Category Archives: BattleTech Game

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For November, 2023

I’m pretty sure I’d like November more if Canada celebrated Thanksgiving this month instead of last. Halloween already sucks most of the air out of October so there’s not a lot left for a turkey to breathe. Worse yet, November brings the grey months to Ontario. I probably won’t see the sun again until sometime in February when snow and ice have turned the ground into a mirror so shiny you can’t go outside without welding goggles.

On the plus side, we’ve got some BattleTech news to cover. Bust out your Turkinas and get ready to bake this bird.

A Warrior Pope Approaches

For those unaware, Pope Leo XXI was previously known as Leonard Goodnight, a former member of the First Avalon Hussars and the Grand Master of the Knights Defensor at the time of his ascension to the papacy. That ascension only happened because Pope Beneficent XVII and the entire College of Cardinals were murdered during the DMCS occupation of New Avalon

His ‘Mech, a bright gold Regent named “Justicar,” took part in the fight against the DCMS. Although nowhere in volume 21 of the ilClan Recognition Guides does it mention a fancy hat, I’d like to think it looked a little something like what Cromwell300 has produced above. Also, any excuse to refer to the WarriorPope of New Avalon.

Time To Kickflip A DropShip

Tony “Shadow” Pro Skater Hawk
byu/meltdonw14 inbattletech

Pretty sure meltdonw14 has posted something similar before, but oh well. I think I’m just a sucker for skateboarding ‘Mechs. And the fact I didn’t come up with “Tony ‘Shadow’ Hawk” first is just going to bother me for a long time.

Catalyst Teams Up With Veiled Resin For Unique Art

BattleTech Resin Reveal
Watch this video on YouTube.

There’s no denying that art is an essential part of BattleTech. CGL knows this better than anyone, which is why Randall reached out to artist Steven Michael Bohls of Veiled Resin to commission several BattleTech pieces in his unique art style.

Besides the eye-popping finished product, what makes Veiled Resin so interesting is the process by which these pieces come to life. Each piece requires careful planning and days of repeated carving, pouring, and curing. Steven isn’t even sure what the finished product will look like until layers of tape have been removed from the surface.

You can take a look at the Veiled Resin process in several videos posted to CGL’s YouTube account. The first step is to create a vector art image, either from an existing traditional painting or from scratch on a computer. The second step is to take that vector art and use it to create instructions to send to a CNC machine. The CNC machine then carves out pieces from a flat piece of plexiglass that’s usually a half-inch thick, but Steven went with a full inch for his BattleTech piece (and we do like ‘em thick in BattleTech). 

Next comes the creation of the resin that’s poured into the parts carved out by the CNC machine. This can be the most arduous part of the process as there can be multiple layers of resin required and each layer needs to cure before the next layer can be cured. Curing also needs a relatively high temperature, which is a pain when the finished product is several feet on either side. 

All that hard work eventually leads to a stunning piece of art. The one revealed earlier this month is a take on the Banshee key art from the Mercenaries Kickstarter (done by the fabulous Marco Mazzoni), but Veiled Resin has plans to do 16 smaller pieces from across CGL’s games, including Shadowrun, Leviathan, The Stormlight Archive, and at least two more BattleTech pieces (one is a Jenner running from a Warhawk, and the other is a classic Marauder also by Marco Mazzoni). 

We should see a few more of these pieces unveiled at the Dragonsteel convention, but they haven’t been posted to CGL’s YouTube just yet. I’ll be sure to update things as soon as I find out more. 

Michael Stackpole Celebrates Birthday With A Stiff Drink (And A Cool Painting Too)

Michael Stackpole Paintining

Of the BattleTech authors, it’s hard to imagine one more formative of the game’s universe than Michael Stackpole. From defining the political intrigue of the Fourth Succession War to revealing the origins of the Kell Hounds, Stackpole has been with BattleTech almost every step of the way. And to honor his 66th birthday, fellow author Bryan Young commissioned a special gift.

Many of you likely know of Stackpole, but few know of his in-universe persona, Gustavus “Gus” Michaels. That’s because he’s somewhat ridiculous. He is Michael Stackpole, but also a time traveler who was almost a thousand years old by the time he reportedly died in 3052 (although there is evidence to suggest he’s still alive, somewhere). He attributes his longevity to “time travel, a regimen of Szechuan food and indoor soccer, or a plot by the Internal Revenue Service.”

Gustavus Gus Michaels Painting

Going from author to historian, Gus was present for most of the big events of the Inner Sphere between 3028 and 3052, escaping ComStar captivity to somehow travel to Strana Mechty to witness the election of Ulric Kerensky to ilKhan.

Gus is quite the character, but he’s never had his own portrait until now. Here we have Gus during his time with the Kell Hounds, who apparently broke him out of ComStar custody in 3030. Because of course they did.

For more on Gus’s antics, check out his Sarna article here. And Happy Birthday to the real Michael Stackpole. May he live long enough to witness our journey to the stars and the arrival of giant robot warriors.

BattleTech Pride Anthology 2024 Calls For Submissions

Battletech Pride Anthology 2024 announcement and call for writers! <3
byu/Detofoxy inbattletech

After a wildly successful debut earlier this year, the BattleTech Pride Anthology will return in 2024 with a new edition. To make it happen, though, requires folks to submit their stories! 

BattleTech Anthology 2024 is asking for LGBTQ+ BattleTech fans to write in with their stories focused on LGBTQ+ themes centered around several keywords: Pirates, Anarchists, Misfits, and the Deep Periphery. You can use any or all of these words as inspiration, with submissions expected to be between 4,000 and 6,000 words. 

For more details, check out the Open Call doc here, and to submit your story, head on over to this Google link. The deadline to submit is April 7, 2024, which gives y’all some time to think of something truly fabulous. 

OPINION: Bring Back Naked MechWarriors

This opinion might be a bit like an old MechWarrior shouting at clouds, but back in my day, ‘Mech pilots wore as little as possible so they could survive the often sauna-like temperatures of a ‘Mech cockpit. Sure, they had cooling vests, but those things rarely covered their entire bodies, which often led those pilots to leave the rest as bare as possible. That’s why we’ve got so many sexy images of Natasha Kerensky in a bathing suit. 

But that’s begun to change. I guess you could say it all started with the BattleTech Animated Series where Adam Steiner and the gang would often jump into their ‘Mechs wearing their standard military fatigues, but that was a kid show, so we could forgive them ruining the lore for modesty. MechCommander and MechWarrior 4 featured real-life cinematics of pilots in big helmets and skivvies, but MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries brought us the ‘Mech pilot with a typical sci-fi spacesuit aesthetic. And here we have Hired Steel continuing this farce with their handcrafted MechWarrior

I’ll give Hired Steel some credit for the extra tubing, but my MechWarriors fought in their underpants. In fact, some of them fought buck-fuckin’ naked. There are plenty of 3025 ‘Mechs that run hot enough to cook their pilot, and I could imagine fans of the Nova Prime found it comfier to be as naked as possible before letting loose with 12 lasers.

I think it’s time I took a stand. We need to bring back the naked MechWarrior. If you agree, leave a comment below.

HBS Says No New BattleTech Or Shadowrun Games Coming

More bad news out of Harebrained Schemes. A tweet from earlier this month confirmed the worst: HBS doesn’t have the license for BattleTech or Shadowrun, preventing the studio from starting work on a Shadowrun or BATTLETECH sequel. 

And it’s not for lack of trying. Apparently, the company contacted both Microsoft and PGI (the makers of MechWarrior 5) president Russ Bullock to see if something could be negotiated. We’re not sure whether Microsoft was charging too high a price or was simply unwilling to offer HBS a license (with Big Red 40-Tech suspecting it’s the former--see below), but either way, they came home empty-handed.

It’s a crying shame. I remember replaying each and every Shadowrun game several times, and BATTLETECH remains the best tabletop-style adaptation the franchise has ever seen. Hopefully, next month will bring a change of fortune for this world-class studio.

BattleTech 40th Anniversary News Coming At PAX Unplugged

Big BATTLETECH News:
Watch this video on YouTube.

More news courtesy of Big Red-40Tech: Catalyst plans to announce BattleTech’s 40th-anniversary celebration at PAX Unplugged, which takes place the December 1 weekend in Philadelphia. Badges are still available for you to find out the moment the announcement comes (whatever that may be), or you can wait until the end of next month when we close out the year with this big announcement in Sarna’s monthly news round-up.

Elsewhere in the video, sources say we’re getting a new cover for the Beginner Box and A Game Of Armored Combat, as well as new ForcePacks. This could be a continuation of the discussion last month where we get more faction-focused ForcePacks, but we’ll have to wait to find out (although probably not long given how soon PAX Unplugged arrives).

Wanna See ForcePacks Being Made?

PVC Battletech Packaging CAT35756 102423
Watch this video on YouTube.

On one of my many nights on YouTube, I came across a curious video recommendation. I’d always known that Catalyst’s minis were manufactured in China (CGL mentioned it many times during the Clan Invasion Kickstarter), but I never knew which of the many manufacturers in China it was.

Turns out it’s Liya International, an OEM Plastic Manufacturer. And if you want to see the secret sauce as it’s being made, they’ve got a whole YouTube channel full of CGL products being constructed.

These videos show everything from the plastic injection molds to the workers cutting the bits and pieces off just like it’s a plastic model kit. The assembly workers take those bits and pieces and assemble them into the ‘Mechs we all know and love. A lot of those pieces just snap together with a little dab of glueexactly like a plastic model.

Once the mini is assembled, they’re taken to an assembly line where the workers place each figure in a plastic tray which is then enclosed in the appropriate ForcePack box, ready for shipping. If you queue up a bunch of these in the right order, it’s basically like a How It’s Made video.

What’s interesting is that Liya doesn’t just do the plastic minis. They also have partners that print the posters, map packs, data sheets, cards, booklets, and everything else going into the completed Mercenaries box set. Everything is sent to Liya who then packages it all up. About a month ago, Liya posted a video showing completed Mercenaries boxes being assembled.

We don’t necessarily know how long ago this video was taken, but if you wanted proof that CGL is getting products, here it is. Because we don’t know when these videos will be uploaded, we can’t guess when the Mercs Kickstarter will ship (especially since CGL might still be waiting for boxes to arrive), but we can get a good look at what we’ll be receiving sometime next year.

A Fire Moth Goes Postal

Fire Moth PostalMech: Your package of Elementals is out for delivery!
byu/Stretch5678 inbattletech

The Fire Moth is famously considered the best Elemental taxi the Inner Sphere and Clan homeworlds have ever seen. That’s largely because it can dash (if you’ll pardon the pun) over 200 kph, dumping its Elemental passengers at the front and then retreating before the enemy can even blink.

Thanks to Stretch5678, we now have a Fire Moth model that accurately depicts its battlefield role. Keeping all its Elementals in a bag is perhaps not as efficient as having them cling to various handholds covering the ‘Mech, but it’s certainly adorable.

PixelMech 3D Shares New Explosive Update

PixelMek 3D pre-alpha, now with 100% more destruction effects!
Watch this video on YouTube.

