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Almost there...

2-12-2020 UPDATE: See the above post, but I thought I would update this punch list too. New accomplishments are highleted and crossed out.

I recently got a new job and had to spend two weeks in another town getting trained for my new job. I spent my time in the evening drinking and finishing the Battle Armor code (you can now select a squad size of 4, 5 or 6) and getting a serious chunk of code written to handle three C3 networks. This past weekend, I squashed the last bug for that.

I also discovered that my windows were too big, so I had to revamp sizes and layouts of multiple windows. I also upgraded the method on how to select your numbers (gunnery/pilot scores, BA squad size and C3 network).

This is the punch list that remains for version 1:

  • Clean up Units to Organizations code (I fixed this Sunday night after writing the post)
  • Update the Gunnery/Pilot BV multiplier (CGL changed it when I wasn't looking)
  • Clean up the "Phone Home" code (the app will ping this website periodically to check for updates to the main database and application itself)
  • Detail which units are part of which C3 networks in the printed paperwork.

The new features to be seen in version 2 are at least these:

  • More units added to the main database
  • Aircraft external ordinance
  • (Possibly) up to 15 units in a roster. I now have the area to handle it, I just have to upgrade the code to count to 15 rather than 12
  • The ability to add custom units to your roster and at your option, share them with the rest of the community (I'm still thinking on that last part)

Features WAY down the line:

  • Full TO&E (you get to have a display that shows every unit in a particular slot in the Organization)

So there you have it. Keep tuned for updates!

Roster Builder App Delayed

Hey all, just before Christmas 2019 I was ready to release the Roster Builder App as-is. What stopped me was I had an opportunity drop into my lap. I quit my job Friday (1/3/20) and today (1/6) I am starting a new job, which will entail two weeks of training away from home.

I am planning on using my after-class and weekend time to write articles for my other blog, but also add in the two main features I was going to let slide and do later, namely how to handle Battle Armor squads and C3 networks. The BA code will be easy, the hard part will be the C3 networks. I as a person know how to do the math to refigure BV for units in a C3 network, the sticking point is my difficulty in wrapping my brain around an efficient way of having the application do it. After these two feats of programming skill, I then get to work on the ability to mount external ordinance on Aerospace units, which I will complete before releasing any Aerospace entries.

I am also cleaning up the unit database for the first release. I will have all mechs and vehicles initially, then adding BA and Aerospace units as well. Roster Builder will have the feature of checking a server every now and then for updates to the database and the application itself.

A future feature will allow for you to include your own custom units and on your option, allow them to be shared with other Roster Builder users. This is still in the "rough parameters" stage and low priority to getting the other features coded.

Book and App update

Okay everyone! I was going to hold off on releasing See Mark Paint until next year because I put a 2020 coptright tag on it, but you know what? I'm not a big publisher that has to plan months in advance for a book release. I can do it whenever I want, so I'm doing it NOW!

Also, the first version of the Roster Builder app is 99% ready. I have one bug (that I know of) to squash, then I'm doing a YouTube video that will be a help and tutorial video. This one is still a couple weeks out because I have to edit it.

Updates! Get your updates!

Several things here.

First of all, I have updated my Game Aids article with a few new (amazingly enough) game aids. Namely, a nice neoprene battlemat, some amazing status dice (from Canada, eh!) and a line-drawing laser pointer.

The biggest update of all is I made a desktop video of me performing a tutorial so I can clearly articulate what the Roster Builder is and does. Enjoy!

UPDATE: I took this video off-line because I made one of the production release.

Latest News

Multiple things here,

1) The development of Solaris Skunk Werks is in the hands of a new team and is now on GitHub. The link to the new SSW on the sidebar is updated.

2) Roster Builder development continues. I have several minor bugs and user interface issues to work out, but as of this moment, you can create/open a profile, then create organizations for the profile, add units to each organization, then build a roster and generate it to PDF. I still have the end of that roster code to write as while it is functional, it is not "user friendly" at the moment.

3) I have been buying multiple things to enhance my game play. As soon as the last item gets in from Canada (2-3 weeks) I will have a detailed "Product review" on all items.

A new addition to the Krushers

My "Brother-from-another-mother" Chris is our local Catalyist Demo Agent, and is worked like a dog by CGL during GenCon. He managed to slip this custom Banshee modeled and painted by Dave Fanjoy off the CSO table this year. This is the "Beat-Yo-Ass Banshee" piloted by Chris "Beatdown" Crews.

Beatdown Banshee

Chris even sent me a snapshot of it on the table:

Beatdown Banshee 2019 CSO tableBecause it obviously has a RAC-5 and an ER PPC, but no canon unit has that loadout, I decided to make my own.

