Studio MekTek, Inc

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MekPak redirects here.
The MekTek logo

Overview[edit]

MekTek.net is an online community founded by Vince "VAM" McMullin in 1999 to provide free downloadable content and tools, developed in-house, for the Mechwarrior series of video games. From this fan community for the MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries computer game in particular the Canada-based Studio MekTek, Inc games development studio formed in 2006.

In 2009 it was announced that the MekTek team would be distributing MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries for free via their site, presumably to celebrate BattleTech's 25th anniversary. The rights were finally cleared by Microsoft in April of 2010 and the game was made available for free download.[1]

In 2013 the MekTek web site was shut down and the free distribution of MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries ceased. Currently, neither the full game nor the MekTek mod can legally be downloaded for free from the site. Subsequently, the MekTek team started development on a new robot-centered game called Heavy Gear Assault.

As of 2020, MekTek has seen something of a revival and the team is rumored to have resumed work on MekPak 4.

MekPaks[edit]

Besides offering the free MW4: Mercenaries download, MekTek is best known for producing the (unofficial; see Canonicity below) MekPaks, a series of mods and expansions for MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. The MekPaks improved on the gameplay, especially multiplayer, and increased the number of playable units to over 120, adding new BattleMechs, battle armor types, infantry types, as well as new maps and new weapons. This included numerous entirely fan-made designs, some of which inspired later additions to BattleTech canon (see below).

Reportedly, "two personal disasters", apparently including one lead programmer suffering a stroke and a house fire, contributed to the development team falling apart during the development of Mekpak 4.

MekPak 1[edit]

The first MekPak added eight canon 'Mechs to the game (Avatar, Blood Asp, Marauder, Stalker, Strider, UrbanMech, UrbanMech IIC, Warhammer) and one custom (non-canon) design:

Ares[edit]

Not to be confused with the (canonical) superheavy Ares tripodal BattleMech, the Ares invented for MekPak 1 is a 60-ton OmniMech with 11 tons of Ferro-Fibrous Armor, a stated ground speed of 115 kph, and jump jets. Designed to win trials as well as battles, it excels at duels. Boasting a brace of lasers as its main armament, including a Heavy Large Laser, Heavy Medium Laser, and Medium Pulse Laser, the Ares packs a powerful punch up close. For additional damage, an ATM 12 launcher has been installed. Typically, standard missiles are used. Finally, for dealing with infantry and for additional firepower at point blank, a pair of Small Pulse Lasers and four Light Machine Guns are installed (in what appears to be the Prime configuration).

The prototype was captured from Clan Jade Falcon by Clan Nova Cat in a Trial of Possession, leading to the Nova Cats building it at their main factory on Irece. In Nova Cat service, the 'Mech is known as the Lion.

MekPak 2[edit]

The second MekPak added fourteen canon 'Mechs to the game (Annihilator, Black Lanner, Brigand, Canis, Commando, Cyclops, Fire Moth, Gargoyle, Grim Reaper, Grizzly, Hollander II, Nova, Rifleman, Solitaire) and five custom (non-canon) designs:

Argus XT[edit]

The 65-ton Argus XT is a BattleMech with a stated ground speed of 96.98 kp/h, armed with a LB-20X AC, an Ultra AC/5, 2 Medium Lasers and 2 Small Lasers. (Not to be confused with the 60-ton Argus.) The AGS-5XMT variant from MekPak 2 adds 5 tons to the chassis and removes the missile rack in favor of more energy weapons. The primary weapon is a Gauss Rifle in the right arm, with two ER Large Lasers, one in each side torso for extra striking power at range. The left arm, which previously held missiles, houses two Medium Pulse Lasers to give this variant some hitting power against infantry and any short range combat.

The 5XMT version of the Argus came from the variant in MekPak 2.1a, as well as the NBT Hardcore mod for the MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries game.

Deimos[edit]

Similar to the later canonical version of the Deimos, the original MekTek version had the same weapon layout with the exception of a Laser Anti-Missile System replacing the AMS. The 'Mech has 15.5 tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor and is built on a standard chassis. Its engine has been changed to a 350 XL which gives the 'Mech a top speed of 70.01 kph; in addition, the MASC has been removed. Lastly, the chassis allows for the installation of an Active Probe.

Gesu[edit]

The Gesu is a 45-ton Clan Diamond Shark design most often used as a command and fire support unit for light Stars. Its high top speed of 90 kph allows it to keep pace with its Star-mates and makes it perfect for hit and run tactics. While the stock configuration lacks jump jets, its speed and 360 degree torso twist allow the Gesu to outmaneuver and outrun while keeping its weapon bearing on its opponents.

Stock weaponry is geared for fire support featuring two Clan ER Large Lasers, one in each side torso, coupled with two Clan LRM-15s in shoulder-mounted racks. The arms each mount a Clan Heavy Machine Gun for dealing with infantry and light vehicles. While no variants of note have been observed, the Gesu is noted as being able to equip several electronic packages, including a Beagle Active Probe, a Laser Anti-Missile System, Enhanced Optics, and Advanced Gyro. The weapons hardpoints in the torsos are designed to receive 'direct-fire' weapons only, limiting these slots to most (but not all) laser and ballistic weapons.

