How Many Missiles Can A ‘Mech Really Fit?

How Many Missiles Can A 'Mech Really Fit?

courtesy of imgur

After writing up our recent ode to Missile Boats, it got me thinking about missile technology in the BattleTech universe. Not how each missile seems to do about as much damage as a modern-day bottle rocket, or how it can fly just about as far before running out of gas. No, it made me think about just how many of these missiles you can stuff inside a ‘Mech.

Think about it: a single ton of LRM ammo is 120 missiles. That seems like a lot considering a modern jet fighter has trouble carrying 10 of the things. Even the somewhat modern M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle doesn’t carry more than 7 missiles in its magazine, so where does a ‘Mech get enough room for 120?

To find out, I decided it was time to do some math. But before we could bust out the calculator, I’d have to pick a missile-toting ‘Mech to be our scientific guinea pig. I chose the Mad Dog for its distinctive silhouette, and because it’d be relatively easy to calculate the volume of those boxy missile racks it has for shoulders.

MadDog_Cutaway

Now that we have our ‘Mech, it’s time to see how big those missile racks are. We know that a Mad Dog is roughly 12 meters tall, and those missile racks are about a third of its height, so we know they’re roughly 4 meters in height. Eyeballing the thickness I’d get about 1.5 meters wide, and roughly another 4 meters in depth. That gives us a total volume of about 24 m3.

But that missile rack isn’t a perfect cube; it’s got an angled side, and all these fiddly bits cut out, so I’d say we’ve only got a triangular prism to work with. That halves the volume we have available, so we’re down to 12 m3.

Not to worry – we still have plenty of space to work with. Each of these side torsos has 120 missiles, and if we assume each missile to take up an equal amount of space we know that they have to take up at maximum 0.1 m3 per missile.

Now that we know how much volume each missile can take up at a maximum, it’s relatively simple to calculate the possible dimensions of a single LRM. Since the height and width of a missile are the same (since it’s a cylinder, they’re both just going to be the diameter of the missile), the only question is how long the missile could be.

missiles

courtesy of mwomercs.com

Let’s say the missile is 1 meter long (which is actually close to the length of a modern-day missile). The formula to work out the diameter of the missile would be:

0.1 m3 = L x W x H = 1 m x W x H = 1m x (W2) = 0.316 m

0.316 m is roughly 12.5 inches or a little over a foot in diameter. For a 1 meter long missile, a diameter of a foot is a bit chubby (maybe more closely approximating an artillery shell than a missile) but totally within the realm of possibility.

But we know that side torso isn’t just dedicated to missile ammo. There’s the LRM-20 launcher itself, a few crits of XL engine, and double heat sinks stuffed in there too. So let’s say that there’s really only half the available volume for missile ammo. The formula then changes to be:

0.05 m3 = L x W x H = 1 m x W x H = 1m x (W2) = 0.224 m

That still gives us a 1-meter long missile with a diameter of close to 9 inches. If we compare that to a modern-day missile, like, say, the AGM-114 Hellfire (which is 64 inches long and 7 inches in diameter), we’d see those numbers are roughly in the same ballpark and still very reasonably missile shaped. Cool.

Hellfire

courtesy of turbosquid.com

Of course, we should also consider the fact that each missile isn’t a perfect rectangular prism, and each cylinder can save space by stacking in between the cylinder below it. My math wizardry is far from able to calculate how much space we’d save, but I’m sure one of you mathematicians could figure it out in the comments below.

So it seems a big ‘Mech like a Mad Dog doesn’t have any trouble carrying around 120 missiles, but what about a smaller missile ‘Mech? Let’s take a Javelin and see if it still can carry around a full complement of missiles like its heavier brethren.

JVN-10P_Javelin

Once again, we have to figure out how much of a vaguely man-shaped ‘Mech’s chest can be devoted to missile ammo. I don’t have an exact height for the Javelin, but since it’s a lighter ‘Mech I assumed it to be around 8 meters tall. Given that height, those boxes in the chest look to be around 1 meter wide and 1 meter high, and it has a 2-meter depth to its chest. Thus we get an available volume for missiles of 2 m3 for a single ton of SRM ammo, which is 90 missiles, and each missile can take up 0.0222 m3.

Since these are SRMs, let’s assume they’re going to be shorter than the long-range missiles and give them a length of half a meter. Using the same formula as before, we get a 0.21 m diameter missile or 8.26 inches. That’s still very reasonably missile shaped even on a tiny ‘Mech, and once again if we’d stacked those missiles properly we’d have even more volume available for an even bigger missile.

Archer

Before we all start celebrating this miracle of a single aspect of BattleTech that makes physical sense, there is a condition where a ‘Mech’s capacity for missile ammo starts to break down. When a chassis starts to horde ammunition, such as the Archer and its 4 tons of ammo, suddenly you go from hurling missiles to throwing shoe boxes that explode.  

But hey, I’m happy to find out that my favorite ‘Mech designs can carry as many missiles as they say they can (unlike autocannons, which still make no sense).

And as always, Mechwarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

MechWarrior Online World Champs First Round Recap

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The weekend has come and gone, and that means we’ve had our first round of matches for the MechWarrior Online World Championships. There’ve already been a few teams eliminated from this double-elimination tournament, with other teams proving their mettle against a field of truly awesome contenders. Let’s take a look at the standings after a weekend of ‘Mech action.

Our first match actually took place September 17th between Russian Jade Falcon/Spikes and 228th Wild Ones due to a bit of a scheduling hiccup, but there were certainly no hiccups in the match. The Wild Ones managed to take an early lead in the best of three games, taking out 2 RJFS ‘Mechs which allowed them to wrap-up the rest of the match easily. However, RJFS rallied and took the remaining two games in a brutal display of gunnery, eliminating the majority of The Wild Ones’ machines and giving them the victory.

Our next match took place last Thursday between the North American 228th Black Watch versus the Steel Jaguars, with Black Watch taking the meeting 2 games to nothing. The Steel Jaguars seemed entirely outclassed in both games, allowing Black Watch to easily move on to the winner’s brackets.

D5 vs OZ

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Last Saturday brought several games to Twitch, starting with Dropship 5 against Osiriz. This match went to its full three games with the first round a brutal battle of attrition. PPCs and laser fire lit up the map as each side traded long distance fire. Ultimately Osiriz managed to take the first game, but just barely, with the second game going to Dropship 5 by an equally slim margin on resource points. In the final round Dropship 5 once again tried to go for a resource win but fell prey to some clever maneuvering from Osiriz that managed to split the Dropship 5 forces and gang up on half of them before the other half could respond, giving Osiriz the victory.

Next we have White Death Mercenary Company against the Phoenix Legion which immediately devolved into an insane brawl on HPG Manifold. Lasers, missiles, and autocannons lit up outer space as each team ran into close quarters combat. Air strikes from both teams continually pounded the melee, getting friendly and enemy kills alike, but the Phoenix Legion strikes proved to be better aimed as they swung the first game from a 6v4 to a 3v4 in one swoop of an Aerospace fighter‘s tail. The Legion also took the second game as well, but it may have been a pyrrhic victory as this put the Legion against last year’s Champions for their next round: EmpyreaL.

RJFS vs EON Synergy

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Next, we have last year’s European Champions EON Synergy against RJFS for their second round of fights and the second round of matches for the tournament overall. The Russian Jade Falcons managed to take the first game quite soundly, but EON came back strong in the final two fights giving RJFS their first loss of the tournament. One more loss and RJFS will be heading home empty-handed at this year’s World Championships.

The Black Watch continued their winning streak in their next game against The First Jaguar Guards but not before having a trio of prolonged fights against the Jaguars. The Canyon battleground was once again covered in laser and PPC fire as both teams fielded two lances of Supernovas, Night Gyrs, and Hunchback IICs, so no argument could be made that either side had a technological advantage. The superior piloting of the Black Watch pilots proved telling, allowing them to emerge victorious after three games.

Oz vs TCAF

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Just yesterday gave us our first match featuring the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces against Osiriz for their second match of the tournament. At first it seemed TCAF may be able to take the first match, but Osiriz cleverly managed to capture enough resource points so that TCAF was not able to respond in time to prevent a victory. Osiriz also took the second game after several ferocious exchanges of fire, with not a single ‘Mech stumbling from the battlefield without critical damage. Osiriz continues their streak without a single loss.

