Alpha Strike mod for Table Top Simulator

A chance interception on Reddit alerted me to this new work-in-progress game mod for TableTop Simulator on the Steam Network. TTS is kind of a virtual reality environment for playing tabletop games. You manually move the pieces, dice and sheets interactively – just using a mouse instead of your hand.

I was told by one of the users that the BattleTech mod uses map tiles and differing altitude levels, which suggests a measure of customizability to the environment. Though they and the assorted models and preset record sheets are fairly limited in number at the moment. There are nineteen ‘spheroid ‘mechs in the first mech pack. Turduckens has a number of these terrains to choose from, including River Map, Open Terrain, etc. Traditional rule sets for BattleTech have also proven to be  too clunky to be used in TTS, but Alpha Strike works very well. Even when fighting with a company or more on each side. It almost reminds me of a less-flashy prototype of what MechWarrior Tactics was trying for.

It’s certainly no MegaMek – but perhaps that’s a good thing. With a simple rule set and richer graphical experience, not to mention Steam Network’s voice chat system, ‘River map’ might develop into quite a compliment to MegaMek.

Thanks to Tipsymahn260 for the image.

Thanks to Tipsymahn260 for the image.

If you’re on Steam and feel like a game of Alpha Strike, or just want to check out the virtual models, it might be worth a look.

Trese Brothers Interview – Templar Battleforce now out for Steam


About two years ago I reviewed a bunch of sci-fi themed mobile games that I thought might appeal to the discerning BattleTech fan. Among them was a neat little turn-based sandbox-style strategy game called Templar Assault that reminded me of a grid-based MegaMek if it were dropped into the Warhammer 40K universe. The pay version of the game included an ungodly number of missions and campaigns (100 levels at last count) where you could fight an array of aliens, robots, and other humans. Fighting in Leviathan Battlesuits- essentially Wanzer or Gear-size mecha sporting an array of autocannon, flamers, sword and axes, the Templar is an extremely efficient death machine. But not unstoppable. There is cursing aplenty as you start to lose your troops- a reason for a six-tier difficulty rating.

It was only the Trese Brothers‘ second game, and since then they’ve learned quite a bit about their craft and the business of making games. Templar Battleforce is now out for Steam, and soon for Android and IOS- their old stomping grounds. I also managed to get a few questions answered from the team- Cory, Andrew, and Martin Trese.

[Ron] Thanks for taking some time out of your schedule. By your standards, Templar Assault is a very dated game now. What has changed in the years since?

[Andrew] Templar Assault is coming up on its fourth anniversary.  It has been one of our most loved games.  In between, we’ve made 4 other games and gone through 2 KickStarters and a major game engine update.  Everything is new, and you’ll see that front and center in the tactical game play of Templar Battleforce, rich soundscape and visceral combat.

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BattleTech Kickstarter from Harebrained Schemes starts Sep 29 2015 – Let’s ALPHA STRIKE it

Harebrained Schemes has just announced the date of their BATTLETECH Kickstarter:

September 29, 2015 @ 10:00am PDT

They’re hoping to Alpha Strike the Kickstarter by getting as much support as they can within the first hour of the Kickstarter going live:


I, for one, am very excited!  Looking forward to seeing what the rewards are at each level.

(these guys are coming up with some amazing artwork too!)

Man Fitted with Cybernetic Hand Wired Directly into his Brain can ‘Feel’ Again

BattleTech has a lot of amputee characters. Morgan Kell, Justin Allard, Kael Pershaw, Anastasius Focht/ Frederick Steiner, and Grayson Carlyle for instance; driving ‘Mechs is a dangerous business. But in the novels, most of the prosthetics were fairly advanced from a modern viewpoint. The characters could typically receive biofeedback and simulated nerve induction similar to the original limb. Some even had weapons built into them in a manner similar to cyberpunk settings like Neuromancer or Shadowrun.

By contrast, in real life, most prosthetic limbs seem more ornamental than functional. The can be cheaper and useful in the age of 3D printing, but they are still mainly wire and pulley affairs. The few electronic prosthetic limbs out there are usually specially-made affairs so expensive only the super-rich could afford — and are still clumsy and slow.

Hands are more than simple bone and meat clamps to hold things with. The motor cortex of the brain dedicates a full quarter of itself just to hand control- most of which is for fine motor control. The skin of the hands; particularly the fingertips and palms have some of the highest concentrations of nerve endings in the body. Simulating that in a prosthesis has been pretty much impossible. Until now.

Perhaps more refreshing than the water is the sense of accomplishment.

Perhaps more refreshing than the water is the sense of accomplishment in regaining control and a sense of touch.

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Chameleon LPS for Modern Combat Vehicles?

Did you know that powered active camouflage has been around since World War 2? Perhaps inspiring such things as the Star trek cloaking device, shift suit from Predator, and of course the Chameleon Light Polarization field from BattleTech, clever military planners used what was later called Diffused Lighting Camouflage to reduce the visual signature of naval vessels and aircraft at range.

The system consisted of a series of installed light fixtures with carefully calibrated light bulbs that mimicked the ambient brightness of a sunlit sky. The ship or aircraft didn’t need to be completely covered. In the case of the Yehudi lighting used in U boat hunting aircraft, just the leading edges of the aircraft were rigged, to make it less likely to be spotted by German crewmen during an attack run.

PL-01, Poland's new mini stealth tank looks the part of a science fiction battlefield.

PL-01, Poland’s new mini stealth tank looks the part of a science fiction battlefield.


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The Ultimate Technical Readout

The Same Thing Again!

Technical Readouts have defined BattleTech virtually as long as there has been a game.  They help to shape the era, the conflicts, and the people.  They give us units that we will use to face each other in battle.  In particular, the BattleMech has defined the game, and that unit tends to really be a major component of the Technical Readout (TRO).  What if there was an Ultimate Technical Readout?  It would have ‘Mechs from every era, state, and more.

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