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Priority SitRep

4/21/24. Yes, I know everything is hosed. I'm working on it.

Holy Sh*t!

Okay, THAT was an experience!

So here I was trying to upgrade my website software (which I'm not mentioning to piss off script kiddies) and ended up crashing the website. I immediately initiated a restoral... and it didn't work. OH SHIT...

I've tried several times to restore over the past couple days and finally got this time to work. I'll be more careful in the future.

Roster Builder 4.0.2

Hey, quick bug fix. If you weren't able to print rosters, or the "Non-Org AS Roster" didn't work, the updates are uploaded. Run Roster Builder and it should download what you need by itself.

Thanks to H2CO3 for finding the AS bug!

The Issue is fixed!

If you are into Star Trek, you'll recognize this:

IDIC

This is a Vulcan IDIC symbol. IDIC stands for "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations" and it is my primary way of fixing things when I don't know what I'm doing. I generally call it "Brute Force" because you're trying everything in every combination to see if you unbreak it. You change something, see what changes, document it, change it back, change something else and repeat. Or, as I sometimes say, "I can't fix it, but I can get it to work."

Since you're seeing this post, I'm going to surmise that you're smart enough to realize I fixed the issue related in the post below. The simple answer is, it was looking for a missing CSS file. I made a copy of the default.css file , renamed it to the offending filename and let it go, which seems to have worked.

Not only did I get that straightened out, I also capured enough logos to give every article an individual unit/house logo. The BatReps I will go back later to take one of their photos, trim/resize it and use them. I also added The Purple Nurples to the My Forces menu, I picked them up a couple months ago at a flea market at my FLGS.

That's it for me. It's after my bed time, I have to be up early to blow shit up and burn crap down tomorrow.

Renovations underway

So, if you've noticed, clicking on the odd-numbered headers above ("Getting Started," " Game Aids," " Homebrew" and "My Forces") gets you get an error. I'm finally clearing time to work on this. What this means is, things might look wonky, radically change, or even stop working alltogether. The reason is my SEO (Search Engine Optimized) software (so you see the link for this post as "...com/blog/renovations-underway" instead of "...com/index.php?option=com_content&Itemid=101&catid=17&id=166&lang=en&view=article") won't work on my sandbox web server. So, I have to work on my production website.

Don't worry, I'm paranoid enough to back up the website before I start making changes. I can't make things worse than they allready are. Well, I can, but I would have to go through a lot of effort to do so. Which I probably won't do.

I finally did it.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning and decided to just sit down and get this done. So I did just that. Pounded out the code, then fixed what I broke by changing things, fixed a few bugs, compiled it, and uploaded it. Enjoy Roster Builder 4.0!

July 12 UPDATE: If you downloaded Roster Builder between Saturday 7-10 and now, you got RB 3.9, and you also now get my apologies. I have fixed it and you will now get RB 4.

Overloaded

I am up to my eyebrows in pirranha. 

My clothes washer is spewing like a drunken sailor, the lawnmower decided to go on strike yesterday in the middle of mowing the lawn, the Ender 3 is crapping itself constantly, and 1,023 other things are coming apart all around me. I have been at General Quarters for 6 months without a break. My relaxation time is devoted to working on Roster Builder, See Mark Paint and this blog. My lack of production here shows I'm not getting my relaxation time in.

Enough whining.

Yes, I know some of the headers aren't working. You can still get to the sub items, but not the category tab. I know what's happening that's causing the problem, just not why it's happening.

Roster Builder 4 is 97% done. I only have to write two windows for Non-Canon Alpha Strike units, then do final cleanup.

I'm trying to make progress on the Ender 3, however I keep falling below the 2% threshold (an old military term: You must be at least 2% smarter than the equipment you're operating in order to operate it properly). I'm ordering enough parts and tools for this thing that the Amazon delivery person is ready to stab me in the eye with an icepack. I'm exaggerating. Slightly.

Once I get this thing running properly and consistently, progress will be made on See Mark Paint. I'm adding (as of right now) three extra chapters. I'm splitting "Rolling your own Miniatures" into three chapters, the "Rolling your own" will be general 3D printing stuff common to both FDM and resin printing, then each gets their own chapter, "The Vat of Doom" and "String Theory." I'm considering a chapter on terrain, no movement on it yet.

Back to the salt mines.

They followed me home, honest!

