Saturday, April 28, 2012

Battletech Encyclopedia

I've spent most of my BT time the last week working on creating recordsheets and cleaning up the "Battletech Encyclopedia", which I think will be the new name of my version of the "Master Unit List".  I currently have mech record sheets *mostly* working.  Connector lines aren't showing yet (a ... is a continued piece of equipment) and I need to work on addon equipment (Artemis, Apollo, Capacitor, Insulator, One-shot, MG Array, stuff like that) but its darned close.  See what I've been doing on that at http://goodsects.gotdns.com/bte.  I used hexes instead of circles to make my record sheets different than canon ones so people will instantly know I didn't just scan stuff in ;)  All mine are dynamically generated (and cached, so the first load is the slowest).  I also cleaned up a bit of how other mech data was displayed, and added about 900 new images.  You should be able to use the Encyclopedia to print out recordsheets for most of the 3025 mechs at this point, and many of the other ones.

I'll update the site at http://goodsects.gotdns.com/bte a lot more often than I will the blog, so just because I didn't update the blog, doesn't mean I wasn't doing lots of work on the record sheets.

After mechs I'll do combat vehicles, battle armor, infantry, protomechs, support vehicles, dropships, warships/jumpship/stations, and then mobile structures.  I'll probably stick to that order unless the couple of viewers out there decide they want something else faster and let me know.

I am still thinking about the idea of making this into a system that lets you track unit status in games.  Basically I'll make a simple web page that lets you apply damage, see stats, show the enemy the unit stats, etc, etc, so you could use this site on a phone, tablet, or laptop to help track your game.  Of course I'll have die rollers, and probably even automatically resolve damage between 2 units.  You'll have teams, and you and your opponent(s) can all sign in and play against each other, save the game and continue later, show little animations of armor damage after the game is over, and possible I'll even expand it to support doing repairs.  Still just thinking about it at this point, I don't play BT and couldn't use the tool much myself, so its all about what you viewers (or people you can get to become viewers, hint hint) say you want me to work on.

I thrive on feedback and input, and without it I tend to jump around between projects a lot and don't have a lot of direction.  Not many people read this blog so if you have any ideas to get more people interested in what I'm doing I'm all ears.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Well I'm done with the Master Unit List for a while, I searched IIS logs and found people looked up like 3 mechs with it in the last week.  Soooo, if nobody else is using it (for now anyway, it isn't like I'm advertising anywhere else) I'm going to stop working on it until people do start using it.  I'll keep it updated with new products (notice the HTP Luzerne mechs are in there).  You can view my history of changes by just going to the master unit list at http://goodsects.gotdns.com/bte (if this link doesn't work for you, shoot me an email at bad_syntax@ yahoo.com and I'll see what's up, there should be no reason it doesn't work).


If people start using this, I can import the factions, format the text so its easier to read (and much more TRO like), and basically make it at *least* as useful as the battletech master unit list.  I can also pretty easily go through and update all the images, add multiple images per unit (something the canon battletech master unit list doesn't currently support), add a record sheet download (that is updated as the data is updated, so its always up to date), perhaps add some tracking so you can use it to track your units on a phone or tablet/ipad, and lots of other new features.


Oh, and battle armor is pretty much done, a few minor bugs (years, turrets with empty slots, and BF data), but all the designs, when the page is loaded, get validated according to the tech manual rules.  Granted, there is a LOT of things in the various total warfare books that needs fixing, and some stuff I have repeatedly added to errata forums that has *still* not been added (like the battle armor automatic grenade launcher, no ammo/weight stats).


If you have any requests on it let me know, I can probably make them.  But like I said, as of now, it doesn't look like anybody is visiting, and since I've stopped "advertising" on various forums nobody comes here anymore anyway.  My banning and lack of advertising may be bad for the future of things I've been working on.


And though these rules are NOT finished, not by a long shot, and just about every word and table and order will have to be redone, here is a VERY VERY VERY early version of my Succession Wars style game, I'm calling "The Interstellar Wars".  Essentially it'll be kind of an "open source" wargame.  The rules should work fine for counters and maps, but all the detailed ones will be implemented into a computer game.  You'll be able to make your own maps, units, factories, etc, etc (to make it identical to BT), but I won't call it BT or have any BT content in it.  It isn't BT that I love, its the high level universe that was created around it (lots of war, 5 major factions, 1 big high tech faction, high tech faction falls, everybody fights for a long time, technology lost, etc) so that is what I'm trying to model with it.  Here is a download link to the 120k word docx file.  Please give me any feedback, but know that much of it will still be rewritten.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Updates!

