Category Archives: Fan Projects

Your BattleTech News Roundup For October 2020

October has been exceptionally busy for BattleTech! So busy, in fact, that I’m pushing our big monthly news update out a few weeks earlier than usual. I’m also leaving my customary existential dread at the door since there’s just no room to concern ourselves with elections or pandemics will all this incredible BattleTech news sitting right in front of us.

Expect to receive a supplemental news dump later in the month if things keep dropping at the same pace they have been for the past few weeks. But for now, let’s get to the news!

Catalyst’s Clan Invasion First Wave Is Away!

The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! Wave 1 of the Clan Invasion Kickstarter has finally started shipping according to the most recent update from Catalyst, with 23 out of 26 shipments having arrived (the remaining three will probably have arrived by the time this article is published). That means the first shipment is being sent out to backers as we speak, with backers from the EU and UK expected to receive their shipments before everyone else because the customs office there was lucky enough to not suffer any setbacks.

Catalyst also gave us a bunch of fun stats: 9,824 backers, 268,797 physical items, and 31,543 UrbanMech Salvage Boxes, with another 3,000 or so expected to be sent out with Wave 2. This is an enormous logistical undertaking, and Catalyst is hard at work making sure everything goes as smoothly as 2020 will allow. 

With Wave 1 on the way, all eyes now turn to Wave 2. Catalyst is still making the 3D designs for Wave 2 ‘Mechs, and they’re hoping to have everything done and off to the manufacturer in time for shipments to be sent out before Chinese New Year (which is February 12, 2021). 

In the meantime, the Pledge Manager will be reopened on October 15 (which is right now as of the moment I’m writing these words) to allow people to edit their pledges or add one of the eight new items that Catalyst just couldn’t wait to get into people’s hands. I’ve got no idea what those items are, but we’re surely going to find out when the Pledge Manager reopens.

New Patch For MechWarrior Living Legends! Update 0.13.0 Is Here

MechWarrior Living Legends update 0.13.0 has gone live, and with it comes some new tanks. Big tanks. Like, the largest tanks that BattleTech has ever seen.

First up, the Behemoth, a 100-ton assault-class tank that certainly lives up to its name. Although the overall design follows the same general theme of the Behemoth combat vehicle, its prime variant is armed with the new Hyper Velocity Autocannon 10 which provides super long-range suppressing fire. This comes at the cost of the two SRM-6s, while the machine guns are replaced by two of the new Autoflamer turrets. 

The Clans are represented by the equally massive Mars assault tank. As with the Behemoth, some liberties were taken with the principle armament of the tank as the twin Streak SRM-6s were replaced by dual Streak SRM-4s, and the extra weight used to install two Autoflamers. 

In case you were wondering, the Autoflamer turret will automatically target opponents within 150 meters, and is the ideal way to convince battle armor to keep their distance.

There’s a bunch of other new toys to use, such as the C3 Master Unit, Sniper Artillery Cannon, and Stabilized Thumper Cannon, as well as even more balance and game mechanics changes. Check out the full patch notes over on ModDB here.

Renegade HPG Interviews My Boss (And Sarna.net Owner), Nic Jansma

Behind the Scenes of SARNA.NET with Creator Nic Jansma
Watch this video on YouTube.

Travis over at Renegade HPG contacted me a little while ago and we engaged in a little bit of journalistic trading. In exchange for his contacts with the BattleTech CCG community, I agreed to forward his email to my boss so he could have Nic on the show. And then it happened! You can check out the whole 45-minute interview here

If you were ever curious about how Sarna works, including its origins, site operation, and monetization, you’ll get it all here. I even got a shoutout for writing up all this lovely news for you lovely people. 

Alright, enough with the self-plug, back to business. 

Bombadil Is Back And Working For PGI Now

Bombadil Is Back

Daeron is back! But he’s not working for No Guts No Galaxy anymore. He’s been hired by PGI to be the new MechWarrior Online Community Manager.

This was our first indication that MechWarrior Online would be getting a revival, with more details to follow in the No Guts No Galaxy podcast that came days after the announcement. Daeron “Bombadil” Katz was a longtime host of NGNG but left in February to pursue other interests. Those interests apparently didn’t stray too far from BattleTech, as Bombadil was the top guy for PGI when it came time to start planning on how to reinvigorate MechWarrior Online.

Bombadil gave us a bit of an update on how he’s been doing in his official announcement on the MWO website. The plan is for Bombadil to lead PGI in developing a plan to bring MWO into the year 2021 by refreshing the fanbase and maybe convincing lapsed players to give the game another try. More on that in exactly one embedded video and one subheader.

MechWarrior Online’s Future

Podcast 204 - Mechwarrior Online's Future
Watch this video on YouTube.

Last time I checked in on MechWarrior Online, I’d basically written the game off. Player counts were dwindling, content updates had stopped, and PGI had announced that it was all hands on deck for MechWarrior 5. So imagine my surprise to find out that MechWarrior Online is not nearly as dead as I was led to believe.

I mean, MechWarrior Online has certainly seen better days from a player count perspective, but it’s still very much alive and kicking. In fact, PGI CEO Russ Bullock recently did a podcast with our friends over at No Guts No Galaxy to discuss a MechWarrior Online revival. 

This all comes from PGI renewing their MechWarrior license from Microsoft for another five years. This wouldn’t have come cheap, so PGI is looking to make back their money by investing in the license, and that includes both MechWarrior 5 and MechWarrior Online.

Bullock, PGI marketing head Matt Newman, and recently appointed community manager Bombadil talked to Sean Lang about what may or may not be coming to MechWarrior Online. All options are on the table, with PGI specifically focusing on content that will bring lapsed players back to MechWarrior Online. This might include new features like ‘Mech knockdown or melee weapons, or silly event queues like games where everyone is in an UrbanMech.

Don’t expect to see MechWarrior Online 2, however. Although all options are on the table, remaking MechWarrior Online in MechWarrior 5‘s engine is likely to be more of an investment than would be profitable, which is a shame since Unreal 4 is a vastly superior engine. But we might see some fundamental changes to MechWarrior Online, including changes to its monetization model and its byzantine and unpopular skill tree.

This might be an unpopular opinion to MechWarrior Online fans, but for me personally, I’m not going to really get interested in an MWO revival unless it starts catering more to casual fans. The days of me spending hours and hours grinding for new ‘Mechs are long gone, and unless MWO improves its monetization model to give me WAY more content than I’ve ever had access to, I’m probably not going to bother. That content would also have to be faster to get at, which would mean some overhauls to the ‘Mech bay, skills, and likely the core gameplay loop to be less dependant on matching 8v8 single-life games, something I don’t really see happening. 

But then again, if everything is on the table, who knows? I’d love to see MechWarrior Online adopt a game mode that mirrors MechWarrior: Living Legends--a persistent battle with constant respawns from your personal ‘Mech bay. That’d be both a fun and fresh take on a very old game.

MechWarrior 5 DLC—Heroes of the Inner Sphere—Arrives December 10

RazerCon 2020 MechWarrior 5 Merc DLC Heroes of the Inner Sphere
Watch this video on YouTube.

Announced at RazerCon 2020, Heroes of the Inner Sphere will finally arrive along with MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries releasing on Steam. That’s December 10th, exactly one year since MechWarrior 5 released on the Epic Games Store.

I know many of you have been waiting for this day, so lemme once again offer my two cents: the game is absolutely worth playing with the right mods, and Heroes of the Inner Sphere is expected to bring a free update that will totally overhaul the MechWarrior 5 experience. This will include better ambient heat effects, an additional biome for random missions, new skill trees, and more. 

Best of all, those that purchase Heroes of the Inner Sphere can sort of share it with friends. If the host of a co-op game owns Heroes of the Inner Sphere, friends that join that game will have access to the same new ‘Mechs and story missions that the host does. 

