Design Software falling by the road ?

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TigerShark
01/19/16 06:58 PM
12.130.166.32

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MegaMekLab really has the most "up-to-date" equipment, though it can be a bit buggy and may not supply the record sheets you need. Problem is that some unit types aren't supported. But, on the plus side, what IS supported can usually be exported to MegaMek.

Sounds like your campaign is table top though, am I right?
Poxinabox
01/19/16 08:22 PM
206.116.4.63

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It is, yes. It's been a great way to get us all hanging out for a day, painting minis, making terrain, and having a great time with a great game. I think if we were to go with Megamek we'd lose some of what we're liking about it.

Now that I've got MML to play with in addition to SSW, I think that'll do us for a good long while. Some of my players are completely new to tabletop wargaming, never mind just Battletech, so these programs help a lot. I'd still be interested to see how this kind of software keeps up in the near future.
TigerShark
01/19/16 08:40 PM
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Same here. It's rough trying to keep around good, Java-savvy developers. We should be thankful for the guys we have.
Karagin
01/19/16 09:10 PM
72.176.187.91

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Pretty much that is what you do with HMP, but if you like SSW, hey great, I will stay with HMP series.
Karagin

Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything.
ghostrider
01/19/16 09:17 PM
98.150.102.177

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Wow.
I remember the time that using a piece of paper, a pencil and a calculator was the way to figure out how to make a new unit.
Oh wait. That is still how I do it.

Using what works doing what you want is always something people want. If HMP was up to date, I would say support that as they have done the legal things to be the official program, but having it work with the newer things may really cause those to stop using it or even thinking about it.
If you can get them to do an update, I would be more supportive, but if it doesn't do what you need it to now, I don't see to many options like sticking with it.

Still have to get out the books and do this the old fashioned way. Now was that rounding up for the engine weight or truncate to the nearest whole number...
Poxinabox
01/19/16 11:00 PM
70.79.138.18

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Pen, paper & calculator is how I had to come up with the Superheavy we have marauding around. While I find it fun, I do like the swiftness and accuracy of the programs and I'd rather get my new players invested in the gameplay before requiring them to dive into the gritty stuff with a calculator. Heck, more than half of us don't even use dice anymore, we use the BT Dice Roller app. :P How lazy is that?

I'm very thankful for the work that's been put into SSW, especially as a "side project." That's some wonderful dedication. I've no doubt a lot of work also went into HMP and MML; my original point was that I would support a product that is everything I need, including being up-to-date. It isn't like choosing a team or anything, and I apologize if I somehow made it sound that way, Karagin. No sleight was meant against your chosen program.
ghostrider
01/20/16 01:51 PM
98.150.102.177

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I agree. It is sooo much easier and quicker to just put in a few numbers, or even better, just push a symbol into place and let a program deal with alot of it.

Now not using dice? That is part of the fun of the game. Well except when you roll the dice into the figures or anything on the board and knock it over.

If you haven't seen yet, a few people, like myself, prefer to keep it as close to canon as possible. I don't mind home games using house rules. Some solve issues or let you do something that is kind of a grey area. We get a little vocal when people suggest getting away from that while posting things, as most of them don't tell you it is outside the canon rules.
Nothing horribly bad, but it does make anyone not knowing suspect to thinking that is in the rules.

Supporting a program that has obtained the official ok to be the official software is part of why Karagin is pushing HMP. I agree with them on it, but as I said. If the program isn't up to date, and doesn't do what it needs to, then using what does seems best. I don't think any of them charges for the use of it, so I will assume all of it is side projects and can understand why it is not a big deal to get them updated. Not liking the idea, but understand it.
TigerShark
01/20/16 02:13 PM
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SSW and MML filled a void left by Rick. If he'd have gotten around to HMP 6, pretty sure SSW wouldn't need to exist.

And I don't play tabletop any longer. Can't find a group within 30 miles. I'd have to drive into Los Angeles, and I can't even begin to tell you what a nightmare that is on a weekend. And that's the same for a lot of people, especially those in rural areas. So having an up-to-date program which can be exported into MegaMek is crucial.

Games on MW servers are down, but pick-up games haven't changed a stitch. So we're seeing anywhere from 200 - 300 games/week in campaign servers and probably that many in pick-up games, privately. We definitely need a functional design program.