It looks like development of PixelMek 3D is coming along nicely. You may recall PixelMek from September’s news blast as the boomer shooter Doom-like version of MechWarrior that never quite existed but we always kinda wished had. The latest video update reveals a new milestone has been reached: you can blow stuff up

Destruction is a key aspect of any MechWarrior game. There’s no sense of satisfaction if ‘Mechs just wink out of existence after receiving a threshold of damage; bits of them gotta come flying off as their ammo cooks off in bright, colorful explosions, culminating in a tiny supernova as fusion engines breach. Mechteric hasn’t quite reached that level of destruction, but turrets explode, choppers fall out of the sky leaving trails of smoke, and infantry disappear into red mist. 

‘Mechs seem to crumple in on themselves before disappearing in a fireball, which is a step in the right direction but not quite what I’m looking for. I want arms to shoot off in opposite directions once a ‘Mech’s reactor melts down. Perhaps lighter ‘Mechs can have custom animations where a leg comes off at the knee, causing it to face-plant into the ground before it explodes. 

There are also no shadows or light sources from these explosions, but one step at a time. Be sure to stay tuned to Mechteric for more updates.

Who Parked This Night Gyr In The Middle Of The Road?

Mechwarrior, 2023
byu/Remmor inbattletech

This Night Gyr seems to be posing for a Jade Falcon recruitment photo, which is a little weird considering the Falcons famously hate Freeborn recruits, but I guess times are tough for our little green birdies. At least they hand out some pretty sweet helmets. Kudos to Remmor for sharing. 

Owenses. That’s The Plural For Owens, Right?

I haven’t seen the Owens in action since MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. It’s nice to see this 35-ton Omni Jenner hasn’t been entirely forgotten. Even the C variant on the right is no powerhouse, but I still like ’em. Thanks to Oswald for posting.

The King Of Lego Crabs

Very delayed, but finally done, My best friends favourite chassis from the Battletech Universe, the King crab, this variant of her’s has dual RAC/5’s, twin clan LRM/20’s, oh and of course our beloved C3 network, barely anything can escape her grasp :D
byu/Shotgunfrenzy inmechwarrior

We love Lego BattleTech around these parts, so when Shotgunfrenzy shared their latest commissioned piece, I had to make sure y’all saw it too. It’s a custom job with two RAC/5s and twin LRM-20s, but it looks good enough to be a cannon design. Tragically, I don’t think Shotgunfrenzy shares build instructions, but maybe some of you can figure this monstrosity out just by looking at a spinning gif.

MWO Introduces MechWarrior’s First Shield In Latest Patch

Centurion Onyx MechWarrior Online

MechWarrior Online introduced us to the idea of the “shield arm” way back when it first launched. The idea is to torso twist such that your arm takes incoming fire and not your more important bits. This works best when the shield arm doesn’t contain any weapons and has maybe a slightly enlarged shape to better obstruct the rest of the ‘Mech, such as with the Centurion or Griffin. It didn’t have any more armor than the other arm, but offering it up as a blood sacrifice effectively enhanced your ‘Mech’s overall toughness. 

Fast forward a few years and now MechWarrior Online is introducing the very first actual shield to ever arrive in a MechWarrior game. This shield, as part of the new Legendary Centurion “Onyx,” actually provides additional armor and structure to the Centurion‘s traditional shield arm. It’s also huge, protecting the majority of the ‘Mech. It cannot be removed, but you probably don’t want to. The LB 10-X autocannon and paired Snub-Nose PPCs provide exceptional punch while the shield absorbs incoming fire. Just twist, and fire, and twist, and fire like it’s an ’80s exercise cassette tape.

The Onyx is also delightfully colorful and comes with the usual Legendary battle pass, which provides escalating rewards of GSP, C-Bills, MC, Premium Time, and exclusive cosmetics the more you play it.

The next big surprise in the most recent patch is a new map: Bearclaw II. Krazzdaxx’s latest creation is a subterranean ‘Mech factory built into the side of a mountain. It offers plenty of close-in combat thanks to all those tunnels and buildings, but also longer sight lines if you wander outside to the surrounding ice lake. 

In terms of balance, lots of ballistic weapons have seen their ammo-per-ton increase, while a smaller quirk pass has adjusted several variants of the Viper, Centurion, Thunderbolt, Orion, and Marauder II. Players also received their Annual Rewards Program items in the latest update. For more details, check out the latest patch notes here.

And just in the nick of time, the Longbow is coming to MechWarrior Online. We probably could have guessed given its presence in MechWarrior 5′s latest DLC, but now we have confirmation. Unlike MechWarrior 5, not every variant is a missile boat either; PGI did some digging in the old archives to find a few ballistic-focused versions to field too. Head over to this page to learn more about the Longbow‘s variants and the current Longbow event.

The Fafnir Arrives In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

We have yet another mod from The Art of BattleTech. Once again, we have Pawel Czarnecki to thank for this Fafnir model, which harkens back to the style of MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries rather than the one featured in MechWarrior Online. This Gauss-toting beast is more than capable of wrecking any ‘Mech a merc could meet and is especially adept at turning cockpits into crematoriums.

As usual, head on over to Nexus Mods or the Steam Workshop to download the Fafnir for MechWarrior 5.

Magnetic ‘Mech Bay Blows Me Away

Mech Bay 2
byu/Fox-Fi inbattletech

I’ve started to really get into BattleTech terrain that goes the extra mile. Recently, we looked at Cross Electric Designs’ ‘Mech Bay with its battery slot and inset grooves for adding your own LED lights (which you can read about in our previous coverage here). But if illumination isn’t your thing, how about a magnetic ‘Mech Bay door?

Here’s Fox-Fi’s personal project of a working magnetic ‘Mech Bay. Both the roof and door connect to the bay via magnets, allowing you to have the door in an open or closed position. It’s great, and their Reddit post has a lovely reference to MechWarrior 4

Fox-Fi’s love of MechWarrior 4 is apparent in another project: the Repair Bay! This one actually has sliding doors just like the repair bay in MW4 (which this is clearly modeled after). They even gave it the appropriate hazard stripes. Beautiful. Great work, Fox-Fi!

Camo Specs Brings Us The Free Jade Falcon Paint Guide

Camo Specs Online Jade Falcon Paint Schemes

Last month we had the Smoke Jags, and this month we’ve got the green birbs. Just like last time, this guide provides the color schemes for the Jade Falcon touman, with plenty of Galaxies to choose from. I’ll spoil things for you a bit: they’re mostly green, although I really dig Lambda Galaxy’s sandy paintjob with gray highlights. I also like how they’re mostly second-line garrison units. Give me Clanners with standard engines!

Head over to Catalyst’s store for your 100% free download. 

Happy Jade Turkey Day!

I had my Thanksgiving last month, but I know the majority of you celebrated this holiday last week. Here we have another ‘Mech that looks like a turkey courtesy of the Mercenary Star Podcast. Thank you for the turkey-’Mech.

That’s it for November! Join us next month as we find out how BattleTech will celebrate its big four-oh birthday next year, and what new products might arrive just in time for the holidays.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For October, 2023

It’s the spooo00OO0oooo00oOOOooky month! I don’t really have anything scary to offer other than my ability to mix capital Os and zeroes together to create a ghostly sound, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all appreciate the terrors that October brings. And also some BattleTech news.

As always, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so we’re just going to hop right into it. Be sure to pack your pillow case, ’cause we’re going all night long.

Why You Never Shut Down In Front of A Wobbie

Hellish Celestial
byu/Akella333 inbattletech

We’ve got Akella to thank for this commissioned piece of a Seraph moments away from eviscerating an unfortunate Kodiak. This pic definitely gives me strong vibes of the original MechWarrior cover, only the Seraph is way more menacing than a Warhammer ever could be (no offense to the Warhammer). 

If you’re lookin’ for the ‘Mechs without the effects, check out this version over on Akella’s Twitter account

It’s Like A Snow Leopard, But Deadlier

Winter Patrol, digital oil painting by me.
byu/aa-ron-dakota inbattletech

This incredible digital oil painting comes courtesy of Aaron Harris, an artist currently working for Catalyst. I wish I was more of an artist so I could point to other famous paintings of pastoral war scenes that surely inspired this piece and nod sagely over my vast artistic wisdom, but I’m not, so I won’t. I just think this looks really good. Thanks for sharing, Aaron. 

Prints are also available for purchase. Check out this link here

OPINION: C-Bill ‘Mech Prices Never Really Made Any Sense

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I saw this post on the BattleTech subreddit a week ago, and I felt a certain kinship with iamfanboytoo. I might have made their point a little more diplomatically, but the gist is certainly true: C-Bill prices never really mattered. Don’t get me wrong--the Inner Sphere is still definitely a capitalist society (broadly speaking) and money still makes the galaxy go round, but even when the C-Bill was the dominant currency for everything, it still never made sense.

We’ll take 3025 as our base example. We have a bunch of ‘Mechs on Sarna with prices listed in C-Bills, which we assume to be the price you’d pay if you wanted to buy that ‘Mech from some theoretical ‘Mech dealership, but that’s hardly ever the case. For starters, ‘Mech dealerships aren’t really a thing in most places around the Inner Sphere at the time. Second, those prices would fluctuate wildly depending on where you are and who you’re buying from. Getting some junked-out heap in the middle of the Periphery is probably way cheaper than buying a ‘Mech straight from the manufacturer--if that manufacturer even lets you buy a ‘Mech at all, given how most factories’ production runs were already bought and paid for by House militaries.

Once you throw time into the mix, C-Bill pricing makes even less sense. Sure, standard fusion engines might start out cheap as they’re the most numerous engines produced in 3025, but by 3060, the standard had long since moved to XL engines. And just as your compact disc player became cheaper than a vinyl record player in the ’90s, so too would an XL engine become cheaper than a standard fusion engine as manufacturers all retool to mass-produce the latest and greatest tech. Therefore, doubling the price of all these 3060s-era ‘Mechs just because they have XL engines didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now. 

And what about the Clans? They never used the C-Bill as a form of currency, so having a Timber Wolf listed at 24-million-odd C-Bills is an outright fabrication. The Clan lower castes have “work credits” to facilitate daily commerce, and the merchant castes all use the “Kerensky” as a unit of currency for larger industrial transactions, but both of those could be redistributed at the whims of the Clan leadership. (Having taken a few macroeconomics courses, one wonders how any of the central bankers at any of the Clans stayed sane.) In any case, nobody has ever gone to the Jade Falcons and asked to buy a Summoner for a cool 21 million C-Bills.

I get how it was helpful to understand the “cost” of a certain unit by assigning it a price in C-Bills, but it was always a misleading identifier at best. Just as they do today, prices would fluctuate wildly as time, technology, and universe-changing events progressed. As of the Dark Age and the IlClan eras, C-Bills are no longer the de-facto currency anyway. 

So, what’s expensive, and what’s cheap? As it does in the real world, that’ll depend on who you are, where you are, and what you’re trying to buy. By 3150, trying to buy a Griffin in the Lyran Commonwealth--an older design that’s been in mass production for centuries--would probably cost you just a few million Kroner. Meanwhile, trying to buy a Dominator from Clan Wolf would likely be outright impossible, given how it’s a brand-new design that’s being made specifically for a single military. You might be able to buy a Thresher Mk II from a wandering Sea Fox arms dealer, but you’ll probably have to pay a pretty penny--especially as the Sea Foxes will add a surcharge for currency conversion. 

I agree with iamfanboytoo; it’s time to leave the C-Bill behind. Don’t agree? Leave a message in the comments. Remember, no pitchforks allowed. 

News From Spiel Essen On Mercs Kickstarter And BattleTech Aces

GIANT Battletech News!
Watch this video on YouTube.

More news from Germany! Spiel Essen, one of the big gaming-related events out in Germany, brought with it some updates on the Mercenaries Kickstarter (with a shoutout to Big Red-40Tech for covering this earlier in the month). According to CGL folks at Spiel Essen, the miniatures are all done and raring to go, but we’re still waiting on a shipping date due to all the other stuff that came along with the Kickstarter--I’m talking dice and plushies and keychains. I’m still personally holding out hope that we’ll get shipping this year, but Big Red thinks it’s more realistic to think 2024. Considering that’s what the Kickstarter says, he’s probably right. 

Other news involves BattleTech Aces, the single-player BattleTech product that was playtested in the Mercs Kickstarter and I had quite a few positive things to say about it. We can likely expect an announcement for a new BattleTech Aces box set in “the next little while,” which might be as soon as two months. No word on what ‘Mechs might be in the box, which is likely what’s keeping the announcement from being sooner.

And finally, there’s demand for Catalyst to release more faction packs a la ComStar and the specific mercenary regiments rather than the generalist Inner Sphere and Clan packs that have been released in the two Kickstarters. Catalyst is looking into faction packs for various nations, Clans, and other major groups, but no timeframe on when we can expect an announcement.

Big Red also noted some tough news for Harebrained Schemes, which we’ll cover in our next section.

Tough Times For Hairbrained Schemes

Hairbrained Schemes Logo

Things aren’t looking so great for BATTLETECH developer Hairbrained Schemes. While its past licensed games--including the various Shadowrun titles and aforementioned BATTLETECH--were financial winners, its latest title hasn’t lived up to expectations. Although well-reviewed, The Lamplighters League didn’t capture sales, and with publisher Paradox falling on tough financial times, Hairbrained Schemes and Paradox have now parted ways. 

Worse, Hairbrained has reportedly been forced to lay off roughly 80% of its staff. There’s a resetera thread from a staffer that lays out the story. According to the post, HBS tried to sell Paradox on BATTLETECH 2, but Paradox didn’t want to pay Microsoft its licensing fee, so HBS went with The Lamplighters League. But without a built-in audience, Lamplighters League didn’t sell. Paradox then wrote the game off as a loss.

“Paradox has refocused its strategy towards its core niches within strategy and management games with endless qualities,” said Paradox chief operations officer Charlotta Nilsson in a prepared statement. “We and HBS’ leadership have been discussing what would happen after the release of The Lamplighters League, but a new project or sequel in the same genre was not in line with our portfolio plans. Hence, we believe that a separation would be the best way forward. We’re very happy that this talented, gifted studio has the chance to continue and can’t wait to see what they will make next.”

This doesn’t leave HBS in a great spot. We know that Paradox has retained the rights and source code to BATTLETECH, so if HBS wanted to make a sequel on their own, they’d have to start completely from scratch and with a drastically smaller workforce.

On the other hand, BATTLETECH was originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign, and with Microsoft saying they’d be more than willing to revisit old franchises, there’s nothing stopping HBS from simply Kickstarting BATTLETECH 2. Plus, HBS has a proven track record of being able to make fantastic games, so perhaps another publisher partnership isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Maybe they could go with a different game engine than Unity, though, given that company’s recent kerfluffle.

We’ll have to wait and see what Hairbrained does next, but at least the company seems to be in good spirits. I’d also be super interested in another Shadowrun game. Just sayin’.

The Art Of BattleTech Announces MechWarrior 2 Remake Project

Mechwarrior 2 Remake Showcase - Clan Wolf - Mission 1 Pyre Light
Watch this video on YouTube.

You might recall The Art of BattleTech (aka SankaraSamsara, or Emil) from various MechWarrior 5 mods that add classic Clan OmniMechs, or from an essay we recently published on what MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries gets right and what it gets wrong. Emil has just announced that he’s embarked on his most ambitious project to date: a recreation of MechWarrior 2 in MechWarrior 5: Mercs.

So far, the mod is mostly a proof of concept and only has the first mission for the Clan Wolf campaign, “Pyre Light.” It uses the modded ‘Mechs that Emil and company have created for Mercs, with players accessing the Clan Wolf campaign by starting a new career. This brings up a facsimile of MechWarrior 2‘s menus with a MechWarrior 5-style briefing screen.

Compared to a regular Mercenaries mission, Pyre Light in the mod is mostly an empty desert. You do indeed destroy a chemical plant, inspect a firebase, and blow away a few light ‘Mechs exactly as you did in MechWarrior 2, but with way more visual and audio fidelity. It’s a vastly different experience, one which Emil has previously described at length.

I’ve spoken with Emil about his most immediate future plans. Besides adding in other missions, he wants to throw in the original MechWarrior 2 cinematics and allow the user to choose between the original soundtrack by Jeehun Hwang or the remixed version from Timothy Seals. 

Remaking these missions is still a ton of work, so consider hopping over to Emil’s Patreon if this is something you’d like to support. You can download the MechWarrior 2 Remake Project over on Nexus Mods

And just in time for the MechWarrior 2 Remake Project, Emil has announced the Jenner IIC mod is now available for MechWarrior 5 with a model created by FarSeer Animation. Grab this one on Nexus Mods or Steam Workshop.

Camo Specs Online Partners With CGL To Offer Free Clan Smoke Jaguar Paint Guide

Camo Specs Online, your one-stop shop for BattleTech faction and unit paint schemes, has paired up with Catalyst to offer a guide to painting units within Clan Smoke Jaguar. This is likely to do with MechWarrior 5: Clans as you’ll be a Smoke Jaguar MechWarrior in the upcoming game, but it could just be the first of many guides as Camo Specs is warning us that something else will be arriving November 17

The guide itself is available from Catalyst’s online store for zero dollars. That’s right--it’s free. Inside the PDF you’ll find paint schemes and unit insignias for Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Kappa, Nu, Tau, Psi, and Omega Galaxies, as well as step-by-step instructions for how to recreate the complex jaguar fur pattern of Alpha Galaxy. If you’re looking to paint your own Smoke Jaguar units, then this is an invaluable resource you’ll definitely want to grab. Hats off to Camo Specs for putting this together!

PGI President Russ Bullock Shares More Details On MW5: Clans With No Guts No Galaxy

Podcast 232 - Russ Bullock - MW5 Clans, MW5 Mercs, MWO
Watch this video on YouTube.

We’ve got a few more tidbits on MechWarrior 5: Clans courtesy of No Guts No Galaxy. In an interview with the PGI president, Russ Bullock discussed the origins of MechWarrior 5: Clans as an offshoot of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, taking the opposite approach of MechWarrior 2 many decades ago (that game starting with the Clans and then going Mercenaries rather than the other way around). Bullock also admitted that MW5: Clans started life as an expansion, but it quickly became apparent that MW5: Mercs wouldn’t be able to handle all the things that PGI wanted to do, so when the decision to upgrade to Unreal Engine 5 came down the pipe, it only made sense to make an entirely new game. 

Russ had some really good things to say about the coming MechWarrior 5 sequel, with a lot of discussion centering around the storytelling that will be present in MW5: Clans. Specifically, the game will have over a dozen actual characters “with dialog” and “Unreal 5-quality cinematics.” Sounds like we’re going to have more than just Ryana doing the talking this time around.

My personal take? PGI is making the MechWarrior equivalent of Ace Combat 7 or Armored Core 6. Probably far less anime-inspired, but it sounds like there will be similarities in terms of structure, ie. missions having voiced briefings before (or perhaps after) they start, and major story beats will be accompanied by both in-game and cinematic sequences. And if that’s the case, I’m all for it. I love what Bandai Namco has done with its action franchises, with both games being some of my favorite action titles in recent memory.

There was also some discussion on how PGI is expanding its skill base by hiring actual character artists. MechWarrior 5: Merc‘s characters were either 2D avatars or stock Unreal models modified to become Ryana and Fahad. PGI now has a team of a dozen or so people who can create human characters from the ground up, including animation and mocap, so we can expect way more people to be part of MechWarrior 5: Clans‘ story. 

The cinematics themselves sound like they’ll be outsourced to other companies, one of which might just be TMC--the makers of Hired Steel and the MechWarrior 5: Clans teaser trailer we saw last month.

Other quick hits include “incremental improvements” in ‘Mech combat compared to MW5: Mercs, continued support for mods (yay!), and continued support for online co-op without committing to any sort of PvP gameplay in MW5: Clans

There’s more of course, with discussions on the future of MechWarrior Online (largely status-quo) and how a game like MechAssault might be a good thing for Microsoft to revisit as it brought a lot of folks into the BattleTech fold. But you can hear more about that in the video embedded above.

BungleTech And Other BattleTech Podcasts You Should Listen To

https://twitter.com/BungletechTweet/status/1717266361150513161?t=s8Wz-DJk-PJWpqyvrGqK-Q&s=19

I love podcasts. I listen to them every day while I’m cooking or cleaning or going to the gym. And now I’ve discovered an entire ring of BattleTech podcasts courtesy of BungleTech hosts Nathan and Mike.

BungleTech is itself a BattleTech podcast that recently interviewed a whole bunch of other BattleTech podcasts, including Renegade HPG (there’s literally nothing Travis doesn’t have his hand in), BattlePod, On The Origins of BattleMechs, The MechBay, Battle Babes, Mercenary Star, Of ‘Mech’s And Men, The Valhalla Club, Wolfnet, The Calgary BattleTech League (shoutout to my Western Canadian peeps), Battletopia Stories (who also does the lovely audio plays of the Bad ‘Mechs series), and Unicorn Company

Interviewing this many creators took a whopping four hours, so be sure to have a lot of cleaning/cooking/gyming to do before embarking on this particular journey, but know that you’ve got a great chance of picking up a new favorite podcast if you do.

The BungleTech podcast also recently conducted a survey of listeners where they revealed their favorite ‘Mechs in each weight class (Locust, Hunchback, Warhammer, and Awesome), favorite weapons (PPCs, of course), and even their favorite three design quirks. Nathan and Mike weren’t exactly scientific in their process, and respondents often added their own special flare (this is why you don’t leave blank fields for responses, guys), but any community outreach is good outreach.

Last of all, they’re giving away a cool new tabletop game mode where you hunt down the legendary Black Marauder. Nothing says it’s the spooky season like trying to destroy a ‘Mech possessed by a demon. Check ’em out on Spotify, Anchor FM, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get podcasts.

