Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Oops, the record sheets weren't showing up due to a stupid development/production environment bug.  All fixed now, now to figure out why nobody said anything :(

On another note, got a new Samsung Galaxy II S Epic 4G Touch (That name is excessively long) android phone... my first phone upgrade in 6 years (HTC Mogul previously).  I *might* tinker around with android development soon.

Check out the settings page!

Another Update!

Another really big update to the Battletech Encyclopedia!
  • I noticed quite a few units have a # of items listed = to ammo on board.  I went through and fixed I think all of these.
  • Major database update so items under weapons and equipment will be listed with a count, not 1 per line
  • Added all fluff information from TRO:Prototypes (many of these units had issues as well, copy/paste errors from XTRO's mostly)
  • I updated the code so when megamek icons are created, it'll shrink the camo file to the size of the actual image before merging them.
    •   For example, the Davion Guards is red in the middle, then white, and then blue stripes on the outside
    •   Megamek will make really small units only red and white with no blue.  My code will shrink the camo down, so all units have the same percentage of color on them
  • I changed all the unseen art from the black silhouettes, to the 3025 unseen art, and updated the IIC original unseen art
  • MasterOfCaps has produced some cool unique variants for those unseen, especially warhammers and marauders (plus flashman, thug, and 1 Stone Rhino).  I made his images the primary for those unseen designs.
  • I added mechwarrior online and mechwarrior tactics as potential images
  • I re-indexed the page numbers for RS:Prototypes, they had some issues.  If you didn't know, that is what the number in parenthesis after the source or TRO title
  • Mechwarrior Online Repaints is *exactly* what I was trying to attempt with my recoloring, I was told nobody would be interested, but that thread is *AWESOME*
    •   Of course my implementation sucks ass.  2 reasons.  #1, I am using PURE colors, not additive colors, which makes them look more cartoony.  #2.  I'm working with MUCH crappier images
    • I downloaded nearly 600 images from Mechwarrior Online Repaints of recolored mechwarrior online art.  I'll include it eventually, but need support for hundreds of images, not just 10 like I have now.
  • Added 5 units with fluff descriptions in Era Report 2750 (p135-139), though I'm not 100% sure on the details of any of them... especially the BLR-1GHE which surely doesn't have 9.5 tons of armor
  • Trimmed all images (95 lines of unoptimized code!), that is removed even a single extra byte of space around them.  It appears it reduced my average size of images by about 33%, woot!  They'll look better on Record sheets now too.
  • Updated the MUL data from the canon site
  • Implemented and to allow you to click on cell columns for instant sorting
  • Implemented ajax to get auto complete working on the search box... just start typing stuff in and click enter when you match up!
  • Screwed with the look/feel yet again through style sheets and some various tweaks
  • Quite a few image updates
  • Added the art from the canon as secondary images, though they aren't viewable from the site yet.
  • Completly updated the settings page to show you, as you select them, how changes in camo's or your colors will appear

Next on my list is getting record sheets working for most of the other units.  It isn't that hard, just painful.  I am making it very modular though, so the system will allow you to make your own custom record sheets quite easily once I'm done.  After that is quick strike/battleforce cards, multiple image support, and a blank on every page for you to submit any errors you see with it.

Once I get all the record sheets done, if I don't notice people using it for a while I may turn off my database server.  So if you like what you see, please put the word out there so you can bring more traffic here.  Note, I am not making any money at all on this site (notice, no ads, even without adblock) so am purely doing it to help the community.

Only 1-2 of you have figured out how to do searches and show megamek icons with textures.  Soon as you go to the site, go to settings and update your camo and save it.  After that when you do a search you can change the "Search Return Output Method" to "MegaMek Icons" and it'll show you a table of megamek icons in your camo!

Also, I've only seen 1-2 people figure out which mechs are recolored.  Basically its the Deimos, and the units from the ORIGINAL 2750 TRO (not 3039).  So update your settings, change your colors, do a search for MECHS in TRO 2750, and click on one of those to see "repainted" ones.  