I get that HMP can be modified with custom weapons, custom equipment, etc. for a record sheet. But...

(a) How often am I going to use custom units at my table?
(b) I already have sheets for common units.
(c) I can pencil/paper/photocopy any units from new TROs on a blank form.
TigerShark
12/13/16 02:08 PM
12.130.166.32

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Annual 'bump' ;-)
happyguy49
12/14/16 02:06 AM
72.49.163.237

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Yes :/ oh well. Perhaps the new game will cause a resurgence in interest in classic BT, then someone might update an existing program or create a new one. One can hope.
ghostrider
12/14/16 01:03 PM
66.74.61.223

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I believe they are making these programs and not charging for them. So it tends to fall to the back burner in life.
Not suggesting you tell them to charge for them, as I am a cheap skate. Kind of forced, but still wouldn't buy them if I had the money.

Honestly, it doesn't have to be classic BT. Making one for the current era would have the stuff for the old style. Granted, they may not have them made up in different eras, but that would mean a little work on our part.
(what? I can't just point and click to make this? That's garbage)
Rotwang
03/07/17 07:10 PM
94.226.248.136

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One thing is that all the current tech options tend to make the programming an increasingly tough job and what may start as a labour of love can turn into a nightmare if you want every option done right.
TigerShark
03/13/17 01:43 PM
12.130.166.32

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MMLab seems to be able to handle that just fine.
TigerShark
04/12/17 08:24 PM
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FYI - You won't find any sub-forum about HeavyMetalPro 6.0 on their forums anymore.
Bad_Syntax
07/09/17 01:43 PM
70.122.170.173

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While the design portion of the code is pretty difficult, when written correctly it is just a database with a bunch of mandatory inclusions and exclusions on equipment. Some stuff like MG Arrays and Jump packs can get pretty complex, but doable.

The #1 issue with design software is the lack of support on the side of CGL. Peter Smith contacted me in 2010 about writing some design software. We went back and forth a few times, but when I submitted my request for required errata it simply died.

While humans can look at something and just assume a rule and be correct and fine, computers have no such ability. Computers have to have everything defined and hard, not loose and soft. I had literally hundreds of questions on equipment specifications, inconsistencies, missing data, and so forth that needed to be answered to write the software.

Anyway, now you are stuck with MMLab, which lets you make mechs/tanks (but without ALL the options) and I think battle armor.

I was working on something that let you make everything in universe. That included mobile structures, bases, planets, buildings, aerospace/advanced aerospace, support vehicles, etc.

But I, like apparently a lot of the community, had just gotten away from battletech more and more lately, just like many of us an tabletop games in general. Just too easy to play a PC game, or throw together a quick game of Zombicide or some other kickstarter. While I'd love to play again, just not sure its worth the time commitment anymore.

That being said, I do still have all my code, a decent chunk of some design software written, and my database with equipment and ~7000 units in it. If somebody was serious and had the ability to write something hit me up and I can probably help out.
TigerShark
07/14/17 07:52 PM
12.130.166.32

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That's probably the core of the problem, right there. Nobody figures it's worth the time, as games are increasingly difficult to find, as are the products. It appears to be a dead game to outside observers and casual players. Only the die hards care enough to keep it bobbing face-down in the water. (Much different than simply "afloat").
Wrangler
07/16/17 09:27 PM
24.34.162.106

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Megalab is only know currently updated program i know of. There was couple random programs mentioned on bg.battletech forums.
When it hits the fan, make sure your locked, loaded, and ready to go!
Daedster
07/16/17 09:46 PM
108.75.106.135

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From what I can see CGL is the big problem here. I was in the HMPro6 test group and it was pretty much close to redy to go when CGL became unresponsive to questions. It felt like an "office politics" issue. Oh well.
Wrangler
07/16/17 10:14 PM
24.34.162.106

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Wow. When was that?
When it hits the fan, make sure your locked, loaded, and ready to go!
TigerShark
07/16/17 11:49 PM
104.49.175.97

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What "questions?" Rick has stated quite often that he stopped working on it because the errata was coming too often. He also claimed he had to "start from scratch" at certain points.
TigerShark
01/19/18 01:11 AM
104.49.175.97

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This thread was started in 2014. It's now 2018. 4 years, no HMP 6. Convinced yet? ;-)
Wrangler
01/22/18 08:04 AM
50.199.229.75

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MegaLab is coming along. So i'm not worried about it. I lost faith in Rick years ago. If he was serious, didn't think he could do it himself. He should have brought in someone else to help straighten the thing up.
When it hits the fan, make sure your locked, loaded, and ready to go!
BootDisk
03/05/18 04:47 PM
71.14.85.117

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I've been toying around with making 'Mech construction using common spreadsheet software. I've got one working pretty well using rules from the Clan Invasion Era.