Grayson Carlyle’s Marauder Finally Becomes A Card

By now, you all should know Regengade HPG and his love of the BattleTech CCG. You should also know that he’s been expanding the CCG with brand-new cards that he personally created. Here we have Grayson Carlyle’s MAD-3R Marauder, which survived for 25 years until the Clans invaded Sudeten.

Art for the card comes courtesy of the prolific Eldon Cowgur (aka Eldoniousrex), but the text and stats are all Renegade HPG. Expect to see this and more in the upcoming Payback expansion, and head to the BattleTech TCG Discord server for more details.

MechWarrior 5 Concept Art From The Early 2000s Surfaces Online

Heinz Schuller, the art director for MechAssault, MechAssault 2, and MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, has shared a number of concept art pieces that were to be used in the proposed MechWarrior 5 project that ultimately never received the green light back in 2003. Besides being cool concept art for a canceled game, what’s interesting here is just how wildly different these ‘Mechs are from their original designs.

The Wolf Trap, for example, bears almost no resemblance to the classic image from TRO 3050. It looks far more tank-like than the original, with its left hand replaced by a smaller autocannon and a head that’s just a sloped canopy. The Vindicator also loses its hand in favor of a weapon’s barrel, and the Fenris looks almost nothing like the Ice Ferret we all know and love.

The existence of the Toyama meant that it’s likely the Word of Blake would have been the game’s villain, but we can really only speculate. The game never got to the writing stage, and documents from the era are few and far between. That’s what makes this treasure trove so special. Thanks, Heinz!

BattleTech Universe Previewed By Catalyst

BattleTech Universe Preview
Watch this video on YouTube.

We know that CGL has been working on a new Universe book for BattleTech for some time. That’s the book that tries to explain the entire BattleTech universe in a single volume, which is quite the task given how big a universe it really is. Managing developer Randall Bills recently revealed just how much progress Catalyst has made in a preview posted to the CGL YouTube channel.

What we saw was… huge. Mostly because there will be several different versions of the new primer, one of which will include a packaged set with maps, art prints, and a lovely box that provides the “all systems nominal” message whenever you open it. Then there’s the BattleTech Universe book itself, which will contain all the relevant information players will need to get caught up to the current point in the BattleTech narrative, but also something called the BattleTech Remembrance, which will include personal messages from over 50 authors and creators, including BattleTech creator Jordan Weisman

Randall said he’d be “carefully scrutinizing” every page--and there are a lot of pages to look at--before sending the final version for printing. Randall expects it to become a “new high watermark” for the industry, and folks will be looking to BattleTech to see how games should be historically preserved. This looks like the sort of bespoke product that every BattleTech fan will want to have on their bookshelf or sitting on their coffee table. 

Still no word on when we’ll see the BattleTech Universe book hit store shelves, but it sure seems like we’re on the home stretch.

BattleTech World Wide Event Coming Next Month

You might have seen signs for this at your local store, but there’s a new worldwide event coming in November. “At The Cost Of Bootlaces” will see the Capellan Confederation face off against the IlClan in a titanic clash that will test Clan Wolf’s supremacy in the new era. 

Of course, which side wins will be totally up to you! Head on over to your local game store and sign up for the BattleTech 2023 Worldwide Event, which will be at various times and places between October 31 and December 31. 

MechWarrior Online Patch Brings New Legendary ‘Mechs And Halloween Events

Marauder Blight MechWarrior Online

Another month, another patch! MechWarrior Online has a ton of stuff going on, including the usual Halloween-themed event and sale, the ongoing MechWarrior Online Championship Series, several ‘Mech and map adjustments, and two new Legendary ‘Mechs.

The first is Blight, a Marauder with two guns on its armored carapace instead of one! They’re both Ultra AC/10s in the right and left torsos protected by CASE, which is a little weird since the ammo for these guns is located everywhere except the right and left torsos. Owners will likely modify this immediately after purchasing the ‘Mech for $15. 

The second is Gorewing, a new Legendary Vapor Eagle variant. A slow brawler rather than a jumping sniper, the Gorewing mounts twin LB 10-X autocannons and five ER Medium Lasers. It’s not particularly fast, but it’s got jump quirks and a lot of additional armor in those arms, so expect this thing to be a highly-mobile medium-range striker.

On the quirk side, the big winners this month are Locust, Blackjack, Trebuchet, Thunderbolt, and Charger with significant buffs across the board. A few variants from other ‘Mechs also received smaller tweaks, and the new Hyper Gauss Rifles have had their projectile spread drastically reduced. Finally, Viridian Bog no longer has a lily pad forest in the lowlands, which will go a long way to improving your odds of hitting a fleeing light ‘Mech on that map.

We know that PGI considers MechWarrior Online will maintain the status quo for the next year, but that doesn’t mean the Cauldron is sitting on its heels! Check out this interview between No Guts No Galaxy and Bear_Cl4w of the Cauldron to learn of the big changes coming in the MWO pipeline.

The Urbanhonk Strikes When You Least Expect It

I’ll be the first to admit the barrels on some BattleMechs are… questionable. The Thunder, Striker, Victor, and various other ‘Mechs with a veritable keg for an arm all come to mind. Which is probably what inspired hobo freelance artist DMoser to create what he calls “The Urbanhonk.”

I’m on the fence as to whether or not this is a significant enough improvement to warrant its own alphanumeric variant code. Thanks, DMoser, for this. Whatever it is.

BattleTech Instant Action Scenario Pack Available Now

Battletech: Instant Action, a Classic Battletech scenario pack for pickup play
byu/Rawbert413 inbattletech

Having trouble coming up with a scenario to play with your local BattleTech tabletop group? Or are you just looking to spice up your games with a little bit of chaos? Then the Instant Action Classic BattleTech Scenario Pack might be for you.

We have Rawbert413 to thank for this little download, which you can grab here. The PDF offers what is called the “Mission Matrix,” which determines the scenario you’ll be playing. Each player privately chooses either “Confront, Hold, Recon, Destroy,” or “Salvage.” Players then throw their choices in a hat and two of them are selected. Whatever two choices are drawn then determines the scenario based on the Mission Matrix.

Say the two choices are “Hold” and “Destroy.” You then consult the Mission Matrix and see you’ve selected the “Bombing Run” scenario, where the “Destroy” player has to run their ‘Mechs into the “Hold” player’s area in order to lay their held satchel charges and blow up some important objective. The defender has to “hold,” but the attacker is also “holding” something, and of course, there’s destruction all around.

What if you get two of the same choice? For example, if you get “Confront” and “Confront,” it’s assigned the scenario “Circle of Equals,” which is basically just two sides beating the crap out of each other until one side submits. “Recon” and “Recon” results in “Scout Clash,” where the objective is for each side to scan as many data nodes as possible and then retreat back to base. “Destroy” and “Destroy” results in “Hot Potato,” which eventually results in a hilariously large explosion, but not before there’s plenty of physical violence. 

I like this idea a lot, and I think it can definitely spice up a stale player group. Check it out courtesy of Rawbert’s Reddit post here.

Those Searchlights Aren’t Really Going To Help…

Lone scout, 2023
byu/Remmor inbattletech

I do wish searchlights were a feature you could activate in some MechWarrior games, but I don’t think they’re going to save this poor Phoenix Hawk. With thanks to Remmor for the post and Faut for the art (or possibly Faul, it’s hard to tell based on the font).

And that’s it for the spookiest of months! Join us next time as we head into the somber month of November before we catapult ourselves into the consumerist frenzy of December. We’ll be sure to report on all the new BattleTech products that hit store shelves this holiday season.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Your BattleTech News Roundup For April, 2023

April fools! Your prank came at the end of the month instead of the beginning. Tricksy, eh? But seriously, I’ve never understood the appeal of April Fool’s Day. Maybe that’s because I have a lot of news to write and dealing in anything but facts just makes my job harder. These days, truth is often stranger than fiction, so it can be hard to know what’s a joke and what’s not.

But a trained BattleTech eye can separate the lies from the truth, although I do have a few interesting lies to share which celebrated the non-holiday. So without further adieu, let’s jump into April’s headlines.

Mercenaries Triples Clan Invasion Kickstarter Total With $7.5 Million Pledged

I get that there’s been quite a bit of inflation between now and the 2020 Clan Invasion Kickstarter, but $7.5 million is still a lot of money. Since the campaign ended earlier this month, Mercenaries has become one of the top 20 highest-funded Kickstarters of all time. Mercenaries has also more than doubled the number of backers from the Clan Invasion, with 23,654 mercs pledged to form their own interstellar group of guns-for-hire. 

Sadly, we didn’t quite reach the $8 million stretch goal that would have given everyone a free Blood Asp (at Company level and above), but we did unlock a lot of stuff. Since Mercenaries broke the $7 million goal, everyone at Company level and above gets two ForcePacks of their choice (one from the $5 mil goal and another from the $7 mil goal), while Battalion level backers and above get four additional ForcePacks. Everyone gets free audiobook versions of Eclipse by Jason Schmetzer, Close Quarters by Victor Milan, and A Splinter of Hope by Philip A. Lee, PDF copies of Cracked Canopy Cookbook, Mercenary Life, Tales of the Bounty Hunter, and No Greater Honor, and a whole bunch of Salvage Boxes which will contain random ‘Mechs. 

Of course, there’s way more than that available, and listing it all here would take hours I don’t have. You’ll just need to check the Kickstarter page to see what your pledge has unlocked. 

According to Catalyst, they have over 400 items to configure, so expect the pledge manager to be available in two-to-three weeks. Then you’ll be able to select your ForcePacks and other add-ons from the manager. All the physical stuff is expected to arrive around June 2024, but as with the Clan Invasion Kickstarter, I’m going to suggest we exercise patience. While global supply chains have largely untangled themselves from the pandemic, this Kickstarter is more than twice as big as the last one, which probably requires some serious man-hours.

Oh, and in case you missed it, the Mercs Kickstarter even made mainstream news outlets like Polygon and Forbes. BattleTech is hitting the big time!

Opinion: What Does BattleTech Mean To You?

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

Catalyst has put out a video series asking both fans and actual BattleTech creatives, “What does BattleTech mean to you?” To Mitch Gitelman, studio head of BATTLETECH developer Hairbrained Schemes and producer for both the MechCommander and MechAssault games, BattleTech was his entry into “big-time video game development.” To BattleTech writer Chris Hussey, BattleTech is an expansive universe where fans can always find something they like, provided it’s not aliens or magic. And to Nick Smith, president of BattleTech pod company Virtual World Entertainment, BattleTech is “a place for everybody” with a “love for big stompy robots.”

To me, it’s all those things too. BattleTech didn’t get me into game development, but it certainly helped me find a new career after I quit schilling for an insurance company. It’s also a huge universe where you can really find any kind of sci-fi, whether it be super high-tech space battles between rival galactic nations or a down-in-the-dirt contest between two martial arts experts. It’s got everything from political dramas to spy thrillers, but throughout the universe, it all comes back to those giant stompy robots.