And in other news, I updated my map program for Star Fleet Battles Federation and Empire.  Basically I made it a usable program, made all the settings configurable, and included 6400 or so ship counters (though non-federation ships need their files renamed)!  You can download it here.  Email me for the source.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

HUGE Update!

Another HUGE BattleTech Encyclopedia Master Unit List Update.  I think this will be my last that revolves around those darned mech record sheets, which are easily the most complicated of any record sheet in the game.  I'll do vehicle record sheets next, which should take me only an hour or two, then fighters, dropships, battle armor, infantry, etc, etc... I'll save warships, mobile structures, and buildings for last as they can be pretty complex.

Oh, and I'm adding some links to additional pages off the main page, mostly with stuff related to the BattleTech Encyclopedia.

In short, I redid the search page, fixed a huge number of bugs, verified 100% of the units work with the BF stat validation, added the ability for you to save/define your favorite colors and megamek camo, and allow you to have search results returned as megamek icons, in your favorite camo pattern!  Try just changing the source to a technical readout, the general type to 'any', and of course click on the settings page and set a camo.  Then when you search, you can see a megamek icon (all link to a TRO and RS for the unit) for every unit in the TRO, on a SINGLE page!  It could take a bit of time to generate the first time, but in my testing it rarely took over 5-10 seconds for the largest TROs.  Of course you can just view a table if you prefer with no graphics, or a mix of the two that is a table list with just a plain megamek icon.  Only the TRO 2750 units have fluff data at this time, though all of them have it, and also only the Deimos and TRO 2750 mechs have color coatings, and I'm not real happy with the results.

I haven't seen anybody use the site in a few days, and when somebody does use it they only click on a couple mechs before moving on, any ideas on what I need to do to increase traffic a bit or make the site more usuable?

Here is a detailed list of changes, which can also be found on the history page that I keep more updated than the blog.
  • Completely changed the stylesheet, though its still really not what I want, it made some stuff more usable.
  • Replaced the search page with a completely new one, with a bit more detail
  • Updated default page to have links for history/issues/etc instead of making the page ugly and excessively large over time
  • LOTS of minor updates to the database.  Tweaked the way cargo was handled, renamed a bunch of things to make them easier to read, remove duplicate command consoles, etc.
  • Went through about 900 mech sheets, any issues that I noticed were resolved (however there were very few that weren't just text size related)
  • Full head ejection system (FHES) listed on W&E list
  • Units with armored actuators or cockpit components now show armored correctly
  • Changed "[cont]" that was added to multislot equipment to "... " before the item name, I still need those darned lines tho!
  • Modular armor now adds hexes to the armor of the location it is in, they are bolded to show a difference between that and normal armor hexes
  • Fixed some issues with heat sink counts on the TRO weapons and equipment table, usually a negative number was involved
  • All units from TRO2750 have full fluff, all the mechs also have colorized images (the Exterminator however was anti-aliased, and it looks like ass, sorry)
    • These drawings sucked hard, not sure why, maybe the PDF I had.  Most of them I had to fill in some lines so I could do fills and such.  
    • I won't do any other units, these were here to prove I could do it and if ya'll like it, well, you'll have to colorize units yourself, I'm simply not motivated to
  • Added support for URL parameters, you can now append the following to the line to get started faster.  Here is a demo line to get you started.  However this is not fully functional yet (I tested searchstring, but not the rest), I'll work on it if anybody complains.
    • Each has options that should match any options in the list boxes
      • Sourcebook
      • GeneralType
      • SpecificType
      • Mobility
      • Canon
      • TechBase
      • RulesLevel
      • DataIssues
      • OutputMethod
      • SearchString
        • If this one is presented, a search is automatically performed when the page is loaded

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Well I guess its a Battletech curse to have bugs huh? :)

I just noticed a big one I "implemented" today in the Battletech Encyclopedia (the Master Unit List update), DOH!

