Saturday, May 4, 2013


Well I got my official answer of 'no', and though I accept it, some of their logic was kinda hypocritical IMO.  Oh well, This blog will be dying as soon as I get all the resources together for anybody who may be interested.  I'll post a note letting people know when I'm done with updates.... if anybody wants to take it over email me.  If new page views drop below a couple a day I may just delete it.

For those who have some development skills, I wrote everything in and it could all be converted to C# rather easily.  Here is a list of stuff I was working on, that I will not finish, as well as various other things I'll be putting up... space permitting:

  • Aerotech game, using DirectX, top view.  Most of the code has been written, some stuff remained for the map interface as well as turn sequencing.
  • Infantry Platoon Builder.  I actually already released this.  It could use some more polish, and probably some errata, but it is the only utility I am aware of that'll let you create infantry platoons.
  • Mech builder.  This utility allowed you to build mechs, industrial mechs, superheavy mechs, and LAMs.  Needed a GUI.
  • Vehicle builder.  This utility allowed you to build support vehicles and combat vehicles of all types currently in the game.  Needed a GUI.
  • Character builder.  This allowed you to make characters.  I did much of the design, but needed to put in some of the newer career paths.  Needed a GUI.
  • Building Builder.  This let you create structures, mobile structures, and combine those together into a single base.  Needed some of the base merging code, as well as a GUI.
  • Aerotech Builder.  This let you build jumpships, warships, dropships, space stations, small craft and aerospace fighters.  Again, needed a GUI.
  • Battle Armor Builder.  Just that, again, no GUI.
  • Protomech Builder.  GUI.
  • Counter maker.  This made counters from Quick/Alpha strike statistics.  This was so you could play a game without needing any record sheets, allowing for much larger games.  
  • Random system generation using the rules from Explorer Corps, as well as the new test IO rules.
  • My BTE site, that pulled up all the units in the game, printed record sheets, created Quick/Alpha strike sheets, etc.  You can view this by going to
  • Record sheet creator.  This created the record sheets in TRO 3063, which were far more accurate than those on the BTE site.
  • Battle simulator. Basically enter an average terrain to hit and movement modifier, and any 2 units, and it'll run through a thousand iterations to figure out which one is best.
  • Cartographer.  This was done a while back and released to download, never really finished as I was waiting for HBHK to come out to finish the data.  Volt took over the data entry for system coordinates.  The next version was going to use XNA... oh well.
  • Tool to view the maps in Megamek, dynamically change their hex theme, released.
  • Icon creator.  This created the unit icons based on those in Strategic Operations.  Mostly worked, but I had some questions that never got answered and it stalled.
  • Website die roller site
  • Tool to take a list of systems, and print out a big-honking hexagonal map for playing larger games.
  • Player finder site
  • Application to rip data from
  • Application to rip data from
  • Much of a program that'd let you basically play megamek in real time (those kinda graphics, but real time and online, not turn based).
  • A lot of work on the succession wars game I was planning, basically a game allowing you to be a house leader and control every unit.
  • A full database in excel with every single unit every produced in battletech, with book/page references, as well as all data needed to recreate their TRO or inputting into Megamek or a designer.  I also have links to their images, both record sheet and TRO.  The file is about 11mb in excel and has 5759 entries.  I have links to the MUL if it exists on it.  Not everything has the TRO text data, about 40%, but many things have no TRO data so the number may be higher.  There is also a file that is needed by this one that has all the equipment in the game (it will need updating based on recent errata).  This includes everything you need to design units, and if made modular enough (not like SSW, HMP, or MML) it can be extended without new code whenever CGL adds some new technology.
  • Much of the work for an online record sheet tracker you could use on your phone or tablet, instead of printing.  It'd keep track of your units, the BV at any given point, as well as the time/costs for repairs.
  • A daunting amount of data entry for battletech I've done over the years.  Not only that, but many various ideas thrown in there as well.
  • An absolutely huge amount of battletech stuff.  From graphics, logos, house rules, basically just huge amounts of things I've downloaded off the web over the last 20 years.  It totals about 22GB, and I don't believe has anything "illegal" in it, though it does have lots of art from the game.
  • I have purchased everything in the game PDF, and since I won't be using them anymore there is just one of you who I'll send them too.  I have about 15GB in that folder.
  • I will be putting together an absolutely huge amount of BT stuff (maps, books, novels, mostly miniatures) out for sale soon.  I'll start with craigslist as I *really* (and I can't stress that enough) have no desire to box up dozens of boxes of miniatures and stuff and take them to UPS stores for delivery.  I'll accept pretty much anything in trade if your local, and would love to do some form of donation thing... maybe some big BT fan is down on their luck, or knows some non-profit that wouldn't mind selling them all.  I'd give it to them freely.  Maybe I'll take them all to Origins and give a miniature to everybody who walks in the door or something (well the first thousand or so)... though I'm not sure I'll go.  I just know I have zero desire to mail them out, don't need the money, and have zero desire to have them anymore.
Anyway, I'll get most of that stuff zipped up into big files, perhaps torrents, for those of you who want the data, as soon as I get a round to it and parse it for IP infringing data.

