Author Archives: Timbal

About Timbal

A random guy transplanted (By choice) to Florida from New York City. Love tech, Star Wars, BattleTech, salsa (Both the condiment and the musical style), playing timbales, reading, and writing. =)

A new BattleTech fan film in the works!

BWC Films Logo (Done by Adrian Johnson).

It was brought to our attention that there apparently is a new BattleTech fan film in the works. We immediately investigated the rumors and found it to be true!

In development by Bravo Whiskey Charlie Films (BWC Films), this new film blends live action with computer generated imagery provided by high quality video as found in the popular MechWarrior Online MMO game.

Seeking more details from this project and from the veteran owned and operated BWC Films in general, we sat down with BWC Films owner Mr. Tim Everett and went over several questions that we were burning to ask.

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Future Possibilities for Tabletop BattleTech

The game Golem Arcana being played out

Pondering tactical possibilities.

I am lucky to count myself part of an active and ongoing BattleTech gaming group. While we have a great time stomping about in our ‘Mechs, trying to complete campaign objectives, by necessity we are stuck playing only a single battle per meeting. Each battle, ranging from lance on lance all the way up to company vs company sized battles can take a daunting amount of time, with our average lance + support units vs star/multi lanced size opponents taking anywhere from four or more hours to complete. Many times we simply run out of time, and make judgment calls as to the results of the battles.

This has lead me to wonder, is there a better way? Being a technology junkie, I’ve often thought as to how to leverage technology to remove the tedium of classic BattleTech game play.

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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.

CGL Adding New Lance Packs, Intro Set Reprint

CAT35710 Assault Lance Packaging

Assault Lance assaulting stuff.

Assault Lance assaulting something or the other.

Announced today, Catalyst Game Labs is issuing a reprint of the successful Introductory Box Set to meet demand, and should be back on game store shelves by late summer of 2014.

Also announced is a line of Lance Packs, using the same improved plastic miniatures found in the Introductory Box Set. Each set will be retailing at $19.99, and although no specific release date has been given it is expected to hit the streets late this year. The Assault Lance Pack and the Pursuit Lance Packs are the first ones to be going out the warehouse doors, each one also packed in with eight Alpha Strike cards as an added bonus.

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XTRO Royal Fantasy Tournament Released

Cover of Experimental Technical Readout: Royal Fantasy

Then there was much rejoicing along with much confusion.

Recently the latest experimental technical readout (XTRO) has been dropped on us.  I’m not sure if the April 1st release date has anything to do with the contents of XTRO, but it’s a quite amusing, but interesting, addition to the BattleTech lineup. The main gist of this release is a tie in of various designs with pilots that were obviously heavily influenced by Disney characters set in the Dark Age era. It’s very tongue-in-cheek, but some of the designs are actually pretty interesting.

For this author, just SOME of the standout designs are:

PXH-7KJ Phoenix Hawk “Jasmine” – An interesting design in that although the ‘mech itself is decently armed, it has a drone system that allows it to engage at range at little risk to the main unit. This makes for tantalizing game play options.

CH11-NGC Gunsmith “Cinderella” and “Ugly Step-Sisters” – Ranging from a light, fast strike unit to some really hard hitting medium designs, as a group they would be pretty deadly in any arena fight.

TBT-7MM Trebuchet “Merida ” – A fantastic re-working of a classic design, it’s made even deadlier by the addition of Streak LRM’s.

HKZ-1FM Hitotsume Kozo “Mulan” – Another fast and hard hitting design, with its’ heavy PPC it can also duel at range effectively.

TSN-X4R Tessen “Rapunzel” – A fascinating melee design that uses a “hair braid” as an anti-‘mech whip.

GST-10A Ghost “Aurora” – With a MML9 system it’s a capable multi-role fighter with the amazing addition of a rare Void Signature System.

There are many more that go on, and although not exactly BattleTech canon, it’s an amusing and interesting application of the BattleTech system to a theme that would bring many smiles just by paging through it. Check it out for yourself and download it for free!

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Retrospective Look at Lost Destiny

Book Three of the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy by Michael A. Stackpole

Cover of 1995 reprint of Lost Destiny

Little Johnny Acolyte’s drill sergeant told him there would be days where a yellow Wolfhound on fire would come a-stompin’.


Lost Destiny concludes the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy, which was preceded by the rather good Blood Legacy by Michael A. Stackpole. We’ll be concluding our retrospective look at Lost Destiny as part of a continuing series of articles (starting with Lethal Heritage and Blood Legacy) to look back at the 25th anniversary of the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy.

BASIC PLOTLINE

In the aftermath of the events detailed in Blood Legacy, Lost Destiny picks up the ball and starts to run with it at a breathless pace. With the events of Kai Allard-Liao being stuck behind enemy lines, to dealing with the aftermath of the Battle of Luthien, to the crazy one-on-many battles that Phelan Wolf goes through to earn a Bloodname, to a daring raid done behind enemy lines, to the final battle of ComStar vs the Clans. Although Blood Legacy had a lot of action, with most of the political stuff done in that book gives Stackpole a chance to get into some really hot ‘Mech battles. All the plotlines come together rather satisfactorily, but leaves enough of a hunger to find out what’s next.

CHARACTERS

In contrast to Blood Legacy, the characters in Lost Destiny are starting to trust in themselves and their fellow warriors, and in the case of Phelan he really starts to come into his own as a Clan warrior, besting many obstacles that are thrown their way. They’ve taken what they’ve learned and start to use that knowledge as a weapon, and leading to some interesting situations. Although the main focus of the book is split between Phelan, Victor, Kai, and Foct, you get a really interesting mix of points of view and how these characters respond to the ongoing changes. Along with their confidence, you can’t help but to cheer on these characters on their adventures, despite the sometimes terrible odds that they face.

IMPACT OF THE BOOK ON THE BATTLETECH UNIVERSE

This book was important because, for the first time, you see Inner Sphere nations start to come together to fight the larger threat that is the Clans. ComStar surprisingly also is a fascinating addition, as some of the secrets of this order are finally revealed. You also see that, yes, the Clans are extremely deadly foes, but they can be defeated and are not invincible. At the end of the book you have a very uneasy set of affairs, but a relative peace. With the Clans being a now-permanent fixture within the Inner Sphere, everything that had gone on before had been thrown out the airlock and a new destiny for all those in the universe to be charted.

CONCLUSION

With the political groundwork already laid down in the previous novel, the attention to the battles, and the ongoing character development, Lost Destiny is my personal favorite in the trilogy. Highly recommended reading for all BattleTech fans!

Retrospective Look at Blood Legacy

Book Two of the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy by Michael A. Stackpole

After the conclusion of “Lethal Heritage” you’re left in a bind. Michael A. Stackpole left us at the end of that book with a heck of a shock. We’ll continue exploring Blood Legacy as part of a continuing series of articles (starting with this one) to look back at the 25th anniversary of the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy.

Cover of 1995 reprint of Blood Legacy

That dude is going to have a problem explaining that autocannon scratch to his CO.

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Retrospective Look at Lethal Heritage

Book One of the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy by Michael A. Stackpole

It’s hard to imagine the state of the BattleTech universe without the influence of Michael A. Stackpole’s work upon it. Back in the 90’s, my first BattleTech novel that I had picked up completely by sheer luck was indeed Stackpole’s “Lethal Heritage“. It was so good that I devoured it in a day and went back for the others in the series, and in the process started a lifelong love.

Given the influence of this series and book in particular, on the eve of its’ 25th year anniversary, it would be interesting to go back and take a quick retrospective look at the book.

Cover of 1995 reprint of Lethal Heritage

Wait, what do you mean that a Phoenix Hawk can’t take on a point of Elementals?

BASIC PLOTLINE

This book can be considered to be a good starter point into the BattleTech universe as, barring the first few pages that can cause puzzlement to a new reader into the series, starts from essentially a clean slate. Stackpole did a good job in setting up the in-universe powers that be and various key figures, giving the reader a decent foundation upon where to build from.

The book essentially starts with the stories of two scions of different realms, along with their loyal companions and another character that gives us an inside track on the main antagonists of the book. The scions fully expect that their respective differences have destined them to fight each other, but a massive invasion from technologically superior outside force, calling themselves The Clans, force them to ignore each other temporarily to combat this deadly threat.

CHARACTERS

The book revolves around several key characters, many that would have a tremendous influence on the fictional world of BattleTech for years to come, both in real life and in-universe. The main characters would revolve around Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, his cousin Phelan Kell, soldiers Kai Allard-Liao and Shin Yodama. With the exception of Shin Yodama, all of them are roughly the same age, completing their initial training as MechWarriors and being assigned to their initial service posts.

The character progression of these characters for the most part is interesting, with the plight of Phelan Kell in particular fascinating as it provides the reader with an inside-the-enemy-ranks look at these deadly foes. You do get a sense of their bewilderment at the main characters and their attempt to deal with events that are far beyond what they’ve been brought up to expect.

IMPACT OF THE BOOK ON THE BATTLETECH UNIVERSE

Although there have been some books written previously written in-universe, this was the first one that had taken a sweeping look at events happening simultaneously that had a far-reaching effect on events many years in the future. Thus, beyond providing a great starting point to the BattleTech universe, having a familiarity with the characters and events that happened in this book is key to understanding many of the following novels.

CONCLUSION

Beyond providing the foundation for many of the events in-universe, the book itself is a great science fiction romp with great descriptions of giant mecha battles and unexpected plot twists. This book is highly recommended.