There I was this past Saturday, showing up to my FLGS for my weekly fix of "Blowing Shit Up" and they were having a flea market! A quick run to the ATM to pull out cash I can't afford to spend, and this was my haul:

Flea market games sm

Combined Arms is a 6mm 80's armor D10 game based on the Command Decision rultset. I played it while I was in the Project Warrior Wargame Club in Guam back in the late 80's and early 90's. I had long forgotten the name so I could never look it up, but I saw the cover and instantly recognized it. One time we actually tried to cross Battletech into it. It didn't end well for the 'Mechs.

The other game is the old AH War at Sea strategic-level game that I wanted to try out. Avalon Hill always put out good stuff.

But the best haul of all was the Purple Nurples. Yes, I used to be "that guy" back when I was young, dumb and ugly. The good news, I'm not him not any more. :-)

purple nurples

I admire the painting, especially the jewled cockpits. All of this is only "mostly complete," as I need to add another 'Mech from my stock to bring them up to two full lances, do base work on the ones that need it, print and install the ML barrels on the Pumas, Reverse the arms on the Toyama, things like that. The aircraft on the left are not from Battletech, so I will have to choose who they will be. I also have a couple of "Grav Tanks" from yet another game system that I will probably try to fit in there some way. But the purple and white on the gray just jumped out at me.

And here I was, thinking I was done patinting miniatures. Shit. ;-)

Making haste slowly

Everyone, while updates here are sparse, it's only because I'm very busy behind the scenes. Real Life has seriously been screwing with my gaming time. A new job, the unexpected passing of a very close friend, my hooptie doing a Blues Brothers and a whole lot more.

But those are neither here nor there.

Roster Builder 4 has been delayed. I was planning on getting it out today (May 19th). But finding a friend dead in his apartment kind of screws with your head. I did get the Clan TO&E worked out, and have gotten to build rosters using Alpha Strike units, I had forgotten the function to add non-Canon AS units. I'm giving you the option when you add a non-Canon CBT unit to also add it to the Alpha Strike side as well, plus entering non-Canon as just AS units. While I still have some things to Grok for that to work properly and elegantly, my subconcious is telling me "it will be soon." Soon for a fruit fly or soon for a mountain I can't tell you.

A medium priority once RB 4 is out is to continue porting this to Mac OSX and Unix. That's mostly screen layout, as I'm working off an old 13" MacBook Air. If you think I should be doing it on one of those 1000" display desktops, HMU so you can Zelle me the money because I don't have it.

I am also continuing my review of various Battletech-related products. I am waiting on one getting shpped to me, others are currently in various stages. Here's a picture of what I rolled out at a battle this past Saturday:

deathraydesigns1 sm

Once Roster Builder is out of the way, then work on the 5th edition of See Mark Paint will begin. I've decided to add a chapter on terrain and expanding the 3D printing information.

So, yes a lot is going on. I am making haste, but advancing slowly on many fronts simultaneously.

 

Roster Builder 4 is imminent!

Okay Mechwarriors, my Grokking has achieved fullness. I have solved the issue for a TO&E for The Clans. You will have a choice of 3, 4 or 5 Binary Clusters. You can pair vehicles and aerospace into a single Point. I had to get a shoehorn and a rubber mallet to get everything on one screen/sheet of paper, but it's done.

I also managed to get an Alpha Strike option for building rosters. It works just like the CBT version doing things.

The only thing left is to do a through Beta test and add another hundred or so items into the database. Just so you know, if a unit is missing a major point of information (tons, BV/PV, rules, year introduced, etc. it will not appear in this application, as I can't find it at the appropriate time if it's missing one (or more) of the fields I need.

I'm going to set my deadline for three weeks from now. Pray that I make it. ;-)

New Review

Just a quick note, I have posted a review for Lychee Slicer. Go check it out, then go get the product!

Busy busy busy!

I have been so busy...

I am moving forward on multiple projects simultaneously. I am in the middle of a couple of new product reviews, and advancing on the next versions of See Mark Paint and Roster Builder. I'm also doing some commission painting and so much more. I feel like a duck, calm on the surface but paddling like crazy out-of-view.

Progress is being made. It will become apparent when the groking achieves fullness.

RosterBuilder 3.9 update

I managed to find a few ways to save code. I also found a couple hundred errors of the rules levels. I updated the main database, then realized that if/when I update the main database it wasn't updating the profiles. So I fixed that too.

I am working on the Mac version, as well as working out the Clan structure and Alpha Strike functions as well. Hopefully by 3rd quarter.

I completed the challenge!

I have completed my painting challenge! It wasn't easy, it was frustrating but I got it done. I now have 288 combat-ready miniatures in eight battalions.