Check out Sarna’s previous coverage of the Heroes of the Inner Sphere to get more details on what to expect from the DLC, along with a list of new ‘Mechs. Heroes of the Inner Sphere will be priced at $19.99 USD. Expect to find a package deal with the Steam release (hopefully with a bit of a discount for everyone patient enough to wait for the game to release on Steam).

Oh, and one more thing that was discussed with the MechWarrior Online revival podcast: MechWarrior 5 is getting more DLC, with an extremely tentative date set for next April. No idea what that might entail, but the concept of a Clan Invasion was definitely mentioned at least once. Take that for what it’s worth.

More Mod Tools Coming To MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries Modding Resources
Watch this video on YouTube.

Yet another breaking story from our friends at No Guts No Galaxy! MechWarrior 5 is getting additional mod tools to help with mission scripting. This includes “tutorial videos and associated documentation” that explain “level setup, markup levels and locators, area specification setup, mission flow nodes, and finishing the mission and deploying the mod.”

As discussed in Lang’s interview with Bombadil and PGI level designer Thaddeus Jantzi, a lot of these tools are the same ones used to create MechWarrior 5‘s missions in the Unreal 4 engine. And that’s basically the extent of my knowledge since I’m not a programmer and have no idea what these tools might look like, but they certainly sound cool and they open up a whole new world of custom campaigns in MechWarrior 5--something I’m totally on board for.

Modders can grab these new modding resources here.

Would You Like To Bring BattleTech To Roll20? Then Support This Kickstarter!

BattleTech Kickstarter

I’ve never really dealt with the RPG side of MechWarrior and BattleTech, but I know it exists, and it has its appeal to those that are really into tabletop RPGs. However, with COVID-19 ending in-person group sessions and sending everyone online, folks are looking for their favorite virtual tabletop to support their RPG habit for the foreseeable future.

Roll20 is one such piece of software that’s gotten to be pretty popular--mostly because a base account is free and a DM can share all their paid-for resources with their players. Roll20 already has tons of stuff for Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, and now one dedicated BattleTech fan is looking to add our humble universe to Roll20’s list. 

However, getting BattleTech/MechWarrior added to Roll20 takes money. Joel Janni has taken it upon himself to start a Kickstarter campaign to get someone to code up the MechWarrior and BattleTech sheets so that people can actually play the game virtually via Roll20. This will include a basic macro that will allow for skill checks and weapon/damage rolls. 

Janni needs $500 to get the sheets made and pay for Kickstarter’s fees, but stretch goals can include a ‘Mech builder function to make your own custom ‘Mechs and even a character builder function. 

There’s still plenty of time to contribute, so head on over to Kickstarter to make this Roll20/BattleTech dream a reality.

Someone Is Reverse Engineering MechWarrior 3 In Unity

Unity 5 6 5f1 64bit Builder unity UnMech3 PC, Mac & Linux Standalone DX11 2020 10 03 17 59 1
Watch this video on YouTube.

So remember a few months back I spotted someone trying to recreate MechWarrior 2 in Unity? Well, now we’ve got someone else trying to do the same thing with MechWarrior 3

Judging by the teaser trailer, there’s still a lot left to do before the engine is working right in Unity, although it looks like they’re off to a great start. The slight skip in the Bushwacker‘s gate is probably wrong, but so adorable that I hope they keep that animation bug in. 

Of all the MechWarrior games since MechWarrior 2, MechWarrior 3 was probably the one I played the least. Mostly because it came out around the same time as Diablo 2 and I spent a lot of my high school years playing Diablo with my friends than I did playing MechWarrior by myself. That said, a reborn MechWarrior 3 in Unity might be enough for me to take another crack at the single-player campaign.

Check out the MechWarrior 3 Community Project Discord for updates and to shout encouragement, which you should totally do.

That’s it for October! Join me again probably in the next few days as October keeps racking up newsworthy items faster than I can even keep track.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For July, 2020

It’s July. Man, where does the time go? I guess the time dilation might have something to do with the fact that I’m stuck inside all day long and commerce has ground to a standstill in much of the civilized world. And the things that I would normally use as milestones for the passage of time--like movie releases and sporting events--have all completely stopped. That and I’ve been cutting my own hair so I haven’t been keeping to that 6-week barber schedule. Frankly, I don’t even know what day it is.

But I do know that it’s still July, so it’s time for another news dump. I’m going to take a dump all over you, and you’re going to love it because it’s made of robots.

Alright, that could have been phrased better. My bad. Let’s get to the BattleTech news.

Finally, Someone Is Making A Full-CG MechWarrior Fan Film

Hired Steel

File this one under “I really hope I get to see this before a cease & desist letter shuts them down.”

A group of German madmen are braving the legal minefield that is the BattleTech intellectual property to bring us all a short fan film made using what appears to be MechWarrior Online assets. This isn’t too much of a surprise given that they’re previous works have also been made using MechWarrior Online, only this time instead of making a 5-minute long advertisement for MWO, they’re making a short film with an actual plot.

It’s called Hired Steel, and it’s a full CG movie that has been in development for about 3 months now. They plan on releasing a pilot episode soon that will detail what to expect from the series. I’m guessing it’s about another mercenary unit that’s down on their luck and has to fight their way to glory and freedom, but I’m just playing the odds here.

Also, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. The last time we saw a fan project stroll through these parts, it got hit with a C&D from Topps faster than you can splat an Elemental with a Streak SRM-6.

You can support TMC at their Patreon to help bring this project to fruition, and in the meantime, enjoy the poster. Shadow Hawks really ought to be the new poster child of the franchise.

But In The Meantime, Enjoy This Slightly Smaller CG Fan Film

Battle of the Crescent Fortress
Watch this video on YouTube.

Speaking of fan animation that may or may not get a cease and desist (although probably not in this case), Farseer Animation has come out with a new video that’s their largest and most elaborate yet.

These guys have actually been making BattleTech fan videos for several years. They got started remaking the original MechWarrior 2 cinematics using their own models, and have since then branched off into making more complex CG films. Their latest, “Mechwarrior: Battle of the Crescent Fortress,” is almost 10 minutes of non-stop action. 

And it’s also hilarious. The Hunchback is piloted by a dude who sounds like Chekov from Star Trek (and sounds SUPER familiar--maybe he’s also been in one of Tex’s videos, someone correct me here!) and the Vulcan pilot does a great “angry drunk who just got taken out by a Crab” impression. There’s even a Crescent Hawks reference for the super old-school BattleTech fans in the audience.

Also, the line “I’m going to be blunt: you suck,” is perhaps the greatest one I’ve ever heard on YouTube. Go watch this thing and be amazed.

More Catalyst Stuff, More Clan Invasion Delays

Clan Invasion Vol 2

Alright, bad news first. Last week, Catalyst announced another delay in shipping out the first wave of the Clan Invasion Kickstarter. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: sucks, but what’re you gonna do?

Apparently, the same company that held up shipping the original BattleTech: A Game Of Armored Combat box sets is also late on making the plastic figures for the Clan Invasion. The new shipping date for the first wave is July 31st, but that’s to get the figurines from China to America. And that’s only the folks who got in on the actual Kickstarter campaign and didn’t sign on as a late backer. 

According to Catalyst, 80% of first wave shipments will be out on July 31st, and the remaining 20% will come in the middle of August. Again, that’s just getting the stuff out of China. Catalyst won’t begin shipping to backers until late September, so you’re likely not going to get those shipments until October.

Clan Recognition Guide Vol 3

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that backers now have access to $50 worth of digital content if you follow this link and use a code at checkout that was emailed to backers earlier this month. This includes the brand new first edition of Shrapnel magazine as well as ten digital novels and three scenario PDFs.

Also, Recognition Guide: IlClan vol. 2 and 3 are out now, and we’ve got a brand new Stone Rhino with two overhead barrels instead of one. This is a long-overdue redesign that finally makes sense. What else might be hiding within these hallowed pages? Head on over to the Catalyst store to find out.

Renegade HPG Interviews Blaine Lee Pardoe, And Does Some Great Stuff With The Old Card Game Too!

A Conversation with BATTLETECH'S BLAINE LEE PARDOE | Renegade HPG Podcast Episode 3
Watch this video on YouTube.

A couple of weeks ago, a brand new BattleTech YouTube channel popped up called Renegade HPG. Travis, the owner, first got started with the BattleTech TCG by opening a sealed booster box of Limited Edition on camera. It’s pretty sweet, especially considering my love of the original card game. I still have a bunch of those old cards and even the new ones that were made by BattleTech historian, Michael Todd (the same guy who made this great fan-made TRO).

From there, Travis decided to explore more of the TCG with Michael Cohen and Chester Hendrix, both BattleTech TCG pros (at least, as professional as you can get with a card game that’s been out of print for almost two decades) who’ve played the game for years and run the BattleTech TCG Facebook group. They talked about the card game’s history and design, as well as actual gameplay and deckbuilding. They go on four HOURS about BattleTech TCG mechanics, and I encourage you to check it out if you want to ever get into the card game (and then I might have someone to play with). 

And from there it seems that Travis has branched out into speaking with BattleTech‘s creative team. His most recent interview with Blaine Lee Pardoe explores BattleTech‘s history as well as what stories have yet to be written (at least, in novel form). 

Check them both out, and follow the channel to see what he comes out with next.

Ever Wonder What MechAssault 3 Might’ve Looked Like? Check Out This Art Portfolio

Fire Falcon

This is an interesting one that came from a person who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of taking too much credit for just how awesome this is. So I’ll take that credit for myself, thank you very much. 

It’s an art portfolio slash promotional pamphlet for MechAssault 3 from graphics designer Kurt Saberi. We’ve talked about MechAssault before and the fan project that’s getting quite a bit of traction these days, but what we have here is what might’ve been had Day 1 Studios still existed and hadn’t been bought out by Wargaming (the makers of World of Tanks) in 2013.

MechAssault 3

The intent of this portfolio was to try and convince people to invest in this game, which obviously didn’t pan out, but likely not because of the pitch. Or maybe--you decide.

MechAssault 3 would have taken 300 years after the events of MechAssault 2, which would put us way beyond anything we’ve ever seen from official sources and certainly way beyond the current Dark Age/IlClan era that we’re in now, narratively speaking. And the future is weird. The Clans are still around, with Clan Wolf still being in separate Warden and Crusader factions. Clan technology has also advanced considerably, with Elemental power armor replaced by sleek, sexy, almost anime-style power armor with animalistic features.

Mech Assault 3a

In fact, there seems to be a Far Eastern-influence in the design of everything here. The only ‘Mech in the portfolio, the Fire Falcon, is almost Metal Gear-like in its appearance. You can imagine a bajillion missiles coming out of those open ports.

The portfolio does mention that Clan technology is smooth and hyper-advanced, while Inner Sphere tech is crude, chunky, and brutish. Or it would if any of it was represented. Whatever the plot of MechAssault 3, it looks like it would have heavily focused on the Clans. 

MechAssault 3

But as we all know by now, if you want a new MechAssault game, you gotta do it yourself, so go check out the latest news coming out of Wolves

Wolves Releases Soundtrack Teaser

Speaking of Wolves, here’s a teaser of the game’s impending soundtrack. Sounds pretty good, right? I liked it. Also, there’s a nice picture of an Atlas for you to gawk at for a bit.

It’s MechWarrior 2’s 25th Anniversary!

MechWarrior 2 Cover

On July 24, 1995, MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat first arrived in stores on compact disc. It would go on to revolutionize gaming, especially when it came to portraying giant stompy robots. And it did a few neat things to move the dial forward for PC gaming in general.

I went into great length about MechWarrior 2 already, and while it would probably have made a lot more sense to celebrate a quarter-century since the release of MechWarrior 2 by publishing such an article now, I don’t have that kind of foresight. Instead, you may read that article here at your leisure.

And you can join a bunch of old farts in Discord to talk about the glory days of MechWarrior games. Reddit user CommanderHunter5 is inviting all MechWarriors to join their Discord to discuss the good ol’ days and to help people get MechWarrior 2 to work on modern hardware. It can be done, it just takes some doing.

So yeah, click this link to get in on the discussion.

Fan Gifts Us Remastered Soundtracks Of Every BattleTech Game Ever Made

Soundtrack Remastered

Perhaps a better way to celebrate MechWarrior 2‘s quarter centennial is by re-listening to the game’s soundtrack, which was awesome (and also discussed at length here). 

Xeromynd recently posted to various MechWarrior and BattleTech related subreddits a gift: a compiled and remastered selection of songs from every MechWarrior, BattleTech, MechCommander, and MechAssault game ever made. At least, the ones that aren’t still being sold for money so nobody can get sued. 

Apparently, xeromynd is an audio engineer of 10+ years and also a die-hard BattleTech fan. Combine the two and you get this fun little project that will tickle your earbuds. 

There’s quite a lot to download, so the collection has been broken into five separate parts: the BattleTech Legacy collection, the MechCommander Legacy collection, the MechWarrior Legacy collection, the MechAssault Legacy collection, and a bonus collection that has covers and remixes from the community. Timothy Seals’ fantastic remixes are sadly not included.

Thank you, xeromynd. This will replace my collection of old MP3s that were taken many, many moons ago, and were frankly never that great because I didn’t know jack about audio compression back then.

That’s it for July! Join me next time as we discuss what fresh hell awaits us in August. It’s sure to be a blast.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For June 2020

Welcome to your BattleTech News Roundup for the month of June, 2020. Now we’ve got protests against police brutality and massive civil unrest to go along with the global pandemic, so that’s cool. Who had race riots on their Apocalypse: 2020 Bingo card? Someone’s gotta be close to winning by this point. I’m still waiting on “volcanic eruption” and “meteorite impact” to complete my set, although I’m eyeing “alien invasion” with more and more suspicion.

Anyway, we’re not going to get too political around these parts. BattleTech had a busy month in June, so we’ve got plenty of much more fun stuff to talk about. Let’s get this party started.

MechWarrior 5 Adds Mod Support To Microsoft Store-Bought Games

Flea

While MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries has remained an Epic exclusive, it’s not 100% exclusive to Epic. If you’re really against Epic, you could always buy the game on the Microsoft Store for the same price.

But there was a problem in that the Microsoft version of MechWarrior 5 didn’t have mod support, which was one of the key features of the game. That’s changed as of earlier this month with a brand new patch that brought mod support to the Microsoft Store and Xbox GamePass versions of MechWarrior 5.

There was a bit of a hiccup as PGI also changed the save data location to make things a little more accessible, but this caused players to lose their save files and campaign progression if they had the game installed anywhere other than their C drives. Players had to go digging around for their save files to put them in the new location in order to get their campaign back.

Minor bug aside, this is a welcome change for Microsoft Store players since mods can greatly enhance your experience in MechWarrior 5. Welcome to the fold, Microsoft Store and Xbox GamePass MechWarriors!

Shrapnel, The Official BattleTech Magazine, Has Officially Arrived

shrapnel

Kickstarter backers got their inaugural issue of Shrapnel a few weeks ago, but now The Official BattleTech Magazine is available for everyone via Amazon.

Shrapnel represents a return to more serialized BattleTech fiction, filling the void left by BattleCorps when it shut down in 2017. It’s definitely a tome, clocking in at 172 digital pages when you include the index (the magazine portion itself is more like 150 pages). Within this digital magazine, you’ll find short stories from recognizable authors like Blaine Lee Pardoe and Kevin Killany, a forward from editor Philip A. Lee, and some more technical pieces about sniper rifles and the Eridani Light Horse.

They’re also publishing Michael A. Stackpole’s recent Kell Hounds novella If Auld Acquaintances Be Forgot. Which sort of explains why this thing is about the size of a small novel, and why it’s being priced at $5.95 on Amazon. That’s good value, considering the amount of text you’re getting.