Gesu Gesu In-game In-game Description
GesuL.jpg Gesu.jpg A mech recently developed by Clan Diamond Shark for export. This 45 ton mech can carry a moderate mix of weapons at high speed for hit and run attacks. Average electronics loadout can be carried.

Thanatos XT[edit]

The 75-ton Thanatos XT is not so much a variant of the (canonical) Thanatos chassis as a major redesign. The -5XMT variant replaces the MRM-20 launcher with the same lasers located on the 'Mech's left arm. Ballistics can also be mounted on this arm.

Warthog[edit]

The Warthog is an old 95-ton assault 'Mech design rediscovered and put back into production by Clan Star Adder, featuring 37 tons of pod space. It is a short but broad-shouldered design with a stylized cockpit similar to that of an Atlas or Pillager.

The primary configuration of the Warthog packs 2 LB 20-X Autocannons and 4 Heavy Medium Lasers for close combat. In addition, it carries two ATM-6 launchers, allowing the flexibility to strike at range or enhance its already potent close range firepower, and is also equipped with a Laser Anti-Missile System and an ECM Suite.

MekPak 3[edit]

The third MekPak released as the free, stand-alone version of MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries mentioned above (including MekTek's previous modifications), and added another two 'Mechs (Battle Cobra and Linebacker) as development progressed. There were plans to include several more 'Mechs, but development began to slow and eventually ended completely towards the end of 2012. The goal of this development was to transition to a final MekPak 4, featuring not only more new 'Mechs, but also a large array of new equipment and many more options and enhancements. Some of the planned features for MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries that were released before development halted include Advanced Radar and Artillery Range Indicator.

Players got the option to play as Inner Sphere or Clan infantry with a single ballistic, energy, or missile hardpoint. Beyond a number of battlearmor designs (Elemental, Gnome, Golem, Gray Death Standard, Infiltrator Mk. I, Inner Sphere Standard, Kanazuchi, Longinus, Salamander) and additional canon 'Mechs (Archer, Battle Cobra, Battlemaster, Blackjack II, Bowman, Catapult-K2, Centurion, Crab, Duan Gung, Hunchback IIC, Ice Ferret, Jenner IIC, Koto, Linebacker, Locust IIC, Marauder II, Orion IIC, Panther, Rabid Coyote, Razorback, Shadow Hawk, Stone Rhino, Supernova, Thug, Trebuchet, Ursus, Wasp, Yeoman), MekPak 3 added twelve custom designs:

Assassin II[edit]

The 45-ton Assassin II is the result of a Federated Suns specification calling for a "quick strike harasser unit". The Maltex Corporation proposed a major redesign of their older Assassin chassis. The resulting BattleMech exceeded all expectations and has started to see use as a counter to the stealth technology employed by the Capellan Confederation. It is armed with 4 Medium Pulse Lasers, 1 LRM-10 with Artemis IV, and features a Laser Anti-Missile System.

BattleMaster IIC[edit]

Black Heart[edit]

Some BattleMech designs earn a place in history because they are the chariots of heroes. Some, like the Black Heart, because they are the chariots of monsters like the Word of Blake's elite Manei Domini. The 70-ton Black Heart carries a pair of Light Gauss Rifles for long range attacks, supported by a pair of Medium Lasers and several sets of SRMs for short range attacks; two SRM-4s and one SRM-6. It also sports a Guardian ECM Suite and Laser Anti-Missile System.

Pitbull[edit]

The Pitbull was an experimental design first introduced by Clan Jade Falcon in 3065. The Pitbull is a jump-capable 'Mech incorporating a variety of ballistic and energy weapons to keep it effective at any range, though it is slow for its weight, only able to reach about 62 kph. Its armor is average at twelve tons, and it has the capability to upgrade to an Advanced Gyro or Advanced Optics. The weapons suite comprises of a pair of Light PPCs, an LB 20-X Autocannon, two Heavy Medium Lasers and two Heavy Machine Guns, with seventeen Double Heat Sinks.

Privateer[edit]

Manufactured by Vengeance Incorporated at the same facility as the Brigand light BattleMech, the 55-ton Privateer is a much less complex piece of equipment, so much so that it has been said to look like an armed WorkMech.

Reaver[edit]

The Reaver is a fast 40-ton BattleMech designed and built by Clan Star Adder as a lighter companion to their Wildcat 'Mech. The Reaver lacks the electronics normally used on medium weight 'Mechs, but nine and a half tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor let the Reaver take a good amount of damage before being forced to retreat. A Clan Heavy Large Laser mounted in each arm and a Heavy Small Laser in both side torsos give the Reaver a fair medium and close range punch. Pilots must be careful to make their shots count, as even with six additional heat sinks the Reaver is unable to cope with sustained firing.