Sorry if anybody has had an error on the BTE the last day or two, I've been editing it a lot.  Though I don't think anybody else has looked at it, and I may just be talking to myself :)


Anyway, lots of updates on it.  It has images for just about everything now, links to the canon battletech master unit list, and lots of other changes.  Go take a looksie:  http://goodsects.gotdns.com/bte.  At this point the only thing I don't have (aside from visual appeal) the canon version has is the BF2 stats and force maker thing.  I'll probably never have the force maker thing, I don't see a need, and the BF2 stats I'm planning on programatically generating to get rid of the massive amounts of errors in the canon version.


Oh, if anybody has a better name than "battletech master unit list" let me know, 2 master unit list's are 1 too many, perhaps BTE for battletech encyclopedia?  I dunno, let me know what you think.


And also, if anybody is interested in a succession wars style interstellar game and would like to help me clarify and finalize some rules please email me or leave a comment.  I've got quite a bit done on the written rules, and I want to get it finished up soon so I can start working on some generic counters, and perhaps a "battletech module".

Thursday, April 19, 2012

BTE's Master Unit List

Ok, I think I'm done with BT, at least for a while (until IO comes out maybe).  I was reading FM3085, and I have 2 *serious* issues with the BTU:


#1.  They won't reduce the populations, and thus FASAnomics completely breaks the universe (and IO for that matter).  I know humans can easily be in the trillions, but western nations now are starting to drop down into very low growth rates, some western nations even dropping.  Its very possible that when everybody has enough food, shelter, medicine, and the things they need, our entire planet will reach an equilibrium.  Populations should be .1% to 1% of what they are published at.


#2.  Their QA sucks ass.  They just released FIFTY pages of errata for Tactical Operations.  FIFTY!!!  Not sure about ya'll, but I'd be fired (or get an F) if 12% of anything I produced was in error.  Granted, a page or so are new things, which is always nice, but sheesh, thats pathetic.


Oh, and battlecorps sucks horribly, I was dumb enough to pay $60 right before they banned me, and there is ZERO content over there.  I guess you get a 5% discount, but they don't release $300 in 6 months so that really isn't a selling point.  Anyway, in case you were wondering, its crap.


Ok, now on to the goodies. 


This is a VERY VERY early, quick (about an hour or two) MUL of mine.  I have no images (yet, but they are on my hard drives), no links to equipment, no links to the canon MUL, and the formatting is, well, non-existent.  BUT, it is there now. Just go to http://goodsects.gotdns.com/bte and enter in something your looking for, then click on one to see all the information I have about it, including any issues that were encountered during data entry.


I *think* I have done enough to prevent any sql injection attacks, but honestly if somebody breaks in and formats the server its no biggie, if they wipe the database I can recreate it in 5 minutes through scripts I wrote, so no worries.


It might be slow depending on how many people are hitting it, my back end server speed is decent but I do have like a dozen VM's running on it.  Also, its on a crappy 2mbps or 3mbps upstream time warner cable modem so that is a bottleneck.


Anyway, take a look, let me know if it works for you (I have a style sheet, so it should be ok looking, but I didn't test with every browser, and they are all considerably different).  If you get errors let me know.  


I'll try to get the MUL links, images, and hotlinks for the equipment (which brings up a detailed page for equipment info) done before I back off BT for awhile.


Oh, and Randall never wrote me back when I asked about publishing this, so if they can't be bothered to tell me so it'll be hard for them to justify a C&D after the fact.  I have lawyers too ;)


Oh, and some of the codes may be cryptic, so if you don't know what something is post a comment and I'll fill you in.


Oh, and unrelated, I have about 20 pages now typed up for my "The Interstellar Wars" game, which will be a board game, with optional detail levels increasing the complexity up until the point you pretty much need a computer to play.  And when its done, I'll start on the coding for it ;)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

MUL, almost done

A few of you have requested the MUL, It is a huge XLS file that many of you will hate opening.  Once I get the data cleaned up I'll throw it in a database and build a website around it so you can just rip it that way (bandwidth permitting).  Right now I'm in my final phase of cleanup, and will be finishing it up maybe by the end of this weekend.


If for some reason I decide not to spend the time to do that (kinda likely, I have to at least try to run for congress, even if my desire is to loose), I will throw the excel file up here for all to download... even though I may not really use it in the future, I spend hundreds of hours putting this data together, and have started this probably 5 times over the last decade.  I finished thanks to my wife letting me not work for a month.


Anyway, just to wet your appetite a bit, here are some notes I'm putting together on it.

615 out of 5491 canon MUL units have not been released yet.  However, all of these units may not be valid, and when I use only valid MUL entries, there are only 256 of my 5153 units are not on the canon MUL


Here are the 175 products I used as sources for my data:
AE2ER
AT1E
AT2E
Battle of Coventry
Battlepack:4th SW
BattleSpace
Black Thorns
Black Widow Company
Bloodright
Chaos March
CityTech 1E
Clan Jade Falcon
Clan Wolf
Combat Equipment
ComStar
Cranston Snord's Irregulars
DATP:Liao
DATP:Vega
Day of Heroes
DOS:Jason Zaklan
DOS:Youling Zhanshi
DS&JS
ED:Age of War
ED:Golden Century
Explorer Corps
Fall of Terra
First Strike
Fist and Falcon
FM:CC
FM:Crusader Clans
FM:CS
FM:DC
FM:FS
FM:FWL
FM:LA
FM:Mercenaries:Supplemental Update
FM:Periphery
FM:Warden Clans
Frst and Falcon
HB:Davion
HB:Liao
HB:Marik
HB:Periphery
HB:Steiner
HexPack Promotion 1
House Liao
HTP:Galtor
HTP:Glengarry
HTP:Mallory's World
HTP:Misery
Interstellar Players
Invading Clans
JHS:3070
JHS:3072
JHS:3076
JHS:Blake Documents
JHS:Terra
Jihad Conspiracies
Jihad Final Reckoning
JTP:Atreus
JTP:Dieron
JTP:Luthien
JTP:New Avalon
JTP:Sian
JTP:Tharkad
Klondike
Lamenkovs Liability
Liberation Of Terra 1
LostTech
Luthien
MapPack:Solaris VII
McCarron's Armored Cavalry
Mechwarrior Companion
MW1E
Northwind Highlanders
Objective Raids
OTP:Death to Mercenaries
OTP:Death to Mercenaries
OTP:Falcon Incursion
OTP:Red Corsair
Periphery
Reinforcements 2
Reunification War
Rhonda's Irregulars
Royalty and Rogues
RS:3025 & 3026
RS:3025 Reinforcements
RS:3039
RS:3039 Unabridged
RS:3050
RS:3050 Upgrade Clan/SLDF
RS:3050 Upgrade IS
RS:3050 Upgrade Print
RS:3050 Upgrade Unabridged Clan/SLDF
RS:3050 Upgrade Unabridged IS
RS:3055 & 3058
RS:3055 Unabridged
RS:3055 Upgrade
RS:3058 Unabridged Clan/SLDF/BA
RS:3058 Unabridged IS
RS:3058 Upgrade v1.1
RS:3060
RS:3060 Print
RS:3060 Unabridged
RS:3067
RS:3072
RS:3075 Print
RS:3075 Unabridged
RS:3085 Print
RS:3085 Unabridged - Old Is The New New
RS:3085 Unabridged - Phoenix
RS:3085 Unabridged - The Cutting Edge
RS:Aerotech 2
RS:Klondike
RS:MWDA1
RS:Prototypes
RS:Upgrades
RS:V1:Light Mechs
RS:V2:Medium Mechs
RS:V3:Heavy Mechs
RS:V4:Assault Mechs
RS:V5:Vehicles
RS:V6:3055 Mechs
Salazar Tsakalotos
Solaris The Reaches
Somerset Strikers
Sorenson's Sabres
Sword and Dragon
Tales of the Black Widow
The Dragon Roars
TRO:2750
TRO:3025
TRO:3025 Reprint
TRO:3026
TRO:3026 Revised
TRO:3039
TRO:3050
TRO:3050 Revised
TRO:3050 Upgrade
TRO:3055
TRO:3055 Upgrade
TRO:3057
TRO:3057R
TRO:3058
TRO:3058 Upgrade
TRO:3060
TRO:3067
TRO:3075
TRO:3085
TRO:3085 Supp
TRO:Phoenix
TRO:Prototypes
TRO:Vehicles
Tukayyid
Unbound
War of Reaving
Wolf and Blake Starterbook
Wolf's Dragoons
XTRO
XTRO:Boondocks
XTRO:Clans
XTRO:ComStar
XTRO:Corporations
XTRO:Davion
XTRO:Gladiators
XTRO:Kurita
XTRO:Liao
XTRO:Marik
XTRO:Mercs
XTRO:Periphery
XTRO:Pirates
XTRO:PrimitivesV1
XTRO:PrimitivesV2
XTRO:RetroTech
XTRO:Steiner