Emp Vs PHL

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Last year’s World Champs, EmpyreaL, had their first match of the tournament against the loveable underdogs, Phoenix Legion. Phoenix Legion came out swinging, but the tournament veterans played the long game by reserving enough armor to take them into the later stages of the game while Phoenix Legion lost too much stamina to continue. The second match was much slower than the first as both teams went for a capture strategy, but unfortunately Phoenix Legion fell prey to a surprise push by EmpyreaL as they brought their heavy and assault ‘Mechs to the center of the map in a risky move that caught out several lighter Legion machines. After securing an easy three kills EmpyreaL went on to take the win.

Our next game has Dropship 5 fighting for survival against the First Jaguar Guards. Dropship 5 managed to barely hold on to victory in the first game, but couldn’t maintain their grip to win the final two games as the Jaguar Guards rallied and took two decisive victories. This means Dropship 5 is eliminated from the tournament – a surprise ending for the current MRBC North American Division A champions.

RJFS vs WDMC

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Another team on the chopping block is White Death Mercenary Company as they competed against Russian Jade Falcons/Spikes on Sunday night. White Death seemed somewhat uncoordinated in their first game, losing a ‘Mech to a friendly fire incident. Their second game didn’t go any better, losing their entire team while RJFS lost but a single pilot. White Death Mercenary Company goes home empty-handed after their pair of losses in the tournament.

Our last pair of matches only contained losing teams, making them do or die for both combatants. The Wild Ones were looking to redeem themselves against the Phoenix Legion, and they did by taking the match two games to zero. Phoenix Legion employed some interesting strategy that flirted with brilliance at times, and perhaps with some refinement on the off-season, they’ll be able to return next year to make a more successful World Championship run. Kudos to you, Phoenix Legion, and here’s to next year.

PHL vs Wild Ones

via Piranha Games on Twitch

The last match of the weekend pits Steel Jaguars against the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces. TCAF seemed very timid in their first match, taking air strikes and long-range fire without responding, ultimately handing the Steel Jaguars victory. The second round on HPG Manifold started in a much better position for TCAF, even taking an early kill on a Jaguar Supernova, but then the Jaguars managed to maneuver behind TCAF and start eating into their delicate back armor. After several kills, TCAF’s forces completely fell apart, allowing the Steel Jaguars to move on to the next round.

BanditB17 and mdmzero

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Thus we head into the next round with 10 teams remaining and two matches of undefeated teams that could be a preview of what we’ll find in the final round. The Black Watch and Eon Synergy will compete in a battle of European and North American juggernauts, while EmpyreaL and Osiriz will face off in a match that will end one team’s undefeated streak. Osiriz seems to be the team to watch as they have emerged from the starting round with several commanding wins already under their belt, while EmpyreaL seemed slightly sluggish in their first round against Phoenix Legion.

Meanwhile, it will be another fight for survival in the opposite brackets, as Steel Jaguars face The Wild Ones and RJFS face the First Jaguar Guards. These veteran teams are sure to put on an incredible performance to maintain their place in the World Championship.

Stay Tuned to Piranha Games’ Twitch channel for more ‘Mech action as the games resume next Friday night.

New Details Emerge For MechWarrior 5

New Details Emerge For MechWarrior 5

courtesy of mw5mercs.com

As Mech_Con once again fast approaches, we’re being teased with more details on the upcoming single-player BattleTech simulator, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Just this month, PC Gamer revealed they will be running a feature article in their November issue which provides us with tantalizing info on what to expect in the first new single-player MechWarrior in over a decade.

We know from a PC Gamer article earlier this year that MechWarrior 5 will take place in the classic era of BattleTech, between the years 3015 and 3049, and much like its spiritual predecessor MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, you’ll start with a single beat-up light ‘Mech and work your way up to becoming a full lance of the biggest and toughest ‘Mechs the Inner Sphere has to offer.

