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 ;)