Friday, June 29, 2012

Record Sheets

So I decided to jump back into the design of the record sheets, so I can do the code and we can finally have record sheets for everything, woot right?

Nope, flop.

This is why I got discouraged last time, there simply *are* no blank record sheets for every unit type.

For example, find me a record sheet for a superheavy combat vehicle with 2 turrets.  Nope, none exist I've ever found.  Oh, and technically you'd need one for hover, hydrofoil, naval, submarine, tracked, VTOL, wheeled, and WIGE.  So there is a huge issue.

Next, blank record sheets.  I've been using those from MegaMekLab, but I don't have blank record sheets for Airships, Naval/Submarine, Rail (I guess I can use hover for this) or Satellites.

There are also not blanks for Warships, Jumpships, or Space Stations, though all of these I can actually make myself. 

So frustrating, not sure why they never made record sheets for all superheavies with 2 turrets, oh well.  Guess with all the unanswered rule questions (and all the issues *with* the construction rules that haven't been fixed) it is no surprise.

So here is what I am going to do, just to have *something*:

Since most units have a megamek icon (Buildings, Infantry, and Battle Armor don't, but will use alternate methods).  Excluding support vehicles, about 89% of units have a megamek icon.  The 228 support vehicles have very few, if any of them.  Most of those missing are newer designs.

So I'm going to take those megamek icons, blow them up a few hundred percent so they end up being about 1" on the page (camo optional).  I will then just make zones with big blocks of armor, and in the case of warships that could have 1000 points, I'll include a bunch of blocks (or whatever) that are larger with the number "10" in them.  Those of you who have ever played FASA's Leviathan will know what I mean, and its a great system.  In the case of vehicles that can have up to 2 turrets, I'll leave an area to have their armor blocks as well.

So the only hard part now is all the little blocks like warrior data, criticals, etc, but I already have many of those extracted separately, so its just a matter of figuring out their x,y coordinates on a page, and whammo, I can have record sheets for everything but BA/PM/Infantry, which I'll make last (no major issues on those).

I would like to see a lot more dropship and support vehicle megamek graphics get made, but since that game doesn't really support them, well, why would anybody do them?

I'll also implement the battleforce sheets in addition to the quick-strike ones (which don't really work for things like dropships, jumpships, warships, mobile structures, etc).  All the record sheets will become available in PDF format too.

Also on my thinking of doing next list:

  • Method to track your units in battle, basically a virtual record sheet, usable on phones/tablets/etc
  • User unit listings, with persistence and multiple lists (so you can have a unit list for various games, or the turns of various games), and can print such a list in PDF.
  • Cost calculation
  • BV calculation
  • Construction validation
  • Web interface to input your own designs, validate them, share them, etc

Stay tuned, post me some comments!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


So I kinda pay attention to the Battletech Encyclopedia and watch the log files, see the images getting created, and so forth.  It actually helps me spot many issues, I'll see a black mech image and notice that I had an extra space in the filename, or pull up a mech to see dozens of APGRs because I had a typo in the database.

Anyway, I submitted the page to google so they could scrape the site, help me get rankings in search engines, and hopefully bring some more fans over so they can shower me with insults and issues, which I can then fix.  

Now, a while back I posted some special features on the site to help you search for stuff.  You can enter in some of the search specs on the URL request and if only 1 entry exists, it'll take you there.  

Well I made a quite site, the "complete listing" on the tabs up top on this page, that had a direct URL to every single unit.

Took around a month, but it looks like google is scraping the crap outta it.  I have 2731 record sheets generated right now (all mechs, its all I'm supporting at the moment) and nearly 4600 quick strike cards.  Wowza!  That is about 4GB of "temp files".  When you view a mech, it'll use the record sheet already generated, so should be a bit faster than usual.  Quick strike cards and the megamek icons (if you use that search method, which I recommend at least once) are being generated each time.

So, lets say your looking for a mech, lets say the SHD-2H Shadow Hawk.  If you go to google, type in "goodsects SHD-2H", it is the 4th link.  Google something less common, like the PRF-1R Prefect ("goodsects PRF-1") and its the first link.  Cool huh?  Now you can basically do a quick and easy google search to find your favorite mech, without having to go through my site at all!  You can use mech names too, like "goodsects Sirocco" and it'll work, often as the first link as my domain isn't too common a string out there.

So basically, remember "goodsects" as your first search term, and use google to hit my site directly and find stuff out.  For those of you more google friendly, using "WHM-6rb" and specifying the site you can pretty much be assured it'll be the first match, but thats a lot longer to type. 

History Lesson:  "Goodsects" was a technology company I had a few years back, it was short for "Good Sects Technology", and I did contract work for GTE and various smaller companies around the DFW metroplex.  It looks harmless until you say it out loud :)  That is where the domain came from, and may help you remember it.  Oh, and I use "" instead of "" so I can host the site at my house, and I have software that updates that domain name with my dynamic IP if it ever changes (which it rarely does).  Eventually I'll probably host this somewhere else, but for now its on a server in my extra room.

Also, I made a HUGE number of updates to the site and database today.  Most relatively minor, but it fixes a large number of units that popped up with errors (if you see an error for a unit and want to see it, leave a comment, I'll fix it that day most likely).  Check out the History page to see more details.

I meant to finish up most of the record sheets tonight, but like most nights the last few weeks I'll be playing Tribes Ascend instead, sorry, and MWO goes beta in a week, which means I may not get to doing it for a while :)  Please please please let MWO not be a typically F2P game and nickel and dime me out of fun.  For the record, I blew $150 on TA, which is most likely because I was a HUGE fan Tribes 1 and 2, but its not quite as fun or team balanced as the predecessors (but the engine is much improved). 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

That was NOT easy!

I'm a blabbing blogging fool this week!

Ok, it took me longer than it should have, but eventually I got code to combine a list of weapons into every possible unique combination.

Then, the easier part, I updated the code and the new optimized factors to go through 3 BattleTech turns, and determine how effective that unit will be over those turns.  It is possible over those 3 turns to see some heat, but after those 3 turns it'll balance out to 0 or less.  So, the optimized ballistic and energy attacks factors are *extremely* accurate.  The overburn factors as well are extremely accurate.  I am only listing the highest overburn that gives a bonus however, its possible that overburning 1-2 when a 3 is listed could increase attacks as well (I simply had no room to print it).

There is 1 issue I can see though.  Rotary/Ultra Autocannons.  As these weapons can fire more than 1 time, its possible for a RAC to fire 1, 2, 4, or 6 times in a turn.  Technically that would be 4 different weapon types.  My weapon code has it as one with 6 ROF though.  It'll be a lot of pain for me to break the data down to account for higher ROF weapons firing less than their maximum ROF.  That also borks up ammo calculations.  Perhaps nobody minds, as it seems accepted for fighters and such.

There is one other "issue".  If the unit has over 10 weapons, I don't calculate those values.  Basically to determine the unique weapon firing combinations requires 2^WeaponCount loops.  For each optimized attack I do 5 loops, for a total of 10.  So even 10 weapons is over 10,000 loops.  I'm trying to avoid killing my web server.  I looked at one mech with 15 weapons, which was over 320,000 loops, and I ran outta memory on the web server.  Hopefully ya'll don't kill it much, if you do I can just cache the data (I will do that when I'm happy its all error free... someday).

So all the optimized values have been updated, and IMO should be used instead of any other values to avoid lopsided units.

Thoughts on scaling Battleforce:

Another thought.  Thinking about Battleforce, *NOT* Quickstrike.  Currently BF is based on the 1 element = 1 BT unit, and 1 maneuver element (ME) is 4-6 elements.  However, this limits your ME's to lance sized, meaning a battalion would be about 9-10 ME's and probably big enough to play in an afternoon.

DISCLAIMER:  Just brainstorming here, some numbers and stuff may need to be tweaked, but this is how I'm envisioning scaling a game so you could fight the battle for Tikonov in 3028 (8 full Crucis Lancers RCTs vs around 80 regiments of defenders on 1 planet)

I recommend the following rules not be used in battleforce:

  • Everything heat/overburn related
  • Critical Hits (Optional, but perhaps each structure hit gives a roll of 1d6, 4+ to kill unit outright)
  • Advanced Movement (p270)
  • Custom Configurations (surely one of the 2000 designs out there is good enough)
  • Alternate Munitions (p308, except for artillery/bombs)
  • AC, SRM, LRM, TOR, MML, ATM, HT (IF/NARCs/FLK still ok)
  • The following can also be ignored as they are redundant:  CAP, MSL, SCAP, SDS, RAIL, MAG, SPC, TELE, ATMO, KF, UMU.

Now, lets say you wanted to do a regimental battle.  My proposal is to make each element = 1 lance/platoon/star/etc.  Then, each ME can be 3-6 of those.  Basically, allowing you to have 3 or so times as many "units" on the battlefield, but play the same.  To get the factors for each element, simply total the armor/structure/attacks/etc, and divide by 5.  Skills are averaged for the 3-6 BT units, and quality PV multipliers use the new average.

The following rules changed at this level:

  • Range bands changed so they are short/medium, and long/extreme, and ranges divided by 4.  Basically, short/medium are averaged into an attack that can be used in the same/adjacent hexes.  long/extreme averaged into attacks that can be used 2 hexes out.  Artillery ranges are also divided by 4 at this scale.
  • All movement is halved, round down.
  • AEP/ECM/All C3/WAT/PRB/LPRB/AECM/BH/ES/EE/FC/LECM/CASE/TAG/LTAG all have no effect at this scale
  • AMS is averaged for all units that form an element, rounding down.
  • Other systems are cumulative added up, or shown if even a single unit is equipped.
Now, for the scale where each element is a company/trinary/etc.  Much is the same as the previous scale, but each ME has 2-3 elements, each composed of 4-6 units.  Skills averaged the same way, just with more units.  Armor/structure/attacks are summed up, and divided by 15

The following rules changed at this level:
  • Range bands change again.  Now average medium/long into a same hex attack, and extreme gets you an adjacent attack.  Divide artillery ranges by 12.
  • All other rules as the previous scale.
  • Movement is 1/3rd, round down.
And now, for an element that is a battalion or cluster, again copy the previous scale.  Divided armor/structure/attacks by 45.  Medium/long/extreme ranges averaged into a same hex attack.  Ranges divided by 36.   Quarter movement, round down.  Everything else about the same.

Essentially, each tier you go up (Platoon->Company->Battalion->Regiment->Brigade) divides ranges by 3, damage by 3 (except the first tier, which is 5), and each destroyed element becomes a lower tier.  

So, a Regiment has a single counter on the map.  You have a single piece of paper to track that regiment with 3 different elements on it, one per battalion.  Each battalion has perhaps 5 armor and 3 structure, and does perhaps 4-4-1 damage.  If you destroy a one of these units, you lost a battalion.  If you attack a company level unit, multiply damage inflicted by 3, if you attack a brigade divided it by 3.

Do the reverse math if you want your battalion counter to become 3 company counters, each with 3 maneuver elements that are lances.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Optimized Quick Strike/Battleforce

Ok, ncKestrel made me go ahead and do some interesting stuff when it comes to the damage calculations for Battleforce and QuickStrike.

For example, lets take the Black Hawk (Nova) Prime.  This sucker has 12 clan ER-Medium Lasers.  Each generate 5 heat.  However, the design has only 18(36) heat sinks.  Basically, if it alpha strikes and jumps, its at 29 heat and has an 83% chance of being shutdown, can no longer move (except jump), but luckily it has no ammo to explode.

In Strategic Operations, this unit would be able to do 84 damage.  However, with 65 heat generated, and only 36 able to be dissipated, its heat efficiency is 55.38%.  Thus, the damage in Strategic Operations is 46.5, or 5 points at both short and medium range.

Strategic Operations Method.  5-5 Attack, 3 Overburn.

Ok, sounds reasonable, and is a decent extrapolation.

However, 5 attack is at least 45 damage, meaning 7 lasers fired.  7 lasers a turn for 3 BattleTech turns while jumping results in 12 heat at the end of those turns, roughly on the BF heat scale at 2.  Well again, that isn't very fair.

See these computer things rock, and I can easily do thousands of things in milliseconds it'd take you days to do, with lots of errors, with a pen and paper (or even in excel!).

So I wrote a function that takes every single item on a unit, and figures out every single possible combination of firing in a turn.  I think figure out just how much a unit can fire without any heat, and I then have some really accurate data!

Using this method, each turn the mech can fire 6 lasers, resulting in 42 damage, rounded to an attack of 4-4.  Each battletech turn it has 1 heat unallocated.  Well this is far more accurate than the SO method.  

Now, when it comes to overburns, you can go from 0 to 4.  Mechs can go from 0 to 30.  So basically each point of overburn represents about 7.5 heat in battletech.  However that is over 3 turns, and is cumulative, so each point of overburn is really only about 2.5 heat per Battletech turn.  Not much for a BattleTech player eh?  

If I add 10 heat per battletech turn, an overburn of 4, it allows me to fire 2 more lasers each turn.  This results in a 6-6 attack.  This is annoying.  While I generate +4 Battleforce heat, it actually results in only +2 damage.  Ack!

But for now I am showing these calculations on the right side of the Quick Strike card, to show what the mech *should* be.  In this case, the Black Hawk is 4-4-0-0 attack, but if using Overburn 4, it can actually be 6-6-0-0.  FAR more accurate than SO.

My Current Method:  4-4 Attack, 4 Overburn gives 6-6 attack.

Not to dog SO at all, nobody wants to do that much math, but I'm using a computer to do it all for me, so it ends up making the unit data FAR more accurate, and I didn't use a single piece of paper!

I calculate ballistic (all ballistic/energy weapons considered) and energy (only weapons without ammo considered) in these calculations.  

