MechForce (Video Game)
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It's based on FASA Level 1 set and consists of:
1) MechForce (the virtual tabletop game itself)
2) Factory (to create, modify and repair 'Mechs) (not provided in the shareware version)
3) Map Editor (to create/modify custom maps)
4) CombatOrders (to create/modify scenarios and missions)
5) ConfigEd (a simple front-end to the installation settings)
6) Warrior (to create, modify and repair Units/Warriors)
It is pretty close to the original FASA rules published up to 1986 (Standard Engine, no Ferro-fibrous, no Endo Steel, no ER weapons, no Gauss, single heat sinks only) and is in most points canon. It is only capable of using BattleMechs (no AeroTech, SpaceTech, CityTech, ProtoTech, Vehicles, Armor...). Gameplay could be saved (a save penalty is used for each save) and difficulty (easy, normal, heavy, suicidal) could be chosen on each mission. Character and group development is nearly unlimited (tested: 450.000 XPs reached and 1.800 games played). Each Mission is limited by the (RAM amount each) opponents by the RAM of the Amiga, so in the 1988 version (V3.6x) it was advised not to start with more than 7 'Mechs in one game (with 2MB Chip RAM 10 'Mechs in two units works flawlessly).
The latest version is V3.77 from late 1990 and runs perfectly on UAE V3.x(+) on an emulated A500 (1MB) with two floppy drives (app+mechs) and AmigaOS V1.2 or higher.
V4.0+ was already the successor MechCombat.
Its ability to modify standard 'Mechs in a lot of ways and the mission editor makes it ideal for prolonged service. With a limited factory stock (e.g. limited ammo, replacement parts, ....) a real tabletop campaign could be played.
-The AI engine is limited on some cases (jump capable 'Mechs always jump when possible, all 'Mechs try to rush to your place even fire support or long range 'Mechs, sometimes 'Mechs concentrate on one spot when it'd not see/find the opponent). On the other hand, the AI takes advantage of concentrating fire on one opponent, apply modifiers when chance is too low. Tries to reach some points at the same time so that not a single one is especially exposed.
-The factory is on some points not canon (e.g. allows a 4,9ton overweight and no limit to how much armor you apply to each spot (the standard double of the internal structure is not used), so you could create unique designs. A 'Mech is limited to ten weapons as well.
-no real campaign editor to knit more missions into one row.
-Technicians gains very low XPs so it took very long (~20*) to reach veteran or better
-Superhuman Warriors (Attribute level 12 with role modifiers -2) are possible on both sides
-A very rare AI function (for most games) gives the possibility for AI opponents to 'flee from combat':
a) too fast hit ratio on himself b) early critical hits (head, leg) c) most of the opponent force is disabled d) mission goal is no longer accomplishable Exactly this function makes some missions very hard to fulfil!
Difficulty: This is a simple multiplier to your tonnage, while the level of the opponents are not influenced by the multiplier, with skills varying wildly.
'Mechs: The shareware version only contained about 40 'Mechs separated into light/medium/heavy/assault classes and contained the most known "Succession Wars" 2780 'Mechs.
The licensed version came with about 150 'Mechs including the 'Unseen Ones' and a few Clan 'Mechs with Level 1 tech.
You could set up in each of the four folders up to 245 'Mechs from which the AI draws the opponents pool.
Gameplay: -creation of warriors to do single plays (no Repair/Modifyshop is then available but full repair); a unit is the next step if you want to have control over stock, modify and enhance your unit to play with + choose 'Mech from selection; with a unit or with enough C-Bills you can sell the old one, salvage it with a unit selection and buy a new one.
-choose between Arena, simulator, roving and mission mode + difficulty level + different units
-accept (or restart) the random generated map (21*29 Hexes)
-choose warrior/unit to play with and last trimming which input control (Joystick, Keyboard, Mouse, Computer=AI)
-play turn based and lose/win
-Factory=> repair your damage, restock ammo; if money/spare parts are out=> modify or go damaged into the new round
-Warrior=> change available XPs to character points and upgrade skills
Plugins+AddOns: In the following years up to 1997 there has been a steady fanbased community who developed tools to
a) change a technician to warrior and vice versa
b) do the manual repair for the whole company in one go
c) make expensive (and not-canon) upgrades and allow campaigns, safe modified standard 'Mech models
d) import of other 'Mech designs/missions/maps (most expanded version is from Joona Palaste)
The four plugins (partly shareware itself) commonly known are called tec2war, HQ, MechForceHQ and Headquarter.