As Blaine points out, the first issue of Shrapnel is very wordy without a lot of visual aids. Shrapnel is taking submissions for future issues, but so far the submission guidelines are all about word limits and preferred subject material (which is to say character-focused BattleTech stories). There’s nothing about fanart submissions, but reach out anyway. I’m sure Catalyst would love to spruce things up with a bit of fanart.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Sean, you’re a writer, why don’t you submit something to Shrapnel?” Well, I did have this idea about a gay romance between star-crossed Elementals from different Clans, but I don’t think anyone wants to read that. Plus I’d have to edit out the sex scenes to meet the PG-13 requirement and trust me, that’d be A LOT of work.

But if anyone at Catalyst thinks goofy articles about AC/20 ammo being made of pancakes is worth reading, gimme a shout.

Catalyst Sends C&D’s To Thingiverse Accounts Over BattleTech Copyrights

UrbieCop

courtesy of Fried Eggs on Discord

Well, this was a long time coming. Catalyst has finally taken action against the burgeoning 3D printing community to remove all copyrighted materials from Thingiverse, perhaps the largest 3D printing design site on the internet. This has resulted in many ‘Mech designs being removed at their request.

Takedown requests started getting sent out at the beginning of June, and according to a copy of the request posted by Reddit user AceTimberwolf, those requests are coming directly from BattleTech line developer Ray Arrastia.

You can’t blame Catalyst for protecting their copyrighted ‘Mechs, but it looks like this was a takedown of anything that was tagged “BattleTech” on Thingiverse. This meant things that aren’t technically copyrighted also got taken down, including stuff like buildings, trees, and other hex-based terrains. Custom designs that were based on copyrighted ‘Mechs also got the ax.

DCMA notice

It was all a little heavy-handed, and it has left a bad taste in the mouths of the 3D-printing community. The BattleTech International 3D Printing Facebook group has taken to tagging their designs “America Mecha Game” to both protest the mass removal and also avoid future takedown notices, with various pirate memes dominating the recent postings (kudos to Fried Eggs on the Everything BattleTech Discord server for coming up with this delightful UrbieCop meme).

My take? Catalyst is staring down an existential threat. Printing minis at home means they lose their market, which means they lose some pretty essential revenue. They’d rather BattleTech fans buy minis they make instead. That’s how their business works, how it’s always worked.

But there’s really no putting this genie back in the bottle. Just as how music had to transform decades ago thanks to the advent of MP3s, so too will gaming miniature providers have to change how they do things thanks to 3D printers. C&D’s and takedown requests might slow things down for now, but they won’t stop it. The technology is out there, and it’ll only get harder and harder to police as 3D printers get cheaper and 3D designs get easier to make.

I won’t link them here, but I can tell you that certain Facebook groups are already throwing Dropbox links around with all those removed Thinigverse designs inside them. This fight is only going to get spicier in the coming months as the Clan Invasion Kickstarter shipments start later this year.

Halfway Through, So Here’s A Pixel Art Javelin

[OC] Practicing Pixel Art! from battletech

Reddit user Maaxxim posted this one and I really like it. Javelins don’t get enough love (even though you’re basically given one for free in MechWarrior 5), so I’m glad to see someone else is giving the Javelin some long-overdue attention.

BattleTech Recognition Guide: IlClan Volume One Now Available

BattleTech Recognition Guide

People have been wondering when we’ll see IlClan. Well, here’s our first good taste. The IlClan TRO is being handed out piece by piece as it’s being created in the form of the BattleTech Recognition Guide: IlClan.

What will eventually span 22 PDF files, these Recognition Guides will include at least one all-new ‘Mech per volume and also redesigns on classic ‘Mechs rebuilt using Dark Age tech. They’ll also include “in-universe development notes, battle histories, notable pilots, and record sheets for each ‘Mech.”

Dominator

After all 22 PDFs are published, they’ll be combined into a single print volume. If this doesn’t eventually become the IlClan TRO, I don’t know what will.

In a preview posted on Twitter, Catalyst also treated us to that new ‘Mech that was on the cover of Pardoe’s latest book, Divided We Fall. The Dominator is a 65-ton Clan BattleMech with decent speed, armor, and jump jets. And I was mostly right about the armament too with the real design sporting an ER PPC, ER Large Laser, ER Small Laser, and a Streak SRM-6. A Targeting Computer makes those long-range energy weapons hit consistently, and I’m all about consistency.

BATTLETECH Revised Is Now Live

BattleTech Revised via Nexus Mods

Back in March, we heard about a “crack commando team” that was looking to rebalance everything in BATTLETECH, from ‘Mech hardpoints to weapon stats. We were promised an update later, and it seems that time has come.

BATTLETECH Revised is now available on Nexus Mods and it brings with it a totally new BATTLETECH experience. ‘Mechs now have quirks based on their lore that gives them… well, quirks. Strong ‘Mechs were given debuff quirks, while weaker designs got helpful quirks.

Although the mod description states that the quirks are designed to respect a ‘Mech’s lore, the example provided isn’t exactly doing that. Apparently the Commando is considered a “sniper” ‘Mech that now has 50% more firepower for weapons mounted in the right arm. Although the COM-1B has a large laser that might make it slightly sniper-y, the vast majority of Commando variants have short-range missiles and are more harassers and reconnaissance machines than snipers. [Ed. It has been brought to my attention that the prototype and early model Commandos were actually snipers armed with large lasers and AC/2, notably the COM-1A, COM-1B, and COM1-C. So this is more in keeping with BattleTech than previously indicated. My bad!]

On the plus side, weapons have been rebalanced so that some of the more maligned weapon systems such as the AC/2 are now much more of a threat. On top of that, there are big changes to the game’s economy, story, and pilot abilities, with pilots now receiving special bonuses if they’re sent into combat in their personal rides.

It sounds like a much-expanded experience, even if the designers aren’t quite aware of the full BattleTech lore, so if you’re looking to change up your game, try BATTLETECH Revised.

MechWarrior Destiny, Dice Sets, And Puzzles Now Available

June is a big month for Catalyst! They’ve already taken up most of this recap, but we still have a few more newsworthy updates to make with new BattleTech products.

Destiny

Starting with MechWarrior: Destiny, the new RPG based on the Cue system. I have not played anything using the Cue system, but it certainly sounds interesting. Rather than having a GM, the Cue system gives each player a turn at being the Lead Narrator using “cues” on their character sheet to move each scene forward. It’s designed to be easy to learn, so it shouldn’t add too much of a complicating layer to regular BattleTech tabletop gameplay.

MechWarrior: Destiny can be played without the usual stomping robots, or you can incorporate Destiny into your BattleTech or Alpha Strike games for an added role-playing element. MechWarrior: Destiny is availble now in PDF or print formats.

Turning Points: Tyrfing is also available now in PDF form, telling the story of how the planet Tyrfing became the scene for a five-way war for Lostech during the First Succession War. There’s also a bunch of dice sets available using the logos for famous mercenary groups, including Gray Death Legion, McCarron’s Armored Cavalry, the 21st Centauri Lancers, the Eridani Light Horse, and the Northwind Highlanders.

Puzzles

And finally, we got some brand new jigsaw puzzles. Each puzzle is 500 pieces, 18×24-inches, and features box and cover art from some of the most iconic BattleTech products out today. Only 1,000 puzzles of each design will be made, and they’ll be foil-printed too. Combine this with the coloring books from last month and you got yourself the perfect way to keep the kids entertained during social distancing.

Have A Hornet To Brighten Your Day

Hornets 3D models redux from battletech

Reddit user u/juodasvarnas is back with another 3D design, this time the Hornet. It looks sort of like half an UrbanMech with jet engines strapped to the back, which I’m sure is perfectly safe. We need more Hornets out there hopping along and shooting their LRM-5s at nothing in particular–much like how a yellow jacket is inclined to sting for no particular reason.

And that’s it! Join us next month where we talk about all the stuff that happened in the next few weeks, barring an even greater global catastrophe that makes this whole giant robot stuff seem kinda trivial. Unless that global catastrophe IS giant robots. Then I guess we’ll talk about that.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For May 2020

Hey, it’s May, and BattleTech is pretty okay! Sorry, that’s the best I could do to complete the rhyme.