This isn't the end however.  I really want to do totals over 3 BattleTech turns to show proper abstraction into BattleForce.

In 3 BattleTech turns the Nova would have 108 heat dissipation ability, use 15 for movement, leaving 93 to fire weapons.  That is 18.6 shots, so 18*7/3 = 42/10, or 4.2 attack.  So the unit should have an attack of 4-4.

Adding overburn there would be 108, 115.5, 123, 130.5, or 138 heat dissipation for each overburn factor over the 3 BattleTech turns encompassing a single QS/BF turn.

0 Overburn, 108 Heat = 18 Lasers Fired = 4.2 Attack
1 Overburn, 115.5 Heat = 20 Lasers Fired = 4.7 Attack
2 Overburn, 123 Heat = 21 Lasers Fired = 4.9 Attack
3 Overburn, 130.5 Heat = 23 Lasers Fired = 5.4 Attack
4 Overburn, 138 Heat = 24 Lasers Fired = 5.6 Attack

Using this method, you'd get 3-3 Attack, with an overburn of 4 giving a 6-6 attack.  This actually matches my current method, but it won't always.  The Marauder II Bounty Hunter has +10 heat using my method after each BT turn, as its simply not enough to fire another ERPPC.  However, if I average across 3 turns, thats +30 heat, and allows 2 more shots, giving the unit +1 attack at long range.  

Notice how I'm ignoring special attacks like SRM, LRM, HT, TOR, etc.  That is because if you break these attacks out, well, the sheet becomes horribly convoluted, and the system completely breaks down.  IMO, if you want those values, well, play BattleTech, otherwise completely skip those values completely as they really don't work right anyway (FLK/IF/NARC are all fine)

I'll try to get the multiple turn code written in the next couple days, but for now you can at least see something far more accurate than any other method has produced.  Simply go to the Encyclopedia and find a unit (Preferably mech, maybe CV/Infantry/BA/Fighters too) and click on it to see the record sheet and Quick Strike sheet with the new factors.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Marauders! (Updated)

UPDATED!  This has been edited with some issues that ncKestrel pointed out (see comments), and the overburn value has a graphic issue I'll be fixing in the today.  All the cards are new and the comments were tweaked.

Apparently I can't escape this game, there is simply no other one I can get into :(

I like Quick Strike/Battleforce stuff.  I like any game that abstracts combat potential into a single number.  Not sure why, but I have tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of counters that do just that for all sorts of games.  

NOTE:  I calculate damage and heat efficiency by range band, not for the overall design like strategic operations.  This makes some units more powerful at some ranges.  I also make Rocket Launchers a single shot weapon, and split attacks into ballistic (with a corresponding LA for limited ammo, or shots / tons to reload) and energy.  And finally, I round normally, not up, a single MG shouldn't be 0.2 rounded up to 1, that is silly.

So, I'm going to compare all the Marauder II (not IIC) models, and point out how they differ in Quick Strike.

First, they all have SRCH, SOA, ES, and SEAL.  Also, all are weight 4 and armor 10, and none have an ER attack.

All have 8 structure and 3j move unless I indicate otherwise.

MAD-4A. 21 Pts.  3-3-2 attack, ENE.  It also has 1 overburn.
  Great mech with no downsides.  This is the stock model with 2xPPC, 1xLL, and 2xML.

MAD-4H. 22 Pts.  1-1-1 attack, ENE.  Also has 3-3-1 Rocket Attack and 2 overburn.
  This mech is a one-shot wonder, but even its one shot at best gets you 3 attack, it is always better to choose the MAD-4A, which is not only cheaper but has better long range attack capability.  This is the rocket crazy version with 2xERPPC, 2xERML, and 180 rockets.  Too bad its only got 21 single heat sinks.

MAD-4K. 26 Pts.  This mech has a ballistic attack of 3-4-4.  It can perform this attack 5 times, and it'll take 2 tons of ammo to resupply it.  Its energy attack is 2-3-3, so even when out of ammunition its quite effective.  It also has the ability "BG3", which means "Big Gun 3".  Each attack allows you to roll on the critical hit table, with up to a 3 modifier.  It can overburn by 1 with ballistic weapons.  This mech is pricey though, though I'm not sure worth 5 more points than the MAD-4A.  This is the dual HPPC and GR version, which is why it gets the BG3.

MAD-4S. 26 Pts.  This mech has a ballistic attack of 3-3-2, which can be done for 5 turns, after which 4 tons of ammo are needed to resupply.  It also has an energy attack of 2-2-2.  It can run hot, with 2 overburn with ballistic weapons or 1 with energy weapons.  The mech is 26 points, and though it has BG1 I seriously can't see why you would take this over the MAD-4K, or even the MAD-4A.  This is the dual ERPPC and HGR version.

MAD-5A. 21 Pts.  This is your anti-aircraft assault mech.  It only has 4 structure due to XL, and its attack is just 3-3-2 ballistic (2-2-2 energy).  It is the same cost as the MAD-4A, but does include CASE.  Its one redeeming factor is its FLK attack of 1-1-1, which it can perform 10 times before requiring 3 tons for resupply.  It has an overburn of 1.   I would only consider this model over the same priced MAD-4A if there were lots of flying units about.  This one has dual ERPPCs and the LB10X.

MAD-5B. 26 Pts.  I can see no reason to take this design.  Its expensive, its ballistic attack is 3-4-3 with BG1, and it does have 8 turns of ammo.  However it has no CASE, and its energy attack is only 2-2-2.  It can overburn by 1 but that doesn't help enough.  It simply isn't worth the points over a MAD-4K.  2 ERPPCs and a GR fill out the armament.

MAD-5C. 20 Pts.  Again another horrible mech.  With only 4 structure, a 3-3-2 ballistic attack (2-2-2 energy), and 7 turns of ammo it simply sacrifices too much over the MAD-4A to be a viable option.  Even its overheat value is only 1.  This one has the dual ERPPCs and the UAC5.

MAD-5W. 24 Pts.  This mech gives you 3/5j movement, so it is far more maneuverable than most Marauder IIs.  However your attack is energy only with 2-2-2 with 1 overburn.  It does have C3I, BG1, and MHQ2.5 so it makes a good WOB Level II unit, but only if the whole Level II can move the same.  Otherwise you may as well take a 4A again, which is cheaper and overall more effective. This model mounts dual SNPPCs and a HPPC.

MAD-6D. 24 Pts.  Another version with only 4 structure, expensive, but it does give 3/5j movement.  Its ballistic attack is 3-3-1 with 1 overburn (energy 2-2-1, no overburn) but it only has 3 turns of shooting.  It does include CASE but to compare the design with the same price point 5W, its reduced long range damage and lack of electronics and BG means its just not cost effective either. This sucker has 2 SNPPC, 2 LPPC, and a HPPC.  

MAD-6M. 22 Pts.  This model, along with the 4A and 4K, are really the only ones I think should be considered.  It does only have 4 structure, but its movement goes to 4j.  Its energy attack is 3-3-1 with 2 overburn and it even includes ECM.  This crazy version has 2 LXPL, 2 MXPL, and an ERPPC.

