Friday, May 08, 2009

How the TRO is set up.... and how it works.

Hey. Back again.

I thought I would outline what the TRO:3063 is, and what it is not.

It is a standard BattleTech Technical Readout, produced by fans to resemble very closely the kind that FASA, then FanPro, and now Catalyst Games produces. It is placed in the year 3063 A.D. and despite the initial title of 'Vehicle Annex', it deals with both BattleMechs and Vehicles.

It is going to feature at least 35 BattleMechs and some 58 Vehicles. Of the 'Mechs, some will be variants of existing designs and others will be entirely new machines. Rest assured, I keep tabs on the designs and do not want to include machines which duplicate a 'Mech or Vee which already exists (though there are exceptions, as in the case of the Star League-era Marksman self-propelled artillery).

We have some very good designs for all our 'Mechs and Vees, as well as carefully-written descriptions common to a TRO. Some players dismiss this as 'fluff', and that is its common name, but don't be misled. 'Fluff' is every bit as important to Battletech as the stories they publish in paperback format.

It must be carefully researched so as not to conflict with canon; that is, material already accepted in the Battletech 'universe' as accepted fact, history or whatever you want to call it. It is the bedrock on which all Battletech fiction is based.

I want to assure anyone reading this who has been waiting for the TRO:3063 that we do not intend to 're-invent' the Battletech universe with an alternate history or timeline. What our team has tried to do is insert war machines wherever and whenever we can in the established framework without contradicting the canon.

This is very difficult to do, let me assure you. I have learned more about the Battletech story than I ever thought I would, and still do not have half the knowledge my writing partner (Geoffrey Butler) has forgotten. But while we have similar writing styles, he has the 'software' skills and I have the hardware knowledge. It overlaps and the result (so far) is something pleasing.

It may be that we will still make errors; the Battletech universe is a very, very big and complicated place. Lots of stuff happens and if you don't read every single word of every single page of every single publication, online and in hard copy, you will miss it. And someone out there will catch you. We are editing this thing for entry size, word count, quality art, tight writing and as much compatibility with the existing material as is humanly possible with only four people on the project and three of them writing.

Just so you don't think this is a lot of hot air, we have already completed the 'Mech writeups and artwork. We have about five vehicle writeups left, then massive editorial review, then conversion to a PDF format, then another editorial pass, then we send it out to selected readers who go over it with a fine tooth comb and point out any last minute errors which have slipped through our 'process'.

I just nailed the Pershing last night and sent it off to Geoff for second draft. He in turn shot me the Diatryma armored car, the Ocelot II riot control vehicle and the Fox anti-aircraft tank for polishing. The Pershing is a replacement and, in some ways, an update to the venerable Marksman self-propelled artillery. We chose to do the Pershing because the Marksman has not been in production for about three centuries, and you know? The spare parts are about to run out.....


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