What the upcoming PC Gamer issue reveals is that unlike previous MechWarrior titles, this one won’t allow nearly as much customization as previous entries in the series. Gone are the days when you can buy any old ‘Mech and turn it into a one-man army with some Endo Steel and XL Engine upgrades, as many aspects of a ‘Mech’s anatomy will be fixed to the chassis. Instead, prospective buyers will have to scour the constantly changing market to find a ‘Mech with the specific features they want, and then tweak the existing weaponry to get it just how they like it.

Shadowhawk

courtesy of mw5mercs.com

While ‘Mechs themselves won’t have nearly as much customization when it comes to their weapons loadout, the weapons themselves will have slight variations for pilots to play with. Each weapon system will have multiple manufacturers with each manufacturer giving slightly different performance. One AC/5 might have a bit more power, but another manufacturer’s AC/5 might reload a second faster, and so on. It’s not what we’re used to, but it does seem to fit more with the lore than the anything-goes customization of games gone past.

Everything about MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries will be dynamic: missions will be dynamically created, terrain will be randomly generated, and armor and structure will have multiple stages of destruction (rather than going from “chipped paint” to “on fire” all at once). Perhaps best of all, the entire environment will be destructible, so if you want to walk your 55-ton engine of death through a building to surprise the tank platoon on the other side you can do that too.

Finally, we’ve got two new ‘Mechs to add to the known list of machines included in the game. The Shadow Hawk and Raven were revealed last year with their pre-alpha footage, and now we know the Jagermech and Atlas will also make an appearance.

The PC Gamer article goes into way more detail, as well as providing a first-hand account of the author’s time with the playable alpha, so I encourage you all to pick up a copy of the November issue when it releases. Or you can get a digital copy here.

MechWarrior Online World Championship Tournament Finals Have Begun!

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The MechWarrior Online World Championship semifinals have begun! The qualifiers ended as of September 16th, and the top 12 teams in the world have officially been chosen to represent the best that MechWarrior Online has to offer for the World Championship. It was a grueling few months of near-constant ‘Mech combat, but after months of trials, the 12 teams have taken their place in the tournament’s double-elimination seeded brackets.

First, a brief explanation of the tournament structure as things are a bit different from last year. Rather than have a separate tournament for each region and then having the top team from each region go to the Finals in Vancouver, this year there are no regions and only the top 12 teams from around the world are invited to take part in the tournament. While this does mean that there are certainly more North American and European teams in the top 12 than Oceanic teams, it also means that those teams are on a much more similar skill level, which will hopefully produce some fantastic fights.

2016 World Champs

via mechwarrior.com

Also, rather than a large round-robin phase, the tournament has been simplified to be a seeded double-elimination structure. The top 4 teams will get a pass on the first round of fighting, and then it becomes a simple matter of losing twice and you’re out. This naturally means that the top 4 teams have a slight advantage as they have to play fewer games than everyone else, but it’s far from insurmountable.

And now let’s take a look at our competitors. First, we have Russian Jade Falcon Spikes, which seem to be an amalgamation of the MRBC League’s Russian Jade Falcons and Black Spikes teams. Russian Jade Falcon was relegated into Division B during last season of the MRBC, but Black Spikes came in second place in Division A. Perhaps the best of the best from both teams will create a world champion.

 

Next up we have two teams from the massive MWO conglomerate 288th IBR, The Black Watch and The Wild Ones. The Black Watch finished third in the North American Division A standings with the MRBC, while The Wild Ones finished second in the Asia/Pacific Division A. Both are filled with veteran players that are sure to give any team they face a run for their money.

North America’s second place from Division A last season return to the World Championships, with the Steel Jaguars finding themselves opposite The Black Watch in their first match of the semifinals. The two teams faced off against each other twice in the previous season of the MRBC, with each team achieving a single victory. It’ll be interesting to see if any bad blood remains between the two North American juggernauts.

 

Dropship Five appears to have also made the semifinals, which comes as no surprise to competitive ‘MechWarrior fans. Dropship Five had an amazing performance in the MRBC’s season 9 and took top honors in North America. They’ll definitely be a team to watch as the tournament progresses.