Marauder II Clan Refit.  29 points.  This is a very pricey model, but worth it.  It has only 9 armor and 5 structure, but it gains a move of 4j, has CASE, and a ballistic attack of 5-5-4 (energy 4-4-3).  And that without any overburn necessary.  It also gets BG2, AND a flak attack of 1-1-1.  It has 7 turns of ammo and only requires 2 turns to reload.  Overall this is the best non-unique Marauder, but you pay for it.  This is a standard version with clan weaponry.

And finally the super munchy one.  The Marauder II "Bounty Hunter".  Obviously the Dread Pirate Roberts.... er... Bounty Hunter knows his designs.  While the design is a whopping 38 points, it easily rules them all.  It has 3j movement, a 5-6-5 ballistic attack (3 overburn) with 5 turns of ammo (2 tons to reload), and its energy attack is 5-5-3 with 2 overburn.  It has CASE, AND its BG3 so it has a good chance to obliterate your enemy.  However, if your paying points for your game, you could nearly buy 2 MAD-4A's for this, which have more firepower, far more armor, and doesn't put all your eggs in one basket.  While this model has 2 ERPPCs, 2 MPLs, and a GR, the jump jets and targeting computer really spike the point cost.

So the Quick Strike/Battleforce calculations really help to see a more of a difference in the designs.  The MAD-4A is a great and solid design and should usually be the Marauder II of choice.  The MAD-4K or Clan Refit are viable options though, if one has the points to spend.  The MAD-6M could be taken if additional maneuverability and jump jets are necessary.  Simply don't take the 4H/4S/5A/5B/5C/5W/6D ever, for any reason, they suck.  If your in a Solaris VII arena however, the Bounty Hunter's build rules them all.

Looking at these numbers, its pretty easy to see how BV may not be quite so balanced.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Battleforce/Quick Strike Updates

Well for some reason I'm still making almost daily changes.  I really need a better front end, and do the code for vehicle/fighters/etc record sheets (its funny, those are all WAY easier than mech, I'm just not very motivated to do them).

Aside from bug fixes, and implementing new features, there are a few ideas I'm thinking about now.

#1.  Adding the ability for you to create a list, set skills/pilots, and display them all at once.  Optimally I'd like to create a PDF, but need to play around with PDF creation a lot more.  Another part to this would let you edit any values with any of those units.  So you could change armor, add hits, do refits, whatever, and it'd keep the data for you and create new record sheets on demand with the changes implemented.

#2.  Creating an EXE that does everything the site does, but faster, with lots more options.  I can make a better interface this way, but you won't be able to view the data on your phone or linux/mac box.  Also, I wouldn't support both, so the EXE would end up replacing the site completely

#3.  Completely redoing the quick strike/battleforce cards to support all my additional features.  For example, I'd remove the heat scale, its silly.  Instead the attack block would be 3 lines, one for ballistic, one for energy, and the last for ammunition so you can fill in circles as you use up ammo.

Of course those all seem interesting, but what I SHOULD be working on, in no particular order, is:

  • Battle Value calculation
  • Cost calculation
  • Finishing all the record sheets
  • Multiple image support, let you choose which one gets printed on the RS/Cards
  • Bug submission option on the bottom of all pages
I'm not seeing a lot of use on the site though, so I should probably still move on ;)   Funny how many questions I hear about "what book is mech XXX in" when a quick search on my site will give you EVERY book it is in, while the MUL only shows you the latest and has nothing recent.

Be sure to check the history page often, as it has a lot more updates and more detail than I do here on the blog.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Star League is Stupid

Ok so I was reading the Liberation of Terra book, which is right up there with Reunification was as the best products since FASA died, and came to a conclusion.

The SLDF is stupid.

The US island hopping campaign of WW2 is a decent comparison to the SLDF retaking the worlds of the Terran Hegemony.  However, while the US bombed and island, then bombarded it until there was no resistance, the SLDF just sent troops in without any preliminary bombardment.

That is how most of their losses occurred.  If I was a grunt in the SLDF, I'd be defecting to the rebels as well as my naval officers are idiots.

The SLDF should have jumped in with combat fleets, removed the Caspars and Rim Worlds fleets, *THEN* sent an HPG back to the staging area for the transports to jump in system.  Instead, the transports jumped in with them, and entire divisions were blown away in space before they ever set foot on the ground.

No wonder their losses were so horrible.  I guess if they didn't do that though, the SLDF would be so potent after retaking Terra that they could have just conquered the entire inner sphere instead of going on Exodus, and 300 years of peace would have followed.

I'll also say this to Randall:  "Good luck with IO".  There is a problem with Battletech.  While it is a small enough universe to get your head around (opposed to say Traveller or Warhammer) it is still a REALLY REALLY big universe.

3000 worlds.
The SLDF had 451 divisions and 301 independent regiments, 3000 warships, 500 naval bases, and who knows how many transports and facilities scattered about.  How in the heck would you model a game with that?  Sure, by division, otherwise you easily have 4000+ counters, for the SLDF only.  Problem is, there isn't 1 division per world attacked in canon, so you really need to break up those divisions brigades at a minimum (1353 brigades), but it'd make more sense to do regiments (4360).  Then warships, it appears that squadrons average about 18 vessels, that is 167 or so counters, doable.  Bases tho, well we can assume that a huge chunk are irrelevant in game, so the SLDF could be done, at a regiment level (plus a few SAS battalions and what not), with about 5000 counters.  Woah, thats a lot.  I have that many counters and more for Federation and Empire, but sheesh.  5000 counters, over like 150 worlds.  Thats 30+ counters (regiments) per world, on average.  Far too many to use on a map, and too many to track with paper.  The other alternative is to just drop the detail.  Use divisions, and instead of each world track regions.  This simply becomes risk and all battletech "flavor" is lost.

Now, after the SLDF evaporates it becomes easier to track.  Roughly 500 mech regiments and 240 warships by non-periphery nations in 2765.  About 500 mech regiments in 3025 too.  At this scale it makes sense to have counters for a mech battalion, armor regiment, infantry brigade, 10-15 dropships, 3-6 jumpships, and 1 warship.  Add in miscellanous markers and units, and you are probably looking at about 6000 counters to model the 3rd Succession war, perhaps 8000 or so with various addons.  While that is a lot, it isn't unbearable.  It could also be reduced by having more larger formations, then generic units when those larger formations are broken down (like 1st Davion Guards could become 3 generic heavy mech battalions).

