Sarna 2014 Survey Results

Hi everyone!

I want to thank everyone that took the Sarna 2014 Survey.  We had 941 responses, which has given us a ton of great feedback!  Besides the survey questions, there were several hundred written suggestions, ideas, bugs and thoughts on how to improve the site.

I’ve spent the last day pouring over the results, and have tried to boil everyone’s responses down to some key takeaways.  Over the new few months I’ll be addressing your biggest concerns and best suggestions.

You can check out the survey results here.

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Father and Son Halloween Sunder Cosplay

It was over a month ago that I wrote about a Warhawk ‘mech cosplay; I mentioned that the BattleTech themed projects I’ve seen online have been almost universally reverse-join clan designs entered in competitions. These have been more puppets than outfits, really; with the operator’s black-clad legs sticking out the back and between those of the ‘mech.

But in this My Modern Met article, a BattleTech fan has not only put together an inner sphere assault ‘Mech, but it’s a proper suit since the Sunder is a nice, slat-sided humanoid design with limbs bulky enough to accommodate both himself and his infant son Geraint- who seems more than happy to pilot the BattleMech powered by his dad, Ryan.

The article also explains that the torso and arms attach by velcro around Ryan and Geraint- who sits in a baby harness strapped to dad’s chest. The legs attach to a belt around the waist, so it doesn’t take long to don the Sunder suit.

courtesy of mymodernmet.com

courtesy of mymodernmet.com

BattleTech: First Somerset Strikers and Sourcebook Retrospective

I think the BattleTech cartoon was probably as close the franchise came to making the mainstream of popular culture. I could include the videogames (which I have discussed before) but the cartoon took place during a time where big fighting robots were generally in the mainstream anyway. MechWarrior 2, Robot Jox, and of course blockbusters like Terminator 2. Even Japanese distributors were beginning to test the US market with titles like Patlabor and different flavors of Gundam. Big robots were beginning to become as much a staple of science fiction as the space opera. (Some media, like Gundam and BattleTech combined the two).

So how does one market a mech-centric space opera towards children? As seen with other US franchises like Exosquad, don’t sugar coat it. In space operas, there are big wars going on, and people die. 1st Somerset Strikers doesn’t show death like Exosquad does, but one of the plot developments banks on one of the major characters failing to eject from his devastated BattleMech before it explodes and being thought dead by his compatriots for most of the season. Likewise, though it specifically mentions in the official BattleTech canon that the Jade Falcons evacuated the city of Romulus before glassing it with orbital bombardment, it was never brought up on the show.  So the viewer thinks they just watched an entire city of people get vaporized. Heady stuff. I really wish they had made more of a deal of the destruction of Edo on Turtle Bay later in the season, considering that most of the inhabitants in fact WERE massacred by the Smoke Jaguars (one of the reasons that clan was targeted for termination during Operations Serpent and Bulldog)

 

promotional artwork for the animated series

Promotional artwork for the animated series

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Megabots- Is Solaris VII Coming to Live Action Fruition?

Growing up amidst the popularity of both the giant robot craze and the never-ending advancement of technology in both the military industrial complex and commercial avenues- I keep waiting for life to imitate art. Over the years even private individuals have taken a swing at constructing real stompy robots with some pretty mixed results at best. Unlike BattleTech, we’re seeing the beginnings of powered armor proliferation, but not a large robot.

The reason, of course, is that there is absolutely nothing simple about how a bipedal being moves. From the standpoint of a fighting vehicle, designing a multi-ton machine that puts all of its weight on a pair of feet just doesn’t translate well, and the larger you try to scale them, the more difficult the problem becomes. SO when I read about an ambitious kickstarter to build a pair of bipedal fighting machines for the express purpose of having a death match- I was hesitant. But optimistically so.

Four-way Free-for-All event concept sketch by FlyingDebris

Four-way Free-for-All event concept sketch by FlyingDebris

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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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