Today, we’re going to completely ignore coronavirus just like an anti-lockdown protester and instead focus on all that’s still good in this world. And as we all know, the only things that are good are giant stompy robots.

Welcome to your BattleTech news roundup for the month of May. Let’s get this party started.

PGI Is Hiring For MechWarrior 5 Development

Katapult

We begin our monthly roundup with some big news from MechWarrior 5 developer PGI. They’re hiring! Eight new positions have opened up at PGI, including some pretty senior technical positions like Level Designer, Principal Animator, and Senior Game Designer.

As some of you know, PGI is also the development studio behind MechWarrior Online, but these positions are all calling for Unreal 4 Engine experience, and that means MechWarrior 5. MechWarrior Online runs on Crytek, an engine that’s both much older and much worse than Unreal 4. Think of Crytek as the Java of game engines--inefficient and nobody really uses it anymore.

I kid! Please don’t send me angry emails filled with Java code that will ruin my computer if I ever accidentally click the attached files.

Anyway, the fact that these are very key positions that are looking to be filled sort of implies that PGI might have lost a few people after the launch of MechWarrior 5. There’s no way you can make a game like MW5 without an Animation Lead or a Level Designer, so I’m thinking that those folks peaced-out after the game launched last year.

As we found out last month, PGI is delaying the release of MechWarrior 5‘s first DLC pack, and these empty positions might have something to do with it. That and the sudden shift to working from home and the up-ending of the global economy.

Benefits of working at PGI include flexible schedules, comprehensive benefits, and beer Fridays. Although, with everyone working from home, every day could be beer Friday. I’m having a beer Friday right now!

We Got Two New BattleTech Books!

May is turning out to be the month of BattleTech fiction for 2020. We’ve got two new novellas to tide us over until the release of IlClan, and both of them deal with events leading up to the ascendancy of Clan Wolf (I’m guessing--I don’t actually have any inside leads with Catalyst on plot development).

Shell Games

First, we have Jason Schmetzer with Shell Games. This book has to do with the Republic of the Sphere‘s incursion into Draconis space following the fall of Fortress Republic. Paladin Max Ergen sets out to capture Dieron, a Draconis district capital and home of the Dieron Regulars, but Warlord Kambei Okamoto won’t let the planet fall without one hell of a fight.

Renowned BattleTech author Blaine Lee Pardoe did a review of the story on his site, and said that “Schmetzer does a great job of taking two paragraphs of sourcebook and turning them into a story of characters, strategy, and honorable struggle.”

Speaking of Pardoe, he’s got his own book out now that also deals with Dark Age-era events. This time the focus is on Wolf’s Dragoons, the storied mercenary company that we all thought was done for after Outreach got nuked during the Jihad. They’re actually still around, and they even have a few regiments operating by the time the Fortress Wall fell.

In Divided We Fall, Alaric Wolf tries to convince Wolf’s Dragoons to return to the Clan that spawned them by sending an envoy: Marotta Kerensky. Will the Dragoons once again become Wolves, or will they keep fighting for the freedom of the Inner Sphere against Clan aggression?

Pardoe gave us a teaser earlier this month, treating us to a brand new ‘Mech on the cover of his book. It’s called the Dominator,  apparently the brainchild of Pardoe with a few tweaks by BattleTech art director Brent Evans. Speculating based on its appearance, its armament consists of an SRM-6, a PPC, either a Large or Medium laser in the right shoulder, and a rear-facing Small laser (which Pardoe confirmed in the teaser). Class, weight, and movement profile are unknown, but given the Linebacker right beside it, I’m guessing it’s on the heavier side of Medium-class.

Both Shell Games and Divided We Fall are available now wherever fine e-books are sold. Or you can just follow these links.

Pardoe Also Did A Fun Jihad And Dark Age Summary

Jihad

Not every BattleTech fan has kept up to date with current events. Some of them don’t know their Reaving from their Jihad from their Dark Age. That’s fine; Blaine is here with a fantastic way of getting lapsed BattleTech fans up to date.

Pardoe wrote a hilariously snarky TLDR of all the BattleTech events following the FedCom Civil War, from Jihad all the way to the fall of Fortress Republic.

“Almost all of the major characters, mercenary units, and a few billion passersby are killed in a fate worse than death: killed ala sourcebook footnote,” writes Pardoe, followed up by this gem about Inner Sphere savior Devlin Stone: “Stone wears a ball cap that says, ‘Make the Inner Sphere Great Again!’ – true story!”

You should read the whole thing over on his website, and also direct any BattleTech fan you know to bookmark it for future reference. And even if you already know the full series of events, it’s still well worth a read.

New Night Vision Mod Greatly Enhances Your Ability To See In The Dark In MechWarrior 5

Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries Mod - Night Vision
Watch this video on YouTube.

Consider this a little preview for an article I’ve been pondering on just what mods you should get for MechWarrior 5. Mod support is perhaps the best thing about the latest MechWarrior game, and mods vastly improve MechWarrior 5 over the vanilla experience.

For example, night vision. The base game’s night vision is pathetic--you can barely see past your Atlas‘s big toe. With the Clear Night Vision mod on, you can see everything through two different choices of night vision. You can set your ‘Mech’s HUD to produce that typical green glow that society has come to readily associate with night vision since the Gulf War, or you can get a full-colored version that more readily approximates current technologies.

Phil at No Guts No Galaxy recently reviewed the mod, and I gotta say, the difference is night and day. I’ll show myself out…

Check out the mod in the video above, and stay tuned for a list of essential MechWarrior 5 mods.

Part 2 Of Tex Talks BattleTech’s Primer On The Clans Is Out Now

Battletech/Mechwarrior Lore : Exodus to Elementals - A Primer on the Clans [Part 2]
Watch this video on YouTube.

I’ve talked to Tex before about his video series which has only grown in popularity since then (not saying I might’ve had something to do with it or anything; his work stands for itself). His Clans Primer is probably the best work produced by the Black Pants Legion to date, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting Part 2 ever since. It’s only fitting that it was released on May 20, just in time for the anniversary of the Battle of Tukayyid.

It’s hard to give spoilers for a story that you already know the ending to, but if you watch any Tex Talks BattleTech, watch this one. And then go back and watch the rest.

And speaking of Tukayyid…

Metal Core Collectibles Is Hosting An Anniversary Sale

Metal Core Collectibles

I’ve seen this guy post on the BattleTech subreddit a few times and have always been impressed by his work. If you’re not aware, Metal Core Collectibles is a series of not-quite BattleTech figures that are sort of like Mech Merc Commander from last week--BattleTech-inspired without actually having the license. They’re definitely made by a BattleTech fan though, and that shines through in the designs. I mean, there’s even a hex map in the background of most of the site’s images.

As far as I can tell, Metal Core Collectibles’ two designs--the Hammerhead and the Tyrant--are basically fan designs that somehow grew into their very own custom figurines. Both the Tyrant and the Hammerhead come in multiple variants so that you can get one with the weapons you want, and there’s a whole bunch of tanks, APCs, and choppers to buy too.

Personally, I really like the Tyrant. It looks like a Centurion-style medium ‘Mech, and I’ve always appreciated workhorse designs like that. I’m not sure if BattleTech-appropriate specs even exist for it, but it still tickles my love for giant robots.

And since Metal Core is owned by a BattleTech fan, they’re also hosting a sale in honor of both their first anniversary in operation and the Battle of Tukayyid. That’s 25% off anything in-store from now until May 27 using the code “Tukayyid2020”. Go check ‘em out.

That’s it for May! Join me next time as we explore what fresh hell June has in store for us.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

“Mech Merc Company” – A Love Letter To MechWarrior 2, Now On Steam Early Access

The BattleTech community has some very talented people doing some pretty awesome things. There are folks making 3D models of obscure ‘Mech designs, folks making LEGO ‘Mech models, and there are even developers making their own fan video games. We’ve already covered Wolves, the fan-made reboot of the MechAssault franchise, but there’s another game that just recently released to early access on Steam that I’ve had my eye on for a while. 

