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.