On top of that, BattleTech represents a sort of gritty military sci-fi that’s okay to love. I’ve always had a fascination with military hardware, whether it be World War 2 battleships or modern jet fighters, but I’ve always had a problem with getting too excited about these weapons of war. Geeking out over a MiG-29 or an MP5 can be a lot of fun, but these things have killed real people. With BattleTech being a completely fictional universe, I don’t have to worry about that.

Oh don’t get me wrong--BattleTech has plenty of documented atrocities where ‘Mechs killed civilians wholesale, but it’s all make-believe. We can joke about the Word of Blake nuking most of Wolf’s Dragoons into atoms because it’s not real. And in an age where armed conflict seems to be escalating every day, I think it’s important to have that geeky outlet for hardcore military sci-fi where the stakes just aren’t as high.

I’m not sure I’d actually want to live anywhere in the BattleTech universe (with the exception of the Magistracy, of course), but I’m glad it’s here in our universe.

MechWarrior Living Legends Rebrands As MechWarrior LOL

A rebranding is in the air!
Watch this video on YouTube.

Told you we’d get to the April Fool’s stuff. After MechWarrior Online rebranded itself MechWarrior Online: Legends last month, MechWarrior: Living Legends has since rebranded itself as MechWarrior: Living Online Legends, or MechWarrior LOL. I suspect this will cause some confusion with League of Legends, which might lead to yet another rebranding in the very near future.

Disney And Catalyst Reboot Herbie As An UrbanMech

Disney and Catalyst Game Labs is finally greenlighting my project! The Herbie movies set in the Battletech Univers!
by u/Samwitch13 in battletech

Another good one, this time from Reddit user Samwitch13. Pretty sure that paint job came from the recent PseudoTech featuring the Urbie Derby, but can’t say that Photoshop isn’t on point. But hey, just imagine what a BattleTech movie could be with Disney money.

Crescent Hawks Training Video Details Exploits Of The  Kell Hounds

BattleTech Crescent Hawk Training Vid - Kell Hounds
Watch this video on YouTube.

Here’s a fun new video that came as part of the Mercenaries Kickstarter. Catalyst reached out to Rem Alternis Productions to produce a training video for new recruits to the Crescent Hawks, where the motto is: “We’re here to make money, not friends.” The video deals with the formation and legacy of the Kell Hounds, its notable figures, and their ‘Mechs, as well as what the famed mercenary unit is up to during the ilClan era. 

It’s a good refresher if you’re not up on your Kell Hounds lore. Hopefully we’ll get a few more of these videos.

One-Hundred Tons Of Highway-Crushing Claw

3D artist Maska brings us this brief animation of a King Crab making its way downtown, firing its twin AC/20s at some unfortunate soul off-camera. Ever since the King Crab became the poster child for MechWarrior 5, we’ve been seen more of the Crab‘s bigger, badder, and meaner brother. Can’t say I’m disappointed. Kudos to you, Masaka!

PGI Is Hiring A Writer (Probably For MechWarrior 6)

Katapult

Wanna write the next MechWarrior game? PGI, developer of MechWarrior Online, MechWarrior 5, and holder of the MechWarrior IP, is hiring a”Narrative Writer II.” The listing doesn’t explicitly state that it’s for MechWarrior 6, but it does say that an applicable qualification is “passion for the MechWarrior/Battletech universe IP.” So it’s possible this is for new MechWarrior 5 DLC or for some wild expansion to MechWarrior Online, but I’m betting whoever lands this gig would be writing for the next MechWarrior game.

We should note that game writing isn’t your typical writing gig. This job doesn’t send you off to write a novel or a short story to somehow turn into a video game--it’s writing with an eye and ear toward in-the-moment game design. That means scripting levels so that they jive with the audio cues and physical action, which means a lot of coordination with the narrative director, level designers, and audio team. It also means writing using game engine editors and scripting tools, as well as documentation for external localization. 

PGI is looking for someone in the field with two years of experience writing and at least one shipped title. Obviously, love for the BattleTech universe is a bonus, but not strictly speaking a necessary qualification. It’s more important to know and understand military jargon than to know every ‘Mech in the Inner Sphere, although, knowing the quirky military jargon of the Clans would probably be a huge bonus. Probably. 

The position has a flexible schedule, “comprehensive benefits,” and remote work is available. Heck, I should apply. I don’t actually have any games writing experience, but how hard could it be? 

Lady Kamea Arano Says Trans Rights!

https://twitter.com/EnbyKaiju/status/1647736301410721792?s=20

Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH had probably the best voice acting of any BattleTech or MechWarrior game out there, and that was in no small part due to the performance of Gin Hammond as Lady Kamea Arano. So it means a lot when Lady Arano herself comes forward to say “Trans rights are human rights.”

Surprisingly, even the villainous Santiago Espinosa (voiced by the talented Tren Sparks) offered support for Trans rights, which is not something you hear from too many fascist dictators. But considering the environment trans folks face these days, I think they’ll take all the help they can get. 

Cool BattleTech Paper Diorama

Not sure if I should post this here, but I made this for my boyfriends birthday :D
by u/Scarlerr in battletech

 

Scarlerr posted this to the BattleTech subreddit. I’ve seen a lot of miniatures, some paintings, and even a few scale models, but I’ve never seen a watercolor paper diorama with a Raven front and center. 

The best part is the little cottage. Is this the Raven‘s summer home? Does it vacation here every weekend from March to October, water-skiing with its UrbanMech neighbors? Or is it a fairy-tale character like Little Red Riding Hood, off to meet her grandmother who’s been eaten by a Timber Wolf?  

We need the story, Scarlerr. 

Von Biomes 12 Makes MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Very Pretty

Mechwarrior 5 - MODDED! New Mod vonBiomes 12 is out on Nexus, Steam & Patreon!
Watch this video on YouTube.

Head over to either the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Steam Workshop page or the Nexus Mods site, and you’ll see Yet Another Mechlab is the most popular mod. Look a few mods down the list though, and you’ll see vonBiomes, a mod that I’d definitely consider adding to your rotation so long as you’ve got a gaming rig that can handle it.

MechWarrior 5 already has a lot of different biomes that you can potentially drop onto, but after a while they all sort of blend together. Download the vonBiomes mod and you’ll never get bored of tromping through a volcanic waste or massive junkyard. The mod adds over a dozen new biomes, including one with giant alien fungal growths, a desert with actual cacti, and an old-growth forest where trees are actually way taller than the ‘Mechs. The only downside is that these biomes are so pretty that they can really tax your machine, especially if you’ve got ray tracing turned on.

VonBiomes recently received its 12th update with a ton of new stuff. Besides the usual bug fixes and compatibility with the recently released Rise of Rasalhague DLC, version 12 adds new dynamic lighting for sunny planets, new mission backgrounds, and UI updates. It’s all very pretty, which you can see in vonSeiten’s video, so if you’ve got a good gaming rig, be sure to give this mod a download.

RenegadeHPG Interviews Loren L. Coleman 

A Conversation with Loren L. Coleman | Catalyst Game Labs Owner/CEO (Part 2: The Publisher)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Travis over at RenegageHPG sat down with Loren L. Coleman, co-founder of Catalyst Game Labs and current “steward” of the Battletech license. Since the conversation lasted nearly two hours, Travis broke this interview into two parts, with the first mostly talking about Loren’s time as a BattleTech author and the second dealing more with his managerial role at Catalyst. 

The first part doesn’t really tread any new ground, but I find part two to be a very interesting conversation. Catalyst had a lot of problems when it took the BattleTech license from WizKids following Dark Age, and getting things back on track required a herculean effort. He also dove into the success of the Clan Invasion Kickstarter and why Catalyst keeps crowd-funding these product releases. 

There’s a lot of interesting stuff here, so I encourage y’all to set aside some time to see what Loren has to say. 

MechWarrior Online: Legends Adds New Legendary ‘Mechs In April Patch

MechWarrior Online Legends Scattershot

In MechWarrior Online: Legends news, April brings two new Legendary ‘Mechs to, some map updates, and yet more adjustments to ‘Mech quirks. The Scattershot is a Shadow Hawk variant that comes armed with two MRM-20s and three LB-X AC/2s, which is pretty good for a stock loadout. You’ll also get a mini battle pass that lets you earn GSP, C-bills, MC, premium time, and cosmetics just for playing the Scattershot. Meanwhile, the Marauder IIC “Dreadnought” is an Annihilator with a dead side. Four LB10-X ACs are paired with four ER Small Lasers, but only one of each are located on the left side of the ‘Mech, meaning it retains the bulk of its firepower even after losing its left torso. 

These new Legendary ‘Mechs are really good, with unique and desirable characteristics that set them apart from every other ‘Mech in the game. It has a few players accusing PGI of releasing pay-to-win ‘Mechs, but having played my fair share of World of Warships, that’s nothing new for a free-to-play game. 

Both Terra Therma and Free Worlds Colosseum received updates that’ll hopefully mean fewer MechWarriors getting stuck on geometry. Free Worlds in particular received a bunch of new trees and foliage that’ll make it more interesting, but removed the fireworks. Not sure why, but no more colorful explosions will appear in the sky unless the player puts them there.

As for quirks, the Osiris, Hatchetman, Storm Crow, Summoner, and Fafnir are all big winners in this patch. The Fafnir in particular received armor buffs and reductions to its critical hit chances that’ll hopefully make it into the terrifying behemoth it should be. The Wolfhound received some quirk consolidation, although some variants might see their heat-sinking diminished after April’s patch. 

A few specific variants have also received some quirk adjustments, which you can read about in the patch notes here. 

And that’s it for April! Join us next month for yet another rundown on all the best news for BattleTech fans like you.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For December, 2021

Well, another year has come and gone. This is where we normally wax nostalgic over the past year and look forward to 2022, but I’ll be honest, 2021 wasn’t all that great and 2022 isn’t shaping up to be much better. With COVID counts where they’re at, we’re certainly getting off on the wrong foot.

But I will offer some hope. Initial reports are calling Omicron slightly less deadly than previous COVID strains, so if the pattern holds with the 1918 flu pandemic, future COVID strains will continue to get milder and milder until it’s basically just another disease. To be clear, influenza still kills plenty of people each year, but it’ll be manageable to the point where things return to some semblance of normal, albeit where vaccines and masks are way more common.

It took two years for the 1918 flu to get to that point, so while 2022 probably won’t be great (certainly not at the beginning), we might see things improve by the end of 2022 and into early 2023. Hopefully.

In the meantime, Sarna will continue to be your one-stop shop for the best BattleTech news. Let’s see what happened in December.

Gingerbread Spider Goes Brrrrrr

The Gingerbread Spider: A Mechwarrior Dubstep Rock Opera
Watch this video on YouTube.

We’ll start off this last news blast of the year with some festive content sent in by a reader. Elfcat presents “The Gingerbread Spider.” It’s sort of like “The Nutcracker,” only the ballet is being performed by a light ‘Mech that was designed to fly. Almost.

I wouldn’t say that SPD-5K is a meta build, but it’s certainly effective as part of a light ‘Mech wolfpack. It’s also great for picking off stragglers that might have had most of their armor stripped from LRMs or taking fire. 