I downloaded the following from PRI, where I got fluff info, though I may not end up including it in the final document:
hmp_2750
hmp_3025
hmp_3050
hmp_3055_3058
hmp_3060
hmp_3067
hmp_3075
hmp_3085
hmp_3085_se
hmp_exp
hmp_fieldmanuals
hmp_project_phoenix
hmp_rs_da_mechs
hmp_solaris
hmp_upgrades
hmp_clan_refits


1976 Designs
1565 matched
21 had 3 matches
358 had 2 matches
32 had no matches


I then matched up all the entries with their appropriate canon MUL entries (to link back), from 14 MAR 2012.
Total of 5491 canon entries, 542 entries on the canon MUL I have no data for as they aren't published yet, 4472 of these entries have images


So, in the end, I have:
5152 Units entered
178 are not on the MUL
421 either don't have enough information to recreate, or some of the data is questionable
There was 1 unit missing from RS:Reinforcements 1, my page was ripped out, I don't know what it was


Some notes:

  • I have *NO* fluff data, no manufacturing stuff, no big text blocks, just hard data
  • Many of the values are shortend, I use "MicPL" for micro Pulse Laser, or "LRM15:Artemis IV", stuff like that
  • Some of the data isn't consistently entered, mostly equipment.  For example some units may have "2-ERML-RT", others may have "1-ERML-RT" and "1-ERML-RT", and yet others "1-ERML-RT,RT".  I want to clean that up, but the data is still good
  • Some of the page numbers on the TROs/RSs I provide are of a bit, they all need re-indexed, but most of the ones I got the data from are correct
  • Some of the data is formulas.  Armor tons and engine ratings for conventional/mech forces
  • Most battle armor weapons don't show the # of shots on the RS or TRO, I flagged these as incomplete until I can go back through and verify
  • Some of the naming schemes/variants/etc aren't consistent.  I will work on them as I see them to get a good standard.
  • If the MUL didn't have BV, I grabbed it from the TRO, if it wasn't there I used the RS, if no BV I flagged it, but for many units it won't be correct
  • I didn't mark slots for advanced armor on conventional or aerospace forces.  It should be easy enough afterwards.
  • I'm not 100% sure I like the way I put data in for buildings and mobile structures, I was thinking of making each hex its own line, still not sure how I'll do it but the data is in there.
  • There are bound to be lots of errors all over the place, mostly typos, once I get a construction algorithm to verify them it should help clean them up, though with the amount of unfixed errata out there it'll be painful
  • All of the equipment links to another big spreadsheet I put together that has *ALL* the equipment for the universe, and *ALL* the stats for it.  Unfortunately there is a large amount of missing data TPTB seem to not want to fix (I've asked them about it a few times only to be ignored).  This is why some things have short abbreviations.  Hopefully you can figure out what they are easy enough.
  • I tried to make illegal items fix, like the buildings from McCarron's Armored Cavalry, the Super Wasp/Super Griffin, and the original vehicles from the MW1 RPG, some fit better than others.
I'd really like to put together a database that can allow you to submit edits to it, perhaps even in real time, so as you see an issue you can fix it (I'll get an approval log each day to accept any changes as final), but like I mentioned, I am really not sure I can stay motivated with BT after the childish activity on the forums.