As for me?  Well I'll be withdrawing out of the Battletech community.  I won't say forever, but I can't imagine getting my mind changing.  I was devoting some work to Federation and Empire, but the interest there is extremely low.  I figure I'll either just decide to design my own game, find some new game to devote my free time to, or just work on a couple enterprise level products for companies that would allow me to retire early.  I dunno yet.

I'm not, in any means, leaving the web or disappearing all together.  I'll still have my 16 year old yahoo email account, and will always answer it even if it is about Battletech (like questions on all the stuff I listed above).  I'll always help anybody who asks, as it is my idiom, I simply won't be actively trying to support the community anymore.  I'd be find helping out for anybody taking over my code so the BT community can finally get some decent design software.

I'll probably leave my BTE site up for a while, until it starts to suck up too much CPU or space.

So, unless somebody wants to pay me, 20 of you get together and hound me daily for new software, or Herb/Randall ask me nicely to write them some software.... I'm done, sorry to have disappointed a few of you who stuck around.

Download links coming soon...



  1. Sorry to hear the news.

    DL links are welcomed.

    I am well interested in any mapsheets you may have. Older maps are so hard to get. Is there an email you can give out?


  2. Inventorying my miniatures now, will do the maps next...

    I'm not finished yet, but as of right now I have 760 mechs, 376 are unseen, 86 of those are LAMs. I also have 439 conventional armor (granted, 84 of those are savannah master/gabriels). I have I think 5 or 6 of the new boxed sets worth of plastic I haven't added, a 25 gallon tub 100% full of clickytech, Wolf's Dragoons Zeta Battalion in 3025, as well as all the documented companies from various old source books (Black Widow Company, Foxe's Teeth, Sorensons Sabres, etc). Oh, and various other chunks of them I simply haven't dug up yet!

    Oh, and literally regiments upon regiments of infantry and battle armor.... ghadzukes I had no idea I had so much of this stuff!

    My email is bad_syntax over at if you want to correspond that way.

    1. Final Tally, 26 regiments (10 are infantry). I can field not one, but TWO divisions, and almost 3!!!

      833 Battle Armor of various types
      275 Infantry of various types
      175 Hovercraft (84 are Savannah Master/Gabriel)
      192 Tracked Vehicles
      1106 Mechs, 453 are unseen (86 of those are LAMs)
      16 Naval/Submarines
      43 ProtoMechs
      96 Turrets
      47 Wheeled Vehicles
      6 VTOL's
      47 Miscellaneous Vehicles
      3 Aerospace Fighters
      64 Warships
      101 Dropships
      25 Small Scale Fighters
      56 28mm Infantry, and 2 28mm Elementals
      I have 73 additional plastic mechs that are painted fairly well.
      I have 54 additional metal mechs painted well
      I have 10 additional metal vehicles painted, some well
      I have 9 custom LAMs
      I also have 19 well painted CAVs, plus 2 in boxes

    2. Doh, turned up another battalion of mechs today, well, 27 (10 unseen) of them. So up to 1133 mechs. And now that I think of it, I know I have another box or two somewhere.

      Plus that pink breast cancer unseen Warhammer I paid like $85 for, as it was a donation thingy, not sure where it and similar designs went.

      Still, that is over 10 regiments of mechs... I need to set this up in a division like formation, just so people can visually see how big a SLDF division would be.

