Saturday, November 07, 2009

Ruminating on the Power of the Dark Side...

Oops! Wrong blog.

Hello to you all.

It has been a relatively quiet week here, but progress has been steady on several fronts.

First, we finished the writeup editing for the Draconis Combine’s Daimyo and Gallowglas. Geoff chose to make some significant changes when the second draft of the Gallowglas came his way. He’s in Japan and has a lot on his plate, but put the time and effort in to make sure we weren’t riffing on something we’d already addressed with House Kurita.

Me: “But… Geoff, we had a deal! You write the rough draft, I edit it, you chop it and I do the final polishing. You’ve rewritten the second draft!

Geoff: “The ‘deal’ has been altered, Steve. Pray I do not alter it further.”

Actually he didn’t say that, but he could have and I would have folded just like Lando. No, really, I am out here tonight to smoke and edit his work anew, and I like it. In fact, I like it so much, I took on another project after getting the green light from one of our best artists, Eric Ou.

We needed yet another Kuritan ‘Mech to fill out their roster and I spotted a likely candidate on the forums. While debating the relative merits of Light PPCs versus ER medium lasers, someone stated that the Sentinel was a piece of crap which could conceivably be improved by the LPPC. Upon investigation, I agreed. Furthermore, the illustration was one of Duane Loose’s sketchier pieces. And wouldn’t you know? It turned out to be a ‘gift’ from Comstar to the Draconis Combine in the mid-3030s. Some gift. It was an ideal platform to improve, however. What’s more, guess what House Kurita was experimenting with around 3063? You guessed it – variations of the PPC.

We’ve come up with a nice design that is comfortably armed, well-armored and fast. Eric is taking a shot at illustrating it, not just because it is a commission, but because it is thus far a very ugly ‘Mech. For him it is a challenge. So the Dragon now has another ‘Mech - and we have more writing to do.

Lee Madison is still working on the Jian, with the Velite right behind it. No updates yet, but he’s good at what he does and there are sure to be at least a few babes in the art.

Ian is plugging away at the Sarpedon, and it looks good from the pieces he has been sending me. I will probably finish it off by commissioning another artist to do the grass, people, etc. Those things are difficult to render with a 3-D program.

I have sent David Dryburgh a payment in the mail, and have made more payments via PayPal to other artists. My thanks goes out to Ashley for the donation she made via that PayPal button. I encourage you all to donate at least five bucks so we can get this thing wrapped up. All the machines are currently commissioned, but of course, payments are a bit behind and I would like to catch up as quickly as possible.

Well, my fingers are beginning to freeze up and I will have to duck inside to warm them before I continue with editing. I have put the Record Sheet Annex on hold for the moment, until we can nail down the new designs and print them up. I shot the initial batch off to our layout man (James Devlin) but hindsight has shown that to be a bit premature, and I will have to re-send them with the main body of work.

Someone asked me what level of technology we’d be using in this TRO. The answer is pretty much whatever existed in 3063, with some experimental stuff just coming online for field tests. Much of the next generation of ‘gee-whiz’ weaponry and new systems won’t make a full appearance until the late 3060s-early 3070s, so we have to step lightly. That means bumping most beam weapons (not all) up from standard to ER, and installing the more recent innovations like AMS, Streak missile systems and targeting computers. As of 3063 these are just beginning to hit their stride and a lot of designs can only profit from the changeup.

Overall, it doesn’t sound impressive, but keep in mind that this is 3063, not 3072. Furthermore, a goodly number of designs are ‘in-between’ stages and on their way to future greatness. That is not to say they do not shine on their own, but a lot of folks who are now playing in the modern era (3075) are accustomed to the wonder weapons used by the Word of Blake. Keep in mind that if you play in 3063, at the start of the FedCom Civil War, the machines in this TRO will be quite useful as they are.

Take care and thanks for stopping by.



Doug said...

Oh, god the Sentinel... one of the reasons I like BattleTech so much, poor mechs like the Sentinel :).

Now, the DC got the Sentinels back in the 3030s, was the DC working on the PPC variations way back in the '30s? I would tend to think they would be first working on the Helm memory core ER-PPC before getting to new tech like the L-PPC... Didn't the L-PPC not come out until 3067? If so, I would think that the L-PPC work would not begin until say 3055 or even 3060.

Steven Satak said...

Oh Doug, you poor, coffee-starved man... they received the Sentinel in the 3030s, used it and found it wanting. Fast forward to 3063 where they are tinkering with PPCs and decide to use some prototypes in a new Sentinel.

There is a Snub-nosed PPC version as well, although only a handful of those exist due to teething problems with the SN PPC itself. There is also the 'vanilla' variant, the one where the LPPCs have not been fitted. This machine carries a standard PPC instead of the two LPPCs and suffers accordingly from the loss of armor.

Doug said...

Will you have at least one
'poor' design, or at least 'what were they thinking' design in the TRO?

Steven Satak said...

No, Doug. I am one of those people who looked at the previous TROs and found the less-than-stellar designs and wondered, sometimes aloud "How did this thing ever make it into production?"

That was usually followed by "How do they get any use out of it on the battlefield when there are so many other machines which cost less and do the job better?"

Then there comes a grim determination that I will not repeat the mistakes of the writers and publishers of the older official TROs. I will not waste paper, electrons, photons or your precious time with machines which, on any accounting, simply do not make the grade. What would be the purpose?

That said, at least three of our 'Mechs are founded on correcting the obvious shortcomings of earlier designs (the Vulcan, the Trebuchet and one other) and point it out in the writeup.