Ok, now problem #2.  How to track the units.  Lets say we have a mech battalion, with a unique name.  There are 3 ways to track it.  First is simply make it generic, give it a unique name for flavor, but make a heavy mech battalion always equal to another heavy mech battalion.  You could mark the counter with a quality icon for elite/green, but that gets annoying if you track XP and have to have +/-1 quality to them.  I really don't like this method, as again it makes battletech feel more like risk.  Option #2 is each counter has unique stats on it, perhaps 1 heavy battalion has an attack of 8 and defense of 6, while another attack/defense of 7.  You could flip the counter when the unit becomes damaged, having reduced values on the back.  This is probably the simplest method, though things like fatigue and experience are still a real pain to track.  Option #3 is the best for detail, and worst for people who hate using pencils.  This option you simply have unique counters, but they have pretty much no values on them.  Instead you track everything with paper.  The paper could have a unit ID, damage, fatigue, supplies, XP, and combat values, at the least.  These would be circles that get filled in and changed as the game goes by, and your enemy is never totally sure as to their capabilities (scouts could force you to give up information).  Now, the issue with #3 goes back to all them counters.  Even with mech regiments that is 500, and if you want track each regiment each needs at least 1 line of paper... lets assume you can fit 2 columns on a 8.5x11 piece of paper (no way with all them stats).  That is still 3, or more likely a dozen, pieces of paper to track just your mech regiments.  Multiply that by 3 for battalions, add in armor/infantry/etc and suddenly you have a book to track your game.  Nobody wants that.

So it comes down to making the game VERY generic, removing the battletech feel, and essentially making Succession Wars all over again, or, have so much detail that there is simply no way a succession war can be fought.  Little stuff, like the invasion of the Taurian Concordat by the SLDF in the Age of War sure, but a full blown game nope.

Speaking of the TC invasion, that is another issue.  Some of those worlds, with SLDF *divisions* on them, took over a YEAR to conquer.  With 1 month turns that is 12 full turns both sides have forces on 1 planet.  That is a LOT of die rolling.  With more sensible 1 week turns that is over 50 turns with both units having forces on planet.  ACK!

Oh, we have the map too.  With 1 hex = 7.5 LY, the smallest scale you can really do and still see mobility and only 1 system per hex, the map is over 6' in both directions, WITHOUT the clans!  That means you'd need a 3' reach to even play it.

I love counters, not sure why but I really do, but there is simply *NO* way to recreate a succession wars game on the tabletop without dumbing it down so much, that your unit doesn't matter, and the game no longer has a battletech feel to it.

I really just want to see rules for scaling battleforce, intelligence, politics, manufacturing, etc.  Stuff that if it was all there one could create an entire succession wars game, and with that I can convert it all to computer and it could become playable :)

Scaling may seem problematic but I think battleforce is perfect for this.
Right now battleforce is 4-6 units per maneuver element.  This allows a battalion to be played, or maybe even a regiment, but not an RCT.

So, to scale it up a notch, average out all the stats for the 4-6 units in a battleforce element.  Then, call that an element in battleforce company scale.  Your company would have 3 elements, each acting almost exactly like their battleforce stats would indicate, but are actually averages for a lance.  Lots of rules could be removed, like overheating and special ammo.  Ranges/movement get reduced to 1/3rd.  At that point playing out an RCT wouldn't be impossible.

Then, for a battalion, simply average the stats so a battalion maneuver element is composed of 3 companies (the average of stats for the 12 units within it).  Ranges get reduced to adjacent hexes only, movement is 1/9th normal.  Some new stats are added, like a recon factor (since C3, AEP, ECM, etc no longer do anything).  Simple enough, now even bigger battles are easier.

And finally, for a regiment, average the battalions.  Same method, but only battles in the same hex.  This scale should be pretty rare, as even the biggest planet battles would maybe be 8 counters on a side.

To go up/down these scales is easy, just take a hit and mark 3 to the subordinate unit (or whatever).  A lance could be in a company level game, but each hit would take off 3 circles.  That same lance in a regiment game would take perhaps 9 circles from a hit.

So scaling is pretty easy IMO.  Adding in fatigue, quality, XP, supplies, etc at all of these levels is pretty easy to do as well.  Units could be listed with stats like "Armor +4/Speed +1/Attack -2/Recon +1/Artillery -2" to let you have regiments have some detail to them.

Anyway, going off topic now.  My point remains, the SLDF was stupid.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Canon Master Unit List (MUL)

I see a lot of posts with people using the faction availability of the canon Master Unit List for their games.  

I wanted to highly recommend AGAINST it, well, unless you are playing in the Jihad era.  The data simply isn't there.

As of the 19th of June, the last time I got all the canon MUL stuff, there were 5519 units within it (10% of which aren't even published yet, which is kind of annoying to many I bet).

The Age of War, Star League, and Early Succession Wars have data for only THREE of those units, and all 3 are "unavailable".  The rest units are simply blank with no data.  Late Succession Wars has 4 with data, Clan Invasion 6, Civil War 5, and Dark Age 2.  None of these eras can you use the current MUL for.

The Republic era has data for 5421 units, HOWEVER, 4858 of those are "To be announced", leaving 563 with a faction, the rest are blank, so about 10% complete.  So, you can't use this era either.

The ONLY era that is anything close to complete is the Jihad era, which is about 90% complete with 5001/5519 units having data.  You can use this era, but know that about 10% of the units will simply never show up in any searches for a faction's available units.

One of my pet peeves on the whole MUL is the amount of errata I gave them that has *still* yet to be fixed.  Actually, I'm pretty sure for a while before I was banned I was the lead poster to issues with it.  My MUL/QS creator thing still works tho, not sure if people are still using it.  Heck, how many of ya'll know I wrote an application to create detailed infantry platoons a while back? :)

I have also seen a lot of complaints of issues on the availability and eras, but this is an insanely difficult task so its understandable.

It would be pretty easy to write up a site or application that would help with this massive undertaking.  For example, you log on, ask for the next unit.  It then assigns you a unit based on the source material you configured that you had.  You then go through, verify the year, known eras, etc.  When done you check complete and a checked flag gets set to "Checked +1".  Each time somebody checks an entry checked goes up by 1 so you can see how many times a unit has been checked, and by who.  The lower the number, the more likely you are to see that unit when you request a new one.

I'd offer to do it and invest the time to keep it updated daily, but the battletech folks don't like me very much and would probably rather eat a miniature than deal with me ever again :)

On other news, MechWarrior Online allows you to give them money now.  I blew $120 on a legendary pack for Bad_Syntax (I have 7 other names, some of which are BT canon that I didn't upgrade).  Sure hope the game is as great as the movies are making it seem it'll be.  We'll see soon, August 7th I get to do the beta!  It'd be cool if they'd open their API a bit for a spectator mode.  It'd be cool to see an overhead map, then you could draw megamek icons moving around as they are in MWO.  Well, cool to me :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Total Chaos Review

Well I'm still stupid, and still buying BT stuff instead of the ever so great Torrent, but this book sounded good.

The cover looks great, however, the artwork is looking a bit like "mechwarrior online".  Not that its a bad thing, in fact I like it, and it'd be interesting to see battletech artwork move that way.... just sayin it has a different feel.

258 pages!  Sure some long winded writers over there!

And a disclaimer.  I am NOT a fond of the whole chaos campaign/warchest system.  I loathe dumbed down systems such as that, and *really* loathe generic and non-detailed oriented systems like this.  I sooo preferred books like the original scenario packs or just more campaign rules for battleforce, so with that note.

There are 2 new unit writeups, Gannon's Cannons, not hing too detailed, just 2 lances, but it gives some detail on the unit, background, characters, etc.  Also Grandin's Crusaders.  Total of both units is a reinforced company, so they can easily exist and be added/removed at any point without altering any canon.  There is a page writeup on Interstellar Expeditions, I presume in anticipation of a future IE module to be released.

If you DO like the warchest thing, this  book looks to be a necessary purchase.  It feels like a new version of the original rules, but with a bit more detail and most likely bug fixes.  About 8 pages of this.  Also, the missions seem to have a more custom feel than the old generic ones.  There are more details about the folks and units involved than their used to be.  Kudos to that.  The 40 planet battle thingies mentioned don't give much detail.  A listing of units involved, what chaos tracks and missions took place there, and some fluff about the battle.  They are organized by date from 3067-3081.  Not bad, though I really can't complain about them, there are so many things I'd rather see published.  The scenarios do go through the jihad period, and are a nice completely to the horribly formatted jihad hot spots series, but IMO, all of those books and this one should have that data compiled into perhaps 4 or 6 Jihad War Atlases, much like the original 2 atlases from the 4th SW which were some of the best books ever published IMO.  Pages 21 to 250 are these missions, and are essentially the whole book. 

We then get 3 mech/battle armor/vehicle/aerospace random assignment tables (12 tables total) for the WoB forces (Militia, Line, and Shadow), which I guess would be nice, if the RATs weren't utterly useless for anybody but those  who simply can't choose what mechs they want (as they are in no way canon or representative of their units).  The RATs use that extended thing from a few books back, I seem to recall it having some hole with tech level of some unit types, but couldn't think of them as I perused the list.

We then get 2 record sheets.  The AWS-10KM Cameron Awesome, which has 2 Clan ERPPCs, a TC, C3I, ECM, and a SNPPC with clan DHS.  Not too shabby, armored engine/gyro/cockpit too.  The other mech is an AS7-D-H Atlas II Devlin, I presume this is Devlin Stone's ride (you know, the real leader of the WOB).  This one has 2xERLL (Clan), 2xMPL, LB10X, AMS, MML9, and Angel, plus clan DHS and a HD Gyro, armored head stuff, and XL fusion engine.  Both of these are already entered in the battletech encyclopedia if you want to take a looksie.

I liked most of the artwork throughout.  They had miniature images as well, which were gray scale and fit quite nicely in the book.  The only mechwarrior online type art was the cover.

If you don't care about the warchest system at all, you can skip this book.  If you are even a slight fan of it however, this is a necessary purchase.  I'd recommend not being like me and buying both DTF and PDF.  I hate paying for 1 item twice.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rocket Launchers & Battleforce Stuff

Just perusing the quick strike files that were generated and wanted to mention a few thoughts.

#1.  If you see an attack like "2-2  2-2  2-2", it means there is a ballistic attack of 2 at each range, or an energy attack of 2.  If the unit had ENE and had that ability, it'd just be 2  2  2.  If it was just ballistic, it'd be 2 2 2 but would be limited by the LA# (limited ammo) number, which hasn't been implemented yet.

#2.  IF and FLK are unique attacks, so are NOT added to normal attacks.  Just reiterating that to make it clear.  HT #/#/# *are* added to normal attacks but NOT energy only attacks.

#3.  Rocket launcher do like 25% damage according to SO.  I don't like that at all, they are one-shot weapons, so technically should be 33% but only usable once.  If you say the average unit is in combat for 4 battleforce turns, the rocket launchers become 300% more powerful than they are in battletech.  So, my recommendation is give units an RL#/#/# special ability if it has rocket launchers.  They are not included in normal attacks at all, and their heat calculation is calculated while firing everything else.  This attack is a replacement for regular attacks and can only be used in a single game.  The ARC-6W for example has 4 medium lasers, 8 Rocket Launcher 20s (and 2 more RL10s to rear, which are not included).  Currently it would be 1-1 attack, as those rocket launchers produce a lot of heat and reduce damage considerably.  I propose that unit, with 4xMedium Lasers and 20 heat sinks is 2-2 attack (the unit has the ENE ability, as RLs do not explode), and a single special ability of RL 2/2 which is crossed off when used.  Since RL's are only fired once, their damage is divided by 30, so the 8x12 = 96/30 = 3.2, but since they generate 40 heat over 3 turns on top of the 12 for the 4xML and 2 for movement, the attack is about 74% of that, and 90% of that for the +1 to hit, so 2/2.  This makes that unit twice as powerful on the battlefield, with a single turn of being 4x as powerful, all while abiding closer to battletech rules than battleforce currently does.

#4.  I don't think XL/XXL/Light engines should reduce structure damage.  Instead keep the damage the same, however if you have those engines whenever you take a structure hit there is another critical roll 2d6, if that roll is exceeded an engine critical is scored.  I haven't parsed the numbers, compact on 12+, regular on 11+, 2 slots in side torso on 9+, 3 slots on 8+, 4 slots on 7+, 6 slots on 6+.  The engine critical would roll against this number as well, and wouldn't be automatic.  To save a die roll an alternative could be something like if an engine hit is scored, XXL units are destroyed, XL/Light take 2 hits, regular engines 1 hit, and compact ignore the 1st hit, and the 3rd engine hit destroys the unit.  Just reducing the structure damage mathematically doesn't really mirror battletech.

#5.  Some units may not calculate correctly, battle armor with personal weapons and infantry are big culprits, but mechs/vehicles/fighters are usually correct.

#6.  Oh, almost forgot.  Energy attacks should be used underwater, replacing the battleforce +2 damage or some such nonsense.  Eventually I'll have UW #/#/#/# or perhaps just the ability to print out the quick strike sheets modified by the environment you select (gravity, atmosphere, time of day, etc) which could take it into account without overly cluttering the sheet.

And no, haven't done anything battletech since my last posting.  I did have my screwed up order screwed up again, but was happy to see the Liberation of Terra book.  The Tactical packs, of which I only got one (the TO one), was really high quality.  Way overpriced, but good quality cards with the recent errata.  I doubt I'll ever use them, maybe some of ya'll would put them in a folder, but you may as well just print the tables on a decent color laser if your doing that as the card durability gains you nothing then.

Been tinkering with Federation and Empire more, not sure how far I'll get before I get bored.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Poor Leadership

So as ya'll know I was banned over on the BT forums, no biggie as it was their loss, although its obvious their forum has died out quite a bit since (perhaps I was posting too much)... anyway....

So I created another account.  Not trying to hide who I am, just an account I never posted any messages with, nor intended to ever, purely so I could download attachments and subscribe to the newly released topic so I could be notified of new products.

