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Priority SitRep

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

Delayed release

Well, I had yesterday scheduled to release Roster Builder 2.5, but my Windows release is not working. I'll have to recompile and try again. I managed to get to full "BattlePaperwork" mode activated as far as TO&E, except for Clans. The Clans can die in a fire for their "this is the way it must be, except on alternate Tuesdays" on their structure. It's giving me a migrane trying to make the programming work.

So you know what's in the pipeline, 3.0 will have the Clan TO&E working and you can build Alpha Strike rosters. Suggestions are welcome as well. If I include your suggestion, you get kudos.

Version 3 now posted!

Hey all! "See Mark Paint" Version 3 has now been posted. I've gone from crushing Locusts to crushing Cicadas this thing is big enough. Enjoy!

Comings and Goings

I have been quite busy recently. See Mark Paint 3rd edition is going through final review, I'm putting the finishing touches on the World Battletech Leauge, and I am working on bringing about the "BattlePaperwork" of having a real TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment). This will show the layout and you can move units between the pool (left) and the TO&E to assign units. You can also print it out and Roster Builder will provide a detailed assessment of your Organizations. The final product will be different, but not much.

TOE screen

I have the standard IS Battlaion (with and without Command Lance), Square Battalion (With and without Command Lance) Augmented battalion and Comstar Level III set and ready to go. I still have to Grok on how to do the Clan structure.

Quick note

I just did a minor change, I got tired of the "image load" stuff from all of the rotating banners. I decided to go to a static format. I hope all y'all like this way better.

Two new articles

With all of this pandemic stuff rolling around, I have had a significant amount of unstructured time fall into my hands. Here's what I've been doing with it.

First, more models painted. I currently have 27 miniatures waiting on an Army Painter dip and another 8 miniatures and 24 stands of Battle Armor waiting on detail painting. Once all those are painted, dipped, sealed and flocked, I'll be caught up. For a while, at least. I'm aiming for 7 battalions worth of units.

I'm also collaborating on a "COVID-19 friendly" BattleTech campaign. Should be seeing that in a couple of months.

Then there is Version 3 of See Mark Paint. A lot of practical experience to include, some new ideas and more practice needed on some things before I get to the actual writing and editing part.

Version 2.5 (or 3, haven't decided yet) of Roster Builder is still in the feature conceptualization stage. I know what the new features will be, I just have to figure out the interface and coding to "get there from here."

With all that out of the way, the whole reason for this post is to announce two articles in the Game Aids page, A BattleTech "To-Hit Computer" and a new compilation of thoughts on how to grow your local BattleTech community, after we can get closer than the next ZIP code over.

Roster Builder 2.0 is live!

ATTENTION EVERYONE! I just oploaded Roster Builder 2.0 to the website. Please feel free (because it is free) to download and enjoy it.

I added the Aircraft external ordinance, standardized the interface among all of the windows and a bunch of stuff behind the scenes.

New content!

Everyone, I have rewritten my Tactics series and added a new article, so now there is Tactics 101, 201 and 301. Please read and enjoy.

I also stumbled across an article I found back in the 90's on "The 15 rules of wargaming." It had a British tone and 40k terminology, so I revamped it and made it more general. Please read and heed.

Last, but not least, a couple months back I saw an idea for a Battletech Escallation League, which is a way specifically new players to give them an incentive to sit down and paint miniatures. I took the time to clean it up and codify it into set rules and even addedd some cross referencing.

Enjoy all of these new articles.

Video up but bad

My apologies for the poor quality of the help video. Evidently I did not record it at high enough quality. I am rerecording the video and I have no idea how long that will take. Hopefully before Election Day.

In the mean time, the basic flow is this:

  1. Create a profile. PLEASE give a value to default roster size and year of battle. It goes a bit wonky if you don't. Fix is on the punch list.
  2. Create organizations. You can have up to ten orgs.
  3. Create non-Canon units. If you have custom units, enter them.
  4. Add Units to Organizations. This is where you put your combat units into the organizations.
  5. Once all this is done, then you can create rosters until the cows come home.

If my database does not have your unit, I'm getting updates in my copius free time.

Version 1 is here!

I now release my newest creation, seven months in the making. I hope you like it. You can read more about it and watch my walkthru video in the link below.

Battletech Roster Builder Version 1.0.

Next-to-last final update

2/20/2020 UPDATE: Still working on editing the video, it didn't help I was in the hospital for three days.

The "last final update" will be to announce the acutal release of Roster Builder, which should be somewhere in the next 5 days. I am finishing up on the walkthru/help video and once I have that finished and posted, I can release Roster Builder to the wild.

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.

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