Gen Con, Gamescom, and a trip to Red City
about 2 months ago
– Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 10:42:11 PM
Hey Backers, we just wrapped up two great conventions - Gen Con in Indianapolis and Gamescom in Cologne - so we thought a small update was in order, along with a little gameplay video treat.
This year was the 50th anniversary of Gen Con, and the largest attendance in the convention’s history with over 70,000 people playing tabletop games for four days. My first Gen Con was number 6, and I have only missed a couple in the intervening 44 years, so that convention is very special to me. It was a real pleasure to bring the Backer Beta Update to Gen Con and share it with people who have been playing BattleTech for several decades, as well as people who just discovered it for the first time at the show. Gen Con is probably the only show in the world where you can play various versions of the tabletop game, climb into the Virtual World cockpits for the most immersive BattleTech experience, and top it off by battling a friend face-to-face in the BATTLETECH Backer Beta on PC. The players had a blast, and so did all of us at the booth.
I especially wanted to do a shout out to all our Mods who hosted the booth with us. These men and women work hard every day on the forums and social media, and they did a fantastic job at Gen Con, helping people learn the game and comparing strategies with players. We rarely get to see and work with the Mods in person, so it was a special treat for us at HBS.
While we were in Indianapolis, Mitch was on his way to Cologne, Germany to attend Gamescom - one of the biggest video game conventions in the world. We have been working with the Paradox team for some time, so they were properly prepared for Mitch - meaning they had the right whiskey for him to drink, and a strong metal cage to contain him. (No joke - Paradox’s press demo stations were set up inside converted shipping containers, which you can imagine with Mitch’s booming voice reverberating within.) There was only supposed to be one demo station per container, but so many members of the press wanted to see BATTLETECH that they squeezed two stations into the container - where poor Ash, our Paradox producer on the game, had to try to compete with Mitch’s voice while doing interviews.
While we didn’t do any public demo-ing at Gamescom, we did debut a brand-new biome to the press - our “Martian” biome. This is one of the non-terrestrial biomes in the game, and I think one of our most striking so far. And since press got to see it, we wanted all of you Backers to get to see it right away as well! (Gamescom was last week, but impressions were embargoed until today.) So without further ado, here’s a new gameplay video showing multiplayer on a new Martian map between Mike McCain, our Game Director, and Connor Monahan, our Encounter Designer. Their titles might give you some sense of the battle’s outcome, but I won’t spoil the suspense for you. :)
Note that this video was recorded from the development branch of our codebase, not the Backer Beta branch. Thus, some elements of combat may differ slightly between this video and what you see in the Backer Beta. (Most of the inconsistencies are UI-related.) Map and encounter design are different on the development branch to support the campaign / sim game, and thus we aren’t planning on adding this map to the Backer Beta, due to the amount of work it would require to bring it over to the Beta branch.
Lastly - thank you again for all of your feedback on the Backer Beta Update! It’s encouraging to see such positive reactions to all of the changes we made based on your survey and forum feedback. And we greatly appreciate those of you who are braving the rough waters of the Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta - your play is really helping us smooth out that experience. Expect more updates to the Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta in the coming weeks as we improve the experience. We will announce a date for the addition of multiplayer to the normal Backer Beta when we are closer to releasing it.
All the best,
Skirmish Beta Update is LIVE! And the Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta Test Is LIVE, Too! And Gen Con 50!!!
2 months ago
– Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 12:51:33 AM
Happy Update Day, y’all!
The update to our Single-Player Skirmish Backer Beta is live on Steam right now and your game should automatically update in your Games Library with no action needed from you (assuming you keep Steam running on your machine - if not, just launch Steam and the beta will automatically begin the update). One addition we neglected to tell you about in our last Kickstarter Update - the beta now includes:
The Firestarter BattleMech! We’re excited to see how flamers change your gameplay.
We shared the highlights and big changes in our last update, but for those interested in all the gory details, you can find a complete list of changes here.
Your Backer Beta Manualhas also been updated to reflect all the gameplay and balancing changes we’ve made in response to all your great feedback. Thanks a ton for all the help!
Have fun everybody!
Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta Test is LIVE too!
As we said in our last Kickstarter Update, the Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta Test is for those hearty souls willing to opt-in and help stress test the system in the wild. All Backers with Beta Access are invited to participate but by opting-in, you accept that you may experience connection issues, crashes, and dropped games - which is exactly what the test is aimed to fix.
The Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta Test is separate from the current Skirmish Beta and will require a separate password. Again, once we’ve eliminated enough bugs and issues, we’ll shut down the Double-Secret Beta Test and automatically update the Beta for everyone to include multiplayer so all you MechCommanders out there can go head-to-head!
If you’re at Gen Con and feel like you’re missing out on the Beta Update, swing by booth 2311 and give it a whirl. The booth is set up for new folks to play Single-Player Skirmish and all you old pros to try 1v1 Multiplayer. Jordan will be at the booth all weekend so even if you don’t have time to play, stop by and say hi!
A Skirmish Beta Update is Coming! A Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta Test Is Coming, Too! And a Launch Window Update!
2 months ago
– Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 12:36:29 AM
Skirmish Beta Update This Week
Great news! An update to our Single-Player Skirmish Beta is coming later this week (we’ll send out another Kickstarter Update when it’s live). Thank you SO MUCH for all of your time submitting survey responses and discussing the Beta on the forums. This communication has been invaluable, and we've pushed a pretty significant set of gameplay & balancing changes to the Beta in direct response to your feedback.
The details will be in a complete change log and in your updated Beta Manual upon release, but here are some highlights:
Evasion, Sensor Lock, and Evasive Move have received major revisions.
Morale has been replaced with a new system intended to reduce the snowball effect of early game advantages.
Weapon balance has been tuned on a variety of weapons.
Crits are more frequent and powerful. Components and ammo now require only one crit to be destroyed, while weapons become damaged on the first crit (+2 Difficulty to-hit) and destroyed on the second.
A/C damage has been reduced (previous: 25/50/75/100, current: 25/45/60/100) for AC2, 5, 10, and 20 respectively.
Global heat has been tuned down by about 10%.
Water doesn't increase heat dissipation as much (previous: 200%, current: 150%)
Stability damage accumulates slower and also bleeds slower, and in larger discrete chunks.
MechWarriors now have two abilities, which increases their usefulness and flexibility.
An eyeball icon appears on enemy units if they will have LOS on you after you make the move you’re plotting.
Beyond these gameplay mechanics, this beta update also includes:
A big, tasty update to AI that includes enemies using MechWarrior abilities, making called shots on prone or shut down units, using Death From Above, and generally messing up your life.
A Settings Menu that allows you to change your settings and remap your keyboard shortcuts. (Currently only available from the Main Menu.)
Some UI changes/enhancements both in combat and the skirmish setup screens.
Enjoy! And please continue to fill out your surveys after each match. They’ve proven very valuable! We'll publish a complete list of changes when the Beta Update goes live.
Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta Test This Week, Too!
Still more good news - the BATTLETECH Multiplayer Beta is almost ready for primetime! Before releasing it to our entire Backer Beta population, we’ll be running a Double-Secret Multiplayer Beta Test on Steam this week (it might NOT start the same day as the Skirmish Beta update) for those hearty souls willing to opt-in and help stress test the system in the wild. Are YOU a hearty soul? Cuz, we could use your help! Again, we’ll send out another Kickstarter Update when it’s live.
All Backers with Beta Access are invited to participate but by opting-in, participants accept that they may experience connection issues, crashes, and dropped games - that’s what you’re looking for in the first place!
Once we’re comfortable that we’ve eliminated enough bugs and issues (it’ll probably take a couple of weeks), we’ll shut down the Double-Secret Beta Test and automatically update the Beta for everyone to include 1v1 Multiplayer. Then, all of you can take your hard-won experience with the Single Player Skirmish Game and apply it against your wiley human opponents in stompy head-to-head action.
Launch Window Update
As you may remember, the original release estimate listed in our Kickstarter campaign was for delivery of the BATTLETECH Base Skirmish Game. With each additional Funding Stage unlocked - Single-Player Story Campaign, Expanded Mercenary Campaign, and PVP Multiplayer - more time and team members were added for the additional work.
We’d previously been projecting a late 2017 release but now that we’ve revised our AI & combat mechanics in reaction to your feedback, completed a thorough review of the work remaining on the game, and are poised to release the Multiplayer Backer Beta update, all indications are that Paradox & HBS will release BATTLETECH in early 2018.
Throughout development, the message we’ve received has been clear, “Don’t rush it, just make it great.” and we have taken that to heart. All of us - HBS, Paradox, and our Backers - share a deeply personal attachment to this project and we are committed to delivering a game that not only meets your high expectations but introduces BattleTech to a new generation of players.
With that said, I’m happy to report that solid progress continues across the project! We are now able to play the open-ended mercenary campaign “loop” and I have to say that when you’re counting your C-bills and caring about your MechWarriors’ health and survival, you approach combat missions differently which imbues every turn with a ton of dramatic tension. And the upcoming upgrade to our AI is going to make you think hard about how you engage the enemy!
As Mitch mentioned in our last update, we’ve made a ton of progress on all the component pieces of the game and this phase of development is all about bringing them together - the core combat game, the mercenary simulation aboard the Argo, the single-player story and cinematics, the open-ended mercenary mission system, the ‘Mech customization system… it’s a lot of stuff and it’s exciting to see it all getting stitched together and “upleveled” with art, audio, UI, and writing.
It really is an exciting time on the project and I can’t wait to share it with you when it’s finally done. Thanks again for all your support!
Beta & E3 Reactions, Beta HotFix Incoming, and More!
4 months ago
– Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 12:55:10 AM
Thanks to all our Backer Beta participants for the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the BATTLETECH single player skirmish mode release! We really appreciate all the great feedback you’ve given in your after-action surveys and on the BATTLETECH Beta Discussion forum - useful stuff. It’s been an absolute pleasure for us to read your comments, see your amazing screenshots, and watch your livestreams and YouTube videos.
In addition to our Backers, the Press had plenty of nice things to say about the game, too! Check out some of the great previews below:
A small update to the Single Player Skirmish Beta is live and Steam will update your game automatically. This update fixes several stability issues and allows more players on lower-end machines to play the game (Huzzah!). It also contains some minor combat interface upgrades.
The hard work continues on our multiplayer update to the Backer Beta and we can definitely tell you that it will not release in June. While diagnosing some particularly nasty bugs, the team took a step back and realized that sections of our networking architecture needed to be reworked rather than bandaged up. That work is underway but we have no ETA to share with you at this time.
What we can tell you is what you can expect beyond the addition of multiplayer. First and foremost, it will contain a substantial update to the single-player AI. For example, the enemy will know how to Reserve their actions, use light units more effectively, and call shots on fallen or shut down ‘Mechs. The multiplayer update will also contain some incremental balance changes based on feedback from our surveys and the forums. Those changes will be listed in a Kickstarter Update when we release multiplayer.
In addition to the above, expect some minor improvements in the “lance configurator” - the interface in which you choose your ‘Mechs and MechWarriors for Skirmish play, including the ability to play skirmish matches with unlimited Lance Values.
And last, you’ll find the complete Settings menu, including options for audio, video, custom key binding, and more!
Can we expect more updates for the Backer Beta after that? We’ll update the Beta as needed to fix high-impact and game-breaking bugs but we have no plans to update the Backer Beta with additional features or content beyond the scope of the Beta Kickstarter reward. This is a targeted Beta to get data on BattleTech combat with our Backers, not an Early Access game release.
Quick Production Update
There’s a ton of stuff going on in the game’s development beyond the work we’ve done on the beta and multiplayer update.
All the story missions in the game have been designed and implemented and each one contains placeholder voices so we can hear how the story is working before we bring in professional actors.
All the story cinematics have been written & storyboarded and placeholder voices have been recorded so we can work on the timing of each shot.
All story conversations with your mercenary crew aboard the Argo have been written and are ready to put into the game.
All open-ended mission types have been designed and implemented across a large variety of biomes and maps.
Every room and every character in the Argo has been designed and 3D modeled and the majority are fully lit and textured in the game.
And last but DEFINITELY not least, we hit a major milestone on the project and were able to play the mercenary simulation core game loop for the first time. That means traveling to a system, navigating crew events aboard the Argo, choosing and accepting a contract, managing your reputation, purchasing equipment, using the MechLab, hiring new MechWarriors, simulating the outcome of the mission (from complete failure to complete success), getting paid, and taking salvage.
That’s some fantastic progress, for sure. There’s still a TON of important work left to do including designing and implementing the UI for the entire single-player campaign, a boatload of campaign balance and iteration work, iteration and polish on the story and missions, creation of our story cinematics, reactions to feedback from the beta, and a bunch of stuff we haven’t listed. The best part is that the more things come together, the more excited we get about the game - a nice place to be, indeed!
Take a Look at These!
HBS at the E3 PCGamer Event Jordan and Mitch headed down to E3 earlier this month to share a look at BATTLETECH at the E3 PC Gamer event. They showed off a fun new trailer, a tour of the Argo, and some new combat footage. Take a peek if you missed it!
June 14 Dev Q&A
And, in case you missed it, here’s the link to June’s Livestreamed Dev Q&A. Mitch interviewed Ryan Burrell (HBS_RedMenace on our forums) about how he became a designer, what the toughest design challenge has been in retaining the spirit of BATTLETECH, how he lost to Eck and more. And then McCain joined them to answer your questions live. Take a look!
OKAY, BACK TO WORK!
Backer Beta Incoming!
5 months ago
– Thu, Jun 01, 2017 at 11:27:12 PM
With swirling heads, sweaty palms, and soaring hearts, we are pleased to announce that the BATTLETECH Kickstarter Backer Beta is ready, and keys will start arriving later today!
Distributing 25,000 Steam keys into BackerKit accounts will take hours, so please be patient! WHEN YOUR BETA KEY LANDS IN YOUR ACCOUNT, YOU WILL GET A NOTIFICATION EMAIL DIRECTLY FROM BACKERKIT.
As noted in our last update (which included a Beta FAQ), today’s release contains single-player Skirmish mode ONLY. We will automatically update the Beta with PvP multiplayer as soon as it's ready and let you know with another Kickstarter update.
So How Do I Get Started?!
Instructions for getting your Steam Key from your BackerKit account, downloading the game, and how to play the game are located in your Backer Beta PDF Manual(which you can start studying up on while you’re waiting for your notification email from BackerKit to arrive!)
Since this isn’t the finished game, our Backer Beta does not include an in-game tutorial. You’ll likely have way more fun and be able to give us better feedback if you understand how things work, so it’s highly recommended that you review the PDF Manual before your first game.
BTW, you can also view the manual in-game at any time by clicking the “Help” button on the Main Menu.
What We Need From You
We hope you enjoy this first taste of our BATTLETECH game and we want to learn from your experiences playing it. So what do we need? MEASURABLE DATA! After EACH battle, you’ll get the opportunity to give us your feedback in a short 1-page survey on a variety of topics - controls, audio, AI, maps, tactics, and more - so be sure to take as many surveys as possible.
And plan to fill out the same survey more than once! We fully expect your answers to change over time (that’s an important part of the feedback process) so don’t skip a survey because you’ve seen the questions before. This is the best, most helpful way to positively impact the project and help us make the game better for everyone. (Yes, it’s even more helpful than reporting bugs.)
The other way to get us your feedback is to join the BATTLETECH Forum. The Backer Beta Discussion sub-forum is the place where you can expand on your experiences playing the game and share your constructive criticism with others. While the dev team won’t respond to feedback or engage in debates, we’ll definitely be reading and learning from your conversations.