<V3.60 BattleForce Versions starting from ~1986
V3.60 First Public version branded MechForce 03_1988
V3.65 Bug cleaned version=Licensed 07_1988
V3.70 Bug cleaned version=Licensed 10_1988; starting from 3.72 the status of the 'Mech/Warrior was visible (different colors) when browsing, so damaged/wounded objects could visibly be found when selecting in combat or factory menu
V3.76 addons in pulldown menu while gameplay+small corrections in warrior program+Bug cleaned version, early 1989
V3.77 Bug cleaned version, 06_1989
V4.00 Renamed to MechCombat and integrated Clan Tech (BT Level 2), same AI and only canon 'Mechs. Factory was completely reworked and partly could build fortresses, tanks, vehicles, skimmers, ..., The Combat module was partly reworked and allowed bigger maps (but no non-'Mech gear); Warrior module was expanded to Clan level ~1993
The V3.60 used fuel based jump jets for 'Mechs, which was at that time already obsolete by FASA regulation. In 3.65 it was already changed to the standard.
The Factory allows you to create any engine for the 'Mechs (e.g. a Pitban 195 engine). It's based on seconds/per move, which seems a very old formula used by the FASA team in the beginning until standard engine ratings took over.
Before it was named MechForce, Mr. Reed called it BattleForce and published Versions prior to V3.6
The successor is called MechCombat and starts with V4.x, while same in style, naming, gameplay and GUI it integrated Clan elements and enlarged the board.
Get the game going on today computers
-Obviously WinUAE for Windows or PUAE for Linux or Basilisk II for Mac as base emulator
-A fitting KickstartROM (License!); I'd advise a V2.0 or higher, but the 1.2 works as well
-Set it to an OCS Emulated A500+ or A2000 or A3000/4000 setting with pref. 512kB–1MB ChipRAM (2MB is somehow buggy for whatever reason) and 2MB FastRAM; PAL Emulation (=higher Resolution compared to NTSC), two Floppy Drives with DD or one with HD (ROM V2.x+ needed); I'll keep the two disk version at it's the most common.
DF0: min. Workbench + all the executables (it's explained in the readme in the lha/zip file) in the root folder DF1: the 'Mechs + unit files in according subfolders
-A fitting Workbench starting with V1.2 (again 2.0 and higher is advised as a lot of bugs were cleaned out) (License!)
-the download of the Application+Mechs from the section below
For Windows it might come handy to use the set AmigaForever from Cloanto, which comes with ready emulations and ROMs and Workbenches on a licensed basis.
The ConfigEd program is needed top set the paths of the app/folder of each setting (where are the 'Mechs, where am I allowed to save, where are the units, ...) and is the first thing to do.
a DF0: might look like mine:
Folders: c devs fonts Games Images Is L libs Modules Prefs s Snd Sounds Src T Temp
Files: AffilNames _maps&orders.lha _mechforce.lha _std_mechs.lha .backdrop BattleManual BattleManual.info Config_update.BAK ConfigEd ConfigEd_Doc ConfigEd_Doc.info ConfigEd.info ConvertFame ConvertFame.info DirectoryOpus DirectoryOpus.info Disk.info Factory Factory_Doc Factory_Doc.info Factory.info HeadQuarters HeadQuarters.info Docs.info File_ID.DIZ Fonts.info Games.info Headquarters Headquarters.info Icons.info Images.info Install Install.info Libs.info Maps.info MechForce MechForce.cfg MechForce.info Mechs.info Modules.info Orders.info ReadMe ReadMe.info Sounds.info Units.info Warriors.info "
while a DF1: contains only folders:
" Docs Maps Mechs Offers Orders Units Warriors "
Downloads on Sarna
In 2020 Sam van Ratt reworked all available and collected Missions (called 'Orders' and 'Maps') so they work again as most missions were missing the according map/surroundings. As on the init screen you could choose side A oder B the collected 157 missions accounts to 314 different mission setups in various map setups (mostly random or created by user init). The text setup was mostly left as they fit the mission, but sometimes adopted to a different plot [Succession Wars, CLAN invasion, Jihad, Dark Age, Fun Setup]. Specific rank, planets and persons were integrated or corrected to fit the canon timeline.
And this download with live screenshots of the orders (so anyone could read the mission objectives) and the according (genereated) map: