Harmony Gold Suing The Company That Sold Them Unseen Images?

Macross

courtesy of Forbes

Looks like I was wrong about not having any more info on the Harmony Gold lawsuit that was revealed last month. Hot off the presses from Reddit (thanks to user iyaerP) comes news that Harmony Gold is filing yet another lawsuit, but this time it’s not against a BattleTech company.

It’s against the Japanese company that sold them the Unseen images in the first place: Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd.

For those of you that have forgotten, Tatsunoko Productions was the company that sold the license for Macross/Robotech to Harmony Gold, giving them the right to distribute the anime in North America. Harmony Gold also argues this gives them the rights to the Macross imagery, which spawned the whole Unseen debacle.

 

I say argues, since it’s also come to light since then that the rights to the Macross/Robotech imagery actually never rested with Tatsunoko in the first place. The license provided to Harmony Gold only allows them to distribute the cartoons in North America, with the original intellectual property being owned by the animation studio that created the series, Studio Nue.

Harmony Hold has even acknowledged this ruling back in 2002, but so far it hasn’t seemed to stop them from suing anyone that even remotely comes close to the Macross/Robotech aesthetic.

Flash forward to today and we’ve just got word that Harmony Gold has filed court documents last week naming Tatsunoko Production Co. Ltd. as defendants. More details available seem to indicate this is some kind of arbitration case, but the precise reason for the arbitration hasn’t been disclosed yet.

Now the question becomes what does this mean for Harmony Gold’s lawsuit against Piranha Games and Harebrained Schemes? Will the courts finally side with our beloved BattleTech producers, finally ending the Unseen for good? Will Harmony Gold finally lose all rights to the Macross/Robotech imagery and never be heard from again? Will this spell the end of the pending Macross live action film that is supposedly still in production?

Nobody knows yet, but we’re all on the edge of our seats waiting to find out.

 

BattleTech Multiplayer Beta Is Coming, Final Release Pushed To 2018

beta_update

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

The BattleTech Single Player Beta is in full swing, with Harebrained Schemes crunching numbers and parsing data like no other developer has done before! Actually, I’m sure lots of developers have done it before, but this developer is working on a BattleTech game, so we’re giving them extra props.

It’s been nearly 2 months since the last Kickstarter Update after the release of the Single Player Beta, so that means it’s time for everyone to check in and see what’s happening next in terms of development. And what’s next is both exciting and a little bit disappointing, but mostly exciting. We’ll cover the exciting bits first.

As previously mentioned, HBS has been using feedback from the Single Player Beta to refine the player experience, and they’ve got a “significant” number of changes planned for the next update. Some of the weightier changes to be made include “major revisions” to the Evasion, Sensor Lock, and Evasive Move abilities, various balance tweaks to loads of weapon systems, a global heat reduction of 10%, and UI enhancements both in and out of combat.

That’s not all! There are quite a few other major changes on the way. The Morale mechanic is being completely replaced by a new system after survey feedback revealed that it unbalanced battles in favor of whichever side got the early kill, providing a snowball effect for that team. What the new system will be is anybody’s guess, but it was redesigned specifically to remove that snowball effect.

Critical Hit

courtesy of @kentnlsn on Twitter

Another major revision is the way critical hits work, becoming both being more frequent and more powerful. Only one lucky shot is required to set off a deadly ammo explosion from the previously required two, which means you should find ammo dependent ‘Mechs to be a little more vulnerable than before. Vital components, like weapons, actuators, and gyros will now take one shot to become damaged, and then become destroyed on the second crit.

Perhaps the most impactful revision is enhancements to enemy AI. Now instead of just being lumbering robots that move and shoot they’ll be lumbering robots that move, shoot, and use abilities. Also, all MechWarriors are getting a second ability, so this is sure to jack up the difficulty level to a place where I might feel inadequate, but I’m sure the rest of you will appreciate the challenge.

Finally, hot in from the BattleTech game forums comes Mitch with an update to the ‘Mech roster: the Firestarter is coming to BattleTech!  Get ready to light the world on fire with this highly flammable light ‘Mech. Fire retardant clothing is recommended.

Expect to see the Single Player Beta receive these updates by the end of the week.

Also coming up is a “Double-Secret” Multiplayer Beta Test, where the nascent multiplayer mode will be made available to eager beta testers who sign up for it. The Kickstarter Update did mention this is a very early test, which is why they’re not just rolling it out to everyone. Expect crashes and disconnects as they work out the bugs.

The Multiplayer Beta will be running for a few weeks while they work out the worst of the issues before rolling it out to the rest of the backers on a future update. Sign ups will be coming in a future Kickstarter update, so stay tuned there.

MechWarriors

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

And finally a bit of a bad news to round out all the good. This one comes straight from Jordan himself to soften the blow somewhat; the release for BattleTech has been postponed to the early part of 2018.

As Jordan writes in his update, “The message we’ve received has been clear, ‘Don’t rush it, just make it great.’” Truer words were never spoken. I’d far rather receive a fantastic game a year late than receive a crappy game a few months early. Nobody wants to see BattleTech get the EA treatment of being rushed out the door just to meet some corporate bigwig’s deadline.  

Once again HBS has shown that the community is developing this game just as much as the coders are, and they’re both willing and eager to accept feedback to make the best game possible. While nobody wants to hear delays, the open communication is something both rare and essential when creating a game for a community as passionate as BattleTech’s.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Giant Robots Finally Set To Do Battle In September

Megabots

courtesy of qz.com

After 2 years of waiting, it’s finally going to happen: giant robots from Japan and America will engage in Solaris-style combat to determine which nation is the greatest ‘Mech builder on Earth.

You may remember from our previous articles on current technologies that mimic those in BattleTech that MegaBots Inc., the builder of the formidable Mk. II MegaBot has challenged Suidobashi Heavy Industries to a duel against their impressive Kuratas quad ’Mech. The original challenge was issued in August of 2015 to take place a year later, and that deadline came and went with not much in the way of giant robot combat.

Well, apparently the delay was because MegaBots was designing an all new robot, the Mk. IIIEagle Prime”, to take on the Kuratas. I guess multi-million dollar machines take more than a year to both design and manufacture. Who knew?

The new date is set for September 2017, and we can’t wait to see the new robot in action. Eagle Prime is a significant upgrade over the Mk. II, weighing nearly 7 tons more and over a full foot taller than the older ‘Mech (that puts Eagle Prime at a whopping 12 tons and 16 feet tall). It’s powered by a 430 hp Chevy LS3 V8 engine which drives a pair of tank treads much like the Mk. II, but while the Mk II. had a pair of air cannons firing massive paintballs, the Mk. III has a double-barreled paintball cannon in the left arm and a massive crusher claw in the right.

Eagle Prime

courtesy of qz.com

Eagle Prime even takes a page out of the OmniMech textbook with swappable armaments. Either arm can be replaced with an enormous chainsaw or an armor shattering drill.

The cost to create Eagle Prime was just over $2.5 million, with $550,000.00 coming from Kickstarter backers and the rest coming from corporate sponsors.

While it certainly seems like a significant upgrade, I can’t help but feel that the Mk. III has lost some armor protection over the Mk. II. It has gained some speed, according to MegaBots, but given the fact that the ‘Mech weighs twice as much as its little brother but is powered by a similar sized engine it’s a little hard to believe them.

Kuratas

courtesy of Suidobiashi Heavy Industries

Development of Eagle Prime has been well documented on the MegaBots YouTube channel, but there hasn’t been much response from Suidobashi Heavy Industries as to what development, if any, has occurred with the Kuratas. If it remains the same design as debuted in 2012, it will be nearly a third of the weight of Eagle Prime while also having a significantly smaller power source. On paper, it looks like the Mk. III will wipe the floor with the Kuratas – provided MegaBots manages to work out all the bugs in their software.

The duel will occur at an undisclosed location, and no spectators will be allowed. Unlike on Solaris, there are no Star League-era defense systems available to protect the public from two multi-ton death machines on a rampage. As for the safety of the pilots, that’s also something that hasn’t been discussed much. Neither ‘Mech has an ejection system, so I’m guessing it’ll be Queensberry rules when it comes time for hand-to-hand combat.

Fans eager for their first taste of giant robot fighting will be able to check out the fight on the MegaBots YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Monkey King

courtesy of BOOM on YouTube

And in a strange twist, it seems that China has also thrown down the gauntlet and announced its arrival in the giant robot fighting game. Shiqian Sun, a Chinese artist known for creating multiple giant robot statues, has created the Monkey King as China’s first gladiator robot. The Monkey King is due for completion next year, so won’t be done in time to take part in the Kuratas/Eagle Prime duel.

The exact date of the duel is not yet known, but we expect to learn more in the coming days. Could this be the beginning of a global giant robot fighting league? We can only hope.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Mech_Con Details Revealed On Fancy New Website

courtesy of mechwarrior.com/mechcon

Mech_Con is making its triumphant return next December and has recently released their schedule of events along with ticket sales on a fancy new website.

We knew Mech_Con would return as early as May, but PGI hadn’t yet ironed out the details back then. It looks like they have now, as revealed in the aforementioned fancy new website recently posted in the new mechwarrior.com portal (itself being a new development in PGI’s web presence). This year looks like it’ll be better than ever, so let’s go over a few of the highlights on the schedule.

Banners

courtesy of mechwarrior.com/mechcon

First off, and most excitingly, there will be a MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries development build available for attendees to try out all day long.The first new single player MechWarrior experience in over a decade is a highly anticipated new game from PGI, and this may very well be the first time anyone outside the company will be able to get their hands on a demo.

Along with MechWarrior 5, BattleTech and MechWarrior Online will also have development builds available for trying out the latest iterations of both games before they go live, as well as 1v1 “Solaris style” MWO battle stations, where you can duel your friend mono a mono to see who is the best MechWarrior. Catalyst Game Labs will also be demoing their latest and greatest creations, as well as having a tabletop BattleTech game running all day long.

Bombadil

courtesy of mechwarrior.com/mechcon

The Main Stage will be home to the MechWarrior Online World Championships, where the top teams in the world will be duking it out for the title of best MechWarriors in the world. In between matches will be presentations by Catalyst Game Labs, Harebrained Schemes and Piranha Games on the latest developments each BattleTech company has to share. Each company will also have 1 hour a meet & greet and Q&A session throughout the day, followed by an autograph table.

The full schedule of events (as well as when the all important munchies will be provided) is available on the Mech_Con website here.

It’s not all presentations and MWO tournaments of course. There will be a merch booth set up for you to purchase the best BattleTech swag around, as well as prizes, raffles, and giveaways. Keep an eye out for your favorite YouTube and Twitch streamers too, as they’ll be wandering around the convention floor and maybe even taking on would-be champions at the Solaris stations.

Tournament Casters

courtesy of mechwarrior.com/mechcon

Tickets are on sale now, and Mech_Con begins at noon on December 9th. If you can’t attend, consider picking up the 2017 Tournament Supporter Pack. Proceeds go towards the World Championship prize fund, and you get a ton of awesome in-game loot and an extra 10% to all your c-bill and experience gains.

We hope to see you there!

Harmony Gold Is At It Again…

Yup. You read that right. Harmony Gold is at it again with another round of lawsuits aimed at BattleTech IP.

The story broke a few days ago (thanks to user Clanfighter for the comment tip!), and the Harebrained Schemes (HBS) and MechWarrior Online forums are ablaze. There’s a lot of vitriol being spewed (rightly) against Harmony Gold for being litigious parasites and trying to cash in on BattleTech‘s and MechWarrior Online’s success, and while that’s certainly true, there’s a little more to it than that.

First, let’s take a look at the actual lawsuit itself. Court documents filed last March by the law firm Calfo Eakes & Ostrovsky PLLC reveal that Harmony Gold is suing both Harebrained Schemes and PGI for copyright infringement on their Robotech imagery, which so far sounds just like what happened with the Unseen saga. That ended with Catalyst Game Labs releasing new artwork for the unseen ‘Mechs, and we all thought everything was done for good.

Harmony Gold apparently felt differently. The new suit names PGI as the primary defendants, saying the current models used for the Rifleman, Archer, Warhammer, Marauder and Phoenix Hawk are similar enough to the original Robotech images that they infringe the copyright. It also names HBS as another defendant saying that their use of the Atlas, Locust, and Shadowhawk are too similar to their property to be used in the upcoming BattleTech game.

Marauder PHawk

via unitedstatescourts.org

I took out some of the images filed in the court documents so we can take a look. For the complaint against PGI, you can maybe make an argument they’re similar but so similar they infringe? That’s harder to say. I’m no lawyer, but I do know that courts often look to specifics rather than general shapes when determining these kinds of cases, and you can easily spot dozens of differences between the two designs being compared.

Warhammer Archer

via unitedstatescourts.org

Rifleman

via unitedstatescourts.org

The pictures being used against HBS look even less alike. In fact, the whole argument seems spurious at best. An Atlas looks like a Crusader? A Shadowhawk looks like an Archer? A Locust looks like a Marauder? These ‘Mechs don’t even share the same silhouette, let alone any specific details. It’s like Harmony Gold is trying to say that nobody else can have giant robots since they have a passing resemblance to their giant robots.

