New Interactive BattleTech Star Chart

In September, MechFactory released a new and improved iteration of their ISCP, or Inner Sphere Cartography Project. This was announced on their main page which includes an overview of its changes.

For more we asked MechFactory’s owner, Pheonix Wolf about the changes:

BobTheZombie: How and when did this project get started?

Phoenix Wolf: An early idea to create an interactive stellar map of all known BattleTech worlds appeared around 2001. That time we had only a deprecated 16 bit program and a text file with coordinates for 3025-era planets. I thought that a better, usable internet-based map would be a great tool for BattleTech players – especially for those people, who –like my team- are playing BattleTech RPG (MechWarrior was the name at that time). I took the data and began building the first mapping system on php/javascript basis.

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Survey Deadline Approaching

Time is almost up to take the official Sarna.net survey! The last day to take it will be October 15, 2014. This survey is an opportunity for you to voice your opinion of Sarna.net and to help us improve the site. If you haven’t taken it yet, it only takes about five minutes of your time and will help both us and the BattleTech community. Any and all feedback through this survey would be greatly appreciated. We will post the results of the survey when they are compiled and ready.

Thank you to everyone who has participated!

New MegaMek and MegaMekLab Releases

On Saturday, September 27, two new development releases were announced for MegaMek and MegaMekLab.

A full list of the changes for MegaMek 0.39.2 can be found here:

The list of additions includes strengthening the AI “bot” that you can play against, as well as adding rules such as strafing and a variety of bug fixes.  All told, there are more than 50 changes to the game.  MegaMek is a free java-based program that simulates playing BattleTech against the AI or real folks, and can be used to host games online.

Meanwhile, MegaMekLab was updated to work with the new MegaMek development release.  You can build units with save-files that are compatible with MegaMek and try them out against friend and foe alike.

So download either or both, and get your Mek on!

What is in a Name?

Appended Minutes for the BMNS 1st Annual Meeting

The BattleMech Naming Society calls its first official meeting in order to create a taxonomy of naming conventions for the powerful machines that captured the hearts and battlefields of people across known space.

Let us begin. After discussing potential categorizations of ‘Mechs, and debating whether or not certain animals are actually insects, we have created a six stage system that classifies virtually every BattleMech name currently used.  Please note, these lists are not exhaustive, but intended to show the names of ‘Mechs commonly used.

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MechWarrior: Tactics No More?

An Anticipated Title Seems to Be Having Some Difficulties

MechWarrior: Tactics Logo

MechWarrior: Tactics possibly gone?

There seems to be confusion and worry about the possible abandonment of a to-be exciting addition to the BattleTech universe.

MechWarrior: Tactics was an in-browser free-to-play game that has been under development for several years. Several known gaming web sites and magazines even featured the game in various articles, showcasing something akin to a simplified version of a three dimensional version of the board game, complete with weapons fire effects and damage modeling. The game was being developed by Blue Lizard Games, and to be published by Infinite Game Publishing.

The announcement and subsequent articles of the game caused somewhat of a stir in the BattleTech community, and for the most part many were awaiting for this game to be completed.

Beta Stage

The game seems to have gotten to a fairly advanced stage, and a closed beta had started. Players were invited to pay to play in the beta, some paying up to $120 USD to partake in the beta. After some initial successes and after a public stress test in August of 2013, the developers via their Twitter and Facebook page stopped posting as many updates, petering out in November of the same year.

Worries by Supporters and Development Woes

Since November of 2013, communications from the developer has ceased via all forms of contact. Their main page currently is stating:

We are currently in an extended maintenance windows, working hard on moving to a new hardware infrastructure. ETA is currently unknown please come back check back in 72 hours for more information. Sorry for interrupting your combat!

To this day many supporters are posting to the MW:T Facebook page asking for status updates and/or inquiring as to if they would get their money returned.

On September 2nd of 2014 a fan asked Blue Lizard Games on their Facebook page as to the status of the game. BLG stated that they were removed from the project in December of 2013. This left many people posting in dismay as to their investments in the game to have been gone and wondering what to do to get their money back. Even worse, several members of IGP have departed the company and formed their own company, leading some to believe that the game is now effectively dead.

While the publisher does not seem to want to discuss the game and with no developer in sight, some mourn the loss to the community. However, many more have many unanswered questions as well as money invested into a game that now seems will never see the light of day.