I did misunderstand something. I have been saying "Regimental Combat Teams," but after posting the below picture on social media, it was pointed out that I don't have two RCT's, I have two Reinforced Regiments. I stand corrected.

As soon as I get done editing the pictures I have of each battalion, those will get posted in the "My forces" tab at the top of the page.

TwoRB sm

February Painting Challenge

All I can say is W-O-W.

Like I said earlier, I was waiting for when the detail painted step had over 100 miniatures before I would start dipping so I could make a lot of progress all at once.

Then I got furloughed from my day job. Suddenly I had a lot of time to work on my miniatures! My last miniatures also arrived from Ironwind Metals. So officially I have two complete RCT’s.

So over about 3 days, I managed to dip 87 miniatures (34 were Team Banzai, which are black as a base color, no reason to dip them). Then came a nice sunny day and I got them sealed in Matte Varnish (which has a story all by itself. I might tell it someday). A couple days after that, I “garnished” them (applied static grass) and just like that I went from 122 at a ready state to 229! With my repairs also completed, I now have 236 miniatures ready, 81.9%.

I have knocked my tasks down to 208, which is just 52 Detail Painted. I am actually “almost” (in those dreaded “scare quotes”) done. One mass dipping session, one mass sealing session and one mass garnishing session and I’ll be done! I will be seriously surprised if I’m still doing this in March. If I push myself I can report the challenge is complete by Valentine’s Day. I say “push myself” because on top of painting, I’m job hunting and doing a lot of semi-big “Honey-Do’s” around the house as well. My Par is currently +408, so I could take twelve weeks off if I wanted to complete “on-schedula.” Let me think about it, no.

I will be dipping them this week, then all I need is a sunny day with low humidity to seal them. Ooh, I need more static grass...

So, here's the numbers:

Days left: 119
Steps from last report: 798
Steps left: 208
Units in Monthly Delta: 590
this stage Delta Current status: On-Track
236 114 Ready 81.9%
0 -7 Repair 0.0%
0 0 Garnish 0.0%
0 -4 Sealed 0.0%
0 -1 Dipped 0.0%
52 -69 Detail Painted 18.1%
0 -23 Base painted 0.0%
0 0 Basecoated 0.0%
0 0 Unpainted 0.0%
0 -10 Unassembled 0.0%
0 0 Unpurchased 0.0%

Product reviews inbound!

Hey all, In case you didn't notice, the "header line" up there in RED has a new item, Product Reviews. It is my honest assessment of various things to buy and/or use in our community. I am not getting any kind of free or discounted product to give a "rah-rah" review. If I do, I will tell you up front about it. No matter what, you will always get my truthful and honest opinion, especially if it's a "stay away from this" kind of review.

Roster Builder 3.6

Some updates for Roster Builder:

1. 3.6 is out, so you can build rosters without having to do all of the "Organization" work beforehand. It grabs data directly from the primary database that I use.

2. I made it easier to print rosters.

3. Roster Builder 4 will have two new features: Alpha Strike and Clan TO&E's. I have not grokked fully on these, but the grokking has commenced.

4. Yes, I am still working on a Mac/Linux version of Roster Builder. I am still having some technicial issues with one of the modules, but I'm trying to make it work.

5. I am working on a database of an Alpha Strike master database, I am working on how to integrate it with mine so you don't have to change your TO&E's, you will be able to build CBT or AS rosters the same way and using the same data.

As a side note, I will be doing some product reviews in the near future, look for those.

January Painting Challenge

Okay, a lot of changes since my last report.

First, I started the painting challenge because I wanted to be able to field two painted Regimental Combat Teams and a loaner battalion, which works out to be nine battalions. The object of this exercise was so I could field “pure” forces (one Command) of almost any size. I have many battle reports where usually it was a combination of Krushers and Group W units to “get the job done.”

The week before Christmas, I was looking at the mix of forces I have (and will have) and realized my #8 battalion (it didn't even have a name) wasn’t going to contribute anything meaningful to my force structure, just to my workload. Right now I have 3 combined arms Commands (a ‘Mech battalion and an infantry/vehicle/aerospace battalion), one ‘Mech only battalion and my newest battalion is mostly ‘Mechs with a small aerospace/vehicle presence. So, I dropped that unnamed battalion off the task list. That alone saved me 25% of the work I had set out before myself. My total step count dropped from 1,315 to 991.