Due to my undying love of giant robots, a game popped up on my Steam suggestions that I found intriguing for a number of reasons. It’s called Mech Merc Company, and before you write this game off as a mere cheap imitation of MechWarrior, hear me out. There’s a lot of BattleTech love in this game even though it doesn’t actually have the BattleTech license.

Mech Merc Company is the brainchild of Michael “McShooterz” Shoots, a MechWarrior fan that got started with MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. There’s definitely a lot of MechWarrior 2 in Mech Merc Company, and I got the sense that Mech Merc Company is more of a love letter to classic MechWarrior games than any attempt at copyright infringement.

Mech Merc Company v0.1.0
Watch this video on YouTube.

Not that there’s any of that going on, as far as I can tell. All the ‘Mechs used in Mech Merc Company are freely available on the Unity Asset Store, and none of them bare more than a passing resemblance to anything found in BattleTech. On the other hand, the ‘Mech building system is almost a carbon copy of the standard BattleTech tabletop rules, which might raise a few eyebrows. More on that a bit later.

Besides playing the free demo that’s available on Steam, I had a chance to speak to McShooterz to get the lowdown on just where Mech Merc Company came from. “It must have been either the end of November or beginning of December 2018. I was looking for a new project to work on, so while browsing the Unity Asset store, I stumbled on the work of MSGDI and he had just put out some really good looking ‘Mech models that look just like they would belong in HBS’s BATTLETECH. So I bought the license for them and just started building a Mech sim, and by trying to get at least a bit done every single day I have progressed to what MMC is now.”

And just what is Mech Merc Company? Think of it as a remade MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. You play as a mercenary commander in charge of your own ‘Mech company. You can purchase pilots, equipment, and machines to grow your company while taking increasingly more dangerous missions that pit you against other fighting vehicles like tanks and enemy ‘Mechs. 

The core gameplay loop is pretty much the same as MW2: Mercs--take a contract, finish the contract, repair, buy stuff, and do it all over again. The menu and contract screens are all heavily inspired by MW2: Mercs, which is of course by design. 

“Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries is by far my favorite of the MechWarrior games, which has informed many aspects of MMC career mode design.”

Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries is by far my favorite of the MechWarrior games,” McShooterz told me, “which has informed many aspects of MMC career mode design.”

For the full career mode, you’ll need to actually purchase Mech Merc Company on Steam. The demo just has instant action mode, which will provide you with the core combat system of Mech Merc Commander and let you make custom ‘Mechs to take out for a spin. It’s a totally free demo, with the game itself available for a discount thanks to its early access status.

For just one guy working in Unity, Mech Merc Company is actually pretty impressive. Sure, the cockpit isn’t exactly immersive in its detail, and the animation of enemy ‘Mechs looks bizarrely rigid, but the weapons have impact, the controls are crisp and responsive, and disabled ‘Mechs collapse into believable heaps of scrap metal. 

There’s an old-school MechWarrior feel here that just isn’t captured in more modern offerings. Some might not have that sense of nostalgia for MechWarrior 2, but I find it rather charming. 

In my conversation with McShooterz, I got a real sense that Mech Merc Company isn’t trying to step on anyone’s toes and is more meant to offer a product that captures some of that nostalgia. That said, with so much of the core mechanics of Mech Merc Company copied from MechWarrior, I had to ask if McShooterz was worried about BattleTech’s litigious history.

“To my knowledge, everything I have used from Mechwarrior/BattleTech is not protected by IP law,” he tells me. “Ideas, mechanics, stats/balance, not-trademarked names, and UI design, to my knowledge, are not protected by copyright.”

As usual, I preface this with “I’m not a lawyer,” but I’ve seen a similar game take a stab at another, far larger license, and get away with it. You might have heard of Temtem, the Pokémon-like PC game from Spanish developer Crema Games and published by Humble Bundle. Temtem lifts liberally from Pokémon’s systems, such as stats and the four-move battle system, but so far Temtem has avoided a Nintendo lawsuit. 

Mech Merc Company seems to ride the same fine line between homage and outright theft. It’s a game that does things differently while trying to still capture that same game’s essence. The folks making Temtem are obvious Pokémon fans making their own game, and Mech Merc Company is no different when it comes to MechWarrior

“It probably will never be a looker, but I think I can make MMC one of the most interesting mech games to play.”

The game is by no means done. What Mech Merc Company has successfully accomplished is really just the bare minimum: there’s core ‘Mech combat, there are a few different randomly-generated maps, there’s a MechBay, and there’s a mission loop that’s really just a slightly more structured version of Instant Action. McShooterz knows that his game isn’t finished, which is why it’s in Steam  Early Access. He’s got a laundry list of planned improvements, including adding new hover tank models, aircraft, bases for defend/capture/destroy missions, and ‘Mech cockpits that have a bit more detail than the placeholders they currently are. And with MMC being a side project that gets worked on a little bit at a time, it might years before the game is ever truly “done.” 

But I think there’s still something to be excited about in Mech Merc Company. No, it doesn’t have any of those glorious machines that many of us have a strong emotional attachment to, and it likely never will. However, it does have the same experience that many of us feel nostalgic for that has never quite been recreated in more modern games.  

On top of that, without being constrained by a BattleTech license, MMC is free to iterate on the old formula as much as it wants. There are a few notable pieces of new equipment and weapons that have absolutely no BattleTech equivalent, such as an Autocannon 15 or Heavy Short Range Missiles, and they feel like they fill voids that some people might never have even realized were even there.

Mech Merc Company

“It probably will never be a looker,” McShooterz concludes, “but I think I can make MMC one of the most interesting mech games to play.”

If you can afford the $10 or so that McShooterz is asking for, I encourage you to give Mech Merc Company a try. And if not, there’s a completely free demo available on Steam that will give you a good idea of what you’re in for. 

Like Wolves, I’ll be keeping my eye on Mech Merc Company to see where the game goes from here. 

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For April 2020

Wow, April has been a drag, right? With most of the world still locked down due to the coronavirus, most of us have been given a bunch of free time to play our favorite BattleTech products. Unfortunately, only the virtual kinds can be played with people who don’t already live with you. You’d think that would leave you with just video games like MechWarrior 5 or BATTLETECH, but don’t forget about the BattleTech Tabletop Simulator if you’ve got a VR headset! It’s always safe to play with big stompy robots in digital space.

And just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean the BattleTech news stops. Strap yourselves in for the April news roundup!

DiscreetProteus Has Been Posting Original BattleMech Sketches On Reddit

The original drawing of the Peregrine/Horned Owl from Victor Musical Industries from battletech

So this is a little wild. Reddit user u/DiscreetProteus has been posting original ‘Mech sketches on the BattleTech subreddit, and there are a lot of them. Designs that were originally penned by Ral Partha and Victor Musical Industries are represented here, including the Goshawk/Vapor Eagle, Stone Rhino/Behemoth, and the Wraith. There’s way more, and you should totally just click the username to go through them all. 

What’s fascinating here is how these original sketches morphed into the ‘Mechs we know and love. Some of them are basically unchanged from the original sketch, such as the Horned Owl/Peregrine here, but some of them are wildly different. 

The original drawing and design of the "Cerebus"/Cerberus from battletech

Take the Cerberus sketch here. It was originally going to be called the “Cerebus,” which as far as I can tell is either a reference to a Canadian cartoon aardvark or an unfortunate typo. It was also 10 tons lighter, had ER Large Lasers instead of Gauss Rifles in the arms, and a torso-mounted missile system. 

They also all have a very distinct feel to them–especially the Victor Music Industries ‘Mechs which all seem to be heavily inspired by anime. That’s apparently due to VMI being based in Japan and being staffed by veteran designers that worked in the animation industry. I mean, the Incubus/Vixen looks basically the same as a Gundam, and it wouldn’t be the first time that FASA and a Japanese animation studio created some accidental crossover work

According to u/DiscreetProteus, these old drawings just came up during a bit of spring cleaning and they were kind enough to post them on social media for us nerds to gawk at. Hopefully, a few of these get archived for safe-keeping.