That existed for a week or two, at least, then worktroll decided to go and ban it for the same reason.  Perhaps if I zipped up my 30GB+ battletech folder into a torrent they'd be justified in being such assclowns. Nothing like biting the hand that feeds ya huh?

There are a thousand other ways I could actually log in and post if I so desired, gmail/yahoo/etc/etc accounts are free and easy to make, proxy servers exist in the hundreds to hide IPs, but all those would require me expend more effort than I'm willing to, and based on the horrible quality of the a few of the more recent products, the horrible wait for new products like IO and HBHK, and the completely lack of any quality control over their products (not to mention massive inconsistencies), and honestly I'm done keeping up with it.  

There are other reasons too, simply put there are not very many Battletech players around the world.  I'm betting the number is well under 10,000, and a large chunk of those are like me and never really play it anymore anyway.  The couple hundred that are active on the forums are hardly representative of the fan base.  The game is very dated, and with the Jihad and now Dark Age the universe itself is getting pretty silly (if not stupid).

The leaders of the online presence are, well, not leaders at all, have horrible tempers, and basically act like kids protecting their toys.  Granted, there may be a slight reason there, as if Battletech stopped selling they would not only be out of a job, but most likely their careers would end and they would have a hard time feeding their families.  So I can understand their protectiveness of their "baby" and their downright viciousness against any who isn't a "fanboy".  I know many of you have the same feelings, as more than a handful have essentially told me these same conclusions.  I really try to look past that sort of thing in people, and try to understand why they do the things they do, but honestly, why am I spending so much time on a game that isn't doing such a good job trying to stay alive.

What is really sad IMO, is they have not only the ability but the creativeness to actually bring new life back into the game, instead of catering to only the fan boys (of which I am probably one), but instead they just live in their tiny little world, not listening to their critics, and not caring that so many of their fans get more and more distant to their universe each passing year.  The MUL for example could have been great, instead its sucking ass, basically it all comes down to just poor leadership.  Maybe its that same leadership that screwed the pooch with CGL finances a short while back.  Leadership will kill the Battletech IP, or it'll revive it, simply staying alive is ensuring death as more and more fans gain wives, kids, and lives that do not allow them to enjoy games anymore.

This also comes during my 2nd order in the past year where I had to contact CGL to see why the hell it never shipped, so they aren't even very good at even selling stuff.

And another tipping point is when I started going over warships and dropships, and found out pretty much every design is broken, with no sign of a fix.

And yet another was THIRTY pages of errata for Tacops, seriously?  Did they even read it before they pushed print?  I can't think of ANY product I've ever seen so filled full of errors, inconsistencies, and missing data.  How can somebody tell themselves that wasn't a serious charlie-foxtrot?  Heck, it isn't even unique, all the main rule books that were supposed to be "core" are full of issues, many of which are *still* not fixed after being pointed out multiple times.  I'd be fired if I did something so half-assed.

So I'm going to back off "battletech" specific stuff again... yeah yeah, I've said this before, and who knows, I may come back tomorrow with an updated, but my intention at the moment is to step away from it for a while and see how things go.  If somebody wants to "take over" the encyclopedia its just 2 SQL tables (75mb) and an application, with the $50 a month the server costs me in just power to leave on I may decide not to power it on after my next power outage.

I'm still debating on flooding ebay with the 100 LAMs and hundreds of unseen in my closet ;)


On to other news.  I've made a LOT of updates to the encyclopedia lately.  Most of the units battleforce/quickstrike sheets should work, and mechs at least should be pretty darned accurate.  There is a lot of stuff on the history page you may want to take a look at though, as some of my calculations are a bit different and there are some new values that'll appear.  My next major thing was to make a system to track damage of units so you could use the site while you played a game on a table to track your units, but I think that may have died.

I also nearly completely rewrote my Federation and Empire mapping application to support lots of galaxies and eras.  There is a thread about it on the old starfleetgames forums under F&E\Computer F&E Development.

Mechwarrior Online is looking good, and I think I'll enjoy it, but I'm betting 5 to 1 that free to play will make it suck to play.  Basically, you'll have those that play 6 hours a day ruling the battlefield, those that pay $200 holding their own, and everybody else being frustrated.  I'll play it a while, probably send them $50 for goodies, maybe even $100, but the balance could be sucky like Tribes Ascend. where 70% of the games are 5-0, and the ones that are 4 to 5 are fun as heck.  I think the game could end up being too much like world of tanks.  

Mechwarrior Tactics is, well, pretty I guess.  Hopefully they have a demo, but regardless I seriously doubt I'll play it very long.  It'll get boring *very* fast, even to those who love it.  But, if they somehow make a system that'll allow launching a game from a script, or setting up custom servers, it could end up being a great tool for campaign systems out there.  Being a browser plugin tho, well, it is VERY unlikely to have any of that support.

I exchanged my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch (long freaking name!) for an HTC Evo 4G LTE.  It has the new Android 4 OS on it, which is a little prettier.  A slightly better phone with a couple features I preferred, though I really miss having buttons.  Anyway, I think I went through all the games and many of the apps, and aside from a very small handful, they are pathetic.  This is a dual core, 1.5 ghz computer, with 1gb of ram (Galaxy S3 has 2GB), and over 30GB of storage, and the best games we can get are basically an 8 bit NES clone?  Ok, some are 16 bit.  Anyway, seriously, these phones should be able to run Windows XP, or at least Windows 95, and the games are closer to things you'd find back in the 286/386 days.  I can't help but wonder if people are just that easily entertained these days, or there are just no good developers writing apps for the Android.  I've peaked into the Android SDK, and though my java experience is pretty much nil I may start to tinker with it and see if I can do some rudimentary graphics and see where it takes me.  4G LTE bandwidth sucks buttox too, best I can get is a few hundred kbps in the middle of Dallas.  On my wireless network its great tho, 15x that, but I thought LTE was "super fast".... oh well, I'm usually home.

If ya'll never caught it, Legionnaire Games has a really great line of products.  They allow you to fight as a squad of troops, all the way up to a fleet of warships, and all the systems work together pretty well.  I'm most fond of the 6mm (epic or 1/300 or BT) scale rules.  They are die based (d4 for green, d8 for elite sorta thing) but its a pretty good system, and you can still reach the author directly and he'll answer any questions in the yahoo group.  And yes, you could use your battletech miniatures ;)

So who knows what I'll do in the near future, but I really regret naming my blog after BattleTech :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Some Battleforce/Quick Strike Thoughts

So I wrote my code that creates Battleforce/Quickstrike stats.  Right now its only for mechs, as I gotta finish the other vehicle code, but it appears far more accurate than any other list I could find.

Eventually, when everything is correct, you'll be able to search units on these stats, but for right now they are being generated upon every page refresh.  LAMs with bomb bays are incorrect, but I'll fix that as soon as we get bomb bay rules :)  I also assumed some stuff on the superheavy Omega SHP-X4.

So I extracted every mech into a tab delimited excel file, and found some interesting things I thought I'd share with ya'll...

