BattleCorps was a subscription-based website featuring new, original BattleTech fiction, game scenarios and "news" stories that add flavor to the fictional universe (including new units or variants), as well as out-of-universe product previews, news and other downloads. In this fashion, it was essentially a subscription-based online magazine. Its content is fully canonical for the BattleTech universe, except for certain individual pieces of fiction such as April Fools jokes.
Starting with The Corps in 2008, BattleCorps published a line of print anthologies typically containing a selection of BattleCorps short stories that were published within a given year. (See also: List of BattleTech novels#BattleCorps print anthologies)
The last story published via BattleCorps (so far) was Permanent Losses, published on 4 December 2016. The BattleCorps site remained in place until the BattleTech web presence moved to another server between 27 June and 11 July 2017, and has been offline since. There was no official announcement regarding its closing.
BattleCorps was owned and run by InMediaRes Productions LLC, the parent company of Catalyst Game Labs. InMediaRes was founded in 2003 by Loren and Heather Coleman with the expressed purpose of licensing the right to publish new BattleTech fiction to the Internet from WizKids. WizKids granted this license to IMR in the fall of 2003, which directly led to the creation of BattleCorps in August 2004.
BattleCorps provided most of its content in the form of PDF files for download. Individual special stories or other pieces of fiction aside, these files have a largely uniform layout. Until October 2012 they used to have a sidebar on the left, usually displaying the protagonist's House or unit crest; sometimes, artwork is also included. An alternate printer-friendly file was usually provided that is reduced to black-and-white text. This format had roughly 350 words per (full) page of text.
With the publication of the first part of The Eagle's Plunge on 04 October 2012, the layout was changed for new publications, including ongoing serials (namely, The Nellus Academy Incident). The new format resembled the layout of BattleTech fiction in print in the various contemporary rulebooks and sourcebooks and features a full-color frame and appropriate BattleTech era logo, and double-column print. This new format had approximately twice the word count per page.
Subscribers automatically got access to all new files released for the duration of their subscription, including those from a previous subscription if an inactive account was reactivated. This included the Blitzkrieg publications which were ported to BattleCorps (in PDF format) for subscribers shortly after publication.
The website also featured a forum for subscribers where authors could comment on and discuss their stories with users. This forum was a separate forum from the official BattleTech Forum, and only BattleCorps subscribers could post there. Overshadowed by the heavily-used official forum, the BattleCorps forum was largely inactive after a few years, and generally only used for BattleCorps-specific threads and little else.
Many BattleCorps subscribers partook in the BattleCorps Regiment, a group that posts pictures of painted miniatures and roleplays through the forum. This group was since canonized as a mercenary unit, The Battle Corps. (It should not be confused with the Chaos Irregulars, another mercenary unit that was written into canon through BattleCorps with input from the subscribers.)
InMediaRes maintained an online store known as the BattleShop as part of the BattleCorps website. It was not required to be a BattleCorps subscriber to buy from BattleShop, but BattleCorps subscribers automatically received a flat 5% discount and some products; new or returning BattleCorps members could also purchase BattleCorps publications that were published at a time when they were not subscribing but back fiction was only available to members with a current subscription however.
Besides selling current BattleTech and Shadowrun products, both print and PDF and some of them BattleCorps-exclusive, BattleShop carried numerous out-of-print products in the form of searchable PDF files generated from scans of the books. For legal reasons, unseen artwork was removed from the PDF files, in some cases including the product cover.
A number of free PDF products including game aids such as counters, and various April Fools publications were published through the BattleShop (and not through the regular BattleCorps subscription downloads).
As of 29 November 2016 the BattleShop was switched over to the online Catalyst Game Labs Store.
Besides the fiction service, the BattleCorps site maintained a news page called Interstellar News Network (INN). The news section header read "News from the frontlines".
The overview with the individual messages' headers and "want to know more?" links was freely accessible even to non-subscribers, but most (although not all) newscasts were truncated when an unregistered user attempted to open them, with an invitation to join BattleCorps and purchase a subscription.
The news section was divided into six different "channels", with one of six channel logos attached to each news article accordingly, but the distinction was rather blurred. With the exception of the MilSpecs, all channels contained a mixture of in-universe and out-of-universe news covering a broad range of topics.
The General channel, as the name implies, covered a broad range of topics both in-universe (politics, accidents and natural disasters, etc.) and out-of-universe (sourcebook previews, interviews, real-world articles loosely related to BattleTech or science fiction in general, and administrative issues of BattleCorps).
- see also: List of General INN articles
The MilSpec channel, also often referred to as the MilSpecs, introduced new variants of existing 'Mechs and vehicles, and providing fluff text for variants that had previously only existed as an official record sheet without context. The MilSpec article section providing actual game stats was restricted to BattleCorps subscribers, and not freely accessible.
- see also: List of MilSpecs articles
Arts and Leisure
The Arts and Leisure channel contained a mix of in-universe and out-of-universe news.
The former category presented reviews of in-universe books, and in-universe "Art and Leisure" news attributed to in-universe news services such as Stellar Pulse Today, Savannah Guardian and Entertainment Daily.
The latter category was similar to the out-of-universe articles on the General channel, including transcripts of chats between BattleCorps staff/authors and members, both in their own capacity and in non-canonical "character chats" role playing as BattleTech characters.
- see also: List of Arts and Leisure articles
The ScandalVids channel's content was similar to the in-character content under Arts and Leisure, but presented in a yellow-press fashion that renders much of the information doubtful from an in-universe viewpoint, in the fashion of Canon Rumors.
- see also: List of ScandalVids articles
Solaris Broadcasting Co.
Up until 3 June 2005, news on the Solaris Broadcasting Co. channel were concerned exclusively with out-of-universe issues, including administrative issues and the "TRO Refresher" series where subscribers could submit unique variants of given 'Mech designs for consideration for official publication.
Isle of the Blessed
Starting on 9 July 2006, altogether 13 entries on the Isle of the Blessed channel gave the personal logs of people involved in the fighting for New Avalon during the Jihad: Precentor Geoffrey Zucker, Corean Enterprises test pilot Robert Doucette, and an unnamed Word of Blake MechWarrior with the 44th Shadow Division. This was a tie-in to the eponymous serialized novel published via BattleCorps. The channel was abandoned after the storyline had wrapped up.
- see also: List of Isle of the Blessed articles
The site had a download section with arts and previews (separate from the actual fiction downloads). Like the news section, it is fully accessible to active subscribers, i.e. irrespective of whether or not a news item or downloadable artwork was published during their subscription.
Several stories were available for free download to non-subscribers as a teaser. These include:
- Forgotten Worlds (Prologue and Part I of The Hunt for Jardine), by Herbert A. Beas II
- The Heart of Dixie, by Blaine Pardoe
- The Last Full Measure, by Kevin Killiany
- Of War and Peace and Cherry Trees, by Steven Mohan Jr.
- En Passant, by Phaedra M. Weldon
- Art of the Deal, by Loren L. Coleman
There was also a BattleCorps Fiction Sampler provided for free download from the main BattleTech website including three of the aforementioned teaser stories, as well as two others and the first chapter of a third.
- InMediaRes Productions, LLC and WizKids, Inc in talks for rights to publish Classic BattleTech fiction
- According to the BattleCorps website itself, at http://www.battlecorps.com/BC2/static.php?page=6 BattleCorps; site is now defunct
- BattleCorps website (defunct):
- BattleCorps subsection of the official BattleTech forum (archived)
- Unofficial list of BattleCorps publications, .XLS document (archived) Last entry dated 2014/06/29.