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ogre!

While this isn't BT related at all, many of you, myself included, may have gotten started with gaming waaaay back with with a little game called Ogre.  They are releasing a new version, with large carboard 3D ogre's, huge 1.5" hex maps (probably great for BT/BF), and lots of cool stuff... they are increasing what everybody gets as the money goes up.  I got my 3 copies :)  Anyway, go support them here.

A little note

While going through my MUL I got an interesting stat.

There are about 2623 total mechs in the BTU.  Not including LAMs or IndustrialMechs.

However, there are 482 actual models, and of those, 20 are 'IIC' models, and 23 have the words ' II' in them, many of which are just a rename of the base model.  There are also I think 3 FrankenMechs.

So basically, the BTU has about 450 mechs, with over 2100 variants!  10 of the total don't have a record sheet or enough data to reconstruct it.  I have found 87 mechs missing from the official MUL, though many of those (49) are the base model (empty) omnimechs.  26 of them there is some issue with the record sheet and data where the mech cannot be reconstructed legally (often as there is no RS), and 16 have armor rounding issues.

I finished all the WS and many DS, so there are only 61 elements left, mostly dropships from TRO3057 Revised.  I was going to go through and ensure all my page numbers are right, but after recent events I don't care enough to.

I should have something to view soon, but need to make a web page for it, and it'll be a model ugly web page :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Interstellar Wars

While this started as  BT project, if you've read my blog you know it'll end up being more generic.  I haven't updated all the rules to mirror that decision yet.  Anyway, here is a quick list of all the rules I was working on in a strategic interstellar warfare game.  I'll have to add in universe creation rules, but those are pretty easy, but this will allow you setup a map, move units that are quite similar to jumpships and warships around, fight battles on planets, and it should feel a lot like BT, but I'll remove all the similar stuff I can and create a new universe that has nothing in common with BT.  I'm thinking populations start balancing and even dropping once everybody has everything they need to thrive (we are seeing this today in western nations), then we go off to planets, so at most a planet has a 100K pop or so, most being in the tens of thousands.  This should still allow smaller units to have a significant impact.  Anyway, quick outline below, more to come once I finish up the rules.... I'll need people to read it over and help edit the formatting and flow as it may be a bit confusing to some.



Scale
Map
Glossary
Counters
Turn Sequence
World Statistics
 Resource Value
 Militias
 System Icons
Transport Track & Unit Movement, Abstracted
Transport Track & Unit Movement, Detailed
Production
 Factories
 Facilities
SUpply
 Abstracted Rules
 Transport
 Depots
Fatigue
Combat
 Special Events
 Strategy
Salvage
 Gaining
 Usage
 Creating New Units
Raids
Experience
Unit Types
 Interstellar Ships
 System Ships
 Fighters
 Mecha
 Armor
 Infantry
 Special Units
Repairs
Special Events
Commandering Civilian Ships
Clan Bidding
Clan Honor
Special Unit Capabilities
Scorched Earth
Intelligence Operations
 Tactical Intelligence
 Strategic Intelligence
 Political Intelligence
 Espionage
 Assassinations
 Insurgency
 Counter-Intelligence
Leadership
 Generic Leaders
 Specific Leaders
 Personal Armies
 Unit Loyalty
 Leader Creation, Retirement, and Death
 Bribes
Corporate Forces (Mercenaries)
 Recruiting Stations
 Contracts
 Defections
 Random Creation
Interstellar Communications
 Income
 FTL Communications
 Communication Firewalls
 Selling and Buying Information
Small Unit Actions
 Heroic Units
 Small unit combat
Mass Destruction
 Nuclear
 Chemical
 Biological
 Radiological
Defenses
 Level 5 Complexes
 Level 4 Facilities
 Level 3 Defenses
 Level 2 Fortifications
 Level 1 Entrenching
Advanced Technology
 Transformable Mecha
 Generic Troops
 Advanced Jump Systems
 Server Cores
 Drones
Advanced Interstellar Operations
 Zenith and Nadir Points
 Non-Standard Points
 Transient Points
 La-Grange Points
 Deep Space Interceptions

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BT stuff is everywhere!

First of all I'd like to thank the many of you who emailed me with support, apparently I'm not the only one that things the official forums are, well, not a very good place to go.