Atlas Shadowhawk

via unitedstatescourts.org

Locust

via unitedstatescourts.org

The case against HBS is sure to be tossed as soon as it goes before a judge. The case for PGI might linger on, but I’m fairly confident that PGI has prepared for this day and has numerous counter arguments to keep their game safe.

The case against HBS is sure to be tossed as soon as it goes before a judge.

There were a few more interesting tidbits to be gleaned from the court docs. Apparently, PGI had been in contact with Harmony Gold in 2013 when they were planning on releasing the Warhammer and Marauder ‘Mechs in MechWarrior Online. Both times Harmony Gold said the submitted designs were too similar and infringed on their copyright. We don’t know what those earlier designs might have looked like, but you can see from the images above that the current models for the Warhammer and Marauder are very different from the original Robotech designs.

Also mentioned in the suit is how Harmony Gold “discovered” the infringing materials. Evidently, it was an old news post by Catalyst Game Labs on their partnership with PGI in creating some “lore vignettes” in 2016. The blog post featured a schematic image of the Warhammer, which was released in MechWarrior Online in January 2016. Both the Marauder and the Marauder IIC were released later in 2016.

Warhammer

via unitedstatescourts.org

It says something about how confident PGI is in their position that they still released both the Marauder and Warhammer despite having the court documents filed just before their release in MWO.

So why is Harmony Gold pursuing this case when they seem to have a very good chance of losing? Well, they could be hoping for a quick settlement with both PGI and HBS, however, given the strength of their defense, I doubt either would be inclined to let Harmony Gold win this time.

On the other hand, Harmony Gold has a very good reason to pursue this case as aggressively as they can. The Robotech live action movie is going full steam ahead, and there are probably plans to have both game and action figure tie-ins with the movie. Nevermind the fact the movie has no script, no cast, and has just recently changed directors to the same guy that did Stephen King’s It adaptation.

Harmony Gold could also be using this case as a means of testing the legal waters for a future lawsuit against MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Harmony Gold could also be using this case as a means of testing the legal waters for a future lawsuit against MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. We know that PGI’s upcoming single-player game will feature some of the Unseen designs, and if it’s as financially successful as it’s expected to be (and if the Robotech movie doesn’t crash and burn like every other live-action anime movie) then Harmony Gold could stand to make a bundle.

One thing for certain is that neither PGI nor HBS is likely to comment on the case anytime soon as the trial is set for September of 2018. Here’s hoping they lose, and badly.

New Tech in MechWarrior Online!

The latest patch for MechWarrior Online drops today, and while most patches are the usual crowd of minor tweaks and balance changes, today’s patch is a massive event that propels MWO into a new era in BattleTech.

Welcome to Civil War.

Or more accurately, welcome to the 3060s, where Inner Sphere technology finally catches up (kinda) with their Clan counterparts. Added to the game are all the best weaponry that BattleTech has ever had, including Rotary ACs, Heavy Gauss Rifles, and single shot Rocket Launchers. The Clans aren’t left out in this update either, as they receive Heavy Lasers, Advanced Tactical Missiles, and Micro Lasers.

More on the fancy new guns later. First, let’s dive into the patch notes and go over the latest event that brings us into the Civil War era.

Operation Bulldog… sort of

Operation Bulldog

courtesy of mwomercs.com

We begin with the latest addition to Faction Play, which despite the name of the patch being Civil War actually brings us back to the Invasion Era of 3057.

Called simply Season 1, the goal of the event is just like Operation Bulldog: the Inner Sphere factions have all come together to annihilate one of the clans. In gameplay terms, this means that if any Inner Sphere faction can take and hold a Clan Homeworld (Bearclaw, Strana Mechty, Huntress, or Ironhold), then the event ends and the Spheroids can claim victory.

Unlike the actual BattleTech lore, the Clans aren’t bound by the Tukayyid truce (or maybe they just ignore it – hard to say). For a Clan victory, they must reach and conquer any three Inner Sphere Capitals (Luthien, Tharkad, New Avalon, Sian, or Atreus). If they manage to do what no Clan has ever done, then victory for the Clans is declared and the event ends.

