Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I figured it out!

After thinking about how to make a strategic battletech game for years, and seeing the horrible trend with new products when it comes to "leaving out all the details", I figured out how I'll make my strategic battletech game!

It won't be battletech!

Well the history will pretty much mirror battletech.  There will be a massive plague at some late point after space exploration (I need to do the math) at which many planets had entire populations die out and were forgotten (places to find neato old stuff!) and the populations of worlds are at most, tens of millions.  This fixes "fasanomics".

Another change is the houses.  I loathe how the houses are all just the same now.  They have the same mechs, the same formations, same tactics, same *everything*.  The only difference is, well, the unit names.  So, to heck with that.

Instead, I'll create factions based on modern nations/continents.  For example, the Terran Hegemony area would be mostly NATO nations.  China, India, Asia, Mideast+Africa, and South America+Mexico would be "major houses". Pirate nations would be Russia (the most powerful), Israel, maybe Australia+New Zealand, not 100% sure on those yet.  Each spread out in an arc from Terra with a chunk about equal to their populations today (each of those major factions is about a billion folk today).

All the planets will have new names, and be random each game.  This way lets say you go towards the Chinese faction, the systems will have names of Chinese rivers, mountains, lakes, personalities, cities, and regions.  This way there is a "feel" for the uniqueness of each "nation", though there will be some crossover, especially around the borders.

Units will also follow this.  The units of the NATO region will be named after US, British, Canadian, and various European nations.

Each "house" will have a way in which they fight.  China would use lots of less effective and cheaper units with horrible morale, the Mideast+Africa would use guerilla tactics, India Tribal tactics (think FWL), etc.  Again these aren't 100% absolutes, just preferred ways to fight.

There will still be jumpships, though now called "starships", dropships would be "systemships", and small craft "planetships".  I may keep the original names, but this would help differentiate it from CBT.

I'm sure I just lost 2 of the 3 people reading this site as I'm planning on straying from canon, but it is just the only way to not have to go through 5000 pages of printed text ensuring there are no contradictions, and filling in the blanks with a HUGE amount of non-canon data anyway, as its simply missing.

Since the game will be 100% "moddable", if you want to change some strings and turn it into CBT you easily can, I just won't touch it as I have some weird issue with accuracy.

Good news is this makes *everything* easier.  Especially units and combat, as I can do my own system without regards to things like "clan tech".  I should have something playable MUCH faster (like months instead of years... assuming I have no help).

Oh, the clans are "America".  I picked them not because I'm American, but because America now has a serious ego and thinks they are just better than everybody.  Take this mentality, give them the best military, and let them go live somewhere alone for a hundred years or so, and imagine the ego they'll have when they come back!

If you want to be a part of this, I could REALLY use some help.  I need the following:
- Somebody to create lists of random system names to use for each faction (I created India/China in just a few hours, but they need to be looked over).
 - Somebody to find the names/nicknames of every single military unit throughout history for the factions.  Even extinct nations like Persia or Rome would have units represented.
 - Though 100% optional, somebody to write the storyline with these changes.  I can't write (obviously!) worth a crap, and could use somebody to help flesh out the universe.
 - Somebody to give me a hand with some planetary engineering algorithms.  Help when plotting planet coordinates in 3D space based on their aphelion/periphelion/date, transfer orbits, proximity/la-grange points, etc just seem to elude me and my community college level math skills.
 - Somebody to draw the interfaces.  No code, they can be drawn in paintbrush, photoshop, or even excel.  Just a way to interface with the game.  This wouldn't be necessary till more code is done.
 - Somebody to draw 2D graphics.  Small icons for dropships, unit types (like nato symbols), etc, would be very helpful.  What would be better is also somebody to draw 2D world textures and unit crests.
 - 100% optional, but nice, would be somebody to write out unit/faction histories once the story was written.

If this turns into a great application I may charge a couple bucks for it, and if I get multiplayer working it may be a few bucks each month, but would be have hundreds or thousands of players possible.  Multiplayer like that would be WAY after a single player release though :)


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Minor Update

First of all I apologize for the lack of updates, and wanted to let everybody know I'm still alive :)

I haven't had much focus recently, for a few reasons.  Here is what I've worked on, and of course nothing is done:

#1.  A full OB for CCAF right before the 4th Succession War.  I was going to get down to each platoon, ensuring that nowhere do I conflict anything published.  For example, I may know a unit has a medium battalion from text, but it was never broken down beyond that.  So I'll randomly determine the company types, from there the lance types, and from there the mechs, all without conflicting with anything published.  I kept getting off track as I was thinking along the lines of doing it all dynamically.  Not sure if I'll finish this up :(

#2.  Windows 7 died on me when I installed SP1.  It was annoying, but I *really* wanted to install 2008 instead, as IMO Windows 7 just blows.  Nothing was lost, just a couple days time.  I have 2k8 now and am VERY happy.  Performance is far superior and the annoying issues I had no longer exist.