Second, my MUL has everything about everything.  The only thing left is about 200 WS/DS, after which I'll format it up, toss it in a database, and let people peruse it.

For but for of you who don't know how to use google, and think that i'm releasing IP protected content, use google: Google

Click on any of those links, well, minus the couple CCG related ones (Your results are probably a bit different, google sells your info and markets specific things to you based on your viewing habits).

Anyway, notice all those sites with everything needed to make that unit?  Heck, I don't even have all the fluff yet, and probably never will (though I do plan on grabbing quite a bit from HMP files, including who edited the if the data is in there).

So anybody getting all freaked out, I'm not copying a PDF and putting online like some have, I actually manually entered in every single byte.  I did link many to their canon MUL entry though, so you can hyperlink to masterunitlist.info, and my stuff will be in a much more usable format, but it isn't anything new to the internet by any means.

Oh, and I thought of this earlier today.  A bit on the whole ban thing, I did know it was coming eventually so it wasn't a surprise, the moderators did it, probably without talking to anybody on the CGL payroll (my assumption), but as a former leader in the US Army, I took full responsibility when my subordinates screwed up, and though it may or may not be right in this case, kicking a contributor off the forums forever for my infractions seems to me pretty harsh, and not the way CGL should allow its fans to be treated.  I don't think this was anything personal, but just moderators blindly following rules without interpretation, something I'd make my soldiers do push-ups for.

Here is my plan, in no particular order:

  • Finish up the MUL, only about 200 units left, all DS/WS, probably won't finish till this weekend as I've got "chores" to do :)
  • Write a real time game, similar to BT, using megamek mech type graphics for now but in DX, that lets multiple people log on and fight out a game between tanks, infantry, buildings, mechs, VTOLs, etc, etc.  I think the hardest part about this will be creating and defining the interfaces, can't exactly use the DOW one :)
  • Import heavy metal mech fluff into the MUL, I never wrote an app to convert the other heavy metal apps :(
  • Write a web interface for the MUL.  That includes showing all the record sheets, hopefully a QS/BF sheet, and some decent searching code.
  • Finish up my rules for "Interstellar Wars".  This are probably much like IO/ISW or ISIF, but I'm thinking far less broken and far more detailed.  Its too big to fight out an entire succession war (unless you have a LOT of space/time/toner), but it'll be used to test out the code in the eventual Interstellar Wars computer game.
  • Look at Renegade Legion again as a potential computer conversion instead of BT.  Though its owned by the same folks, nobody is making stuff for it, and I've always been a big fan.  Or maybe Heavy Gear/Jovian Chronicals.  Both of those I really need more art for though :(

Monday, April 9, 2012

Banned!!!

First, a warning, if you don't care for my rant skip down by the images...

So the moderators were nice enough over on the BT forums to give me, wait for it...

A PERMENANT BAN!!!!

What for you may ask?  Posting the data on the quirks list out of strategic operations.  Apparently its ok to copy/paste large chunks of text from books, as people do it all the time, so it must have been personal. I never flamed people, and was nearly at 1000 postings, so go figure.

Granted, I could go create a new account in milliseconds, but fuck em, they are Nazi's full of themselves anyway. It is annoying I can't even respond to PMs though, but real Nazi's would be ok with that.

Now that this happened, I can now do the following without remorse:

  • No longer pay for their products or in any way support CGL
  • Freely open and distribute information from their products
  • No longer write software specifically for their products
  • No longer ask people to buy their products or support the IP
  • Release a competing game system without worry I may be negatively impacting BT writers and creators
Now some of you may be thinking I'm full of myself or something, and I rightly deserved to be banned... maybe,I can't argue with their logic, but here are my "infractions":
17th May 2011 - Friendly advice regarding rule 1 (personal attacks)
29th June 2011 - First warning (rule 4, no politics or religion)
18th August 2011 Second warning (rule 10; no selling/trading)
4th September 2011 - Third warning (rule 4, no politics or religion), one week posting ban
22nd September 2011 - Fourth warning (rule 3, confrontational behaviour)
25th September 2011 - Fifth warning (rule 10, no selling/trading); one month posting ban 

The one on 25 sep is valid, that was my bad, the other on 18 Aug I was just letting local folks to head to the game store that weekend, I was bringing my stuff if they wanted any (no prices or anything, just a "make sure you show up" thing, it was in a dedicated thread to their group).  I have yet to find out what the 17th may thing was, I never attack people personally.  The whole politics/religion thing, well, it wasn't a "Go Romney" or some other stupid comment, it was comparing why things could work in the BTU based on our own history, and wasn't even offensive.  The one on 22nd sep I was banned because when asking about system coordinates, I kept saying "TPTB won't release them".  ANYWAY.....

