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Looking for a transcript for one of the Dev Q&A's? Here's a list of the ones available. Just click on the date to go to the transcript.

Q&A with HBS

March 10, 2016
April 13, 2016
May 11, 2016
June 8, 2016
July 14, 2016
August 11, 2016
September 14, 2016
October 12, 2016
January 11, 2017
February 8, 2017
March 8, 2017
April 12, 2017
May 10, 2017
June 14, 2017
July 12, 2017
August 9, 2017
September 13, 2017
October 11, 2017
February 14, 2018 Commuterzombie

Paradox Livestreams

March 22, 2018
March 29, 2018
 
Last edited:

Faenaris

Dohon
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  • Victoria 2
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  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
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  • Leviathan: Warships
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  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
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  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Commander: Conquest of the Americas
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Heir to the Throne
EDIT: Migration complete. :)
 
Last edited:

Faenaris

Dohon
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  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
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  • Leviathan: Warships
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
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  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
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  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Commander: Conquest of the Americas
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Heir to the Throne
October 12, 2016.

Notes of the Q&A:

  • Those present were Mitch Gitelman, Randal Bills (Catalyst Game Labs) and Tyler Carpenter.
  • Last stream of the year, allows HBS to work on the game and enjoy the holidays. Be back in 2017!
  • Randal Bills does watch Death From Above, but hasn't seen every episode. He did enjoy the first episode and laughed so hard when the first Mech was damaged. He said it was also painful, since he knows those Mechs cost a lot.
  • The Introductory Box set is a great introduction for new BattleTech players. It has 24 Mechs, some basic rules. Unfortunately out of print and getting a new production run is expensive and complicated. Working on it!
  • A lot of lore errors (for instance, the Catapult K2 model went from being produced in 3025 to 3033) are changed after the fact. TRO 3025 Revised had a shocking amount of errors changed from the TRO 3025. Randal Bills has been with the BattleTech universe for 20 years, the game itself is pushing on 35.
  • Catalyst Game Labs (CGL) would love to have an official Character Generator Tool (Software). On the other hand, there isn't any official software for making Record Sheets for BattleTech either. If someone wants to make that, they can always pitch their idea at CGL.
  • Death from Above is not official Canon (said by both HBS and CGL). It's all about the fun.
  • The Aurigan Reaches hasn't been mentioned before in BT lore. In-universe reason is that there are a lot of systems out there in the periphery that were inhabited during the Star League. Those came under the auspices of the Inner Sphere powers and quite a lot eventually just disappear. That didn't mean they died out, but it generally means those worlds just weren't important and fell off the attention-radar of their overlords. A real life example would be the battles that happend in Nigeria during World War 2. They did happen, but they don't tend to attract at lot of attraction.
  • CGL will try to incorporate the events of the HBS game into future products. CGL has done that with lore from the MechWarrior games. Some games like Mechassault 2 proved to be impossible to incorporate, so that didn't happen. CGL and HBS are working closely on this. CGL loves that HBS is treating BattleTech canon with such great respect.
  • If you want more info on the succession wars [INFO: HBS' game is set in 3025, at the tail-end of the 3rd Succession war], CGL release the First Succession War Sourcebook. Many events in that book lay the foundation for the events in 3025. There are also two Combat Manuals out, being Combat Manual: Kurita and Combat Manual: Mercenaries. Those deal with events of the Clan Invasion [INFO: Which is about 3050]. Nice stuff for 3025 in there. And finally, CGL also released Campaign Operations, the last of the Core Rulebooks for the Tabletop. It deals with on how running your own campaign and gives details on how to run your own mercenary outfit.
  • CGL doesn't "own" the BattleTech universe. That would be the Topps company and they own all non-electronic rights to BattleTech. Microsoft owns all electronic rights to BattleTech. CGL has the license to work with all the non-electronic stuff. CGL can (and is) shape the BT universe. You have to move the story forward. There have been pauses. After the Clan Invasion, the story didn't take big steps forwards.
  • Randal would change the Mechanics on how the Clans were introduced to the game. In Tabletop, weapons have about 7 characteristics, and the Clan weapons were tweaked on all fronts. Randal would probably have looked to a max of 4 stats to change in order to make those weapons stand out.
  • CGL is changing up the Lance packs. They will better quality. Stay tuned for more info.
  • Terrain components are hard to do. Very complex process.
  • Making the First Succession war sourcebook was a very daunting process. Herbs Beas did a lot of contributions to the book. There was a great fact-checking team, run by volunteers. Those are talented volunteers to. During the creation of the House handbooks (the successors to the old House sourcebooks), authors would write 10.000 words and have referenced 30 to 40 sources. And still, the volunteers would find a source that would contradict what the author wrote, sending him/her back to the drawing board. BT Lore is problematic because it is so huge, but CGL loves it.
  • The Jihad wasn't a way to "reset" the power creep and wipe out what had been accomplished from 3025 up to 3067. Every three years, the founders of BT and influential authors get together to discuss "how to proceed with the BT story". The Jihad story-arc was in development for 6 or 7 years.
  • Randal likes the new initiative as created for BattleTech. It really makes Light Mech stand out, something that got lost with the introduction of the Clans and the powercreep. CGL had to spend years trying to make Light Mechs viable and the only way to do so was using experimental tech. The new initiative system makes Light Mechs viable, even in the clan era.
  • AeroTech is in the Total Warfare book. Before that, it was spread in several different rulebooks. The sales were never there and folding it in one book along with other rules allowed players to actually play those rules. A separate book just wouldn't sell well.
  • The lore summits allows CGL and authors to discuss on how to proceed forward. Each summit allowed to create elements for new eras and each era itself will have clues / plotlines on which you can continue. Doesn't mean each plotline / clue is followed or acted upon as previously agreed. There is a lot of discussion between the people involved. This has led to heated discussions. In stalemates, it comes down to the majority. Compromise is necessary. And besides, you have to choose your fight.
  • HBS doesn't believe in "the game producer's opinion is the word of God". While Mitch was told so when entering the industry, he and Tyler don't believe it works that way. Nobody is that perfect or visionary that they alone can get it right. HBS members are all agreed upon the core items that must make-up the game. They discuss then on the details.
  • Tyler plays MWO, but not regular. He started out with a Wolverine and wanted a Warhammer, but never had enough points to get one. Randal plays MWO from time to time, but he runs it on a Mac and doesn't always run well.
  • Randal will play the Battletech game for sure. There is so much in there that he loves.
  • A new piece of Tech being introduced is a complex process. It boils down to checking the stats of the new tech and compare it to what there is already. And sometimes you'll have to playtest it, because numbers don't always tell everything.
  • The Dark Ages timeline will not be re-written, that is canon.
  • The new sourcebook Ill-clan will push the timeline forward and is expected to release in 2017.
  • Minnesota tribe? You want more info? Read the book Betrayal of Ideals book by Blaine Pardoe.
  • The Clan ppc and large laser are still the most overpowered weapons in BattleTech, according to Randal.
  • If Randal could change anything in the BT universe, Randal would change the rule that says that engines cannot contain double heatsinks. Double heatsinks for free changed the balance way too much.
  • If DFA had a live-action movie, Lord Commander would be played by Ian McShane. Talon would be played by Christian Slater (same cocky attitude). Coryphée would be played by Jane Seymour. Valravn by a Swedish-Chinese actor [NOTE: The exact name is mentioned on Valravn's casting page for DFA, but I can't seem to find it.]. Jackal by Edward Norton. Someone in chat proposed that Valravn be played by Michelle Yeoh. Another suggested Morena Baccarin for Coryphée.
  • The Introductory Boxset (when once again available) will have the latest Mech Sculpts.
  • The Second Sucession war sourcebook will be release early 2017.
  • Fan-produced content very rarely makes it into canon BattleTech. BattleTech volunteers who produce stuff do get pulled into development and work on projects for CGL.
  • MechCon will be attended by Mitch, Randal and Tyler.
  • CGL has taught about a timeline without the Clans. Or one where Maximillian Liao doesn't clone Hanse Davion, meaning House Davion doesn't go after the Capellan Confederation, but goes toe-to-toe agains House Kurita.
  • CGL has started to redesign the Unseen Mechs. Several have been and they are looking into how far they can go.
  • U. Utah Philips was an influential country singer for Mitch.
  • Dagger [NOTE: Dagger was a MechWarrior pilot in the MechCommander games] is on the Death From Above shadow. She is called Coryphée instead of Dagger.
  • Randal's favorite Mech is the Banshee 3S. It is big and scary. Also a lot of emotional value. Back in the day, Randal wrote a story for the BattleTech magazine on how about he was a jock, looking for a Banshee 3S during the Fourth Succession War. They published that story and that was his very first publication ever. Randal's favorite faction is House Kurita. Favorite Clan is Clan Nova Cat).
  • Tyler's favorite Mech is the Thunderbolt 5SE. Favorite House is House Marik (very closely followed by House Liao).
  • CGL has contemplated turning to crowdfunding for certain projects, but nothing has come from it.
  • Pre-painted miniatures are very very expensive to sell. No near-term plans for that.
  • Randal's favorite piece of art is the original Succes Wars box cover art. Also, the Battlepack Fourth Sucession wars cover.
  • A new CGL summit is happening "soon".
  • HBS swag store is being considered, but games come first.
  • Mechcommander 3 isn't going to happen, because HBS has a license for a turn-based game.
  • BattleTech multiplayer at launch will be 1v1.
  • Randal played BattleTech at GenCon. Was also the last time he had the chance to play it. He loved it.
 

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February 8, 2017

Story-related Questions

  • One of the fans on the forums asked if the game (the story) is closer to Game of Thrones in Space, a Less Spicy Dune, Machiavelli with Mechs or Something else all together. HBS said it is a bit of all of those. They took inspiration of all those things. GoT had strong characters and that is something that they want to convey as well.
  • They didn't collaborate with other BT authors specifically when writing the story, although Jordan Weisman (one of the founders of the BattleTech universe) is the studio head.
  • As to how they came up with the idea, Mike McCain said that there is a certain quote about authors. Some authors are like architects and plan out everything to a T. They say they will do this and then go do that exactly. Others are like gardeners. They plant the seeds, hope they planted the right ones and nurture those to see what becomes. BattleTech's story creation is somewhere in between. The story is partly created to fit certain gameplay goals. They want the players to have a gameplay experience, and the story can't conflict that. So, they created a framework and then filled it out. They wanted a revolution story and make the players either join that revolution or not. Seemed like a good "merc fit".
  • BattleTech isn't about black and white. Individuals might in their own mind think that certain factions / others are black or white, but in the end, the universe itself does not care. The individuals do. HBS feels that having strong characters gives perspective and may change the view you, as a player, have on the conflict in the Aurigan Reaches.
  • There are huge differences between constructing a deep rpg like Shadowrun and a tactical game like BattleTech. Last thing you want when in a mission is to work your way through a dialogue branch. It arrests your flow. An RPG is about branching, a tactical game not so much.
  • In Shadowrun, they took a more literary approach to the dialogue and relied more on GM text.
  • As to the story linearity, you can look a bit to GTA. You can explore at will in that game and choose when to undertake which mission. Each mission itself however doesn't have a lot of branching or rpg-interaction. BattleTech will be similar to that approach.
  • Playing the game and the effects your playstyle has on the ending of the game boils down to whether or not you want to see the Aurigan Restoration (the Revolution that the "good guys" undertake, as it were) to its ending or not. You can choose to leave the rebellion "hanging".
  • You don't have to play the story missions. Once the game opens up (you have access to the Argo), you can choose how much missions for the Restoration you undertake. If you don't do missions, the Restoration will fail. So, failing the storyline, does not mean you fail your career in the game. The game won't end.
  • You cannot side with the Directorate itself (mainly because of budget / time limitations with developping the game), but you can watch the rebellion fall apart (by not doing missions for the Aurigan Restoration).
  • Story missions will have scripted elements and randomized elements. Just how much of each is still subject to change!
  • If you fail a story mission, you will be able to re-do it. HBS does want to avoid "snowballing", meaning that you lose a mission, lose Mechs, redo the mission, lose again and ultimately are left with nothing. That said, if you fail a storyline mission, you might want to go do something else to recover and recuperate. You'll never be stuck with just having the choice of doing that difficult story mission.
  • You start out with a ragtag crew. Later on, you'll be able to take on missions for different clients, which affects your reputation with those clients. The Restoration will then contact you and let you undertake missions. It is a bit of back and forth.
  • The Aurigan Restoration considers you as a "special ops" unit. You are not with the rank and file and are called upon to do special missions. They will use you to do sketchy missions, so they can disavow that certain things happend. Your actions will help the regular army advance and gain ground.
  • Between missions, you will be able (optionally) to interact with your crew. Think dialogues with your crew in Shadowrun, just not as deep, more light-branching background. You'll also be able to learn their opinion on the world and the events around them. They want to flesh out a bit the "upstairs, downstairs" difference in viewpoints. What the aristocracy and the noble houses think, is in contrast to what the Regular Joe and Jane might think.
  • Crew progression is linked to upgrading the Argo. The DropShip you get in the beginning is all banged up and you'll need to repair/upgrade it piece by piece (repairing a MechBay to full operation for instance).
  • No romances in the game.
  • When creating your Mercenary Commander, you'll be presented with a three-stage character creator. Remember, you will be creating a character that becomes a mercenary, so the choices you can make for your background will take that in account. You will be presented with 6 choices and some sub-choices to that effect.
  • Character background will have an impact in at least one story mission, where your background will have effects on what people / you say or do in that mission. Work in progress.
  • When calling in artillery and the like, you will get nice "audio barks".
  • In MechCommander, each MechWarrior had about 30 lines of spoken audio. In BattleTech, that will be about 150 per MechWarrior. HBS admitted that was expensive.
  • One lesson learned from writing story for the Shadowrun games is that creating interesting backstories for each of your crew, dropping them in a relatively simple conflict and letting the interactions drive the drama provides an interesting view on the world around the characters.
  • They way to sell the story to newcomers to the BattleTech universe, is by way of the characters. If you're able to strip the sci-fi elements from the story and still have it interesting to the player, that is a good story. If you then work in canon elements and make it fit the universe, you'll draw in the fans of the setting too.
  • Re-reading the fiction and sourcebooks leading up to the creation of the story has been a lot of fun.
General questions

