Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Jordan Weisman about the BATTLETECH game at GenCon 2016

At GenCon 2016 last weekend, we were treated to an awesome surprise: a playable Super-Pre-Alpha demo of BATTLETECH.

This game is going to be awesome.

The Super-Pre-Alpha demo was playable by anyone attending the convention, and featured a single mission where your lance attempts to capture a salvage base.  I had the opportunity to play it for a while and left feeling giddy and wanting more.  It’s exciting to see the game in such a playable state just 9 months after the Kickstarter wrapped up.

Afterward I stopped drooling over the game, I had a chance to chat with Jordan Weisman, creator of BattleTech (the table top game) and co-founder of Harebrained Schemes to talk about BATTLETECH.

BATTLETECH game

Nic Jansma (sarna.net): I spoke with Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain of HBS last year here at GenCon 2015.  Since then, Harebrained Studios raised $2.7m in an extremely successful Kickstarter.  And only 9 months later, and you brought a playable demo to GenCon.  That’s awesome!  Your team has accomplished a lot.

Jordan Weisman: We have!  It’s exciting the way this development process has gone.

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Interview with Harebrained Schemes about the upcoming BATTLETECH Kickstarter

A few weeks ago at GenCon, I sat down with Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain of Harebrained Schemes.  That week, HBS had announced an upcoming kickstarter for BATTLETECH – tactical ‘Mech combat for the PC.

Needless to say the community was pretty excited, and I was lucky enough to get some time with the two of them to ask what BATTLETECH will look like.

BATTLETECH_01_HBS-600x125

Nic Jansma: Can you both give me a little intro into who you are, and what your day-to-day role at Harebrained Schemes is?

Mike McCain: I’m Mike McCain. I’m one of the creative directors here at HBS, on BattleTech, and just finishing up Shadowrun Hong Kong with Mitch here.  I’m co-directing BATTLETECH with Jordan.

Mitch Gitelman: My name is Mitch Gitelman.  I’m the cofounder and studio manager of HBS, and I also make games.

Nic: I obviously saw your announcement earlier this week. Took me by surprise!  I’ll be honest, I’m really excited for it.  I know you guys have done a great job with Shadowrun, and have Jordan behind you.  And judging by the comments on Sarna and on Facebook, it sounds like the community as well is just as excited to see what this could be.  So we’re really getting behind you guys.

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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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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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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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An Interview with Ed Orman on Ep0ch One and Two

I reviewed Ep0ch last year during my mobile game round up series. First released in 2011, Ep0ch is set in a post-apocalyptic city besieged by warring robots used as soldiers by rival corporate AI. You are Ep0ch, a kind of bodyguard robot called a guardian in search of Princess Amelia; your charge. Built in Unreal 3, Ep0ch was the most graphically advanced game I had seen at that time on a mobile platform. The campaign was linear, but there was an arena mode to rack up credit and experience points to upgrade yourself. It played like rail shooters such as Time Crisis; only in third person with you swiping to move Ep0ch in and out of cover to get a better firing angle on or avoid the fire of various robot enemies. Weapons were numerous, as were support systems and armor upgrades.

Courtesy of Uppercut games.

Courtesy of Uppercut games.

Ron: I recently spoke to Ed Orman of Uppercut games; which developed Ep0ch and its sequel, Ep0ch 2. From what I’ve seen from the trailer, Epoch 2 initially seems very similar. In the original, the environments seemed pretty close in, with lots of dark alleyways and ruins to fight in. The sequel seems to be much more open and dynamic with both its setting and its 3rd person view. What’s changed this time around?

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Interview with John Nguyen on Heavy Gear Assault

Hey everyone. This time I have an interview with John Nguyen, once of Heavy Gear’s Dream Pod 9 and now Vice President of Stompybot; publisher of developer MekTek‘s new project: Heavy Gear Arena.

Ron: I last saw an update on Heavy Gear Assault in a video last year from the 2013 Game Developer’s Conference where a demo version of the game could be played. What’s changed between then and the new alpha test about to launch?

John: We’ve come a very long way since GDC 2013. Back then, we unveiled a very early prototype of our game running in Unreal Engine 4. This was a feat in and of itself because the engine was still evolving. Since then, the engine has gone through a number of updates. We have continued to polish our core game mechanics and implemented key features such as internal skeletons to the Gears that can be damaged independently, the Gear’s unique movement systems as well as general combat mechanics.

Ron: I take it you mean the Secondary Movement System (motorized wheels or treads in the Gear’s footpads used for high speed movement over flat terrain). What’s involved with the Alpha test?

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I’ll say this, the backgrounds look pretty amazing, especially compared to 2013’s prototype.

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An Interview with George Ledoux

duncan

I am privileged to be able to work and actively collaborate with George Ledoux on several fan projects. His contributions to the BattleTech and MechWarrior communities have garnered him respect and a near fanatical fan base since he first delighted all of us with his color commentary of the Solaris VII matches MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries as the voice of Duncan Fisher and other voices in the MechWarrior 4 games.

Since that time, Duncan Fisher has become a staple in the MechWarrior fan community, and George has, in some capacity, stayed involved with the community throughout the final years of the MechWarrior 4 franchise, to the years of the community based mods, and straight through to today.

George is a friend of mine, and I am glad to be able to sit down with him, ask some questions, and share our discussion with all of you.

Dave: Thank you for agreeing to sit down and talk with me, George. My first question has to be about your MechWarrior/BattleTech origins. What was your first experience with the universe and the game(s)? Continue reading

BattleCorps Author Interview: Cody Ouellette


 The canon of official BattleTech continues to grow, and in my endless quest to get to know the people who are shaping what is to come, and what has already passed, I was able to catch the ear of BattleCorps author Cody Ouellette just long enough to get him to answer a few questions for me about his personal BattleTech journey and about his dreams to write BattleTech fiction.

Here is what Cody had to say:

Dave:  What was your first experience with the BattleTech universe?

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BattleCorps Author Interview: Patrick Tomlinson

BattleCorps Logo

BattleTech is a game and a universe that is driven by its lore. Many of us who love the game and its stories have a deep connection because of the novels and story-rich sourcebooks and supplements that have been published over the years.

While it’s been a few years since any of us have seen BattleTech or MechWarrior novels on a book store shelf, BattleCorps has continued the effort to provide us with the best in a continually growing lexicon of official BattleTech lore, continuing the work that the dozens of novels started.

We were able to track down Patrick Tomlinson, one of the authors who have recently contributed to the body of works found at BattleCorps. Below is what he had to say about BattleTech, MechWarrior Online, writing, and anything else he wanted to mention.

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