I did a minor change last night to support things that have 1 slot per ton of weight, and it made, well, everything add a number of crits per ton of weight!  I noticed this as many of you looked at designs that had things like 5 slot LPPCs, or 2 slot MPLs.

Fixed now :)  Feel free to look again, they should be good now.

Era Report 2750

Well I was anxiously awaiting this product, as I love the Star League era, but after shelling out $50 for the PDF and book combo, I couldn't have been any more disappointed.

162 pages.

First 37 are fluff on the era, which isn't much more than a recap on what we already know.  I doubt I'll read it.

2 page map of 2750, thats nice, too bad we already had it.

27 pages of faction details.  Basically a bit on the factions, which is already known, and some VERY high level details on a few units.  Nothing to add to playing the game.

30 pages of major personas.  Seriously?  No piloting or gunnery, Out of *maybe* 10K worldwide BT players, how many are playing the RPG?  10% of that maybe?  Ugh, this is *not* how to keep people in a game system.

8 pages of describing advanced tech we already know and 2 pages of what could be interesting mega engineering stuff.

30 pages of era tracks.  I guess the warchest system is the way TPTB want people to play campaigns... if so, why the hell is interstellar ops even being done???

10 pages of "playing in 2750", which has a few special abilities for half a dozen regiments (out of hundreds) per faction, and some useless random unit tables.

The rest is RPG specific stuff, some slight details on major personas and new RPG character creation tables.

And that is it.  I don't play the RPG, nor warchest, so essentially this book was a total waste of $50.  If you haven't bought it yet, I would not recommend it.

They could have at least thrown in a few unit designs or something, but nothing, nada, zip for content.

One more book like this, and I'll never purchase without looking at it again, garbage.  And they say they aren't printing novels anymore.

But at least the update to TacOps is now out, though I'm still pretty frustrated they released the original in such piss-poor condition, and now I have to buy it twice if I wanted an updated copy on my shelf.


A minor issue with paths broke some units.  Basically, I develop this site on my workstation, then copy it to my server here at the house for ya'll to see.  However, ya'll view the stuff by going to a dynamic website, and I can't go to the same URL to view it (I have to use an internal IP).  Its all pretty painful and annoying, but it should be worked out now.

Here are some direct links to the units that are colorized, these could break on the next update though.

In hindsight, I should have colored these units with a main color, a secondary color, and a highlight color, instead of the way I did it, which would make the units look better.  Anyway, here are the links:

Deimos Primary
Deimos A
Deimos B
Deimos C
Deimos S
Deimos 2

Notice, the colors in the top image change each time you refresh the page, and the ones in the bottom are static and *currently* hard-coded to those 3 colors, but soon you will be able to pick your default 3 colors for all designs that support recoloring.

Also, these are the only units that have any fluff data, so if you want to see an example of full details, they are the best examples at the moment.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Release

Yet another new version of BattleTech Encyclopedia (My version of the BattleTech Master Unit List, but far more comprehensive) released, I should probably add version numbers eh?

I have made a LOT of progress since the last major update, and it works for most mechs now (I'm slowing going through all 2800 or so of them, ensuring they are correct).

I'm not done yet, but have been churning through bugs.  Mech Record sheets are now pretty much correct, though I do still need a few minor things like connector lines instead of [cont] and ensuring text fits on lines.  Plus there can be issues with *really* complex designs (that luckily as of now, don't exist in the BT universe).

I added a few BattleTechnology units that had decent artwork, and marked them as non-canon.  You can search for the OSP-15 Osprey or Wolfman to see an example (the Rhino, another mech I love, breaks right now, I'll fix it soon).  LAMs will break too, I haven't looked into why yet.