  • The MechWarriors you hire and use will not interact with the story themselves. The crew of the Argo and you as a commander will.
  • Be prepared to lose MechWarriors. In this part of the setting (and the current year), the metal is more important than the meat. It is unlikely that a MechWarrior survives till the end of the story, but the Mechs might.
  • Infantry is a fine candidate for post-launch success and updates.
  • Nothing is being done to actively prevent modding, but you won't get a toolkit as well. Unity is also no the most flexible engine. But HBS won't stop you from messing with the raw files.
  • Salvage will be a strong negotiation point in the contracts that you take in the game.
  • Weapons and "interesting" parts can salvaged as is. Other parts (like engines, actuators, ...) are sold automatically and you receive cash. You also collect scrap. [Note: I do not know whether this means scrap as a general resource or not]
  • Engines on Mechs cannot be swapped.
  • The parts you salvage also depends on how efficient you were at blowing up a `Mech. If you blow almost everything to smithereens before taking the `Mech down, you probably won't get much back.
  • Expect salvage to be a major source of upgrades. There will be stores, but (certainly in the early part of the game) they will have an incomplete and mis-matched inventory.
  • They are discussing the possibility that enemies might pro-actively surrender to the player in single-player. There won't be a "parlay" option and if the enemy want to surrender, you will certainly not get a dialogue wheel or somesuch.
  • There will be contracts offered by parties other than the five Houses (being House Davion, Steiner, Kurita, Liao and Marik).
  • The movement of Mechs in the game will match the movement speeds of tabletop. That said, they applied a bell-curve as to eliminate the edges. An UrbanMech will not be so damnably slow, a locust will not be blazingly fast.
  • You will probably not be able to send lances out on simultaneous missions. There is a spec for something called "secondary missions" where you send out someone to do them, but that will be revisited post-launch (if the game is successful).
  • HBS will not be at Pax East. They rather work on the game.
  • There are 5 terrain biomes in production. Mountainous, Arid Desert, Glacial Lowlands, Terrestrial Lowlands, Frozen, Martian, Lunar and Tundra. Each biome has their own terrain features. Forrests will be pretty much in all biomes. There is for instance a Crystal Field in the Desert, in which lasers will be less powerful, but kinetic and missiles will work just fine. Each biome will have a set of valid weather and lighting and fog etc ... It will change depending on the battle and other factors.
  • Contracts will in general last for one mission. What will be in the game, is mission chains. You do contract 01 and complete it, contract 02 will be available, and so forth. They wanted to do this so that you can take a break and go do another mission for instance. Also, it will allow for re-supply. Missions in this game tend to take longer to complete than the team had originally anticipated (which they find a good thing) and they don't want to shut a player out of the simulation part of the game for 4 hours in a row (which would have been the case if contracts took multiple missions to complete).
  • There is a system for camo-schemes and paintjobs. Each chassis has 6 different paint schemes (for instance stripes, double stripes, across the chest, ...). You can choose 4 colors to make up your Mech and use those to make a global paint scheme for your Mech or you can make each Mech individual.
  • You can also put a heraldry icon on your Mech on several locations (you have a nice cat picture? You can put it on the chest!).
  • Heraldry can be made in the emblem editor.
  • You can continue to play the game after the story has finished / failed.
  • BattleTech and the announced MechWarrior 5 Mercenaries will not be linked, story-wise or gameplay-wise. They take place in different timeperiods of the universe as well. The only link between HBS and Piranha Games (creators of MechWarrior Online and MechWarrior 5) is that the latter have supplied Mechs to the former. HBS will give PGI access to vehicle models.
  • You will face a lance of 4 Mechs quite often.
  • The game will be available on Windows, Mac and Linux. You can purchase the game on Steam, GoG and Humble. That's about it, because they do not have the license to do anything else.
  • You will not be able to put an axe on an Atlas assault Mech (sadly enough).
  • BattleTech has a hardpoint system for the Mechs, similar to MechWarrior Online, but not the same. Hardpoints on Mechs will not change, the weapons you put in can be changed (within what that hardpoint allows). More details will be revealed later.
  • You can make PPC boats (`Mechs bearing nothing but Particle Projection Cannons), but only if the hardpoints on the `Mech allow it.
  • You will start with a lance, one of those being a Blackjack. That Blackjack has been modified in order to fulfill a certain request. [Note: No more info was given]
  • The starting lance will NOT have Assault Mechs.
  • A Mech will not be able to take up scrap or trees and use it to bludgeon other mechs. Not possible in the scope of the game. If they had 10 million extra...
  • The money raised with the kickstarter is not a lot, compared to other game budgets. It allowed for the team to be paid, food to be bought and chairs to be placed. Focus = quality, they can't do many things well. So, buy the game, make your friends buy the game, make their friends buy the game.
  • You will only have Leopard Dropships available. They will be your shuttles from the Argo to the surface.
  • Multiplayer combat will be 1 player vs 1 player.
  • Mechs painted red will not go faster.
  • There will be difficulty options, but they are still kinking out the details.
  • A movie replay of your battles will not be in the game. Once again, limited budget.
  • No dropping Mechs from orbit.
  • No "Stackpoling" Mechs. [Note: Stackpoling refers to shutting down the safety regulators on your Mech's fusion engine, creating a fusion explosion. BattleTech author Michael A. Stackpole used that in his novels, but realistically, you cannot easily turn a fusion reactor in a fusion bomb]
  • A mission will last about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Combining the Shadowrun Engine with the BattleTech engine in order to make the ultimate MechWarrior campaign ... A bit like mixing Nitric Acid and Sulfuric Acid, while adding a bit of Glycerin. It creates explosive results. So, yeah, no, not gonna happen.
  • UrbanMechs will be in the game. Hell yes.
  • Ammo explosions happen. First shot disables the mechanism feed, the second sets it off.
  • Light Mechs get higher initiative, are harder to hit because they are smaller (the enemy gets to-hit penalties, even if the light Mech stands still!) and can move further in general, creating more bonuses.
  • A light Mech in melee might not sound like a good idea, but do not forget that Melee also includes fire your small weaponry. A Firestarter light Mech can charge in melee and unleash a lot of flamers and small lasers on you, creating pain. But if a locust does this and charges an Awesome, the returnpunch can hurt the Locust a lot.
  • Tonnage is not the only indicator of a Mechs prowess in melee. A chassis might have certain bonuses to melee.
  • There is a save-in-mission option.
  • Ironman mode? Yes.
 

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March 8, 2017
  • People present: Mitch Gitelman, Mike McCain, Tyler Carpenter
  • Beta (AJ Bolden) works on the Mercenary simulation aspect of the game. His Death from above Character Beta will not be in the backer beta. If his character will be in the full game, maybe. To be determined (TBD).
  • Beta will have both PVE and PVP. So, skirmish against AI and other players.
  • Upgrading Unity (the game engine) has resulted in software rendering has gotten some optimization. The game runs faster.
  • Despite the fast few weeks begin difficult because of the development problems (regarding the upgrades), the team handled the situation pretty well according to Mitch and Mike. The level of f-words didn't spike, but remained constant. F-words are a part of development process at HBS. But really, *** happens and the development tried to work longer hours in order to muddle through.
  • You'll be able to save your game mid-mission.
  • You won't be able to save your game when in multiplayer.
  • Romello Jones (character from Death From Above) may or may not be in the full game. TBD.
  • If ammo takes a critical hit, the following will happen. The first will disable the ammo feed (meaning you can't draw ammo from that location anymore). The second blows up the ammo that is stored in that location.
  • Critical hits function pretty much like in the tabletop game. Critical hits can destroy internal structure, sever arms or legs, etc...
  • In the campaign game, Farah Murad is your ships engineer. She is the one responsible for upgrading your Argo DropShip. Yang Virtanen is your Head MechTech and oversees your Mekbays. With regards to upgrading and repairing Mechs, over the course of the campaign,
  • you'll have a growing number of MechTechs that will take on the different repair and refit tasks that came through your workqueue.
  • Melee does not damage your own Mech, except in the case of the Death From Above attack (INFO: Death From Above is an attack made by a Mech equipped with jumpjets. The Mech launches itself through the air and tries to land on the enemy Mech. Also called a "Highlander Burial" in the BattleTech universe.)
  • There isn't a list of Mechs that will be in the beta. The number will be around 20 and the UrbanMech will surely be in the beta.
  • HBS is also considering the idea that if a critical hit damages an already destroyed location, it will result in additional damage.
  • Infantry will not be in the release version of the game.
  • Your commander, the character you create at the start of the campaign, will be a Mechwarrior with a Mech. You are of a Noble background and you will have different selections that tell just how you came to be a Mercenary. There are no character classes and customization will allow you to make your commander look like you (hopefully).
  • Artillery and airstrikes on a cooldown. You are able to take a support vehicle on a mission. If you take an artillery vehicle, you will have off-screen artillery support that launches a big shell and provides a big impact on one location.
  • If you took an Aerospace fighter, you can do airstrikes, resulting in a strafing run and bombs falling across a path. There are also vehicles that provide passive abilities, like taking a field hospital would mean that your MechWarriors are more likely to survive.
  • MechTechs will be hireable like MechWarriors.
  • The Mechs in BattleTech are the same models as found in MechWarrior online. HBS had to do a lot more animation work because the Mechs can move in different ways not available in MechWarrior Online (fall down, get up, punch, kick). The texturing of the Mech is also being handed differently by HBS.
  • Mission dialogue should be for the most part be voiced during story missions. A mission will have for instance "interrupts" where for instance an important update is presented by pausing the game and having some characters talk. There will also be conversations when switching turns, having a character say "you know, I grew up on this planet, etc ...". That is all voiced. During non-story missions (the randomly generated ones), there might be some voiced parts.
  • There will be about 50 Mech Variants (NOTE: Mike said that the full Mech roster including variants was 50, to which Mitch added something, but it wasn't entirely clear to me.). Those variants are straight from tabletop. You can customize Mechs and switch out weapons, but you'll be bound to the weapon hardpoints. Variants allow you to have Mechs with different hardpoints.
  • The Legendary Mechwarriors that were unlocked are accessible in the campaign game, but if they will be in the skirmish mode, remains te be determined.
  • The weapon effects and the like are made by HBS themselves. The ones that MechWarrior online uses are designed for use when inside a Mech Cockpit. Creating audio for the BattleTech game is different.
  • The Singleplayer campaign is linear. It is comparable to Grand Theft Auto or Shadow of Mordor. You have a broad map where missions pop up, both story missions and random missions. That means you can interact with the story when you want to, but the story missions will stay the same and more will unlock as you progress.
  • The Devs at HBS will having matches between themselves live on Twitch.
  • The support vehicles (artillery, aerospace, ...) will be upgradeable or have better versions be bought by the player, allowing you to improve their performance.
  • The campaign system is being developed with flexible tags. For instance, it is possible that if a planet is "conquered" for the Aurigan Restoration, it could be that merchants on that planet provide cheaper merchandise.
  • There probably won't be a "drop limit" or something that limits how heavy your lance for a mission will be. In the campaign game, your limit will more have to do with resources available to you. You can run a lance with 4 Atlases, but you will need to find / buy 4 of them AND be able to keep them running. You are a mercenary and money is a big thing. In multiplayer, C-Bills (NOTE: The currency in BattleTech) will the balancer as your Mechs, their variants and the quality of Mechwarriors combined will result in a certain C-Bill value.
  • You will not able to have Vehicles as a part of your Unit Roster, but they may be provided to you as support by a client.
  • There is a small weapons hardpoint, reserved for smaller weapons like machineguns, flamers and small lasers.
  • Multiplayer will be run through a server.
  • You repair Mechs at the Argo, though you will have to unlock more Mekbays and more Mech repair capability by upgrading the Dropship and thus, spending money and resources.
  • HBS is currently iterating the campaign game and they are looking into how to differentiate MechTechs from one another. It might be that more experienced Techs repair faster or that their skills affect the ability to customize a Mech. Very heavily work in progress.
  • You can fail the game by having no more functioning Mechs and running out of money.
  • Beta will probably be a few gigabytes big.
  • The final release date will be subject to market conditions and thus, BattleTech will not release close to another big blockbuster. HBS has done that once in the past and it had a painful impact.
  • It is possible that player receives faulty intel. Mission briefing might state that you will face a medium lance and in-mission, you discover it is a heavy lance.
  • In the game, you cannot displace a Mech, space-wise. This was cut some time ago. This means you won't be able to charge a Mech, because a charge would imply you knock the Mech backwards.
  • The process for choosing which Mechs will be in the game started by first checking which Mechs were available in the Inner Sphere in 3025. Then, they compared that list to the Mechs that Piranha had created. After that, a few Mechs were filtered out due to capabilities, loadout, ... Also how long it would to get it in the game was a factor, as well as how popular a certain Mech is.
  • The game will be released on Steam, Good Old Games and Humble store.
  • There will not be QuadMechs.
  • You can restart a mission if it goes badly for you, unless you are playing in ironman mode.
  • There is no reaction fire in the game. As such, moving and jumping a Mech won't result in a reactive shot from the enemy.
  • There is something like "chained contracts". Completing a contract will lead to another. But you will come back to base and be able to resupply before embarking on another contract.
  • The beta might have a few more Mechs because of the delayed release, but not much more. The problems with the Unity upgrade and such meant that there was far less to do decent Quality Assurance (testing) for the Beta available. So, the delay means that they can do those tests HBS wanted to do. Adding more features while you are testing others is a no-no. You need to test everything before you can release it. Progress is being made on new stuff, but that won't be in the beta.
  • Tools for running your own multiplayer league or ladders will probably be something for post-launch.
  • Both professional voice actors and team members of HBS will provide voices for pilots.
  • No new release date for the Backer Beta until HBS is really sure they will make it.
  • Campaign difficulty will not depend greatly on what Mech you salvage when. It will not be like Mechcommander where in Mission 3, salvaging a Timber Wolf (Mad Cat) could make future missions easier. Campaign difficulty will be more controlled.
  • There isn't going to be a specific Mechanic like a notice saying: "do this and you can catch the enemy pilots before they mount their Mechs". What is in the game, is that you have secondary objectives and fulfilling those will result in a certain bonus. Secondary objectives are not mission-critical.
  • In the campaign game, you can have ultimately 18 Mechs ready at any given time for combat. More Mechs means you have to mothball the extras and put them in storage. It takes to time to put a Mech in storage or take it out of mothballs. There is no limit on how many Mechs you can have in storage.
  • You will not able to have a multiplayer match, where one players controls one side and have multiple players control one Mech each on the other side. Focus is quality.
  • There have been audio bits recorded from the Death From Above serie (Tyler laughing at players, Lord Commander yelling at players) and who knows, those might make it into the game at one point or another.
  • You will have a stockpile of Mech Parts that are not weapons in your DropShip.
  • The craziest thing that has happend in BT development is the past few weeks with technical problems that HBS struggled with. The most awesome thing to see was when the first real prototype was up and Mechs were ingame. It was still basic and ugly as sin, but the studio was filled with a lot of great energy, resulting in a lot of great debates about Mechanics and somesuch. Also, MechCon and GenCon were damn awesome.
  • Actually stealing Mechs (in-mission) might be in, depending on how believable it is. Taking control of a facility that stores Mechs and receiving one of them as part of mission contract is more believable than outright stealing one.
  • There is an event system. As time progress, things can happen. You can get popups like "Mechwarriors have been brawling, what you want to do?". You decide what to do and that has impact on the simulation part of the game. Having a Tech die on you because of something happend in an event for instance is possible.
  • You can create emblems for your unit. You start with a primary symbol/mark, with a framing element and several colors that are added. Mechs themselves will receive the primary symbol on them, while the entire emblem will be visible on the Argo when watching the company heraldry.
  • There is not going to be a grand strategic AI. Deciding what missions you do and your success at them might produced in the chained contracts mission (winning or losing contract A might result in different opfors for contract B ), but nothing more beyond that.
  • Having an overarching enemy AI on the campaign map is out of scope for this game.
  • There are no called shots in the game. So, no aiming at a specific location on a Mech.
  • Critical hits work like in BattleTech. Once you strip the armor of a certain location on a Mech, hitting that location might result in a critical hit and depending on what is in that location, might result in certain results. The ammo location results have been discussed earlier already.
  • Having your Mechs painted a certain way (jungle camouflage in a jungle mission) will not provide bonuses.
  • Different biomes have different terrain features. Environmental hazards are limited. Rough terrain means it is harder to move through it, while also increasing the chance that your Mech will fall down. Lava is in the game and standing in it is a Very Bad Idea.
  • You might see DFA characters in the game, but actually having DFA lore cross-over into the campaign game is not going to happen.
  • Missions will have difficulty ratings. Firstly, it depends on the type of mission. The ratings also change depending on how well you are equipped at the time you want to undertake the mission. Thirdly, there will be a global difficulty modifier added to it, but HBS is discussing on how to implement that exactly.
  • Will you be able to acquire LosTech (INFO: Star League era technology superior to the stuff around in 3025)? Yes. How? You'll see.
  • Paintschemes have been developed by HBS themselves. How it works, is that you select a paintscheme, then choose where you put your emblem. You want it on the shoulder, you want it huge on the chest, ... Then you customize the colors for the different layers for the paintscheme (primary layer, secondary and tertiary).
  • The terrain representation has improved since the pre-alpha video. It is easier to differentiate trees and other terrain features. When planning your move, the UI will show whether or not your movement path will put you in a forest. If a hill is blocking your shot to another Mech, the ui "laser" will show you. There is no such thing as "heavy" or "light" woods, level 1 hill or level 3 hill. Either you can see through the forest (forest reduces LOS and provides cover) or not and either the hill is too high or it isn't.
  • Buildings can be blown up (bigger buildings require more damage).
  • Mechs standing on a building will fall down and receive damage if the building is destroyed.
  • HBS can't confirm or deny that you will be taking missions from ComStar.
  • When deploying on a mission, you will be able to choose where your Mechs will deploy exactly.
  • HBS hopes that there will be urban center maps in the game. There are already maps with smaller settlements.
  • There are different "variants" of weapons in the game. One AC20 for instance fires several shells while another AC20 (from a different manufacturer) fires one large shell.
  • There are no inferno SRM's or LBX class autocannons in the game. Alternate ammo isn't in. If they were to be in the game (if time permits, maybe), they would be in the game as a specific variant of a weapon instead of ammo.
  • HBS wants to show more gameplay video, but they are working hard on the game itself. So, please be patient, something will come.
  • Radar in the game will detect Mechs at a constant range. Actually seeing them depends on the tactics skill and the gear (Mech) the pilot is working with. They tried out different sensor models during prototyping, but the current system with radar blips and line of sight works the best. And it works well, Tyler had a Locust equipped with LRM's that managed to empty its ammo racks because of the increased vision.
  • There will not be a live-action intro or cut-scenes.
  • Ironman mode means that the game saves after every action you take. If you reload the game, you'll come back to that last action. If you die, you are dead.
  • The Shrek PPC carrier is in the game.
  • The Raven is in the game and it will have an ECM module. How it will work exactly is still to be determined.
  • The further an enemy unit moves during its turn, the harder it will be to hit it. Your own movement will only affect your own aiming at that enemy in a minor way. A Locust that moves very far in its turn will be hard to hit.
  • There will be small news snippets that you can read during the campaign. Or at least that is planned. Think of the Shadow Lance stuff in the Shadowrun games.
  • Water will affect heat-dissipation.
  • There will not be specific tools released that will help in recording footage. Probably you'll be able to use the debug menu that the team uses to record some cool shots and footage.
  • The team will probably release a list of weapons that you can put on your Mechs.
  • There will not be API features.
  • There will not be Twitch interaction features. You can stream on your own though. HBS will try to keep the corners of the UI free so that you put a picture-in-picture window in there. Try, the UI needs to display quite a lot of info.
  • No minimum specifications yet. There hasn't been a full test cycle since the development update.
  • There will not be repair facilities in-mission. It's something HBS has talked about a lot and they feel that if your mission needs such facilities during a mission, then your mission is too long. They rather cut up the mission in two then.
  • The game is not multi-threaded. Unity does not like multi-threading.
  • There will not be invasions like in the Dark Souls games.
  • An Atlas can not thrown an UrbanMech in order for it to deploy faster.
  • The MechLab will not be available at the beginning of the Backer Beta.
  • There will updates to the game after its release. Just how much and how big those will be depends on success.
  • There will be buildings large enough for Mechs to walk around in, but you won't be able to do that. You can destroy it and then walk through the rubble. Because this is BattleTech.
  • There will not be Clans in the game. The game is set in 3025. The Helm Memory Core hasn't been publicly released yet, meaning advanced tech is still out of the question. The Clan invasion happens in 3050, 25 years later.
 

