengths of all the armies.  3025 is close, but the rest are always in a few year period, and things change in that period.  We are left with incomplete data, inconsistent unit listings, basically useless data.

But then they come out with War of Reaving, a HUGE book, with a HUGE number of words.  I don't know what it all says, and probably never will.  I really don't care about that level of detail.  Heck, I don't even know what happened to all the clans, and will probably have to search the PDF for text like "destroyed" or "annihilated" to figure it out.  The best info we have on units is a cluster and its quality/morale, thats it.  How the hell are you supposed to play a campaign with that unless you end up writing it all yourself.

Which brings me to the hypocrisy.  TPTB love to write stories, and hate details, yet the universe is about those details, which should be guiding the stories.  I think by having the stories guide the universe, it stops becoming a hard universe, and may as well be 40K.  See, 40K has lots of words, lots of stories, and no detail.  The game system is hollow, somewhat fun sure, but  what you do never matters.  You never know that some special character that got blown away was the *only* one available.  There is no depth, BT has just turned into an overly complex dice rolling contest.  I haven't seen a game in over 10 years that had anything close to a point.  They are all "bring your X BV and I'll bring mine, we fight till nobody lives or the store closes".  That is just the stupidest way to play a game, unless your aiming for the 40K style.

I just think the pro-story/anti-detail view is hurting the universe more than helping it.  It sure is in my opinion anyway.  I'm betting IO will come out with another broken set of interstellar war rules, because TPTB are too paranoid to open it up to scrutiny and extensive testing.  I'm betting each book we see has more and more story, and less and less hard details.

Eventually the universe becomes totally fluffy, where your unit doesn't matter, where your system doesn't matter, where your actions don't matter, because in 3150, "There is only war".

The funny thing is their defense that having too much detail prevents the writers from being creative, yet that detail gives them more information so they don't have to be so darned creative to come up with something.  Isn't it easier to give a writer the actual mechs in a unit, the pilots names, their skill ratings, and let them easily refer to a chart when writing a story than for them to create crap outta thin air, just to have hundreds of stories after be required to check for a particular reference?  It isn't like they can't update canon, it happens all the time, its totally acceptable.  They freely ignore or change things they don't like, but won't do it to help clarify the universe.

I'm just bitching to the few of you who read this, its just so frustrating, I'm betting a lot that within the next year I'll be abandoning the IP all together for something less, well, fluffy.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I went through all my BT miniatures today, and came to the conclusion I have far too many.  In fact, since its been >10 years since I really enjoyed a game, I would consider any serious offer to take the ENTIRE LOT off my hands, not in pieces, but the WHOLE thing.  Oh, and I still want to inventory my B5 GROPOS/Ships, a bunch of 40K Epic stuff, most of my Tyranids, my Heavy Gear miniatures, and lots more.  I'll try to get the rest inventoried soon.

Here is what I got:

351 Possible Fake Mechs (all but about 20 look *very* good if they are fake).  I say possibly as I bought them online, and can't be 100% sure of their legality.
544 Real Metal Mechs (MANY unseen)
286 Real Plastic Mechs
96 Turrets from various vehicles for defenses
525 Vehicles (20 Wet Navy, 6 VTOL)
43 ProtoMechs
833 Battle Armor
275 Infantry
64 Warships
101 Various Dropships
25 Small Scale Aerospace Fighters (Clan)
3 Full Sized Aerospace Fighters

That is a grand total of  10 Regiments of mechs (almost 1 of LAMs), over 4 regiments of armor, over 9 regiments of Battle Armor, 3 regiments of infantry, and enough of a Navy to land them anywhere.  About 150 mechs are *really* well painted, all the rest are stripped, primed, or never painted and many are still not assembled.

Not sure what I would want yet, but it'd be in the high thousands, and would most likely require a pickup, as mailing it would be annoying.

As for other stuff, I've wrote about 80% of a program to randomly generate an entire star system, with full details for every planet/moon.  I still have a bit to do when it comes to orbit periods for moons and quite a few planet based algorithms, but its coming along VERY nicely, and I'll port it to a webpage when I'm done which would take all of a few minutes (thank you MSFT and .NET!)

