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BATTLETECH

Created by Harebrained Schemes LLC

Turn-based tactical 'Mech combat set in the classic 3025 era of the BattleTech Universe. From the creators of the Shadowrun Series!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Customizable DropShip Home Base Details!
over 6 years ago – Tue, Mar 08, 2016 at 11:32:10 PM

Hey Guys!

Mike here again, with news from the BATTLETECH development front. In this update, we’ll get up close and personal with the DropShip that you’ll get to use and customize as your home base in the Mercenary campaign. (Unlocked by you guys during our Kickstarter!) But - before we dive into that - here’s a few quick updates & announcements. 

Six Beards Entered... And Ours Didn't Leave!

You may remember that we promised a tabletop BattleTech game against our friends at Catalyst Game Labs with beards on the line if the BATTLETECH community successfully unlocked the final Backer Mission during the Kickstarter campaign. And you guys delivered!

So - the Beard Off was played during the Hyper RPG Twitch channel Launch and Charity Drive with fans affecting the outcome by making charitable donations to help out their favorite team. It was a good fight but as you can see by the picture below, Mitch, Jordan and I made the ultimate sacrifice. The entire charity event is archived here - you can find the Beard Off at about the 2:15 mark. Over $14,000 was raised for the HALO Foundation during the Beard Off, thanks in part to the generous support of the Global BattleTech Community. 

The Heroes Shorn.
The Heroes Shorn.

BATTLETECH Q&A This Wednesday, March 9!

As we mentioned in the last update, we really enjoyed doing the BATTLETECH Q&A's during the Kickstarter so we’re going to continue this tradition with a monthly livestream.

Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 9 at 2pm PST, and then regularly on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, Hyper RPG will host us during their regularly scheduled show, Rabbit Stew.

Each month, we’ll solicit your burning questions on a specific topic over on the BATTLETECH Forum in a thread like this one. In the Q&A session, we'll split our time between answering questions from the forum thread and questions from the livestream chat. We know not everyone will be able to be there live so they’ll also be archived and available afterwards on Hyper RPGs profile page.

Death From Above!

If you enjoyed watching the Beard Off, check out the new Hyper RPG tabletop BattleTech show, Death From Above on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6pm. The game is GM’d by Tyler Carpenter, one of our BATTLETECH designers, and you might see some other friendly HBS faces as well.

On Tuesdays, you get to know our ragtag group of mercenaries as they role play the scenario that sets them up for battle on Fridays when they’ll play on the battlefield with our custom 3D printed ’Mechs.

Supersize me!
Supersize me!

Here are links to archived shows so you can catch up on everything that happened last week (Tuesday 3/1 and Friday 3/4). We hope you’ll tune in to both shows.

A Quick Development Update!

Two months into 2016 and things are really picking up speed! Our gameplay prototype has evolved from a rough testing grounds to a fun, cohesive experience that has us all nodding and saying “Yes, this feels like BattleTech.” We’re up to 5-strong on the engineering team now, with architecture and gameplay efforts well underway. Tools and AI engineering efforts are just starting to spin-up, with a couple of key final hires rounding out the team (you’ll get to meet them in future “Behind the Curtain” updates.)

On the art side, we have a terrain-creation pipeline up and running for art and design to start working with that gives us a great balance between design features and really great-looking, naturalistic terrain. (I’m excited to show you guys later this year!) The story team has a complete first-draft of all major characters, locations, and story-beats for the game that we’re busy fleshing-out and iterating on. And the concept art team is right on the story team’s heels, with a good set of designs for major characters and environments already established.

One thing we’re all keenly aware of here is that this game is going to need a LOT of content created for it to fully deliver on the “open-ended” promise - so we definitely still have our work cut out for us, especially when the project transitions into our full Production phase this summer. That said - Jordan and I feel good about where we’re at so far in pre-production.

Introducing the Argo-Class DropShip

And now - it’s DropShip time! Below is a nice sourcebook-style bit of history from our Design Lead Kevin Maginn, along with concept art that the art team and I have been working on. NOTE: Very minor background and setting spoilers follow. It’s nothing big, but I thought I’d include the warning just in case - if you want to discover the DropShip and bits of its backstory for the first time when you play the game, then you might not want to read further.

The Argo-class DropShip was an experiment in constructing a self-sufficient mobile base of operations for a flotilla of expeditionary ships. Built as a mid-point between a mobile DropShip and a mostly-immobile JumpShip, the Argo-class prioritizes sustainable long-term missions over everything else. Boeing Interstellar produced just two of these enormous ships, the Argo and the Myrmidon. The Argo was sent on its proving voyage to the Rimward Periphery in 2762.

