About two years ago I reviewed a bunch of sci-fi themed mobile games that I thought might appeal to the discerning BattleTech fan. Among them was a neat little turn-based sandbox-style strategy game called Templar Assault that reminded me of a grid-based MegaMek if it were dropped into the Warhammer 40K universe. The pay version of the game included an ungodly number of missions and campaigns (100 levels at last count) where you could fight an array of aliens, robots, and other humans. Fighting in Leviathan Battlesuits- essentially Wanzer or Gear-size mecha sporting an array of autocannon, flamers, sword and axes, the Templar is an extremely efficient death machine. But not unstoppable. There is cursing aplenty as you start to lose your troops- a reason for a six-tier difficulty rating.
It was only the Trese Brothers‘ second game, and since then they’ve learned quite a bit about their craft and the business of making games. Templar Battleforce is now out for Steam, and soon for Android and IOS- their old stomping grounds. I also managed to get a few questions answered from the team- Cory, Andrew, and Martin Trese.
[Ron] Thanks for taking some time out of your schedule. By your standards, Templar Assault is a very dated game now. What has changed in the years since?
[Andrew] Templar Assault is coming up on its fourth anniversary. It has been one of our most loved games. In between, we’ve made 4 other games and gone through 2 KickStarters and a major game engine update. Everything is new, and you’ll see that front and center in the tactical game play of Templar Battleforce, rich soundscape and visceral combat.
It was over a month ago that I wrote about a Warhawk ‘mech cosplay; I mentioned that the BattleTech themed projects I’ve seen online have been almost universally reverse-join clan designs entered in competitions. These have been more puppets than outfits, really; with the operator’s black-clad legs sticking out the back and between those of the ‘mech.
But in this My Modern Met article, a BattleTech fan has not only put together an inner sphere assault ‘Mech, but it’s a proper suit since the Sunder is a nice, slat-sided humanoid design with limbs bulky enough to accommodate both himself and his infant son Geraint- who seems more than happy to pilot the BattleMech powered by his dad, Ryan.
The article also explains that the torso and arms attach by velcro around Ryan and Geraint- who sits in a baby harness strapped to dad’s chest. The legs attach to a belt around the waist, so it doesn’t take long to don the Sunder suit.
Some of you might have seen this thread on the official forums where user Ion Raptor has been working on a mobile 1/5th scale replica of a Ghost Bear Warhawk prime. I asked him what gave him the idea for this. He answered:
“The idea was from a sad lack of BattleTech costumes besides the occasional pilot cooling suit. The MW4 Warhawk itself was chosen because of its blocky and imposing design. The prime variant was a product of finding shipping tubes the perfect size for PPCs. The Ghost Bear scheme came from the pilot figure I bought, which was a Max Steel toy that happened to have grey and blue shorts on. If I ever do one again it will either be much smaller or through commission so that logistics are someone else’s problem.”
The Invasion of Rasalhague reenacted at Gencon 2014
Even though it was decades ago, I’ll never forget the Saturday morning where I became forevermore helplessly, HOPELESSLY addicted to large military robots. I have since developed a bit of ‘flowery’ disdain for the bastard chimera that is the Robotech saga, but I am at least nostalgic that it was the vehicle with which I first was introduced to Supredimensional Fortress Macross.
It was 1985. I was eight years old, and until then Saturday morning cartoons consisted mainly of an assortment of Hasbro toy advertisements and video game tie-ins. Anime was and would continue to be very sparse (though much of it was animated in Japanese studios). Transformers (of the aforementioned Hasbro adverts) had a very strong effect on me for getting turned on to big stompy bots.
And then Robotech showed up; which took the transformable robot thing and showed that “hey- people can drive these things dammit!”. The VF-1 Valkyrie in all its flavors (which became the Wasp, Stinger,Phoenix Hawk and their LAM equivalents), was NOT a nae indestructible machine like the Transformers were (until half of them got spawn-fragged in the animated movie the following year). They, at least the tan-colored ones popped like zits throughout the show. But they had it easy compared to the thrashings the poor Destroids received.
Three variant Valkyrie variable fighters; originally used as the Wasp, Stinger, and Phoenix Hawk ‘mechs.
One of the most important ways we have of connecting with the BattleTech universe is with art. A picture really does tell a thousand words when dealing with a universe as far off as the one we adore. A key artist in bringing the universe alive was Doug Chaffee. Over the years, he painted many pieces that adorned the covers of novels, books, as well as numerous pieces in the CCG line.
Unfortunately, late April was the two year anniversary of Doug’s passing. It left us all poorer. There are some wonderful stories about how nice he was to fans at conventions. But, he left an important legacy for us. His style and composition contributed to the gritty universe. You can find some of Doug’s work at his studio.
Doug created over 70 of pieces of BattleTech art, plus line drawings in several books. His family has been selling the original art of his work, and they still have some of his BattleTech paintings. The gives the community Doug enriched an opportunity to have some of his art. Let’s look at some of his paintings, and at the end, we’ll discuss where one can go to get pricing information and pick up some art.
All of the art we’ll be looking at is listed for sale, along with prices, on a document passed along to us by Melba Chaffee. While many of his BattleTech pieces were picked up by others, most of these should still be available. Continue reading →
I recently had the opportunity to interview Andrew Scroggins, a digital artist contracted by Catalyst Game Labs. Among a LOT of commission work, he’s also done the covers for some of the Experimental Technical Readouts, including the cover to TRO 3145: mercenaries.
Ron: What kind of art education do you have? Did you begin drawing tanks and planes as a kid?
AS:I went to the Art institute of Portland for 2 years studying animation, but in that time I figured out that animation itself wasn’t what I wanted to do. I could have transitioned over to game design but I was reluctant to leave behind my interest in drawing and painting, so after taking a few more interesting classes I left school and self studied.