Sunday, November 30, 2014


Well over the past couple weeks I've redone all of my record sheet generation.  I got rid of the PDF generation, and went to PNG.  This was mostly due to the excessive overhead of creating PDF's the way I was.  I found a new library which was faster, but after implementing everything I did that library ended up being slow as well.  So, I went back to PNG's.  Aside from superheavy vehicles, buildings/mobile structures, and infantry platoons, I have created the code to generate ALL the other record sheets.  This includes protomechs, warships, dropships, battle armor, even airships!  Well, I think there are a couple things missing in there like satellites, space stations, and 2 turret tanks.  I will try to finish the last few before I update the website (so yeah, you are still stuck with PDFs right now).

I fixed a few bugs on the record sheets as well, like some internal structure not being correct.  I still want to add a few more things as well, like showing the armor/structure type *by location* to support frankenmechs and patchwork armor, but these are pretty easy to knock out.

The next website update will be HUGE.  I will be redoing all the TRO like pages, making them more like what you see in the TRO's.  I'll change the colors when I do so you'll know its been updated (it'll probably be black on white instead of the gray background that is there now).

I also inputted all the new units from the RS IndustrialMechs and the other new books that came out recently.

I also got my 16 boxes of Robotech RPG Tactics, oh boy, that is a LOT of models!!!

Catalyst released a playtest of the "Abstract Combat System".  I really wanted to love this, but can't :(  The system "map" is too small, the planet map WAY too small, the amount of record keeping too large, and the "mini-game" just doesn't seem very fun to me :(  Oh well, hopefully we'll see something better soon.

I think I had more to say, but this was a quick update to just let ya'll know I am indeed still playing with Battletech stuff.  I'll try to do a much better update when I finish the site updates and push them out over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Well its been a while, and I haven't done crap for Battletech.  Maybe I got played out at Gencon, maybe its because I stopped playing with my local group (hard to justify playing a game when over 90% of a turn is spent with other people doing stuff without being affected), or maybe all my other hobbies, but for whatever reason my progress on everything has been minimal.

But first, I did get the 2 new products, the The Operation Revival, and the Record Sheets Industrialmechs.

For the first time in a really long time, out of all the Battletech products I've purchased, I can honestly say these two were 'meh', and cannot recommend anyone purchasing them unless they just want to throw money at the Catalyst folks.  

The Revival PDF, well, *I* never cared about the trials of the clans in 3048 in determining who invaded, but maybe somebody did.  The only thing in this book even closely useful in my opinion were random tables for mechs/fighters/tanks for the clans in 3048.  Aside from that.... well, 'meh'.

Then we have industrial mechs and exoskeletons.  I think this is the way many may have felt about the TRO Vehicle Annex a while back.  Its a bunch of units, mostly without any combat capability, that I have a hard time thinking anybody gives a crap about.  I'll eventually enter them into my site, and will undoubtly find tons of issues like I always do, but it'll be reluctant as they are almost without a doubt stupid.  I'm sure somebody may want to plop one on a tabletop, and use a MWDA figure, but 'meh'.

I still have not heard back from Randall about my forum access.  At first I'm like "wtf, do these people not read email??!?", and then I found an email I sent a year or more before I got banned that I sent him and never saw a reply to either.  Then I did a bit of research and found some dubious character flaws on the CGL side, and just said "fuck it, their loss".

So here is what all I've done in the last month or so since gencon:
- Assembled my RRT miniatures from the free core box I got.  I'm happy with them, so some are a serious pain to assemble.  I'll get them painted up soon and post some pics.
- Got my Battle Systems Sci-Fi kickstarter stuff.  Squares a bit smaller than I would have liked (why the hell don't we have HEXES for this stuff???  squares are stupid and inaccurate) but its decent quality.... for a paper product (and thus not real durable).  I paid about $400 for 140 card sheets of terrain... ouch.
- Got my Wasteland Game Studio kickstarter stuff in.  I got 6 VTOL platforms and 20 bunkers (which fit perfectly in a heroscape hex).   Good quality stuff.
- Got all of my Heroes of Normandie stuff in, well, the stuff that wasn't moved to another KS as a crappy "wave 2" move.  It was quality stuff though, and looks like a pretty cool game.  I was looking forward to the Sliterine PC version, but now it looks like that may be just for iPad, so oh well.
- Bought another 32 little $0.37 clamps at home depot.  These things ROCKED for putting miniatures together.  Also got a few plastic things to make into 6mm buildings.  And I got a "cracked ice" cover for lights that I'll paint sea blue and hope that it looks like good water.
- I went through all my books and inserted the posted errata out there.  28 pages for the Alpha Strike Companion, sheesh!

Ok, back to Battletech!

I do update my data when I see errata so things stay *mostly* updated.  However, until CGL learns about data consistency there will never be a good, accurate, designer for all units.  I tried to help with this a few years back when Peter Smith sent me an email about it (Herb went ballistic internally about the errors in the record sheets).  It seemed to go somewhere, then I presented the amount of data that was currently missing or inaccurate and never heard from them again.  I think they have implemented some method internally though, as record sheets over the past couple years have gotten better.  However, we still don't have things like building construction, warship construction, protomech construction, RPG "construction", support vehicle construction, mobile structure construction, etc, etc, utilities.  I am closer to most on this, but it requires me do up a pretty web interface and my motivation is pretty small :(

My real time battletech game, dead.  Why?  Well, I got bored I think.  I wanted the world to move and rotate around the mech, instead of the mech moving in the world, so it was a major change I just wasn't ready to bite off.  I still think folks would like it, especially if I can make it run on a phone.  Dead though, but I may play with it at some point later.

Alpha Strike Card Utility.  I wanted to do this, then the Alpha Strike Companion came out.  It implemented a few more things which I fixed in the code.  The part that killed progress was, well, the interface.  I had it very close to workable, and may still finish it, but I need to basically mentally start over from scratch.  Too long of a break and I forgot my thought process at the time.  Not dead yet, but not being worked currently either.

Battletech Engineer Encyclopedia site.  This still works, and I make occasional changes to it.  Every time somebody posts a bug I go try to fix it.  Well, almost every time.  Somebody submits a bug with just a mech name that doesn't match the one on the screen.  They've done this like 20 times, and I don't know what the actual error is.  My best guess is they are using some old index or something.  If you are that person, please add more information to the little blank, or throw in your email in there (that email is NOT saved anywhere, I'll have to manually reply back) so I can actually resolve any issue.

Ok, what am I doing?

Well, played some Deadpool the last few days, as well as quite a few hours in FireFall.  Watched Person of Interest the other night, even with all the new shows out this is the BEST SHOW ON TV (yes, better than game of thrones, but granted not any boobies).

Ok, what are my plans?

Well I still love Battletech, and if a new *good* product comes out I may jump right back into it.  In my head right now I'm thinking we *REALLY* need a strategic game, but with Interstellar Operations due out sometime in the near future any work I do may become invalidated.  So the Alpha Strike Card Maker, or minor updates to the BTE site, are probably all I may do.


I am thinking maybe I should just write my own Mecha based game, with my own universe (which I wrote up a long time ago), that would be much like battletech in some ways, and fulfill that desire for big robots, but make more sense and have better written rules.  I'd do up the rules, playtest the crap out of them, make a mini-tro with great art (and associated 3D models) and a miniature line (with those 3D models 3D printed).  I don't have a lot of desire to do this, but it has been in my mind and may see some fruition.

As it stands now though, my interjection of Battletech desire has been pretty darned low.  If I got an email saying I could get back on the forums, or a huge number of people show support for me doing BT stuff, I would start doing Battletech stuff again, but without that interjection my motivation is just really low.

My forum is pretty dead too.  I blame myself for not posting to it constantly and keeping people engaged, but that all falls back to my declining motivation for Battletech :(

Feel free to offer up any ideas to motivate me again, I feel like I'm in hobby limbo until my 16 boxes of Robotech RPG Tactics show up.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Post Gencon!

Howdy folks!

As I mentioned, I went to GenCon this year.  It was my first, and at the last moment I would have refunded everything if I could have as I *really* didn't think I'd enjoy it.  However, I think I ended up having fun, and for me being the grumpy old man I am, was a pleasant surprise.

First, some things I learned at GenCon:
#1.  If you fly in that day, put your crap somewhere and do NOT try to walk around with it all day.  It'll deplete your energy faster.
#2.  Get one hell of a great pair of shoes, just for this event.  Your feet and back will thank you (I'm a disabled veteran, this convention hurt!)
#3.  Take various snacks and drinks in a backpack.  The gouge you with prices, and often you'll be in the middle of a game and not be able to step away.
#4.  Get a hotel as close as you can, even if it sucks (you won't be in it much anyway), and use a cab to get to/from.  Buses are annoying and unreliable, and I've hard parking is a nightmare.
#5.  Make a plan, and stick to it.  Its a freaking HUGE convention, and I missed all sorts of things because I didn't even know they existed or where they were.
#6.  Take some Ricola for your throat, it will thank you.  You scream the whole time, and your throat is killing you even on day 2.

Now, all the stuff I did:
- I walked around to every exhibit in the, umm... sales part.  Some impressed me like Hawk wargames and Dropzone Command, Star Trek Armada, and the Dwarven Forge Kickstarter (which blew me away it looked so good, glad I ordered like 10 painted sets!).  This took a day basically, minus stops.  Lots to see.
- I spoke with the DP9 folks about my unhappiness as to the direction their game is turning.  I don't think they really cared, nor should they.  I was however told to post stuff on their forums and that DP9 would put their "canon" sorta official stamp on it if it was a good product.  That was cool, though I still don't like any Heavy Gear since 2nd edition :(
- I bought 2 of the new Ad Hoc Alpha Strike Card sets, which are great.  I presume folks have done a review out there, if not let me know and I'll do one.  I also got a mousepad for battletech, which like most mousepads, is too small for me to use (but its still cool!).  I also bought the Scapa 9 tank box, a couple Leviathan 2 miniatures (which suck for quality btw), and an old school Charger I used for scale pictures.
- I took some Robotech RPG Tactics 1/285 miniatures with me and gave them to the Palladium booth.  I ended up speaking with them for a long time, got permission to take scale pictures of everything, and had some unprecedented access to them.  In the end, I ended up getting one of the 3 boxed sets that exist in the US for *FREE*.  I did an unboxing video as quick as I could, and have been struggling through the miniatures for the last few days.  There is a lot more on it out there if your interested, but this is a Battletech blog.

And finally, to Battletech!