(CONCEPT ART: Argo-class DropShip in stable orbit. One Leopard-class DropShip can be seen docked to its side, while another departs to deploy a Mercenary Lance to the planetary surface below.)
(CONCEPT ART: Argo-class DropShip in stable orbit. One Leopard-class DropShip can be seen docked to its side, while another departs to deploy a Mercenary Lance to the planetary surface below.)

The intended mission of the Argo was to follow behind the first wave of exploratory missions, supporting multiple surveyor, terraformer, and colonizer teams while they completed a deep survey of the system. To accomplish this mission, the Argo would stay in-system for six months at a time, while the JumpShip that carried it there would move on to other systems and other tasks. The Argo was a mobile space station, in a sense, providing supply and temporary habitation for teams on dangerous missions in unsettled space.

The Argo is too large to land on a planet, much like the similarly-sized Behemoth. The prototype multiple docking collar system allowed for smaller DropShips to attach to the Argo for resupply, cargo transfer, and personnel transfer; these docking collars allowed smaller ships to remain attached while the Argo linked with a JumpShip for jump transfer, or to break off and remain in-system while the Argo moved on ahead. The Argo was thus meant as a logistical hub for a small flotilla of DropShips, which would dock and undock with the ship as needed to complete their independent missions.

(CONCEPT ART: Key ship features. Click to enlarge.)
(CONCEPT ART: Key ship features. Click to enlarge.)

With 57,000 tons of cargo space, the Argo was able to carry supplies for multiple young colonies, arms and armaments for garrisons in need of resupply, colonists being moved to or evacuated from a colony, military hardware, and fuel for other ships. It lacks the armor or maneuverability to function in battle, and it is vastly outclassed in size and firepower by even the smallest WarShips, and it was this non-combat role that ultimately led to its abandonment; the Boeing factories on Galax were entirely repurposed for wartime, and there was simply no place for a peacetime exploration ship.

The Argo featured a unique folding grav-deck design, which allows the ship to remain habitable while in orbit around a planet or station-keeping near a jump point. The three habitation ‘pods’ lie flat against the ship’s central spine while under thrust; while the ship is stationary, the pods extend and the collar to which they’re attached rotates. This keeps the living quarters and medical facilities under gravity at all times, which makes the ship habitable for long tours of duty. The flight control area and command center are located deep inside the ship, near its spine, and are only under gravity during thrust. They’re serviced by fast passenger-sized lifts that run the length of the ship, allowing the crew to muster for duty in just minutes in an emergency.

(CONCEPT ART: The Argo’s hab ring being deployed - the only time when the hab ring ceases to be under either thrust-based or rotation-based gravity. The crew must securely lock down all loose items in the hab ring prior to deployment.)
(CONCEPT ART: The Argo’s hab ring being deployed - the only time when the hab ring ceases to be under either thrust-based or rotation-based gravity. The crew must securely lock down all loose items in the hab ring prior to deployment.)

Habitability was a key point in the objectives the Boeing engineers were given: the crew would be expected to live on the ship for years at a time, if not decades. This total self-sufficiency is a recurring theme in the ship’s design. It includes three fully-featured MASH medical theaters, larger-than-usual crew and passenger accommodations, recreational areas, fitness centers, and extensive onboard hydroponic gardens. An entire pod is reserved for passengers and temporary guests; docking DropShip crews were expected to take ‘shore’ leave onboard the Argo.

(CONCEPT ART: The habitation ring, deployed. The counter-rotation of the high-mass engine/fuel assembly at the rear ensures zero net rotational momentum for the ship.)
(CONCEPT ART: The habitation ring, deployed. The counter-rotation of the high-mass engine/fuel assembly at the rear ensures zero net rotational momentum for the ship.)

 The central spine includes multiple elevator shafts serving each of the three docking collars, each shaft being large enough to accommodate an Assault-class ‘Mech, an aerospace fighter, or a heavy combat vehicle. Ground vehicles and ‘Mechs were not expected to deploy directly from the Argo, so it lacks external bay doors; deploying a ground unit meant transferring the unit along the spinal elevators to a waiting Leopard (or comparable) DropShip, from which the unit would deploy. The complement of fighters, however, could deploy directly from the Argo, and were expected to provide support and cover if the Argo found itself in danger.

Ultimately, the Argo would prove to be a dead-end in DropShip design. On its maiden voyage in the deep Periphery, the Argo dropped out of contact, and was presumed destroyed as part of an attack in the New Vandenberg Uprising. While still in dock preparing for its own first voyage, the Myrmidon was damaged by a terrorist action. It was decided not to try to repair the Myrmidon, and it was ultimately broken down for parts and materials to manufacture other, more battle-oriented ships.

The Argo was a product of the era in which it was conceived: a peacetime ship meant for peacetime exploration duties, and planned with the expectation of an abundance of resources and a focus on long-term orbital deployment. In an earlier era, it might have seen widespread usage, but in practice the fall of the Star League and the outbreak of war (and near constant state of war ever since) has rendered the Argo little more than a forgotten, experimental footnote in the history of DropShip production.

A Tour of the Argo

(CONCEPT ART: A Davion liaison reviews contract details with a veteran lance of MechWarriors in the Argo’s makeshift briefing room.)
(CONCEPT ART: A Davion liaison reviews contract details with a veteran lance of MechWarriors in the Argo’s makeshift briefing room.)

I’m not going to dive into any story spoilers here, but suffice it to say that your Mercenary outfit will come into possession of this derelict Argo-class DropShip early on in the campaign. Here’s a quick tour of some of the different areas of the DropShip that you’ll be able to visit to manage your Mercenary outfit. (And by visit, we mean move between fixed-views of each environment, almost like the old MechWarrior games.) Once again, over to Kevin for the descriptions here!

COMMAND CENTER - This is where you and your command staff operate the ship. It’s a combination of a communications center, briefing room, and CIC. It’s located amidships, along the spine of the ship, where it’s quickly and easily accessed from anywhere on the ship while also being protected by the bulk of the Main Hold. In the Command Center, you’ll talk to your Executive Officer, review and negotiate contracts, and determine lance deployments.

(CONCEPT ART: the long-dormant Command Center of the derelict Argo.)
(CONCEPT ART: the long-dormant Command Center of the derelict Argo.)

BRIDGE - The bridge is where the operations crew and the navigator drive the ship. It features a large holo-vid display in the center of the bridge for surveying known planetary and stellar data. The pilot and copilot pods are at one end of the bridge area, and the navigator’s console is at the other end. On the Bridge, you’ll talk to your ship’s Navigator and chart both interstellar and interplanetary travel.

(CONCEPT ART: The Argo's bridge. While many sci-fi ships opt for a more aircraft-carrier-style bridge, with windows looking out into space, we wanted something more practical - so the bridge is located in the most protected part of the ship, its center.)
(CONCEPT ART: The Argo's bridge. While many sci-fi ships opt for a more aircraft-carrier-style bridge, with windows looking out into space, we wanted something more practical - so the bridge is located in the most protected part of the ship, its center.)

MAIN HOLD - The Argo’s main hold is subdivided into into multiple bays, which are connected to each other both via the ship’s main spine elevators and internal lifts. There are three Mech bays, each of which has four Mech cubicles. Active ‘Mechs are kept in these cubicles, ready for deployment. The cubicles are also repair bays for MechTechs to upgrade, modify, and repair Mechs. The Argo was built primarily as a cargo hauler, and has 20 cargo bays ranging in size from 20 m3 to the vast cavernous Main Bay, with 25,000 m3 of storage. In its new life as a mercenary company base, the ship’s cargo bays are used to store salvaged and otherwise deactivated mech chassis and weapons. In the Main Hold, you’ll repair, customize, and upgrade your ‘Mechs, as well as manage salvage and possibly support vehicles.

(CONCEPT ART: An Atlas, secure in its cubicle in the Argo’s ‘Mech Bay at the base of the Main Hold.)
(CONCEPT ART: An Atlas, secure in its cubicle in the Argo’s ‘Mech Bay at the base of the Main Hold.)

HABITATION RING - The Argo has three habitation pods, which spin while the ship is not under thrust to provide apparent gravity, and fold down along the spine of the ship to provide apparent gravity while under thrust. These pods contain all comfort-focused facilities: barracks, medical bays, hydroponics, recreation areas, and passenger quarters. In the Habitation Ring, you’ll manage your MechWarriors and other personnel, and browse hiring boards for new hires.

CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS - Your personal quarters on the ship. They’re located in one of the habitation modules, so they always have gravity. They’re larger than the other crew quarters aboard the ship, mostly because they include an attached office. In your Captain’s Quarters, you’ll manage your Mercenary company finances, browse ComStar news bulletins, and view records of your career-to-date.

ENGINEERING - The Argo’s engines are serviced by two primary engineering decks, near the reactor shield. Access to the ship’s maintenance passageways and access tunnels is all through these two decks. In an emergency, the engineering deck can be used as a backup command center. Engineering is where you’ll talk to your Chief Engineer and choose both functional and cosmetic upgrades for the Argo.