I'm also trying to finish up a list of every planet on any BT map ever printed, and allowing you to pick any month and render a map instantly of who owns what that month.  I had to enter over 40K names in excel, and now have to go through the 500 or so systems that aren't on the 3075 map to get their coordinates (I did the 3075 map a while back for my Cartographer app).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monthly Update

Well since apparently I can't update weekly, I think primarily because I am not a big fan on on the blogspot interface thing, I'll try to get something out every month.

Here is what I've done over the last few weeks:
- Bought Spelljammer on ebay, and really like it.  Its an old D&D game with ships in semi-outer space.  Its got great history, well over 100 ship types, and plays like a wargame with RPG aspects thrown in.  
- Bought ISC War for Federation and Empire.  If you love counters, like I do, Federation and Empire is *the* game to own.  I can only hope that CBT takes some lessons from it with the eventual release of Interstellar Operations.
- Dealt with vendor after vendor for our new (though old) house.  The latest is Time Warner, as they are telling me that their cable cards won't work with windows media center.  I just bought 2 X-Box 360's as media center extenders to get rid of the crappy cable boxes.  Got another tech comming today, hopefully he is a bit smarter than the previous one.  NOTE:  If you ever have time warner folks comming out, ask for their IN HOUSE employees, not their contractors which always suck.
- Finally got the MW Technology of Destruction book on ebay.  Not sure what is in it.
- I have 6 things on order from BattleCorps, I'm starting to wonder why I pre-order stuff when it takes months or even YEARS to get shipped :(

And BT stuff.  Basically the last month any free time for BT I've had has been devoted to typing in roughly 40,000 names of systems.  I went through every map, in every book, and typed in the systems and who owned them during that year.  Something like New Avalon,3025=FS.  This way I can not only create a map in any timeframe, I can also create invasion waves by month or even day if necessary.  I've had somebody correcting my dozens of typos and helping clear up when systems were discovered/abandoned.  At this point the list is pretty complete, but waiting on the Kurita handbook so we can get those maps inputted.  At that point I'll have to create a single map, with all systems from all time periods, to get their new interstellar coordinates.  This is a huge pain, as TPTB have gone the way of detail and automation and create the maps in Adobe Illustrator, ugh.

Now I'm still dealing with some vendors, and working on some algorithms to programatically generate systems (including stars, all planets, all moons, etc, etc).  I hope to be done in a day or two, at which point I can randomly generate statistics of all types for all the systems.  Then I'm hoping to start working on formulas to procedurally create planet terrain, which has been a long term project of mine.  I actually have a "bid" sorta thing for $1000 to help get it wrote on, but I am starting to doubt the success of the winning bidder.

I'm trying to get a few things knocked out before the end of the year, as I'm running for US Congress next year and have to devote all my time to trying to win the primary for the Texas 32nd Congressional District.  I am going to run on the Republican ticket, but my "American" party takes precedence.  I refuse to take even $1 from anybody (you can offer your time, but not your money) and am running against a millionaire, so the likelihood of me seeing anywhere near the votes I need are, well, slightly above zero.  However, I feel it is my duty to try to do the right thing, and if Americans are truly educate themselves about the candidates I feel I can't loose against my opposition.  However, if they don't, and just vote for the "old guy", they really deserve what they have coming to them :(

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Moved!

Well my move is over, though I'm not "moved in" yet.  We had a  LOT of vendors, and $25K in improvements to the house, and are STILL waiting for our new privacy fence to go in :(  I do have a lot more space, and it'll be going to good use soon :)

Onto the BT stuff:

For the longest time I have wanted to make a computer game that allows one to take control of a house, and fight out the succession wars.  This would be much like the old Avalon Hill type games from the 70s and 80s.

We are finally starting to get some products to help me out, like Age of War and the Reunification war.  The Jihad also has quite a bit of data and a scenario could be made for it as well.

However, populations/military sizes are just completely stupid, period.  I accept its fantasy, but its contradictory.  You may as well say humans all look like the Aliens or Predators.  It is one thing to do the mandatory magic hand-wave, it is another to completely contradict what we know about ourselves to be absolutely true.

