Sunday, May 16, 2010

Proofing the Art and Making a New 'Mech

This 'Mech does not appear in the TRO:3063

(mostly because the only way we could improve on
the original Wraith involved a Marik chassis, Capellan
stealth armor and a FedCom targeting computer.
We ran out of handwavium while trying to finish
the writeup).

Good day to you all!

We are presently biding our time with the TRO, looking for ways to polish things up while we wait for our layout man Josh to make his reappearance. It is going to be a fair stretch, as he is currently overcoming difficulties I am not at liberty to discuss. However, the quality of his work, his reputation and his overall work ethic has convinced me that the wait will be worth it. I trust you will understand and feel the same way. Besides, his sweetie is pinch-hitting for him and so things are not at a complete standstill. I hope to have some samples of his work for next week so you can all see what he has done so far.

TRO Art Proofing

My original artist, as I mentioned numerous times, has been at times very derivative of other people’s work. In some cases the inspiration is actually better than the copy. I am currently attempting to contact one artist in the hopes that I can acquire the original art for the Privateer, a ‘Mech which appears not once but twice in the TRO and the White Knight. Of course, there is also a Plan B for any unpleasant eventualities, but we hope that won’t be the case.

Meanwhile, Ryan Rawlings has stepped up with an offer to take the remaining images provided by our initial artist and run them through a ‘proofing’ procedure which is intended to eliminate any remaining blatant copies of other people’s work. If the art is good enough, I will attempt to purchase it. Otherwise, I will have to replace it. Since about 60% of the original works have already replaced anyway, this is nothing new.

[Unfortunately, our art proofer has been busy and just today turned up four additional instances where 'inspiration' turned out to be tracing over someone else's work. I have already contacted four artists on deviantArt.com and expect to be emailing a few more [please, Lord, let it be only a few more] - before we are through].

[Frowny face here]

While payments go out for the remaining works, I have been considering colored versions of some pieces for internal color pages – I am not adding any new color pages per se, but simply condensing what we already have to maximize the available space. For example, the color pieces done by David Dryburgh can be fitted two to a page, rather than the one per page currently planned.

Coloring done by rockman-forte @ deviantArt.com

‘Mech Replacement

Eric presented me with a new piece that he re-did on his own. It is for the Isometrus, and to be fair, it looks more like a 25-tonner than the original art. However, I am not one to waste art and the old piece looks like it is actually a 55-65 ton ‘Mech (cockpit size relative to the overall ‘Mech is important). Bill Burt came up with an infighter that weighs 60 tons but is quite nimble. I feel it looks a bit like an improved Anvil without the jumpjets and a lot more armor.

It carries two large pulse lasers, four medium pulse lasers and two machine guns at 5/8/0. The machine guns are for anti-personnel work and will open up the mission profile a bit, but I prefer the version with dual AMS. I see a lot of missiles on the tabletop and it seems like that would come in handy for a ‘Mech which is trying to survive getting close enough to rip a hole in something.

I am going to run this by Geoff, my co-writer. If he gives the thumbs-up, we will include this in the TRO and pull the Zeus PE (again). I have gone over the Zeus in previous blog posts – no reason to justify it again, but yes, I will issue it later for anyone interested in seeing it.

BattleTech on Facebook?

If a tree falls in the woods and it doesn’t have a Facebook page, does it make a sound?

Some of you are familiar with Facebook. It is a popular social networking site. There has been at least one attempt to use BattleTech on Facebook: it calls itself simply ‘Mechwarrior’. I went to give it a look and I am sorry to say that a more wretched piece of ripped-off junk does not exist. But let the images (ugh!) speak for themselves. Feel free to click on the images to get a better picture of the dregs:

Above is a list of Offensive Weapons. Offensive is the right word to describe entries that don’t even begin to follow any sensible pattern. These machines have no ranged weapons to speak of, yet are thrown in there as ‘Light ‘Mechs’. These guys did not even bother to spell ForestryMech correctly – even after I pointed out the error to one of the designers!



As you can see, they aren’t into original art, either. This bit of ripped-off art is an Unseen Locust, cropped from Google no doubt.



Here is an entry under ‘Special Weapons’, a Star League-era Spector. Notice the image for the ‘Mech, like most of the others, is actually a picture of a miniature? At least it’s painted real purty…


…and it ought to be, seeing as it was lifted from CamoSpecsOnline, the premier source for professionally-painted official camo schemes.



This is why the designers snarfed all that art… and why the whole thing looks like something thrown together over a weekend. The only way you can get ahead in this game without spending most of your natural life at the keyboard is to spend real-world money on Action Points!

My advice to the designers has already been heard - and ignored. They don’t care about making a quality game, they only care about cranking out another Facebook app which soaks up money. My advice to anyone reading this who might consider trying this game is the same as the designer’s advice for buying Action Points – Don’t Waste Your Time.

BattleTech would be a good Facebook app, no doubt. Mechwarrior is not that app.

Catalyst Game Labs…

What can I say that has not already been said? Well, as it turns out, quite a bit. I won’t subject you to the nitty gritty – you can get the details over The Gaming Den, under threads with ‘Shadowrun’ in the title. I have gone over the official CGL release concerning their status with Shadowrun and conclude that they no longer have the license. Magnificent spin on Randall Bill’s part but with the double-speak winnowed out, it appears a company called Lone Wolf has the actual license. CGL has an agreement with them, but they do NOT have the license to produce that game any longer under their own cognizance.

What remains to be seen is the status of the BattleTech license, and I suspect that too will be continued under a similar arrangement. That is, someone responsible will handle the actual license (and the money) while sub-contracting a portion of the work to CGL.

I have read that InMediaRes is ‘circling the drain’ and while that may be true, I have not seen or read anything that gives such a statement credibility. It certainly would seem to be the case, but like the rest of you, I can only wait. Suffice to say that if Shadowrun is any indication, BattleTech is here to stay. The same cannot be said of some of the people who have brought it to this unhappy crossroads. Or at least, one does hope.

Frank Trollman’s Choice of Words

I’ve gone over what I think of this guy – and why. I have even suggested how he could get the word out without pissing off the people he’s supposed to be rallying to the cause. His latest installment of information on recent events is a case in point.

Frank goes from listing the happenings and his own take on them to lambasting the Mormons in an attempt to link that faith with the behavior of Mssrs. Bills, Coleman and Hardy. By and large, it is a success. At least it was with me. I have seen what he describes and recognize it for what it is – more Inner Rings and more folks ignoring what they ought to do while doing their best to cover up. But I think Frank takes a wrong turn when he involves God in the proceedings.

It's a safe bet to assume the Mormons have about the same number of scoundrels in charge as any other established church. As C. S. Lewis noted, priests (of any faith) are wicked men like the rest of us. But notice I did not use the word ‘faith’. Nor did I say ‘religion’ or suggest that a belief in God – any version of Him – is a prerequisite to performing – or justifying - any sort of financial shenanigans.

Given the strict expectations of a Christian, I should think it quite the opposite. The offense here is not that certain men belonging to a certain church committed heinous deeds, but that they were Christians (of a sort) and they damned well knew better.

The Catholic Church is in much the same pickle. Any organization with mere men in it will come to grief sooner or later in similar ways. It goes from an assembly of the faithful to a bureaucracy containing portions that resemble an old boy’s club, complete with rules, secret handshakes and mysteries.

In short, it becomes just another, larger Inner Ring.

The Freemasons are famous for it. The Protestant Reformation began because of it. But then, the Freemasons don’t claim that what they are doing has the Almighty’s stamp of approval. The difference for Christians (and other faiths – I don’t really know) is that they have an instant check against such activity which is available at any time. If the Ten Commandments won’t do, you can always apply to their Author, who to date has been quite firm in His insistence that we follow said rules.

But that has not happened; apparently not in the case of CGL.

I don’t pretend to see into the hearts of the aforementioned individuals, but I will say this: if a Catholic archbishop can shuffle criminally naughty priests from one laity to another without a murmur, it’s possible something similar can be done by a Mormon Elder. And that goes for any other kind of hanky-panky. The blind eye is not as uncommon as people think.

I know you are an atheist, Frank. But you sound like a fool when you include the word 'God' in your speculations. I want to see justice done too, but you are not helping the case by sticking your foot in your mouth every other day.

Please, stick to the things you do know about - namely, Shadowrun and the latest depredations of certain old-boy gamers. Leave God out of your speech and you will sound more like the Voice of Truth and less like an ex-writer with a hard-on for the company in particular and religions in general.

Thanks for stopping by.

Steve

15 comments:

Doug said...

I see you need to load some Microsoft Updates on your Windows XP computer, you are using ZoneAlarm (good choice), and you have a security warning... :)

I think BT is going to be here, they are putting out products at a good clip the last few weeks. Have you gotten Operational Turning Points: Red Corsair and/or Experimental Technical Readout: Corporations? You need to show your support, and they are both real good/cool products.

Steven Satak said...

Yeah, those screenshots don't leave a lot to the imagination, do they?

Yeah, BT is here to stay, but the bums who have gotten us to this sad point have gotta go. Really. And I am not buying another bathroom fixture for Mr. Coleman - I will make my purchases AFTER they pass the license on.

