MechForce (Video Game)

Overview[edit]

MechForce is a tactical turn based 'Mech (Shareware-) game for the Commodore Amiga home computer, written in 1988-1990 by Ralph H. Reed.

It's based on FASA Level 1 set and consists of:

1) MechForce (the tabletop-like game itself)

2) Factory (to create, modify and repair Mechs) (not provided in the shareware version)

3) Map Editor (to create/modify custom maps)

4) CombatOrders (to create/modify scenarios=missions)

5) ConfigEd (a simple frontend to the installation settings)

6) Warrior (to create, modify and repair Units/Warriors)


It is pretty close to the original FASA rules published up to 1986 (Standard Engine, no FerroFibres, no EndoSteel, no ER weapons, no Gauss, Single Heatsinks) and is in most points canon. It is only capable of using BattleMechs (no AeroTech, SpaceTech, CityTech, ProtoTech, Vehicles, Armour...). Gameplay could be saved (a save penalty is used for each save) and difficulty (easy, normal, heavy, suicidal) could be chosen on each mission. Character and group developement is nearly unlimited (tested: 450.000 XPs reached and 1.800 games played). Each Mission is limited by the (RAM amount each) opponents by the RAM of the Amiga, so in the 1988 version (V3.6x) it was advised not to start with more than 7 Mechs in one game (with 2MB Chip RAM 10 mechs in two units works flawlessly).

Details[edit]

The latest version is V3.77 from late 1990 and runs perfectly on UAE V3.x(+) on an emulated A500 (1MB) with two floppy drives (app+mechs) and AmigaOS V1.2 or higher.

V4.0+ was already the successor MechCombat.


It's ability to modify standard mechs in a lot of ways and the mission editor makes it ideal for prolonged service. With a limited factory stock (e.g. limited ammo, replacement parts, ....) a real tabletop campaign could be played.

Limitations:

-The AI engine is limited on some cases (jump capable mechs always jump when possible, all mechs try ot rush to your place even fire support or longrange Mechs, sometimes mechs concentrate on one spot when it'd not see/find the opponent). On the other hand the AI takes advantage of concentrating fire on one opponent, apply modifiers when chance is too low. Tries to reach some points at the same time so that not a single one is especially exposed.

-The factory is on some points not canon (e.g. allows a 4,9ton overweight and no limit to how much armour you apply to each spot (=2*Internal structure is not used), so you could create quite unique designs). A mech is limited to ten weapons maximum.

-no real campaign editior to knit more missions into one row

-Technicians gains very low XPs so it took very long (~20*) to reach veteran or better

-Super human Warriors (Attribute level 12 with role modifiers -2) are possible on both sides


Difficulty: is a simple multiplier to your tonnage (the level of the opponents are not influenced by the multiplier, but the skill vary wildly)

easy ~0,7

normal ~1,0

heavy ~1,4

suicidal ~1,6...2,2


Mechs: The shareware version only contained about 40 mechs separated into light/medium/heavy/assault classes and contained the most known "Succession Wars" 2780 mechs.

The licensed version came with about 150 Mechs incl. the 'Unseen Ones' and a few (later CLAN) names with Level 1 tech.

You could have in each of the four folders up to 245 mechs each from which the AI derives the opponents (computer as opponent) from.


Gameplay: -creation of warrior/unit to play with + chose mech from selection

-choose between Arena, simulator, roving and mission mode + difficulty level + different units

-accept (or restart) the random generated map (21*29 Hexes)

-choose warrior/unit to play with and last trimming which input control (Joystick, Keyboard, Mouse, Computer=AI)

-play turn based and loose/win

-Factory=> repair your damage, restock ammo; if money/spare parts are out=> modify or go damaged into the new round

-Warrior=> change available XPs to character points and upgrade skills

-play anew


Plugins+AddOns: In the following years up to 1997 there has been a steady fanbased community who developed tools to

a) change a technician to warrior and vice versa

b) do the manual repair for the whole company in one go

c) make expensive (and not-canon) upgrades and allow campaigns, safe modified standard mech modells

d) import of other mech designs/missions/maps (most expanded version is from Joona Palaste)

The four plugins (partly shareware itself) I know are called tec2war, HQ, MechForceHQ and Headquarter.

Version History[edit]

V3.60 First Public version 03_1988

V3.65 Bug cleaned version=Licensed 07_1988

V3.70 Bug cleaned version=Licensed 10_1988

V3.76 addons in pulldown menu while gameplay+small corrections in warrior programm+Bug cleaned version, early 1989

V3.77 Bug cleaned version, 06_1989

Trivia[edit]

The V3.60 used fuel based jump jets for Mechs, which was at that time already absolete by FASA regulation. In 3.65 it was already changed to the standard.

The Factory allows you to create any engine for the mechs (e.g. a Pitban 195 engine). It's based on seconds/per move, which seems a very old formular used by the FASA team in the beginning until standard engine-ratings took over.

Get the game going on today computers[edit]

-Obviously WinUAE for Windows or PUAE for Linux or Basilisk II for Mac as base emulator

-A fitting KickstartROM (License!); I'd advise a V2.0 or higher, but the 1.2 works as well

-Set it to an OCS Emulated A500+ or A2000 or A3000/4000 setting with pref. 2MB ChipRAM and 2MB FastRAM; PAL Emulation (=higher Resolution compared to NTSC), two Floppy Drives with DD or one with HD (ROM V2.x+ needed); I'll keep the two disk version at it's the most common.

       DF0: min. Workbench + all the executables (it's explained in the readme in the lha/zip file) in the root folder
       DF1: the mechs + unit files in according subfolders

-A fitting Workbench starting with V1.2 (again 2.0 and higher is advised as a lot of bugs were cleaned out) (License!)

-the download of the Application+Mechs from the section below


For Windows it might come handy to use the set AmigaForever from Cloanto, which comes with ready emulations and ROMs and Workbenches on a licensed basis.

The ConfigEd programm is needed top set the pathes of the app/folder of each setting (where are the mechs, where am I allowed to save, where are the units, ...) and is the first thing to do.

a DF0: might look like mine:

Folders: c Clan devs fonts Games Images Is L libs Modules Prefs s Snd Sounds Src T Temp


Files: AffilNames _maps&orders.lha _mechforce.lha _std_mechs.lha .backdrop BattleManual BattleManual.info Config_update.BAK ConfigEd ConfigEd_Doc ConfigEd_Doc.info ConfigEd.info ConvertFame ConvertFame.info DirectoryOpus DirectoryOpus.info Disk.info Factory Factory_Doc Factory_Doc.info Factory.info HeadQuarters HeadQuarters.info Docs.info File_ID.DIZ Fonts.info Games.info Headquarters Headquarters.info Icons.info Images.info Install Install.info Libs.info Maps.info MechForce MechForce.cfg MechForce.info Mechs.info Modules.info Orders.info ReadMe ReadMe.info Sounds.info Units.info Warriors.info "

while a DF1: contains only folders:

" Docs Maps Mechs Offers Orders Units Warriors "

Downloads[edit]

Downloads on Sarna[edit]

References[edit]