Category Archives: Interviews

Community Outreach – MRBC’s Doyle

Welcome to Community Outreach, where we here at Sarna reach out to learn more about other BattleTech communities and the people that shape them. This week we interview Doyle, the founder of the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission (MRBC) league for MechWarrior Online. Enjoy!

Sean (Sarna): So, to start off, how about we begin with “who are you?” Briefly introduce yourself.

Doyle: I’m Matt Doyle. I’ve been playing MechWarrior pretty much since the start, competitively since the start. I’ve been involved in top-level European competitive teams since very, very early on. Ex-SJR [ed. Steel Jaguar], we broke away to form our own unit, which its current iteration is 9th Sanguine Tigers, and of course, I’m the founder of MRBC League.

Sean: What is the MRBC?

Doyle: Well, I would say it’s the most accessible and biggest, player-run competition these days in MechWarrior Online. We’ve been around a long time, so I guess we’re now the longest running as well. And yeah, it works as a league, hence the name MRBC League. It’s accessible to teams of all levels from the very bottom right to the very top. You can always enter at the bottom division and have fun, just as you can be a top-level team fighting it out for the title of Division A as well.

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Community Outreach – No Guts No Galaxy’s Bombadil

Welcome to Community Outreach, where we here at Sarna reach out to learn more about other BattleTech communities and people that shape them. This week we interview Bombadil from No Guts No Galaxy. Enjoy!

 

Sean (Sarna): Hi Bombadil! Let’s start with a brief introduction. Who are you?

Bombadil: My name is Daeron, or “Bombadil” to some, and I’ve been a BattleTech fan for about as long as it is possible to be one. I’m married and have three kids, have lived in California my entire life, but am currently in the process of moving North to be closer to all things BattleTech and MechWarrior (Piranha Games, Harebrained Schemes, and Catalyst Game Labs are all in the Pacific Northwest area).

Sean: What IS No Guts No Galaxy? That is, how would you describe it to someone who doesn’t know much about it?

Bombadil: Simply put, NGNG is a hub for what’s happening today in the BattleTech and MechWarrior franchise. With close relationships to Piranha Games, Harebrained Schemes, and Catalyst Game Labs, we cover everything from MechWarrior Online, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the BattleTech turn-based strategy game from HBS, the BattleTech tabletop game, as well as the many novels (both classic and new releases). We’re also content creators, and over the years have worked on or helped facilitate a lot of projects that we’re very proud of, including web comics, an animated series, and we have even released five MechWarrior-inspired music albums with hopefully another coming out in 2017. There are many talented people in this community, everything from artists to programmers, and we’ve had the honor of working with some of the best.

Sean: When did you start No Guts No Galaxy?

Bombadil: Phillip Langenberg (NGNG co-founder) and I started NGNG back in 2009 while playing MechWarrior Living Legends, which is where we met. We were also both a part of that dev team for a while. Back then it was really just a community Teamspeak server where we would hang out with our friends and talk about BattleTech all day. We launched the podcast in late 2011 when PGI first announced MechWarrior Online, which is really the start of what NGNG is today.

Sean: What made you want to start No Guts No Galaxy?

Bombadil: As I mentioned before, it started off as a community for our Living Legends friends, but then we noticed that the BT/MW community seemed very fragmented at the time, so it also became an attempt to bring us together to play and discuss our favorite game in all its forms.

We noticed that the BT/MW community seemed very fragmented at the time, so it also became an attempt to bring us together to play and discuss our favorite game in all its forms.

Sean: When did you get into BattleTech?

Bombadil: It was 1984. I walked into my local game shop, and the BattleDroids (before they switched to BattleTech) box set cover with that classic Warhammer image was staring at me from the shelves. It was love at first sight, and the rest is history. If my 12-year-old self only knew what I’d be doing 30 years later!

Sean: What’s your favourite ‘Mech? An all-important question.

Bombadil: Easy, that aforementioned Warhammer will always be my baby. But being the old grizzled MechWarrior that I am, I am very partial to the Inner Sphere and their ‘Mechs, though I don’t mind salvaging Clan tech. I especially like most of the Unseen that I also knew from Robotech, such as the Marauder, Rifleman, Archer (Alpha Lance power!) and so on.

Sean: What parts of BattleTech do you play? Perhaps a better question, what haven’t you played?

Bombadil: I don’t believe there is any version of BattleTech or MechWarrior that I have not played, including all of the video games, tabletop, and the card game. I’ve even played several fan-made games in various forms.

Sean: How has No Guts No Galaxy collaborated with official BattleTech content producers, like Catalyst Games and Piranha Games?

Bombadil: As soon as we started the podcast, and we knew people were listening, we began reaching out to anyone and everyone that had anything to do with BattleTech and MechWarrior, including both Catalyst and Piranha. Thankfully, both were very receptive, and we began to do interviews and sponsored giveaways on a regular basis. Most recently, we’ve partnered with Harebrained Schemes to host the monthly BattleTech developer Q&A streams on our NGNGtv Twitch channel on the second Tuesday of every month starting at 12pm PDT.

Most recently, we’ve partnered with Harebrained Schemes to host the monthly BattleTech developer Q&A streams.

Sean: Let’s talk numbers. How BIG is No Guts No Galaxy?

Bombadil: On YouTube, we’re about to reach 14,000 subscribers, and we receive an average of around 50-75,000 views a month. On Twitch, we’re almost at 12,000 followers, and have had over 1.25 million views. Most of our podcasts get 3-5,000 listens in the first month or so. It’s a small, but very dedicated and passionate community.

Sean: What’s in store for No Guts No Galaxy in the future?

Bombadil: As I often say, and I’m sure you guys at Sarna know this as well, it’s a great time to be a BattleTech and MechWarrior fan! With the ongoing development of MWO, BattleTech from HBS coming out this year, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries next year, and the continued release of products from Catalyst, there’s a lot to celebrate now, and look forward to in the near future. All we need now is that movie we’ve all wanted! We will continue to cover everything as best as we can, including the new games like BattleTech and eventually MW5. We would also like to increase our coverage of the tabletop and novels with more regular visits from Randall Bills from Catalyst as well. Oh, I’d also like to get back into MegaMek this year, as it’s been awhile.

Sean: Anything else you’d like to share? Feel free to get shamelessly self-promoty :)

Bombadil:  I don’t know when this interview is going live, but I will be making a guest appearance on the HyperRPG BattleTech tabletop show “Death From Above” on Friday, March 17th starting at 6pm PDT. I’ll be working the MWO booth at the LANtasy event in Victoria, BC over that weekend (March 18th and 19th), more information on that can be found at LANtasy.com. I’ll also be co-hosting the patch-day stream live from PGI on March 21st, where we’ll be discussing the patch and interviewing developers while the client patches, starting at 10am PDT on twitch.tv/PiranhaGames. Finally, you can find me on the NGNG podcast, which we record live most Wednesdays at 6pm PDT on twitch.tv/NGNGtv, with our show archives available at youtube.com/NoGutsNoGalaxyTV and soundcloud.com/NoGutsNoGalaxy.

Incredible thanks to Bombadil for agreeing to sit down with us. Tune in next time for Community Outreach!

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