I signed up for all sorts of things.  I ended up playing 1 alpha strike game (that was fun, I still don't care for the all-or-nothing damage system, but the game is great as an *alternative* to battletech) but most of my time was spent on the Grinder.  The grinder let me pop in, take horrible designs, die gloriously teaching somebody new the game, and it was quite fun.  I got lots of pins, which I gave away to newer folks.  I ended up with a couple left.  

I will say all the Catalyst demo folks I dealt with, as well as the other players (both new and old), were all in the greatest of moods and we all continually had a great time, even after 12+ hours of play in some cases.  It was great to have a place I could show up to at any point, and start playing (having a good place to sit helped!).

It was a very positive experience overall.  People were all very nice, police, and I didn't notice body oder at all (I was actually worried about that!).  I was quite surprised just how positive of a place it was.  Its a great experience, even if you do it only once. 

I doubt I'll ever go back again, but maybe.

I did speak with Randall for 30 seconds about getting re-instated on the forums.  I figure its worth a shot as I'm the only one actively producing new software for Battletech, and can save them and their volunteers many of hours of work by some of my automated processes.  He told me to email him about it after some other game convention this week.  I know what getting back can be like after being gone, so I'll probably wait till next week.

If I get denied, I will probably try very hard to back away from Battletech though, maybe to focus on Robotech, or more likely just go back to playing computer games to pass the time.  I kinda need the community feedback to feel like I'm not wasting my time.  The blog helps, and honestly is the only reason I'm still into BT at all, but I don't get a lot of views.

Till next time!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Off track, or am I?

Just a really quick update.

  • I wouldn't plan on the Alpha Strike Utility being done, even in Alpha, before Gencon (which is next week!).  Just been too busy, and too side tracked.  Sorry.
  • I have too many miniatures... seriously, I think something is wrong with me.
  • I created a Cyberboard module for the Reunification war, specifically the invasion of the Taurian Concordat.  Each hex is 5 LY, and I have all systems on it.  I will probably post it once I get a bit more done.  My biggest goal ever with BT had been a game that lets you model things like the Reunification War, Succession Wars, Age of War, etc.  I want to model at least down to company level (meaning a company has a counter) though most units will be regimental and sometimes brigades.  This was so I could start working on the prototype rules I did up a while back.  Expect more at some point in the future.
  • I've also always had an idea for a real time, top down (megamek graphics) battletech game, that is online, allowing hundreds if not thousands of players at once.  I've tinkered with this in the past on and off, but never really had anything to show for it.  I kinda wanna just use GDI (what draws the windows on your screen) but DirectX (what 3D games use) has a lot of potential too.  Anyway, over the last 2 days I used GDI to create a real time system to draw mechs running around shooting at each other:

The warhammer has the Marauder targeted, and has fired a couple weapons (the grey # is the 10 second countdown to fire them again).  Damage on the right is the target.  Still little bugs here and there to work out, but 1 more day's worth of work I should have them done, and criticals implemented.  At that point I'll make it a bit easier for users to edit and will release it for folks to play with.  The neat thing is it requires no 3D hardware to run (though I think it may help).  I can even play it on a remote desktop window!  Once I release the single player version hopefully with some rudimentary AI, I'll create a network version.  It is really only 3025 now, but most other tech could be easily implemented.  This is just a concept I guess though.  I'll go farther as its not fully fleshed out as a concept, and will work on it lots of interest is there, but it may fall by the wayside to something else more interesting if interest isn't overwhelming.  Oh, and I'm trying to keep it 100% as faithful to the board game as possible, with 10 second "turns", turning slowing you down, using piloting skill rolls, etc, etc, though some things will have to be tweaked to work in real time.

Oh, and finally, since I'll be prepping for GenCon and going/recovering over the next 2-3 weeks, I doubt I'll have an update or much progress for a while.  Anybody who wants to meet up at GenCon feel free to email me (Bad_Syntax at

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hard at work!

Ok, quick update, minimal rants.

#1.  I worked on those counters, and worked on them a LOT.  I eventually created like 2500 counters (individual files) probably 100 times.  I am not happy with them, and created a re-design, but haven't implemented yet (these counters will have more symbols/colors, and less letters/numbers).  Then I started working on the map, and made a bit of progress, then remembered this whole path was off track, so I stopped.  However, thanks to one persistent user I did create a pretty darned neato HTML5 Canvas map of the Inner Sphere in 3140.  I can make these very quickly for most eras, and can do a LOT more with it.  This was a proof of concept, feel free to use the code.

#2.  MASSIVE updates to my BattletechEngineer database.  Aside from some infantry and buildings, I can go through all 6500 or so units and generate their alpha strike stats, based on the new rules in the alpha strike companion.  I am still tweaking things, but the database is a lot more consistent now and I have fixed many errors folks had noticed.  Once I make a bit more progress, I'll create a PDF for every record sheet book made real quick and move on.

#3.  Kinda off topic, as this is Robotech, but as a HUGE investor (over 300 regults incoming!) in the project I'm happy to see progress being made.  However, as a big fan of the other generations I didn't want to wait, and am having my own models done.  Take a looksie at my 3D printed prototypes, all in perfect 6mm or 1/285 scale:

#4.  I'm going to GenCon, woot!  I *really* hope I enjoy myself.  Unfortunately while I LOVE Battletech and games with lots of numbers and statistics, I haven't had a lot of fun playing them in the last few years.  Its only ok and hasn't recreated the fun I've had with WW2 and moden micro armor from the early 90s.

