Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Fan-made Technical Readout: 3063 Final Entry



Welcome!

The fan-made BattleTech Technical Readout:3063 is finished.

There are two versions: one is Web-quality and about 37mb in size.  The other is Print-quality and is about 95mb.

There are several additional books you can download that are directly associated with this TRO.

- Record Sheets: 3063 - as you might imagine, a PDF file containing all the record sheets for the TRO entries, including all the variants mentioned in each entry.

- QuickStrike Cards - these are cards corresponding to each record sheet; they are for use with the BattleForce version of the game.

- Art of the TRO - a fifty-plus page book outlining the evolution of the TRO art.  This includes the art we did not use, as well as sketches and alternate views.  Also inside is a section on the playtesting of the entries and an illustration of the various miniatures we created for our playtest.  Also! a bonus TRO entry.

Here are the links:


Art of the TRO
https://www.opendrive.com/files?60996076_L2kob

QuickStrike Rules Cards
https://www.opendrive.com/files?60892922_HlPYA

TRO: 3063 Web Quality
https://www.opendrive.com/files?61446712_X4ptC

TRO: 3063 Print Quality
https://www.opendrive.com/files?60947576_VBPq9

Record Sheets: 3063
https://www.opendrive.com/files?61446121_bdlma

*** I have been having trouble maintaining the integrity of the files on my OpenDrive account.  If any of the above links fails, please visit the link below to get your copies. ***

http://www.mediafire.com/?rvjwz4nxzscacrk,2do30rpvgop1p0g,lgih87s3d5i25h3,4rd4slraun2male,mgvpefslpfzkc2e

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Please note that we have been receiving errors in the various books, mostly to do with art quality, typos and record sheet errors.  We have corrected all of the issues thus far.  If you spot an error, please leave a note!  We will fix it and update these links.

*** If you want a copy of the 'Lessons Learned' from making this TRO, go here:

https://www.opendrive.com/files?61619906_4n6Qd

Our next project will be a BattleTech Infantry Primer.  We feel that infantry are a much-maligned, much-ignored force in the game.  This, despite the carefully designed rules for their use!  So we are writing a book to guide you through the process of selecting, assembling and deploying infantry in a game of big stompy robots.  Think of it as 'BattleTech Infantry for Dummies'.


This is the link to the new blog.  We hope to see you there!

http://infantryprimer.blogspot.com/

Thank you for your support - and for stopping by!

Steve Satak





Saturday, August 25, 2012

3...2...1... Liftoff!


I Screwed Up...

I will keep this brief:

   Despite our attempts to bring the best product to you, we released flawed versions.

-  Bad or missing data in the Record Sheets.

- Internal structure dots don't show up in the Vehicle Record Sheets.

- The images in the TRO have degraded over time due to multiple printings to PDF format.  We caught it on the covers, but the interior art slipped by us (we rarely zoom in on it).

- Other stuff.

The Current Status of the Fix...
(1pm PST, Saturday 1 September 2012)

The old Record Sheets


The NEW Record Sheets

           Please Click on the Images and LOOK!

- As you can see, we have made some changes in the RS book.  The internal structure dots are back, we added data to the Quick Selector bar on the left and there is now a time/date stamp at the upper left of each record sheet... so you can keep all this shit straight if we have to 'fix' anything again. We are working through what appear to be tonnage issues - a good part of it is simply me not keeping my buddy Bad Syntax up to date with changes, and part of it is design software that has not kept up with changes in the actual design formulae.

Time: 1345.  Our hard-working  Bad Syntax has now been hugged.  But he is not my 'entourage', he is a working partner!  I take a definite back seat when it comes to what he is doing - in fact, I decide things only after he has educated me to the point where I know what I am deciding *on*.   I am lucky if I get to ride on the bumper - the last programming I did was in COBOL back in 1988.

- I am 60% finished with replacing the degraded  images in the TRO.  The damage was not as bad as I expected.  

- I have made the necessary corrections in the TRO text and data as Bad Syntax makes corrections in the RS files.

- I have not yet checked the Art of the TRO for image degradation as well.  I will get on that after I drop my wife and son off at work, vacuum the house, clean the bathroom and start the laundry.

