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