Stone Rhino (Behemoth) II[edit]

Talos[edit]

In 3062, the Free Worlds League set out to experiment with a radical new 'Mech design built around the newly-developed Rotary Autocannon. The project, dubbed TLS-1 Talos, gained its moniker from the legendary Greek "Man of Bronze" of the same name. Resembling an overgrown Uziel, the 80-ton Talos is built on a Standard frame with seventeen and a half tons of Strasbourg Armaments' new Reactive Armor, giving the 'Mech incredible protection against ballistics- or missile-heavy opposition. A Pitban 320 XL propels the Talos to 64.8 km/h, average for its weight. The Talos is not initially configured for jump jets, but has the necessary components for after-market installation.

Ironically, while this 'Mech was designed to be a never-before-seen threat on the battlefield, its production came after that of a Clan BattleMech with very similar features and design aim, the Deimos.

Tenchi[edit]

Not to be confused with the (canonical) assault OmniMech named Tenshi, the fan-made MekTek Tenchi was named in memory a MekTek developer who passed away in 2010.

The 65-ton Tenchi (named after one of the 'Mech's development staff, meaning Sky and Ground in Japanese) was the Draconis Combine's answer to the Free Worlds League's Talos, built at Luthien Armor Works - OmniMech Production Facility. A a heavy fast-attack OmniMech design, the Tenchi has a unique appearance, resembling the front half of an attack helicopter mounted upon reverse-joint legs. It was designed first and foremost as a DCMS Rotary Autocannon vehicle, and as such the 'Mech carries a pair of Myrdon Model RC Rotary AC/2s, each with an additional ton of ammo, allowing for long-range barrages as the 'Mech closes in on its target. These cannons are accompanied by four Argra 3L Medium Lasers for close-range punch, and two Sperry-Browning Machine Gun clusters to handle infantry. A Guardian ECM Suite minimizes the chances the Tenchi will be detected early as it begins its attacks.

Built upon an Alshain 72 Standard frame and powered by a reliable Vlar 300 engine, the Tenchi is capable of a top speed just over 85 km/h and is protected by nineteen tons of StarSlab/S (Special) Reactive Armor. Pilots must take special care not to expose the Tenchi's rear to enemies, as that section of the 'Mech is much weaker, even compared to other 'Mechs. Finally, a set of Icarus jump jets allows the Tenchi to leap just short of 130 meters.

Vulture II[edit]

Not to be confused with the (canonical) Vulture Mk II that is functionally indistinguishable from the standard 60-ton Mad Dog (Vulture), MekTek's 75-ton Mad Dog/Vulture II is a redesign that had its mass increased by 15 tons and an additional dorsal weapon pod added. It utilizes the same class of engine as the original, but the increased overall weight of the redesign meant a drop in the 'Mech's top speed. In its Prime configuration it is armed with an ER PPC, an LB 20-X Autocannon, two LRM-15, a Heavy Medium Laser, two ER Small Lasers, and a Machine Gun.

Warlord[edit]

Not to be confused with the (canonical) Warlord BattleMech, the MekTek Warlord is a thoroughly upgraded version of the venerable Atlas using current advances in Inner Sphere technology and a complete re-arrangement of weapons hard points, a thorough enough upgrade to be considered a new 'Mech. Its weapons load-out is similar to the Kodiak primary configuration.

Wildcat[edit]

The 75-ton Wildcat was designed by Clan Star Adder, with contributions from Clan Hell's Horses. Its inspired, razor-thin silhouette belies an Endo Steel frame and thirteen-and-a-half tons of Ferro-Fibrous armor, components normally seen on much bulkier 'Mechs. Housed within the narrow framework is a modified 300-grade engine, allowing the Wildcat to move at a respectable 65 km/h while still maintaining just enough space to include its weapons loadout. To handle the excess heat generated by its array of energy weapons, Star Adder engineers also squeezed 11 double heat sinks into an already crowded space.

A pair of linked RAC/20s in its chest are the 'Mech's primary weapons, though space and weight constraints limit each autocannon to a single thirty-round magazine. A quartet of Series-VI ER Medium Lasers and a pair of Series-Ia Heavy Medium Lasers provide additional firepower to ensure the Wildcat still has teeth once its ammunition runs dry.

The Wildcat has the necessary components to support a Guardian ECM Suite, jump jets, a Laser Anti-Missile System, and an advanced Gyro system, but does not have the space to actually mount them in its primary configuration.

Canonicity[edit]

Even though the core MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries game is an official BattleTech product that was published under a valid license by Microsoft, MekTek had no explicit permission or license to publish BattleTech material and never held an actual BattleTech license. They were merely allowed to offer Microsoft's product for free download. Their MekPak mods were developed completely independent of any of BattleTech's respective IP owners at the time, and were more tolerated than endorsed. As such, the MekPaks are no official products and are not in a position to contribute canon or apocrypha to the BattleTech universe.

Their origial content–namely, the fan-created MekTek 'Mechs–is entirely non-canonical fanon (though some designs or at least names would later appear in canon through other, canonical sources).

References[edit]

Links[edit]