  3. Don't sell out. You know you'll want back in when its all gone. I know too many wargamers that have done this and regret it. Just cool down, help those who like what you do (as is your idiom), and trudge on. I think your the only reason I even thing of battletech anymore. I have been a grat lover of 'epic' state stull and battleforce has always been my desire. I have been working off and on with an excel spreadsheet using your site to fill in the data to create random lists for big sized fights and was well on the way to creating something useful. Losing your encyclopedia would be a great loss to the 'world' as it were....

    1. I'm thinking about just making a new Battletech game. I can do that without stepping on any toes or having any legal action upon myself. With games, all that you really own IP wise, is the content, the entire rules can be duplicated by another.

      So just a thought right now, not committed to anything, but perhaps I could just create a new set of rules and equipment, and let CGL keep doing the writing. Basically I'll just do an alternate rules set that plays a bit faster and is less unorganized and far more detailed. Maybe...

  4. Well, the staff are heading into Convention season, so you can't really expect 'em to be in top form for lesser matters like this.

    It makes sense to withdraw. Everybody burns out eventually, and most stalwart fans of the past decade have taken (or are taking) multi-year hiatuses from the BT Universe.

    Please give a week's or so notice if/when you do decide to delete your blog, though; I haven't been replying as much as I'd like, and you've posted some ideas I'd like to save for later examination.


    --You had a grand vision for a BT-themed strategic game. It's unlikely another Fan Grand Council game will actually start, but did you ever talk to the FGC guys, or did any of them ever approach you?

    --Have you considered using your "Battle Simulator" as the battle mechanic for a computerized game of Risk? Choosing which 'Mechs to buy and where to deploy them would add a new dimension to that game, and would give the project a wider potential audience than regular BattleTech.

    --What do you make of ProjectBTU? It looks like a BT-themed shoot-em-up, and I can't figure out if it's supposed to be anything more.

    --I think Catalyst/Raisley wants to identify issues with the construction rules before they get a new design program. Most fans seem happy enough with Solaris Skunk Werks, though I'm a little surprised SSW hasn't made their text output easier to read.

    I don't have the server or the skills to take over your projects, but I am starting to learn, and I'd be interested in seeing your data.

    1. I'll do a final updated, and may just leave the blog hanging, not sucking up any of my bandwidth. Dunno how long google/blogspot will keep it up after I stop updating ti though.

      Never spoke with any FGC folks. I am still planning a game, but like I've mentioned before, it'll really have nothing to do with Battletech except the inspiration for doing it. I may be able to focus on this more now.

      Interesting idea on the Risk thing, very interesting... just buy a mech as an "army", and ensure some terrain favors different types of units. Very interesting idea, but I don't think I could do it, project creep would kill it in my book. However, the simulator thing was always meant to be a standalone item, and could have been integrated into any game.... course, doesn't look like it'll get finished now :(

      ProjectBTU looks *very* impressive, and I really mean that. They are using the unity browser plugin, which is the sad part. I've played with unity a bit, and MWTactics use it, and honestly I just haven't been very impressed. Its great for making something like angry birds, not so much something with lots of assets and intelligence. What they are doing already looks far better than MWT, and I'm anxious to see how they do. Looks like they have a few programmers so the only thing I could probably contribute is... well... a database with all the units so they don't have to do it ;) I'll inquire, thanks for the link.

      The thing about construction is everybody (HMP, SSW, MML) are hard-coding the way that the system works. This means that EVERY rules update requires a significant code update, and in some cases it can take a HUGE amount of time, and eventually the applications break. It also means that separate code must be written for much of what you've already done with mechs, when you want to go build mobile structures. Basically they are setting themselves up for failure before they are even starting. The way I was coding it was completely object oriented and modular. The very few things that are "hard-coded", like slots on a mech, can be modified by opening a little text file (official mechs would use online validation, to ensure no cheating). Adding new equipment would be 1 more line in an excel file (then imported into SQL). Basically, I can use almost the exact same code to build a mech, as a warship, as a structure.... and I've got most of that code already written :)

    2. Being strictly fair to SSW, the equipment tables are built off the huge spreadsheet that's supplied with the download, and you can add new weapons and equipment into the spreadsheet without recompiling anything. But not everything can be rated with simple numbers (for example, the mass of a jump jet), and the real problem comes when the new item has a rules effect that you didn't allow for (for example, when it first became possible to split a large weapon between multiple locations - and more generally, as you point out, when you try to support vehicles as well as 'Mechs).