Earth, right now, has about 70M active and reserve soldiers.  Using regiments of 756 troopers, assuming that there are 9 non-combat support troopers per grunt, that gives earth about 9,000 infantry regiments.  This doesn't include police forces.  This force is pretty capable of taking on the entire Inner Sphere with its 500 or so mech regiments and 7500 or so support regiments... assuming technologies are equal and it was just about manpower (and there would be more regiments if one thinks of armor/artillery/aerospace having less troops per regiment).  Now, that alone isn't the issue, if the entire IS population was around 7-10B, that'd be totally acceptable.

However, we have populations on quite a few worlds, and most are in the *billions*.  This alone is logical, right now the world has a 1.14% birth rate, If we cut the birth rate in half from right now, about 1.07%, the average population is about 3.3B for 3025 and 6.4B in 3120.   This number seems to fit what is published pretty well, though is probably a bit high based on where modern nations are heading (closer to .4% to .5%).

When you combine these 2 statistics you either get armies that are unbelievably small, or populations that are grossly too large.  The universe started with more of a mad-max feel, with water raids, ice ships, a company of mechs taking an entire planet, century old mechs protecting towns, etc.  So I think it is safe to say if you were to modify just one of these 2 figures, pick the one that is written about and acknowledged far less, has no real impact to the universe, and doesn't change everything ever written about books.  So we gotta rule out populations...

I just can't accept the excuse "it is just fasanomics" anymore.  TPTB are doing a great job at keeping the universe alive, with products rolling out almost weekly, but this one thing not only comes up as a forum topic consistently, but its one thing that just throws a wrench into the believability of the entire universe.  They could fix it, easily, and move on.

I don't think we want to screw with military sizes, those units are ingrained into the history, and making a regiment into an army or corps looses too much from the universe.  To say 6B on a planet don't like the new invader, and do nothing, is ludicrous based on what we know about humanity.

To make my game, I'm making the following assumptions:

#1.  There was a eugenics program, massive plague, huge loss of life during space exploration, critical decrease in fertility due to space travel, etc, etc.  Basically, a LOT of people either died, or were never born.  This can easily be assumed as some things would just never be mentioned, like eugenics or population control, even though one will eventually be mandatory for humanity.

#2.  All previously published planetary population numbers were the total number of travellers that had ever passed through that system, not the total number living ON that system.

#3.  System populations in 3025 vary from 10,000 (minimum for mention) to up to 10M on worlds like New Avalon or Luthien.  The average population is about 500K, or roughly 2% of currently published figures.  About a third of the worlds have under 100K population, and only about 100 have over a million. 

#4.  Aside from the few major government facilities, most people live in small villages of a few hundred to a few thousand.  These villages have a couple of police officers, plenty of farm land, and manufacturing facilities to produce necessities.  They are pretty self sufficient, but rely on major cities/planets to provide them with really complex or luxury items.  Most of these villages fit on the concrete area on a city tech map.  The villages are easily raided by a mech lance, and many planets have less than a regiment defending.  The biggest planets (Tharkad, Luthien, etc) would have about 100 regiments defending (25 armor, 60 infantry, 20 militia), which falls close to Tikonov in the 4th Succession War with its 80 militia regiments.  Each of these towns has things like a fusion reactor, water purification plant, farms, and possibly repair facilities for vehicles/agromechs.

#5.  Each major faction would have about 9000 combat regiments, about 3000 of those are the active regiments (equivalents, not actual #s, a mech regiment may = 10, armor = 2, etc), the rest are the militia. 

These changes make populations/militaries make sense, makes the citytech map make sense, makes raids make sense, allows a mech company to easily take over everything important on a minor world, explains water raids, explains how technology can be lost (it really only existed in major cities, aka targets), and the only thing we have to assume is population figures were different.

My thought is that humans just decided to stick with 2 kids, rarely 3, and often 1, per couple.  That in itself would dramatically cut populations considerably.  There are some countries in Europe with negative growth rates, and most modern nations are around .5% now and its decreasing.  Once the population of Earth hits 10B or 15B, less kids will become commonplace.

I'll probably post this on the BT forums at some point, but for now it is the numbers I'm sticking with.  I'll write an app later that'll randomly create the 2500 or so worlds, and plug in the new populations.  I'll then use that as canon, and ignore the official stupid numbers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Random Musings...

Again, sorry for the long delay.  Been closing on my house and its just time consuming.  Lots of vendors and all, plus I had a bad hard drive (no biggie, one of 15 in my server, but I had to spend 3 days re-copying data) and the usual procrastination....