Reddit User u/juodasvarnas Posted Some Amazing 3D Renderings

Brigand 3D model from battletech

Some of us are taking the COVID-19 lockdown better than others. Reddit user u/juodasvarnas has decided to use his downtime to take up 3D-modeling and recreated some of BattleTech‘s more obscure designs. I mean, who’s ever seen fan art of a Thorn? Or a Brigand? I love it. 

I was able to get in touch with juodasvarnas to get the lowdown. “It’s just something i’ve always wanted to try, as I don’t really have much experience in modeling,” he told me in an email interview, “but you won’t ever get any experience if you never try!”

For modeling, he uses SketchUp, a relatively easy program to get into that’s good for clean, straight lines. SketchUp was originally intended for architecture, according to juodasvarnas, but it seems to do a fine job at making giant robots.

Yeoman 3D model from battletech

So why these obscure designs? “Bit of a spur of a moment kind of thing, whatever pops into my mind,” explains juodasvarnas. “Sometimes it’s a ‘Mech which I really like how they look, like the previously mentioned Brigand, or the Heliopolis and Goliath. Other times, it’s a ‘Mech I like conceptually, but find the art for it to be… Awkward to put it lightly?”

The Yeoman stays fairly true to the original, but the Thorn and Brigand are almost total redesigns worthy of MechWarrior 5. U/juodasvarnas doesn’t know what ‘Mech they’ll do next (although he’s leaning towards the Argus), but if you want to use the models for personal use, you can find them on the Battletech Art Society Discord Channel.

Did You Know That There’s A Community-Run Game Of BATTLETECH On Twitch?

This just recently grabbed my attention over on Twitch and I thought it was a pretty neat idea. Someone is playing a campaign in Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH where the company is being played co-op style. Viewers build and manage their own ‘Mechs in a persistent world while roleplaying in the chat. 

The campaign is using Roguetech, the wildly popular mod for BATTLETECH that adds roguelike elements, and is a bit of a work in progress. It’s not quite as chaotic as Twitch Plays; there are a few basic commands that anyone can type in the chat (such as joining the game with !join), but each turn of combat is played by handing over the mouse controls to their respective player. 

After typing !join in the chat, you’ll be given a  random starter ‘Mech and the game master will create the pilot (which you can request to look like whatever you want). You then get into your first contract but be patient since the more players there are, the longer it will take for your character to go on a mission. 

It’s super neat and a great way to spend some time with other BattleTech fans. You can check it out here

MechCommander Gets Updated For Modern Hardware In MechCommander Gold: Darkest Hours Version 4.2

Darkest Hours

MechCommander originally came out in 1998 as the first real-time strategy game set in the BattleTech universe. Although it took some liberties with the BattleTech canon (why the hell was the JagerMech suddenly 70 tons?) it was still a great game that took the franchise in a fresh and new direction. 

It’s also been a genre that BattleTech has never returned to. BATTLETECH brings the series to its turn-based roots, but real-time strategy enthusiasts are out of luck.

But not anymore. RizZen has updated MechCommander Gold: Darkest Hours for modern hardware in version 4.2. Now, anyone can relive the glory days of MechCommander thanks to a completely free download.

Oh right, I forgot to mention: the whole game is free. It’s been freeware since 2006. And since the game is a bajillion years old, it’ll basically run on a potato. Just mount the .ISO file and click on the resolution version of the game you want to install. That’s it. 

Not only does this version contain both the original and Desperate Measures expansion campaign, but it also includes an enormous collection of fan-made custom levels and campaigns.

According to RizZen, this is the most bug-free and complete edition of MechCommander ever made, so you might as well download it to save for a rainy day. Lord knows we got a lot of those lately.

Want To Make A Lego Uziel? This Guy Made Instructions

Credits to Kevin Hansen for not only making this incredible Lego Uziel, but also posting the instructions so that anyone can buy the parts and make it at home. Now, you too can make your own Lego ‘Mech because we finally have some step-by-step instructions to guide us!

Kevin’s also got a Lego Ryoken/Storm Crow on his personal page with similar instructions and a component list. If you don’t have the parts, order them directly from Lego here.

BATTLETECH Advanced 3062 Has Released The Clan Invasion

BattleTech Advanced 3062

You’ve probably played through BATTLETECH a few times by now and are looking for something new. You could try RogueTech, but if you hate roguelikes like me, then maybe give BATTLETECH Advanced 3062 a try.

BATTLETECH Advanced 3062 is a full overhaul of BATTLETECH that brings the technological level of the Inner Sphere to just before the FedCom Civil War. It adds more than 500 new ‘Mechs, dozens of weapons, and changes many of the game’s core mechanics like the turn-based combat and ‘Mechbay customization.

And now you can use Clan tech thanks to the Clan Invasion. Sweet, right? Head on over to Nexus Mods to download this mod and start your thirteenth playthrough right now.

PGI Has Revealed More Details On MechWarrior 5’s DLC

MW5

Although originally targeting April to release MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries‘ first DLC, that all got up-ended thanks to COVID-19. But we do have some new details on what to expect for the first DLC pack thanks to a recent update from PGI.

Called Heroes of the Inner Sphere, the DLC will add a new career mode that will have you start from scratch with any of the Great Houses or you can import your progress from the original campaign. The DLC will also add a new quirking system that MechWarrior Online fans will be familiar with, as well as blueprints to get those quirks installed.

There will be seven new ‘Mechs, including the Corsair, Vulcan, Charger, Hatamoto-Chi, Dervish, Champion, and Marauder II. Expect 50 new variants for existing ‘Mechs as well as a bunch of new equipment and weapons (such as ECM and Chem Lasers).

We still don’t have a precise release date, but that should be coming as we approach summer.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For March 2020

Summoner Wolves

Courtesy of Wolves

Welcome to your March news roundup in the wide world of BattleTech! As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, I’m self-isolating at home and scouring the internet for the latest in BattleTech news. Believe it or not, just because the world is shutting down due to a viral outbreak doesn’t mean BattleTech‘s gears stop churning.

Anyway, we’re not going to dwell on all the awful stuff that’s going on since you’ve got lesser news organizations for that. Instead, we’re going to get caught up on what’s happened this March in BattleTech. Let’s get to it!

The Summoner Is Now In Wolves

Wolves, the fan-made MechAssault remake that we previewed a few months ago, now has the Summoner (or Thor, if you’re a Spheroid) as a pilotable ‘Mech. I really like how they redid the Summoner, from the more angular cockpit to the torso-mounted lasers. They even posted a gameplay video of the Summoner in action and it definitely looks like a 70-ton ‘Mech lumbering around.

Summoner Gameplay Demo! | Wolves, The Fan-made Mechassault Game
Watch this video on YouTube.

The team working on Wolves has also got an Atlas under development. Stay tuned for when that will be available in the downloadable alpha, which you can grab here.

Bombadil Leaves No Guts No Galaxy

This actually happened last month, but it definitely bears mentioning. Bombadil announced that he was leaving No Guts No Galaxy and the gaming industry in general to pursue other interests. Everything has now been handed over to Phil, including the Twitch channel, podcast, and Twitter account.

We don’t know what those other interests are, but we definitely wish Bombadil luck in whatever he chooses to pursue.

Clan Invasion Character Site Is Live

At the Star Colonel level of backing and above, Clan Invasion Kickstarter backers were rewarded with having their names added to the official BattleTech canon. This guarantees that their name will appear somewhere in sourcebooks or fiction, although the precise details of that were to be discussed at a later date.

Kickstarter Database

In order to get everyone to provide their info, Catalyst has set up a website where backers can add their personal (or online persona’s) info. I see Tex has already added his “Randolph P. Checkers” character to the database, and there are plenty of other colorful characters for you to peruse there as well even if you haven’t backed at the $300 level.