- We now have Lords of the Battlefield, BattleTech Universe and OurBattleTech as download sources, and will update all of them by this evening.

-  PLEASE DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANYTHING UNTIL I POST THE ALL-CLEAR HERE ON THIS BLOG.  

Issue date for the Revised TRO files:
Evening - 1 September 2012

Again, please accept my apologies....


Steve

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back on Track... GenCon Release?

Free Worlds League Bengal (draft)
Art by Stephen Huda and Karl Olson

As many of the folks who would be setting up distribution of this fan-made TRO are *at* GenCon, the answer is: probably not.

Hi,

We are debugging the RS, it looks good but there is some polishing left to do.

We have located the anachronisms, repaired them, rewritten the entries and edited same.  Thanks to John Baker and Eric for their hard work!

One piece of art is unsat, for various reasons.  It did not come to light until we had to rewrite the entry.  It is currently being redone by Stephen Huda, though we are keeping Karl Olson's background.  The rough draft is at the head of this post.

I am trying very hard to have this ready by Saturday morning, 18 August 2012.  My work schedule (and that of Bad Syntax) is not helping things, but that's just the breaks.  I will use tomorrow morning (after the dump run) to begin going through the TRO and updating the BVs.  Everything else seems to be in order, though Eric did spot some errors (they are fixed) and we may have missed others....

We still have the time, but as mentioned above, the folks we need to coordinate with for the release are simply away for the weekend.  We can't make it available for download even if we get it done by deadline.

In other news:

Bad Syntax has an online reference, a sort of Super MUL consisting of every machine ever made for BattleTech.  It has a LOT of data.  Some of that is the fan-made TRO:3063.  I will list it here when I get the address.

Thanks for your patience and for stopping by.

Steve

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Houston, We Have Anachronisms...

Eric brought it to my attention that several technologies featured in the fan-made TRO:3063 are anachronisms.  I knew that, but thought we could cover our arses with heaps of handwavium - 'experimental' and 'prototype' waved like majestic fronds...

Well, even with Quirks inserted from Strategic Operations, we can't really justify the appearance of weapons so long before their 'official' intro date.  SO - no HPPCs, no LPPCs, no LACs, no SNPPCs, etc.

But we have Blazers.  Yersh we do.  And ERPPC capacitors.  We already have fixes for most of the, er, issues on a roster.  Intro dates are changing.  But I am going to be one writing SOB for the next week.

I still think Rocket Launchers should be available in 3063, and comparing notes with my sources, find that The Powers That Be might have made a mistake on the intro date.  Erg.  BLEH.

I don't want to turn this book into an XTRO.  IMHO, the XTRO machines were so many McGuffins, never intended for players.  Ours are meant to see action.  So the Quirks, while popular with some, are thus far a no-go.  But what do you, the BattleTech reader, think?  Keep the Quirks?  Leave a note and tell me.  

But do hurry.  After tomorrow, I am gonna be up to my ass in textual alligators and draining the swamp is not going to be easy....

After all this, we are still on schedule!  It's just that we have very little time to effect these changes.  Please stand by....

Thanks for stopping in.

Steve

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meanwhile, on the Launch Pad....



Taurian Concordat Forge
Art by Stephen Huda and James Lafferty

Welcome!

The project is done and on the launchpad.  It is a huge old beast - as mentioned in a past blog post, we have the high-rez Record Sheets clocking in at about 550mb.

That, dear friends, is unsat.  It takes too long to download, for one thing.  And I want this to be easy to get, to pass around.

We are currently working on reducing the file size while maintaining the hi-rez printouts.  So far things are going pretty good.  The largest file I have seen thus far - with everything basically in place - is about 13mb.

That's right, about 2% of the original size.  Bad Syntax is doing a stellar job.  But it isn't done yet.

I just received a donation that paid off the last bit of art - as you can see above.  Stephen Huda worked off a design originally done by James Lafferty.

Some New Features...


While compressing it, we have incorporated new features into the Record Sheets and the Master Unit List.

- We are including BattleForce values.

- We are including the cost of the machine in C-Bills.

- We are including a side bar with hypertext - zip down the side and click on the unit you want and presto!  the sheet pops up right in front of you.  No more Table of Contents needed!