Operation Bulldog

via imgur

To conquer a Homeworld or Capital is no easy task. Either side must completely encircle the planet on the star map in order for the invasion to commence. Once it does, that capital/homeworld will become the sole point of contention for the entire Inner Sphere or Clan; everyone will pile in to either attack or defend the planet. If the defense is successful, then that planet cannot be targeted for invasion for the rest of the season.

Naturally, this event is weighted to give the Inner Sphere a bit of an advantage, as they’re both lacking in numbers as well as technology (even with the new gear that’s been released). But since both sides could certainly lose in their attempts to conquer a capital, it’s entirely possible that the season will end in a draw.

Lastly, the event also sees the addition of two new Clans: the Steel Vipers and Nova Cats. Just like in the lore, the Nova Cats fight within the Smoke Jaguar territory, and the Steel Vipers fight within the Jade Falcon territory. However, neither of the new factions have territories of their own, and any votes in war planning are done for their parent faction.

New Inner Sphere Tech

Rotary AC/5

via mwomercs.com user Sparks Murphey

Alright, alright, let’s talk about the new tech. And oh boy, there’s a lot of it.

Starting with the Inner Sphere, we’ve got a bevy of new ballistic weapons to choose from. There’s new Light and Heavy Machine Guns, Light and Heavy Gauss Rifles, LB 2, 5 and 20-X Autocannons, Ultra AC/2, 10, and 20 Autocannons, and my personal favorites, the Rotary AC/2 and AC/5.

Each of the LB and Ultra Autocannons performs about as you’d expect from firing the LB 10-X or the Ultra AC/5 (which already existed from the Clan Invasion Era) but have damage and range numbers in line with lore (if not exactly for balance purposes). The Light and Heavy Machine Guns and Gauss Rifles work the same way, with the Heavy Gauss having received some additional recoil and crosshair dancing (similar to shooting while jumping).

Rotary ACs are a brand new beast that streams out hot lead like a bullet hose. While the animation may seem satisfying, there remains some skepticism if the new Autocannon will outperform existing ballistics in terms of DPS given how often they jam and how hot they run.

  Light PPC

For energy weapons, the Inner Sphere gets the remaining ER Lasers, and the brand new Light PPC, Snub-Nose PPC, and Heavy PPC. Each of these weapons performs similarly to their existing counterparts, but with range limits (and in the case of the Snubby, range penalties to damage) one would expect from lore.

In missile land the Inner Sphere gets a bonanza, with Streak Missiles being rounded out and also with the addition of MRMs and Rocket Launchers. These last two, in particular, are proving to be devastating weapon systems in the hands of an experienced pilot who’s used to boating up dumb-fire SRMs.  

Perhaps most exciting for the Inner Sphere is the addition of new equipment. Stealth Armor, Light Ferro-Fibrous, and Light Fusion Engines will provide Inner Sphere ‘Mechs will additional toughness or sneakiness as required, and Laser AMS and Targeting Computers give Spheroids the same equipment as Clans have had for some time.

The Clans Get Something Too

  Heavy Laser

The Clans receive less gear, but what they do receive is pretty exciting. The Light and Heavy Machine Guns make their appearance again, but it’s the energy weaponry that gets most expanded. Micro ER and Pulse Lasers, and Heavy Lasers expand the Clan arsenal with never-before-seen firepower. Micro Lasers, in particular, seem a brutal addition to clan Novas which are able to potentially mount 12 of the tiny, fast firing lasers.

The Clans also receive ATMs, or Advanced Tactical Missiles, which deal more damage at close range and less damage at long range. As a cost for their flexibility, they fire fewer missiles per ton than either the Steak or regular LRMs. Rounding out the Clan arsenal are Light Active Probes, which provide fewer benefits than regular Active Probes but weigh less, Laser AMS, which provide ammo-less missile defenses at the cost of heat, and Light TAG, which is a shorter range but lighter regular TAG.

New ‘Mechs On The Way

Uziel

via mwomercs.com user Alopex

Along with new guns comes a lance of new ‘Mechs to add to your hangars. The Uziel, Cougar, Annihilator, and Mad Cat MK II are all scheduled to release later in 2017 or in early 2018, with the Uziel showing up first and Mad Cat MK II appearing last. Pre-orders are available now for these new ‘Mechs on the Civil War MWO page.

The patch also comes with an assortment of balance tweaks and bug fixes, all of which you can pour over on the MWO patch page here.

It’s an exciting new era for MechWarrior Online, so strap on your Neurohelmets and get in on the action!

Forging the Road Ahead – Local Level BattleTech on the Rise

Hello, Sarna!

It’s been a while since you last heard from me, and so much has happened since I last wrote to you about our favorite game and science fiction universe.

What have I been up to?

Well, keeping the discussion to just BattleTech, there’s still a lot to talk about.

For the past year I’ve been getting progressively more involved in the Middle Tennessee BattleTech scene, growing gaming relationships and working for ways to establish a home and give the scattered players in the region a place to gather. I wanted to sit down and take a moment to share some of what the journey has been like so far and tell about what the future might have for our group.

The T-N-T Gaming Convention, in its first held on May 19-21 in Nashville, TN, was our first stop of the year, and our Demo Team Agent organized a great Alpha Strike tournament for us at that event.

The stakes at TNT were high, with the Grand Championship belt going to the tournament winner! (Photo by: Josh Koziura)

The championship game of that tournament is here chronicled:

After T-N-T, our intrepid Demo Agent Josh once again planned an event for us at Nashcon, held June 2-4 in Franklin, TN. This time it was a multi-player mega battle that was semi-narrative, and recreated the conflict on Tukayyid between the GomGuard and the unfortunate Clan Diamond Shark.

One of the rare Diamond Shark achievements, first blood went to the Clans! (Photo by: Josh Koziura)

Sadly (depending on your perspective), history repeated itself at Nashcon, and the Diamond Sharks once more ran away to their DropShips and away from Tukayyid.

It was after the Nashcon event that I had dinner and a conversation with Demo Agent Josh, and in that conversation it was decided that I, like him, would become a Demo Agent. Together we would share the task of trying to get local level BattleTech back on the right track in our area.

Fast forward about a month, and all of my paperwork was accepted and processed, minting me as Demo Team Agent #880. Now the fun could begin.

In the time since my official commission as a Demo Agent, I have been searching for a game store for us to call home, one that would like to see us grow and that would be willing to support us.

This past week, I made inquiries at a local shop in Hermitage, TN called The Game Cave. I was already acquainted with the store owner, so earlier this week I went in with some Alpha Strike demo materials and showed him what we’re all about. He observed a demo game of Alpha Strike, and afterwards we discussed things.

The first Alpha Strike demo game at The Game Cave ended in epic fashion, with the Dragon taking a 12 Critical roll from the Zeus. (Photo by: Dave Martin)

I’m happy to say that the Middle TN BattleTech Group has tentatively found a new home at The Game Cave, starting Wednesday, July 19, and continuing on Wednesday evening for the time being.

This is a great leap forward for the local group, and I’ve already begun putting the word out that there’s a place that wants to see us come in once a week to play BattleTech and Alpha Strike!

So this is where this article leaves you, at the jumping off point for a new chapter in a local BattleTech group’s journey. As it’s my group that I’m writing about, I plan to keep you updated on how things go. Josh and I are working together to get fall tournament events planned, and if The Game Cave works out, that would be the preferred venue for any future big events.

If you’re reading this in the Middle TN area and you’re not connected to the group, please reach out using any link scattered throughout this article or leave a comment below with a way for me to get in touch. We’d love to bring you into the fold!

GenCon is coming up, too, and like usual I plan on attending, with a schedule this is mostly BattleTech related. I hope to have things together enough to do another summary for you all like I did two years ago.

Be on the lookout for more in the story of the Middle TN Battle Group, and I’ll be seeing you through my crosshairs!

 

Dave

The Wonderful World of BattleTech Memes

BattleTech is a serious game, played by serious people. In order to sit down and roll dice and mark down damage and heat for hours on end, you have to give the game your utmost in sober thought and contemplation. If you were to get even deeper and paint miniatures, you must spend painstaking weeks carefully inking, marking, and assembling your tiny metal figures until they are poised just so on a battlefield filled with the corpses of defeated enemies (or past failed projects).

But within all of that intense solemnity, there is a tiny sliver of something poking through the formal facade like a beacon. For those willing to dig just a bit further, to reach beyond the pen and paper trappings and the dozens upon dozens of paperback novels, brave adventurers will find something truly wonderful underneath.

I, of course, speak of the life blood of the internet: memes.

Although BattleTech may have gotten its start just as the internet was being birthed, it has since survived long enough to enter into the heyday of image boards and computer game forums where all good memes are born. And since I thought we could all use a good laugh, I’ve decided to share a few of the better ones I’ve found with all of you today.