The rest of ya'll may be saying "all shucks, I wanted him to finish something", but here is the great news!  I am no longer bound by the silly BTU.  My MUL ground to a halt the last few days as I find uncorrected error after uncorrected error in record sheet and TRO books.  The BT folks really just don't give a crap about quality when it comes to the crap they release.  Their errata is pathetic, and I've been buying every book that came out in both DTF and PDF in the hopes that when errors were found, they'd update the PDF... .but nooooo, they don't do that, they hate their customers.  I've felt this way a long time, but tried to bite my tongue in the hopes I was just mistaken.

Oh, and btw, I emailed Randall about releasing all my MUL data and got no reply.  So apparently it is ok.  If you don't defend your trademarks, you can loose the trademark on it (and the licensing).  It isn't formatted yet, but if anybody wants a raw excel file email me at bad_syntax @yahoo.com.  Once I get it formatted I'll toss it into SQL, put it online till I get a C&D, then post it in a country that doesn't care about C&D's... if TPTB don't care about their products, why should I?

Ok, so now what am I doing you ask?  Here is what I've been doing:
  • The MUL.  I've gone through all the buildings, including the castle brian stuff (filled full of errors!).  I also went through all the variants that were only in older products and got them updated.  I still need to cleanup support vehicles, but that shouldn't be too bad.  Then enter in DS/WS/JS/SS, which again shouldn't be too bad.  I need to be motivated to work on it again, which may not happen until they release some new book or something.
  • The Reunification War, the board game.  I've been designing out a game based on the SLDF conquering of the TDF in the reunification war.  I have about 60% of the base rules complete, and was finishing up the map. Sorry that its still in excel, its easier to edit the map in that mode, eventually it'll be hexes.  The movement is the same tho, 4 hexes (er squares) per 30 LY.  The Hyades and Pleiades cluster have additional planets in the open area as there is no way to have a map with only 1 system per hex/square, even at 1 LY per hex!  Also the counters, which may not have accurate #s yet, but the format is pretty final.  If anybody wants the map in excel let me know, it'll print on 6 sheets of standard paper and has .7" square (I think).
 
  • So, next thing in my list, I'll work on creating an alternate universe to BT, but one with many of the same elements.  Big advance tech faction, breaks up, technology lost, lots of wars, comes back, etc.  I'll create all new units based on things I can find in history.  I don't have to worry about scaling at this point, as this is only a board game (I'll be using it to test out some of the combat/production systems before coding it into the final computer version).  Each faction will have a flavor, everybody won't feel the same.  It will have giant walkers, power armor, tanks, aircraft, gateships (jumpships), warships, and assault ships (dropships).  I can produce all the numbers myself, which has been a pain with the BTU.
  • I setup some PHPBB forum software on my old server recently but decided it was too much work for me to maintain.  If there are any big fans to what I'm doing out there, or even BT fans (hehe) who are familiar enough with it to set it up and mod it, I'd be happy to run the hardware.  Only 1 rule, "don't be an ass", everything else is fine.  I can also give you RDP access to my server, and all the "goodies" that entails ;)
  • One thing for all the folks that think DX and VB don't mix, I completely recreated the DOW2 control panel a while back using it.  The control is fully functional and object based.  Each button has highlights, clicks, mouseovers, different states, scaling, font/text, even animated buttons.Oh, and it'll be fully customizable in anything i write, so you can make your own, move buttons, etc.  Even though it is IDENTICAL to the DOW2 interface, it is 100% created and rendered by me, using images from the DOW2 game.
And this one, which has little animated green 40K hormagaunts moving across the map, which you can shoot at with sound and animated bullets:
Wouldn't take much for me to put mechs on it, add network code, and let you fight lots of friends in real time ;)

So, no more data entry and data mining of BT stuff, and honestly after entering in over 4500 units and seeing all the errors, its a wonder I even finished (well mostly).  But all the projects I've been working on, even cartographer, will still get finished, but none of them will be specific to battletech anymore, that universe is dead to me unless Jordan Weisman, and only him, wants to ask me for something.