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April 12, 2017

QUESTIONS FOR CHRIS ECK
  • People present: Mitch Gitelman, Mike McCain, Tyler Carpenter, Christopher Eck.
  • Christopher Eck is a tools developer. He makes tools that aid in developing the game. Those tools help with automating repetitive tasks modify 3rd party assets to make them useful to HBS, the map editor, ... He basically has HBS employees as his customers.
  • The hardest tool to make was when Eck had to get map data to live in a "weird state". There was a non-Unity server, but the map tools were in Unity. Getting both to play nice was and is hard.
  • The tool Eck is the most proud of is creating one with dynamic logic, allowing designers (some who don't have a big coding background) to listen to certain events and then add events using their own custom logic. For example, you have your Mechs marching to a certain point and then a message pops up "we reached the dropzone, we got incoming". As a designer, you can then write what happens, how many enemies and how they should act.
  • Eck first started off helping the art team, creating with pipeline automation and the maptool and terrain editing. Lately, he's more involved with the game designers, working hard on the mapdesign tools and the encounter logic going.
  • When designing a game, you'll be asking yourself which tools you need in order to make the game. As the game progresses, you start to have "wouldn't it be cool to have X in the game" moments. Those are both the best and the worst moments of game development, depending on where in development you are. Right now, HBS is in the stage where you either go "cool, but we shouldn't do it" or "cool, what do we need to trade out in order to get it in".
  • Eck started out designing tools for gameslot machines (first job ever). Also a lot of hobby experience with regards to games and developing them. Otherwise, it's mostly business related. His last big job was creating licensing software for the state of California. Eck loves programming. There are a lot of similarities between game development and business development. The first allows you to show off what you created and have people impressed by it. The latter is more dry ("hey, we can merge those two customers together more efficiently").
  • Working at a game development studio is more HR-focused according to Eck. The leadership is far more honest, they report more on what is happening.
  • When they were looking for a tool developer, Mitch (as head HR-guy) was looking to see whether a candidate would "fit" in the studio or not. There is a human algebra to creating games. Collaboration and communication is important. When going through the interview "loop" (meeting with all kinds of people and have them ask questions), Mitch found out that Eck is honest. He can ask the hard questions, something that Mitch adores as studio manager. For instance, during Eck's first week, Mitch had to fire someone and Eck asked why he was fired. Mitch gave him the honest answers.
  • Turning his BattleTech hobby into a job was quite scary for Eck. He had to uproot his family and his fear of change approaches the fear shown by Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. He lived in Tennessee for 40 years. He did this hoping the job he was going to do would be worth it. Turns out, he loves it. The team is passionate, lots of great people. He doesn't recommend that everyone does it though. A lot of jobs in game development are "churn" jobs. Those have high turn-over rates and there is a lot more supply than demand. There is always someone out there, willing to work longer for less compensation. If the studio is right, go for it. But if you think "I'll be happy working on any game", that is not true. Working for HBS is like a child dream come true.
  • Eck also stars in the Death From Above show as a Raven pilot called Lazarus. According to Mitch, Eck is really good with that Mech.
  • The Unity update wasn't a big hurdle for Eck himself. The problem wasn't with game performance, it was with editor performance. Maps loaded slower, it took minutes to test something. Disclaimer: Unity doesn't suck. It was getting the HBS homegrown stuff to work with Unity that hit a few snags. HBS has done several Unity upgrades (many, many, many times), but this time, it was more profound to the team as whole. HBS was changing source control servers and source control servers when the Unity upgrade happend and it created the perfect storm of headaches.
  • The reasons why there can't be a mission editor for players ... First, the requirement of the development version of that editor was that it had to work in the Unity development environment. If players had access to it, you have access to the source code, to all the 3rd party tools included and all the assets themselves. Beyond reason one, there is also the idea of support to consider. If something breaks, Eck has to be involved personally because he wrote it. And the level of polish is just ugly.
  • Creating a standalone editor is hard and takes a lot of time. It took the time of engineer (and support) during the entire development of Shadowrun Returns to get that standalone tool out. One entire year! That investment could have gone to creating a better game. The 2D presentation of Shadowrun made the tool possible too. BattleTech is 3D.
  • Eck's job is different day to day. He is a problem solver. The only consistent thing in Eck's workday is that he makes coffee. Pam, the office manager likes this a lot.
  • It takes Eck 6 days to grow a beard. Not a lot of chest hair too.
  • Eck loves the Warhawk Mech [NOTE: That is the Masakari to you Inner Sphere Surats]. He had awesome luck in one fight where he killed 4 guys, another one came in to finish him off. He offered him Hegira [NOTE: An offer made by a Clan MechWarrior, allowing another warrior to retreat from the field without losing honor], which flipped him off and made him alpha strike Eck. Eck lived and then killed the guy the next round.
  • Eck ended up being a Smoke Jaguar Clan "fan" because nobody wanted to play them in the Tukayyid scenario book. He thinks they are a bunch of space Nazi nuts. He is impressed by some legendary warriors they had, one being an Elemental warrior that wanted to be the first one on Tukayyid and he had bid away jumpjets. So he hits the ground, breaks his back and legs and then gets hopped up on Clan magical combat drugs. Eck got stuck with Smoke Jaguar. Personally, he's more of a Clan Wolf fan.
  • If the studio had unlimited money, Eck would go for the ultimate game. It would be the tabletop version, but on the scale of having the entire Inner Sphere represented. You would have to worry about loading your DropShip, planning a jump, getting your troops on the ground. You'd have space battles and combined arms ground battles. Quadmechs too. But realistically, he'd shoot for a Solaris VII stable management game, third person, where you manage a team of Warriors.
  • Eck wants the Hatchetman in the game and he is working on some "deals", but it probably isn't going to happen. But in success ...
  • Eck likes the clans and their militaristic mindset, but he would rather play as a Merc because you have to worry about money and parts, which you wouldn't worry about as a Clan Warrior.
  • Tyler is not worse at the in-house beta than Mitch. Mike is number three on the in-house leaderboard. Mitch is actually second to worst.
  • Eck feels that gameplay is far superior to game atmosphere. That said, BattleTech is beautiful.
  • Mitch is really excited about the game cinematics. Also shout-outs to the music, audio and special effects.
  • It took Eck between 2 and 3 hours to create the paper cutout of the Leopard DropShip used in Death From Above.
30 MINUTE QUESTIONS

  • HBS has hired an IT guy named Sean and he starts this friday. Also a new tester joined named Jenbo.
  • Does Mitch kidnap his potential new employees in order to get them to work at HBS? No. Mike McCain however was a contractor for HBS in the beginning and when Mitch talked to him, he said "I fire 7 art directors. Please don't be number 8, Mike."
  • Last stream, HBS said that they took the edge of the fastest and the slowest Mechs movement profile. The exact mathematical formule can't be recalled, but you can be sure that a Locust will still feel like the fastest Mechs (while also exploding when you breathe on it).
  • The Patch given by Mike to Eck is NOT something that you'll see show up as potential merchandise.
  • Beta is not coming this month. HBS has a plan and is executing it. They'll announce a date once they are confident.
  • Currently, the MechLab allows to fully customize a Mech (within the hardpoint limits) and get it in a skirmish game. That's the state where it is at right now in development. They took a good look at Smurfy's Online tool and used it as a reference. It's not 1-on-1 copy of it.
  • There is no day-night cycle during a mission. It's either day or it isn't.
  • HBS will be there at MechCon 2017. Being at GenCon is still entirely sure. Mitch will be there though.
  • The coding language used for the game is C# (C Sharp). Json too.
  • You want to fight Mitch 1-on-1 in the Beta? Get in line.
  • HBS is talking and working on how to make each of the weapon families (Autocannon, Missiles, Lasers) viable.
  • Work on the AI continues. It has proven to be quite good at using Jumpjets. It can jump away when being pressed, but it can also jump at you.
  • Any plans after BattleTech? Yes. Sleep and a few stiff drinks are included.
  • There was talk of Mechs having a ton of free ammo, but that isn't the case. If you want to launch a Mech into battle without ammo, the game will notify you and ask if you are sure you want to launch without ammo.
  • Going to your next mission, you first start out browsing the contract offers available in the system. These will be short, providing general info. Once you select one, you get more info on who is offering it, what the negotiation options are, and so on. If you accept that mission, you are taken to the lance assignment screen and you get your true mission briefing. It's mostly in a picture and text format, but there might be some general soundbits as well.
  • You can have an assymetrical PVP match. For instance, one assault against four light Mechs. It is a toggle that you enable when creating a match.
  • The same for stock Mechs. If you don't toggle the option on, customized Mechs are allowed in that PVP match.
  • The Archer Mech probably won't make it into the game.
  • Mechs don't have an unique AI assigned to them. The game works with modular AI, allowing for Mech Roles that a Mech then can fall under. For instance, a Catapult and a Trebuchet are Missile Mechs and will generally fight you from the back. They will engage you up-close, but will keep their distance until the ammo is dry. So, the AI will work with the characteristics of a Mech, but it isn't hardcoded to act a specific way with a specific chassis.
  • Your Player Character in the Campaign will not be voiced. You will have dialogue with your crew and have dialogue options, but you will not hear your character speak.
  • HBS is currently focusing on combat, getting the balance right and the multiplayer ready for beta. At the same time, work is being done on the campaign, the event system for instance. A lot of writing and content creation is being done. Same for Cinematics, music, audio, ... Vehicles are in the pipeline. Mechs are pretty far along in the pipeline.
  • HBS has a high-level draft of the story. But they are still iterating. There is already a first and second draft script for cinematics. In-mission dialogue is also being written. It is all based on that high-level draft.
  • HBS can't say how long you'll need to "finish" the game. There is the campaign, there are random missions, there is skirmish, there is multiplayer. There will be quite a lot of stuff to do.
  • No OmniMechs and thus, no OmniPods.
  • There are no multiplayer unlocks. All the Mechs, their variants and the equipment is available from the start. They only thing you'll grind in multiplayer is someone else's face.
  • The Commando Mech is pretty good. Tyler had one blow up his Hunchback because it got in his rear-arc and its alpha strike hit the rear center torso.
  • There is no vertical-slice development for BattleTech. They are working on three major parts of the game and progress has been made in each part, but one a section is done, they will see what's next for each individual part of the game.
  • There is no hard-set number of Mechs and Mech Variants that will be in the game (around 50 in total). That said, the hardpoint system in itself allows a certain amount of "variance". For instance, swapping the AC20 on a Hunchback 4G for an AC10 is possible and doesn't require you to buy a new variant just to get that done. The same for swapping out the AC10 on an UrbanMech for an AC20. Chassis Variants will provide you with different kinds of hardpoints for the same Mech. For instance, compare the Griffin N to a Griffin S.
  • HBS won't provide PDF versions of their "record sheets", but you can simply pull the data from the .json files once you have access to it. HBS has nothing to hide in that aspect and they are sure that there will be a fan database of the Mechs shortly after release of the game (or even during beta).
  • Tyler Carpenter's first Mech and BattleTech game was the BattleTech Second Edition Box Set. Mike McCain's first Mech game was Missionforce Cyberstorm, the second was MechWarrior 2 game. Mitch's first was BattleDroids. His first videogame was MechWarrior 2.
  • You will not meet Hanse Davion or Maximilian Liao. You do get to meet some famous BT characters.
 