Karyudo-DS said...

I think it would be pretty easy to make a game better then that. To put it lightly though I have never once seen a "good" fb game. For me though if I want to play a game I've got a decent video card and a 360, fb can't touch what either can put out for me :D

Battltech started to disappoint me awhile back really. I was a bit happier when they replaced the anime out of the series but some 9 years later we're still dancing around this Jihad thing. That's progress for you. If this MW5 thing actually happens I think I'll be more interested in that. Though I have never really had anyone interested in the board game enough to invest in it.

Yu Kigono said...

So your going to totally take the word of Trollman over the statements of one of the guys over at Lone Wolf who say they are only making an add-on to their Hero Lab program for Shadowrun? They don't produce ANY rpg products aside from that program and few other similar ones. It wouldn't make any sense for them to get the license. Also I find it extremely hypocritical of you to criticize Frank for his methods but apparently believe every word he says.

Steven Satak said...

Yu, if you think that, then you need to re-define your definition of 'hypocrite'.

I find myself in situations every day where I believe the message the person is telling me, but don't care for the way they deliver the message. The content of the message is one thing, the way it is presented is another. Sometimes the delivery can be so offensive as to all but obscure the message itself. I find that being angry with the messenger does not help me to clearly analyze the information he gives me.

Sometimes the delivery IS the message, the real message, but in this case I believe Frank is acting for others. He is not doing them a favor by flavoring his delivery with personal bias.

And that is very much the problem I have with Frank Trollman.

Steven Satak said...

And yes, though I may appear to be a fool for doing so, I believe what Frank says. He has been too spot-on so far to be discredited so easily.

However... it is also possible for him to get things wrong even from the sources he has. So I *do* take what he says with a grain of salt and compare it with other sources. Such as you.

glasshawk said...

I'm still working my way through on the remaining artwork. Hopefully there won't be that many more artists who need to be contacted.

Steven Satak said...

Don't fry your eyes too badly. There are another few Houses to go through.

It's okay. Well, it's not, but I am going to damn well make it okay. This TRO may finally see daylight without a single piece by Vlad, but by my troth, the work WILL be original.

Steve!

Anonymous said...

Would like to see the final color image of the quad you posted.

Any chance of a blog post or a PM?

Jeff

Steven Satak said...

Rockman is still working on that image. I am not sure what you mean by blog post or PM... the next post goes up in a few days and my email address is ssatak AT yahoo.com.

Taharqa said...

You are totally off-base in your speculations about the license between Hero Labs and CGL. Its a sub-license for Hero Labs to produce a character generator for Shadowrun 4. The press release from both companies explicitly says this. If you bothered to look at the Lone Wolf site(http://www.wolflair.com/), you would see that they are a software-only company. The Shadowrun license hasn't gone anywhere yet, so knock it off with the "sky is falling" routine already.

Steven Satak said...

Are you suggesting I couldn't be bothered with checking a prospective license holder's website? Not only am I wrong to hold my opinion, I am derelict in even the most basic research.

Draw whatever conclusions you want from that. The sky is not falling and I never said it was. But it seems that's how my speculation comes across to you, Tarharqua.

Too bad.

It is speculation, and nothing more, but there is some interesting real-world support, and if the sky isn't falling, there are certain some large chunks labeled 'IMR' and 'CGL' landing all around us.

And no, the Shadowrun license has not gone anywhere *yet*, as you have sagely noted.

Yet.

I am content to wait and see. The lawyers have already engaged and CGL seems to have come off a bit worse. But you know, it is only Turn Three. A lot can happen.

Panzerfaust 150 said...

Guys,
I am going to say this:

It's Steve's soapbox and he has the right to say it, and some folks acting like he's somehow committed blasphemy against all things CBT by writing his take on what's going on with the current license holders isn't at all a problem. If Trollman et al. are wrong, the courts will rule so. Personally, having found some of the items on line pertaining to the case, and I am now lawyer..but IMR's case has a lot of "the dog ate it" elements. I am not sure I'd want that level of legal representation if it were me.

Steven Satak said...

Like he said, wait and see.

I report roughly what is going on. I have made no bones about the fact that I hope the grifters, twisters, whatever you want to call them, go down in flames.

I have equally expressed the hope they don't take the game with them, and the optimistic conclusion that they won't, but it won't be for lack of trying.

As can be seen from the squirming already made public, they are possessed of some pretty big egos.

Steve

Taharqa said...

I am not objecting to anybody's soapbox. I am just pointing out that the claim that the shadowrun license has been taken away from CGL and given to Lone Wolf on the basis of the cited press release is completely incorrect, and frankly absurd.