The fourth team from North America Division A, and finishing fourth in season 9, is Osiriz. Their first year at the MRBC established themselves as a team not to be trifled with, and their appearance at the World Championships cements their reputation. Osiriz will face Dropship Five in their first tournament match, and once again both teams have an even record against each other. Who will emerge the victor in their third face-off is anybody’s guess.

  Osiriz  

Our second purely European team to make it to the World Championships is The White Death Mercenary Company. They had a fantastic 9th season with the MRBC, finishing third overall in Division A. A strong team with an even stronger history will surely go far in the this year’s tournament.

We have a pretty amazing upset for our next team to reach the World Championships; Division B Stalwarts Phoenix Legion have achieved enough victories in the qualifying rounds to secure a spot in this year’s tournament. The only Division B team to make it to the semifinals, one simply can’t help but root for the underdogs. Let’s hope they continue to impress.

  Phoenix Legion

The next team to make the Worlds is The First Jaguar Guards, our second Asia/Pacific team to prove themselves worthy. The First Jaguar Guards did not take part in season nine of the MRBC and, judging by a quick Google search, that could be owing to some internal drama within the team. However, they placed first in the A/P region the three previous consecutive years, so this is definitely a team not to be taken lightly. Let’s hope that whatever internal strife that was present is long over and the team is ready to focus on their tournament run.

Europe’s dominant force, Eon Synergy, has once again come to the World Championship, and this time they’re hoping to bring home the crown. They had a commanding performance in the European rankings with the MRBC, only losing nine of their fifty total games. They lost to last year’s champions, Empyreal, in the final round of the tournament, and I’m sure they’re gunning for the top spot this year.

  TCAF

Europe’s fourth-place team in season 9 with the MRBC, the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces, have also found their way to the World Championships, and they’ve achieved enough victories in the qualifying rounds to be placed in the top 4, giving them a by in the first round of matches. That’s quite the turnaround for a team that had a losing record in the previous MRBC season. Let’s see if they can keep that momentum going as we head into the semifinals.

And finally, last year’s world champions have returned to defend their crown: Empyreal. This team was an unstoppable force in the previous tournament, but a year has gone by, and while most of the teams heading to the World Championships have been practicing constantly, Empyreal did not take part in season nine with the MRBC. Will their lack of tournament exposure dull their skills, or will they once again stomp every team put before them?

  Empyreal


This year’s World Championships is shaping up to be the most exciting MechWarrior Online competitive tournament to date. We’ve already had one match played between Russian Jade Falcons Spike and The Wild Ones, with RJFS emerging victorious after three extremely tough fights. If this game is any indication, this will certainly be a World Championships for the record books.

The schedule of games can be found on the World Championship website here, however the exact dates are a little up in the air right now due to some scheduling issues between the teams. We should have a clarification on the dates shortly, so keep your eyes peeled for when next to tune in to the Piranha Games Twitch channel for more giant robot action.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Catalyst Announces New YA BattleTech Novels

Catalyst Announces New YA BattleTech Novels

courtesy of Amazon

Hot off the digital presses from Catalyst Game Labs comes news of a brand new BattleTech novel trilogy set in the dark times following the Jihad.

It’s been awhile since we had a brand new BattleTech book to talk about, with the last one I remember getting published being Betrayal of Ideals back in 2016. That book, however, had originally been printed in BattleCorps back in 2006, so in terms of fresh content, we’re all feeling a little starved.

CGL seems to have heard our prayers and is announcing a brand new set of books to rekindle that love of BattleTech fiction for a whole new generation. The novels are to be penned by Jennifer Brozek, an award-winning author who also wrote The Nellus Academy Incident as well as the Shadowrun novella DocWagon 19. And while the new trilogy is being billed as “Young Adult”, Brozek certainly included enough death and heart-pounding action in The Nellus Academy Incident to satisfy even the most grizzled of BattleTech veterans.

  Jennifer courtesy of jenniferbrozek.com

We know that the new novels will certainly be set during the Dark Age era, and will share a lot of the themes explored in Jennifer’s earlier BattleTech novel. If you haven’t read Nellus Academy, I’ll let Jennifer explain:

“I’m thrilled to be writing in the BattleTech universe once more. After Nellus Academy, I thought my time for writing big, stompy ’Mechs was done. Fortunately for me, I get to dive into this universe again. I’ll be writing an ensemble piece focused on the lives of war-torn academy cadets. This coming-of-age story will forge teenagers, already wise beyond their years, into adults in a trial by fire that many won’t survive. Those who do will become the heroes of a new age.”

Jennifer is certainly no slouch as a wordsmith. She’s won the Scribe, Origins, and ENine awards, been a Hugo Award finalist, multiple Bram Stoker Awards finalist, and won the Australian Shadows Award for best-edited publication. She’s also been featured in numerous RPG sourcebooks, including Dragonlance, Shadowrun, and Serenity, as well as featured in the award winning HBS game, Shadowrun Returns. That’s quite the resume.

You can check out the Catalyst website for the official press release, and for more on Jennifer, you can peruse her website over at jenniferbrozek.com.

BATTLETECH Backer Beta – Second Impressions

BATTLETECH

It’s been a few months since our first look at Harebrained Schemes upcoming BATTLETECH turn-based RPG, and I thought it a good idea to see how things are progressing. As reported last month there are lots of changes made to the game since its initial release in June, and while the original beta version had just as much giant stompy robot action as one could have hoped, it was still certainly a rough first draft. Let’s take a look to see how the second draft has shaped up.

As you may recall from my initial foray into BATTLETECH the AI handed me my metallic ass on a silver platter, forcing me to tip the scales in my favor with a massive weight advantage. I remembered too, so my first game did exactly the same thing, pitting my Centurion, Kintaro, Griffin, and Victor against an enemy lance consisting of a Jenner, Locust, Centurion, and a Commando.

From my first game, I’d come to appreciate the Centurion as a tough, workhorse medium ‘Mech, able to dish out as much punishment as it can take in return. The Kintaro, Griffin, and Victor were new designs (in terms of never having used them before) but seemed to make a good mix of long and short range firepower. My enemy would be highly mobile but vastly outgunned, and I hoped to use that to my advantage by simply barreling up to my foe and alpha-striking until they all dropped dead.

Nobody ever said I was a subtle tactician.

Game 1 - 1

Going into the match I remembered there were a lot of changes between the September version and June version of the game. To start, all MechWarriors now have two abilities to contend with rather than the original one. There would also be an increase in frequency and severity of critical hits, something that might drastically affect lighter ‘Mechs without nearly as much armor as my heavier units.

I was very right on that point.

My lance ambled up to the river and made a firing line while the enemy AI ran towards me at full speed. The Locust appeared first, firing its SRMs and medium laser into my Kintaro, which shrugged off the damage. I would continue to be impressed by the Kintaro’s toughness throughout the fight.

Of course, having run head-long into a firing line of 240 tons of guns and armor, the poor Locust did not survive the return salvo from my lance. One down, three to go.

Gif game 1 - 1

The enemy lance continued to approach, but still in a piecemeal fashion. Next up was the Jenner who, while tougher than the Locust, suffered grievous rents in its armor from a full blast of my Centurion’s weaponry. My Victor, which had been hiding in the forest that lined the ravine, then pounced on the poor Jenner, sealing its fate.

Compared with June, I noticed that the light ‘Mechs went down significantly easier than before. Three crits to the center torso are enough to destroy the engine, and it was knocking out lighter machines much faster than the heavier ones. Whether or not this will remain in the final product is yet to be seen, but for now I’d certainly recommend more heavily armored light ‘Mechs for survivability.

This left a Commando and a Centurion to contend with. The Commando took a full barrage from my Griffin as it peaked over a hillside, crippling it. It then suicide-charged into my Kintaro, who greeted it with a full fusillade of 18 SRMs. He never stood a chance.

Game 1 - 2

With my full lance encroaching on his position, the remaining enemy Centurion attempted to flee. The combined long-range firepower of my Griffin and Centurion managed to tag it before it could get too far away, and my Victor stepped behind it to wrench off the ‘Mech’s AC/10 with a few well-placed shots. My Kintaro then provided the coup de grâce.