We had a funnel cloud here in Dallas, a couple minor tornadoes, nothing major.  Lots of damage due to pretty big hail.  Anyway, the "tornado" went right over my apartment.  I tried to film it, but honestly all it appeared to be was a lot of rain, some strong wind, then a lot more rain, nothing impressive :(

I have been working on my version of the MUL, and am now about halfway done with getting every single unit in the universe having every source it was ever printed documented.  Its a huge PITA, but will better allow me to parse the data later once its finished.

This list got me thinking about data mining.  For example, how many independent folks out there have consolidated a list of SLDF regiments, mech pictures, factories, warship names, or whatever?  I'm betting more than just me based on the CBT forums.  Now how many of us are basically spending our collective time duplicating efforts?

I propose a "Battletech Data Mining Consortium", basically a group of fans who like myself, love the detail the universe has and commonly comb through dozens of books to find and log details of the universe.  It would be a simple website, with downloads for each of the various pieces of data with version numbers on the files.  This needs further thought, but I think it would be a great asset to the BT community.

I bought both new battleforce boxed miniature sets.  While I'm upset the Jenner IIC/Kodiak were missing from one (I had an extra grendel body, and some extra mad cat arms) I am *very* happy with them.  I wish they would be the "new standard" in miniatures, but there are just far too many old huge ones people love.  I think it would have been cool to have a battleforce TRO, with all these new minis, and they never (or at least not for a long while) get printed in a standard BT TRO.  

I need to stop buying miniatures, I never play, and the thousands I have are just sitting in tubs.  Heck I have like 100 warships, and haven't ever played a game with one :(  I have a 12 Hydrofoil/12 Monitor/6 Neptune navy fleet, that will never see battle.  I have 2 *battalions* of LAMs, 2 of which have "seen combat".  I have every company from every old scenario book, including all of the Zeta battalion from Wolf's Dragoons in 3025.  I have a full Level II of WoB omnimechs, not one is assembled.  I have a company or more of nearly all the unseen, including 2 battledroid Behemoths, which will also never see the light of day.  My painting abilities suck (almost all of these are unpainted), and at most these mechs will be spraypainted a single color, with perhaps some gun barrels or highlights painted some other color.  I *wish* I could find somebody local who enjoyed playing BT more as a wargame, than a mech based version of 40K, but out of the dozen or so players down here I know none seem to want to play that way.  I also don't really feel like I "fit in" most of the gaming groups, and the last 'con I went to I'm pretty darned sure I'm the only one who showered that day.  Maybe I'll list the lot on ebay some day, see if I can get a new BMW in trade :)  I would rather play the game with counters on a map anyway, you can have 5x or larger map areas!

I have a LOT of BT projects I have not finished, or not polished.  All of these I think are due to a lack of interest on the fans part, like my infantry platoon or counter creator.  If I had somebody emailing me every day on some project, I'd be more apt to do it :)  I'm great at breaking projects down into the smaller bits, and programming wise I can knock out all those smaller bits easily.  The problem I have is putting all those bits together.  Not so much as programming, but how to do the user interface.  For example the infantry platoon creator you have an option for the # of squads in a platoon.  If you change this value, I have to recalculate a dozen other values on the form, and each of those forces another recalculation.  It ends up being endless recursion so I have to do wacky stuff to prevent that.  I've never been formally trained to be a programmer, so my lack of experience in application design really hurts everything I make, even though I could knock these apps out quickly if the users were totally ok clicking "calculate" every time they change something :)

I'm betting there is no way I'll post again for a few weeks.  Though we decided to pay people to box and move *everything* this time to avoid any hassle on us, its still a lot of work and we have a lot of vendors doing various improvements to the house before we move in (fence, radiant barrier, better windows, security system, etc).  Anyway, I won't have to apologize when I post again in a month ;)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

BT Ranges

I forgot to mention this, but I've been thinking lately about how BT plays and think I may have found an extremely easy way to make the game more "realistic" and play more like a wargame, and less like, well, an MMA tournament.

