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.

Why I play Battletech

I used to play Warhammer 40K. I got out for many reasons, notably, the price of models went from expensive to ridiculiously expensive (and have gone to outlandishly expensive since I left), the rules changed badly enough (TWICE!) I had to purchase an almost new army to stay competitive and last but not least, many of the players were jerks. While 40K is now on the 9th edition of its ruleset, Battletechs' core ruleset has stayed stable with a single rule change since this game was called Battledroids. The rules have expanded, but never rewritten.

The biggest reason was the players. This popped up in my social media feed the other day, but I saw it years ago. Meet Shooter and Wheels. The images explain the story.

Beardy1

Beardy2

Beardy3

While not impossible, it is very hard to Cheese a list like Wheels' in Battletech, namely a "Super-focused-Spearhead" that comes out of nowhere and can slice through any general list like a flamethrower through butter. I also like to think we have more polite players as well.

Triple Teaching Moment

This past weekend, I got three friends together at one of the FLGS' and we got to play some Battletech. We currently have four stores, there's been times where we have had zero.

David I have already had some battles with, James who last played years ago, and Mike, who was very interested in playing and this was his first game. We were doing 4k BV each, and I specified 3 Mechs, nothing special. It was Mike and I against David and James.

I didn't take detailed batrep notes because I was concentrating on teaching the game. There was this one shining moment for Mike:

Mike1stkillDavid was intending to send that Locust around the back of Mike's Uziel/Gurkha/Wolverine team, so he's running and has a +4 mod to hit. Mike had different ideas. Mind you, this is his first game, 3rd turn. The Uziel rings the bell of the pilot with an SRM to the head. The Gurkha then pulls the trigger on his PPC and also hits the head. Almost perfect decapitation, there were some paint scratches from a couple other SRM hits from the Uziel.

Mike also got the other kill in the game as well. He surrounded another of David's Mechs and did the Vin Diesel "500 fights" beatdown until the poor guy ran out of CT structure. A fine example of focused fire. If that second Mech had actually survived the shooting phase, he was going to get kicks from the Wolverine and Uziel, and the Gurkha was going to stick his sword in the poor guy's back.

At that point, time was called. A fun day for all.

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.

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

An Open Letter to Harmony Gold

Dear Harmony Gold,

So you have reared your ugly, spiteful, malicious head yet again, to "protect" Intellectual Property that quite frankly, should be on the verge of becoming public domain. Because you waited until Harebrained Schemes got their Battletech game into beta testing before asserting your IP lawsuit, it is apparent that you waited for a timing that would cause the most damage to the project. Your demands at this stage puts HBS into into the difficult choice of either paying your extortion, or conducting a major rewrite of the software so as not to infringe on your IP. Either of these choices could force the abandonment of the entire project, thus leaving in the lurch thousands of Battletech fans, deepening their already bottomless hatred of your company.

I have decided to proudly display my collection of Unseen Mechs, most of which I have had since the 1980's. I have also decided to suggest that you take that lawsuit, carefully fold it until it is nothing but sharp corners, then forcefully shove it through and past your rectum and don't stop until it reaches about about halfway through your large intestine. I have a broom handle I am willing to send you as a tool to help you reach that goal.

Sincerely, go screw yourselves.

myunseens

A new direction

I have become weary of the 2D6 method to determine if a weapon hit the target. In my copious free time, I am going to attempt to correct this.

THIS WILL BE A FAN-DEVELOPED SYSTEM ONLY.

I HAVE NO SUPPORT OR PERMISSION FROM FANPRO/FASA/WIZKIDS/CATALYST OR ANYBODY ELSE TO DO THIS.

If you look at the 2D6 distribution below, you can see the radically disproportionate drop in the percentage to hit in the 5-6-7-8-9 region. In a linear distribution, the 4-5-6-7 (the middle of the 1D10 curve) the percentage of drop across these four numbers is 30%. Whereas, the 5-6-7-8-9 spread (this is five numbers due to the odd number of possible rolls), the drop in percentage to hit is 55.5%.

To roll % Chance + % Change To roll % Chance + % Change
2 100% 1 100%
3 97.2% 2.8% 2 90% 10.0%
4 91.7% 5.6% 3 80% 10.0%
5 83.3% 8.3% 4 70% 10.0%
6 72.2% 11.1% 5 60% 10.0%
7 58.3% 13.9% 6 50% 10.0%
8 41.7% 16.7% 7 40% 10.0%
9 27.8% 13.9% 8 30% 10.0%
10 16.7% 11.1% 9 20% 10.0%
11 8.3% 8.3% 10 (0) 10% 10.0%
12 2.8% 5.6%

 

I am not going to change the entire system to D10 because for falls, etc. being a hex-based game, you need a D6. For hit locations, the biggest part of the unit is the center torso, so again the distribution curve of 2D6 is more realistic to this part than a linear D10.

I realize that the gunnery multiplier table to adjust BV based on gunnery may have to be changed. It may also involve the movement modifier table will have some changes to it. I will have to see. I know this will not be an easy undertaking.

Once I have successfully tackled the hit percentage/gunnery issue, I will use that knowledge and experience to take a hard look at the piloting rolls.

The New Hotness

Okay, so I got to messing around with the Battletech Roster Builder spreadsheet and decided to add some more features. The bad news is, I had to start using Macros. As long as this is the only place you get my spreadsheet, you can be reasonably sure the macros contain no malicious code.

So the new features are:

  • You can now field five Units per line item. This means you can use one line item to field up to an entire star of units.
  • Event Macros on the four Battalion tabs that will automatically rename the tab to the Battalion name. So if you put "Erandi Light Horse" into the Battalion name on one of the Battalion tabs, the tab will rename itself "Erandi Light Horse TO&E."
  • Button Macros on the List builder tab. You can sort your list by tonnage then Name, Tonnage and Battalion, Tonnage and Type of Unit (infantry, Vehicle, Battlemech, etc.), by the Type of unit only, and most importantly, Clear All Pilots. This will wipe all of the Pilot Gunnery/Piloting, If C3 is active and any external ordinance (in case of Aerospace) for all Unit groups. My contact email is in the spreadsheet if you want to suggest other sorting methods.
  • On the Print Roster, if you had multiple units from one line item, they would appear in different parts of the list. So with a lot of restructuring of cells, I got everyone together and in order.

Here is the link to the article.

The really latest, greatest, most wonderful.....

After fiddling more and more with the Battletech Roster Builder spreadsheet, I up and redid whole sections. You can now independently select gunnery and piloting skills. It will "lock out" (not display any base BV of a unit if the BV is greater than the balance remaining . Things like that. Feel free to go here and download it so you can play with it to your hearts content!

Never Again, Wizkids.

Well, I'm done with WizKids (again).

Power Gaming and Why I Hate It

I HATE power gamers. Despise, loathe and another 15 synonyms on top of that.

I need to start doing this...

Dice shaming. I once had two bricks of dice that rolled 6's so often (I was using them in Uncharted Seas at the time) that a fellow gamer bought them from me for $200, just to get them out of my hands. He never played with them.

Dice Shaming

 

Thought for the Day

"The terrain is half the battle. Never let your opponent choose it."

Feline Battletech

Cats and Miniatures DO NOT mix...

Wisdoms of War

One of my hobbies is collecting "Wisdoms." Some people collect stamps, some collect cars. I collect funny and inspirational statements. I currently have 31 pages of them, at 14 point font.

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