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.