So, that’s the Argo! Some elements may still change, but we’re very excited about this direction and what it adds to the Mercenary campaign. Here’s one more last-minute addition to the tour, though - a previsualization video that Joel and Spencer have been working on to show how you might interact with the various rooms on the DropShip. I wasn’t planning on including this, but… well, when Spencer showed it to the team yesterday, we all thought it was just too cool to not give you guys a peek.

Please know that this is a rough concept piece only - it’s not in-engine yet, and is not meant to suggest any specifics as far as how ‘Mech and ‘MechWarrior customization will work from a game design standpoint, or who your particular advisor characters will be in the story. This is all hot-off-the-presses and subject to change. But enough caveats - here’s the concept video!

(Additional caveat - ‘Mech scaling is still a work in progress, and we’ll be following Piranha’s current rescaling efforts for MWO, coordinating with them to ensure that everything we ship in our final game feels correct.)

Behind the Scenes - Designing the Argo

This section may not interest everyone, but it’s been REALLY, really fun designing this ship inside and out with the team. So I wanted to talk a little bit more about the way we approached it and some of the “hard sci-fi” considerations that made their way into the design.

We started with a really simple prompt: to design a new ship that both narratively and visually fit the BattleTech universe. We knew we wanted something that could act as a mobile base for the campaign, and eventually accommodate an entire Mercenary company. We considered using many existing BattleTech DropShips, but at the end of the day, we really wanted to contribute something new and unique to the world that could serve as one of the highlights of our single-player campaign. For gameplay purposes, we also really liked the flexibility of being able to send a smaller Leopard DropShip down to a planet for a mission, while leaving your main base of operations safe in orbit.

One of the things that really sets BattleTech apart from other sci-fi universes is just how much attention to hard science and practicality is included in the source material. To that end, we spent a ton of time early on discussing what kind of design features might make sense for an early expeditionary ship in the world of BattleTech. The idea of a persistent grav deck quickly became a key feature, one that I went through several iterations on before finally landing on the idea of the deployable hab ring. (In fact, I’m pretty sure at that point I was using paper cups to illustrate the idea to the design team.) Once I had that figured out, I was able to develop around that central idea, with the goal of building something that felt true to the overall shape language of BattleTech DropShips - in a nutshell, it’s a ship built for cold reality, not for beauty.

To start designing the interior of the Argo, our art team took a field trip down to the nearby Museum of Flight to take their awesome Space Shuttle trainer tour, and take tons of reference photos. It’s always incredibly useful in the visual development process to seek out primary reference, and this was no exception. There’s an authenticity you find in little design details, like lockers on the wall with attach points on the front for sticking things to during free-fall - it’s been really fun watching Joel layer those elements into the various area designs of the ship.

As the style of the DropShip came together, we turned to the crunchy stuff: the actual BattleTech numbers. (We weren’t about to add a new ship to the BattleTech universe without ensuring that it was possible under the game’s detailed DropShip construction rules.) Our goal was to create a writeup that wouldn’t look out of place in an official Technical Readout book. Kevin started with the TechManual and a target weight of 100,000 tons. Then he turned to Tactical Operations for its selection of advanced equipment, and finally Strategic Operations to look over the advanced Aerospace and maintenance rules and the wide selection of design quirks. In the end, we were able to get pretty close to a set of ‘official’ BattleTech stats, and this gave us some clear guidelines for the size of various components, the scale of the ship, and the way everything should fit together. (Though to be clear, we’re not submitting this as any kind of playable entry for tabletop play - we’re sure there would be plenty of balancing issues, at the very least.)

That’s it for the Argo (finally!) - but don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for the combat Q&A session, or catch the recording of it later. Until next time!

-- Mike

PS: BattleTech Legends Fiction Returns! After 3 long years of working to make it happen, the fine folks at Catalyst have announced they’re bringing the BattleTech and Shadowrun novels to an epub format. The first available BattleTech titles include Wolves on the Border by Robert Charrette and Double Blind by Loren Coleman as well as three Shadowrun titles. They’re all available across a wide spectrum of digital venues including BattleCorps, DriveThruFiction, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Congrats to Catalyst and happy reading, everyone!

Quick & Hairy Announcement! 6 Beards Will Enter, Only 3 Beards Will Leave!
almost 7 years ago – Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 11:31:59 PM

We know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to find out all the details of the last Backer Mission Reward - The BattleTech Beard-Off - and the wait is now over!

For those of you who might not remember, during our Kickstarter, we promised that Jordan, Mike and Mitch would play a knock-down-drag-out game of tabletop BattleTech on Twitch with Randall Bills, Loren Coleman and Brent Evans from Catalyst Game Labs - with beards on the line!

