Sunday, November 4, 2012

Interstellar Operations Beta!

So Randall finally released a beta of the Interstellar Operations system generation rules.  Awesome!  I got one of my accounts banned downloading it, oops, shouldn't have checked it from home.  Its ok though, I have 17 more accounts on the site and a near infinite amount of completely unrelated IPs to access it from (the company I work for is an MSP, and each customer has their own IPs, so its easy for me to jump around to IPs all over the nation).  Kinda wish they'd stop being annoying, every time they do I think "Screw em, I'll zip my PDF folder with *every* BT book, put it on, and ensure it stays updated with all the latest!".  But I talk myself out of it (so far anyway!) for a single reason:

Just because somebody else is being an ass, doesn't give you the right to be one back.  

I do hate that I still buy their products, however, I think I'll get them from ebay when people resell them in the future, so CGL will see no more profits from me. My impatience and hefty income probably will never see me wait that long.  Maybe I'll at least stop buying the PDF+Book combo's, just get the PDF, and THEN get the book off a ebay or something where CGL will less profits.

It absolutely amazes me how they can "cut off" paying fans like they did, its the exact opposite way of keeping the doors to a small company open.

Anyway, onto the rules.  First, they are an early beta, and I REALLY appreciate CGL putting this out there.  Unfortunate that I would be their #1 errata submitter and tester for it, but hey, their loss.  I won't judge it harshly as it is a beta (and unlike MWO, which blows and is stuck in its path, this could change dramatically before release).

First, I do love the cover, its been printed before, but there is no way in the milky way galaxy you would see another galaxy like that, and that should probably be a planet, but I'm nitpicking.  Great pic regardless.

The first 2 pages are really elaborate charts with all the star classes and stuff.  They could have created a formula for this to make it a bit less intimidating to me, but lots of BT folk are kinda dumb (no offense!) when it comes to science or a calculator, so a big table may be more to their liking.  It gets the information presented, so it works, but they do have formulas throughout... whatever.

Lots of rules for generating a generic BT themed star system.  It is pretty decent, pretty detailed, and good enough for the BTU.  We do now have rules for determining USILR, which is nice, as well as colony populations.  Also rules for determining HPG and Recharge stations, which has always been missing.

There are some good explanations of why some things were done the way they were, which is nice.  Ignoring non-main sequence stars for example (which are VERY uncommon).

Overall I think Randall is on the right track to a pretty good system generator.

I think there is one huge part missing however.  That big part is helping people create maps.  Just a page or two of text describing how things like rain shadows or deserts are formed could help people when making maps.  Even better would be a table saying something like "if a planet is this big, with this much water, and this kind of atmosphere, it is 20% table1, 20% table2, etc", with each table being a 1d6 or 2d6 roll for random BT maps.  They had something similar to this in the Reaving book, and its sorely missed here.

I think they need 2 forms in the back.  One for for the star system, and another for the planet.  The planet form is kinda like the one in the book, but with a bit more space for the details of the planet. The system form has the top chunk, or even better an area where you can draw out the map of the system and the orbit locations.  The system map could have a method, like on all the planet maps we have, to determine the chance of jumping successfully at various points in the system.  It could be pretty generic, but having some la-grange points, the zenith/nadir, plus places to put the # of recharge stations would be super handy.  Making it a hex map would also allow tracking of deep space interceptions and let you move around the system.  Would require a lot more thought but I think its really needed as otherwise there will be a huge chunk of invasions that is often spoken of in fluff, that will have no method to be modeled.

This *completely* replaced the generation in ATOW, and I don't think they are related.  The ATOW rules for system generation are pretty much now completely obsolete and should be ignored.

I'll go through and create a computer application that will create a few million systems using the method in the book, and probably post it online for everybody, but I'll have to keep up with errata or it could be buggy.

I do ask myself since when is the BTU about "exploring", but am quite happy to see it go this direction and upcoming books may flesh out some neat stuff with jumping into the unknown.

Some other stuff:

  • I still need votes on my last posting.  I need at least 10 votes with a predominate winner to start doing any of the projects on that list.  Sorry, but I simply can't dedicate that much time to a game that, well, even though they have new products coming out, appears to have a near dead fan base.  Plus, I'm really losing my love for BT, maybe if I could find a local player who didn't make me feel ashamed to be a gamer.
  • I think the NRA hates black people.
  • I had half a dozen slots in my voting district that somebody ran completely unopposed.  I abstained from voting for those folks without having a choice, but sheesh, people sure bitch, but nobody wants to step up to the plate.
  • Most of my "game time" lately (last couple months) has been taken up with playing Federation and Empire on Cyberboard.
  • My wife still gives me a hard time on why I haven't sold 1000+ BT miniatures... just not worth my time and they don't use up *that* much space, but I sure as heck don't want them anymore.  Got a few grand handy send me an email :)
  • I read up on IP law a bit more.  As wacky as it seems, you can't protect a rule system.  I can build an editor for everything BT, sell it, and CGL/Topps/etc won't be able to do crap, as long as I don't call it "Battletech" and don't use any of their graphics.  If I do it, I think I'll slightly watermark the images so CGL won't be able to use them without acknowledging I made em :)  Lets face it, they have no warship, mobile structure, building, etc, etc designer at all now.
  • These dice rings are cool, but I really wonder about their accuracy: (I try to avoid kickstarter, watching a few grand go away in a month for stuff I didn't really want is kinda silly)
  • Planetside 2 is awesome, Mechwarrior online makes me regret giving them $120 for a crap pay to win game.
  • The new Xcom game sucked, why they dumbed down a winning system I'll never know.
  • Borderlands 2 is still kinda fun, its a great game, one of the better ones out there, and so far, it doesn't feel *too* redundant.  At least it throws some unique stuff in while killing the same spawn groups in an area.  Some of the voices are just awesome, especially killing engineers in Opportunity (not finished yet, so there could be more, but those guys are funny dying!)
  • is the best site on the internet, well, at least tied with wikipedia.
  • A Person of Interest is still the wife and I's favorite series, followed by Arrow (green type), Elementary (Sherlock Holms reinvented), Burn Notice (great, when its on), Royal Pains (the Hamptoms is a dangerous place!), Suits, Alphas, Last Resort (neat idea, getting better), Revolution (kinda stupid premise tho), Castle (always good), Continuum (awesome!), Falling Skies (kinda silly), Go On (hilarious), How I met your Mother (Barney Rules!), New Girl (its ok), Sinbad (in break, but good), Newsroom (great plots), Vegas (its ok), White Collar, and Two and a Half Men (still funny).  Basically we watch a lot of TV, but don't have cable so we just watch series.  Some of those we like more than others (they aren't in order) but those are the ones we like together.  Not sure why I posted this :)
I blab a lot eh?

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