Battleforce data should be good, and is far more "accurate" than the canon conversion would do.  Basically I calculate heat efficiency PER RANGE BAND, not for the whole design.  According to Strategic Operations, a mech with 30 heat sinks, 10 medium lasers, and 2 inner sphere ER PPC's would have an attack factor of 2/1/1 with an overheat of 3 (I think the overheat is right).  Well that isn't right, as long range those 2 PPC's should do a full 20 damage, and up close it should be doing 3 damage.  So I calculate the efficiency per band, which means my values would be 3/2/2, far more accurate to BT than SO would have you believe.  Also, I calculate heat efficiency completely separate for the indirect fire factor, so it may be a bit higher sometimes.  And finally, I don't round damage UP, that is stupid as if anything it should have been rounded down.  Instead, I just round everything normally.  If a special attack like AC, LRM, SRM, FLK, etc, doesn't have 5 or more attack, it doesn't show up separately, and is just added to the standard attack factor.  

I also add battleforce/quickstrike noticeable quirks to end of the special abilities line, in brackets so you can ignore them if you desire (as very few designs have them published right now).

I should have Battleforce/Quickstrike sheets up VERY soon, the code is all written, just need to copy/paste it.

If you see ANY errors let me know and I'll have it fixed probably within a day or two, if not an hour or two.

Oh, right now there are only 5 mechs with any fluff, manufacturer data, or that support my method of colorizing mechs based on your favorite colors, they are:
2750 Hermes
2750 Mercury
2750 Thorn
2750 Mongoose

If you view those mechs, the top image is randomly colored, the record sheet will be Red/Black/Yellow (You will be able to change your colors very soon).

I have randomly clicked on dozens of mechs now with no sign of an error, but surely when ya'll do every one will break :)  Please click on as many units you can and see if the record sheets appear ok, I'll be viewing those that get generated as well so any issues should be resolved pretty quickly.

If you want to help, here are some things you could easily do to assist:
#1.  Take this image, and get x, y, width, and height coordinates (in pixels, easy to do in paint or any image editing app), and write them down.  Here is the file I use to load up the settings to make a record sheet and the biped image file is here, and you can see that this method will VERY easily let you make your own record sheet templates.

#2.  Load up images, any image, and color them like you'd want, using red, green, or blue (like RGB 255,0,0 or RGB 0,255,0 or RGB 0,0,255 respectively), then send it to me.  I'll replace the original immediately.

#3.  I need massive amounts of fluff stuff entered, especially for non-mechs.

#4.  Got more images for a unit?  Shoot it to me, higher res the better.  I'll have multiple image support soon, and have only used the single image from TROs, even though a lot of other art may exist for designs (especially those unseen ones!)

#5.  Get the word out, I haven't seen many people use it, and granted, there aren't many people out there playing BT anyway, but the more users I see using the tool and complaining of any issues (or complements!), the more likely I am to stay focused.  Places like this would be ideal.

#6.  I could use some nice style sheets, my pages are simple, mostly tables, if you can put some nice colors together I'd be happy to update my site to use them.

Hope ya'll enjoy it!

Friday, May 4, 2012

A little sneak peak

I've mentioned before that I think it'd be cool to recolor mechs.  I mentioned it on the forums and nobody seemed interested, but I was, so I did it anyway.

So here is the process.  Take an image, spend 5 minutes in (or whatever app you want) with the magic wand.  Select the regions you want to have different colors, and change their color from white (RGB 255,255,255) to 254/253/252.  With a new update to my site coming soon, you'll be able to select your 3 colors.  Then, the mechs on your record sheets will be recolored when your record sheet is generated!  So basically, if you print out your force, everybody will know it was yours and your mechs will have a common paint scheme!  Cool huh?  Well *I* thought so.  I took a Deimos from TRO 3085 Supplementel (as it was a nice clean graphic and a great drawing), spent 5 minutes in, then I can recolor it instantly in milliseconds.  Take a look at how bad my color schemes can be.

I'll be able to draw a unit logo on them pretty soon as well, which you define a position *and* size, so it can be skewed if it should be drawn at an angle on the unit.