Personally, I think the Mist Lynx-G is the better Heavy Machine Gun platform, but to each their own. 

MechWarrior Online Is Giving Away A Lot Of Stuff Over The Holidays

MechWarrior Online Hellebore Outpost Preview
Watch this video on YouTube.

There’s a DropShip full of MechWarrior Online news to close out the year. First up, a patch was released earlier in the month that added MechWarrior Online‘s first new map in years. Called “Hellbore Outpost,” this map brings unparalleled verticality to an engagement. Cliffs, canyons, and raised platforms mean that fire can come from any angle, with geological formations providing ample cover for an ambush. I’ve only played it a few times, but so far I find it an interesting addition to the usual playlist.

Along with the new map comes the fifth quirk pass, and it hits some of my favorite ‘Mechs. The Quickdraw, JagerMech, Summoner, Firestarter, and Annihilator have all had their quirks adjusted. The Quickdraw in particular is finally viable in today’s meta and I quite enjoy my laserboat QKD-5K. It’s great when a bad ‘Mech turns good.

Single heat sinks also received a buff as part of this update, so certain Inner Sphere assault ‘Mechs will find it more useful to use single heat sinks than doubles.

And keeping with MechWarrior Online tradition, the holiday season brings back the Stocking Stuffer event for another year. The event is simple: play games and unlock rewards based on your match score. The more you get in a match, the more stockings you uncover. Stockings can include C-bills, MC, skill points, experience, premium time, and more. Now is the most rewarding time of the year to play MWO, but be sure to get your games in before Jan 4 when the Stocking Stuffer event ends.

But we saved the best part for last. MechWarrior Online is giving away two free ‘Mechs for everyone who logs in between December 26 and January 4 to play one match. The Mauler MAL-2P and Marauder IIC-A can be yours along with 25 Stocking Stuffers, 6.5 million C-bills, 1,250 MC, and seven days premium time. Oh, and both ‘Mechs come with a 30% C-bill boost too.

There’s also a new ‘Mech pack available with two new versions of the Sun Spider and the Roughneck. Go check ’em out on their website here.

Congrats To The 1st Jaguar Guards For Winning The MechWarrior Online World Championship Series

MWO Comp Championship Series 2021 -Grand Finals - JGx vs. 5JDx
Watch this video on YouTube.

The MechWarrior Online competitive scene got a big boost with the game’s renaissance this year, and although there wasn’t quite as much ceremony thanks to COVID and the lack of Mech_Con, the final games were still an exciting display of piloting from the best MechWarriors in the world.

Ultimately, the 1st Jaguar Guards came out on top, defeating the 5th Jaguar Dragoons in the final round. Ghosts of Nox came in third and the appropriately named “here 4 da loot” came in fourth. KDCM V: Trans Rights, the team that was initially told to change their name before PGI backtracked, came in seventh place.

I didn’t get a chance to see every match, but I did catch the final ‘Mech usage statistics and was incredibly surprised to see such a wide variety of chassis used by the world’s top players. Whereas previous years would often see the same ‘Mechs over and over again (I’m lookin’ at you, Hunchback IIC), this year had almost twice as many ‘Mechs make it to the finals.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the Firestarter, which has historically been one of those bad ‘Mechs that nobody really uses. I guess the recent balance passes have really shaken up the meta to the point where the Firestarter actually shines. Guess I’m going to have to give that ‘Mech a try.

The MechWarrior 5 Timber Wolf Mod Is Here

Timberwolf / Mad Cat Classic mod for Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries Trailer #2
Watch this video on YouTube.

Remember that Timber Wolf mod that was mentioned in November’s news roundup? Well, The Art of BattleTech managed to get this beaut out for Christmas

Not only is the outside a highly detailed model that brings the classic Mad Cat look into the latest and greatest MechWarrior game, but it also has a custom cockpit courtesy of Alan Yeoh. Honestly, it looks a lot like a modern fighter pilot cockpit with a few extra screens on the ferro-glass windows. It can seem a little cluttered in first-person view, but that’s why MechWarrior 5 has a third-person camera. There’s also an alternate cockpit with fewer screens but more rearview mirrors. 

As expected, the Timber Wolf is pretty overpowered in comparison to most of MechWarrior 5‘s available chassis. That makes the Timby a great choice for pretty much everything that the game can throw at you. 

You can check out the mod in action here and then head to NexusMods or Steam Workshop to download the mod yourself. 

Also, Here’s A Mad Dog Mod For MechWarrior 5

Mad Dog / Vulture Classic mod for Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries - Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

Not satisfied with just the Timber Wolf, Art is busy making the Mad Dog for MechWarrior 5 too. There should also be a Summoner on the horizon, but there’s no trailer of that delightful 70-tonner yet. Stay tuned. 

More Logistical Woes For Catalyst Orders

Don’t know if this has been shared yet from battletech

This really isn’t limited to Catalyst Games--lots of retailers are warning customers that orders aren’t arriving in a timely fashion this holiday season. Blame covid and the ongoing global logistical snafu, but if you didn’t get your Catalyst order in time for Christmas, you probably won’t get it until January.

On the bright side, the final two installments of the IlClan Recognition Guides have arrived, and since those are digital files, you can just download them now without waiting. 

Santa Nova Cat Is Coming To Town

https://www.reddit.com/r/battletech/comments/rnl9ok/santa_mech_is_here_to_bring_holiday_cheer_to_the/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

I don’t know where Reddit user h_ahsatan got a beard to fit this Nova Cat, but I’m glad they did. Hopefully, it doesn’t catch fire when this thing lets loose with all those energy weapons. 

Duane Loose Reveals How The Stryker Was Updated Got HBS’s BATTLETECH

It’s no exaggeration to say that Duane Loose practically defined BattleTech‘s visual style for decades. The artist that penned the original drawings that appeared in TRO 3025 recently shared an interesting story on his Twitter account about how he teamed up with Hairbrained Schemes to redesign the Striker missile tank. 

Working with Mike McCain, Loose helped create several redesigned vehicles, including the Striker. Loose also dropped several sketches of the Swiftwind and Demolisher tanks, but the Striker received special attention with a set of eight sketches. You can see how the missile tanks started out with eight wheels before shrinking those down to just six by the time they arrived at the final product. 

Strikers were always the worst in that game, but at least they looked cool.

Duncan Fisher Wishes Us All A Happy Holidays!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM DUNCAN FISHER
Watch this video on YouTube.

The Black Pants Legion, ever patrons of the fine arts, asked George Ledoux to put on his Duncan Fisher persona and wish us all happy holidays. Thanks, Duncan. I think we all needed that this year. 

And that’s it for 2021! I hope you’re all staying safe, staying healthy, and are looking forward to a better year to come.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Community Outreach – Converting HBS’s BATTLETECH Campaign To Tabletop With Riley Centrella

Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH is still a masterpiece and I recommend anyone with a personal computer purchase it. My recent playthrough of the game has convinced me of that more than ever. But what if you wanted to experience BATTLETECH’s story without playing the game? Maybe you just don’t have the time, or maybe you just don’t have a gaming computer. Well, you could just watch a Let’s Play on YouTube or something, or you could play the entire game on tabletop.

Riley Centrella, or Magistrex Centrella as she’s also known, has painstakingly translated every main campaign mission from HBS’s BATTLETECH and turned it into a sequence of 16 tabletop BattleTech maps that can be played in MegaMek, Roll20, MegaMekLab, or your preferred digital tabletop of choice. And best of all, it’s free to download over on the Magistrex’s Patreon.

To get the lowdown on this massive conversion project, I reached out to Lady Centrella for the scoop.

Continue reading

Your BattleTech News Roundup For February, 2021

courtesy of Eldosiousrex

Hey! We made it to February [Ed. well, Technically March, but we were a little late getting the news out for February]! I honestly didn’t think we’d make it this far. But we’re here and we’re all makin’ the best of it in these cold winter months.

As always, I’ve got some lovely BattleTech news to keep us warm. Well, relatively warm. Look, warmth is in the mind, okay? Let’s see what’s going on in the world of big stompy robots.

Patreon Springs Up To Make New BattleTech Art

Boys - Process of Creating
Watch this video on YouTube.

There are a lot of artists out there doing BattleTech stuff, and while a lot of them are associated with commercial BattleTech creators like PGI and Harebrained Schemes, a lot of ‘em are just doing it for free. But what if the community could come together to support those artists and encourage them to produce more free artwork for the community to enjoy?

That’s the idea behind Gallery 3025, a new Patreon founded by Renegade HPG (you might remember him from the recently-concluded BattleTech Animated Series remaster you can watch on YouTube). “Gallery 3025 is a community fund to support the creation of BattleTech illustrations and animation,” reads the Patreon description, with 100% of the proceeds going towards funding artists.

Best of all, “those works will be openly available for the public to enjoy and use as they wish,” so long as the original artist approves. 

“This fund will also allow the exploration of brand new talent with a fresh, innovative vision,” adds RenegadeHPG. “What would a top Magic: The Gathering or LucasFilm artist come up with if they were let loose on BattleTech? A Marvel Studios concept artist? Will we discover BattleTech‘s Ralph McQuarrie with a project like this?”

I’ve just signed on for the low price of $2 per month (a $10 level allows Patrons to participate in regular Live Q&As with creators), and I see DC Bruins is working on an animation project that looks pretty cool. There’s also this fantastic piece from Dmitriy Leonovich (the ‘Mech is an original design of his, in case you were wondering). 

The more people that sign up, the more great art I expect to see come out of Gallery 3025. 

MechWarrior Online Gets February Patch, And There’s More On The Way

MechWarrior Online has received the occasional update to change what ‘Mechs are on sale, but it’s been well over a year since MWO has received a patch with any meaningful changes to the game. That’s changed as of February 11 with update 1.4.237.0, with a 38MB patch that promises to be just the first of MWO’s 2021 roadmap.

As discussed in previous web vlogs, February’s update is full of quick, simple QOL changes that MechWarrior Online fans have been requesting for quite some time. The reconnection time limit and early leaver punishment threshold have both increased from 2 minutes to 4 minutes, which will encourage players to rejoin a match if they get disconnected and also punishes players for leaving a match early. Unit recruitment costs have also been reduced to 10% of their former prices, while the cadet bonuses have been increased to better reward new players and give them a fighting chance against MWO‘s sea of veterans.

Several maps have had their dynamic time-of-day timer set to a specific time to better improve visibility, and bolt-on cosmetics are now truly bolted on and will not get shot off in the first 30 seconds of a firefight. The patch notes do say that PGI is looking for feedback on which bolt-ons actually should have the ability to be shot off as they might give players the wrong impression of a ‘Mech’s hitbox outline. Go check the MWO forums for that specific thread.

We’ve also got a roadmap for what to expect in future patches. March should include new player video tutorials, lower volume on the intro movie (a long-requested change), and a balance pass on weapons. There’s also going to be new ‘Mech packages and a brand new free ‘Mech available as part of a monthly event.

February’s free ‘Mech is the Huntsman Prime, which is a great little machine that I highly recommend. There are still a few days left to earn it, and then March will have a brand new free ‘Mech.