#5.  An Alpha Strike Freebie!  Hand-Held Weapons in alpha strike, here is a PDF you should be able to use pretty easily for now, though you'll need to know what mechs have 2 hands as it isn't denoted on cards (yet!).  I envisioned counters for the hand-held weapons, as they can be dropped/moved around easily, though I haven't made any yet.  Download the PDF here.


Next I'll focus on finishing up the Alpha Strike cleanup, updating the point values, and tweaking some values to work.  I'll also finish up and test all the designs with all the "Bad_Syntax Optimizations" turned on (things like RL #/#/# for a 1 strike rocket launcher attack, TUR(#/#/#) for mechs that can flip arms, STR # for fighter strafing, average rounding, and all sorts of other things).  Once this is done I'll hope back into my Alpha Strike Utility as I *really* want to get it working by GenCon.

May you pass your piloting skill rolls!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Worst Blogger EVER!

Ok, first, like I so often do, let me apologize for being so late between my updates!  No excuses, just laziness and distractions on my part, with a touch of procrastination.  I suck, now lets get moving.

I'll keep this update brief, as at this point I have probably lost half my short reader list anyway ;)

New Releases!
    Alpha Strike Companion - GREAT book if you are into Alpha Strike at all, a "must have".  It was nice to see some of my ideas make the rules, like RearX/X/X, HtX/X/X, and some versions of variable damage (my favorite version is just use a missile hit table for the damage amount, start at 7, and add/remove the margin of success/failure on the attack to determine damage done).  Anyway, buy it, I did!

    LCAF 2765 - Woot, I *love* these books.  We finally get to see all the units in the 2765 era.  Hopefully we'll get a periphery version soon (or multiple), and I'd still die for a new SLDF version with a listing of all the divisions and their quality/morale (broken into regiments would be awesome, but not very likely).

Alpha Strike Utility
    It took me a really long time to figure out how to deal with generating/storing units.  However, I finally got it, and an interface to manipulate them.  I haven't finished it, but the only hold up now is sitting down to knock out chunks of code.  I can now generate any sized unit (well, galaxy/division/regiment level) with random units from XOTL's tables for now (soon many more).  Clicking on each unit will show you my AS card, or the MUL AS card.  Beta not ready yet, but soon as it will be those of you who emailed me wanting to be a part of it will get a copy.  I also need to implement new rules/formulas from the Alpha Strike Companion in there.  This is my #1 focus, though I still get sidetracked (see next entry) as I want to have it finished and working by GenCon.

Succession Wars
    Thanks to the 2765 LCAF book, I made counters for every regiment in 2765.  I have also created a 278x235 hex map with all the planets (1 hex with 4 systems, 1 with 3, and 13 with 2, but all other hexes have just 1 system!) on it.  Each hex is 5 LY, so you can jump 6 hexes.  I did all this in Cyberboard, which is a great utility to play counter based games online.  I also imported all 500 or so of the counters into it, though it is 100% non-functional now, it was just me playing.  Here are the counters for you, though I may end up redoing them entirely:

    Basically I was thinking of having these counters on the map, and each held a counter for each battalion (which could even be broken up into companies, though not very often).  Counters would have steps of damage, representing lances destroyed.  I have pages and pages of this stuff, one day I'll finish it.

Battletech Engineer Website
    I have been making updates as people pointed out errors, and a few other things I've caught, as well as adding new megamek icons Dreadborder puts out, but I haven't yet updated the site yet.  I think I may completely redo it, as I'm not real happy with the format (I made it to complicated!).  I did find a new method to do the PDFs though, which will be MUCH faster I think.

    I have always kinda wanted to go to GenCon, and this year I will be going, all 4 days.  I am going mostly to see the Robotech RPG Tactics stuff, but as they are all sold out I signed up for like 15 battletech games of various types.  I *really* hope I don't think it blows, like I did with BGGCon last winter here in Dallas, but at least I can say I went one day.  If anybody wants to meet shoot me an email and we can coordinate something.

Other things I'm working on:

  • Once I get my AS data updated, or maybe even before using MUL data, I'll generate a PDF with record sheets for each TRO and Record Sheet book released for folks to download.
  • I want to create new AS cards that look great, but I'm no artist.  I can copy the beautiful ones CGL made, but I also wanted some colors in there for each faction.  I like the new designs with criticals, but not the way they are implemented and there are situations where those criticals will become problematic.  If anybody wants to make some great card templates, I can quickly write the code to make an AS Card out of them.
  • I have entered in over 4400 random tables from various products.  These will all be included in the Alpha Strike Utility though I need to figure out some standardization for them, as some of the newer tables have quite a few results that break the whole 2d6 thing.  Not that its a bad thing, its actually great, but it'll take some coding to do.
  • I entered in all the data from the Clan Wolf book, and merged it with Alpha Strike.  First, something interesting, not a single name of a warrior was ever duplicated, not in like a thousand units.  Some had blood names, but the first name was always unique!  Next, want to know what each galaxy would look like if the galaxy was a single Alpha Strike card (Armor=Armor+Structure divided by some divisor, attack=Medium Range but divided by some divisor, PV beta and not skill modified, I think they all move 3)?
    • Alpha Galaxy, 662 PV, Medium Mech, Elite, 21 Attack, 38 Armor
      • Cumulative abilities:
      • CASE180,OMNI224, ARTAC-40, AMS17, PRB37, RCN37, ECM7, TAG2,VSTOL66,SPC66,BOMB202,PNT15,IF70,MEC69,AM69,CAR345,SNARC2,FLK19/41/32,LRM28/28/48,SRM57/57 (obviously these would be modified for a galaxy level battle)
    • Beta Galaxy, 529 PV, Medium Mech, Elite, 17 Attack, 31 Armor
    • Gamma Galaxy, 555 PV, Medium Mech, Elite, 19 Attack, 32 Armor
    • Delta Galaxy, 616 PV, Medium Mech, Elite, 20 Attack, 34 Armor
    • Epsilon Galaxy, 453 PV, Medium Mech, Regular, 15 attack, 46 Armor
        Or would you prefer each cluster?
    • Trinary Clan Command, 40 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 4 Attack, 7 Armor
    • 13th Wolf Guards Cluster, 106 PV, Veteran, Medium Mech, 10 Attack, 18 Armor
    • 328th Assault Cluster, 183 PV, Elite, Heavy Mech, 17 Attack, 32 Armor
    • 4th Wolf Guards Cluster, 179 PV, Elite, Heavy Mech, 17 Attack, 33 Armor
    • 279th Battle Cluster, 154 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 15 Attack, 25 Armor
    • Galaxy Command, 82 PV, Elite, Heavy Mech, 7 Attack, 14 Armor
    • 341st Assault Cluster, 133 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 13 Attack, 25 Armor
    • 352nd Assault Cluster, 149 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 14 Attack, 26 Armor
    • 3rd Battle Cluster, 164 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 16 Attack, 27 Armor
    • 7th Battle Cluster, 159 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 16 Attack, 26 Armor
    • 16th Battle Cluster, 141 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 15 Attack, 25 Armor
    • 11th Battle Cluster, 181 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 18 Attack, 30 Armor
    • 11th Wolf Guards Cluster, 167 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 16 Attack, 27 Armor
    • 37th Striker Cluster, 161 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 16 Attack, 26 Armor
    • 4th Striker Cluster, 177 PV, Elite, Medium Mech, 18 Attack, 31 Armor
    • Nega Garrison Cluster, 101 PV, Regular, Medium Mech, 11 Attack, 31 Armor
    • Choyer Garrison Cluster, 96 PV, Regular, Medium Mech, 10 Attack, 30 Armor
    • Gurbeng Garrison Cluster, 99 PV, Regular, Medium Mech, 10 Attack, 31 Armor
    • Dorbeng Garrison Cluster, 103 PV, Regular, Medium Mech, 11 Attack, 32 Armor
        Eventually I'll get Clan Jade Falcon done too, then the other clans inputted and RATs fixed for them, but for now this was an interesting side project.

    I made a forum but its hardly used, I will respond to stuff on it very quickly compared to the blog.  Oh well, if it stays dead in a few more months I'll probably just end up removing it as supporting it is a lot of work.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Major Update

It has been a REALLY long time since I did an update, and for that I apologize.  My focus has been off since December, but I'm working on getting back on track now.

To avoid a REALLY long posting with all the updates, I'll do a quick nice and simple one:

- I bought 4 copies of the new introductory boxed set.  The new miniatures are awesome, and to not see a clan version, a 3067 version, a 3075 version, 3085 version, 3145 version, and so forth, of these wonder miniatures is a crime against humanity.  Hopefully we do see other sets get printed, as I'd MUCH rather have them than the garbage coming out of IWM these days.
- Field Report 2765:  FWLM.  Awesome book, like the rest.  Soon as I get the LCAF one, I'll start working on the 1st succession war game.
- XTRO Royal Fantasy April Fools PDF.  Not your usual joke, the units are completely usable.  Fine designs, only beef with it is no artwork.
- XTRO Gunslingers.  Woot, some nifty new units, a bit munchy on some.  Didn't seem like many were gunslinger pilots though but I didn't read much.  Anyway, great purchase.
- Era Report 3145.  This looks like a good transition book through the dark age, and I kinda hope it is the last book of the dark age.  It goes through the various MWDA factions and such.  I have very little interest there, and didn't really read it.
- I finally got my 4 mats from  The only way the guy would write me back was to send money first, then modify my order.  I got 4 mats, a blue, tan, green, and white.  They are much thinner than they used to be, and are basically just felt you could get at a hobby store with a silkscreen hex grid on it (not dots, but lines).  Meh quality, but all I know of right now.  GripMats should have something soon to beat them though.
- Kickstarter is a curse, I have been spending too much time, and WAY too much money there.  I am starting to step away from the pre-order system, and trying to avoid spending as much money.  I have been disappointed a few times with non-games, and games seem way overpriced in most cases.  
- Windows 8.1 blows donkeys, and Office 2013 blows the product that blows donkeys.  I've tried for months, but they are just too slow, too buggy, and too much of an impact on my productivity to keep using.  Back to 2008 at work, and soon 2008 on my desktop at home.
- I have now spent way too much money on Heroscape terrain on ebay, but have enough to do whatever I want and can easily fill a table with anything.  Sure wish somebody would make a similar system, perhaps that didn't interlock so difficultly, and kickstart that sucker.
- My forum is pretty dead, but its my own fault for not posting on it much :(
- Nobody in my 10+ person battletech gaming group wants to even touch alpha strike, go figure.
- I have been trying to get a 3D modeler on contract to knock out all the robotech/macross/rifts mecha, and then battletech stuff.  Basically somebody i can give a few hundred bucks a month to for 2-3 models of stuff.  I want to get some 3D printing going and have a 3D printer due at the house this year to play with.