Most things are set in stone, and you can't mess them up:

You select if you are making a Clan or Inner Sphere 'Mech. I even have a setting for using the original 1/4 ton "fractional accounting" or the later version that rounds 'Mech hardware to half-tons.

You set your listed tonnage.

You decide whether or not you are using endo steel or ferro-fibrous.

'Mech tonnage decides the exact internal structure points for each section, and each section having a maximum armor factor of twice its structure points.

A simple function multiplies 'Mech tonnage by the desired walking speed, and it references a table to tell you which engine you have, and how much it weighs. Same for the Gyro.

Running Speed is a function of walking speed; Jump Capacity is simply counting the Jump Jets.

You put something in there to prevent "mixed tech", like heat sinks of different types. It also automatically makes Double Heat sinks take up 3 crits on an IS 'Mech or just 2 on a Clan 'Mech.

The weights for everything have really simple formulas associated with them. Before you start adding weapons, you see how much tonnage you have left. With each weapon or heat sink or jump jet you add, you see your remaining tonnage going down. When you have used up your tonnage and allocated mandatory equipment (endo steel,ferro-fibrous, and heat sinks that didn't fit in the engine), you press print and you have a record sheet. And, you can save your favorite designs and select them from a list.

The major problem I'm finding with a construction software project is that people want it to be IMPOSSIBLE to make a mistake using the program. If you make a program that is less than perfect, people are going to try and field flawed 'Mechs because "the program let me do it". I played A LOT of MechWarrior 2, and I spent A LOT of time designing custom 'Mechs in the lab. It was a pretty fair system, and I fielded anything the lab would let me. But for table top? If we could just promise to let people look at our designs and double check that they are fair before we play, we could have great software RIGHT NOW, and anyone can make their own design software that is easily updateable.
Retry
03/06/18 12:38 AM
64.189.130.11

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Quote:
I've been toying around with making 'Mech construction using common spreadsheet software. I've got one working pretty well using rules from the Clan Invasion Era.

Most things are set in stone, and you can't mess them up:

You select if you are making a Clan or Inner Sphere 'Mech. I even have a setting for using the original 1/4 ton "fractional accounting" or the later version that rounds 'Mech hardware to half-tons.

You set your listed tonnage.

You decide whether or not you are using endo steel or ferro-fibrous.

'Mech tonnage decides the exact internal structure points for each section, and each section having a maximum armor factor of twice its structure points.

A simple function multiplies 'Mech tonnage by the desired walking speed, and it references a table to tell you which engine you have, and how much it weighs. Same for the Gyro.

Running Speed is a function of walking speed; Jump Capacity is simply counting the Jump Jets.

You put something in there to prevent "mixed tech", like heat sinks of different types. It also automatically makes Double Heat sinks take up 3 crits on an IS 'Mech or just 2 on a Clan 'Mech.

The weights for everything have really simple formulas associated with them. Before you start adding weapons, you see how much tonnage you have left. With each weapon or heat sink or jump jet you add, you see your remaining tonnage going down. When you have used up your tonnage and allocated mandatory equipment (endo steel,ferro-fibrous, and heat sinks that didn't fit in the engine), you press print and you have a record sheet. And, you can save your favorite designs and select them from a list.

The major problem I'm finding with a construction software project is that people want it to be IMPOSSIBLE to make a mistake using the program. If you make a program that is less than perfect, people are going to try and field flawed 'Mechs because "the program let me do it". I played A LOT of MechWarrior 2, and I spent A LOT of time designing custom 'Mechs in the lab. It was a pretty fair system, and I fielded anything the lab would let me. But for table top? If we could just promise to let people look at our designs and double check that they are fair before we play, we could have great software RIGHT NOW, and anyone can make their own design software that is easily updateable.