Here is the Banshee BNC-4F. Introduced in 3086, it's very heat balanced, generating one heat on an Alpha Strike, it has 2 tons of ammo for a full 6 turns of maximum RAC fire. It has a slightly lighter armor load, but also has CASE and no XL engine so it doesn't die if there is an ammo explosion. It also has a Medium Pulse Laser in each arm and an ER Small Laser in the head. Since the club is actually an impromptu weapon, it's not part of the official loadout.

I made a record sheet and I am posting it here for you to copy and enjoy. Right-click and "Save As" to get it in full size.

bnc 4f.

More Roster Builder News

I have finally gotten to the point where I can call the core function of building a roster "complete."** You give Roster Builder a roster size, a variance percent, a year of the battle, rules level, what types of units you want to use and which of your organizations you want to draw from. It will then present a "pool" of up to 120 units to select, and a maximum roster size of 12 units in the final roster.

I am designing this to help with pick-up games. If you're doing something bigger than a company in a fight, you need more than this tool.

** I struck thru "complete" above because as I was trying to generate a screenshot I could show you, I found a rather glaring bug (this is why it's still in "Alpha" and not "Beta") in the code I just finished. Despite that, I did want to keep a running update of my "punch list" of things to complete before I can move on to the "Beta testing" where I turn copies over to volunteers to try and break, then document and return what broke and what they did to break it.

Punch list:

  • Fix Rules level bug
  • Fix BV error
  • Create new profile
  • Open to existing profile
  • Delete profile
  • Create/Edit/Delete organizations
  • Add/Delete units to organizations
  • Print roster to printer
  • Write documentation and help files

And for later versions:

  • Add (multiple) C3 networks
  • Add 5 man/6 man selections for Battle Armor
  • Retrieve, edit and save previous rosters
  • And a few other things I'll think of on the way to here

I'd love to get this done by next week, however the entire programming, project management and administration staff is... just me. I could get it done a lot faster if someone would pay my bills for me so I don't have to do the whole "day job" thing for a month or two. Or three.

Roster Builder App update

Just to keep all y'all in the loop, I am working on the Roster Builder App in my copious free time. I suffer from the Programmer's Curse, which is I write a section of code, then while writing the second part, I find a better way to do the first part so I go back and rewrite half of the code I've already written. Of course, part of this is because the variables and their parameters change, but such is life and learning a new programming language.

As part of your profile, you can choose a default roster size, variance and year to make choosing your lists easier. Each unit is also color coded so when you have a list you can choose from and you want to use only one organization, you can see what unit belogs to each organization. Other filters are the rules level, types of units and what organizations you want to draw from.

From this point when you mouseiver a unit, you get the popup as you see for the Archer. If you click on a unit (the code I am working on now) it will add it to the final roster. The current limit is a dozen units, the equivalent of an IS company. I might go a bit higher to accomodate Clan units.

This is the hardest code to write, which is why I'm doing it first. The code to add, edit and delete your pool of units will be a lot easier, as half the code I am writing now will be usful later and the base functions are lot easier.

RBupdate

Exciting things!

Yes, it's been ages since I've done anything other than maintenance here. When you're working 50+ hour weeks, house maintenance, high priority projects and stuff like that, gaming in general (and this blog) tend to take the back-back seat.

But I digress because you don't want to hear about my stuff.

You do want to hear that I have started working on the code for a stand-alone Roster Builder app. I'm getting away from Excel and creating it in Python. It will probably be a complied application so you don't have to download the Python interpeter (like you have to do with Java) to run it.

I have written about 10% of the code so far, so here's what I'm asking from you:

1. Use the Contact Me page if you want to help build and verify the data files I am using. Let's just say I have about 4,500 records to go.

2. You can also contact me if you want to be a beta tester when I get the code finished. You will need to work every function and try to break it, then tell me exactly what you did to break it and what it said/did when you broke it.

Those who help out will get shout-outs in the documentation and a full version of the application. This will be a shareware application, limited until you buy the full application. The price has not been set yet, but it will be $10 or less.

More changes

I have managed to update/rewrite some articles and brought two of my units to the page. A 3rd one will follow shortly (I'm editing the pictures now), the 4th will be a while as I'm still assembling and painting them.

I have a possible upheaval in my life soon, which will affect the next project: the Battletech Roster Builder app. I haven't forgotten about it, just had more important things to do.

Updates to the website

I'm making this short, I'm way past my bed time...

Since I have been regularly posting links to various articles here on Social Media, I have decided to make some changes around here. I have rewritten and updated some articles, fixed a few grammar and spelling errors here and there and split one article into two because it had two different subjects and I thought each deserved their own article.

I will also be changing the banner between the main graphics and these blog entries in the morning. I hope you enjoy the changes.

Changes coming

Now that the first book is out of the way, I am going to take a short breather and do some other things around here.