    3. Yes, SSW does it better than HMP or MML. I have 109 different attributes for each piece of equipment, including things like actuators, engines, and musculature. Jump jets for example are defined with values like "minimum_weight" and "maximum_weight", and my value for weight itself is a formula like "Hexes*Levels*.5*5". Industrial equipment is some of the most complicated, and I have many unique attributes that can be applied to items, the wrecking ball has these for example:


      And of course each piece of equipment I have has all the data for every unit type. So while SSW is on the right track. On top of that, SSW isn't going to be very extensible to warships or mobile structures with its current design.

      I could write 1 *really* ugly interface in a day, that would let you design *any* unit in the game using the exact same back end code-set.

      The key is making nothing dependent upon any particular unit, and defining all those attributes with the item definition, not with vehicle construction.

      The only reason I never wrote this in the past is the vast amount of errata that simply hasn't been added even today, so any attempt would be riddled with bugs :(

  5. Just a FYI, I just updated the BTE database for the first time in a long time. It has every unit in the universe, up through HTP:New Dallas. I have also updated from the as of 20 APR. I may try to throw the code out there to create the record sheets as its already written and may just be some copy/paste, dunno.

    1. Well apparently I'm doing some closing down gracefully...

      I updated the BTE so at the bottom of mech/vehicle/aircraft sheets, it says "for an enhanced PDF version, click here". If you click this (it could take a few seconds if your the first one to do so for that unit) it'll show you a PDF using the new PDF generation code I developed while working on TRO3063.

      I created the PDFs already for the WHM-6R Warhammer, Jagatai Primary, and Behemoth Heavy Tank.

      I also fixed a bug where the MUL link was broken, and added all the new sources to the dropdowns.

    2. RIP cartographer.

      Gonna miss those email exchanges on e systems database. With no working cartographer app available online that can dynamically show the systems, ownership and borders, guess there's no reason to continue updating the coordinates database.

      Best of luck, Syntax. It's been fun.

    3. Well I'm not actively doing new Battletech stuff....

      But Cartographer was never meant to be "only" Battletech, and while the "CBT Cartographer" will not have any further development, the "Cartographer" itself could, and would support a list of systems and x/y coordinates, generate borders/hexes, search, do paths, etc, etc.

      So when HBHK comes out, probably next year, feel free to update the coordinates and let me know, and I'll work on a new version of it to support that.

  6. I'd certainly be interested in putting together some sort of dynamic map generator, probably using convex hulling to determine borders...

    1. I tried doing some of that initially and it ended up getting kinda ugly. The end result, which I liked, was using influence mapping on a 1 LY grid/hex basis. There are just many border worlds within a LY of another, and any lines end up getting kinda squirley when a computer draws them. You can view the last screenshot at, and right after that was the time I said I was "done" before, hehe. Anyway, I was pretty happy with those results, just needed to add support in to fill in various gaps but it seemed to work.

    2. Found some old files. I used Delaunay triangulationthis map; the lighter colour shows up when all three worlds surrounding that triangle belong to the same power; the darker one is when only two do, and black is when all three are different.

    3. Bother, messed that up and lost part of the comment. I think it looks OK, but the data are a bit spotty and that really shows up on the map, which is at

  7. I am really, really sad about the going of events here. BS i know you did stomp some toes, but not letting you in again is defiantly sub standard behavior... It also saddens me to see you backing out of BT alltogether looking at the HUGE amount of work and time you poured into it. I also thank you again for the help you provided me personally and via your website. The community, although it does not speak up now, will clearly miss you.
    Critiques are never loved but they are bitterly needed!

    1. Yep. I've never turned down critiques, even the negative ones. In fact, I believe the negative ones have far more to offer. If somebody tells me what I did sucks, and some ways to improve it, I'm all ears. That is really all I ever did, but there are a lot of obsessed fans that think criticizing TPTB is right up there with saying Jesus was gay. Its a psychological thing I think, much like Apple fans tend to think of Apple as a religion ( I'm theorizing that with anything people are heavily "into", it is much the same way.

      If a dozen of ya'll, or more, write to worktroll and recommend a change in their answer, maybe they'd change their mind... I need *something* to kill my free time with, and would still jump back in if the support was there.