#3.  Played lots of Dawn of War II Retribution.  The game isn't much different, but I just really love warhammer games on the PC.  I don't think its as good as the 1st Dawn of War, and especially not considering the mods for DOW1.  I'm nearly done with the full campaign for each race, at which point I'll be bored and move on.

#4.  Spent time looking for a house, and decided against it.  I *hate* the commute, and in Dallas if you don't want a commute, you either buy a 50 year old house, or come up with *millions*, not much inbetween. The 60s-70s homes are usually completely remodeled, and around $150-$250 for 1500-3000sf.  We are just accepting apartment life for a while, even though it sucks in lots of other ways.

#5.  Brainstorming about just dropping the BTU, and making myself a strategic game that would play very similar like, but not be very canon, if at all.  I have the whole game engine part worked out, its just a matter of putting all the units together and either doing a map+counters, or on the computer.  I could use some 2D art support for it, else my graphics will bite.

#6.  While playing DOW2, I came to the conclusion RTS games are completely unoriginal anymore, and they lack some of the greatest things that previous RTS games had.  I loved Warlords Battlecry 3 as you got to keep your unit between missions, I loved the Lord of the Rings RTS games for the same reason, and so few games seem to do that anymore.  DOW tries, but since your enemies are the same level regardless of your level, it plays pretty much the same.  If I become elite I want to *feel* elite, not just facing more powerful enemies (but definately more of them!).  I want games where the scenarios feel more linked, not just different maps.  I don't want all these set paths I have to take to accomplish something.  I want lots more detail on my units, if I so desire to see it.  I want complete modability without needing wacky 3D plugins and special tools (XML data/DirectX models with LUA scripts).  I could so make a *great* warhammer, battletech, or heavy gear RTS if only I had somebody doing the models for me, and somebody to help me with issues when writing the 3D engine (it isn't as hard as it sounds for a medicore engine).

#7.  I'm now 60% disabled through the VA, woohoo!  Well sorta, my life sucks in some ways, but at least I get some fair compensation.  Now I can easily get a government job and retire in 18 years, if only I could find a place I want to live that pays about the same.

#8.  Bought the strike legion series, from, which ended up being pretty darned good.  I need to look into the rules a bit more, but they are very versatile.  Anything from archiac to sci-fi, from a 1 vehicle = 1 vehicle to a 1 vehicle = 1 battalion scale.  They have mechs, floating ww1 type battleships, and lots of rules.  The unit data is a bit detailed as well too, which I like.  I need to read it some more, its like 400+ pages of rules!  But it looks great so far.

#9.  I'm not moving very fast on battletech until IO comes out (new strategic game), or both the missing handbooks (so I can make maps/input star data).  If IO sucks, and the strategic game stupid IMO, I'll probably decide to stop obsessing with BT.  I don't think a computer based mech designer is a viable option.  There are just too many special rules and considerations, it is a *massive* and daunting task.  I'm betting if a new HMP comes out it'll be filled full of bugs and missing features, just as SSW is.  I hate to say it, but I don't think its possible without a dedicated team working on it to ensure all situations are handeled.  Heck, just look at the complexity when creating a frankenmech combining primitive/industrial/mech with both IS/Clan with multiple armor/structure types.  Daunting I tell you.

#10.  I stripped the paint from the last of my Wolf's Dragoons Zeta battalion (3025) miniatures, now I just need to glue them together and paint them, and I'll have it all!  Course, I also have about a thousand other mechs that need assembled/painted (not to mention a 25 gallon tub of MWDA), I'm starting to wonder if I should just ebay them instead and buy a new car :)  I haven't played BT in like a year, and very rarely before that.  I want to play it like a wargame, and everybody else wants to play it like warhammer (5K point meeting action with > regular pilots).  I like the logistics, the strategic movement, ammunition, fatigue, morale, etc.  I want to play CBT like a wargame, not a beer-n-pretzels game, and apparently I am very rare in that, and unique in the DFW metroplex.