We are working hard to get this stuff ready for launch!  Nothing is holding it back - we are working in the time I set aside for de-bugging and proofreading.  So far, we are on schedule.  Hey, there is a first time for everything.

Thanks for stopping by

 Steve

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Looks Like We're Done....


Capellan Xuan Wu
Art by Stephen Huda



Lyran Panzer X
Art by Karl Olson/Stephen Huda


Hello, all.

We are done.

There is a spot of proofing while I wait to pay the final artist off, but we are done.

Thanks for stopping by.

Steve

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back to Three Weeks and Counting...


TRO Artwork - Bonus Section
Cover by William S. Burt


Welcome back! 

It has been four years of hard work and many, many false alarms that we were ‘finishing the TRO’.

You have all been patient.  For this I give thanks.  KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR UPDATES!!!

Here is where we stand:

The Fan-Made Record Sheets

- The Record Sheets are done, proofed and entered into a book format.  This book has covers, front and back, provided by Bill Burt.  I took advice from readers and downloaded PDFill, a software suite that allowed me to turn PDFs into image files.  We went in and, using the templates from MegaMek Lab (MML), built by hand the sheets that MML could not produce itself.  We also trimmed the entire lot of record sheets and added our own stamp, as you can see below.


It was a lot of work and I made quite a few mistakes, but we got our VTOLs, our aerospace fighters and vehicles using fractional accounting nailed down.  We even assembled the Magistracy’s Thunderbolt using this method.

All of the record sheets use the images provided by Denis Pottk√§mper of Germany.  I had to supply a couple of extra pieces, but he did a hell of a lot of good, solid work and my hat is off to him.  Thank you, Denis!

***UPDATE***  Oh... my... Gosh!!  If someone had come up to me at the end of May and told me that I accidentally put a jump jet in the right *arm* of the Free Worlds League Vulcan, I would have laughed them off.  I repaired that error and several others last night, courtesy of Eric S. Smith.  The 'S' stands for 'Sho' Nuff' when it comes to spotting errors, and while he may be persona non grata over at the company boards, he is welcome to come to dinner at my house any time.  Thank you, Eric.  Now get back to work and find all the rest of the record sheet bugs before we go live!!!

The Fan-Made TRO:3063

- The TRO has been assembled and put into book form.  With the exception of one last piece, it is done.  Chris Daranouvong and Anthony Scroggins finished the cover.  It looks amazing… keeping the original layout but adding polish and clarity to the point where you can actually see the pilots in the machines.  In my opinion, it is the equal of any TRO cover ever made.  I think you will like it!

Working as we did, we used the TRO itself as the ‘bible’ in the end, consulting the Master Unit List at the end to ensure our Record Sheets were complete.  Consulting the original collection of record sheets, it actually happened that the MUL had to be updated in a couple of places!  Between Heavy Metal Pro and MML, we got the numbers correct and I am as sure as I can be that the data has been entered correctly.

***UPDATE***   There is no love at the Satak house.  I had to re-design the Champion II for the Word of Blake [yes, I know... no one cries for the Robes] because in retrospect, putting TSM and Streak missile launchers together is a blunder of the First Order.  So I dutifully changed them out for Artemis-enhanced launchers.  More and different rounds in the expanded bins, more armor and still deadly.

 Then Eric pointed out that you cannot put a launcher in the Center Torso and its Artemis in the Head anymore.  Ugh!   Back to the drawing board.  Got rid of the TSM, restored the Streaks, etc.  Had to redo a good portion of the writeup.  *Sigh*

Once that was done, I had to go through the entire TRO and make sure the Battle Values listed agreed with what was on the Record Sheets.  The data for the TRO was pulled from Heavy Metal Pro v5, which is (sadly) showing its age post-Total Warfare rules.  The record sheets were created mostly using MegaMek Lab and conform more closely to the current ruleset.

Today (23June2012) I get to update the Master Unit List!  Wheeeee!!!

The Fan-Made Bonus 'Art' Piece

- The bonus piece, the ‘Art of the TRO’ is also complete.  We added another page and designed new covers front and back.  The cover you can see at the head of this blog post.  This bonus is going out to all the people who donated funds or time to this project.  I don’t anticipate distributing it with the main body of work.