Next game you play, try multiplying all weapon ranges by 4 to 6.  Just the ranges, movement is no different, terrain still modifies to hit in the same way, but your AC/20 now has a range of 12/24/36.  The net effect of this change is making the battles less likely to turn into a wrestling match, where the battle lines are totally intertwined, and making it more realistic in that the forces have 2 sides of the battlefield.  If you want to flank, you have to do it not in 1 turn because you won initiative, but as a multi-turn maneuver.  This would reduce the effect of winning initiative, and increase the usefulness of units based on their ranges.  For example now LRMs can fire 80" or more, easily across most map boards.  You still need to see your target, but it can make them more effective.  I'm not sure how BV would affect this, but I'd be interested to hear any experiences you had trying this.  Also, multiplying ranges x4 with 1/300 miniatures would actually be "real scale" based on the minis :)


First of all I'd like to apologize to the few of ya'll who watch for a lack of updates.  I post often on the cbt forums but for some reason don't on here.

Anyway, as for what I've been working on.  

I am buying a house here in Dallas.  I used to live in Wylie (a suburb of Dallas) and my drive to work was about 30 miles, taking anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes depending on traffic.  It sucked, hard, even with a carpool lane the best I could do was 45 minutes.  You only live once, and spending my time in traffic wasn't something I wanted to do with my life.  So we sold our house, and got an apartment about 8 minutes from work (the wife and I work very close, so its great).  But apartment life kinda sucks, and our awesome dog really loved her yard, so we are buying a new (well an old remodeled) house in Dallas proper for about the same cost.  So this has been sucking up quite a bit of time, inspections, dealing with the bank, and getting estimates for additional work we want done.  The end is far from over, we close at the end of May but still have to move and get a few weeks of work done.  This, as well as my wife getting hurt at work and needing another week of my time really cut into my hobbies.

But I haven't been totally idle.  I will be creating a battletech database for all the equipment, and have a few people who have volunteered to make sure all the data was correct and consistent.  This is the first step in a long line of computer based battletech stuff in the future, but a *very* important step.  This database will have all 2000 or so pieces of equipment in the BTU, and all their individual attributes created so there will be no inconsistencies in things being created using this list.  Right now, there are lots of rules that either conflict with each other, or ignore each other.  With humans they often just assume what is missing, without even seeing a conflict, but computers can't do that.  This list is the #1 thing preventing a good mech/vehicle/etc designer from being out there.  Megamek, Skunkworks, and HMP all suffer serious limitations or inconsistencies due to this data not being accurate.  

Once the database is finished, I can write builder applications for, well, *everything*, including maps and maps with building complexes on them (interlinked buildings on 1 or more maps, calculating power and supply requirements and such).  Even though I'm saying this is a database, it won't be in SQL/MySQL/Oracle/etc, as I am trying to keep it simple for everybody.  Unfortunately unless I get permissions from the folks at CGL, I won't be able to make this public, as half of the tech manual and total ops will be useless if you have access to this data, and once I make the builders TM at least is completely useless.  I wanted to get this done last weekend, but I got busy with other things, and it looks like this weekend won't be much different.  I have to do it on a weekend so I can stay focused for a large chunk of time.

During the week, in my hour or so here and there I took some old code I wrote in directx that used top-down sprites for the Warhammer 40K VASSAL project.  I fixed a few things to make it all work, and was going to see about making a game where you played 40K units, starting at a scout marine and working up to chapter master, against near constant (breaks for promotions) waves of various Xeno's (mostly Tyranids, but some other stuff in there later).  The game will be pretty simple, mindless, and I think pretty fun.  I'm sure games workshop will send me a cease and desist letter over it, but I welcome being sued for IP, if I'm not impacting their revenue stream I have a hard time thinking they can take money from me (I could be wrong, only time will tell).  The game will be 100% moddable as well, so you can replace space marines with BT elementals, starships, Heavy Gears, Imperial Guard, Mechs (using megamek icons), or whatever you can think of.  I may get bored with it and not go back to it for months though, like I've done in the past with it :)

I recently purchased all the stuff for the game Strike Legion (Legionnaire Games) and was pretty happy with it.  They have a system where you can build pretty much anything in 1:300 scale, with pretty cool detail.  The units have a few stats, like move/mobility, signature, EW, shields, defense, armor for turret/hull front/side/rear, and point value.  Damage is variable.  The game scales up to planetary invasions even, much like Epic/40K.  Basically, if you love 1/300 scale games its a great game system, all PDFs, reasonably priced, and really worth it.