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May 10, 2017
  • People present: Mitch Gitelman (Studio Head), Jon Everiste (Composer) and Rob Pearsall (Sound Designer)
  • Jon and Rob worked on Nekropolis, Jon on Shadowrun Hongkong and Shadowrun Hongkong.
  • Beta is getting along and progress is good after the horrible slowdown caused by the previously mentioned problems. However, a new date cannot be given at this time, although they are narrowing in on one.
  • That said, HBS will record and release gameplay footage of a multiplayer match. This match will be played between Mitch Gitelman and Mike McCain (Game Director).
  • Rob is a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails. Jon's favourite is Radiohead.
  • Jon's inspiration when creating music for BattleTech starts with the art. He likes to get his hand on as much art as possible and when the game gets further along in development, the story that supports the art forms the final piece of the puzzle. The art gives the feel of the music and the script / storyline makes sure that Jon stays on track. However, a major switch-up of the story (like happend with Shadowrun Dragonfall a month before release) isn't a huge impact. The story is cohesive, the foundation remains the same. The feel of the music remains the same, while the details might keep evolving. Jon had small bits and "themes" for certain characters, allowing him to join those together and form the score. Jon has seperate recordings of performances by soloists. That way, he can combine them, in ways that one wouldn't always consider.
  • Rob has no prior experience with BattleTech. The universe has a lot of sound effects from previous games as its legacy. At the same time, the game is set in 3025, where everything is very rundown. So, Rob dove in and started to catch up by sitting down with some veteran BattleTech fans and just taking notes. Rob has a background in music and recording, but he grew up in an engineer family. He loved physics as a kid. This resulted in him always asking "how does it work". How does a Mech bend, what forces takes place ... He then applies all that (and the clips Mitch sent him) together. When confronted with the question (one he himself asked the veteran BattleTech fans): "do I follow the legacy or do I make it cool?", he decided (and heard from others) to make it cool. So, Rob and others "modernized" BattleTech. He has the advantage of going "blind" into this, he doesn't try to copy anything. A PPC will sound like a PPC, but his interpretation will sound "fresh".
  • Rob got involved with HBS by way of a producer at HBS(Rob played the drummer in his band). They interviewed him for Nekropolis, but turned him down initially. After 6 months, they hired him.
  • Jon was doing a stint at Digipen Institute in Redmond and was working alongside Jenn Ravenna, concept artist at HBS. She brought his name up during a meeting (this was at the time Shadowrun was finished and the trailer was released). THe rest was history.
  • Mitch explains that audio design and creation is actually regularly done at the end of a game's development cycle. It isn't necessarily the best way to do it and the way HBS does it now (bringing them in earlier) seems to work better. When you play a game, multiple senses are engaged. These "feelings" is what Jon and Rob love. But audio design is regularly forced to be reactive to game development and changes. With BattleTech, Ron and Jon got involved right from the beginning.
  • Jon started his BattleTech gaming "career" by playing MechWarrior 2 and getting in the simulator pods. Rob started with MechWarrior Online.
  • Jon loved the audio in Uncharted 4. It was ... off the charts! The design, the score, very incredible. The Banner Saga was also interesting, as was The Witcher 3.
  • Rob worked on Destiny (doing voice-over work mainly) and he found the weapon sounds to be amazing. The layering, the feeling of the guns, the kick ...
  • Something that Rob found interesting while working for BattleTech, is that he always wondered: "wait, how far away from the sound is the listener right now?". When you are looking down from a birds-eye perspective, you are not going to hear all the sounds from the battlefield that you want to hear. So, they are "cheating" the sound by being able to hear sound from far away, while letting it appear to be coming from maximum a hundred yards away. Of course, a weapon will sound louder the closer you get. But if you are listening from the "edge", sounds will be a bit more muffled and ambience will be stronger. Water splashes are only heard when in close, but not from above.
  • Human voice will have its place in the score of BattleTech. Jon has recordings from a 24-strong Latvian choir. Right now, they are also doing recordings with a local soloist. That will be peppered throughout the score.
  • Rob is a sound designer. A sound designer doesn't go to a sound library, picks a sound and then throws it into a game. A designer has to come up with something unique. Even when taking something from a library, you will change it by layering it with something or changing it. Rob also uses "middleware", software that allows him to randomize and mix things and layer things. Middleware provides a user interface for things, allowing non-programmers to do their magic. Now, a sound designer is involved with everything audio-wise that isn't music. Voice Overs is also split, but in BattleTech's case, Rob is also doing that.
  • Jon's favorite piece of music concerns Lady Arano. He can't spoil too much, but there is a lot of solo's involved. Her background being Maori / Hawaiian, Jon started down a certain path when composing pieces related to Arano. The concept art of Arano also had several notes attached to, referring to other pieces of art and pictures.
  • Mitch and Andrew (Lead Writer) regularly go back and forth on character backgrounds. You have to weigh: how deep do you go? How much is wasted because it will never show up / be mentioned in the game? When doing this "homework", it becomes a tool for others to use for their own work. The overarching theme of each character is something that Jon picks up on and then works his magic on.
  • The hardest piece of audio Rob has worked on so far is the Rotary Autocannon firing sound. [NOTE: Rob called them Rotary Cannons, but those are something else entirely in BattleTech and they don't exist in 3025. Here they mean "autocannons that fire multiple shells"] Now, the gun mounted on the A-10 aircraft is a really scary piece of hardware, with a unique sound. They melded that with a futuristic machine gun sound, creating a scary sound effect. Problem was, they had to make it so that you could hear individual impacts when firing a burst. An individual "shot" sound had to be recorded. An AC20 fires 20 rounds, but the A-10 gun fires thousands of bullets in a matter of seconds. So, to hear the whine for the AC20 to be "short" is jarring. Rob is trying to tweak it and it might get pulled, but that will be a disappointment.
  • When firing a weapon, you don't hear 1 sound being played. You have 3: 1 sound for the weapon when firing, 1 sound for the travelling of the weapon and a last one for the hit of that weapon. And then you have the echo of the weapon bouncing of hills and stuff ...
  • You have autocannons (like the AC20) that fire one shell and you have autocannons that fire bursts. These exist so that you'll have some choice as to what weapons to mount during the mercenary campaign. Each weapon will have different perks and drawbacks. And right now, the single-shot autocanons sound suitably impressive ("ba-BOOM").
  • The AC20 in the Beta will have the A-10 like sound-effect, but it might change for the full game.
  • The soundtrack for the game will be available in loss-less formats. (NOTE: You can buy the Shadowrun Soundtracks on Jon's Bandcamp ( https://joneverist.bandcamp.com/ )
  • The Skirmish mode has different "moods" (music-wise). Those are sort-of based on planet type, but more on the map and their general tone and mood (such as biomes). For the single-player campaign, the music will be more "curated", more selected, at least for the big missions.
  • Mechs that are on the move, will sound about the same. As Mechs take damage, you will hear that the engine starts emitting sounds (gyros spinning out of sync for instance). As you blow armor off, those hits will generate a certain sound. Striking a Mech in the internals will be accompanied by another sound. Critical hits and dismemberment are pretty big on sound (as well as seeing and hearing sparks), as you can imagine. And yes, the ammo explosions too. Now, a damaged Mech might start to move in an awkward way, depending on the damage. But it won't exactly start to make different "bending" sounds.
  • Special care was taken to make sure that damage is well simulated. There is a real logic behind the SFX you see when you damage a Mech.
  • The game's music will change in pace and intensity as the intensity and pace of the mission changes. Especially in story-driven missions, where there are several changes of "beats" (change of fortune, a new character is introduced, ...). Generated missions, skirmish and multiplayer tend to start off with a flow: first ambience and as you spot a player or battle commences, the music changes to a more tense state. Jon is looking into allowing more different "tense" states during the battles, but it isn't in the game yet. Game music tends to be reactive, since you can't predict what a player will do or not in such or so circumstances. The trick is make players believe that the music isn't reactive.
  • HBS is narrowing in on the beta and as such, no new stuff is getting added to the beta. Just bugfixes and some polishing. And at the same time, features to be implemented after will require some testing by HBS in order to see what the effects are of those "new things".
  • There are hundreds and hundreds of pilot lines (courtesy of Mitch). When doing voice work, HBS makes voice actors do the death screams last. They also make sure the actors are about 3 big steps away from the microphone. "Imagine that the windshield turns into molten flame and comes at you. Now scream."
  • There will be ambient sounds like rivers and trees, but they aren't in yet.
  • Beta will be the raw gameplay: activity, balance, ... The beta will not represent the final game (beyond how combat works and feels, that is pretty much tied down). In time, more layers of polish will be added, polish that just isn't relevant at this stage of development. Birds flying out of tree isn't relevant for beta.
  • Some fun asides: Rob told how he replaced engine sounds with sounds from mockingbirds because they weren't truly ready yet. This led to a week-long of mechs stomping about like tweeting birds. Mitch and Jordan back in the day (even at Microsoft) would put a blue dot on art. As they asked people to critique the art, they would always look for something to say. The blue dot was spotted, people felt good about themselves and the art was then approved (minus the blue dot). And sometimes, when people say there is something wrong with a certain sound effect, it can sometimes help to just turn up the volume of that effect a bit. Suddenly, great effect!
  • Creating the musical score for BattleTech tends to follow the process as during the creation of the Shadowrun score. You start off with the art and the story and so forth. The biggest difference is that Shadowrun had only digital musical instruments. For BattleTech, you need more mock-ups, sketches for the score. You are having to start be a producer more. Also, more
  • flying to Eastern Europe (Budapest) to get 65 Europeans to play the music you wrote. In total, 150 people are working on getting the written music by Jon into a recording. And then editing ensues. He didn't conduct the music though, he stayed in the recording booth to listen to the music. Fun fact: most of the live recording was finished by the end of last year. Which was nice, since it gave breathing room, something he has never had before.
  • Rob created the PPC sound effect, but is already planning an improvement when he read the forum questions for this Q&A. In the past, PPC's were either electrical or "whompy" effects. Rob basically combined both and made an "electrical whomp". It sounds satisfying. Rob figured out how the impact sound would be like. Weapons in BattleTech travel in 3D space. Weapons also tend to sound like our contemporary weapons. PPC's tend to be instantaneous hitting weapons and because of that, Rob couldn't hear the impact sounds, since it played at the same time as the weapon firing sound (which turned out to be a bug). It took 0.50 miliseconds of delay to make it sound right. Now, Rob wants to add the crack of a thunderclap to the PPC effect, giving it a nice final layer. This might get into the beta.
  • Jon will post another "behind the scene" video of his composing, but he is currently swamped with working on the beta. Expect the video in the next few weeks.
  • Some joking was done about adding an Easter Egg that replaces all weapon sounds with sounds made by Tyler Carpenter like the infamous PPC "ZORTCHJ" sound.
  • If you are a deaf or hearing-impaired player, you will not be at a disadvantage when playing skirmish / multiplayer. There are no "solely auditory cues". The user interface will provide all the information you need. The voice overs and sound effects just reinforce things that are on screen. A pilot might for instance say "Ugh, I'm hit in the meat!", but you'll get a pop-up on screen saying "Pilot injured".
  • Regarding subtitles, those will be in. If there is a story voice-over, you'll get subtitles. Same for story messages in game, there will be text. Pilot chatter like "I'm hit!" will not be subtitled because there is just way too much of those and it would clutter the screen. However, pilot voices will be translated in your localized version of the game.
  • LIGHTNING ROUND
  • Jon does use analogue synth in the score. He has several. He uses the Profit 12 a lot. He also has a Noisemaker Module Synth, a Euro Rack.
  • The new gameplay video will be announced on the forums, on the kickstarter page and a new kickstarter update will be released containing it. As to Mitch his chances of winning the match: McCain is close to the top of the in-house leaderboard while Mitch is last.
  • HBS doesn't have a number stating how much percent audio and music takes up from the budget. Rob estimated (based on the kickstarter funds) maybe 0.2 percent.
  • HBS is not doing a lot of effort to hide stuff from the players (that is, the players who go digging in the game files). PVP matches will require authenticating of course.
  • The pilots you have in the game will have a portrait, name and a voice assigned to them. You can switch these to your heart's desires. So far, you have a Korean voice, as well as a Russian and British. More are coming. You can already make an international lance in the beta.
  • There is some guitar bits in the score, but don't expect it to sound heavy metal like.
  • Jon plays a little bit of piano and guitar himself. He grew playing the drums too. He's not, like, good at it. But he can manage it. Jon loves the cello.
  • Neither Rob or Jon have met someone famous that played their stuff. Peter Dinklage is a huge Destiny fan though. Steven Spielberg and the late Robin Williams were big BattleTech fans.
  • Game audio will support audio 5:1. Primary will be stereo.
  • Roughly half the mechpilots will be women.
  • Will there be fully 3D editable pilot portraits? Depends. Until the beta is out, HBS does not know much work is left on the game.
  • Jon had 3 recording days (each 8 to 9 hours long), which resulted in 45 to 60 minutes of recordings.
  • Rob can do the entire voice-over for one pilot in 2 hours. As for sound effects, Rob can take up to an hour to create and layer the effect for one weapon.
  • How players will give feedback during beta will be explained in a kickstarter update, but for now, know that there will be in-game questionnaires. This allows for feedback and in a format that makes it easier for HBS to collect and analyze it.
  • There are different sounds for weapon impact in environmental areas and objects. There is a list of 25, 30 surface types. Rob will mix and match those and apply them to the feet of a Mech, to every weapon. Dirt will sound different from water. Everything that interfaces with the world of the game will change according to the texture.
 

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July 12, 2017
  • People present: Mitch Gitelman, Holly (Animator), Steven (Technical Artist), Mike McCain.
  • Mitch says that right now, BattleTech has entered an exciting time in development. Previously, the game was being developped in pieces. Tyler [Carpenter] and Andrew have been working on the singleplayer story along with Kevin Malony. AJ and Kiva have been working on the Mercenary Sim. THe art team has been working on cinematics, visual effects, environment, ... Right now, those pieces are being put together. When you take it all together, it's where the rubber meets the road. There is a lot of anticipation, with figuring out how to go from here to the end product. As a gamedev, you basically want to die, you want to develop stuff, not start planning it all out. Soon, you'll have the game as a gem and HBS will be chipping away at the edges to make it shine. There is still roughly a metric fuckton of work left to be done.
  • Steven became a technical artist basically by sitting a lot behind a computer and repeatedly banging his head against it. He wanted to be in game development right after he played Doom and Quake. He always stradled that line between being an artist and an animator. He started out with fixing computers and then moving up to programming. He went to school in California and focused on 2D animation. 3D stuff he figured out on his own. Then he got into a few animation projects before moving to Seattle. He worked on the movie Food Fight as an animation / mo-cap cleanup guy. He ended up at HBS.
  • Mitch heard something that Steven said and that resonated within him. The great people, the great developpers are always curious how things work and start out by making stuff on their own, trying out different things. One can create an "audition" as it were by using the Shadow Run Hongkong editor and making something with it. Learn how you create a game as well, it will help you with getting into the industry.
  • Holly started out with a traditional animation study. She was and is into painting, drawing, movies and games. That led her into animation. Shortly after school, she was hired by HBS and worked on Strikefleet Omega, creating characters and 2D animations. Then HBS went 3D with Shadowrun and Holly moved with it. Her advice for getting in the industry is that get something you are good at and studios need, but also be ready to adapt. She has now been an 3D animator for 5 years.
  • A technical artist (as defined by what Steven is doing right now) is working on the character side of technical art. Setting up animation rigs ... An animation rig is ... imagine a 3D model as a puppet. The rig is the strings that connect everything together and allow the animator to manipulate the model for animations. and act in a predictable way. And make it easy for the animator, the better the rig, the easier to create the animations. Holly depends on Steven's rigs.
  • Holly's favorite character in the game is Kamea (sheer badass), Steve is a fan of Yang (badass and a cybernetic arm and leg). Kamea blends badass and beautiful, along with a great portrait. Mitch gets to walk around and see it all coming together.
  • Holly loves (animation-wise) the Atlas Mech a lot, simply because she throw a lot of "weight" behind it. There is this GIF of an Atlas kicking an Orion and the arm flies off. All of the elements coming together, with the kick and the lighting and the scale and the physics and the sound ... Mitch loves the collaboration of every team member. It feels a lot like the final game as well. The game always iterates and now the game is at a point where the big picture is shown (as with the beta for instance) and you can see the final product.
  • Holly found kicks the hardest to animate. A human, when kicking, throws him or herself completely off-balance. With Mechs, you have the pilots doing that and slamming against the windshield. It didn't look right at first and almost, there wouldn't be any kicks whatsoever. They solved it by binding it to a Mech moving forward.
  • As with body slamming, it seems logical to BattleTech fans that you want to protect your cockpit and as such, don't headbutt an enemy but use your shoulder and torso instead. Holly feels however that not every Mech has "sufficient" torso twist or shoulder twist or geometry to keep that head safe. But it is a struggle to make it look good.
  • Steven's favorite tool was made by a friend at HBS and it helped him a lot to rig the Mech models that they received from PGI [MechWarrior Online]. There are also scripts that help with the pipeline (getting stuff as quickly in the engine and game) by automating stuff. Reduces errors and that.
  • PGI's Mechs also came with their animations, but those had to be adapted to fit BattleTech and the type of game HBS is making. About 50% of the animation suite is being used, but those had to be changed with regards to timing and adapt to a turn-based environment. The other half is made from scratch by Holly, including Melee.
  • Melee animations started out by just animating two Mechs, an Atlas and Commando going at it. You had these different punches and stuff. You then noticed the ones that didn't feel right and reworked those, going through all of the animations and ending up with the ones that you want. Holly then started going through each Mech individually and working on melee animations. You'll see that some Mechs, with similarities in Body structure, will share melee animations. The UrbanMech is a special case, with a lot of unique animations. That makes it expensive too.
  • Some of Steven's challenges has been setting up pipeline stuff. There is also collision volume, the boundaries that define when an object is actually colliding with something. The smaller you can make that volume, the less you are demanding of your processing power. If the collision volume is off, you can see punches going through the model without doing anything. There are also tools that offer animation events. Tying a foodstep and a sound effect together for instance. It all had to be done by hand for Shadowrun. Steven now has a tool that allows Holly to put keyframes in Maya and that datafile can get passed between Maya and Unity. Steven also makes tools himself. How to export a Mech from Maya to Unity for instance.
  • Limping is a placeholder in the beta. HBS got animations for that from Piranha, but they need to be edited. Those animations must be slow and feel heavy, but right now, it doesn't feel right. It is being revised. Mechs will limp.
  • You want an animation to look and feel good, but the game must still progress. It must flow.
  • All the animation states (mech dodge, mech hit, mech heavy hit, mech melee, ...) that you see in the beta are the ones that they had to have in the game. It is the minimum. After beta, they are able to expand on that and add more. Do not forget that each of those animation sets have to be created per BattleMech.
  • Falling forward is still hard, because you need to add a new idle state with the Mech resting flat on its front, a new animation with it getting back up, ... That you have to multiply like 50 or 60 times.
  • HBS isn't sure that there will be quads and their animations. Will it be harder to make than bipedal animations? Holly just feels it will be a blast to make quads. It will be a challenge. However, quads will NOT BE IN THE GAME WHEN SHIPPED.
  • Holly says that Steven is also good at animating and is a great drawer. Steven says that Holly is really really committed to getting the animations right. Right now, there aren't a lot of Mech games to compare the game to. You have Robot Jox, you have Gundam, both that vary wildly in animation style. Steven feels that BattleTech right now has its own animation "language".
  • VARIOUS ROUND
  • Mike will not be going to GenCon. Jordan will, the game too. Mitch will be at GamesCom in Germany. There might be a panel at Pax this fall too. Might.
  • HBS loves the community too. Honest! They are part of the community as well.
  • Clan Mech DLC? In success, everything is possible.
  • You'll start the singleplayer campaign with access to a few story missions. Those will set-up the story, your unit and the way you get around the starsystems. Afterwards, your mercenary campaign kicks-off and you are sorta "on-call" for the Aurigan Restoration (and yes, you can ignore them). Lady Arano will be fighting her war and you are going to be sort of the "special ops" help. As the Restoration conquers planets, more story missions will get unlocked. You can't run through one story mission after another, the war has to make progress before you can do another story mission. You can go to planets whenever you want, do a few missions there, launch and go to another planet. But you'll also see these "Restoration Events", like planet sieges or assaults, which will unlock more story missions. You can "grind" a bit before those missions.
  • Please do continue filling out the surveys. In a month(ish), there will be a new update and HBS would like you all to focuse then on the surveys as well. It will allow HBS to gather data and compare it to the previous beta state.
  • The multiplayer beta update will be out this year, no worries! HBS had to take a step back with the beta and refactor certain code architecture in order to have a solid base for it. HBS didn't like to do that, but skimping on it, you are pushing the problem down the road. It must be fixed.
  • You can't buy prints of Mike's BattleTech art because, technically, HBS doesn't have the license for that.
  • Mitch and Mike didn't know when the third part of the Stackpole novella will be out. Follow up necessary.
  • There won't be Steam Workshop support for mods. BattleTech is a different game from Shadowrun, yes. HBS doesn't shutdown mods. Shadowrun did have an mission editor, allowing access to the engine itself. However, BattleTech this time around does not have one guy working one year around the clock on such an editor. Thus, no mod tools for BT, but mods aren't discouraged.
  • Can you fail the singleplayer campaign? Yes, you can run out of money. There are a lot of ways to get money and lot of ways to save money. You gain money and salvage by doing missions. You can even decide how much to pay your troops, which also affects your monthly expense rate and morale. You can take loans too but if you reach a quarter (sidenote: quarter instead of month because travel time must also be taken into account) without meeting your expenses and you are unable to take another loan, it is game over. You'll get fair warning in advance though and you can recover.
  • Charging isn't in the game. Displacement events are complex. It was prototyped. Distance turned out be important and very very fiddly. Being too close for a charge, being too far away ... Displacing the units back in space was eventually beyond the scope of the game. Not to mention what happens when you charge a Mech into a wall.
  • Can you get your MechWarriors and crew drunk in the game? Probably. There will be at least one event in the game involving alcohol.
  • There are events that pop up, random events, but tied to events in a way. For instance, after a mission, you have an event that tells you of a barroom brawl between two mechwarriors. You get to choose on how to deal with it and it will result in morale changes and / or tag changes for those pilots. Another example: if you do not have a lot amenities (rec room, bar, ...), you will get more negative morale events as a result. Get those amenities and you'll get more positive events.
  • There might be some "behind-the-scenes" video with some help of HBS' partners, but, we'll see.
  • Fauna will not be in the release cycle. HBS would rather have infantry in the game than fauna. But, there are some birds though!
  • Mechs are penalized when shooting / melee after standing up. HBS is experimenting with having some accuracy bonuses for arm-mounted weapons for the beta. This implies that you would lose the accuracy bonus if you lose all the weapons on that arm.
  • The PVP Beta Update will have gameplay changes. What those are, you'll see.
  • Beta Feedback was really helpful. There was a lot of information. A. Lot.
  • You will not be able to turn to piracy in order to gain funds in the single-player campaign.
  • Two examples of what low morale can do. Unhappy MechWarriors can leave your employment. Low morale will result in bad events. More fights, ... Morale of your crewmembers also dictates your morale level when starting a mission.
  • HBS is looking at critical hits and tuning the hit frequency. As to the effects, you'll see those more in the sim part of the game. Crits will in the future (in progress) destroy components more easily. Do remember that in the sim game, there will be more components than in Skirmish or Multiplayer. Gyro upgrades and the like, which are also vulnerable to crits. After launch, more components will be made available in multiplayer as well.
  • The story of the game will only indirectly tie-in to the novella's released by Stackpole.
  • You will only barely be able to move into the Inner Sphere. If you happen to be pretty far from a Restoration Event, you will get reimbursed by the Restoration for moving back to help them.
  • MechWarriors won't gain negative "perks". They can get certain tags in the sim game, but having a perk like "shell-shocked" and bam, your MechWarrior is now afraid of missiles ... That's something for post-launch. Maybe.
  • In some missions, you will have allied support, meaning there will be allied units on the map, helping you. Not on a grand scale, you don't want to have to move your units, and then wait for the enemy AND your allies to move theirs.
 

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October 11, 2017
  • People Present: Mitch Gitelman (Studio Co-founder), Kiva Maginn (Lead Designer) , Mike McCain (Game Director BattleTech)
  • TOPIC: Singleplayer Campaign / Mercenary Simulation Side
  • This will be the last Q&A for this year. There is a LOT of work to do till the end of the year. And everyone is very tired and caffeinated for this Q&A. Welcome to game development!
  • Kiva has been in the industry since 2003. Started out as designer and then lead designer on an MMO called Pirates of the Burning Sea. It was a HUUUUUGE success. GREAAAAT ratings. EVERYYYYYBODY loved it. After that, she pitched for a few more contracts at Flying Labs Software. Did some Indy contracting as well (mainly "fill-in-the-gap" stuff). A friend told that HBS was rebooting an IP and she said "ooh, must be BattleTech". Considering that a turn-based strategy game with a complex simulator was something she dreamed off, she showed up and said "hire me!". That friend was a designer that Mitch knew for a couple of decades and he recommended Kiva. It helped that Kiva and Mitch shared the same sense of humor.
  • The story covers a couple of heavily hand-crafted missions, the kind of missions you would expect from HBS. Beyond that, filling up the holes in the "wander-around-the-galaxy, getting-into-trouble mercenary stuff", is a LOT of ad-ho content you can do. Take contracts for Great Houses, Planetary Governors. The purpose of those is (beyond fighting is fun!) is leveling up your guys and getting new equipment (is also fun!). Making money is the whole point of a mercenary outfit. It is a core component. Some jobs pay better, some are more "above board" than others.
  • The high level setup is that you are helping Kamea reclaim here throne. You are considered to be the "elite" force that she hires, a force there to do missions that are considered to be too dangerous for the normal troops. You will also help these take key planets away from the Directorate (the bad guys). You'll have plenty of downtime to roam and grown your small band of a few Mechwarriors to a full fledged company that can help Kamea. There is a lot of content.
  • Kinnhas been designing the sim-game since the development of BattleTech started. The sim-game has always been Kiva's focus. In a sense, she has been designing this sim-game for 15 years. Kiva feels strongly about it. The sim-game has been "done", several times now in fact because Mitch and the team keeps asking her to do it again and again ... The core principle behind the sim-game is that you get all these random generated characters and Kiva wants you to feel like that these are true people, with their own stories. That way, it will hurt a lot when she kills them. Oh sorry, when the random number generator kills them. This principle (making you care) is the most important to Kiva.
  • There is a life-track system for your MechWarriors in place. Upfront, Kiva mentions that this system is basically over-designed. There is stuff in that is not needed, but she wanted it in ... Every pilot you hire has gone through a lifestyle progression. Kiva knows where they came from, what is their education, how their careers went, ... Some might start as a commoner, but fall into a life of crime, become a convict and then get recruited into a pirate band after their sentence. One of the pilots you start with developed contacts in prison and became a hired killer. There are also disgraced nobles, wealthy traders who are looking for adventure, disgraced ComStar adepts, Solaris gladiators, ... A very complex system. When you look at a guy, you are a looking at a dossier with bullet-points, his resume. That process not only generates their stats, but also tags and personality traits that key into the event system (and other systems) to flesh that person out. It's not just pilot Bob Kurita. It's Bob Kurita who is a former Tech, hot-headed and rebellious. That will influence the content that Bob gets involved in.
  • Kiva's proudest achievement is the event system. The system is something you have seen when playing Crusader Kings or Stellaris. It is a pop-up thing "this happend!". It is a complex and powerful system. It drives things that even don't have anything to do with events anymore. For instance, take hotheaded Bob Kurita. An event might pop up where that hotheadedness is being tested and you have to decide: Is that okay? Do you want to yell at him? Or do you want to encourage his behavior?
  • There is an event where some of the crew are bowling in the corridors of the ship. How do you deal with it? Do you let it happen? Do you shut it down? Do you even encourage it and establish a tournament? This has effects on the people involved individually, but also on the morale of the entire ship. This little events will pop up after, something like "here's how it is to live on this ship, this LosTech hulk".
  • There is morale that you can gain or lose over time during the sim-game. There is also morale in combat, where your sim-game morale can pay off. If you have big sim-game morale, your morale in the mission will start higher. You use this morale to do things and abilities. Sim-game morale goes between 0 and 50. Combat Morale is between 0 and 100. You can start a mission with your bar already half-full. But sim-game morale feeds more than just the combat portion. High morale will influence the events you get. Bottom-Low morale will see MechWarriors wanting to leave, rebellious MechWarriors becoming mutinous. High morale conversely will see other MechWarriors wanting to join your crew or having crew members help each other out more.
  • There is also the individual itself. Morale of the ship influences the individual, but there are also individual triggers. A militaristic mechwarriorwon't really like it when you set your spending levels to very high extravagance. A MechWarrior from a wealthy family and used to being treated well, will be upset if you force them in spartan accommodations. Specific traits of the individual can apply higher or lower morale. This influences the combat part. A high morale mechwarriorcan pop off abilities one after the other. A low-morale one will struggle and pay for it in the long term.
  • The event system can do a lot and low morale can do a lot of crazy things...
  • The player can affect morale with money. You can also use morale to save yourself money. There are 5 levels of expenditure you can set. This impacts maintenance, salary, ... It isn't fun to manage your finances on a line by line level. There is a general knob for everything. But a certain setting will have its own influence events. Setting it to Spartan will save you money, but events will happen that only happen because of the spartan setting. Setting it to Extravagant, will trigger special events. Every Quarter, you gain or lose morale based on your spending setting. If you gain a lot of money and keep the setting on Extravagant, you will get a lot of build-up morale.
  • Remember, running out of money will make you lose the game!
  • The Argo is at the start just a hulk. Some engines and space and some barely functioning Mechbays. It's a garbage place to live. As you spend money on improving it, you can make it a place where people will want to live and work. The original mission of the Argo was exploration and served as a home base. It doesn't start out that way, but in return for cash and time, you can get there. Unlocking parts will also tie-in to the event system and unlock more events related to those upgrades.
  • The contract system consists of "encounters", the building block. Kiva looked at the common scenario's you might run into. Simple battle for instance is just a simple battle. Defend base is where you are hired to defend a base. Defend base can have different moving parts. There might be turrets, the turrets might have to turned on, there might be one or two of three waves, the spacing between the waves might be different, the buildings you are defending might vary in strength, ... All these things are variations and are build in the encounter. On top of that you add something like: is it an ammo depot? What kind of forces are attacking you? Kurita Elite of Pirate Garbage enemies? This "flavor" level turns on and off certain parts of the encounter. The contract might say one wave of enemies, no turrets and just defend a base. Or you have to turn the turrets on, defend the APC with the Techs in and you'll have a third huge difficult wave that's just out to stomp you. The person who writes the contract can use the encounter and its variations to build the piece of content that you want. The contracts that you will see will fit within 8 different types of structure (defend base, capture base, destroy a base, assassinate target, ...). And on top of THAT, you have the employer and the target. A local owner of the planet perhaps wants you to kill a pirate band. Or the Davion forces want to destabilize the Taurian government of a border world and asked you to sabotage a munition factory. These are variations on the "destroy base" structure. Which world, where you are in the story and random luck are also factors that play into the contract generation.
  • Because the system is flexible, HBS can tailor contracts. For instance, there will be contracts that are only "unlocked" when you have sufficient reputation with a certain faction.
  • Right now, BattleTech exists as a game. All the different parts, be they cinematics, combat engine, simulation game, ... are now in the game and working together. You can play it start to finish with all the different parts operating. A tester actually played the game till the end and got the message "you have restored the Orano restoration". This is a big deal. The sim-game works fully. But it is not content complete and there is a lot of programmer "placeholder" art. The final event UI works and it looks great.
  • The sim-game might not be content complete, but you can't really draw a line of "that's it, no more needed!". It will be something that you keep adding on, always adding more ideas for events. For instance, there is an idea bouncing about with regards to upgrading the Argo's engines. Once upgraded, you can travel at a speed that puts a 1.4 g pressure on your crew. You'll go faster, but the crew will not like it. The new event pops up and the crew complains. You can decide to slow down permanently, but you'll not get the speed boost.
  • While you can play the sim-game, it is still swarmed with placeholder art (programmer art). And that placeholder art is really ugly and makes it look "not real". The system works, you can manipulate everything (or at least what HBS allows you to manipulate).
  • The sim-game is completely data driven. If you looked at the beta files, you'll see it is full of .json files. The same for the sim-game, it's all build on JSON data files. Which is nice because designers aren't very smart people, they don't really navigate code well, so, a good .txt file helps!
  • The hardest part to balance and make feel "right" in the sim-game, is the BattleMechs themselves. In the lore, a ´Mech is kinda like a Knight's suit of armor, owned by a nobleman. The ownership of the armor, the weapon and the horse makes you the knight. It is hard to mesh that with the Mercenary company. HBS wants you to acquire ´Mechs, customize them, hire the pilots to drive those ´Mechs. HBS knows how much a ´Mech costs, the numbers are available in the source books. And it is an absurd amount of money. ´Mechs are basically walking mansions. If you go into a mission and you get a ´Mech headcapped by a Hunchback with its AC20, you are out several million C-Bills. You are not going to make that much money for the mission. You may as well get out because you lost missions, despite losing one ´Mech. Even the cheapest ´Mechs are so expensive that you really can't afford to lose one. Acquiring a ´Mech. would also be expensive and thus very rare to do it. Besides, according to the setting, ´Mechs aren't really for sale. They are relics, family heirlooms and being able to buy an Atlas in a store is weird because it is a rare and powerful ´Mech. in the Inner Sphere. Merging the loyalty (authenticity) and the way HBS wants you to play was a pain in the rear end. There were more meetings about salvage than any other part of the economy. Where they are now, is good solution, but it is the result of design compromise. But then again, that is game development.
  • BattleTech is not an RPG like Shadowrun, but it has a bit of a RPG feel to it. You can't directly talk to individual MechWarriors for instance. You interact with them through the event system. There are conversations that take place and advance the plot. You can talk to Samira in the navigator room and get to know her better. There aren't a lot of choice trees in the background that drive dialogue. There might be some answers that have tags, but beyond that ... You can ask more questions if you want to know more. Or you can express yourself in a different way, when you talk to Kamea Arano, you can use a more "mercenary" tone or more of a "noble" attitude.
  • The story is pretty linear.
  • There will be time-sensitive story missions. There are in essence two type of story missions. There are Restoration Missions. You'll have to help the Restoration either keep or take important planets. These missions are used to track campaign progress (or regress!). Think of it as an front line, where both sides are jostling for control. If you ignore these missions, it's a setback for the Restoration. You are their "special forces" after all. If you ignore all the missions, the Restoration will be conquered. [EDITOR: Mike didn't explain what the second mission type was. Presumably, it's about regular story missions, the hand-crafted ones.]
  • When negotiating contracts, remember there is the "iron triangle". There is money, salvage and reputation. When offering contracts, the clients will offer you a certain amount of C-Bills. You can negotiate how much of that amount you want as salvage. You can even decide to go "under budget" in both C-bills and salvage in return for reputation gain. If you win the mission, that is.
  • Remember, you need money to run your company. Salvage get you equipment. There aren't any ´´Mech Walmarts out there. Planets have a very limited selection of items (and that selection is also slightly randomized). You might not be able to find what you are looking for exactly. But if you encounter a Panther, you can kill it and take the PPC. Focusing on gaining reputation will unlock the hard stuff. Shopping at a faction you work with, will be cheaper. They will give you better deals, be more friendly. You have to keep the balance between money, equipment and opportunities to do work.
  • Missions will not level-scaling (proportional challenge). Kiva hates that. There is a difficulty scaling that operates behind the scenes and that determines what kind of mechs spawn and what kinds of opposition forces you will face. The scaling itself is based on a global scale that progresses across the entire story. When you start out, you will face lances of Locust and a couple of vehicles. When you are at the end, you will be facing a Steiner Scout Lance. [EDITOR: A lance of Assault Mechs.] And in between, you'll face lances that are hard to beat (but not too hard). In the beginning of the game, say you take a difficulty 3 mission. You might square off against a low-level Mech Lance. At the same point in your game, a difficulty 8 mission will see you face heavy and assault mechs. The missions will be keyed so that their scope makes sense. You will be rescuing kittens that are guarded by Atlases, nor will you assasinate a prince from the Inner Sphere houses who is guarded by two Swiftwind scout cars. And on top of the scaling, you'll have a variable difficulty list. Your contract list might contain a 3 star contract, a 4 star, a 2 star one. The 2 star one will be an easy contract. You can thus choose the difficulty of your content by choosing the easy contracts. They pay less, provide less salvage and give low reputation rewards, but if you are limping along as a company, such an easy contract might be something you need. Over time, the lower ones will fall off and you get the more high-end stuff. And on top of that, the difficulty of contracts varies between regions. In some parts of the game, missions will be harder. Doing contracts near the Davion-Taurian border will be hard. There is a conflict happening there, so expect difficult opposition. On the other hand, doing jobs for some yokels on a backward planet in the more unpopulated parts of the Reach will see you tangling with low-end baddies. You'll be fighting pirates who have Mechs made of junk.
  • Mechwarriors have 4 statistics. Gunnery, Piloting, Guts and Tactics. Each skill area has two different abilities it can unlock. You get two specializations that unlock your level 5 ability and you choose one of those two specializations to be your expertise, which gives you a level 8 ability. So, no, no super Mechwarriors with all the abilities. You can level up your Mechwarriors and upgrade your 4 statistics to be in the 10-area. The Warriors in the Beta have 5's en 8's and so on, but your Starting pilots will not be so "advanced". As you level your pilots, they get to pick a specialization and then another one. One of those evolves to an expertise and once you reach 10 in your expertise, your pilot becomes elite. Elites help non-elites level faster. And as you level your pilots, classnames will be unlocked too. Like sharpshooter, ...
  • Mechwarriors do not come with their own Battlemechs. This is a design concession because of the Lore of Mechwarriors being nobles. HBS wants you to be the owner, seller, re-builder and customizer of Mechs.
  • You can rename your Mechwarriors. This means first name, last name, callsign, pronouns, portrait ... Handy for Streamers and getting your friends killed in the game.
  • You can rename your Mechs.
  • When your Pilots level up, their monthly expense will go up. It is always cheaper to have someone you leveled up than hiring a high level pilot, the former being about 1/3rds cheaper. You pay a premium price when recruiting a premium Warrior. Losing a bad-ass pilot and replacing him with an equally bad-ass pilot fresh from the market will be expensive.
  • C-bill expenditure will fluctuate. When shopping in different regions, prices will be different. When talking about the running costs of the Argo, those will not fluctuate, but for the exception of just what you have build extra on it. More modules will make the ship more expensive to run. Expenses like fuel and the like have been abstracted into a "here's how much it costs to run the Argo".
  • When you negotiate for salvage, you are doing so for both a certain amount (8 for instance) and a certain priority number (let's say 2). The rate between the two remains the same, so it is 4 to 1 priority, 8 to 2, 12 to 3 and so on. When you end the mission, you are presented with a salvage pool. What's in the pool, is all the things that remain of the enemies you killed. If you destroy a Panther, but manage to destroy its right arm in the process, you'll not be able to pick the PPC for salvage. Anything you blow up or reduce to scrap will be gone. Once you are presented to pool, you get to do your priority picks. So, you get to take the PPC and one other item, say a jumpjet. After that, your employer will randomly give you salvage up to the remaining numbers you negotiated for. If you had 2 priority and 8 salvage, that means you get 6 more items after your priority picks. Everything else remaining stays with the employer. You can negotiate up to 20 pieces of salvage. If you know (or suspect at least) that the mission will have quite a lot of cool Mechs in it, going for salvage will be nice. But the total amount depends on the type of mission.
  • Not only does the opposition vary depending on the mission, it's the same for the maximum amount of salvage. A rescue operation does not allow for a lot of salvage just because you do not really have thte time during the rescue to salvage Mechs and their equipment. A Destroy Base mission on the other hand Not only that, but your employer also plays a role. Even if the mission allows for the maximum amount, your employer might not be willing to go that high. So, the balance between C-Bills, salvage and reputation and your goals also depends on the context of the mission.
  • There has been some further tuning to weapons and other balance since the beta. And there are some changes that people will either hate or love.
  • No Quads. No. Nonono. No.
  • Fun aside: when your MechWarriors train, they do so in pods. And those pods like a bit like the ones used in real life Battletech conventions... Not that you will actually interact with those pods in the game, it's just a small gimmick.
  • Melee weapons are not in the game. Not there in 3025. And while the Hatchetman exists technically, practically ... But let's not forget, if the game is succesfull, everything is possible!
  • There used to be a system for modeling the contract negotiator (the guy / gal you sit with at the table). However, focus equals quality and it got reduced. You will still get to see the characters, their personality and their backstory. And maybe in the future, the aforementioned system might return.
  • You can't back or work for the Directorate during the story campaign. However, if you don't do the Restoration missions, the Directorate will win. And after that, they are just another possible employer.
  • Will there be any rare / unique Mech variants like LosTech or Hero Mechs? No comment.
  • There will not be underwater battles. That requires some extra stuff and HBS is focusing on terrestrial combat. Vacuum (as in, on an asteroid, not free-floating in space) will be in though and it sucks. Vacuum battlefields don't allow you to dissipate heat as easily.
  • There is only a "shore leave" system pertaining to shore leave events.
  • The loan system is pretty simple. If you have played Cities Skylines, you have basically seen it.
  • You won't see double heatsinks. Specialised weapons ... If you are on a Taurian capital world, with a lot of weapon factories, you will be able to get some specialised stuff. Specialised weapons are also by manufacturer. These are associated with certain Houses, so you'll have to go to different areas to get different stuff.
  • If you destroy the side torso on a Mech, the arm that's attached to it will be salvageable. You haven't destroyed the arm itself, it just falls off and can be recovered.
  • The tutorial will be a short and sweet primer on how to move and shoot with your Mechs. It's also in-story, not something that exists outside of the campaign.
  • There might be separate scenarios like famous battles post-launch, but not when the game launches.
  • There is a backstory for your Mechwarriors, but not for the enemy MechWarriors.
 

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February 14, 2018
  • People present: Mitch Gitelman, Jordan Weisman, Mike McCain
  • It took HBS a lot longer than expected to get the multiplayer beta out. That moved the multiplayer deployment schedule back. HBS started to look at all the pieces that still needed to be done. HBS played a lot of multiplayer, they watched the backers play a lot of multiplayer. And then, HBS started to think about everything they'd love to do on the campaign, which was huge. HBS started to really realize two things. One, something had to give. HBS didn't have enough development resources to to do everything originally hoped for. Focus equals quality. And that focus, both the motivation at HBS and what they saw in the discussions, needed to lay first on the single-player campaign. The second issue is that multiplayer is fun and HBS has done it alot as well. But, like tabletop BattleTech, it has a lot of randomness. That gives you a lots of wonderful surprises which is really fun to play. But it is not ideal for kind of modern competitive play, like you see in eSports and stuff like that, because you know your skill can be augmented or detracted by really bad die rolls or really good die rolls. Not great for live-streamed grudge matches on a stage. That's why HBS felt they needed to focus on the resources they need to make sure that the quality was there, to make sure that the single-player game was in the right place. So, HBS backed off a little on the multiplayer for know. Once the game game comes out and as people play it and HBS get feedback and, they will see what's possible in the future. HBS will (and do) listen to feedback.
  • HBS will need a little more time to get the linux version out. They are committed to those backers with Linux. So, it will probably be out two or three months after release.
  • Localized versions of the game will release probably about the same time frame as the Linux version. Actual BattleTech fans are helping right now with the issue. It is an important issue for HBS. The people who do the localization, they needed to understand their language and the unique terminology of BattleTech. Also, all the languages that have been promised in the Kickstarter are still being done.
  • Important reminder: the Q&A's done by HBS are not a venue where they make announcements. People looking for ship date announcements or announcements on post-launch content will find out more in the Kickstarter updates.
  • The game is functionally complete. HBS released the backer beta in June, but that was a weird term. It was a beta version of the combat experience, not a beta of the full game. The nomenclature could have been beter. The game right now is in beta. The campaign experience is fun, HBS has a lot of people playing it. It is the final critical stage, where it is still buggy. HBS is working on honing the balance of that campaign, load times, more content, polishing the text of conversations you'll have.
  • You can add jump-jets to any Mech. Whether you should though ...
  • Mech Quirks were in the initial design documents, but it is not in the game. It might one day though.
  • There is a change to the Mechs that will be in the game. Warhammer, Marauder and Raven are out for first launch. The Raven will be held back until HBS has worked more on the sensor warfare part of the game. However, the Catapult K-2 is now in, as is the Black Knight. There is a reason why the Warhammer and Marauder is out, but no comment.
  • There is not tonnage-limit when deploying your lance to a mission. You can have a lance of four King Crabs without problems. By the time you actually have that much resources, you are pretty far along in the campaign. It takes time and effort to have four King Crabs or Four Atlasses or what not.
  • There are weapon variants. Weapons are made by different manufacturers and they have different stats. YOu have stock, common and rare variants. Certain manufacturers corresponds to certain stat boosts in certain category of weapons. There are no weapon trade-offs. A better weapon is a better weapon. Also, weapons are spread across planets. Every starsystem ahs stores available. What and how many depend on the system, its affiliation, its tech level, wealth, ... Also, if you see a weapon with a + behind it, that means it is a more rare variant. You have normal, + and ++. And just maybe, there might be +++ ...
  • + weapons might be better in dealing stability damage, the amount of heat it inflicts, the critical shot chance, overall damage, ...
  • Most of the time, the opponents you will face in the campaign will run stock variants. Most of the time. However, opponent Mechs will not always be at full health. Some Mechs have been poorly maintained.
  • Pilot skills of the enemy will also vary. You won't know their exact skill level, but you will see their specialization.
  • So, salvage ... You think about it when negotiating a contract. You decide how much money want versus how much salvage you want versus the reputation gain with your employer. If you take less money and salvage, you get more reputation. As to salvage, you first decide how much salvage you get overall and then how much of that you can "priority pick". The rest is then awarded / chosen by your employer and given to you. At the end of the mission, things destroyed can not be salvaged. A blown out torso is gone, but the intact arm can be salvaged. Everything is picked up, including the stuff you lost. You then choose the pieces you want "for sure". The rest gets picked random from the salvage pool. However, your stuff (as in, that was yours at the beginning of the mission)
  • Just to be clear, if you lose a Mech in combat, you get the damaged chassis back. If you lose a component, it will be removed from that Mech but it will be returned to you, unless it is completely destroyed. Losing the entire Mech was too big of a penalty according to HBS. It still takes time and (a lot of) money to repair it.
  • Headshots are the best way to get as much salvage from a Mech. Or the legs. But Mech salvage has been abstracted by HBS. You don't salvage a specific Atlas Arm or Catapult Leg. Mechs come in salvage parts. Three salvage parts make the Mech. The Shadow Hawk you blasted to pieces for instance, and you can pick up one or more pieces (also depending on how many others you destroyed in that battle). If you have three, you can fully repair that Shadow Hawk back to function.
  • Mech parts can be bought as well. You can find Mech remains at stores. Not perfect availability, but it is there.
  • You can buy a whole Mech at once. Not cheap!
  • In the story campaign, you can also get gifted Mechs from the Restoration. As a Merc, you basically have to get salvage or buy it. There might be other ways, but, spoiler!
  • Because you are a mercenary, you also need to think on how you are going to tackle a mission. FOr instance, for an assassination contract, it is viable to send in a light, mobile lance of sniper Mechs and get out fast once the deed is done. In that case, you'll also want to make sure you maximize C-bill payout, because you won't get much salvage.
  • You can add better Mech actuators which increase melee performance, better gyros that increase stability performance, heatbanks/converters that help increase your heat tolerance (meaning, increasing the total amount of heat a Mech can take before overheating/shutting down). There is also a cockpit modification that gives another extra free "hitpoint" to your pilot.
  • Repairs and refits cost time and money. And time is precious, because while you wait, you keep spending money on other things.
  • HBS did a balancing pass on hardpoints and they have been increased across the board to give you more options and flexibility. This is to counter the fact that you almost never at any given amount have access to things you want. If you lose the AC20 on a Hunchback, and you don't have a spare, you want to put something else in it and keep the Mech available. You are often figuring out how to make a chassis work with the parts you have. And HBS finds it fun! Making a Shadow Hawk work a bit like a Catapult by adding LRMs works. A Large Laser on a spider less so, because you have to strip off a lot of armor (according to Mike). Jordan has an extraction spider, a mech with just armor and jump-jets. It grabs the VIP and gets out!
  • You cannot change the internatl structure of a Mech. You can reduce or add armor, not internal structure.
  • Ammo is a component, you add it to a Mech, it can be destroyed. If it doens't get blown up, ammo is automatically replenished after the match. You don't have to buy individual rounds.
  • You can have up to 18 operation Mechs at one time, but you need to upgrade the Argo before you can hold that much. You start with 6 slots (in a Leopard), then have the Argo with 6 slots and then upgrade it to 18. There is also Mech storage. If you put a Mech in storage, you don't have to pay upkeep for it. It is no longer active. The weapons and components are removed and put in your general pool and can be used for others. Pulling a Mech out of storage takes a few days (to get it ready) and then you have to "refit" it with the weapons and components again, taking time again. Storage room is unlimited, the Argo is BIG.
  • Mech Techs is a resource you maintain on the Argo and affects repair speed and the like. Upgrading the Argo will affect it and increase it, events can affect it. However, Mech Techs don't get portraits or individual stats. It is just a general stat.
  • Mechs can be named.
  • The Mechwarrior 3D portrait system as promised in the kickstarter is in the game.
  • You can customize the identity of your Merc Outfit. There are quite some emblems you can choose (and those are in a file folder you can reach, so you can add your own). These are just for you though, won't be shared in multiplayer.
  • There are paint schemes as well. You can change the color of mech by choosing primary, secondary and tertiary color. Different Mechs come with different paint schemes that deal where which color is applied to the mech. So, you choose the overal colors for your unit and they then get applied to mechs by way of that mechs paint scheme. There isn't an interface with more detail than that, but they are working on it.
  • Never forget: time is money in the game. So, time is a constricting factor (according to Jordan). Aggressive players might however face a shortage of pilots and constricted by that. Kiva is working hard on the balance between time, c-bills, pilot, salvage and so on. HBS doesn't want you say "here is my perfect lance of 4 mehcs and their pilots" and then drop missions and don't do new ones until those are repaired/healed again ad infinitum.
  • Gaining power starts with better Mechs and leveling up the pilots. Upgrading the Argo is the long game, for instance allowing faster repairs, faster healing... But upgrades have prerequisites. Upgrading the medical bay (for faster heals) may first require upgrading the powerplant of the Argo.
  • There is no black market in the game. But the "regular" market can be described as having some gray areas for sure. There also are events that effect the market.
  • Your reputation with different factions affects the price of equipment and hiring costs of mechwarriors depending on the system. Some Mechwarriors won't join you if your reputation is the low.
  • It costs time and money to travel between systems. Contracts however can give you money to cover the travel cost to a planet. If you don't do the mission in that system though, you'll get bad reputation penalties.
  • You can't trade in a mech chassis as a "partial-payment" when buying a new one. You can sell it fully and use the money to buy another one.
  • The player is a Mechwarrior. You cannot permanently die, but you can stay a long, long time in the hospital when sufficiently hurt. You level up, gain skills. There is a short background selection system, which will subtly affect your game and campaign. Your starting abilities are determined by your background, as are your starting tags and your starting heraldry.
  • Experience points are needed to level up your Mechwarriors. They gain it when going on missions, you spend the points to improve skills. If you upgrade the Argo with training pods, they will gain XP outside of combat.
  • Personality traits were planned like Mech Quirks, but aren't in the game. Might come later. The event system might influence certain pilots, which might result in future events dealing with those pilots.
  • Systems have hiring halls where you can get pilots. The quality and number are determined by the system. You need an high enough MRB rating to hire more experienced pilots. They have a hiring cost and their monthly upkeep. No negotiations needed. However, it is cheaper in the long run to hire a greener pilot and train him up yourself.
  • No funeral expenses for killed pilots. Events regarding funerals are in though.
  • There is a small eject animation for pilots. Think Mech Commander.
  • The second special ability for the Guts tree is Juggernaut. When meleeing a Mech, you reduce the initiative of the enemy Mech by 1 for 1 round.
  • Each contract is authoer based on what the client asking for and what the mission is. That regulates the max amount of salvage. How much you take home, depends on how you perform during battle. However, things like leaving a mission early and thus not getting salvage, that is abstracted.
  • Higher reputation gets you access to missions with higher pay, but higher danger. And you get more preferential access to better equipment in stores.
  • If you leave a missions without doing much, it is called a "Bad Faith" retreat. You won't get paid and you take a reputation hit. Still the right thing to do sometimes, because you can be outclassed. There is a pre-mission indication that says how hard the mission is (on a scale from 1 to 10 skulls), but you can be surprised in-mission. There is also a good faith retrait. You have put in an effort, did damage and got some objectives, but you pulled out because damage was too much.
  • The intel you receive on non-story missions is often not complete. Beware.
  • A higher-ranked AI opponent won't inherently perform better than a lower ranked one. A higher ranked one might receive more skills than a lower ranked one. They will use sensor locks, reserve and stuff though, yes.
  • You will fight alongside AI controlled units.
  • Your starting lance is always the same.
  • Planet ownership doesn't change between the Great Houses. As you progress through the story though, planets will switch ownership from the Directorate to the Restoration.
  • There is definitely no Star League storage cache hidden somewhere in the campaign. No, definitely not. No comment. Move along.
  • You won't go into conflict with your employer and dispute whether or not your retreat was a breach of contract. Not the focus of the game.
  • You have artillery strikes and you can fight vehicles. You don't call in artillery yourself and you don't own your own vehicles. You can fight alongside them, but don't control them.
  • It is a long game. It's fun and exciting, but it'll take some time. HBS isn't a fan of pinning down a definite number. It in part depends on how you go about it. If you do more missions between the story missions, it'll take longer. Missions get harder later on and you need to buff up.
  • Duncan Fisher voice-over post-launch? In success, all is possible.
  • Day-and-night cycle and weather during missions do not influence line of sight. It looks cool though.
  • Biomes do have an influence of heat. Lunar or asteroid, heat will punish you. Frosty missions, heat will be less problematic.
  • There is a level cap on your pilots. It is hard to reach that cap.
  • While you can truly tank your reputation, it will not allow you to turn "villain".
  • Mechwarrior xp needed to level up is progressive.
  • There will be defensive missions. There are also escort missions.
  • Retreating after a pilot ejected a Mech will not result in your pilot getting lost or killed.
  • If a Mech gets killed, the pilot may or may not die. You'll find out after the mission. If they eject, they will be back, with all the wounds they had at time of ejection.
  • There will not be an after action report or something to tide us over. With all respect and with all the love they have, HBS is focusing on getting the game in our hands, not on keeping us entertained.
  • The campaign is real-time, but every time you do an action (check the mechbay for instance), time stops.
  • The Argo is not in danger of beign blown up completely. Events might impact its status though.
  • No such thing as collateral damage.
  • Quads are off the table, even not going to be in when "in success" ...
  • Hiring Mechwarriors means you hire the pilot. They will not come with Mechs.
  • You always sell items for less than they cost to buy. The sell value will fluctuate depending on system and other factors.
  • There are no loans in the game anymore. It got cut. You go broke? You are done.
  • You cannot betray your employer and gain more money / salvage that way.
  • Flamers might have more than 3 charges. Still being balanced.
  • Favorite animation in the game: the new fall animations (Jordan), Shadow Hawk punch (Mike), Atlas punch on a prone unit (Jordan), some jumps (Jordan), the fact that Mechs balance properly on the ground below (Jordan).
  • Mechs can't dance. Won't happen, even in success... No twerking UrbanMech.
  • Part three of the novella is in editing. Jordan is trying to reach Stackpole for the fourth part.
  • Story missions are tough. If you go too fast, you will overreach and go broke.
  • The game looks even prettier than the latest footage we were shown.
 

Prussian Havoc

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EDIT: Migration complete. :)
You good Sir, have once again contributed immeasurably to the depth and quality of our BATTLETECH community. :bow: Thank you. : )
 

Chaon

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There is definitely no Star League storage cache hidden somewhere in the campaign. No, definitely not. No comment. Move along.
This makes me suspicious. Very, very suspicious. {Walks away slowly, looking back again and again.} Hmmmmmmm.
 

Faenaris

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Livestream 20180322

  • People Present: Anders Carlsson (Paradox Interactive Marketing Producer), Connor Monahan (HBS Designer), Jordan Weisman (HBS CEO)
  • The purpose of this video / livestream is talk about the basics. Some things might seem obvious to certain more experienced BattleTech Beta Backers.
  • Anders is playing a Skirmish match against the AI, supported by Connor and Jordan. Concepts discussed here are applicable to the campaign.
  • Skirmish is a combat scenario, similar to ones in the campaign. They are more restricted though. The combat is less free-form, with the simple objective of pitting your lance of 4 Mechs against another lance of 4 and destroying the other team.
  • The balancing factor is the budget you get allocated. In the stream, Anders is playing on the "War" lance value setting, netting him 25 million C-Bills. Each `Mech has a certain monetary value attached to it, with differing Mechs with different tonnages each getting a different price. The same for pilots and their skills. In the campaign game, things are far less balanced though. Sometimes you are the hammer, sometimes the nail.
  • The lance Anders is playing with a Heavy Cavalry Lance. That means, BattleMechs with jumpjets. Jumpjets allow your Mechs to cover distance quickly and change your elevation fast without being hindered by it. As you "jump", when you land, you can set your orientation, allowing you to (for instance) jump behind enemy Mechs and flank them from the rear.
  • Note: Lance is an ancient Medieval term, that Jordan used when creating the BattleTech universe.
  • The first `Mech is a Spider. The fastest one in the game, very maneuverable, can jump the farthest too. Not very heavily armed with just two medium lasers, but is used as a spotter and a flanker. Tinfoil for armor too. ;)
  • The Second Griffin is a fire support `Mech. Moves quickly, jumps pretty far, long range weaponry consistend of a Particle Projection Cannon (PPC) and some Long Range Missiles (LRM).
  • The Wolverine is third. More a brawler, with short and mid-range weaponry and also jump-capable (at least, this variant is).
  • The last but not least is the Victor. An Assault `Mech, fires an Autocannon 20 (AC20), a cannon that can take out a lesser `Mech in one Salvo. And it jumps! However, this `Mech is being piloted by a MechWarrior with only 2 points in Gunnery, so not really accurate! 8 points in Piloting, so he can pilot the `Mech well though. Beyond that, his piloting skill influences his melee capabilities. He'll punch good.
  • The enemy lance is more about damage, less about jumping. They have 2 Jenners, 2 light Mechs that move quickly and pack a punch with their 4 medium lasers and Short Range Missiles (SRM).
  • ANother `Mech is the Kintaro. Medium `Mech, with a lot of SRM's. Dangerous up close.
  • Finally, the Stalker. Assault `Mech with a lot of energy weapons, causing it to overheat quickly. But if the attack connects, it deals a lot of damage.
  • The MechWarrior pilots in the Skirmish matches have their skills pre-selected. In the campaign game, you can choose the skills for your pilots as they level up.
  • Two abilities are Sensor Lock and Multishot. The first allows a Pilot to "target" another enemy `Mech that's within its sensor range, but not visual range. You'll get visual sight on the `Mech AND that `Mech will also lose a few evasion points that it might have accrued. Just for one full combat turn though. Multi-shot on the other hand allows you to select up to three targets at the same time and decide which weapon you want to fire at which target. Normally, you fire (all) your weapons at one target at time. Multi-Shot allows you to bypass that.
  • When starting the Match, the first thing you should do is look for the beacon (represented by a golden beam of light) that shows where the enemy lance will start. It isn't exact, but you will know where the enemy is coming from. After that, you should check the terrain. See the hills, depressions, wooded areas (these provide cover), ...
  • When you haven't made contact with the enemy, you can move your Mechs freely. If you move a `Mech into a forest, it will give cover to your Mechs (25% damage reduction when being shot at the front or side-arc of a `Mech), while also restricting movement and vision of your `Mech. If you keep them in cover, they will get some protection in the case you do run into the enemy.
  • When a `Mech is selected, a serie of white dots pop up around your `Mech. When you click on one, you are indicating you want to move your `Mech there. Click once, it locks down the move, but doesn't execute it yet. You are shown a "cone", which is used to display your orientation / facing. Enemies not within this cone, cannot be targeted. If you click again, the move is executed and your `Mech moves to the designated location, with the heading you chose.
  • The further you move, the more restricted the angle which you can set your facing is. Move a few steps and you can basically rotate 360 degrees and select your heading. That's because the `Mech needs to actually turn in order to set your facing. Moving further means you spend more movement on distance, leaving less to switch your facing. It is afteral hard to turn on a dime.
  • One thing you might want to consider is your squad cohesion. If you don't know where the enemy is, keeping your units close together means they can support one another when you do stumble upon the enemy. Also, be mindful of locations that provide cover. And lastly, don't forget obstructions. If a mountain is in the way, you cannot see what is behind it. But neither can the enemy.
  • There is also rough terrain. It slows down Mechs, it makes it harder to hit in Melee and you take more Stability Damage.
  • Stability is what keeps Mechs upright. Remember, these are giant robots, balancing on two legs. They can fall over. As you hit them with weapons, they become more unstable and start to wobble. Do enough, and you can knock a `Mech over. As the `Mech falls and lies on the ground, this leaves it open to "called shots". Meaning, a targetting `Mech get to choose which area of the prone `Mech they want to hit (or try to, at least). Normal targetting is more random, with only the "side" (front,back, left or right) determining which part gets it.
  • Different weapon types do different amounts of stability damage. There are ballistic weapons, energy weapons, missile weapons and support weapons. These weapons all do different amounts of stability damage, but also "regular" damage. Not only that, but each gun gains a certain amount of heat as you use it, with some even able to "inflict" heat on Enemy Mechs.
  • The UI in BattleTech will specifically say if you are in cover or not. If you hover over a movement "point" and it will provide cover, well, the game will tell you. There is no doubt. So, if you look at the map and think you are in cover, that will only be correct if the game explicitly tells you.
  • If an enemy has line-of-sight on you, it will be shown by the game. Not only when standing still, but also as you move around the cursor. Red lines will be drawn from your and their Mechs, as well as seeing a red "eyeball" icon hovering above enemy Mechs (to indicate if they can see that one `Mech of yours or not).
  • Now, while you can keep your units close together, do keep in mind that it makes your more vulnerable to be flanked by the enemy. Also, your own flanking movements are more restricted. On the other hand, splitting up your forces allows for flanking, but if units are caught in the open, there is less backup to bail them out.
  • Making contact with the enemy happens in three stages. First, you see a sensor blip. As they get closer, this blip will turn into a `Mech silhoutte (or a Vehicle one, but that's for the campaign game) and you'll know the tonnage of the enemy `Mech. Finally, you make visual contact, showing you the type of `Mech you are facing.
  • Once contact is made, the game also switches to initiative mode. Each `Mech class is assigned an initiative number. Since you have four different `Mech classes (being Light, Medium, Heavy and Assault), you have four initiative phases. A light `Mech is assigned number 4, Medium 3, Heavy 2 and Assault 1. Light Mechs get to make their turn first, followed by the heavier ones. (Note, there is a Initiative number 5, but that's for Light Mechs with Pilots who have certain special abilities). Do note that the initiative order is not static. Mechs who get knocked down, can go down in the initiative order (for instance, from 3 to 2), while certain pilot abilities might boost a Mechs initiative.
  • And not only that, but you can also decide to not act with your mechs. Called "Reserving", you can decide that you want a `Mech / certain Mechs to move at a later point in the initiative order. This creates some interesting situations. Reserving a Light `Mech all the way down to Initiative 1 allows it to move 2 times in a row (the `Mech goes from Initiative 1, the round ends, Initiative 4 moves again).
  • In the Stream, Anders has two Mechs in Initiative 4, one in 3 and one in 1. The Spider is a Light `Mech, so that's 4. The Griffin is a Medium `Mech, so normally Initiative 3. But since the pilot of the Griffin has a special ability called Master Tactician, she gets to move in an earlier initiative round.
  • Anders reserved the first move of his Spider (after making contact on sensors) because he didn't know what he was facing. So, he basically waited and see what the enemy would do.
  • As Mechs move around, they gain "Evasion Charges". The further you move, the more charges you gain. These Evasion charges help your `Mech when they are being targetted. The more charges, the harder your `Mech is to hit. Because of that, the ability Sensor Lock is pretty handy. When you use it on an Enemy `Mech, they lose 2 of those charges. If you fire at an enemy, that `Mech (whether it is damaged or not), loses another charge. The more Mechs you use to attack, the more charges are discarded.
  • Note, if you Sensor Lock an Enemy `Mech that hasn't moved yet, that `Mech will be able to regain the lost evasion charges. So, it is best to hit a `Mech that has already moved in the current combat turn. Do keep in mind that Sensor Lock has a range limit. There is a blue circle that denotes your sensor range. Trying to hit a target with a Sensor Lock if that target is outside sensor range won't work.
  • Because heavier Mechs move later than lighter ones, you have to decide how to press your advantage / attack. Do you engage earlier with your lighter Mechs? Or do you hang back a bit, reserve your Mechs and see what the big heavies will do? Another choice you have to make.
  • A red line drawn from your `Mech to another Enemy `Mech means you have a firing solution. Your `Mech sees the enemy and can fire at it. A direct, uninterupted line means a direct line of sight. A broken line means you see the enemy, you can attack it, but there is terrain that is hindering your attack, meaning it's harder to hit the enemy. An arced red line means you can fire indirectly at the target. This means, another `Mech sees your target and you have Missile weapons, which you can use to lob at the enemy from behind whatever is obstructing your line of sight.
  • Each `Mech consists of different parts (being Head, Center Torso, Right Torso, Left Torso, Left Leg, Right Leg), each consisting of Armor and Structure. Structure is the internal skeleton and gizmos, armor is just that ... armor. As you click on a `Mech, a "paperdoll" model pops up, showing you the parts and their respective health. You need to damage the armor and then the structure before a part is considered destroyed. Destroying both legs or the center torso (or blowing off the head) destroys the `Mech. Because of this, it might prove beneficial to focus attacking an enemy from the same side in order to quickly go through armor and internal structure. When making an attack, you'll get to see which side of the `Mech you are aiming at.
  • Each "part" of the `Mech (may) contain certain items. A laser in the right arm, ammo for the autocannon in the left torso, and so on. So, damaging a certain part, not only destroys that part, but also whatever is installed in that part. Blowing off a weapon arm means that that `Mech can no longer use that weapon.
  • Armor tends to be weaker on the rear side of a `Mech, so, hitting the back is a good idea!
  • Weapons have certain ranges. An AC5 has a long range, a medium laser doesn't reach as far. You can mouse over a weapon and see its stats (damage, range, stability damage, heat incurred, ...). The "facing cone" (when you set your facing) also shows the range of your weapons. You can see where the "long range" part is, the "normal" range and the "out of range". What lies outside the cone is "out of range", what lies the closest is "normal range" and in between you have "long range". These ranges determine the accuracy of the weapons. Some long)range weapons (such as the PPC) even have a minimum range, meaning that when a target is right in your face, you can't even fire that weapon.
  • Inflicting stability damage not only makes the enemy `Mech unstable. But once it reaches a certain threshold (indicated by a little marker on the stability bar), all evasion charges disappear. Not only that, if you reach that marker point, stability damage doesn't normally bleed off between turns. You'll need to take a "Brace" action in order to restore the bar.
  • Despite all the things we have discussed so far on the stream, BattleTech is an easy game to pick up and start. You move, you point and shoot. Once you get more experience, you'll see the different systems and the effects they have.
  • Using Brace not only removes stability damage, but it also makes you less vulnerable to damage (when hit from the front or side).
  • You can see what your to-hit numbers are when doing move orders. So, you click on a movement point, the facing cone pops up. Before clicking again, just hover over an enemy and you'll see how accurate your weapons will be from that point and when targetting that enemy.
  • Not every turn is about dealing damage. Your position is also important, especially for future turns.
  • An "Alpha-strike" is an attack in which you fire all the weapons you have at a target. This tends to cause a lot of heat (depending on the weapon loadout) and might not always be a good idea (overheating leads to a `Mech shutting down, which leads to it being a sitting duck for a turn).
  • Destroying a leg knocks down a `Mech. Destroying both legs disables the `Mech. Losing one leg also reduces the movement points of a `Mech.
  • You can see which initiative round a certain `Mech moves in by the circle with big number that is close to the `Mech's name on screen. If that circle is grayed out, that `Mech has already moved. If it is brightly colored (blue for you, red for the enemy), it means the `Mech still has to move.
  • `Mech Pilots have a certain number of hitpoints. Whenever the cockpit takes damage or the `Mech falls down, they lose a hitpoint. If they lose them all, they are out of the fight (and so is the `Mech they pilot!). In the campaign game, wounded pilots will need time to recuperate before they can go fight again.
  • Melee attacks ignore cover and evasion. Beyond that, you can chose from which angle you deliver your melee strike (click on an enemy in melee range and you'll see a few movement dots, indicating the positions from which your `Mech will punch the other one).
  • When a `Mech is down and you initiate another attack on it, the called shot menu opens. You'll see what the to-hit chances are for every part of the enemy `Mech. You can then choose to focus on a specific part and the game will update the percentages. Thus, the to-hit chances for that part will increase, the others will decrease. Not to zero, so there is still a chance you hit something else than you intended. Going for the head will not result in high percentages (in the stream, it was 3% to hit with a called shot), but in "normal" targetting, you generally have less than a percent chance to hit the head and cockpit. Rare indeed.
  • Shooting off a side-torso also removes the arm attached to that torso.
  • A Death From Above attack is a special form of melee attack. Only jumpjet-equipped Mechs can do it. You basically jump on top of an enemy `Mech, hitting it with your legs. This causes a lot of damage (if it hits), but also hurts your own legs. A `Mech with fragile leg armor / integrity can basically lose both its legs when using this attack.
 