We are happy to announce that The Beard-Off will happen on Friday, February 26 at 2PM PST as a part of the Charity Launch event for the new Twitch channel, Hyper Power Rabbit Go! or as we affectionately call it, Hyper RPG.

We’ll be raising funds for The HALO Foundation - a fantastic organization that serves more than 1,000 youth each year and helps them become contributing members of their communities. Donations go to programs that provide the basics - food, water, shelter and clothing - as well as education, art therapy, and vocational training for college for youth. You’ll be able to donate to the HALO Foundation while we’re live on the air during the Charity Stream by using the “Donate” button on our Twitch channel. We’re really proud to be partnering with such a great organization.

Six Beards Enter. Three Beards Leave. (Maybe less.)
Jordan, Mike, and Mitch and Randall, Brent, and Loren from Catalyst Game Labs will compete in a 3-on-3 deathmatch, with each person controlling a single BattleMech and the losing team’s beards will be shaved off live on Twitch. The loss of a beard isn’t a minor event. Several are very old and beloved and some are older than the owner’s children. Some, like Mitch’s, come with Jedi-like powers.

Some of the boys got together for a practice session the other day…


Tabletop BattleTech on Twitch Every Week!

We’re also excited to share that there will be a twice-weekly tabletop BattleTech game on Hyper RPG! called DEATH FROM ABOVE Tuesdays and Fridays at 6pm PST.

Introducing the cast of Death From Above
Introducing the cast of Death From Above

In DEATH FROM ABOVE, a lance of MechWarriors find themselves on the wrong side of the wrath of the Great Houses, and are forced to flee into the Periphery to sell their services as mercenaries. Manipulated by shadowy forces and never knowing who to trust, these mercenaries fight not only for survival, but to ensure their own freedom.

On Tuesdays, the mercenaries will arm and repair their walking tanks, discuss their upcoming missions, and plan their next steps toward success on the tabletop battlefield - be that tactics, or simply trying to decide what kind of repairs and equipment are the most efficient use of their limited funds. This roleplay-heavy session should last approximately an hour.

On Fridays, it's time for war - where the mercenaries face uneven odds, and a rotating group of special guests to play the antagonists on the field. The tabletop battlefield will feature our custom 3D printed ’Mechs, and the fear of permadeath - any MechWarrior who dies in the game will no longer be part of the mercenary team. Audience members will affect the game Hunger Games-style by sending in repair crews and/or weapon attachments.

Tune in Tuesday, March 1 and Friday, March 3 at 6pm for the inaugural livestreams! They'll be archived on Twitch and available at a later date on Youtube.

BATTLETECH Q&A Returns!

We know you all enjoyed the BATTLETECH Q&A's during the Kickstarter - and we did, too - so we're pleased to continue this tradition with a monthly session beginning Wednesday, March 9 at 2pm PST on Hyper RPG.

For this first Q&A about ongoing development, our topic is what to expect in BATTLETECH’s combat and field experience and we want your questions! Using this BATTLETECH forum post, let us know what’s on your mind and what you’d like us to share. We can’t promise that we’ll be able to answer all your questions but we’ll do our best. You’ll also be able to participate in the chat room during the livestream and ask questions there.

We’ll be doing these Q&A sessions on the 2nd Wednesday of every month with new topics so be sure to watch for new forum posts the week before each Q&A asking for your questions.

Hope you’ll join us for all these events!
---HBS

SAVE THE DATE!
Fri-Sun February 26-28 12pm PST
48 Hour Hyper Power Rabbit Go! Charity Launch event

Fri February 26 2pm PST
The BattleTech Beard-Off Livestream  

Tues March 1 6pm PST
DEATH FROM ABOVE

Fri Mar 4 6pm PST
DEATH FROM ABOVE

Wed Mar 9 2pm PST
BATTLETECH Q&A

BackerKit Lockdown and Delivery of Add-Ons!
almost 7 years ago – Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:56:50 PM

We’ve been back from our holiday break for a couple weeks, welcomed some new team members, and are prototyping like the wind! We’ll have some meaty information about the game in our next update but this one is all about BackerKit accounts and Add-Ons!

BackerKit accounts “Lock Down” TONIGHT at 10pm PST January 15th.

There are still about 1800 Backers who haven’t answered their survey yet. If you haven’t done that yet, please go do it now so you get all your rewards in a timely fashion when they're ready.

When we “click the button” and Lock Down accounts, a few things will happen:

1. You will no longer be able to upgrade your Backer level or purchase additional Add-Ons although you will be able to update/change your shipping address.