Before we begin, I’d like to state that I am not the creator of any of the images you see in this article (credit is given to the original posters where possible). I am merely the one kind enough to give them the spotlight they so richly deserve.

I Fits I Sits

via community.battletechgame.com user Bombast

We begin our journey with this gem plucked from the Harebrained Schemes BattleTech forum. As you can see, this meme is a combination of the already common meme that cats will sit in anything that they can fit their bodies into and BattleTech. In this case, a CATapult has found that it has the ideal dimensions to sit inside a Masakari, much to the chagrin of its pilot.

Happy Atlas

via community.battletechgame.com user Ink Sikes

BattleTech forum user Ink Skies isn’t the first to notice the unusual placement of the AtlasAC/20, but he may be the first to make it into a classic innuendo.

Orbital Assault

via community.battletech.com
user Yen-Lo -Wang

The BattleTech forums have a particular criticism of House Steiner military doctrine, which tends to field assault ‘Mechs more than any other great house. In this instance, the dangers of dropping an Atlas from orbit without a drop pod are obvious and poignant.

Scouts

via community.battletechgame.com user Red Dox

The next criticism of the Lyran military has to do with scout ‘Mechs, or more accurately their lack thereof. Although the jab at House Marik for their use of non-‘Mech vehicles is there to remind us that tanks are still a thing. I guess.

Steiner Wealth

via knowyourmeme

Mercantile wealth within the Lyran Commonwealth is the object of this latest meme, a colorful rendition of an Atlas with some non-standard armor enhancements. One might think they could prove useful in stopping a missile or two, but the cost seems to outweigh the benefits.

Raven Arrow IV

via community.battletechgame.com user Hayashi

We return to the BattleTech forums for this work of art which borrows from another popular game, Skyrim. In the medieval world, to “take an arrow” was actually slang for taking a wife, thus preventing the guard from going on dangerous adventures. Although, I can’t help but think a Raven would be nothing but scrap after taking a direct hit from an Arrow IV.

Urbie

via knowyourmeme

As a much-beloved icon of the series, the Urbanmech is host to a slew of memes which mostly poke fun at its unique appearance. This one reverses the trend and shows the Urbie for the fierce, uncompromising death machine that it is.

What it really is

via community.battletechgame.com user Smaug

Another common meme shows the different perspectives a certain topic can have in larger society. This particular iteration shows how BattleTech is viewed by various demographics before ultimately revealing the terrible truth of our obsession.

Awesome

via knowyourmeme

BattleTech memes are not all cheap jokes and shitposting. Some of them can be a wholesome celebration of a beloved franchise. An Awesome being snuggled by an inexplicably enormous Mad Cat is one which I find to be particularly heartening.

I’d like to personally thank the many artists that created these wonderful images and hope they continue to do so for many years to come.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

A Locust Love Story

I’ll be honest, I didn’t exactly ‘get’ the whole dating simulator craze. Even when the game speaks directly to me I’d rather be spending my gaming hours in a giant robot dealing death and destruction (or a ninja, or pirate, or something similar). But dating sims? Whatever, man. That stuff is for chicks.

Then I saw the trailer for A Locust Love Story and my life will never be the same.

Born from the creative genius of MechWarriors Krivvan and Halimede, A Locust Love Story follows young Locust-chan as she attends her first day at River City High. As a transfer student just going into her second year of high school Locust is entering the prime of her combat shelf-life, but she’ll have to be careful. There are mean ‘Mechs at this school, just waiting to eat a tasty little morsel like her for breakfast!

She won’t be alone though – Locust will meet lifelong friends who will help her draw strength to overcome the many challenges that lay ahead, as well as have loads of fun along the way.

Locust and Awesome

She sure is Awesome

“We got inspired by Hatoful Boyfriend,” writes Halimede in an email interview. “Story-wise we got inspired by classical visual novel tropes and just put a MechWarrior Online spin to them.”

“The story line was to be based partially on the somewhat rocky patch and meta shift history of MWO,” Krivvan clarifies, “which I figure was probably because we were both playing in some tournaments and the first MechWarrior Online World Championship at the time.”

The entire game is built on a visual novel game engine called Ren’Py. The engine is built on the Python programming language and is relatively simple to use. It’s also the foundation for a metric ton of visual novel games, the quality of which will range from something like Locust Love Story to somewhat less reputable titles.

