Battletech Live

Online, Turn-Based Battletech – Development Logs

Multiplayer Battletech 3025

I was looking for artwork today and came across something called “Multiplayer Battletech 3025”.  Apparently, Electronic Arts was in development of a multiplayer Battletech game that may have been similar to what I’m working on, but their project was terminated in 2001, which is really too bad because it doesn’t look half bad at all.





May 30, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | 2 Comments

Progress of Character Rules

I’ve been working on the character creation system and rules for action checks over the last few days and have started getting the information in an organized form.  A lot of the information you see here is still in a rough form, of course, but it’s getting better.  These are the first six pages from that information set.







May 29, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

Design update to the Development Process log

I started working on an update last evening, for the Development Process pane at the bottom center.  The amount of space it occupied was starting to bug me again, especially when trying to type paragraphs of information, to find that the text disappeared below the edge of the panel.  I went through a long process of converting the data to XML, using it to populate the dataGrid and figuring out how to pull it from XML to populate a textArea.  For the panel to be usable, it still needs to be about the same size as it was, but it doesn’t need to be visible all the time.  Plus, the new animation built into it isn’t bad either.

Picture 1

The old version took up too much space, even when closed. It was too tall and interfered with content placed behind it.

The new version is much more compact, taking up an extremely small width.  The button can be clicked to open it, at which point, it becomes obvious what it is.

The new version is much more compact, taking up an extremely small width. The button can be clicked to open it, at which point, it becomes obvious what it is.

When open, all of the same functionality is still there, in a slightly more compact form.

When open, all of the same functionality is still there, in a slightly more compact form.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

Addictions, Aflictions and Enemies needed!

I’ve been working on the character creation life path for the last week, writing out the 60+ primary and secondary paths, and building the logic that decides which paths are available upon completion of the current path.  In the middle of this, it became aparent that I needed to list all of the skills, traits and occupations that can be picked up along the way, as everything is interconnected.  For part of this, I need your help.

MechWarrior character creation was intended to be completed with the player and the gamemaster sitting in the same room so that the character could be approved and any questions could be answered.  Because I’m making Battletech Live to be autonomous, a gamemaster will normally not be available.  Hell, I want to play too.  I need assistance to remove some of the subjective rules and turn them into adequately-random versions.  For example, there are both positive and negative traits that can be picked up through character development.  A good trait is something like Ambidextrous, Fast Learner, Pain Resistance and Toughness, while negative traits are things like Addiction, Allergy, Amnesia and Enemy.  The problem is that it’s left up to the gamemaster to decide just what these things mean.  For example, consider the following book definitions:

Addiction: Value: 1-2
The character has developed a serious addiction to something, be it a substance, condition or activity. If the addiction is to a fairly common and inexpensive thing, it is a 1-point trait. If the subject of the addiction is rare and/or exceptionally expensive, it is a 2-point trait.
If the character has no access to the addiction for twenty-four hours, he will become irritable and distracted. All target numbers that involve concentration (including all combat actions) suffer a +1 modifier. After forty-eight hours, the character suffers withdrawal symptoms, such that all target numbers have a +1 modifier and his Initiative rolls are modified by -1. These penalties are doubled after seventy-two hours and persist until the character can appease his addiction or receives professional therapy. Effective therapy requires the MedTech Skill and hours of counseling, and it is no guarantee of a cure. The exact recovery process is up to the gamemaster, but removal of this trait requires therapy as well as the usual expenditure of Experience Points.

Allergy: Value: 1
The character has a serious allergy to a substance or condition defined at the time of trait purchase (for example, an allergy to cotton). The substance or condition must be fairly common (the mycosia pseudoflora, a flower originally found only on Andalusia, would be far too rare), and the allergy must be severe enough to cause serious debilitation or death in large doses; otherwise it is not worth a Character Point (a minor itchy rash is an interesting character detail, but it will not net you any Character Points). A character may only have one Allergy Trait without the gamemaster’s specific permission.

Amnesia: Value: 3
Quite rare in reality but a staple of fiction, a character with this trait has forgotten who he is and most of his personal history. As such, he has no use of his skills (with the exception of the free skills Language and Perception) after receiving this trait and must gradually “remember” what he can do. Exactly how long this takes is up to the gamemaster; a good pace might be to allow the remembrance of one skill at the end of each play session, most logically a skill the amnesiac either saw being used or was forced to use “untrained” during the course of the adventure. If the player and gamemaster agree, the gamemaster can actually create the amnesiac’s skills and background using the Life Path so that the player actually has no idea what his character is capable of.

Enemy: Value: 1-3
The character has attracted an enemy, either a single person or a group. The trait is worth 1, 2 or 3 points depending on the power and influence of the enemy in comparison to the character and the organization he is a part of. A 1-point enemy is about as powerful as the character, while a 2-point enemy is more powerful than the character and a 3-point enemy is much more powerful than the character.
The Sample Contacts (p. 208) can also serve as sample enemies, since people likely to be valuable friends are also the kind of people that make dangerous adversaries.
Enemies can provide useful inspiration for the gamemaster’s campaign and can serve as excellent motivators for the characters. Enemies should get involved in adventures often enough to be a nuisance, but they should not dominate the group’s plot lines. After all, only one character took on the
Enemy Trait, so that character shouldn’t make the whole group pay for it. If, however, the gamemaster planned on having a certain enemy act as a nemesis for the entire group through much of the campaign, all the characters in the group could take the same Enemy Trait to represent it.

It’s things like these for which I need to remove the subjective nature and turn them into much more defined rules, but I need enough examples of each so that characters don’t get redundant.

I think Addiction could be a fun one, to make characters tweak out from time-to-time and am thinking about adding a series of Quirk/Compulsions.  For example, a character has a paranoia trait and a quirk/compulsion, in order to maintain their EDGE attribute, they feel the need to clean their command console once per day, or before going into battle, they must walk laps around their chair, reciting their affiliation oath while petting a furby.

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

MechWarrior, Life Path

On Monday, I began organizing information for the Life Path, character creation process.  Quite a bit of time was spent reworking the affiliations, getting them built into mysql instead of in the swf files.  So now, the RadioButtons that list each of the territories are generated at runtime.  This way, any number of new territories can be added to the database and the application will automatically compensate.

The next part involves building a catalog of each territory and each Life Path option at each of the four stages, determining prerequisites, bonuses, avalilable subsequent paths, required paths, penalties and effect rolls so that the system can make the selections dynamically per user input.  Long process.  At minimum, I hope to have the first two stages done this week, but I have a feeling that after the database input takes place, all four will work themselves out at the same time.

May 20, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | 1 Comment

The joys of Copyrights

Most of what I’ve done up to this point has been fairly general, getting the structure in place for things to come.  Even though I’ve used the word “Battletech”, and I’ve made references to the game, until the last couple weeks, I haven’t had much on the site that was very Battletech-specific.  Since I’m getting further into the real game content, needing to draw more on the back story of territories, and pull information straight out of the books, it’s time I looked at rights and permissions for usage of such materials.  I know that FASA has been dodo-ized since 2001 and when hunting around, one can find that the rights to Battletech has changed hands several times over the years.  Currently, the franchise is owned by Catalyst Game Labs, who is actively producing new material as well as re-releasing updated versions of the old stuff.  I also found an interesting forum thread by an author of one of the back stories for the Eridani Light Horse, who is in a legal battle, mostly revolving around WizKids, where he is seeking rights to the entire Battletech Universe.  I have contacted Catalyst Game Labs to ask them questions about permission to use materials, loosely announced my intent for the website and asking how much detail I can get into.  I doubt I’ll hear anything back until the current court case is settled, but I hope to hear something positive.

While I hope to have Battletech Live working in a public-facing website, if all else fails, I can pull the site and convert everything to Adobe Air, using a web server for the sole purpose of storing SQL data.  In any case, I’m chugging along, developing what I can every day and someday, will have a working Battletech game, complete with a MechWarrior RPG and 3D interface for battles.


May 11, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

Battletech Live Character Creation

The character creation process is under way. Generation is completed using the Life Path, found in the MechWarrior Third Edition handbook, with a couple modifications:  Characters are divided by timeframe.  As you can see in the screenshot, the player can select a number of timeframes, from 2750 to 3062, and I’ll probably have a few beyond that year.  The player creates the character, using the selected year as the target for when the character will be available for play.  So, if a character is 35 years old and is set up for 3025, they would have been born in 2990.  Characters will then be able to interact and with other characters from similar time periods and live through the events of the time.  Some sort of timescale will be put in place.  Not usre if it will be 1:1 or accelerated, so that time passes for the character.  For example, if a character is created for 3052 and goes about their career, and sometime later, another player creates a character for 3057, it’s possible the two characters could meet.

The Inner Sphere map changes according to time period, and according to historical events, will be adjusted to match.  I have a lot of work ahead of me, putting regional information in place so that when a player chooses an affiliation, they can make an informed decision.

Picture 1

May 9, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

The 1st Somerset Strikers

Over the weekend, I began converting the 1994 television series into flv format and built a simple video player to serve them.  There are 14 episodes, each running about 23 minutes.  These videos are of course available on YouTube, Veoh and a number of other sources, but with providing information about the sourcebook, I felt it handy to also allow for the videos.

These are available on the Expanded Universe page, to registered members only.


May 4, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment