Friday, October 16, 2009

Interior Art is nearly done...


It's that time again, time for the weekly update on what's happening with the TRO:3063. There isn't a lot to report this week, so this installment will be somewhat short compared to some of the previous entries.

Take a close look at the art at the top of this blog entry, and then the one at the bottom. The difference is the size and style of the AC/5 firing up front. I want you readers to tell me which one you find more aesthetically pleasing. Both are reductions of the original art's gun barrel, which was simply too big and unbalanced an otherwise-excellent design.

First up, we have an update on the interior plate commission taken by David Dryburgh. It looks mighty good and with one tiny change, will be ready to ink and color. It's excellent work, and I am hoping that after I have paid for it, David will consent to take on one more interior plate commission. But of course, that remains to be seen.

Second, we have completed assembling the Record Sheet PDFs for the TRO. There are 168 of them and they represent not just the 'Mechs and Vehicles in the TRO, but the variants mentioned in the writeup (if any). Below are examples of the 'Mech and Vehicle layouts. Those of you who use Heavy Metal Pro (by the excellent Mr. Rick Raisley) will be familiar with these.

I chose these layout formats because they give the most room to do gaming work with the usual pencil and eraser. There are alternate formats which include hit location tables, movement modifiers and so forth, but the primary information area is reduced. This is not an issue with seasoned gamers, but it is worth pointing out that the break points for movement multipliers have changed with the issue of Total Warfare, while the HMP v5 program has not. Version 6 is in the works. However, this extremely sophisticated and highly complex software is the work of a single programmer, much like the early days of computing, and the information he needs to create his program is not all in place (at least one more rulebook to go – with the inevitable errata). Furthermore, like the programmers for the Apple, Commodore and Atari platforms, Rick has a day job and the rest of life to contend with as well.

Note that I chose to issue the Vehicles as double sheets. Many, if not most, of these machines are meant to be deployed in lance strength, so it's just practical to pack as many of them on a sheet of paper as possible.

I have gone through and combed the writeups one more time for formatting errors, making sure that only the information that our layout man needs for his work is present. That involves stripping out some extraneous text and the occasional image left over from the old days, when this was going to be posted on a website and the format was quite different. You would be surprised at how many glitches of this nature slipped by us as we focused on getting the writing done.

Mike Sullivan is doing well, but has problems with getting a steady computer and internet connection (and the time to use them), so the Velite is still in the development stage. Again, his work is of such caliber that I am content to wait until he can deliver. This will probably be his final work, however.

My finances are on an uptick; I should be able to make at least two or three payments this payday, and the balance on next Friday.

Several people are hankering after a look at the TRO, but that will not be possible in its present state. The most I can do is shoot a copy of our most recent pre-production layouts. Meanwhile, I am going to send the final remaining writeups to the proofreaders.

There is the final issue of the remaining commissions. I will look at my paycheck next Friday and determine which of these works I can pay for – up front. The quality of the art produced by my established artists is such that I can pay for them in advance. I have every confidence that they will deliver a solid product in a timely manner. The biggest problem so far has been my ability to get my artists their fees on time, and I don't want to hold things up any further.

Eric has agreed to re-do the Cataphract III, and I eagerly await modifications of his preliminary piece, the Champion II. Some of you may have seen it on the various BattleTech forums, but I have issues with 'busy' sections and he is not happy with the legs. That one is still in the works.

Well, it seems I have run out of things to update! If David agrees to do the final interior plate, I will probably use the Crinos I 'Red' art to grace the cover of the Record Sheet Annex. It needs a cover, after all, and I will probably find myself writing a short introduction to that, as well.

Stay well and thanks for stopping by.


[And for those of you who want to know what the original looked like?]


Chgowiz said...

I honestly had no opinion one way or the other - I like the shorter barrel if this is a VTOL and I like the longer barrel if this is a LAM (I know, dirty word... I still play 1980s era Battletech w/LAMs...)

Steven Satak said...

It is a VTOL. I don't do LAMs, not just because they appear to be neither fish nor fowl, but because there is no HMP support or company support for their existance.

I know many like them; I understand the need which lies behind that, and I have seen quite a bit of enthusiasm. But let it be someone else's job to resurrect and justify something which Catalyst Games itself has disavowed. I will stick to the more well-trod paths.

Brian said...

I like the shorter barrel version.

Great work!

Erradin said...

I like the shorter barrel. For some reason I'd expect the longer barrel to be a RAC.

skiltao said...

Guess I'm the odd one out- my answer depends on what's under the wing. If those are LRMs, then shorter looks better; if those are RLs, then longer looks better.

Steven Satak said...

Why would the warload determine whether the barrel looks good or not? They are rocket launchers, but how does that affect your choice?


Mikael said...

I prefer the short-barreled version.

skiltao said...

I asked about the underwing weapons to help my sense of scale. Knowing that the weapon is supposed to be 30% of the aircraft's mass, my gut reaction is to pick whichever image better expresses that weight.

But now that you mention it, if I *didn't* know the stats, I'd say the first image has the better-looking machine gun. And BattleTech already has has a long & proud (& continuing) history of not matching the stats 100%, so something little like this isn't a big deal.

Doug said...


Steven Satak said...

Well, it's actually an AC/5... sorry about that misdirection.

It was originally three times longer (!) and we were going to hang a pair of TruckNutz under the gun mount for the appropriate effect. Then I decided it would be easier to just tinker with the image.


Shepard Gunn said...

Just adding my two cents. I prefer the one with the shorter barrel. I seem to think it works better on a VTOL. I know, though, that an auto-cannon should probably be the longer barrel one, but the sense of balance I find in the image works best with the shorter barrel.

Oh, and LAM, LAM, LAM, Veritech... whoa! Where'd that come from!