I also bought the latest addition to the Starmada set and the Star Fleet Battles version of the same game (  The Starmada series is a great game for starship combat, being very versatile and easy to play.  The latest addon allows large fleets, and the SFB version lets you play in the star trek universe easily and quickly.

Anyway, more updates soon, I'll try to update this sucker at least once a week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I started wargaming a bit over 20 years ago, playing micro armor at Wheeler AFB in Hawaii.  The post had some vacant buildings, and let us use one.  We had tons of space, and played mostly WW2 microarmor, but at some point or another played all forms of games.  There initially was a lot of roleplayers, but they started taking over, so one day they kicked them all out, as well as all children under 18.  I was allowed to hide under the table, as I was the only minor there who never played RPGs, and preferred the wargames.

A year or so later I played cititech during lunch at high school, and fell in love.  Soon after I played Ogre, and a few other miniature based games and even SFB.  I have always been military oriented, served 7 years in the infantry before my body gave up, but still cherish everything military (except the actual killing, which I think is the absolute failure of intelligence/brainpower).

So that is my background, and may help people understand where I'm comming from.

I love the BT universe, its vast but not *too* vast (traveller).  The military units are manageable, the amount of units comprehendable, and the rules have grown to scale from a lowly grunt on the field to planetary invasions (and beyond, once IO comes out).  So basically to me, it is just a scalable wargame in a fictional universe (historical can get boring after years).  Apparently very few people see it that way.  To me a 5K vs 5K battle is just stupid, as equal fights so rarely happen in warfare, ESPECIALLY when there is no clear objective.  It just goes against the reason for fighting, unless your in an arena.  I also know in the universe that mechs aren't ubiquitous, and in fact are outnumbered at least 4:1 by tanks, and probably well over 10:1 in infantry, yet somehow, mechs are the predominant units in every battle I've seen lately.

So I've come to the following conclusion.  

There are 3 kinds of BT players.  One kind, which probably represents the largest portion of players, are IMO the "Games Workshop Clones".  These folk love the game, probably can tell you the name of *every* mech and what it has on it, are *very* defensive when somebody questions the way they play, yet always want to play quick one-off equal force games.  They almost always choose only mechs, and tend to avoid anything realistically representing the universe.  They love optional engine explosions and gauss rifles, and avoid rules like forced withdrawl or moral.  These people think BT is only a "beer and pretzels" game, in complete denial of the thousands of pages printed that counter that.  These folk hate any detail in the universe at all, except more mech sheets.

The second kind are the opposite, much like me, where the only fun games are ones where balanced forces don't exist.  Ones where you *need* to worry about having only 5 shots for an AC20.  Ones where they would rather have something *more* behind their missions than simply "kill thy enemy".  Often they love lots of detail, and want to track various logistics.  They embrace combined arms and play the game like a simulation, not like 40K (which is fun for what it is).  

And the last kind are the 2nd most popular, the ones inbetween, usually moving more towards the first kind, but liking some detail.  The warchest system is more than sufficient for them campaign wise, but they are happy playing equal arena battles.  They would probably enjoy a campaign, if they could find the time, but are just as happy with a pickup game.

I am totally ok with any kind of players, but I hate the argument that details in the universe prevent *anything* from happening.  For example, if only a single AS7-D Atlas was ever built, there is nothing stopping those folks from taking 4 into battle, yet they argue against seeing hard numbers.  My biggest beef is they are so loud spoken when it comes to "NO DETAILS!", but having a billion details wouldn't change the way they play at all, as those folk don't even play the game as the BT universe presents it.

If TPTB published the numbers of every mech that existed, in every year, and the salvage status of each of those every year, it wouldn't stop me or anybody or that matter, from taking any design they wanted in any salvage state in one of the silly 5k vs 5k arena games.  Yet if that detail existed, the more data oriented of us could produce vast amount of cool things like random unit generators or force generators with ease.

I love detail, and adding detail to a universe can't do anything but improve it.

And as for missions, people please, have a freaking goal, don't always have 1:1 forces, and use combined arms!  If your not, your ignoring thousands, if not tens of thousands, of pages of text that writers have been spitting out for 27 years.

/end rant | / off soapboax