Honestly, the free giveaways are probably the best idea I’ve seen yet. My problem with MechWarrior Online has always been the awful price-to-content ratio, but free ‘Mechs (plus tons of other free stuff as part of the monthly event) does a lot to solve that problem. Plus, all these QOL changes are showing the players some real love. I might just give this game another chance. 

Check out the latest vlog to see what’s coming in March, such as lighting fixes to Caustic Valley, spawn changes on Tourmaline Dessert, and a long-requested weapons balance update.

An Atlas, A Battlemaster, A Wyvern, And An Urbanmech Travel To A Galaxy Far Far Away

This was posted by Matt Stanley over on Twitter. I assume he did it, so all kudos/stones should be thrown at him. Regardless, I thought it was pretty amazing, so I will only throw kudos.

A Great Tribute To Exodus Road’s Cover

Exodus Road from battletech

Reddit user aa-ron-dakota gives us this fabulous CG image that reimagines the cover of Exodus Road. It’s a landscape rather than a portrait, but that’s fine since now you can use it as a desktop background.

Clan Invasion Wave Two Set To Arrive In Late Spring

CGL just sent out a Clan Invasion Kickstarter update that confirmed the Wave 2 stuff won’t leave China until after Chinese New Year, which actually puts them right on track for my estimate of a spring delivery. Since that was my expectation all along, I’m not really mad or disappointed. Then again, I don’t remember what the original timeline was supposed to be like so I had no idea they were actually missing it. 

Also, quarantine has sort of removed whatever sense of time I had, so it might be August right now and the only way I’d tell is if I went outside in my snow jacket and just fucking died of heatstroke.

From the description Loren gave to us in the update, it sounds like CGL was doing whatever they could to keep to their original schedule. There’s a lot of cursing, a lot of exclamation points, and a lot of dates for when gears turn or are expected to spin wildly. Bottom line is that Wave 2 should start shipping to backers “by the end of May for a mostly-June delivery.”

That’s not technically summer, but it might turn out to be summer. Fingers crossed and all that.

MechWarrior Living Legends Releases Update To Fix Lag Warping

The MechWarrior: Living Legends dev team is back after a much-deserved holiday break, and they bring with them update 0.13.4. The big deal with this update is that it incorporates jedi95’s Crysis Wars Lag Fix code, which greatly improves performance for players with a bad connection. 

Crysis Wars has always had some pretty janky netcode according to the MWLL devs, who described it as “a thorn in our side for years!” Modern games have vastly improved netcode that can smooth out the bumps in a poor internet connection, but Crysis Wars’ netcode predates those improvements. 

Now Crysis Wars has a modernized netcode that smooths the gameplay for low ping players, with jedi95 even helping the MWLL folks ensure that his code was properly implemented in the latest update. MWLL players are already reporting improvements to gameplay, so it sounds like this patch is a big success. 

Besides the sweet netcode improvements, patch 0.13.4 brings a few balance tweaks to the AC/10, Clan ER PPC, Sniper Artillery, and Stealth Armor. For the full details, check out the patch notes over on the MWLL wiki here

Check Out The Raven In Wolves Wave 2 Mini Showcase

Wolves Wave 2 Mini Showcase (0.1.28)
Watch this video on YouTube.

UPDATE: I have since been informed that the ‘Mech showcased in the above video is in fact the Raptor II and not the Raven as I initially thought. Friggin’ chicken-walking ‘Mechs all lookin’ the same. Pajama Boy will give me some Raven footage to add later. Original story follows.

There’s also the Cougar and Mad Cat Mk II to consider, but who cares about them? It’s the little Raven that steals the show in this short trailer previewing the upcoming Wave 2 update in Wolves, the fan-made MechAssault game. 

The cool shit is that Raven is apparently just a prototype. PajamaBoy has since redone the Raven model to be, well, probably the best-looking Raven I’ve ever seen.

Now, I know that on paper, the Raven was never really that good. It got cut a lot of slack for being the first dedicated electronic warfare platform in the Inner Sphere (or should I say the first new EW platform in the Inner Sphere, since y’all remember the Spector), but compared to other scout ‘Mechs, the Raven was slow, poorly armed, and poorly armored, making too many sacrifices in order to stuff all those high-tech gizmos onto a light ‘Mech chassis.

That said, there’s no denying that for most of us the Raven is the first ‘Mech that actually looked sexy. Those smooth lines and pointed beak almost made it appear to belong in a different giant robot franchise entirely. It’s no surprise that the Raven has found its way into pretty much every MechWarrior game since MW2: Mercenaries.

Still no word on when Wave 2 will ship, but here’s hoping it’s soon.

Real-Life Myomer Fibers Anyone?

Yes, we see this headline from time to time because scientists are always trying to find a way to make synthetic muscles. It’s just a mechanism that’d work better for a range of applications than something like micromotors, pneumatic pumps, or simple wheels would. And every time we hear about some research group making a breakthrough, we think that this is finally when myomer muscles will get invented. 

This time might be different. A research group in Italy made a synthetic muscle that’s not only capable of lifting up to 70 times its own weight but also capable of being made on the cheap. 

You can read all about it in the journal Science and Robotics. Researchers from TeCIP Institute’s mechanical engineering program made an “electrostatic bellow muscle (EBM),” which can act as an actuator, a pump, and also as its own generator.

It’s that last bit that’s very interesting since it means that these muscles can convert some of their own mechanical energy back into electricity and store it for use later. 

“The EBM could be promising for robotic systems due to its lightness, scalability, and adaptability to different tasks,” writes the researchers. “The added ability to harvest energy could also be an advantageous feature for autonomous battery-powered robots.”

These muscles don’t quite look like myomer strands (actually it looks more like folded pastrami, if I’m being honest), but that’s fine. They don’t need to look like myomers so long as they act like ‘em. You can see EBM in action over on Inverse

BattleTech Extended Gets Even More Extended In Latest Update

BattleTech Extended, along with RogueTech and BattleTech Advanced, are the three biggest mods out there for BATTLETECH. Where BattleTech Advanced focuses more on additional units and RogueTech turns the game into a roguelike, BattleTech Extended adds a ton of all-new systems to the game, like pilot fatigue, expanded skills, ‘Mech quirks, and even the Clan Invasion.

And now it’s getting even more stuff in update 1.9.2.0. A massive map rework, improvements to the Clan Invasion (now with 100% more Clan Diamond Shark), and over 300 faction and mercenary units have been added to the game, along with a large rework to shops and progression. Look, there’s a ton more added in this update and I don’t want to become a patch notes regurgitator, so go read the full notes over on Nexus Mods or Reddit. It’s a lot, and well worth your time if you’re looking for a new way to experience BATTLETECH.

And that’s it for February! Hopefully next month is warmer, drier, and still lets me get a decent burrito.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For January, 2021

Welcome to 2021! It’s a new year, and that means new beginnings. There’s a new president, there’s a new sense of calm and orderliness that--ah, sorry, I’m being told that only one of those things is true and that we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic that’s killing thousands on the daily. Well, great, off to a good start then.

On the plus side, BattleTech is still here, and it’s still great. Here’s all the news worth knowing for January.

MechCommander Gold: Prometheus Gets Beta Release

MechCommander Xmas Edition

We start off the January news with a piece of news I missed from last December because it came out over Christmas and I was knee-deep in the nog, if you know what I mean. 

RizZen, the guy responsible for the fantastic Darkest Hours expansion of MechCommander Gold, has once again returned with a new expansion: Prometheus. This time he’s straying away from the Inner Sphere and goes fully into Clan Wolf territory with a brand new Wolf-themed expansion. 

What started as a passion project due to COVID-19, RizZen describes Prometheus as the version of MechCommander Gold “I would like to have done in the first place while starting to mod MechCommander wayback 2016.” It will eventually contain an absolutely astonishing 200 missions, but so far the beta release just has 33 of the planned Wolf campaign. It’s also got all eight Darkest Hours campaigns, for a total of 89 missions. 

There’s also new voice packages planned for various new MechWarrriors, although the current beta release only has one of them recorded so far. RizZen also needs to finish the story writing and full briefings for each of the missions, which are planned for future updates.

You can download the whole thing over on ModDB and take a look at the differences between Prometheus and Darkest Hours on this comparison post here. Best of all, there’s no need to have the original game. Just like Darkest Hours, everything is downloadable as a standalone game.

Speaking Of MechCommander, MechCommander Mercenaries Update Delayed Until MechWarrior 5 Spring Release 

Drop Pods MCM

As we’re all aware, PGI has recently been acquired by EG7 and that led to a delay on the release of Heroes of the Inner Sphere, the first major update to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, as well as a delay on the Steam release. On the plus side, MechWarrior 5 is also getting an Xbox Series X version that’ll bring MechWarrior back to consoles for the first time since MechAssault

This means expected editor updates have also been delayed which means work on MechCommander Mercenaries has stalled (that’s the mod that turns MechWarrior 5 into an RTS styled after the classic MechCommander games). 

But not all work has ceased on MechCommander Mercenaries. Redditor yrrot gave us an update a few weeks ago that showed a brand new drop pod model ready for game integration as well as a new repair vehicle that’ll let you do battlefield repairs while your ‘Mechs are on deployment.

Another planned feature is a Mechlab overhaul that adds more MechWarrior 4 elements over what we have in MechWarrior 5. It’ll be “a little more complicated than just MW4‘s mechlab,” writes yrrot, mentioning that they want to deal with certain issues like hardpoint inflation.

Since mods like MercTech And MechWarrior 5: Reloaded are so popular, the MechCommander Mercenaries team wants to release MCM as a standalone mod so that it can play nice with other mods. That might take a while even if PGI releases the editor update on time in the spring. In the meantime, the mod is in a holding pattern until we see Heroes of the Inner Sphere

Catalyst January Products And Clan Invasion Update

IlClan Vol 11

As always, Catalyst Games keeps on rolling out new products. Recognition Guide: ilClan, Volume 11 is here with yet more classic ‘Mech designs that are fully rebuilt with Dark Age tech, allowing you to use Clan Invasion minis all the way up to the ilClan-era. The Battle of Tukayyid anthology is also here with stories from Jason Schmetzer, Michael J. Ciaravella, Randall N. Bills, Blaine Lee Pardoe, and more.

Clan Invasion Kickstarter backers also got their first look at the Marauder II and Marauder IIC, which should be coming out in the second wave of Kickstarter orders. I get a lot of Phoenix redesign aesthetic from the Marauder II, especially in the cockpit and torso-mounted autocannon. The Marauder IIC has a more streamlined, deadly appearance, which totally fits the ‘Mechs amazing firepower thanks to three ER PPCs

Marauder IIC

Speaking of Wave 2, Catalyst should have all the Wave 2 orders squared away by now, so we’re just waiting for the manufacturer to complete the order and get things sent back overseas. By all accounts, I should have my ‘Mechs by the spring, and maybe even sooner [editors’ note: Sean has no idea when Wave 2 will ship and should not be counted on to provide an accurate guesstimate of when eager BattleTech fans will get their minis].