- Chris Daranouvong is working on the Capellan Xuan-wu.  He is very good with line work and did the Xuan-wu on the cover of the TRO, so he is a natural for polishing this entry.  When he is done, we will update the image in the TRO as well as the images in the Record Sheets.

**UPDATE**  Chris bailed on us, so I passed the commission on to Stephen Huda.

- The 256 MB thumb drives I bought were a good idea, but sadly, they are too small to contain anything but the web-quality versions of the TRO and Record Sheets!

This brings me to print quality.

The Web Version

- The web-quality versions of the TRO, the Record Sheets and the Art bonus take up only 132 MB.  While this is adequate for viewing on a computer or Ipad, it does not print out very well.  We tested some print versions of the web-quality Record Sheets and while serviceable, the fine print found in the Combat Tables is not very legible.  HMP and MML produce sheets of much higher quality.  I have all the HMP and MML files on hand, as well as the images we created for the VTOLs and such, so if you want them, contact me.  You might need them to ease putting these units into MegaMek.  Or you might like the old-school versions HMP provides.

On a side note, the folks over at MegaMek online have put nearly all the TRO:3063 units into their system, and from what I have seen on the combat result lists, many of our units are doing reasonably well.  Your mileage may vary.

The High-Quality Version

- The high-quality versions take up a bit more room – 402 MB.  The record sheets printed from this level of resolution are usable, but the fine print is still a tad hard to read.

***UPDATE*** We dropped the HQ version from our options.  It gobbles up space and doesn't yield that much clearer a picture.   Eric has been experimenting with a way to produce images that are crisp but that don't weigh in at a meg and a half each.  I don't look forward to re-doing everything, though.

The Print-Quality Version

- The print-quality versions take up the most room – 662 MB.  Remember, this is all three books.  Without the Art booklet, it still takes up a hefty 630 MB.  But the record sheets look great and the art is crisp!  Keep in mind that the TRO itself is 265 pages.  The Record Sheets are another 235.  The Art is 53 pages.  The whole package may seem like a big chunk (and it is!) but we don't have access to the software used by the company and this TRO is pretty big anyway.  112 TRO entries, with 215 total sheets counting the variants.

Where You Can Get It

I am currently arranging a couple of places where the print-quality versions can be downloaded.  We will also offer the web versions for those of you who want this for your collection and/or don’t have the time or bandwidth to download the big kahunas.  Remember, you can use the record sheets printed from the web version – they just don’t look as good.

*** UPDATE***

Due to an emergency replacement of my car's radiator and water pump ($530), I have had to push our publishing date back.  Sorry guys, but I have to get to work.  We still have to pay our last bits of art off (about $130) and that will take at least another month at the rate I am recovering from the repair bill.


So you don't think you're the only ones paying the price for my not flushing my radiator once a year, my son's birthday gifts have been put on hold as well.  He turned 17 today (the 4th of June).

***UPDATE THE SECOND***  The car is running and I am still employed.  The coolant temperature sensor is buggered, as is the oil pressure sensor.  Gonna get them fixed this Friday (fingers crossed).  Paid off everyone but Stephen Huda and that should be done this payday (fingers crossed).


Other Notes....

I am also putting together a ‘Lessons Learned’ piece for those of you who are contemplating doing a fan-TRO of your own.  Let me know if you want a copy.

Finally, there are several disclaimers throughout the TRO and associated books that firmly establish that these are NOT official products.  I asked Catalyst Game Labs nearly a year ago if they had guidelines for what sort of disclaimers should be on a fan work.  There was no response aside from what Herb Beas III posted in the Lead Developers section of the company forums.

Despite a polite reminder three months later (which reached TPTB for sure), I still have no response.  I have done all I can to ensure we are not treading on the toes of Topps, InMediaRes LLC or Catalyst Game Labs.  If there are any lawyers reading this, please let me know if there are any steps I might have missed.  Good as it looks, in the end the TRO:3063 is, as one fellow on the company forums likes to say, ‘nothing more than fanboyish crap’.

You are free to draw your own conclusions.  [Several already have: it's GOOD fanboyish crap!]

Thanks for stopping by!

Steve