If you’re a backer, head to the website now to get your name added to the list of soon-to-be canon characters.

Catalyst Delays Clan Invasion Due To COVID-19

Well, this was almost inevitable, but with the coronavirus shutting down businesses all over the world, Catalyst has announced that the Clan Invasion will be further delayed.

Since Catalyst Games is a mostly virtual company, its operations are continuing as per normal. It’s everything else that’s coming to a screeching halt, and there’s not much that can be done about it other than wait it out.

Catalyst Game Labs

Catalyst says the delay will be “several weeks” for production and shipment, and that they’re “exploring alternative options to mitigate delays, including domestic U.S. printing.” We’ll keep everyone up to date on this one.

In the meantime, Catalyst has a 20% off sale on everything in their online store, with an additional 20% off for non-BattleTech, non-Shadowrun products. I’m not sure what those are, but you can head on over to Catalyst’s website to check out the deals.

BATTLETECH Revised Mod Coming Soon

Project XLRP2 gets a new name "Battletech Revised" from Battletechgame

Harebrained Schemes might be done with BATTLETECH, but that doesn’t mean BattleTech fans are done with it. Originally called BATTLETECH XLRP when it was announced two weeks ago (which stands for Extensive Lore and Rebalancing Project), it’s since been given a more descriptive title of BATTLETECH Revised.

According to the earlier Reddit post, a “crack commando team” plans on taking BATTLETECH and rebalancing everything to be less in-line with the tabletop game and more interesting from the strict video game perspective. This means that hardpoints might be changed, damage values will be tweaked, heat will be toned down or turned up (depending on the laser/PPC), and new, non-canon variants of ‘Mechs might be added.

This sounds like a pretty ambitious project and one to keep an eye out for. I can honestly say that certain weapons in BATTLETECH definitely feel underpowered due to adhering too closely to the tabletop rules, so this might be a way of changing things up to make more ‘Mechs and builds viable at higher difficulties.

No news on when BATTLETECH Revised will release, but expect more details “soon.”

Someone Has Finally Figured Out The Actual Damage Numbers In MechWarrior 2

ACTUAL Weapon Stats - MechWarrior 2 - ADG Pro 12
Watch this video on YouTube.

MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat originally released with a manual that pretty much copied the weapon damage values from the tabletop game. However, anyone who actually played the game can tell you that they were utter BS. PPCs and LRMs did WAY more damage than they should, while Small Lasers were like shooting someone with a squirt gun.

Someone has finally gone through each and every weapon in MechWarrior 2 and figured out what the REAL damage values are. Kudos to you, Pixelmusement, for taking the time to go through every weapon and see what’s what.

I thought this was really neat and well worth a look.

Toy Galaxy Takes A Look At BattleTech: The Animated Series

The Wild History of Battletech: The Animated Series - Yes, It's Real
Watch this video on YouTube.

Finally, YouTube channel Toy Galaxy did an interesting dive into BattleTech: The Animated Series. The video specifically looks at the cartoon and the toys that it generated, as well as the rival cartoon from Harmony Gold and the ludicrous legal battle that ensued. It’s an angle on the Harmony Gold thing that rarely gets coverage thanks to the Unseen ‘Mechs, and is again, well worth a look.

One Last Thing: Catalyst Made A BattleTech Coloring Book

Some of you might be bored because of this whole coronavirus thing. Others might have children at home due to school closures. Or maybe you just like pictures of big stompy robots. But for whatever reason, Catalyst has created a BattleTech coloring book.

BattleTech Coloring Book

It’s pay-what-you-want, which of course means “free” in my lexicon, but you do you. The BattleTech Activity Book is 56 pages and contains line art from the upcoming Clan Invasion as well as the previous Inner Sphere BattleTech Box Sets. Currently, you can only print it out in PDF form, but soon there should be a physical copy that you can order. It will likely cost more than $0, though.

That’s it for March! Join us next month for another BattleTech news roundup.

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy

stay syrupy

Community Outreach – Pajama Boy Talks About Making Fan-Made MechAssault Game, Wolves

 

Wolves Cougar

Welcome back to Community Outreach, where Sarna looks out across the internet to see what’s going on in the world of BattleTech. This week, we talk with Ryan “Pajama Boy” Lalande about New Day Fiction and Wolves, the fan-made MechAssault game.

I was so impressed with Wolves a few weeks ago when I downloaded the demo, I decided to reach out to the design team to see what’s up. Ryan got back to me and agreed to answer a few questions on the creation of Wolves, how the team got started, and where it plans to go in 2020. Also, whether or not they have a plan if they ever get sued. Enjoy!

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Fan-Made BattleTech Comic Based On MechWarrior Online Coming Soon

Broken Teeth

We here at Sarna love ourselves some fan-made BattleTech projects. Comic books aren’t the usual fare for BattleTech fan content, but we’re not about to say “no” to an entire volume filled with beautiful robot art. And if we’re lucky, maybe even several volumes.

It’s called (or rather, going to be called) Broken Teeth, with the story written by Solzen and the pictures drawn by Fherot. I was personally tipped-off to this dynamic duo’s project thanks to the BattleTech subreddit, but I also know that the boys over at No Guts No Galaxy have been posting this on their social media accounts as well to generate some hype.

Not to be outdone by those two, we here at Sarna will generate our own specifically branded form of hype. It’s decaf and low calorie.

So far, all we know comes from the cover art that was dropped as a teaser image. It shows a Viper standing on a tarmac with its entire potential arsenal laid out before it. The specific stance and style is a callback to the Shadow Hawk that once adorned the Japanese version of BattleTech many moons ago, which as Tangowolf over on Reddit points out, is itself a reference to the specific style of military photography done to make jet fighters look super cool.

From the title, we know that the comic will be based on both Solzen and Fherot’s experiences playing MechWarrior Online, and it will feature Clan Diamond Shark in a big way. And there will be a Viper, which is a highly underrepresented but very awesome Clan ‘Mech I don’t see enough of.

Besides that, we’ll learn more as the comic is released.

We don’t have specific knowledge on where Broken Teeth will be released, but it’ll surely show up on my social media feeds when it does. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

New Animated MechWarrior Series Teased on YouTube

New Animated MechWarrior Series teased on YouTube

courtesy of Black Plasma Studios

BattleTech: The Animated Series was easily my favorite Saturday morning cartoon growing up (surprised? I thought not). Now it looks like independent YouTube video makers are bringing BattleTech back to our TV screens with a teaser for a new animated series.

The teaser is on the Black Plasma Studios YouTube page and is being spearheaded by MechWarrior Online enthusiast RoA Nitrox. Much of what’s on the teaser appears to be taken directly from MechWarrior Online, including the models and sound effects. It looks like they tossed the textures in favor of smoother animation, and it’s really brought these multi-ton death machines to life. These ‘Mechs move far more fluidly than anything seen in the game and even take part in some hand-to-hand combat.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Curiously, it seems like they’re using meta-builds from the game rather than stock ‘Mechs. For example, the Cicada shown carries six Medium lasers, while the Hunchback IIC that opens fire on it sports four Ultra AC/2s – known colloquially as a “dakka” build amongst MWO players.

The Timberwolf briefly shown appears to be a laser-boat build, while the Dire Wolf is the most ludicrous build possible: 11 ER PPCs. Which, by the way, will shut you down for an entire minute if all fired at once, but only if you don’t immediately explode from the heat spike.

Black Plasma Studios seem to typically create Minecraft videos for public consumption as it remains the second most popular video game of all time. The videos are actually pretty good, with silent protagonists and music that’s all top-notch. Their “Blocking Dead” video has over 30 million views, so this is a studio that’s making YouTube money.

I don’t think BattleTech can put up those kinds of numbers, but I know I’d love to see some BattleTech animations on YouTube, and I’m sure you would too. So click the link, like, and subscribe to Black Plasma Studios and help this teaser vid become a fully-fledged animated series.