UPDATE:  Here is one with a camo applied instead of the colors, they don't seem to look too good with colors *and* camos, and in fact very few camo's look good (they are meant for top-down, most mechs are a perspective and would need "new" camo's)

Star League Colors:

MAJOR updates coming soon, feedback is appreciated!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Battletech Encyclopedia (Formerly Master Unit List) Updates

The  Battletech Encyclopedia , my version of the MasterUnitList, is chugging along.  At this point I have over 99% image coverage (buildings/infantry are the only empty ones), and all stats are synched up with the official MasterUnitList (really only the years, as the official MasterUnitList is horribly inaccurate in every other way).  I didn't copy over any of the faction users, as there are just too many errors, and the official MasterUnitList is only looking at the Jihad anyway (under 10 units have any data for any other eras).

There are still lots of little issues, and your just as likely to see an incorrect mech record sheet as a correct one, but I'm working through bugs.

It'd be helpful if somebody posted a couple links to my site on the BT forums, as apparently that is where nearly all my traffic was coming from (google too, but I think most people found me through images there)

I do still have hexes for armor points on mechs, I think they work ok (I do hope to center them a bit better in the future) and set my record sheets apart from any canon produced ones.  I can change it to circles easy enough, and will if enough people complain, but at this point nobody has said either way how they feel about them.

I update the Battletech Encyclopedia page often multiple times a day, so it is a much more constant stream of news and what I'm working on.

I have no idea why I'm still doing so much of this, perhaps because I spent a HUGE amount of time getting to the point where I got the axe, and didn't want that effort to be for nothing.

I will say that even though my version isn't as pretty as the canon MasterUnitList, it is more accurate, and far more complete, and at least sometimes right now lets you see mech record sheets.  So if you aren't building a force, my data is far more useful than the canon MasterUnitList.  

I will have an equipment version up soon, the app is using it, the database built, and I plan on linking all the equipment on TROs to their appropriate pages.  Basically, all the behind the scenes code is complete, I just need the presentation layer.

I am thinking about making an "Issues" page, that queries the database for all units/equipment with issues until they get resolved from official errata.  I couldn't tell you how many times I've submitted errata to not see it make it into an updated product (hell just look at the latest WOR supplemental update to see all the screwed up record sheets) or how many times errata is just forgotten or lost.  So basically I'll keep track of it on here.  I don't care about grammer, just data, so it should be easier to read and deal with than the silly forums over at Battletech, The Board Game, plus, I will actually keep it updated a LOT more than TPTB there do.  They are obviously too busy being ass-hat moderators to care about product accuracy.

Here is the latest tidbit on my Battletech Encyclopedia page

Currently Known Issues:
 - Text for mechs isn't pretty, its a high priority fix
 - Items with split locations don't show up at all
 - Some items, like a retractable blade, should have a different crit description for slot #1
 - Items like hatchets and swords, that get criticals from their weight, aren't displayed yet
 - I have no support for Frankenmechs with different tech bases for each structure type yet, same with patchwork armor (I don't think there is any canon unit that does either of these)
 - No support yet for multiple images
 - I've only tinkered with battle armor and mechs, everything else is "raw" and unformatted, and BA/BM/IM aren't done yet
 - I could have typos anywhere, let me know if you see any and I'll fix em quickly