Friday, April 6, 2012

MUL!!

The MUL is now 94% complete!  The rest are a few models of things scattered about.  Often units that were in an older record sheet book and not in the newer ones.  2% of those left represents about 80 of these situations.  I got rid of most of the duplicates, match up variants described with no model to ones with models, and identified a bunch of units missing from the official MUL.  Right now, excluding the stuff I list below, I have 4674 units.  There are another 672 that the canon MUL has that I don't, about half will be matched up as I finish the rest, many of the others don't have any sources in the canon MUL, so I may just skip them until more data is available.

There are 500 more units I still have to go through, these are:
205 Support Vehicles - mostly just cleanup
40 Buildings - mostly just cleanup
120 Dropships
17 Jumpships
2 Mobile Structures
24 Space Stations
92 Warships

I saved the more complicated units for last, as I needed to come up with a method to save crazy stuff like warship bays with 3 items in them, 2 of which have doors, but only 1 door type can launch, weapon bays with 4 weapon types, all with unique ammo.  Heck, I'm still not sure if I should track ammo in DS/JS/WS/SS by entire unit, or by bay (I have a question open on the official forums that hasn't been answered yet).  Mobile structures can get *really* complex, as I have to track 20 hexes, 20 turrets, dozens of item types, etc, etc.  Still tho, I can knock out all the rest in a couple days.

However, I have a *LOT* of cleanup to do.  Gotta make sure stuff is consistently inputted, clean up my excel file, go back through the hundred or so items I have marked as having some issue and see if I can find errata or a fix as to why it was a broken design, etc, etc.

I also want to go through and rip all the text out of heavy metal files (fluff stuff) and push it into this database (including credits if they were in there) and make a lot of the images that aren't on the canon MUL.

In the next week or two I'll make a website that'll let you peruse the data, as well as functionality to let you make a change to it to fix errors.  I won't have support yet to print out PDFs of lists of units, and may not end up ever allowing that support to be available to the public to avoid CGL loosing any sales.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MUL Comming Along!

Just a little updated on the MUL....


Now 72% completed.


Saving Warships, Jumpships, Space Stations, Dropships, Mobile Structures, and Support Vehicles until last due to their complexity.


Also started working on the design document for the full blown succession wars style game I'm doing.  However, I'm writing it up as a rules set, so if you want to make your own counters you could fight out any sized battle, even entire succession wars, in your own living room (assuming ample space of course), or just use the rules to fight a small region.  These rules will be the core of the rules in the game I'm doing, though eventually I'll be able to scale down to individual elements in the computer conversion, while the rules only really go down to company level (and not very detailed companies) at the lowest.


I also spent quite a bit of time looking for BT models, and the papercraft ones look to be low poly, have decent textures, but still no animations and they are in some PDO format I'm not sure if I can reverse back into something like the directx model format.  Regardless I still need the animations to be motivated to do a 3D game, without them its just too boring ;)


Once the MUL is complete I'll create a system to allow people to individually validate entries, without giving global access to everything for everybody.  This way hopefully people can check my work, though I do plan on having a design system verify the designs as well.


Got my hardcopy of FM3085 and RS:Prototypes today, kinda sucks that I already looked them over as PDFs :(.  But the FM3085 maps really pop out, full screen color, they look great.


Its funny how officially, RATs are pretty much worthless and inaccurate, yet somehow, in FM3085 there are 36 pages of them, and new rules for using them based on equipment levels and stuff.  If these things are just for "pickup games", why so much detail???  Really seems there is something up there, and I'm pretty sure, even though officially they are crap, I'll be using various RATs for randomly generating units in the computer games as they look pretty good to me.  Besides, only an idiot would want 50 different designs in his regiment, the logistics would quickly decimate the unit before any contact, a dozen different designs is even pushing it in some situations IMO. 


Anyway, working hard, more to come soon.