Battletech Live

Online, Turn-Based Battletech – Development Logs

Back at it again.

Wow, it has been so freaking long since I’ve been on here.  I had a critical hard drive failure the other day and it wiped out a lot of my content.  It made me sad.  I lost one physical volume in a logical volume setup and it took with it four logical volumes.  All of the Battletech files I had on my local system are gone, along with all of my family photos, documentation of all of my side projects and my music library.  All gone.  I have everything that was on my public web server and a number of PDFs that were stored on a thumb drive.  I’m working on the Inner Sphere map portion of Battletech Live and hope to have it finished by the end of this week.

February 27, 2013 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

Lightwave design adapted to Battletech Live

Using Lightwave, I’m building a bevel into the hex face.  In the end, hopefully, each hex will be made up of seven polygons, the ones on the outer edge may be pitched up or down, depending on surrounding terrain.  Alternativa is acting kind of funky.  When one hex is drawn, everything is fine, but if there are other hexes near it, the polygons split unexpectedly.  I’m working on that now, trying to figure it out.

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As of yet, there is no lighting in Alternativa3D, but I was able to sample the screenshot generated from Lightwave using Photoshop to simulate a slight shadow.

zeussupply

October 6, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests, Project Development, World Builder | Leave a comment

A question of scale

This evening, I started layering some of the BattleMechs out in Lightwave against the intended hex size.  These models are built using the exact geometry from MechCommander 2, so they are all proportional to each other.  The hexes in Battletech Live are 30 meters across the points.  Across the flats, they’re about 26 meters.  I started looking online for the general size of BattleMechs and opinions vary.  Wikipedia says that they should be 7 – 17 meters tall, while other sources say 5 – 15.  In the computer games, the height of Mad Cat has fluctuated.  In one game, it was 15 meters and in another, it was scaled down to 10 meters.  I started with an elemental, making it just over 2 meters tall.  The rest of them fall into place from there, but there is a huge difference in height from light to assault ‘Mechs.

As you can see in the images below, I have one elevation height at 6 meters.  Some of the smallest BattleMechs will be fully obscured by a single elevation of intervening terrain.  These include Flea, Cougar, Hollander, Raven, Urbanmech and most anything 25 tons and smaller.  On the other end of the scale, Atlas, Berzerker, Hatamoto-Chi, Battlemaster, Akuma and a few others are taller than 12 meters, so their heads will still peek over two levels of terrain but for game purposes, they will be considered to be fully obscured.

hollander

Hollander, although still 35 tons, stands at 7 meters.

Elementals and Battle Armor are barely larger than a human, so in this case, it's just a bit over 2 meters tall.

Elementals and Battle Armor are barely larger than a human, so in this case, it's just a bit over 2 meters tall.

Bushwacker, a pretty squat BattleMech anyway, is about 9 meters tall.

Bushwacker, a pretty squat BattleMech anyway, is about 9 meters tall.

Catapult, weighing in at 60 tons, is pretty good size and stands about 10 meters tall.

Catapult, weighing in at 60 tons, is pretty good size and stands about 10 meters tall.

Highlander, at 90 tons (?) is one of the tallest, standing about 12 meters.

Highlander, at 90 tons (?) is one of the tallest, standing about 12 meters.

Atlas, at 14 meters, dwarfs just about everything out there, but he's not the tallest.  Berzerker still stands head and shoulders taller, as do others such as Akuma and Battlemaster.

Atlas, at 14 meters, dwarfs just about everything out there, but he's not the tallest. Berzerker still stands head and shoulders taller, as do others such as Akuma and Battlemaster.

MadCat is a bit shorter, at 11 meters.

MadCat is a bit shorter, at 11 meters.

With his shoulder pod, Thor stands about 12 meters tall.

With his shoulder pod, Thor stands about 12 meters tall.

Lastly, Zeus stands in at about 12 meters.

Lastly, Zeus stands in at about 12 meters.

October 1, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests, Project Development | Leave a comment

How the heck did they do that?

I started looking around last night, on a partially unrelated subject, Google Maps for Sim City, and came up with some interesting results.  One site listed a 3D landscape of Hong Kong, apparently because the Chinese government doesn’t like it when it’s country is photographed in high resolution.  The article then linked to http://www.youcity.com, a social networking site that uses a 3D city interface, in this case made of New York.  Both of these rock unbelievably hard.  The detail is good and the pages render very quickly. If Battletech Live could be made with this sort of detail and still conform to hexagon tiles, it would kick butt.

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September 24, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

Update to the Battletech Live map generator.

To add an update for what’s going on in the map editor, arrangement has changed slightly.  I was having space problems when the panels expanded vertically, so I changed their direction. The first expansion is vertical and the second is a horizontal span.  I’ll need to do calculations to detect the screen size of the user’s monitor and add rows.  The buttons that were along the top have been moved to an info panel to the left.  Right now, things are just tossed into it with no real organization.  I show five categories at the top and I’ll be adding at least one more, for ground cover such as leaves, dirt and frost.  Tonight, other than installing a new processor in my home computer, I’ll be adding one interesting feature.  When you select a tile, the active tile image in the side menu changes to reflect what you have selected.  The second and third buttons going across the top, show trees and roads.  The backgrounds of those tiles will change to show the active tile so that you can get an idea of what the tile will look like before it’s applied.

Shown below, the fifth category is open.  This holds items for raising and lowering the elevation of individual hexes, rotating the hex clockwise and counter-clockwise, viewing an exploded version of the selected hex so that individual layers can be manipulated and one of a pair of buttons that will allow for an existing hex to be cloned or replicated from one place to another.  I can’t think of much else that a user would want or need to do to an individual hex.  All of the images shown are extremely small 46px x 40px thumbnails, while the originals are 429px x 372px.  I’ll be adding a feature to allow users to preview the hex at full resolution so they can decide if the selected combination of textures is really what they want to use.

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September 23, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

Early production work on the Battletech Live map editor

I began working on a map editor last night, digging through my stored files for images to use as map tiles.  Many land textures are easy to come by with a simple google search.  Others, such as streets and buildings, I’m going to have to put a little more work into.  Most likely, I’ll make a rendering of the individual buildings available in the game, so the list will grow over time.  Clicking on a menu tile, makes that tile active, available for placement on the map.  I’ll be working on a listener for shift-click, allowing all tiles in the row from point A to point B to be placed simultaneously.  The trick is that there are three axis in a hex map, not just two.  Some of the other features I’m working on is a fill-all button that will fill all hexes with the active tile and a fill-empty button which will fill all blank hexes with the active tile.  Logic will be in place to prevent users from placing houses on top of lava fields or in water.  When elevation is built, it will tile the wall texture according to the hill texture used.  Another is a random-facing toggle so that if the map is filled with all of the same tile, they aren’t all facing the same direction. I’ll be adding a toggle button that will show the user any unreachable tiles based on a walking BattleMech, jump jets and various vehicle types.

Presently, when a hex grid is laid down, the existing one is removed.  I’ll be setting it up so that if the user increases the map area, it just adds new hexes along the selected edge and if they shrink the map, it warns the user before doing so.  Lastly, I’ll be working on an image preview so that the user can see the map rendered using the Alternativa3D engine.  Fun stuff, lots of work.

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September 19, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | 1 Comment

Building maps with Battletech Live.

I’ve started designing a map editor for Battletech Live.  Over the last several days, I have been building a large map based on an image taken from Google Maps.  Several days to produce one map is much too long.  The map editor will have buttons similar to Photoshop, able to open and close menus through a click.  So far, I’ve got one button for tile selection, one for landscaping, one for roads and one for buildings.  I’ll have a pair of buttons for changing elevations, so when plus is selected, clicking on a hex will raise it’s elevation, etc. I’ll have presets for map size as well as plus and minus buttons for tweaking X and Y values.  I’ll have logic in place so that you can’t put water on top of a hill and when a water hex is raised to the same surface as surrounding terrain, the hex type changes to match.  I also want a toggle so that users can easily identify unreachable hexes.

Below is the map, set up in Photoshop to determine elevation and hex type.  The lines are to be roads.  Needing to color each hex by hand is a major pain.  No more.

lakePonca

September 18, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment

BattleMech Selection page

Today, I began capturing wireframe models from Lightwave for use in Battletech Live.  When selecting a unit for the singleplayer demo, the player will move through the available chassis’, as seen below:

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

Texturing trees, rocks and BattleMechs.

More texturing work is done today, getting trees and rocks in place, as well as placing the first BattleMech.  From my previous tests, I remember that something was causing textures to shred in all but one axis.  It’s doing that again, so I’ll have to figure out alignment, but for now, things are going well.  I need to build controls for camera pitch and rotation, then get surface contours done.  The second picture shows how close you can get to units, but I want to get closer still.

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September 7, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests, Project Development | Leave a comment

Singleplayer Gameplay Demo

Production of the gameplay demo is underway.  The concept is that the user is given an introduction page where they select a unit type, where it will display a basic record sheet, detailing the armor rating, available weapons and an illustration of the unit.  When the player begins, they’ll be directed to either select a hex along the starting edge of the map, or perform a combat drop which will use the entire map to select a random hex and hex facing for the starting point.  From there, the player will go through the movement phase.  The reaction phase will take place, where both the player and a fixed opponent have the opportunity to turn to torso-twist a single hex side to face the opponent.  (The single enemy on the field will be a randomly-selected unit, but will remain stationary except for torso-twisting.)  As the game proceeds, both units can fire and be fired upon, taking damage as normal.  Since the target is computer controlled and doesn’t move, Initiative doesn’t really matter, but the rolls will take place as a proof of concept.  Rounds will continue until the player destroys the target or the player is destroyed by the target.  I’ll be working on landscape features tomorrow, textures for trees and rocks so that the map can be made to look as much like the paper sheet as possible.

Picture 5

September 6, 2009 Posted by | Model Rendering Tests, Project Development | Leave a comment