Friday, October 18, 2013

3145 Update!

Just a quick note that I've updated the database with all the units from all the 3145 books and new record sheet files.  My database is now 6476 entries.

Still buggy though, and slow as hell because of the PDF generation.  Been busy and inputting data the last week or so, site updates have been slow.

I'll start working through bugs again next week, though I also have another pet project of converting the Victory by Any Means campaign game system into a stand alone counter based mass starship battle system.  That system is, by far, the best 4X sorta game system I have ever found, and very easy to play.

More to come soon, though my readership has tanked lately without any advertising :(

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fixing Alpha Strike Part 2

This is a more thought out update to Fixing Alpha Strike (Part 1) I shot from the hip a few weeks ago.

Forget everything I said, well, enough of it to look at this with a new mindset.  This is a new proposal, with a bit more design math (and thought) and a lot less math and die rolls.

Each Alpha Strike, or BattleForce (which I'm far more interested in) turn is 30 seconds, or 3 BattleTech turns.  As damage is averaged out in the conversions, it makes sense to average their damage output as well, instead of the all-or-nothing approach that exists now.

This chart is used *instead* of the normal to-hit roll.  All the modifiers for things like terrain and target movement, and skill are added together, which is compared to your attack factor, and the damage done is what you look up on this chart (created using standard deviations).

The times you see a number, like "3+".  These results mean you do get to roll a 1d6, and when you exceed the number you do 1 damage.  This can be assumed to be 0 if you want, but some very weak units could get stuck doing 0 damage forever, which is kinda unfair IMO.

So, no dice rolls... at all.... well, you get your crit rolls, but over 3 turns the damage of a unit, against the same unit, is typically very similar.   But people love die rolls, and there should be a bit of a surprise.  So, lets add one.  Roll 1d6 when you attack, if you roll even, you add 1 to your to-hit number, odds subtract 1.  If you roll a 1, you subtract 2, if you roll a 6, you add 2.  There, some variety (if you want it, as I consider it optional)!  If your modified roll is under 2, you do full damage, if over 12, you do no damage.

Hopefully I didn't lose too many folks with the reduction from 2d6 to 1d6, but just think, now you can have 4 colors on your 4 mechs, target 1 baddie, and roll 4 colored dice and quickly determine how you did!  No more bell curves, which shouldn't be very apparent at the larger scale anyway.

What this does is gradually wear units down, just like BattleTech.  Right now many units are simply destroyed in a single shot, and most units only take a few before dying.  It doesn't really "feel" like BattleTech.  If you removed the miniatures and 2d6 rolls you'd be hard pressed to identify it as BattleTech.

Also, one more thing.  This lets you *split* fire.  Target 3 units, pick the highest to-hit number, and split your damage as you like (round down) to those 3 units.

Introduce these into BattleForce and you get a lance, with say 3+4+2+5 attack at medium range.  Look at the to-hit number for the enemy *lance*, and use the 14 attack factor column and allocate your damage as you like.  Optionally if your damage modifier roll was even, the enemy allocates the damage, if odd the attacker.

So with this method, the amount of time it takes to fight out 30 elements, each of 4 mechs, is very comparable to the time it takes you to slug out 12 mechs.

Also, on a BattleForce scale, special ammunition is eliminated (I think it shouldn't be used at any scale actually).  This means the AC #/#/#, SRM #/#/#, LRM #/#/#, and IF # factors can all be ignored, though perhaps an M #/#/# should be added to indicate how many attack factors are missiles, for Anti-Missile systems.

This of course means lots of special damage type things need to be addressed.

If anybody wants to do some quick scenarios by setting up a map at both houses, and using PBEM, let me know and we can give it a shot.

I think I like this though, thoughts?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

BattleTech Record Sheets 3145 Unabridged!

Well I woke up today to a great email.  New stuff!

I purchased TRO 3145 Republic of the Sphere, TRO 3145 Record Sheets Unabridged, and TRO 3145 Record Sheets New Tech, New Upgrades.

First, this totally explains the lameness behind not having a PDF for TRO 3145.  Even though Herb specifically said that the TRO 3145 RIS didn't exist, sure enough, it did. 

What this means is those new units in TRO 3145 that weren't in any of the other TRO 3145's are actually in TRO 3145 Republic of the Sphere.  In fact, if you have all the TRO 3145 *name here* series, you simply do not in any way need TRO 3145 as *everything* within it is duplicated.  So, get those 8 TRO 3145 PDFs, then the 2 new record sheet files (or just the 2 RS files if you don't care about fluff) and your set.

However, hopefully they do come out with a TRO 3145 PDF soon, I'll still buy it.  I do have a consolidated TRO 3145 somebody made, that has stuff from 7 of the 8 TRO 3145's released so far, which is cool, but its non-canon.

So anyway, a bit of a review:
TRO 3145 Republic of the Sphere:  If you don't have TRO 3145 yet, get it and skip TRO 3145.  If you do have TRO 3145, you do not need this book.  However, if your like me and support the butt-heads over at CGL even though they don't support you, buy it anyway :)

Record Sheets 3145 New Tech, New Upgrades:
This book has the pages from the back of TRO 3145 with the new ProtoMech quirks, and technological advancement.  It also even has the little text descriptions of each variant from TRO 3145.  I won't go over all 200 of the designs, but its a record sheet book like any other.

Record Sheet 3145 Unabridged:
480 pages of goodies.  LOTS of TSEMP's it seems.  Lots of battle armor with 3+ weapons and other units with 6+ weapons to attempt to slow down the game some more.

Anyway, I'll start getting these inputted into my site within the next few days, though it'll probably take me a week or two to go through 700 pages of record sheets.

Soooo, enough of that, what else is new?

I am actually coding for the BattleTechEngineer site almost daily.  I have worked through dozens and dozens of bugs, many of which revolved around the way I did data entry.  I went through the McKenna and Nekohono'o designs the other day, and have most of their calculations working right.  I've cleaned up much of the output (though its still VERY ugly and buggy) that spits out below the Alpha Strike cards on the page.  I am sorry the pages can take so darned long to load.  The primary reason for this is the PDFs I am generating each page load.  I plan on going back to PNGs soon, which will make it MUCH faster, but haven't gotten there yet.  I only have 207 items in my task list, though it seems like for every 3 I remove, I add another :(

I also implemented small craft, most non-large support vehicles, WiGEs, and should have dropships very soon.  The history link at the top of this page is usually pretty updated, and will give far more insight.

I updated my MasterUnitList data to 8 October.  I hope they get more stuff up soon.  Heck, I'd be 100% happy giving them my database to use if they wanted it :)  The main reason the MasterUnitList site is so much faster than mine is they use static data.  I'll eventually do the same thing, but need to fix all the bugs so I know once data is generated once, its correct.  When that day comes, I'll have 100% static data (even the web pages will be static and no longer generated on the fly) and the site will be *much* faster.  Till then though, sorry, hopefully it doesn't discourage use.

Looks like my forum idea has kinda proven to be a bit of a waste.  Not many posts there, nor much activity.  I'll keep using it, and will respond very quickly to any posts there, but it isn't quite the magnet for traffic I had hoped.

I've been spending a lot more time the last couple weeks actually assembling the massive amount of miniatures I have since I'm actually playing again.  I also plan on trying out some painting techniques on some of my many "extra" miniatures (non-BT for now) to see if I can get good enough to do them myself.