Let’s Pad This Thing With Some Great Art!

I drew a Shadow Hawk fighting a Wolverine inspired by the novellas included in there box sets feel free to use this for anything you want. from battletech

What’s a monthly update without some great art? I spotted this Shadow Hawk battling a Wolverine from Reddit user meltdonw14 and felt that it really captures that classic art style you really don’t get with the redesigns and MechWarrior 5-style art. I can appreciate the classics too sometimes.

How do you like your T-Bolt? Had this already sketched out and decide to finish it. Feel free to use it for anything you want. from battletech

A few days later, meltdonw14 gave us another great image of a more modern-looking Thunderbolt. This one seems to have seen some battle, and I’m very appreciative of the shell craters and laser scars on this ‘Mechs armor. Lovely attention to detail.

MechWarrior Online Delivers January Development Update

MechWarrior Online Dev Vlog Jan 2021
Watch this video on YouTube.

It’s January, and as promised, PGI has given us their preliminary plans for MechWarrior Online. Bombadil and Matt sat down to deliver a January update on the state of the game, noting that MechWarrior Online had some good player counts and sales numbers throughout the holiday season. That’s good news for heading into 2021, with plans for more content and updates coming together.

In the update video, the two describe patches coming in Q1 2021 as being dedicated to “low-hanging fruit.” These are quick, fast, easy changes that will directly improve the quality of life for players and will be delivered in an upcoming patch tentatively planned for February (but no promises there). 

On the docket are lowering or removing unit C-bill membership costs to make it easier to join units for faction play, as well as doubling the reconnection penalty time from two to four minutes. This will punish players that deliberately disconnect from a match before completion.

Also planned for the patch are keeping the match time-of-day static as well as making it so bolt-on cosmetics stay on your ‘Mechs permanently and can’t just be shot off at the beginning of a match. This should hopefully make them a bit more relevant as they typically got destroyed in the first five seconds of fighting, making them mostly irrelevant since nobody could see how badass your ‘Mechs mohawk looked.

The second quarter will see PGI looking at new ‘Mech bundles to give players a better deal on some new toys, fixing Solaris maps in private matches, moving spawn points around, and maybe even adding new ‘Mech variants. 

Q3 will be about new content and features, but neither Matt nor Daeron are even willing to hazard a guess as to what that might look like as of yet. They stress that a lot of resources are being poured into MechWarrior 5‘s coming Steam release and expansions, but they are hiring some dedicated devs to work on MechWarrior Online. If you’re still playing MWO after all this time, you’ve probably already learned how to be patient with this game, and that skill will serve you well. 

Here’s Some Sweet Covers Of The MechWarrior 3 Soundtrack

MechWarrior 3 certainly wasn’t my favorite MechWarrior soundtrack, but maybe Joey Cramsey’s covers will change my mind. He recently posted a few covers of MechWarrior 3‘s main theme to the MechWarrior subreddit, and they’re pretty good! You can check ’em out over on his Bandcamp, and even pay for them if you want.

Hired Steel Is Still Coming

Remember Hired Steel? The MechWarrior machinima is still on its way, with CK providing us an update on his Twitter account

“Please excuse the silence. We at #TMC are working hours every day on Ep1 and pushed through >100 tasks since Christmas,” wrote the 3D artist. “I can’t share much without spoiling too much. I think [this] image is OK though. Bear with us please.”

I feel like we’re very close to a release date, although specifics were never provided. We did get a pretty nice screengrab from a work-in-progress, so hopefully that’ll tide us over for a bit.

Aces Wild To Host To Host Inner Sphere Coalition MechWarrior Online Tournament Starting February 1

ISC Tournament

Even as we await MechWarrior Online‘s February patch, The Inner Sphere Coalition is barreling straight to its third-ever community tournament.

Hosted by Aces Wild, you can head on over to their website to register your team. Exhibition games take place throughout January, with official games scheduled to start on February 1. Teams will be seeded based on their individual members’ Jarls’ List rankings to make sure that initial games aren’t complete blowouts.

Games are 6v6 and as the name suggests are limited to Inner Sphere ‘Mechs and technology only (sorry, Clanners, you’ll have to sit this one out). Each match will include five drops of escalating tonnage so that you’ll get the full range of MechWarrior Online games, from highly mobile light and medium ‘Mech fights to assault and heavy ‘Mech-anchored brawls.

Interestingly, you can only use a particular chassis three times over the course of those five drops, and since matches are 6v6, each team will need a variety of ‘Mechs to compete. 

Winners are awarded 1000 MC per drop win, but the real incentive to compete is to not have to worry about queue times thanks to the scheduled matches. 

Head on over to Aces Wild’s website to sign up and for the full tournament rules.

One More Art Thing That’s Pretty Great

Finished lineart for my custom Rifleman II variant! How’d I do? from battletech

RedCometComight is back with a Rifleman II that is super great and I wanted to share because Gatling guns on a ‘Mech are awesome.

MechWarrior 2 Speedrun Page Now Has An Individual Level Leaderboard

MechWarrior 2: Clan Jade Falcon speedrun in 41:15
Watch this video on YouTube.

MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat is on the Speedrun.com leaderboard and has been for a little over a year, but now it’s got a specific level leaderboard so you can see how quickly people can scoot through any of MechWarrior 2‘s 32 levels.

And some of these times must have been set with folks running around in Fire Moths, ’cause they are FAST. ProxInDaBox is blowing through the Wolf campaign’s “Pyre Light” in a blistering 1 minute and 2 seconds, while jangler throws down the gauntlet on the third mission of the Jade Falcon campaign, “Mirror Cage,” at an eye-watering 43 seconds!

That time was established in jangler’s world record run, which you can watch in the video above. Their ride is not in fact a Fire Moth but is instead either a custom Jenner IIC or a Stormcrow, both equipped with jump jets and making frequent use of a glitch that maintains forward momentum from jump jetting after shutting down.

Since When Did HBS’s BATTLETECH Become An RPG?

Enforcer

I’ll be honest, I sort of put Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH down for a little bit. I certainly think it was great and I put about 100 hours into BATTLETECH, playing through the main campaign twice, but I never did get to experience the three DLC that HBS put out over the course of 2019.

But I’ve decided to dust off BATTLETECH and give it another go. Partially because MechWarrior 5 has been delayed to the spring and I don’t have any other BattleTech video games to play, but mainly because I’ve been watching Tex’s ongoing Let’s Play of Scrombles Slaughter Division on YouTube and it’s given me the itch. 

This time will be different for me, however. I’m not going to play the main campaign, and I’ve embarked on the new “Career” mode that was added in the Flashpoints expansion. This will help me get to the Flashpoints as quickly as possible and allow me to access all the new ‘Mechs that were added with each of the DLC.

I’ve played through a few missions and gotten my little starter merc company a fancy new Javelin-10F and an Enforcer, and then it really hit me--with all the new random events, Flashpoints, and additional mission-types and dialog, BATTLETECH went from being a pretty standard turn-based tactical wargame into a fully-fledged RPG.

I’m digging it, is all I’m saying. I may be late to the party, but y’all should really be playing BATTLETECH if you haven’t already downloaded it. It’s still the best BattleTech game out there. 

That’s it for January! Join me next month for yet more BattleTech action, and check out Sarna’s interview with The Art of BattleTech and Renegade HPG, the two guys who brought the old BattleTech animated series back from the dead.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy. 

stay syrupy

October News 2020 – Supplemental

Urbex

courtesy of EldoniousRex

I knew there’d be more news before October was done, and I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s all you need to know before November hits and our COVID quarantine turns into shelter in place due to armed insurrections. 

I’m kidding. I hope. Anyway, on with the news!

Michael Stackpole Interview On Renegade HPG

Michael Stackpole Talks BattleTech
Watch this video on YouTube.

First up, a rare interview with Michael Stackpole courtesy of Renegade HPG! Travis is really making headway amongst BattleTech’s old guard, and it doesn’t get much more prestigious than Stackpole. He wrote the Blood Of Kerensky Trilogy, The Warrior TrilogyHeir Apparent, and most recently the Kell Hounds Ascendant Trilogy. He’s had a hand in building some of the biggest characters that BattleTech has ever seen, and he talks about that and much more in the interview with Renegade HPG.

Perhaps more interesting is his advice for potential novelists. He goes over how he got into BattleTech and how you too could do the same, plus become a famous freelance novelist for some of the biggest franchises in science-fiction and fantasy.

Mobile BattleTech Phone App Under Development

Here’s an interesting little development. Someone’s making a BattleTech app. Not just a mobile repository of ‘Mech information, not just a handy way to look up the rules, but an all-in-one app that lets you play a virtual game of BattleTech on your phone.

It’s from Maik Rehorst, who goes by TheDeathCrepeer on Reddit. They’re using a mobile app prototyping site called MarvelApp to get an idea of what the final product will look like and let BattleTech fans like you and me futz around. It has a ‘Mech database similar to Mech Factory (which is a great resource I encourage you all to download), but it goes beyond by adding voice chat, virtual dice rolls, and a virtual game board.

It’s important to note that this is just a prototype currently. It’s mostly a series of connected menus that provide structure but aren’t really all that functional. The ‘Mech database page goes to an image of the BattleMaster, but notes indicate that the plan is to automatically grab the relevant Sarna.net article in the finished product.

A recently concluded survey hopefully provided helpful feedback to make this idea into a reality. 

RogueTech Got A Massive Update That Lets You Salvage Tanks

RogueTech, the total conversion mod that changes Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH into a roguelite, just got a massive update.

It’s called Operation Treadnaught, mostly because the big feature here is tanks. You can now salvage and deploy tanks in your company, which brings you up to 12 units (8 ‘Mechs, 4 tanks). Those tanks have all been retrofitted inline with classic BattleTech rules, so expect a few differences when you’re both fighting with and against armored vehicles.

To check out both your ‘Mechs and vehicles, there’s a new toggle that lets you switch between the ‘Mechbay and Vehicle Bay. 

Although tanks are nice, they’re hardly all that’s new in Operation Treadnaught. The entire skill system has been overhauled along with the pilot background system. You can choose between two abilities at levels 5 and 8, with level 8 skills being so powerful they have an active cooldown. 

There’s also a complete shop overhaul where your reputation with local factions will get you access to better stuff. Commander quirks, improved melee attacks, and a host of performance improvements round out Operation Treadnaught’s offerings. Get the latest version over on Nexus Mods.

Everyone Is Getting Their Clan Invasion Kickstarter Packages Except Me

Battletech Clan Invasion Unboxing
Watch this video on YouTube.

I’m not really mad or anything--I live in Canada, the mail isn’t particularly fast, and I frankly don’t have time to paint a bunch of minis anyways. I plan on pawning that job off to my brother over the Christmas break. But I do want it, especially since there’s so many people posting their unboxing videos online over the past few weeks. 

I’m sure I’ll get it in the next few days. Or something. Maybe I should call Fed-Ex… 

And that’s it! I don’t expect a lot of news to arrive in November, but December is already shaping up to be another big month for BattleTech. Let’s all hope we survive that long.

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 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