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: