Sunday, April 28, 2013

RS 3075 Done! (and other musings)

533 pages, wowza, but I've updated all the entries.  Luckily, the second half went far faster than the first, with lots of battle armor/protomechs that are quick to update.  I also kinda slowed down on verifying some data, so there may be some updates from the most recent RS 3075 that were not in previous versions.  Sorry, but they should turn up if people actually start using the site.

Speaking of.  This kinda amazes me.  I read the official forums, and it is amazing how many people are asking for stuff that I have on my site.  Not only are people not telling others about it, but the people searching apparently aren't using google, which my site comes up pretty fast as.  Heck, google "goodsects WHM-6R", or any mech you like, and see how quick you can see the results.  It seems that nobody is spreading the word of all the work I've done, and its discouraging to think I'm only doing this for me, and a couple of my readers, and *I* don't even play it anymore.  The speed of my development is directly proportional to the number of people asking about it.  While I appreciate the few of you who do occasionally comment and visit the site, it just seems there aren't very many folks.

That being said, my "fuel" for development of my Federation and Empire assistant (aka a Cyberboard replacement) is running out, and interest in that has waned as well, so I haven't touched the code for it in I think a month now, even though it was 90% on its way to an alpha release.  Not saying I won't finish it, but again, without that much interest, I get bored and move on.

I have started playing with XNA, which I may be able to port some of my code to and it *might* speed up, but will require DirectX.  This would mostly affect my mapping program, but could also affect anything game related I do.  If I get some more interest I may write a top down, 2D, real time version of megamek that lets you drive around a persistent planet, with other folks, and fight out battles.  Who knows where that'll end up.

Ok, back on track to this site.  Now that I've finished updating my data I am going to start working on a completely NEW site.  I'll copy/paste a lot of the same stuff, but will be starting from scratch.  I'll make it a bit more modular so I can more easily make a few updates.  I've since also figured out a better method to create a dynamic easy to update database which I'll implement.  I'll also fix many of the bugs, and get record sheets for *ALL* units working (with hexes as an option, but circles default) using the same methods I made for the fan made TRO 3063.  This includes updates to all the Quick Strike (soon to be Alpha Strike I think) cards that I've made, and options to use canon data or my own calculations that are far more accurate (as computers so often are).

My current plan, of course subject to change:
Phase 1:  Recreating the search and search results pages
Phase 2:  TRO views of everything
Phase 3:  Record sheets
Phase 4:  Quick Strike style sheets
Phase 5:  Creating the user interaction stuff, like creating accounts and saving unit lists
Phase 6:  Unit validator (enter in your stuff, it makes sure years/costs/BV/availability is correct)
Phase 7:  Online unit designer. It'll be ugly, but it'll be better than *anything* else, and allow construction of *every* type of unit within the game, including things like mobile structures, bases, and even characters

These may be done at any time, depending on mood:
Phase A:  Add support for planets/systems, much like the IS Atlas
Phase B:  Redo the Cartographer app, hopefully HBHK will be out and Volt will be kind enough to shoot me all the updated data
Phase C:  Real time version of megamek, but with you only having a single unit.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Data Entry

Just a minor update, looks like I'm heading towards updating Battletech again.  However, the Robotech Kickstarter may end up halting any progress for a while... maybe.

I've entered in every unit from every source now, except I still have yet to finish the RS 3075 533 page record sheet book.  I'm about a third done.  Soon as I finish updating that, I'll start working on the new site.  I'll move over my new code for record sheets and design validation, and hopefully by that time errata will be good on quick strike so I can update the code for those conversions.  I'll have an option to see *MY* conversions, or CGL conversions.  I'll have both as I know the CGL version will stick with BV, and the two don't match up the same as they do in regular Battletech.  I'll be using the superior power of a computer to calculate the best damage at every range band, to give more realistic damage breakdowns.  I'll also allow different divisors, so you can do a 1:5, or 1:1, or 1:20 if you so desire.  I'll also include a system to scale up to division strength.  To do this I'll just average stuff up.  For example, say you want each maneuver element to be a company with 3 sub-elements, each being a platoon.  This way you can fight out a battle 4x as large in the same time.  I'll average up the values for each lance, remove things that don't apply to 50% or more of the lance, and sum them up so it looks like a single mech now, but is really the combined value for a lance.  I'll do the same thing all the way up to division levels, meaning each unit is a regiment.  

I'll also add support for creating lists, and *try* to get support to track your damage on a tablet/PC/phone so you can finally stop killing trees or eating through grease pencils.

Anyway, still probably a couple months out, but at least I'm doing something with Battletech again!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


It is finally on kickstarter!!!  Go give them some money here!

I was really tempted to do the $3600 thing, but wasn't sure of what Gloval's Report has in it... maybe I'll upgrade later.

As it has only been up a few hours, and already has $15K out of the $70K they wanted, I'm pretty darned sure this will get funded.

I just hope the game itself is great.  $260 for 70 or so miniatures is a great deal, and they are all in Battletech scale!

Unseen no longer!

$100 for a Marauder on Ebay no longer!

Woot, I'm super happy today!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Slight Progress!

I went through and entered all the units for TRO 3145.  I also extracted/named the images from the RS 3075 update, as well as XTRO 1945.  So I've actually done some BT work for a change!

I started digging in to redo my code that creates BF/QS data.  My version I think was far superior to the published version, as I had a computer doing things like "best case" calculations at every range band, giving stats more in line with the regular game.  However it wasn't very modular.  I'll be redoing it totally, but after perusing the BT forums that I am still banned from, it looks like they'll be doing some updates to the way stuff is calculated.  So, I'll be delaying any work on it until that is done.

I'm also thinking of a BF/QS play aid for phones/tablets.  It'll be a website, not an app, so it'll work with everything.  It'll be very similar to the Ogre War Room app out there, but have QS/BF data instead.

I also started tinkering with making a mech game.  There would be 2 scales at first.  There would be a tactical scale, where each counter is 1 mech/tank/platoon, and a strategic scale where each counter is from a company to a battalion.  They would be separate combat systems, but I will try to make them work together.  All the data needed for play will fit on a business card.  I initially tried to make it a 5/8" counter, but I wanted a bit more uniqueness than those counters could hold.  I can release little business card sets for various divisions or special units, and you can use the same counters that come with the standard game.  I will use BT for inspiration, but the game will play a bit more like QS.  I'll do an impulse system for movement, as the you-go-i-go system has some major flaws, and this will speed up movement as you only ever move a hex or two at a time.  I will have sensor rules, that will be extended quite a bit from the AEP/ECM rules in BT.  I'll have more unique factions as well, and units will be unique between them.  Anyway, still tinkering with the idea and base design.  If I come up with something solid, I may kickstarter it or just find an on-demand publisher.

If what I'm currently working on for Star Fleet Battles/Federation & Empire falls through, I'll get back on the Battletech bandwagon.  I've learned a lot doing it, and could knock out a QS computer version pretty quickly now.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Battletech Sillyness

So I was perusing Era Report 3145, reading the Museum Technica, and came to the conclusion that the writers are absolutely insane.

There is *NO* way that post war any military force would *downgrade* its technology.  Absolutely never, ever, and I can't stress "never" enough.

For Clan Sea Fox to downgrade a warship to a civilian transport is about the stupidest thing ever in the Battletech fluff.  For factions not to use word advanced technology because it was used for "bad things" during the war is also equally stupid.  It would never happen, with any military, of any race, in any time, in any universe, EVER.

Lets take some examples:
Nazi's were the epitomy of a "big evil" in our recent history.  However, after not only did we study their tanks, fighters, submarines, but their scientists and technology got the USA to the moon.  We used all their technology that we could in order to further our post-war era capabilities.

After WW2, sure, the US decomissioned a large percentage of its older fleet and sold off extra tanks, fighters, but just the older crap, we hung on to most of the later war stuff for at least a few years, before it was *sold*, and that was because we had far better stuff to use instead.  No state of the art equipment was scrapped immediately after.

The writers for Battletech are basically saying "After WW1 war was over, due to the tragedies seen by all sides, it was decided to go back to using swords and shields, and send the massive warship fleets to the scrapyard to be converted into cruise liners".



  • Word of Blake mechs would be everywhere, especially the Omni's, because in many cases they were better than the house mechs.  In the 500+ years of the BTU, nobody has ever hesitated to convert an enemy's mech to their own use.
  • Warship construction would be an extremely high priority for all factions, as the last war saw extensive use of them, and many planets suffered from their bombardment.  The taxpayers would be demanding some defense to prevent that from happening again.
  • Cybernetic enhancements would be used extensively, especially by career soldiers, as most soldiers are going to be looking for that "extra edge".  However, these could be outlawed, though it wouldn't stop their use.
  • There would be massive paranoia in every faction, huge numbers of officer purges and witch hunts, as there were so many spies in the previous war.  Only the best merc units would still be employed, as nobody would trust any other ones.
  • Factions would all be reverse engineering all the WoB tech they could, as in many cases it was the most advanced, in order to gain technological parity with their enemies.
  • There is a good chance factions would be considering 6 mech lances.  Not only as the WoB used them so much with success, but it decreases the amount of leaders (something you do when you don't trust anybody), but also helps when fighting 5 mech clan stars.
Oh well, just venting, and thinking about doing my own game of mecha combat, since I'm just not very happy with any out there.  However what I'm most unhappy with is the way the universe is going, and that means the writing, and that unfortunately I can't do in any way.  Any game I'd do would be rules only, maybe a paragraph to set the stage but not much more.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

New goodies from CGL!

3 new goodies out from CGL.  A quick review.

First, Technical Readout 3145.  This is a PDF only product.  It is basically a small TRO, but better (and appears far less bug ridden) and larger than XTRO's.  It has all sorts of units in it, including new Mad Cats, Vultures, and various support vehicles.  The layout graphics caught my eye as pretty good though I think they waste a bit too much space on the left side of the text page, and the cover art is superb.  Skimming through the book here are my impressions of the units:

  • Specter Scout Battle Armor - What is with the feet?!?!?  Is it *trying* to get stuck in the mud and tear up sidewalks???
  • Marauder Battle Armor - Kinda cool, but the anti-mech firepower doesn't seem to match up to the looks.
  • Gun Trailers - Ooooo, first time seeing a weapon trailer.  I'm not sure if you can just drive along, drop this off, and it'll function independently, but it should.  Good art and great and long overdue idea.
  • Gossamer VTOL - Stupid looking, inefficient, unbalanced, but on the tabletop a nice design.
  • Garrot VTOL - Sikorsky Sky-crane, non-combat unit that can be very useful in campaigns
  • Lamprey VTOL - So ugly I threw up in my mouth a little bit, but not a bad design.
  • Kite Hovertank - Good scout, good art but not a hovercraft in the conventional sense
  • Cardinal VTOL - Kinda ugly, but somewhat logical looking, and a great design
  • Testudo Siege Tank - Meh, but I liked the art
  • Bishop VTOL - Ugly as sin, in a campaign its use is limited by its range
  • Savior Repair Vehicle - Awesome, needed for campaigns!
  • Koshi Standard - Meh
  • Cadaver - Ugly, stupid, and dumb design, but on the tabletop it beats a locust hands down
  • Tiburon - Pretty, balanced, solid design, I'd field it
  • Stalking Spider II - Uhhhh, I'd never use it, but nothing is really *wrong* with it
  • Black Hawk Standard - Sniper mech, but +32 damage at point blank.
  • Vulture Mk IV - *Excellent* art, great vulture chassis upgrade, not a big fan of the multi-purpose configurations though.  Do 1 thing, and do it well, trying to do everything makes a design suck.
  • Hound - Cool art, the twin LPPCs on the right arm look kinda like a robotech Cyclone.  Decent design, good art, but not a defined role.
  • Jade Hawk - Silly design without much of a role... maybe for solaris matches I guess as it'd be good in melee and if >3 hexes from the baddie its just rubbish
  • Mad Cat Mk IV - In every way, see the Vulture above.  I did like the primary config, but the SRMs to the rear is dumb for a unit with arm weapons.
  • Hawkwolf - At first look kinda ugly, but it grows on you and makes sense.  Too heavy for what it provides though, may as well use a cheaper and more durable 3025 Archer.
  • Hippogriff - Looks stupid, worthless on the battlefield
  • Condottiere - Nice artwork, good logical looking design.  No real flaws, but at 150 tons it seems like it should have a little more bite.
  • NL-45 Gunboat - The name is confusing, next we'll have the "PPC Mech".  Art isn't bad, but I have no idea how to use this and probably never would.
  • Nagasawa - The artwork is freaking great, and I wish whoever did it would redo pretty much every ship ever printed.  The design is good too.
Ok, so, in short, its a TRO.  It is more expensive than regular TROs, but you get more units, with better art, and the best part, you have over 50 pages of the units *AND* their variants, which is nice.

However, they still don't have good design software.  Take the awesome new Vulture, the only way to know it has Lamellor armor, is by looking at crits.  Nothing on the armor part.  Oh well.

So, in short, I'd buy this if you like BT.


Era Report 3145.  I have been very disappointed with the era reports and this one is no exception.  There are 40 pages of intro, including a timeline of the era.  You get 40 pages describing the various factions, and 1-4 selected units (I guess the rest just don't count).  You then get 40 pages describing personalities.  It seems with the jump in timelines that introducing characters that'll be dead or gone by the next book or two is silly, but maybe they are hanging around this era more than I think.  You then get a brief text only introduction of some new technologies and stuff, to wet your appetite, then it jumps into the warchest system.  You do get a 3135 and 3145 map, which is the only redeeming value of the book IMO.  I guess if you like other era reports you'll like this one, but I'll probably never open it again.  Where the hell are the 10 pages or so of all the unit/quality/homeworld listings?!?!  Ugh.

And finally, something FREE.  A new snippet for Interstellar Operations.  IO is my most anticipated product, and when it comes out it may just suck me back into Battletech.  This 165 page word file is basically a raw extremely preliminary version for "alternate eras".  However, after reading it I saw a bunch of tables for equipment (years/ratings/availability/etc), and basically a bunch of rules that have been added throughout various books since SO came out.  There are a few goodies in there, more on LAMs for example, but just about all of it you can find in some other book.  This document scares me, as 165 pages of stuff we already have being tossed into IO isn't good IMO.  On top of that, there was not a single note I could find on the new interstellar battles that IO is supposed to be all about.

Its my opinion, the whole Total Warfare series of books was really screwed up.  They didn't think ahead very well, and seem to be working by the day on it, instead of planning ahead.  Now granted, this could be a money thing, but it doesn't make it suck less.

IMO, Total Warfare should have been something like this:
  1. Total Warfare - Game rules for all levels of combat
  2. Arms & Equipment - A listing of every single item in the universe, all of its detailed data, any special rules, dates by faction, rule levels by year, etc.  Each piece of equipment is completely encapsulated within its own entry.  There are no tables in the back, and nowhere you would ever need to look anything else up.  Any special rules from TW are referenced.
  3. Tech Manual - Design anything, much of what it is now, but with some SO stuff thrown in
  4. Tactical Operations - Pretty much as is, but minus all the new equipment
  5. Strategic Operations - Again, pretty much as is, but no equipment or construction rules.  Also, no BF/QS
  6. Interstellar Operations - Rules for things like politics, factory construction, fuel consumption, planet/system generation, base building, espionage, spies, everything needed for huge battles.
  7. Grand Battles - This has Quick Strike, Battleforce, and rules to scale up to about a division/brigade per "unit".
  8. A Time of War - RPG rules
So each book is all inclusive.  The RPG book would have no weapons in it, those fall in #2 which details out both RPG, BT, and even QS/BF style stats for the items within it.  Then, every year or two, there is simply an update that adds/replaces pages as needed within these books.  All of the books could be printed loose-leaf, so you can bind them, and those updates can just replace pages within it so you are always updated.

On top of that, I'd plan the following books (these may seem like a lot of work, but with computers, all of them could be knocked out in a few months by just me, and 95% of that time would just be to avoid breaking anything canon):
  1. Atlas - A single big book, with about 30 systems per page.  Each system has various details like star type, bases, population, habitable world stats, etc.  There could be 1 per data volume as well.
  2. Data Volume #1, Age of War -  A dozen pages or so describing the battles of the time.  1 page with leaders and important folks for each faction, and their various ratings as required (morale, loyalty, leadership, etc), and the rest of the book is a listing of all units, their quality, which random charts to use, special rules, logos, etc.
  3. Data Volume #2, Star League - Same as #9, but for the time of Kerensky
  4. Data Volume #3, 1st Succession War - As #9
  5. Data Volume #4, 2nd Succession War - As #9
  6. Data Volume #5, 3rd Succession War - As #9
  7. Data Volume #6, 4th Succession War - As #9
  8. Data Volume #7, War of 3039 - As #9
  9. Data Volume #8, FedCom Civil War - As #9
  10. Data Volume #9, Jihad - As #9
  11. Data Volume #10, RIS - As #9
Anyway, my opinion is meaningless, but there it is anyway ;)

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools!

I usually try to avoid the internet on this day, to avoid getting fooled by the news that is so filled full of fun, but today CGL released one of the better products in a while.

Experimental Technical Readout 1945.

Yes, it is an April fools joke PDF.

However, it is VERY well done at first reading and I am kind of impressed.  You can actually take a battalion of Tiger I's against a Warhammer... and yeah, you would need a battalion.  They included all the rules required to play these units in a game of Battletech.  They also had 2 things I *loved* on each entry, a # produced and years of production.  If they had those 2 things in BT, we'd have far more resources for generating games, especially strategic ones, but oh well.

It is free, go download it, then go to GHQ or wherever, buy some microarmor, and have a Leopard with 4 mechs, and 2 fighters, go and raid some planet, end up with some wacky jump issue, and be back in time to 1943 where they engage some US/German/etc brigade before getting damaged enough to go retire in some village somewhere, patenting stuff like velcro and post-it notes so they can live a life of luxury.

Also, even better news!  Looks like the Robotech game is on the way, maybe through a kickstarter.  See more here:  but in short they'll have plastic 1/285 robotech miniatures of all the stuff we saw from the show.  I can't wait, though I'm not real optimistic about the rules as Palladium rules suck horribly (but the universes are cool).

I jumped into Mechwarrior Online again the other day..... still sucks, but if you love mindless carnage and hate tactics, balance, and strategy, you may enjoy it quite a bit.

As for me and Battletech, well, not much to be said.   I check the forums every few days, but the topics are usually so lame I am not sure why.  Still pisses me off that you can't download attachments without logging in, so I have to use other accounts, but nobody cares but me apparently.

I haven't made any progress with anything BT due to a serious lack of interest, not just with me, but with the fans.  Maybe it'll change, I still have plans for a real time top down quick and easy BT simulator, as well as the whole strategic game on PC, but kinda think I'll be putting it off until Interstellar Operations comes out, though HB House Kurita may make me finish my stellar cartographer thingy.