Sounds perfectly functional for simple stuff, but why reinvent the wheel? Several design programs exist that possess more equipment options from the rulebooks and aren't as clunky to wield as a spreadsheet.

MegaMekLab comes to mind. The latest development release currently has the infrastructure for Dropship, Small Craft, Aerospace Fighter, ConvFighter, Biped & Quad & Tripod & Superheavy Battlemechs, Bimodal & Standard LAMs, Wheeled & Tracked Quadvees, Battle Armor, Infantry, Combat Vehicles, and a lot of L4 experimental tech. Also has a printing function that I've never used, which'd be vital for tabletop. It's a bit buggy but the Validation system integrated into both Megamek and Megameklab catches illegal designs and in the case of MM won't let you actually field them unless you specifically and intentionally enable an option to let you do so.

Since minimizing bugs seems to be your most important parameter I'd have to recommend the Stable release instead of the Developmental release. Has a lot less of the exotic stuff (Quadmechs,Dropships, conventional infantry features, etc.) but as a whole is less buggy.
BootDisk
03/12/18 04:09 PM
71.14.85.117

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I took a look at MekLab. I was using it for about 20 minutes with no problems when I hit some bugs. I use it a lot now, but more of a "double check" than "I trust it".

The reason I think we should re-invent the wheel is that we can make something that will always work and will always be update-able. We could add features as fast as we think of them, rather than waiting for years with our noses pressed up against the glass, saying, "I wish someone would fix that thing..."
csadn
03/15/18 10:59 PM
50.53.22.4

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If I knew anything about programming, I'd be doing something with Heavy Metal Pro....
CF

Oregon: The "Outworlds Alliance" of the United States of America
AmaroqStarwind
03/27/18 09:08 PM
174.235.19.144

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I've used SSW before, and it has some problems here and there.

Like, say you mess up when designing an OmniMech? You can't change any aspect of the main chassis without literally scrapping the whole thing, including any alternate configurations.

Also, the Design Quirks tab just vanishes completely when you start the app in Widescreen mode.

MegaMek has some problems too, like mixing in non-canon equipment with the canon stuff (such as Gauss Autocannons and Gauss AMS), and giving some canon items the wrong names (like labeling Improved Heavy Gauss Rifle as Railgun). It also only has you install a single Artemis module, regardless of how many missile launchers you have, or if they're different types.

What I really hope to have one day is a free tool sort of like Solaris or MegaMek, but officiaI, that way it would be more up to date and a lot less likely to get something wrong.

Since MechCommander 2 is open source, meanwhile, maybe somebody could restructure as well that to use actual BattleTech construction rules.
Discord: Amaroq Starwind#1092
Telegram: Lycanphoenix
MechEngine (Beta) - Development Resumed
TigerShark
03/28/18 12:41 PM
12.130.166.32

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(1) You can't edit a base chassis because it's never supposed to be edited. That's why it's an OmniMech. The configurations are the only parts of an Omni you change.

(2) There is no "Design Quirks" tab in Solaris Skunkwerks.

(3) MegaMek isn't a design program. I have no idea what you're talking about.

(4) MegaMek (the game engine) does include non-canon equipment and sorts it by equipment type. It's labeled as "Unofficial". You can choose, when selecting units, to filter out any tech level. i.e.: if you want to see only Introductory units, you highlight Introductory. If you want TW and Introductory, you highlight both. It's not mandatory that you include Unofficial units in your selection.
Retry
03/28/18 07:24 PM
64.189.130.11

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The IHGR and "Railgun" are two separate weapons, the first is in MML as an IS experimental weapon, the 2nd as an unofficial weapon that came from somewhere, maybe a magazine. It's not "mislabeled" as the Railgun is basically a non-canon weapon that's slightly better than the IHGR in many ways, and it requires one to intentionally select the tech level as "unofficial" for it to even show up. Similarly, non-canon weapons don't show up unless one specifically selects for it, so complaints about mixing canon and non-canon have to be chalked up to user error.
Karagin
03/29/18 10:51 AM
72.176.187.91

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Non-Canon weapons should not be shown in a canon list unless something is check off to show them, and legit programs will either put an * next to them or tell you at the top of the stats that said mech is using custom or non-canon weapons or equipment.
Karagin

Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything.
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