  1. The Turkina Z (War of Reaving Supplemental) is by FAR, the single most powerful mech in quick strike or battle force (and the most expensive).  When I say by FAR I mean 56% more attack at short range, and 25% at extreme.  Its attack is 14-10-5-5 for SR-MR-LR-ER.  Yeah, thats right FOURTEEN.  It has 4 iATM12's and plenty of heat sinks.  As iATMs are considered streak, and can use HE ammo, that is up to 144 damage at short range.  PLUS physical attacks.  We don't know the BV of this unit, but SSW has it at 4,186 (42 Pts in BF/QS).  Just do make it worse, its got Nova so has C3I and WAT, plus is recon capable and has TAG, oh, and 9-6-3-3 of those attacks are IF (indirect) capable so it need not even expose itself!!!  I multiplied iATM max damage by .6 for indirect calculations.  This mech is a significant reason I think that quick strike at least, if not also battleforce, need rules for ammunition.  It should only have 4 attacks, at which point its attack becomes ZERO because its out of ammo.
  2. Now, if you want a mech that is just a pain to hit, but can still harass your enemy without getting hit so often, try a Shadow Cat A, with its 8/4j move and 3-3-2-2 attack it can be a real pain for anything slower.  Another really annoying one is the Pack Hunter II model 3.  It has 10 jump movement, giving it +5 to hit, and can still do a single damage point at long range.
  3. Battleforce and Quickstrike I think really need a few additional rules:
    1. Ammunition.  Maybe even just VLA (very limited ammo) or LA (limited ammo) for having just 2 or 4 turns of full attack available, at which point it could half its attack.  Perhaps LA# where # is the turns of ammo it gets.  Or combine with AB (ammo based) meaning its attack goes to 0 when ammo is consumed.  An option to this would be RLD #, which is the reload # or tons of ammo required to reload (it could be done in 1 turn, by a unit carrying ammo as cargo, making ammo carriers useful).
    2. I really think instead of a single die roll to hit, doing max damage, a single die roll should be rolled with modifiers, and a missile hit table used based on max damage (if below 2, go 1 column to left).  This just makes more sense, as lets face it, 1 die roll shouldn't mean all 36 of your shots just hit or all 36 missed, but should be representative of the # of shots between 0 and 36 that actually connected with the target.
    3. I think units should have an anti-personnel factor.  This is basically the damage that can be done against infantry.  Along with this is that conventional infantry can ONLY be attacked at short range.  As a former grunt, I know if something was big out there you kept your head down until you could get close.  Mechs with MG's would be far better against infantry, while the awesome Hellstar with 4xERPPCs wouldn't.  A LCT-1V locust would get maybe a factor of 6, while the Hellstar would only have 3.  A standard 1.0 armor divisor infantry platoon could take 4 damage (7 men = 1 AP point).
    4. The attack each range band should be calculated separately.  If you have 2xERPPCs, and 10xMedLas's, and only 30 Heat Sinks, calculations now hamper the design.  Right now it'd have 3-3-1 attack, while if calculated separately it'd be 5-3-2, a considerable difference, as it should have.  Note that I do this in my calculations, so they aren't actually canon, but the computer didn't complain ;)
    5. I'd like to see the attack factor be ammo limited (see #1) unless the ENE ability is noted.  However, ENE becomes ENE X/X/X/X when *any* energy weapons are on the unit.  This factor is also used underwater instead of the regular attack, and is used if ammo is not used in the attack.
    6. CLS (cluster) ability for units.  Basically if over maybe 66% of the attack value comes from attacks with <6 damage, you get 2 crit rolls per structure hit, and 1 free crit per 3 damage done to armor (rounded up).  
    7. On even to-hit rolls, half the armor remaining is ignored (round down) when damage is marked off.  Lets face it, you can loose a mech with an untouched arm and leg.
    8. On odd to-hit rolls, half the structure remaining is ignored (round down) when damage is marked off.  See #6.
    9. Better range brackets.  Instead of 3/15/24/99 being SR/MR/LR/ER, break it down to maybe 6/12/24/30/36 or something more equal.  It isn't like 1-2 more #s are any harder on players, but it adds a lot more diversity in designs without adding to game time.
    10. Rounding damage values up is a horrible idea, they should be rounded normally or even down.  A MG shouldn't do 1 damage, representing 30 damage over 3 turns.  Note, I round normally, not up or down, so technically this again makes my quick strike and battleforce data "non-canon".
You can download the battleforce/quick strike summary file here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Quick Strike/BattleForce Sheets!

Mechs now display the Quick Strike / BattleForce sheets before their record sheets.  It should work pretty well, though I didn't test it much.  If you notice any issues let me know.  Both of these sheets will be a button soon, and not come up by default (they are rather intensive on the web server, being 1+mb images and all, and the search engine crawler bots hammer em).

I will try to focus down and get most of the other record sheets working this week, I end up in this repeating pattern:

Step 1.  Analyze at all the combination of record sheets
Step 2.  Decide to dynamically build them from parts
Step 3.  Decide to dynamically create them from nothing
Step 3a.  Though I've written code to draw all the frames on a page with the same shapes, I get frustrated looking at it to add shadows and the non-flat bottoms.
Step 4.  Find out some horrible issue, like I have NO empty airship record sheet
Step 5.  Get frustrated, repeat.

I'm also having power issues at home, which is frustrating.  A typical breaker is 15 or 20 amps.  My house was built in 1969, and for some reason, nearly half the house is on a single 20 amp breaker.  My main computer uses around 12 of those, my web server 2-3 (my SQL server is on a new breaker I had put in).  Now, that is usually fine, but if I play a game or print I go over 20 amps, and throw the breaker.  I have a UPS on my main machine, but its software has been acting up and not going into standby properly.  Its all seriously frustrating, and once I start bringing in money again I'm rewiring the house.

On an unrelated note, I came home the other day to find somebody breaking into my house.  3 mid 20 year old white/latino kids in a Gray Crown Victoria with temp plates (Dallas area).  They busted down a door, knocked over a speaker, and moved my main TV on its swivel, but didn't get anything.  Glad I wasn't planning on being gone long, as I think they planned on pulling into an empty garage and loading up without being noticed.  Hopefully they'll come again when I'm home, my flowers need the fertilizer.   They did bust a door, but its ok, it was an "extra" back door I think was an office from a previous owner.  It had cracks around it, let in bugs, and had no reason to be there.  So, I had it replaced with a brand new wall that looks great!  Plus, I *spoiled* a burglary and the cops got some good prints off my TV ;)

Also, I haven't been real productive the last 2 weeks, had some wacky illness (cold/flu/respiratory infection or something) and tried to sleep through it, but am on the upswing now and should be productive this week.

I did spend a bit of time updating my Federation & Empire map system thing.  You can now click on a 500pc "strategic" hex and get a 6 "tactical" hex submap with more detail.  Its all very dynamic and easily editable with text files.  I am almost done with Omega map support, and will be releasing a new update shortly.