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.