And the good stuff:
- I have done database updates on my site.  It has everything, even the units from the newest PDFs, though I need another refresh for that last batch of books.  Many bug fixes, including the new beta PV system, have been implemented.  Still needs work though!
- The next version of my alpha strike tool will support the German language, and any other that somebody wants to translate for me.

Ok, now the great stuff!

Even though I haven't been very active here, nor my forum, I do still watch the forums I'll always be banned from.  Pathetic, I know, probably even stupid since they said they don't want me, but have zero problem taking my orders.  Anyway, that has kept me somewhat involved.  I even email lots of errata and issues with the MUL and various books to the couple people I have emails too over there.  I think above all that is the #1 worst, is that I find all these issues but can't let anybody know (Anybody have Xotl's email?) :(  Anyway, this activity has kept me "in the game" so to speak, plus my gaming on weekends.

Ok, anyway, I have now spent about 20 hours on the new Alpha Strike Utility.  Yeah, it has a rename, but it is no longer just a simple card maker.  It is that, plus a force tracker, a unit browser (pulls from the canon MUL, my own, and my own "tweaked" as options), a PDF output generator, card comparer, card generator, random unit generator, and best of all, a tool that you can use to track your alpha strike units in game.  Click a button, take a hit, optionally it'll even resolve critical hits for you.  I have a LOT of work to do yet, and as of today I just have an extensive search/filtering system with support the cards for my site, and the MUL site, but more will come very soon.  I've already written all the back end code to support alpha strike in game for example.  Now its really just all about the interface and application design, the hard code has been done.

Now, hopefully within the next few days, I'll be ready enough to get it tested.  This will NEED to be tested by other people, especially people that can really point out the flaws in my interface and recommend any fixes.  You don't need to know programming or be technical, but do need to understand the various types of windows controls and how to build a fluid application.  As an example, right now, my filters have a checkbox for things like "MR damage", then a number box where you can go up or down for the minimum and maximum value you want to search on.  It works, but its far from elegant.  Any ideas on how to make it more intuitive would be greatly appreciated.

Beta testers shoot me an email at bad_syntax@  There will be goodies for those that can provide some great feedback.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Good News + Historical - Wars of the Republic Era

Woot, finally, after nearly 3 months, some goodies!

First, the Field Report 2765 AFFS.  This is like the others, so if you liked the others get it.  You get 2 new warships (one is a Congress mod, so kind of a cheat, but the other cool) and all the usual goodies.  I love these books, and once all of them come out I'll be starting up a long dead project :)

Second, the Historical - Wars of the Republic Era.  I bought this thinking it was the age of war era, so kinda disappointed as the whole dark age simply hasn't captured me.  That may be my fault, I hardly read the books anymore :(  Anyway, its a pretty decent book it appears.  It felt a LOT like the Brush Wars historical, which is a good thing.  Lots of various little operations with their maps.  It has random unit tables, some personalities, a new mech and dropship, some deployment tables, and no new rules.  Pick it up to support the IP!

So I got these, read through them, entered the units into my database (not yet updated for ya'll, sorry), and then just a couple days later, we get the pre-order of the new boxed set!  If you buy 2 for $120 (Plus shipping) you get a 3rd set of miniatures!  Woot!  I bought 2, well, 4 boxed sets, and I have no idea why, as I had like 6 of the previous boxed sets.  I'll start giving away the miniatures at games I think.

I got Field Manual 3145 as well, which is a very hefty book and a must purchase IMO.  I won't review it, as its like every other Field Manual out there, but it does have some new equipment and rules for superheavies that make it a must-have.

And yet MORE good news.  Since everybody knew the Alpha Strike point system was completely useless, we now have a beta copy of some new rules with a well put together PDF for calculating point values!  They *seem* pretty decent up front, and I have started implementing them into my site.  Once I finish the implementation I'll remove all references to the old point values.  Even a buggy version of this system is better than a solid conversion of the old!

And it must be a great day, as there is even MORE good news.  This is actually TERRIFIC news, at least to me.  The "coming soon" page now has Interstellar Operations!  Now, this doesn't mean it'll be out soon, maybe not even this year (HBHK has been on there some time), but at least we have it in writing that it *IS* coming out.  I really can't wait for this product, and really hope it doesn't disappoint me.  This was the key rulebook I needed in order to move forward on my Succession Wars PC game.  

And the bad news, I haven't done much on the site since the last update.  Been working on a Rifts tabletop game, slammed with work, and going through many of my games deciding which simply aren't worth keeping anymore.  I hope to get back on track very soon.  Soon as I implement the new Alpha Strike Point Values I'll start updating the Alpha Strike Card Maker, which will have a LOT of new features.  If any of ya'll have a windows surface tablet you may *love* the new version!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Alpha Strike Search & Other New Features!

Ok, I'm on a roll, though I only spent a couple hours on updates, I figured I would post this one as its *very* useful for the Battletech Encyclopedia.  

Basically, you can search for Alpha Strike abilities!  The downside is I am using the data from the MasterUnitList, so there are quite a few units missing.  However, you can at least search using alpha strike abilities.

PLUS, by default, you can view the alpha strike stat line in search results!  Not sure why I never had a bit more detail on the search results, oh well.

Eventually I'll have my algorithms good enough to create my own Alpha Strike stats and be confident in their numbers.  When that happens I'll start using my own data instead of piggy backing off of the MasterUnitList.

I am about done with textual updates, and will soon start fixing my cost/BV/weight calculation algorithms.  This is a pretty slow and painful process hampered by errata and issues :(

The new Point Value system for Alpha Strike should be released to the public soon!  When it comes out I'll instantly go implement it.  I'll run it first against the MasterUnitList data, which would only take a few minutes once I get the data inputted.  I'll then send the data to TPTB and hope they accept it, so they can update their PV on the website for Alpha Strike cards.  

I want to figure out how to get image scrolling working for units (the top image on the details page, often I have multiple, just not on the website) as well as a skill changer for the Alpha Strike Cards... lots of updates :)

And no, I haven't forgotten about the update to the Alpha Strike Card Maker nor the hex/square counter maker using megamek icons, nor the Alpha Strike Game Helper application to let you basically have Alpha Strike cards on your tablet/phone instead of needing to print them.

But I'm at least updating the site again, hopefully we see some new products soon.

Here is what I've done since that last update to the Battletech Encyclopedia site:
13 FEB 2014
 - Fixed fusilade, so the Sprite 1 works (though it kinda stinks compared to the 2 and 3)
 - Fixed Protomech Standard & Extended Jump Jets
 - Buildings & mobile structures come up and calculate kinda ok, they need a LOT of work, and in fact will need multiple Alpha Strike cards to show!
 - Fixed infantry W&E listing
 - A few more database updates
 - Added ability to search by Alpha Strike ability.  I use the canon MasterUnitList.Info data for this, as I generate it on the fly (once perfect, I'll cache it, till then we'll use MUL data).  This means there could be issues, often with units that *should* have an ability but don't as the MUL isn't complete.  Still, its as good as what they have, mostly.
 - Formatted output for both textual return types to include Alpha Strike data.  Again, this if from masterunitlist (as of 25 JAN 2014) and if the numbers are wrong they aren't mine.  I'll update this periodically, or if somebody lets me know the MUL was updated.

12 FEB 2014
 - Fixed Protomech display and armor rounding
 - Added text box by error report to put in a brief description of error.  Emails could go here and I'd reply to them with fixes.
 - Fixed infantry chassis so they show up with no errors

 - Updated production database & copied new files

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Back in the Game

While I can't say I am now hitting the ground running, I am at least now hitting the ground and moving forward.

I have done quite a few changes since 1 Jan (the last before that was October) and pushed out the new code.  I still need to update the database with some unit bug fixes, and will try to do that tonight.

I have added many new megamek icons for the 3145 units, thanks to Deadborder!

The biggest updates are just reformatting of the page a bit, fixing the display for most units, adding a link to the Alpha Strike cards, and a "Report Error" button at the top of the page.  So if there is some unit you like, and its broken somehow, report the error and I'll get an email about the entry.  Of course you can also just email me or post on my forum. 

Here are the Battletech Engineer Encyclopedia updates since the first of the year (nobody is expected to know all my shorthand):

11 FEB 2014
 - Formatted the TRO text output a bit better
 - Fixed table outputting space vessel equipment list
 - Fixed output of source list
 - Updated a few megamek graphics so they would have transparent backgrounds
 - Fixed a shots per weapon calculation bug with larger craft
 - Fixed Alpha Strike fighter attack values (they were x/x/x/x/x/x/x/x/.... and now are properly SR/MR/LR/ER)
 - Fixed armor cost/weight calculations in final table on TRO page.  Just aesthetics really, but it was breaking BV/Cost calculations
 - Updated "Quick Strike" everywhere to "Alpha Strike"
 - Added column labels to equipment and weapons for a few units that didn't have them displayed
 - Added a direct link to the Alpha Strike card, which is displayed right beside my own generated card.  This can be done now that the canon MUL is generating PNGs.
 - Fixed showing manufacturers if I only had the manufacturer data with no proper labels
 - Fixed simple table output to remove the extra column
 - Fixed some data on various units
 - Fixed some issues with the Alpha Strike TAG/LTAG abilities (I didn't have LTAG, and all TAG wasn't being added)
 - Removed extra columns from W&E list on DS/WS/JS/SS
 - Cleaned up table display.  Made things a bit smaller, and got rid of most of the bold.
 - Fixed Battle Armor display and included calculation for BA items that are less weight than their mech/vehicle equivalents
 - Fixed Battle Armor armor point/weight calculation (it was rounding to nearest .5 ton, BA doesn't round)
 - Added error reporting button to top of details page
 - For BA/Small SV I changed weights from tons to kilograms

04 JAN 2014
 - Thanks to FlashHawk, I looked at the code again after a huge hiatus.  2013 was officially the worst year of my life, and I'll be 41 in 2 weeks, ugh.
 - Fixed ammo miscount calculation or both BF and BT values
 - Fixed BF hardened armor string
 - Fixed armor point/tonnage calculation that was throwing initial errors
 - Fixed table that shows various summaries at the bottom of the page
 - Fixed heat sink weight/cost calculation formula
 - Added chassis multiplier to final cost
 - Fixed ammo BV calculation
 - Fixed armor/structure/engine/gyro BV calculation
 - Fixed CASE/Ammo explosion BV modification
 - Fixed TC/BV support

I am not sure how many folks use the site, but *I* use it, and it helps me when I'm in a store and need to look up some unit, or anytime I don't have 20+ TROs/RS books with me.