I also revised my weekly task par from 23 to 25 just because it’s a “round number.” I did the math and I’ve actually been averaging 30 steps/week, but I don’t want this to be a race. It is a method of accountability to ensure steady progress to get the job completed in a timely manner and no more.

By a combination of these two factors, I have revised my finish date from NYE 2021 to July 25th, 2021, a full twenty-six weeks (six months) sooner. I will probably finish a week or two before that, but I’m aiming for a specific date to make sure I don’t slack off and get this done. Finishing early is just bragging rights.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the details.

First, I managed to fill out the entire TO&E (Table of Organization & Equipment) for all battalions. I ordered the last miniatures I need from IWM yesterday morning. I got everyone detail painted except for 23 units of the 101st (and the ten units that I need to purchase). I also finally detail painted all of the battle armor, which was a chore I’ve been avoiding for months. I also discovered I "lied to myself" and backstepped about a dozen miniatures from Ready to Detail painted becaise I screwed up on the tracking spreadsheet. It's all good now. I'm still above par.

My plan (Custer had a plan...) involves dipping about 10-20 miniatures a day for the upcoming week. If the weather is good over the weekend, I'll start sealing them. Then it's a garnish of grass and done! With them at least.

Here's the numbers:

Days left: 147
Steps from last report: 798
Steps left: 697
Units in Monthly Delta: 101
this stage Delta Current status: On-Track
122 -4 Ready 42.4%
7 -7 Repair 2.4%
0 0 Garnish 0.0%
4 4 Sealed 1.4%
1 0 Dipped 0.3%
121 76 Detail Painted 42.0%
23 -38 Base painted 8.0%
0 -22 Basecoated 0.0%
0 0 Unpainted 0.0%
10 3 Unassembled 3.5%
0 -8 Unpurchased 0.0%

 

Here's (most of) the queue of miniatures waiting "to take the dip."

JPCpic.

The new look is here!

Okay everyone, MERRY CHRISTMAS (or whatever holiday you're currently celebrating).

I decided to go ahead and cut over to the new look today. Over the last several weeks, I've had to fight the CSS code, the author of the template, then review and update every article on the site. IThe links are all redone and the reviews are updated to reflect changed equipment and so on. Please enjoy!

Roster Builder 3.5 is here!

I have busted my butt to get to the point to write this. Roster Builder 3.5 is on-line!

I have managed to get a few improvements into this version:

  • I have added "All/None" buttons for unit types and Organizations to help with the filtering when building a roster.
  • I "externalized" the Gunnery/Pilot matrix so I can update it when (not if) CGL changes it in the future. It was set in the code before and I would have had to release a new application version to update it. This will do it easily for both you and I because the app checks for and auto-downloads updates when it starts.
  • When building a roster, any unit in the pool who's BV is greater than the BV left in the list will turn red, so it's easier to see who will "fit or not."

I also discovered a lot of missing movement values (400+) in the main database. If you have a unit in your inventory with that issue, please delete it from and reload it into your inventory.

The one future feature I want to put in is a capability to build Alpha Strike rosters. What I am still working out is what information to put in the mouseover window. Please, all feedback on what you want to see would be greatly appreciated. I played AS once, at Adeptcon like 5+ years ago, so I don't remember a lot about it.

Work continues apace on the Mac/Linux versions. I am now writing the code to be compatible with all enviroments, 90% of which is addressing disk operations, the rest being screen formatting. I am momentarily stuck because I discovered a bug in one module about text alignment on a button. I'm stuck until the author gets the fix through the approval process and releases it into the wild.

The new format for the website is up and ready, I am still grokking on if I want to go through with the last feature, which would be to provide a map of players by Zip Code and gaming stores by address. It's already being done, but (to me) it's clunky and you don't have a way to reach out to the other players. My main hurdle is I would have to buy a dating extension for my website and that will run me about $100. Hit the Contact Me page to arrange send cash if you want it to happen. Either way, I'm putting the new website up on NYE.

Getting so close...

I am making a lot of progress on the website revamp. I have gotten many things aligned properly, and just need to work out a couple of issues.

-CSS to change one module is not working, despite my trying everything without result. If you know CSS, please help. I will pay you for your time. hehehe, I had been beating my head on my desk for a week over this, and less than an hour after I wrote this article, my mind had grokked fully and I figured it out.

-I am trying to add a map where you can add your comtact information and you can see who is near you. A Google map of "Find Battletech Players by Zip coide."

-I am also shuffling my "deep dive" articles around to regroup them into more sensible categories.

I am setting the official roll out to 1/1/21. I may move it up if I get everything done and tested ahead of schedule.

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