2. All outstanding balances will be charged

3. A code for a special “Kickstarter Backer” and an “Order of Valhalla” Forum Badge (if you backed at that level) will be available in your BackerKit account. Step by step directions for entering the code are below.

4. Digital Add-Ons of Sourcebook PDFs and ‘Mech Blueprints will become available for download from your BackerKit account. To get them, you’ll go to your BATTLETECH BackerKit account, click the “Get Your Digital Rewards” button and download your rewards.

Please Note: It will take some time for BackerKit to charge and update accounts for all of our 40,000 backers. If your Add-Ons are not available when you go to your account, please give it 24 hours and then check back again. If your items are still missing, please contact us through our website.

Wallpaper Pack and Badge Codes for the BATTLETECH Forum!

All Backers will find two things in their BackerKit digital rewards - the Great House Wallpaper Pack and a code for Forum Badges for our Battletech-Comstar GBC forum. 

When you use the Forum Badge code (more specifics on how to do that below), you’ll have access to a unique Backer Badge and, if you backed at the Initiate of the Order Backer level, an Order of Valhalla Badge.

For now, we have two badges for the forum, but we plan to have more for you to unlock later - stuff like BattleTech faction and unit affiliations. 

How do I get my Forum Badges?

To access your Forum Badges, you’ll need to enter the code from your BackerKit account into your Settings on the Forum.

To find your code in your BackerKit account, hit the “Get My Digital Rewards” button and copy/paste it for redemption. Here’s how that works:

  • Head to the Battletech forums page (You signed up already, right? No? It’s really easy! Just click “Join” and enter your information.)
  • Once you’ve signed in to the forum, click the little gear next to your name in the upper left corner. That will open your Settings.
  • Paste the code where it says Redeem Code and click Submit!
  • Once you’ve done that, you’ll see selection options for Badges and Titles on the Settings page. After submitting the code, you should see at least one of each for you select and proudly display next to your forum avatar. (Valhalla level backers will get additional an option.)

 Here’s what it will look like when you’re done.

 Livestream on Periscope and Twitter

We’re making plans for a Twitch livestream Dev Q&A soon - and we haven’t forgotten about the BeardStream either! In the meantime, we’re going to hang with the “Cool Kids” and try livestreaming with an app called Periscope. If you download the app on your phone (iOS or Android), you can watch live, chat with us and show your love on the screen. You can also watch through our @webeharebrained Twitter feed and on Periscope’s website. This will be a fun experiment and a new way to keep in contact with you.

On Tuesday, January 19 at 12:30pm PST, Mitch will give you a tour of the studio and you’ll be able to chat with him through the app. We might even try to take some Skype calls….

Finally, in case you missed it in the last update, you can find a ton of BATTLETECH profile images, banners and wallpapers in this Forum Post

As always, if you have any problems or questions, you can reach us through the HBS Contact page.

Talk to you soon - HBS

An End-of-Year BATTLETECH Dev Update! (Plus a BackerKit Reminder!)
almost 7 years ago – Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 11:17:17 PM

Hey, BATTLETECH Backers!

Mike here - now that the dust has settled from the finale of our incredible Kickstarter campaign last month, I want to give everyone a short update on where we’re at in development. But first, before I do that, Robin (HBS_Dagger) says thanks to all the Backers who have answered their BackerKit survey!

However, there are still over 4500 of you that need still need to do this in order to receive their rewards! This is particularly important for anyone with physical rewards in their pledge level. We won’t be able to order the correct amount of Heraldry Kits and Jackets if you don’t let us know which ones you want and we need your shipping address so we can send them when they're ready.

If you haven’t answered your survey yet, go to this link: BATTLETECH BackerKit, click on “Didn’t get your invite?” and follow the instructions.The deadline is January 15th, but go do it NOW while you're thinking about it!! Don't worry, I'll wait...

Update Time!

In a nutshell - we’re a few months into pre-production now, and we’ve been busy prototyping and iterating on the core combat experience. As awesome and fulfilling as the Kickstarter experience was for us, it’s also been nice to focus entirely on game development for the past month!

With the scope of the game now clearly established by the funding goals we reached on Kickstarter, Jordan and I along with the rest of the design team have been able to really hone in on the core of what we’re making, and to start planning out the experience as a whole. We’ve established a strong set of design criteria for the game - for example: “I feel like all types and tonnages of ‘Mechs can be useful in combat.” And: “I rarely feel like concentrated fire is the only strategic solution.” It may sound obvious, but writing these goals down and referring back to them each step of the way really helps focus our prototyping efforts and ensure that the end result accomplishes everything we’d like it to.

The Merc Campaign

On the Mercenary campaign front, Kevin Maginn, our Design Lead, has been busy consulting BattleTech sourcebooks and furiously generating document after document like a mad-document-scientist, laying out some of the initial design foundations to implement those pillars and design goals.

The purpose of these documents is not to write a definitive spec for the game; the campaign game is just too big and complex to definitively document every possible outcome. Instead, we’re using them as a starting point to build prototypes that we’ll iterate on over the course of the next year of development. I strongly believe in rapid prototyping, team-wide feedback, and frequent iteration leading to the best possible product, and look forward to working with Kevin and the rest of the team to bring these designs to life next year.

Chris 00, Chris 01

Meanwhile, our Lead Engineer, Chris 00, has been focused on laying a strong architectural framework for our codebase. This is one of those things that is invisible now but will really pay off later. When designing a piece of software as complex as BATTLETECH, it’s critical to lay the right structure to build from, as well as define the components that the rest of the engineering team will build. This is especially important in a game that has to support both single-player and server-based multiplayer!

To capture how all of these efforts move forward, our Producer, Chris 01, has been working on a high-level block schedule for the project and planning our major milestones for next year. Our goal is to have a vertical slice (i.e. a representative demo short on content, but more complete development of high priority systems) of the combat game ready next summer and then bring on a larger production team to build out the environments, missions, and content around the same time. It’s a slow, careful burn until code foundations and content pipelines are in place and proven.

Story

We’ve also been making good progress on our story for the game, the core of which will be set in a small region of the Periphery on the Rimward side of the Inner Sphere. We’re not ready to talk about story specifics yet, but I’m excited about where we’re heading with various plot points and characters. I’ve been re-reading Dune and it’s been a great source of inspiration here - not for individual plot points necessarily, but for the overall tone of court intrigue, machinations and suspicions that we’re trying to achieve with the various factions involved in our narrative.

Art

At the other end of the BATTLETECH team’s corner of the HBS offices, our concept art team has switched gears from concept illustrations to actually spec’ing out how a variety of systems in the game will work. We’re prototyping the 3D portrait creation system and have found some great ways to get attitude and expression out of our MechWarriors so that we don’t end up with the “blank-stare-at-the-camera” style of 3d avatars that some games end up with. We’re also cooking up an Emblem Creator for your Mercenary outfit, and a flexible framework for the cosmetic customization of your ‘Mechs - so that you can select individual paint schemes and colors, as well as add details like additional emblems and nose art. We’re also starting in on terrain pipeline and development - essentially, how do we achieve this look, but with a full map that satisfies both gameplay and performance constraints.

BATTLETECH Art for Everyone!

You'll find a bunch of profile images and banners that you can use on your favorite social media sites on this Forum post. Feel free to use these to your heart's content!

And, while we’re not *quite* ready to show off any new art yet, we’ve posted a complete collection of all the Concept Art we released during the Kickstarter campaign in the same thread. It’s all the hi-res source images, so wallpaper away! (And if you aren’t on the forums yet, you should be! Here's where you sign up!)

That’s it for now - Happy Holidays, and we’ll see you all in 2016! -- Mike

PS: One other thing we’ve been working on is a plan for the player’s home base ship in the game - expect to hear more about that early next year! ; )

PPS: Also, in case you haven’t seen yet, the Steam Winter Sale has begun! All three of our Shadowrun games are on sale so this is a great time to grab our award-winning RPGs! 

The BATTLETECH BackerKit Invitations are on their way!
almost 7 years ago – Thu, Dec 03, 2015 at 10:48:36 PM

We are excited to announce that we have transferred all Backer pledges to our pledge management tool, BackerKit. We know that we have a lot of Backers who have not used Kickstarter or BackerKit before so we’ve included a thorough set of instructions and FAQ items below. 

How do I get my invitation?You should receive an email from BackerKit this week with a link to your account that includes all your Backer information in it. Due to the large number of Backers, it will take a few days for ALL the emails to go out. Please be patient. (And don’t forget to check your spam folder.)

  • If you do not receive your BackerKit email by December 8, just go to this link, enter your Kickstarter (or Paypal) email address, and click on the "Get My Survey" button. You will be sent a new email with a link to your account.
  • If you use your Facebook login for your Kickstarter account, the BackerKit survey will be sent to the email address you use for your Facebook account.
  • If you have another email address that you would prefer to use, please contact BackerKit support at support@backerkit.com and they'll get you sorted out.

Do I *Really* Need to Go to BackerKit?
Yes! All Backers must go to their BackerKit account to let us know the type of game key to deliver (Steam, GoG, or Humble).

This account is also where you will return for all your digital rewards (most importantly, your game key when the game releases) so when you’re done, we suggest you make a BackerKit login and password so you can easily return to your account at a later date.

In addition, if you backed at a reward level with physical rewards, this is where you'll tell us which Heraldry set you’d like, what size and color jacket you want, and what your shipping address is.

What If I Included Extra Funds for Add-Ons?
If you pledged extra funds for Add-Ons, you will find a credit in your BackerKit account. As you go through the survey process, you will choose your Add-On items.

Can I Upgrade My Pledge Level or Purchase Add-Ons?
Yes, you can upgrade your pledge level, purchase Add-Ons (and even send some extra support to the studio in the form of bagels!). If you upgrade or purchase Add-Ons, you will need to input payment information in BackerKit - but you will not be charged until we “Lockdown” accounts on January 15.

BackerKit Lockdown and Distribution of Digital Rewards
We will “Lockdown” all BackerKit accounts at 10pm PST on Friday, January 15th. When we hit the button to lockdown accounts, the following will happen:

  • You will no longer be able to make changes or additions to your account (except to update/change your shipping address.)
  • All outstanding balances will be charged
  • Digital Add-Ons of Sourcebook PDFs and ‘Mech Blueprints will become available in your BackerKit account. You will need to return to your BATTLETECH BackerKit account, click the “Get Your Digital Rewards” button and download your rewards

Customized Rewards
For those of you at the Mercenary MechWarrior pledge level ($1000 or above), we’ll be in touch by email in the coming months for more information on your customized rewards. We’ll also make arrangements for you to connect with Michael Stackpole about your E-novel character and visit to HBS.

BackerKit FAQ

1. I didn’t get my BackerKit email invite. What do I do? The easiest thing to do is resend your invite to yourself! Just go here: https://battletech.backerkit.com, enter your Kickstarter (or Paypal) email address, and click on the "Get My Survey" button. You will be sent a new email with a link to your account.

2. I forgot my BackerKit password. How do I get it? Just go here: https:/battletech.backerkit.com, enter your Kickstarter (or Paypal) email address, and click on the "Get My Survey" button. You will be sent a new email with a link to your account.

3. I want to sign back into https://battletech.backerkit.com, but I don’t remember the email I used for my account. How do I get it? It should be your Kickstarter (or Paypal) account email. If that doesn’t work, please email support@backerkit.com and they will help you.

4. I have a question about BackerKit that isn’t covered here. What do I do? Head over to https://www.backerkit.com/faq_backer, or email the team directly at support@backerkit.com. They’re happy to help!

5. Why do I have to use BackerKit again? The BackerKit folks are experts in streamlining the process of delivering crowd-funded rewards. Using their service allows our team to maintain focus on making a great game. 

While our Community Team has been busy getting BackerKit all set up, the Dev Team has been driving hard on preproduction. We’ll be back with an update before the end of the year on what’s been keeping them busy. Now, go look for that BackerKit email and fill out your survey!

And when you're done with that, come hang out with us over at ComStar: The Global BattleTech Community Forum! The forums are a much easier and enjoyable place to communicate with your fellow MechWarriors than the Kickstarter Comments page (for sure). Join the community, share and enjoy fan works, and pledge your affiliation to your House!

Best,
HBS 

PS: Our friends at Catalyst Gaming Labs recently announced the Beta Release of the first of a new line of sourcebooks for Alpha Strike - Combat Manual: Mercenaries. The limited-time Beta PDF sells for $5. While the deadline for feedback was originally December 10th, due to holidays and the excellent feedback received to date, it’s been extended to January 10th! When the final version is released at the standard price, Beta version owners will automatically receive a free upgrade.

BattleTech Combat Manual: Mercenaries contains information on the soldier-for-hire trade and their place in the Inner Sphere. This manual takes a look at some of the most renowned mercenaries of the 31st century circa 3025-3050, detailing their histories, tactics, unit crests, paint schemes, and notable personnel. The Alpha Strike expansion includes special rules for unique character abilities, faction-specific rules, force-building, and a mini Technical Readout—everything you need to field your favorite mercenary command on the tabletop or create your own.

Catalyst is also offering a few specially priced combo packs for the Alpha Strike Core Rulebook and Alpha Strike Companion PDFs. And for a limited time, all Lance Packs are now $14.99 instead of the standard $19.99. If you haven’t given Alpha Strike a try yet, you can download a free QSR PDF of the rules. You can find it all on DriveThruRPG or BattleCorps