Here's my current gaming 'To-Do' list:

  • Reconstituting my original unit from 1990, the 101st Irregulars. This will be my 4th active unit.
  • Writing backstory (a kitten is killed every time you say “fluff”) on all four of my units, as well as some photos of each Lance.
  • My second book, the current working title is “DIY Projects for Gamers.” This started out as a chapter in the See Mark Paint book, but after the 5th major project qualified to be in it, I decided they need their own book.
  • Roster Builder 7.0 development is also proceding. This version will "phone home" when you start the spreadsheet, and download if necessary a "Master Unit List." Major particulars for each unit will be added as comments in certain cells, thus freeing up screen space.
  • I have already expanded the link roll to the right with multiple BattleTech Facebook groups I visit or frequent.

Enjoy, I am going to be performing other tweaks and upgrades soon as well.

The book is here!

After a lot of hard work experimenting, writing, photographing and editing, I have reached a point where I am comfortable releasing my first e-book, See Mark Paint. It is meant for someone who is just starting out in miniature wargaming.

The project became big enough that I split it into two books. The second one will be "DIY Projects for Gamers" to enhance your gaming workspace. That one is still a couple months out.

You are free to distribute this e-book to all who need it. If you want to reference it on your website, please link to this page so I can see who's asking and to make sure if I edit/update the book, they get the latest version.

Free Time Found!

Hey everyone, I have managed to discover some small snippets of time where my task list was not overflowing with emergency priority tasks. In accordance with that, I managed to update a couple of things here.

First, for the Roster Builder I have added a "Battle Report" form so you can see your list and write down your oppoenents list, then easily figure who was the victor. You can also take notes specific to turns so if you take pictures (like I do for my Batreps below) you know what happened when.

Second, I updated the Memphis Code of Common Play. I hadn't noticed we didn't include some of our most basic house rules.

Still here!

I have been busy with a ton of personal projects and other goings on that I have sadly neglected my favorite website (that you can see). I have been updating the pinned articles and adding more but I haven't posted them yet. When I get to a place where I am mostly satisfied you'll see them.

I have done a couple things today, namely you can now "contact me" over there to the right and you can also leave comments at the bottom of posts.

I have also posted two new battle reports, Taken down by gnats and Payback in Cash.

More improvements

I came to the realization a few days ago that I have been cranking out pretty significant Roster Builder updates fairly quickly. When an idea jumps on me, it's like Hobbs pounces on Calvin when he isn't looking. That means I have to stop everything else and incorporate it. This really is a labor of love.

The latest two newly added features are error alerts and automated importing.

Error Alerts will show along the top of the List Builder header when you have a C3 network mis-configured. If you have an invalid number or type of units in a declared C3 network (mixing C3 M/S and C3i, too many units, just one unit and so on) you will now see a "C3 Network Error!" in the header. If the network is properly set up, it will say "Network Active!" Also, if you generate a printed roster and you are over points or have a C3 network in error, this information will now appear on your DTF output.

The second is the ability to import. I realize that it takes a few minutes to copy or recreate your units in an updated spreadsheet. Since I've been cranking updates out faster than I cange my socks (metaphorically), I understand if you don't partake of every update. So now, if Roster Builder realizes it's "blank" (just the demo unit by itself), Roster Builder will ask if you want to import your data from another Roster Builder 6.x file. Due to formatting changes, any attempt to import data from a Roster Builder v5 or lower, well let's just say it won't be pretty. If you point it toward a 6.x file, it will copy all of your Battalion information and units in the List Builder tab.

Enjoy!

Urgent update to the update

I have wonderful news for you!

First, I messed up. How is this wonderful? I have corrected it. Please IMMEDIATELY DELETE Roster Builder 6.0.3 if you have it, as it will give you the wrong BV value for all pilots other than 4/5.

Second, I finally figured out how to perform verification for the C3 networks. It will not let you know up top if you have an acceptable or unacceptable C3/C3i/Boosted C3 networks. Due to certain constraints, I had to cut the available Boosted C3 networks from 3 to 2, but I'm sure 99% of you won't notice.

Battletech Roster Builder Version 6.1

URGENT UPDATE!

If you are using my Battletech Roster Builder 6.0.2 or earlier, DISCONTINUE USE IMMEDIATELY! It is using an old BV Skills Multiplier Table, so if you are using anything other than a 4/5 pilot, your points are WRONG! I sincerely apologize for this. Please download 6.0.3 now!

Roster Builder 6 is here!

Okay Ladies, Gentlemen and Gamers!

After several months of hard work and the help of some friends and acquaintences, I have FINALLY decided to put BattleTech Roster Builder 6.0 on line and ready for general consumption. Here it is. This is a ZIP file that has the sheet and a new feature, DOCUMENTATION!

I have also added a bunch new features, like how the spreadsheet automatically renames the Battalion tabs, I sped up the process by cleaning up the back end and lots more.

Questions, comments and cash may be directed to my name at this domain.

Huzzah! New batreps!

Okay, I managed to finally complete the two battle reports that have been in my queue for a while. See them below, The Long Way and Get The Centurion!

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