The 3145 Technical Readout Series Revisited: A few of my favorite ‘Mechs (and other things to follow): Part I

The Tomahawk II

The Tomahawk II

Over the course of writing my reviews on the Technical Readout : 3145 series, I feel the need to regain perspective and look at the series as a whole, with respect to the units offered. The ‘Mechs, combat vehicles, battle armor suits, AeroSpace fighters and other units covered in these technical readouts essentially represent a new era. We shouldn’t compare them to every other ‘Mech ever made, we’re comparing them to their contemporaries. So I’m starting over, taking a second look at everything, and then we’ll see how close my original assessments were to how I feel about them now. For this article, I’m reviewing the BattleMechs. I was originally going to make this a comprehensive article, but I felt the size just didn’t work for the kind of detail I wanted.

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Masakari Omnimech Cosplayer Wins Gold

Some of you might have seen this thread on the official forums where user Ion Raptor has been working on a mobile 1/5th scale replica of a Ghost Bear Warhawk prime. I asked him what gave him the idea for this. He answered:

“The idea was from a sad lack of BattleTech costumes besides the occasional pilot cooling suit. The MW4 Warhawk itself was chosen because of its blocky and imposing design. The prime variant was a product of finding shipping tubes the perfect size for PPCs. The Ghost Bear scheme came from the pilot figure I bought, which was a Max Steel toy that happened to have grey and blue shorts on. If I ever do one again it will either be much smaller or through commission so that logistics are someone else’s problem.”

The Invasion of Rasalhague reinacted at Gencon 2014

The Invasion of Rasalhague reenacted at Gencon 2014

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Industrial Class Exosuits now in Operation and soon for Sale!

Aliens, HALO, Gears of War, (of course) BattleTech, Edge of Tomorrow, and a whole lot of other science fiction properties feature powered strength-enhancing suits in a utility roll before being used in combat. I believe the idea goes back to Robert Heinlein’s 1959 novel Starship Troopers, but it’s really only been in the last fifteen or so years that science and engineering think tanks have been actively (and seriously) experimenting with something useable for military, commercial and even medical applications.

Bay twelve, please.

Bay twelve, please.

I’ve mentioned TALOS and Warrior Web; which I believe are undergoing field trials at the time of this writing, as well as the Hybrid Assisted Limb medical exoskeleton that’s also flexing its bionic muscles. But it appears in this article from New Scientist that South Korea’s Daewoo corporation already has a suit in operation in an industrial role at their main shipbuilding and marine engineering facility at Okpo-dong. Visually and performance-wise it is highly reminiscent of the Raytheon corporation’s XOS Mark 2 suit that the Iron Man and Avengers actor Clark Gregg donned in this video.

I can't wait until they start armoring these things up.

I can’t wait until they start armoring these things up.

Daewoo’s suit is a working prototype for a more robust version that could “lug around 100-kilogram hunks of metal as if they’re nothing” according to the lead engineer Gilwhoan Chu. So far the carbon fiber, aluminum and steel frame is rated only up to thirty pounds and has a battery life of only about three hours. Well, you’ve got to start somewhere. And when building fifty-five thousand ton container ships, even the small jobs that can’t be done by massive industrial robots still require a human with some heavier lift capability than we’re normally built for.

The Daewoo suit weighs in at a hair over sixty pounds, and can be fitted to anyone from 5’3″ to 6″ in height. Still a far cry from the iconic power loader from Aliens, but definitely a step or two in the right direction.

I have a headache THIS big!

I have a headache THIS big!

And that direction seems to be taking us to Panasonic’s robotics arm, Activelink. Unambiguously called the “Powered Suit“, this bulkier exoframe can lift up well over two-hundred pounds on a charge that lasts about five hours. It’s pretty slow at about five MPH, about like a leisurely walk. And the best part is, it’s being mass produced for private sales. The initial run of one thousand units is set to begin in 2015 and the suggested retail price will be under five thousand bucks a pop.

If I had the scratch- I’d take it.

Well bargained, and done.

Your Favorite IS ‘Mechs from 3055

The Bigger the 'Mech, the Harder They Fall

The Bigger the ‘Mech, the Harder They Fall

I have a personal love affair with the 3055 Technical Readout.  Sure, it may have been the 4th readout in my hands (3025, 3050 and 2750 beat it to my bookshelves) but it was always number one in my heart.  Some of my favorite Inner Sphere BattleMech designs are inside these covers.

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MegaMek Announces Map Editor

mm_logo

Playing BattleTech since 2750

On Saturday, August 2, developers for MegaMek released a preliminary version of a map editor feature for MegaMek.  This will allow players to edit their maps prior to playing, so that they can play on a map they modified.  This highly anticipated feature is in the earliest, debugging stages.

MegaMek is a great way to play the BattleTech game online with some friends.  You just have to have a device that runs Java, and download the free client.  There are numerous programs that run with it to create campaigns, online worlds, and more.  Check out MegaMek and give it a spin.