It’s September, and thanks to hurricane Fiona, an unusually wet and dismal one. I’ve also recently moved, and that wet and wild weather is making it exceptionally difficult to convince myself that I should fill my new fridge with foodstuffs. If there’s no October news blast, you’ll know I’ve starved.
But at least we’re never starving for BattleTech news here at Sarna. Here’s what I’ve managed to rustle up for September. Hope you’ve brought your appetite because this month is a doozy.
Dall-E Makes MechWarriors
A lot of you have probably already heard about Dall-E, the artificial intelligence that can take text prompts and turn them into actual pictures. Depending on the prompt they can look more than a little janky, but some prompts have generated some really beautiful images. Take anything from the DnD Dall-E Twitter account and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Dall-E 2 is currently in an invite-only beta, so not everyone will have access to this AI, but Reddit user JoseLunaArts used their access to generate some BattleTech-themed images. And apparently, one of their text prompts was “Sandra Bullock as a MechWarrior,” because that’s the first of nineteen images that Dall-E 2 spat out. There’s also a lot of Milla Jovovich doing her best Natasha Kerensky impression.
As cool as I think this technology is, it probably won’t have a lot of application in BattleTech--at least, for the time being. Dall-E needs a large database of images to draw from in order to create its pictures, and while there’s a lot of BattleTech art out there, it’s nothing compared to the vast quantity of photos of Sandra Bullock. On top of that, BattleTech‘s ‘Mechs are extremely nuanced, and Dall-E doesn’t do particularly well with fine details. Just look at the picture above to get a sense of the mishmash of machines Dall-E comes up with.
However, there are a lot of concept artists out there concerned that something like Dall-E is going to put them out of work. It’s not hard to see why; if I can just ask Dall-E to generate convincing fantasy pictures for a D&D setting, then I don’t have to pay someone to draw art for my homebrew expansion. Maybe one day it’ll do the same for ‘Mechs.
In World Where BattleTech Was Sold At Walmart
— Detocroix (@Detocroix) August 26, 2022
Detocroix, who knows exactly how to get my attention, created this fan mockup of a BattleMech singles box while I was away on vacation. Apologies for not getting to this until September’s news blast!
You know how a lot of D&D, Star Wars, and various other game minis can come in little single packs? Well, what if Catalyst did the same thing, but for ‘Mechs? And what if those packs also contained other components so that you technically got four ‘Mechs in one plastic package? Sounds like a fun idea, although I know a few plasti-crack heads who would probably go bankrupt if they had to pay for each ‘Mech individually like this. So long as you can still buy box sets in bulk, I’m all for this idea. Bonus points for using Eldon’s Urbex design on the packaging.
This Is Exactly What The MechWarrior 3 Into Looked Like And You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise
Speaking of images that Dall-E can’t generate, this image inspired by MechWarrior 3 was recently posted to the BattleTech subreddit by Travis of the Gallery 3025 Patreon (which you should subscribe to). It was done by Punakettu, and it’s definitely how I remember the intro of MechWarrior 3. Nevermind the fact there’s another image of the true MechWarrior 3 intro in the gallery; that second image is a fake. Punakettu’s pic is just how I remember it.
Space Port City Biome Mod Now In Beta For MechWarrior 5
As far as I know, there’s no new content on the way for MechWarrior 5. At least, not from official sources. The good news is that means there’s plenty of opportunity for modders to expand on the latest MechWarrior title with their own little spin.
One of those modders is vonSeiten, the guy behind the vonBiomes series of mods as well as the vonHUD mod. His latest mod is Space Port City, a massive biome that turns MechWarrior 5‘s procedurally-generated maps into an enormous urban environment filled with glass-covered skyscrapers and towering satellite dishes. According to vonSeiten’s latest video, there are over 90 randomized tiles in Space Port City, which can make procedural generation difficult. That said, things seem to be coming along pretty well, with DropShips coming and going in the background.
The Vindicator Is A Fantabulous Beginner ‘Mech
Catalyst announced the new BattleTech Beginner Box Vindicator Edition earlier this month, largely because it contains the new Vindicator miniature. For some reason, Catalyst decided to pair the Vindicator against the Griffin, which doesn’t seem like a particularly fair fight. The Griffin has the mobility advantage while the two are largely matched for armor and firepower. Hopefully, the Vindicator‘s pilot skills equalize things.
The new Beginner Box set includes a simplified 12-page rulebook, eight erasable Record Sheets, four pilot cards, one double-sided map, two plastic minis, and a 24-page novella. You can order the new box set on Catalyst’s site for $24.99.
Shrapnel issue 10 is also out, which I don’t normally consider newsworthy, but I’m making an exception here. First, it’s twice as big as usual, so if you’re looking for good value, this is the issue worth snagging. And also, there’s a certain new mini design on the front cover that happens to be a personal favorite of mine.
Clan Protectorate Heckin’ Protecc
SU-SMD’s latest commission (courtesy of Reddit user Amenton37) is from an era and faction we don’t normally see a lot of. Here we have a Sea Fox Regent alongside a Spirit Cat Protectorate Amarok out on maneuvers at a mountain stronghold. I was devastated to hear that the Nova Cats had been wiped out in the Dark Age, but it warms me to know that at least some of these Clanner hippies have survived to go on spirit quests in the ilClan era.
Natasha Sleeps With An Uzi Confirmed
Check out this commission I did for @AdventuringZone
Once more I revisit the subject of Natasha Kerensky.
— Eldoniousrex (@Eldoniousrex) September 14, 2022
Eldonious, our lovely resident artist who does the covers of each and every Bad ‘Mechs article, also takes commissions. One of his more recent pieces was for @AdventuringZone over on Twitter. It showcases Natasha Kerensky at two points in her career, first as the commander of the Black Window Company, and second as Khan of Clan Wolf.
I don’t know a whole lot about Clan Wolf ceremonial garb, so I can’t really comment on whether Natasha’s scantily-clad barbarian huntress look is accurate. However, I’m pretty sure that young Natasha is holding an Uzi in her left hand, which is an Israeli submachine gun that’s about as bonkers as most weapons Israel has ever produced. So now I have to look up whether the Uzi survived into the 31st century or if Natasha just had a penchant for antique firearms.
Introducing Mech Ball. It’s like Football, But Bigger And Only Slightly Less Violent.
Reddit user Slartibrtfast shared several images of a custom map they’ve described as ‘Mech Ball. The map looks suspiciously like a football field, only scaled up to ‘Mech size and covered in hexagons. Slartibrtfast describes the game as two teams trying of ‘Mechs that each has their own ball and are trying to deposit it at the opponent’s goal. The first to do so wins.
Is ‘Mech Ball limited to just physical combat or are weapons allowed? Are there weight restrictions so a star of Fire Moths can’t just zip to the endzone in two turns? Can you mine your end of the field so that crossing into the goal results in the loss of a leg? I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I do know that Slartibrtfast is debating selling this map on their Etsy store page. Please do message them for additional info, and then tell me what you find out since this could be the next big thing in BattleTech.
GridlockCosplay Destroys Halloween For Every ‘Mech Dad, Ever
A couple of years ago, some of you might have seen this video rolling around the internet of the world’s best dad. That’s because he’d created a ‘Mech costume where he’d carry around his daughter in a strap-on seat while he played the role of a walking death machine. The suit had a working cockpit door, a rotating radar array, a buzzing Gatling gun, and a yoke that could order daddy to pick up the pace in order to acquire Halloween candy faster.
This thing is incredible. First, it’s got a powered cockpit hatch and motorized torso allowing the Catapult a full 360 degrees of motion (far more than the actual Catapult is capable of). It also has articulated arms allowing the wearer/pilot to aim their payload with deadly precision. The legs aren’t articulated in the same way as the Catapult, but that’d be hard to do when the ‘Mech’s locomotion is entirely human-powered.
According to Thomson himself, this behemoth took two years to create and $1,000 CAD in materials. It even includes multiple two-way cameras so the wearer can actually see where they’re going. This thing is almost as high-tech as a real ‘Mech.
I have yet to ascertain whether or not you can actually put a small child in the cockpit seat. I’ll be sure to report back after I’ve found out. This thing has clearly nuked every other ‘Mech cosplay from orbit, and I’m excited to see what happens when this thing strolls down the street for Halloween.
A Marauder And A Raven Set Forth At Dawn
1001WingedHussars gives us this painted piece featuring a Marauder and a Raven going on a “Dawn Patrol.” It looks like the Raven has gotten a head start, which is just typical of those little scout ‘Mechs. Always running off and getting into trouble.
KerenskyCon II Teases New Minis, Vehicles, And A Strategic BattleTech Board Game
KerenskyCon II images (from various sources);
Battletech Resurgent Empires pic.twitter.com/A7ANtCMrpc
— Battletech Community (@BattletechCom) September 25, 2022
KerenskyCon II recently wrapped and we have a lot to discuss. First, hats off to the BattleTech Community Twitter account for throwing a whole bunch of pictures together from various sources to showcase what we missed.
First, there’s a BattleTech strategy game. I see cards, colored plastic minis, and boards with faces likely representing various personalities from the Inner Sphere around the year 3025. I also see a whole bunch of d12s and counters ranging from poker chips to clear plastic cubes. My guess? BattleTech Risk, but better because it’s in the future.
Moving on, we’ve got alternate mini configurations for the UrbanMech, the ‘Mech that’s quickly becoming BattleTech‘s mascot. Next we got the BattleTech Mercenaries box sets that have already been previewed a few months ago, but I will never get tired of seeing the Nightsky, Gunslinger, Penetrator, and Sagittaire.
Elsewhere we get to see the various ‘Mech packs, such as the Inner sphere Pursuit Lance (comprised of the Cicada, Hermes II, Clint, and Dervish), the Inner Sphere Recon Lance (Firestarter, Spider, Javelin, and what could be a Spector but I’m honestly not sure), and the Inner Sphere Security Lance which consists solely of Scorpions.
I kid. There will probably be three additional ‘Mechs planned for the Security Lance, but they likely haven’t been made/decided yet (really hoping to see the new Assassin in here). Ditto the Inner Sphere Battle Armor Lance.
Last, there’s something called BattleTech Command, which also looks like a strategic BattleTech board game, only much smaller in scale. I suspect this is going to be a unit-based strategy game, but I’m just speculating here.
All these are coming with the Mercenaries Kickstarter, which is expected to launch any day now. A good thing too as I’m pretty sure I saw a Quickdraw in there, and I needs me my favorite bad ‘Mech.
And that’ll do for September! Join us next time as we discover what fresh hell awaits us in October.
And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.