Hmmm..... maybe I should put in all the rules (TW, TO, SO, TM, ATOW, and all the newer rules scattered about) into a database that'd let folks online search faster.  I could include the latest errata and stuff.... hmmmmm.... maybe.  It'd sure beat going through hundreds of pages of rules and hundreds of pages of errata trying to figure out some ruling on the tabletop.

More to come soon!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Too Many Mechs!

First let me apologize as I haven't done an update in a long time.  It isn't that I've been on hiatus or anything, just haven't updated the blog.

To keep it short, my December was pretty much destroyed when I tried to fight a speeding ticket (I have had dozens in the past, and usually just do deferred adjudication and give the cities the money they wanted).  I always believed the system worked if you used it.  I believed judges were honest, I believed cops were good, and most of all I believed that my fellow citizen wasn't stupid.  I'll just say all my beliefs were squashed, my desire to try to help my country (by running for congress) obliterated, and I have to avoid thinking about it as it still infuriates me.  Just a ticket, no biggie, probably won't even raise my insurance, but I I decided to make a stand, and it was pointless.  However, I did gain a huge amount of sympathy to people in prisons, people who say they get harassed by cops, and anybody who has ever been the "victim" of the "system".  It was an eye opener, and the City of Richardson Texas, and its corrupt police, corrupt judges, and completely stupid citizens, make me ashamed to be Texan.  

So enough with excuses, what about Battletech?

First, I did do a little bit of work to the site.  I formatted the output at the bottom when you select a mech so you can see costs, availability, BVs, and so forth.  I fixed numerous bugs, all in the history page.  Nothing real significant though.

I decided I have too many damned mechs, WAY too many, like *hundreds* too many.  I went through them all and got from about 1200 down to 650.  I plan on knocking another couple hundred out.  I just didn't need a battalion of stingers or a regiment of LAMs.  So I now have boxes of stuff to get rid of.  Note that these are just my unpainted stuff, I plan on keeping my hundreds of painted ones :)  I have some pictures, you can see them at http://bte.battletechengineer  .com/BTPics/ (remove that space before the .com as its a lot of huge pics, and I don't want to kill my bandwidth with spam bots.  If anybody wants to buy a bunch of mechs, many unseen, and has a couple grand or so feel free to inquire... I loathe the idea of wasting my time with ebay to sell it all.

I played a bit of X-Wing miniatures, pretty fun.  There goes $1k.  Pre-ordered the 2 big ships but gotta wait a few months to receive them :(.  I have 3 of the freighters I could use now from an old model set, and have like 5 AT-ATs and a dozen snow speeders that would work great.  Need opponents though.  It is nice the minis come pre-painted, but they feel like they are made out of styrofoam they are so light.

I bought Dropzone Commander.  Best miniatures of any game I've ever dealt with.  Just great quality, easy to assemble, no flash, highly detailed, just perfect.  For a starter box it is complete (down to the tape measure) and was a quality item.  The game seems ok, though I haven't played it.  I will say that even though the miniatures are GREAT quality, they are ugly and stupid looking.  But perhaps some folks would like them.

I got some of my Battle Armor painted, they look *really* good.  Here in the next month or two I should have the other 1000 painted as well, muhahaha.

Nothing has came out for BattleTech, go figure.  Still errata galore.  I email errata now as I'm not allowed to post it.  If I was still allowed, I'd be the #1 errata producer again.  Oh well.

I bought the Shadowrun DMZ boxed set.  This is the same core game as Battletroops, but they added stuff like magic and many new rules.  I absolutely loved Battletroops way back in the day.  I hope to play it again soon on some Battle Systems terrain.

Been loving some of the new Megamek icons coming out.  Props to Deadborder and P0pr0cks on the forums.  Wish they'd do a Rattler/Wyrm and some dropships though.  Wish even more they'd do the robotech stuff :)  I don't play megamek very often, but they make it better.

I purchased 75 painted mechs on ebay, great quality, very happy with them.  Will probably purchase another couple hundred from the same guy in the next couple months.  

Since Eric Hotz at Hotzmatz apparently hates his customers and the thought of selling stuff aggravates him, I need to find a new solution to getting maps done.  GripMats will probably work, but I was thinking of taking some of the map packs to kinko's and getting them printed on vinyl or something.  May end up being too slippery or glossy, but may be worth a shot.  The key thing is we use 1.75" hexes so we can use my huge collection of heroscape terrain, so we need to find maps that size.  I love the canon maps, but they are too small.  Perhaps if I can print them with 1.75" hexes it'll work really well.  Just need a good solution as my railroad green mat with almost straight painted hexes on it has a short life.

Anyway, I hope to get back into Battletech soon.  The first thing will be the app to let you use your phone/website/tablet to track your alpha strike units.  I guess I'll call it "Alpha Strike Helper" or ASH.