Along with the ease by which lighter ‘Mechs succumbed to fire, I also noticed that the enemy AI seemed much easier than back in June. Also, the heat effects around a ‘Mech were much more noticeable, with an overheating ‘Mech glowing orange and a simmering machine displaying a hypnotic mirage as it dissipated its head load.

Gif game 1 - 2

Now that I’d been convinced I wasn’t about to get my ass kicked by a bunch of silicon, I decided a fair fight was in order. I queued up another game with both of us in roughly equivalent machines. My paired Centurions, a Panther, and Commando versus their Locust, Commando, Vindicator and Shadow Hawk. I hoped my Centurions would be able to tough out the worst of the damage thrown my way.

This time the two lances danced around each other for some time exchanging LRM fire, before a lucky shot from the opposing Shadow Hawk’s AC/5 blew out my Commando’s center torso. Horrible visions of my previous defeat danced through my head, and I desperately pivoted my remaining ‘Mechs away from the deadly Shadow Hawk.

Gif game 2 - 1

Lucky for me the enemy pursued with their lighter elements leading the charge, which allowed me to pivot back and pummel both the Commando and Locust into scrap with minimal damage to my own forces.

Thus began a long exchange of ranged fire as our lances faced off over a large gorge. My first Centurion was crippled, then killed by combined autocannon and PPC fire, but my brief ‘Mech advantage proved telling. The enemy Vindicator lost its PPC, and my own Panther’s PPC took the Shadow Hawk’s right arm off.

Game 2 - 1

To finally end the battle I decided to use the replacement to the morale mechanic called “focus”. I’m still not 100% sure how it works, but it seems to allow surviving, toughened MechWarriors to fire a hyper-accurate shot. I told my Centurion to focus and fire all remaining weapons, which finally took the Shadow Hawk down.

Gif game 2 - 2

The crippled Vindicator was easy prey for my Panther, who managed to perform a Death From Above maneuver successfully to further damage the already defeated machine. Risking overheat, I ordered my Centurion to alpha strike again and finally put the Vindicator down.

Obviously, given my stunning come-from-behind victory, the enemy AI in this game has been heavily tweaked since June. The survey that popped up following the match confirmed this by asking questions about enemy ‘Mech performance. I naturally answered the AI was perfect, since I’d just won, but at no point did I feel like I was facing a complete pushover. Only when I vastly outweighed my opponent did I feel like I was invincible, which is probably the way it should be.

Game 2 - 2

I had intended to make my third game a review of the nascent multiplayer experience, but unfortunately, the servers were down when I clicked it. So if you’d like to be featured on the next BATTLETECH Backer Beta, let me know in the comments and we’ll see if we can arrange a game!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Did You Know? – Missile Boats

Catapult

courtesy of Battletech Community user Dragonmack

One of the oldest military strategies ever created is to hurl rocks at your opponent until they quit. In the thousands of years of human evolution since then, the rocks may have gotten more technologically advanced, but the strategy has remained largely the same: keep chucking rocks and encourage your foe to go bother someone else.

To that end, BattleTech has seen a number of ‘Mech designs follow the same philosophy. Except instead of hurling rocks, they hurl long range missiles, and instead of throwing just a few, they toss dozens of missiles into the air at once. Gather a bunch of them together, and you’ve got yourself a firing line worthy of an 1812 Overture.

Although some may find the term derogatory, enthusiasts of the strategy have given these particular designs the descriptive name of Missile Boats. Their ethos is simple: load up on as many LRMs as you can carry and let the lesser ‘Mechs get their hands dirty while you send long-ranged destruction at the enemy from a very safe distance.

Some Mechwarriors call Missile Boat pilots cowards, but who do they call when their position is about to be overrun by a combined arms company? The forward artillery lance, comprised almost entirely of the tried, tested, and true Missile Boat.

Here’s a few of the more famous Missile Boat ‘Mechs throughout the ages of BattleTech.

Whitworth

3050U_Whitworth  

We begin with one of the smaller designs to call itself a Missile Boat, the WTH-1 Whitworth. Although capable of carrying a respectable 20 LRMs at 40 tons, the Whitworth was never a particularly popular design as it was both slower than most ‘Mechs in its weight class and unable to outfight enemy ‘Mechs that got in close, being armed only with 3 Medium Lasers for close ranged combat. This lead many House militaries to give the Whitworth the unflattering nickname of “Worthless”.

That said, the Whitworth saw combat from its inception in 2610 right up until the Jihad era of the 3070s. But by then the factories which had been producing replacement components for the Whitworth had moved on to more capable and modern designs, and now the Whitworth can only be seen amongst pirates, some of the poorer mercenary groups, and Periphery nations.

Trebuchet

3025_Trebuchet  

The TBT-5N Trebuchet seems to correct many of the Whitworth’s shortcomings by being nearly 15 km/h faster, and by carrying a larger contingent of 30 Long Range Missiles. It is however armed with the same 3 Medium Lasers as the Whitworth, which make it vulnerable to enemy ‘Mechs that manage to sneak inside its missile umbrella.

For this reason, the Trebuchet was designed from the outset as a ‘Mech that was supposed to operate as part of a lance rather than a single machine. Often paired with the Centurion for greater flexibility in combat, lances comprised of both machines were highly effective, able to severely damage most opponents at long range before using their lasers and autocannons to finish off their foe.

Various factories around the Inner Sphere obtained the license to produce the Trebuchet, and it would remain a popular sight amongst all House forces for centuries.

Catapult

Catapult  

One of the most distinctive designs ever created, the CPLT-1 Catapult is what most Mechwarriors think of when they hear the term Missile Boat. The Catapult is armed with 30 LRMs, just as with the Trebuchet, and mounts 4 Medium Lasers as well as 5 additional heat sinks to deal with close in threats, making it capable of defending itself when necessary. It does, however, sacrifice some mobility over the Trebuchet, having a top speed of only 64.8 km/h.

Notable for the Catapult is how its popularity led to several retrofits that often had nothing to do with its original role as a long range missile delivery platform. The CPLT-K2 variant fielded by House Kurita swapped out the twin LRM-15s for paired PPCs as well as enough heat sinks to fire them almost continuously. The CPLT-C3 swapped the missiles for a more dedicated artillery system, the Arrow IV, giving the Catapult a true over-the-horizon weapon. Taking a different tack, the CPLT-C2 swaps out the medium lasers for paired LB 2-X Autocannons, albeit with help from Endo Steel internals and an extralight engine.

Crossbow

  Crossbow

The only Clan ‘Mech to appear on this list, the Crossbow is a highly unusual design amongst the Clans. Most Clan Mechwarriors find the sort of long range combat typical of Missile Boats to be dishonorable, preferring direct fire weapons. The entirely missile-based Crossbow, with a primary configuration of 40 LRMs, is thus a rare sight amongst any Clan Touman.

It should be noted that this doesn’t mean there aren’t Missile Boat variants of other OmniMechs (the Alt-D configuration of the Stormcrow and Alt-B configuration of the Summoner come to mind), only that the Crossbow is unique among OmniMechs for having most of its configurations feature LRMs.

That said, the lack of flexibility in the design has made it unpopular with the Steel Viper Touman, to the point where it is often relegated to second-line or garrison Clusters.

Salamander

Salamander

When you think of ‘Mechs capable of putting out a wall of long range missiles, no ‘Mech comes more immediately to mind than the Salamander. Armed with a whopping 60 LRMs, the 80 ton PPR-5S Salamander is capable of fulfilling the role of fire support all on its own without any additional Missile Boats to help it.

All that long range firepower comes at a steep price, however, as the Salamander is virtually defenseless against enemies that manage to slip into close range. Armed with a pair of Medium Lasers, and too slow to escape, the Salamander is easy prey to lighter ‘Mechs that go unnoticed by an unwary pilot.

This flaw hasn’t seemed to keep the Salamander down, as it saw service throughout most of House Davion’s conflicts, serving with distinction as the primary fire support ‘Mech in most of their regiments. The Salamander would remain a popular choice through the Jihad and into the Dark Age era of BattleTech.

Was there a Missile Boat ‘Mech that we missed that you really think should be mentioned? Let us know in the comments section below!

And as always, Mechwarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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