Breaking down the timeline by technological eras

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06/23/11 12:22 PM

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Battletech's timeline seem to be broken into eras by political/social events. Thus, when making mechs there is some fudge as to which techs are available during a given era since the events don't necessarily coincide with innovation. So, is the following a fair breakdown of the timeline by technology eras?
Era Title Dates Years

Era of technology loss 2795-2950 (155) (weapon techs only)
Era of level 1 tech 2951-3034 (84)
Era of reintroduction 3035-3050 (15)
Era of Lostech 3051-3055 (4)
1st era of innovation 3056-3064 (8)
3065-3066 (2)
2nd era of innovation 3067-3069 (1)
Era of no innovation 3070-3131 (61) (some expermental tech in 3070)

11/21/11 07:41 PM

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Wow, replying now six months late, that's what I get for bookmarking a post instead of replying immediately. KitK, your post here might have been the inspiration for an infographic I just finished. It's been a while though, pecking away at it for the last 6-8 weeks, so I no longer remember why exactly I started it. Regardless I think it would interest you, but the forum isn't letting me post the link.

I *think* your "era of reintroduction" matches Catalyst's description of the period, but the rest of your timeline could stand a little or a lot of adjustment.


Dates (Years) Technology

2772-2784 (12) Optimized combos (XL+endo, flashbulbs) disappear
2786~2850 (64) Level 2 production gradually destroyed, all new designs are level 1
2850~2990 (140) Level 1 tech, no new designs
2990-3034 (44) Handful of new level 1 designs appear
3034-3042 (8) Prototypes of recovered weapons see limited deployment
3042-3051 (9) Factories gear up for level 2 production
3051-3057 (6) Lostech + limited TSM & C3 (& DC Omnis starting ~3053)
3058-3062 (4) First group of factional (Field Manual) tech
3062-3067 (5) Second group of factional (Field Manual) tech
3067-3075 (7) Total Warfare/TechManual in production, TacOps experimental
3076-3090+ (14+) Experimental equipment gradually developing to normal production

TR:3058's Lynx and Nighthawk do claim to have been active until 2930-2945 or so, but (unless they were downtech'd variants) those dates are wildly out of step with the period and would fit much better a century earlier.

Edited by skiltao (11/21/11 07:43 PM)
12/06/11 11:09 AM

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your timeline could stand a little or a lot of adjustment

I have no doubt that is true. Thanks for sending me that graphic. It is very interesting and contains a fair bit of the information I was trying to find digging around the wiki and timeline link. I appreciated your note about endosteel and XL engines as I only looked at weapons. I really should have included those and heatsinks too. From your work, you definitely have better insight into this subject than I do. My work was fairly quick and crude in comparison.

My purpose was to look at my dozens and dozens of designs and decide which ones I’d actually produce, when, and where. So, I had to figure out the general political time line (all the major wars etc.) and the intro, extinction, and re-intro dates. I used the sarna wiki for my political info and SSW to grab the tech dates (I have the books with the tech info but was feeling lazy and the tech lists are huge.)

I had casually observed that tech dates didn’t seem to follow strict cutoffs. For example pulse lasers come before 3050 (level 2) but after 3025 (level 1), so there was 25 years of no-mans land that’s neither level 1 or 2. I was also curious about the Helm core and how long it took to get its info incorporated. Add to that the need to shift thinking into the new rules level/era set up from TW and it made my head hurt. So I decided to regroup the years based on tech intro, reintro, and extinction.

For my groupings I tried to answer:

When did technology loss due to the succession wars start?
When did the last bit of “Level 2” tech disappear?
When did “Level 2” tech start coming back (limited reintroduction) vs. when did it go mainstream (Lostech)?
When were the new techs introduced?

One thing that surprised me was the brevity of the purely level 1 tech era. Specifically the ER large laser was the last to go, around 2950, and back again in 3037. That’s only 87 years. But from your timeline, I have some checking to do. Of course existence and production are 2 different things, which may well account for some of our differences. But that is important because production is my aim, and I may have mere existence instead.

12/11/11 10:57 AM

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You're welcome, and thank you for the praise! The manufacturing timeline has been BattleTech's main appeal for me ever since I read TR:3050. And except for the break in Level 1 eras (which is actually kinda hard to find nowadays), your timeline really isn't much different from mine.

You're right that "when did the last bit of Level 2 tech disappear" is a fuzzy concept -- a new lostech cache was being found every year or two throughout the Succession Wars, and the Arkab legions maintained a good number of pre-Fall designs (TR:2750 quality) right up to the Clan Invasion. I don't remember if it was TechManual or War of 3039 or both that got superceded so I based my dates on the TROs and sourcebooks instead.

For the sake of clarity, my note about XL engines and endo steel wasn't to say that's when production for them stopped, but rather that TR:3058 quality designs really do represent a higher level of technology than TR:2750 quality designs, and Kerensky took all the best ones with him when he left. (Of course, I imagine that production also took pretty big hits throughout the Amaris Civil War, kind of the same way that 3070s production suffered during the Jihad; doubly so, since some TW/TM tech is backdated to being SLDF R&D.)

The Third Succession War starts, definitionally, when the technological decline has already bottomed out -- a fact which has been glossed over so long that the writers probably forgot it. I'm fairly certain that the ER Large Laser got dated to 2950 only because of the Night Hawk: if so (especially in light of the compromises they've kept with some of the other Star League downgrades) then there's no reason to keep that date for the ERLL; on the other hand, it's probably the least offensive of the original lostech weapons, so it's not that big a deal. I think this one comes down to the universe getting pruned and streamlined so official fact checkers don't have to look for context.

FASA's original timeline didn't have Helm Core stuff built by test factories until 3050, not entering mass production until 3051, and the Capellans didn't have production-grade TSM until 3060. Catalyst has spread those dates back across the two preceding decades, a decision which is well-liked by fans who think the Successor States should have been mass manufacturing Clan tech by 3070.


Add to that the need to shift thinking into the new rules level/era set up from TW and it made my head hurt.

Yeah, it's pretty muddled right now, but they're refining the definition of "rules level" with every new product. Things should get better as they go forwards.


My purpose was to look at my dozens and dozens of designs and decide which ones I’d actually produce, when, and where.

That's really cool! Most people don't go for that depth.

Edited by skiltao (12/11/11 11:01 AM)
12/15/11 11:12 AM

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I see what you're saying about the ER large, and that makes sense. It probably died much sooner, but there was a couple of cannon designs that needed it, so they kept it around. Actually designing for an ER large with single heatsinks compared with a PPC or large laser make one work through costs/benefits (and by cost I don't mean C-bills) carefully. As well you get to make political decisions too; like "I don't care if another gun is more efficient, I want the highest tech on the mech!"

It is interesting from your timeline above based on the TROs that while certain techs were available they were not being used on newly produced mechs or designs. So it would seem that stability was more important than the cutting edge of technology. So, mainstream production went "level 1" whereas specialized production could include diminishing "level 2"; and so could customizations. After the extinction date there are no new replacements for damage and maintenance but the stuff does exist in the realm of "experimental."

Thanks for clarifying those fuzzy 25 years. I read a blurb in the wiki too that explained a bit about how the Combine got the tech. It certainly seems that a bunch of stuff was in "live cobat test phase" but not in production. Though those new production designs would have been getting sketched up in CAD, prototypes built, and factories tooled for the explosion in tech and production that seems to take place between 3051 and 3067.

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