Griffin and Firestarter

High school can be a mean place

As for the workload, it’s a fifty/fifty split between the pair. Krivvan does most of the programming, while Halimede takes care of the visual elements. “Most of the art (besides the title screen, I would like to take credit for that) was Halimede’s thing, and she designed the characters,” says Krivvan.

“For the actual art I made up some camos to fit the Personalities – ‘Pretty Baby’ for example got the darker shades and Purple for being a bit depressing and lonely,” tells Halimede. “Then we just took pictures of ‘em in different poses, some free flight spectator shots of River City for backdrops, and an extensive photo shoot with our heroine Locust-chan for the cover.”

The intro was as simple as adding “some effects like the flower petals”, and then taking some existing sound effects and buttons from MechWarrior Online.

As for why a Locust, Krivvan isn’t quite sure. “Maybe because there was something distinctively cute and petite about Locusts?”

Locust-chan

Locust-chan

So far the game is just a trailer with what the pair have been able to finish so far, but the skeleton of a truly amazing dating sim game is there. “We originally started when both of us were still active in the MWO competitive scene and it dropped by the wayside a bit when the World Championship rolled around,” says Halimede. “In general I would love to finish it someday.”

“And there are a few surprises planned that I haven’t mentioned yet,” adds Krivvan.

I for one am on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen to Locust-chan next. Here’s hoping that Krivvan and Halimede find the time to bring this amazing ‘Mech dating sim to life.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

MRBC Season Wrap Up!

The season has ended! And it has been a wild ride for every team in the MRBC. It’s been a bit of a while since we last checked on the MRBC, for which I blame the release of the Battletech Backer Beta for. But let’s not sit here and play the blame game for who screwed up what – instead, let’s take a look at the standings are seen how MRBC’s Season 9 shaped up.

  Eon Synergy

In Europe it was Eon Synergy that took home the crown, having pulled away from the pack in the last few weeks with commanding victories over every other team in the division, finishing the season with a reputation score of 15,450. It seems that Black Spikes Team 2 (Yellow Submarine) just couldn’t maintain the momentum they had halfway through the season, as they lost a crucial match at the end of May to Eon, losing all 5 drops. Their performance remained strong, however, leaving them with a second place finish and a score of 13,275. Rounding out in third were the White Death Mercenary Company with a reputation score of 12,650.

   

The fight in the Americas was a bit closer with Dropship 5 emerging as ultimate victors. Their last match against second place Steel Jaguar resulted in a bit of an upset, with the Jaguar’s taking the match 3 drops to 2. But the MRBC is a score-based league, and after the final tallies were made it was Dropship 5 taking the pennant with a score of 14,750. Steel Jaguar with a score of 13,350, and barely squeaking into third place were the 228th IBR “Black Watch”, a mere 275 points separated from fourth place with a final score of 12,775.

  VETO

With only 4 teams, Asia/Pacific’s Division A finals took place a month ago. Team Veto swept the remaining games in the division, taking nearly every match played 5-0 (barring matches against the 228th IBR), and securing a first place finish with a final score of 9,275 reputation points. The 228th IBR “The Wild Ones”, while beginning the season with an early lead, eventually settled into second place with a final score of 7,500 points. Third place was taken by The Cheapskate’s with a score of 4,700 points.

 

Division B Winners Rise To Division A

   

According to the MRBC rules, the winner of the Division B seasons will be bumped up to Division A starting next season, so there will be several new teams to welcome into the premier division. In Europe, Division B saw the Antares Scorpions taking home the gold, narrowly edging out the Phoenix Legion with a final score of 15,825.

  ISENGRIM

In North America, the tight four-way race eventually came down to two teams: ISENGRIM and the Blackstone Knights. The rivalry for first between the two teams soon came down to a final match, and on June 22 it was ISENGRIM that emerged victoriously. They’ll be moving on to Division A with a final Division B score of 15,325, and a league leading 373 confirmed ‘Mech kills. An outstanding performance.

 

Asia/Pacific’s Division B was a similarly tight race between the [ISRC] Innersphere Rustbuckets and Clan Crossfire. While both teams fought valiantly, it was ultimately the Innersphere Rustbuckets that achieved victory, a bare 375 points ahead of Clan Crossfire with a final score of 13,725. They’ll be moving on to face a new challenge in Division A.

Congratulations to every team that took part in the MRBC season making it the largest one yet.  The MRBC will be taking a bit of a break for now as the MechWarrior Online World Championships begin to start in the coming weeks. We’ll be sure to cover that tournament as soon as it begins.