 - Support for Quad record sheets, easy to implement, just not very fun :)
 - Ability for you to submit a change online for any typos you ever encounter
 - Better formatted TRO like text for all unit types
 - Construction validation (this has the side effect of letting you design a unit online, and validate its legality) for all units
   - Cost, BV1, years available/extinct/etc, tech ratings, and availabilities will all be determined
 - QS/BF stats and QS/BF cards.  I already did this with a QS program, so its just a matter of copy/pasting the code into the website.
 - Go through all books and add all images to units, and add support for which one you want to print
 - Add megamek icon with your preferred camo scheme on the initial search list
 - Add LOTS more features to the search page, and the resulting table (BF/QS data will be added pretty soon on the resulting search page)
 - Pretty it all up a bit, just need to find a few good stylesheets...
 - Add color coatings to units.  Basically the B&W images will have maybe 2-4 images and a spot for a logo, and based on your settings, it can color those images when you look at them automatically
 - Add all fluff and manufacturing data, which is all searchable.  Also, the manufacturing still will allow a production map so you can see where all the parts from units come from
   - Side affect will be a method, based on where parts come from and final assembly location, a dynamic way of determining what factions have what units
 - Unit combat simulator.  Pick 2 units, pick a range, and the two will slug it out until one dies, multiple times, to let you know which is "better", more features will eventually be added
 - Save to Megamek, SSW, HMP, etc
 - "Export PDF" option, that basically takes a known published book, and creates a PDF with all those units in typical TRO format, optionally with record sheets within or at the end of the PDF.
 - Ability for you to upload your own designs, that can be selected as an option when doing searches (by default they will always be off however)

 - A system that lets you use this site to track your mech stats in game, even against an opponent
   - You can select weapons your firing, and the modifiers to hit, and it'll do everything else
   - All players can see their own mechs, or a limited view of their opponents mechs, without any paper or pencils required!
   - Stats can be saved and resumed later
   - If mapsheets are used, it would be possible to use this for double blind, and it'll let you know when you put a unit on the table
   - The system can tell you BV at any given time, calculate repairs between games, etc, etc

Over on the BT forums, notably this one, there were some good comments I thought on improving Quickstrike/Battleforce.  I'll implement some of these following rules as options when you generate QS/BF stats:
- Attacks are divided by 5 and rounded normally, not 10 and rounded up
- Armor is divided by 15, not 30
- Range brackets will be 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, for +0/+2/+3/+4/+5/+6, each is still 90m.
- I'll have the option to generate energy only, and with ammunition (along with the # of turns it can be sustained) attack factors, not just 1 generic one.
- I'll give the option to calculate "best possible", which determines the best possible attack for each range band with available heat sinks, instead of the methods already given.  This will be much more accurate to BT.
- I was thinking of doing something special with XL/XXL/Light/etc engines.  Instead of reducing structure points, add a critical for them if they exist, and adding an ability like "XL", "LE", or "XXL" to the units.
- Instead of doing all damage from left to right, what about rolling 1d6 and starting that many points in?  Perhaps a minimum armor equal to size class can be avoided (so an assault mech always has at least 4 armor, a light 1).  This would replace "head criticals", and often result in dead units with a few points of armor remaining.  I need to think about how to do it more, but just think how often a mech dies with an untouched leg or quite a bit of armor remaining.
- Now in BF you have stats for 4 elements in a lance, I am going to create the ability to average all that out into a single statistic, allowing an entire company to be represented by 1 "element" (which is really a lance).  I'll do the same thing for a battalion, where each "element" is a company.  Computers are awesome for stuff like this ;)
- It wouldn't be too hard to write a computer based version of quick strike or battleforce.

On to an unrelated topic, the Ogre Kickstarter project is now over $420K with 8 days left, holy hell that is awesome!  I am thinking about increasing my order from the $335 level to something a bit higher.  If you haven't bought into it yet, you really should, its a fun game that isn't played near enough, and would be a welcome relief with its simple rules, fast gameplay, and zero arguments over Battletech.

And onto some other quick gaming stuff:
I found this Strike Legion game system and was quite impressed.  I typically hate the whole die based system of games (like stargrunt and dirtside) but this guy has made a really complete system, where you can have aliens, steampunk, floating battleships, naval units, ground units, ogres, starship, strategic starship, walkers/mecha, and now released a preliminary version of a squad based system, all interact.  I bought everything for it, and it is pretty good stuff.

And because people love to see images in google image search, here is a Record Sheet created with my site, that I think is all correct:
BattleTech Encylopedia Master Unit List