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Livestream 20180322

  • People Present: Anders Carlsson (Paradox Interactive Marketing Producer), Connor Monahan (HBS Designer), Jordan Weisman (HBS CEO)
  • The purpose of this video / livestream is talk about the basics. Some things might seem obvious to certain more experienced BattleTech Beta Backers.
  • Anders is playing a Skirmish match against the AI, supported by Connor and Jordan. Concepts discussed here are applicable to the campaign.
  • Skirmish is a combat scenario, similar to ones in the campaign. They are more restricted though. The combat is less free-form, with the simple objective of pitting your lance of 4 Mechs against another lance of 4 and destroying the other team.
  • The balancing factor is the budget you get allocated. In the stream, Anders is playing on the "War" lance value setting, netting him 25 million C-Bills. Each `Mech has a certain monetary value attached to it, with differing Mechs with different tonnages each getting a different price. The same for pilots and their skills. In the campaign game, things are far less balanced though. Sometimes you are the hammer, sometimes the nail.
  • The lance Anders is playing with a Heavy Cavalry Lance. That means, BattleMechs with jumpjets. Jumpjets allow your Mechs to cover distance quickly and change your elevation fast without being hindered by it. As you "jump", when you land, you can set your orientation, allowing you to (for instance) jump behind enemy Mechs and flank them from the rear.
  • Note: Lance is an ancient Medieval term, that Jordan used when creating the BattleTech universe.
  • The first `Mech is a Spider. The fastest one in the game, very maneuverable, can jump the farthest too. Not very heavily armed with just two medium lasers, but is used as a spotter and a flanker. Tinfoil for armor too. ;)
  • The Second Griffin is a fire support `Mech. Moves quickly, jumps pretty far, long range weaponry consistend of a Particle Projection Cannon (PPC) and some Long Range Missiles (LRM).
  • The Wolverine is third. More a brawler, with short and mid-range weaponry and also jump-capable (at least, this variant is).
  • The last but not least is the Victor. An Assault `Mech, fires an Autocannon 20 (AC20), a cannon that can take out a lesser `Mech in one Salvo. And it jumps! However, this `Mech is being piloted by a MechWarrior with only 2 points in Gunnery, so not really accurate! 8 points in Piloting, so he can pilot the `Mech well though. Beyond that, his piloting skill influences his melee capabilities. He'll punch good.
  • The enemy lance is more about damage, less about jumping. They have 2 Jenners, 2 light Mechs that move quickly and pack a punch with their 4 medium lasers and Short Range Missiles (SRM).
  • ANother `Mech is the Kintaro. Medium `Mech, with a lot of SRM's. Dangerous up close.
  • Finally, the Stalker. Assault `Mech with a lot of energy weapons, causing it to overheat quickly. But if the attack connects, it deals a lot of damage.
  • The MechWarrior pilots in the Skirmish matches have their skills pre-selected. In the campaign game, you can choose the skills for your pilots as they level up.
  • Two abilities are Sensor Lock and Multishot. The first allows a Pilot to "target" another enemy `Mech that's within its sensor range, but not visual range. You'll get visual sight on the `Mech AND that `Mech will also lose a few evasion points that it might have accrued. Just for one full combat turn though. Multi-shot on the other hand allows you to select up to three targets at the same time and decide which weapon you want to fire at which target. Normally, you fire (all) your weapons at one target at time. Multi-Shot allows you to bypass that.
  • When starting the Match, the first thing you should do is look for the beacon (represented by a golden beam of light) that shows where the enemy lance will start. It isn't exact, but you will know where the enemy is coming from. After that, you should check the terrain. See the hills, depressions, wooded areas (these provide cover), ...
  • When you haven't made contact with the enemy, you can move your Mechs freely. If you move a `Mech into a forest, it will give cover to your Mechs (25% damage reduction when being shot at the front or side-arc of a `Mech), while also restricting movement and vision of your `Mech. If you keep them in cover, they will get some protection in the case you do run into the enemy.
  • When a `Mech is selected, a serie of white dots pop up around your `Mech. When you click on one, you are indicating you want to move your `Mech there. Click once, it locks down the move, but doesn't execute it yet. You are shown a "cone", which is used to display your orientation / facing. Enemies not within this cone, cannot be targeted. If you click again, the move is executed and your `Mech moves to the designated location, with the heading you chose.
  • The further you move, the more restricted the angle which you can set your facing is. Move a few steps and you can basically rotate 360 degrees and select your heading. That's because the `Mech needs to actually turn in order to set your facing. Moving further means you spend more movement on distance, leaving less to switch your facing. It is afteral hard to turn on a dime.
  • One thing you might want to consider is your squad cohesion. If you don't know where the enemy is, keeping your units close together means they can support one another when you do stumble upon the enemy. Also, be mindful of locations that provide cover. And lastly, don't forget obstructions. If a mountain is in the way, you cannot see what is behind it. But neither can the enemy.
  • There is also rough terrain. It slows down Mechs, it makes it harder to hit in Melee and you take more Stability Damage.
  • Stability is what keeps Mechs upright. Remember, these are giant robots, balancing on two legs. They can fall over. As you hit them with weapons, they become more unstable and start to wobble. Do enough, and you can knock a `Mech over. As the `Mech falls and lies on the ground, this leaves it open to "called shots". Meaning, a targetting `Mech get to choose which area of the prone `Mech they want to hit (or try to, at least). Normal targetting is more random, with only the "side" (front,back, left or right) determining which part gets it.
  • Different weapon types do different amounts of stability damage. There are ballistic weapons, energy weapons, missile weapons and support weapons. These weapons all do different amounts of stability damage, but also "regular" damage. Not only that, but each gun gains a certain amount of heat as you use it, with some even able to "inflict" heat on Enemy Mechs.
  • The UI in BattleTech will specifically say if you are in cover or not. If you hover over a movement "point" and it will provide cover, well, the game will tell you. There is no doubt. So, if you look at the map and think you are in cover, that will only be correct if the game explicitly tells you.
  • If an enemy has line-of-sight on you, it will be shown by the game. Not only when standing still, but also as you move around the cursor. Red lines will be drawn from your and their Mechs, as well as seeing a red "eyeball" icon hovering above enemy Mechs (to indicate if they can see that one `Mech of yours or not).
  • Now, while you can keep your units close together, do keep in mind that it makes your more vulnerable to be flanked by the enemy. Also, your own flanking movements are more restricted. On the other hand, splitting up your forces allows for flanking, but if units are caught in the open, there is less backup to bail them out.
  • Making contact with the enemy happens in three stages. First, you see a sensor blip. As they get closer, this blip will turn into a `Mech silhoutte (or a Vehicle one, but that's for the campaign game) and you'll know the tonnage of the enemy `Mech. Finally, you make visual contact, showing you the type of `Mech you are facing.
  • Once contact is made, the game also switches to initiative mode. Each `Mech class is assigned an initiative number. Since you have four different `Mech classes (being Light, Medium, Heavy and Assault), you have four initiative phases. A light `Mech is assigned number 4, Medium 3, Heavy 2 and Assault 1. Light Mechs get to make their turn first, followed by the heavier ones. (Note, there is a Initiative number 5, but that's for Light Mechs with Pilots who have certain special abilities). Do note that the initiative order is not static. Mechs who get knocked down, can go down in the initiative order (for instance, from 3 to 2), while certain pilot abilities might boost a Mechs initiative.
  • And not only that, but you can also decide to not act with your mechs. Called "Reserving", you can decide that you want a `Mech / certain Mechs to move at a later point in the initiative order. This creates some interesting situations. Reserving a Light `Mech all the way down to Initiative 1 allows it to move 2 times in a row (the `Mech goes from Initiative 1, the round ends, Initiative 4 moves again).
  • In the Stream, Anders has two Mechs in Initiative 4, one in 3 and one in 1. The Spider is a Light `Mech, so that's 4. The Griffin is a Medium `Mech, so normally Initiative 3. But since the pilot of the Griffin has a special ability called Master Tactician, she gets to move in an earlier initiative round.
  • Anders reserved the first move of his Spider (after making contact on sensors) because he didn't know what he was facing. So, he basically waited and see what the enemy would do.
  • As Mechs move around, they gain "Evasion Charges". The further you move, the more charges you gain. These Evasion charges help your `Mech when they are being targetted. The more charges, the harder your `Mech is to hit. Because of that, the ability Sensor Lock is pretty handy. When you use it on an Enemy `Mech, they lose 2 of those charges. If you fire at an enemy, that `Mech (whether it is damaged or not), loses another charge. The more Mechs you use to attack, the more charges are discarded.
  • Note, if you Sensor Lock an Enemy `Mech that hasn't moved yet, that `Mech will be able to regain the lost evasion charges. So, it is best to hit a `Mech that has already moved in the current combat turn. Do keep in mind that Sensor Lock has a range limit. There is a blue circle that denotes your sensor range. Trying to hit a target with a Sensor Lock if that target is outside sensor range won't work.
  • Because heavier Mechs move later than lighter ones, you have to decide how to press your advantage / attack. Do you engage earlier with your lighter Mechs? Or do you hang back a bit, reserve your Mechs and see what the big heavies will do? Another choice you have to make.
  • A red line drawn from your `Mech to another Enemy `Mech means you have a firing solution. Your `Mech sees the enemy and can fire at it. A direct, uninterupted line means a direct line of sight. A broken line means you see the enemy, you can attack it, but there is terrain that is hindering your attack, meaning it's harder to hit the enemy. An arced red line means you can fire indirectly at the target. This means, another `Mech sees your target and you have Missile weapons, which you can use to lob at the enemy from behind whatever is obstructing your line of sight.
  • Each `Mech consists of different parts (being Head, Center Torso, Right Torso, Left Torso, Left Leg, Right Leg), each consisting of Armor and Structure. Structure is the internal skeleton and gizmos, armor is just that ... armor. As you click on a `Mech, a "paperdoll" model pops up, showing you the parts and their respective health. You need to damage the armor and then the structure before a part is considered destroyed. Destroying both legs or the center torso (or blowing off the head) destroys the `Mech. Because of this, it might prove beneficial to focus attacking an enemy from the same side in order to quickly go through armor and internal structure. When making an attack, you'll get to see which side of the `Mech you are aiming at.
  • Each "part" of the `Mech (may) contain certain items. A laser in the right arm, ammo for the autocannon in the left torso, and so on. So, damaging a certain part, not only destroys that part, but also whatever is installed in that part. Blowing off a weapon arm means that that `Mech can no longer use that weapon.
  • Armor tends to be weaker on the rear side of a `Mech, so, hitting the back is a good idea!
  • Weapons have certain ranges. An AC5 has a long range, a medium laser doesn't reach as far. You can mouse over a weapon and see its stats (damage, range, stability damage, heat incurred, ...). The "facing cone" (when you set your facing) also shows the range of your weapons. You can see where the "long range" part is, the "normal" range and the "out of range". What lies outside the cone is "out of range", what lies the closest is "normal range" and in between you have "long range". These ranges determine the accuracy of the weapons. Some long)range weapons (such as the PPC) even have a minimum range, meaning that when a target is right in your face, you can't even fire that weapon.
  • Inflicting stability damage not only makes the enemy `Mech unstable. But once it reaches a certain threshold (indicated by a little marker on the stability bar), all evasion charges disappear. Not only that, if you reach that marker point, stability damage doesn't normally bleed off between turns. You'll need to take a "Brace" action in order to restore the bar.
  • Despite all the things we have discussed so far on the stream, BattleTech is an easy game to pick up and start. You move, you point and shoot. Once you get more experience, you'll see the different systems and the effects they have.
  • Using Brace not only removes stability damage, but it also makes you less vulnerable to damage (when hit from the front or side).
  • You can see what your to-hit numbers are when doing move orders. So, you click on a movement point, the facing cone pops up. Before clicking again, just hover over an enemy and you'll see how accurate your weapons will be from that point and when targetting that enemy.
  • Not every turn is about dealing damage. Your position is also important, especially for future turns.
  • An "Alpha-strike" is an attack in which you fire all the weapons you have at a target. This tends to cause a lot of heat (depending on the weapon loadout) and might not always be a good idea (overheating leads to a `Mech shutting down, which leads to it being a sitting duck for a turn).
  • Destroying a leg knocks down a `Mech. Destroying both legs disables the `Mech. Losing one leg also reduces the movement points of a `Mech.
  • You can see which initiative round a certain `Mech moves in by the circle with big number that is close to the `Mech's name on screen. If that circle is grayed out, that `Mech has already moved. If it is brightly colored (blue for you, red for the enemy), it means the `Mech still has to move.
  • `Mech Pilots have a certain number of hitpoints. Whenever the cockpit takes damage or the `Mech falls down, they lose a hitpoint. If they lose them all, they are out of the fight (and so is the `Mech they pilot!). In the campaign game, wounded pilots will need time to recuperate before they can go fight again.
  • Melee attacks ignore cover and evasion. Beyond that, you can chose from which angle you deliver your melee strike (click on an enemy in melee range and you'll see a few movement dots, indicating the positions from which your `Mech will punch the other one).
  • When a `Mech is down and you initiate another attack on it, the called shot menu opens. You'll see what the to-hit chances are for every part of the enemy `Mech. You can then choose to focus on a specific part and the game will update the percentages. Thus, the to-hit chances for that part will increase, the others will decrease. Not to zero, so there is still a chance you hit something else than you intended. Going for the head will not result in high percentages (in the stream, it was 3% to hit with a called shot), but in "normal" targetting, you generally have less than a percent chance to hit the head and cockpit. Rare indeed.
  • Shooting off a side-torso also removes the arm attached to that torso.
  • A Death From Above attack is a special form of melee attack. Only jumpjet-equipped Mechs can do it. You basically jump on top of an enemy `Mech, hitting it with your legs. This causes a lot of damage (if it hits), but also hurts your own legs. A `Mech with fragile leg armor / integrity can basically lose both its legs when using this attack.
You're doing Blake's work sir.
O7
 

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Livestream 20180329

  • People Present: Anders Carlsson (Paradox Interactive Marketing Producer), Mitch Gitelman (Harebrained Schemes President & Co-founder), Kiva Maginn (Harebrained Schemes Lead Designer)
  • This stream is all about the Campaign Game. Story spoilers will be kept to a minimum, but there might be some minor spoilers though.
  • Headsup though: this is a slightly older build. Might crash, might be glitches. More fixes are in a more recent build.
  • Note: Anders played a campaign game till about week 18. He didn't upgrade your "mothership" the Argo a lot, nor did he upgrade his pilots. He has a lot of money (3.5 million c-bills) at his disposal too, he effectively cheated through missions to do this. (He did this using a debug menu, allowing him to kill all opposition with a single command). At the same time, he had a few damaged Mechs and an injured pilot. This has all be done for demonstration purposes. The real game will be far less generous with your resources.
  • First things first. Your company consists of a name, a crest (icon) and a paint scheme. This can all be altered at will during the game. Paint scheme consists of a primary, secondary and accent color. You have a small Atlas model that allows you to preview your color scheme.
  • You have your "mothership", the Argo. That is a kind of a Dropship, an experimental long-term exploration ship (artificial gravity included). Initially used to explore planets and new systems, the ship went missing a few hundred years ago. How you acquire it, is something you'll have to find out yourself. The Argo is your base of operations. You also have a Leopard Dropship, a smaller Dropship, used to shuttle your lance of Mechs to the mission and back. It is also your first Base of operations when you start your campaign, until you find the Argo and use it for yourself.
  • Upgrading your Argo is done through the Engineering Section. You have your Engineer, Farah here. You can talk to her, get to know her, you even ask tutorial questions.
  • Upgrades to the ship are expensive and the ship starts out as a flying wreck. You'll start with reparing / upgrading the power system, otherwise the other functions of the Argo cannot be upgraded. Upgrades require upfront cash investment, but will also increase your monthly upkeep.
  • You have an event timeline, showing the upcoming events (Mech finished repairing, argo upgrade finished, next financial report). The XCOM games had a similar feature.
  • Each month, you'll be presented with a financial report. You'll have to pay your upkeep, your wages and so on. You'll always see when the next report is due, both on the event timeline and on the left of your main Argo screen.
  • Each Mech active and ready to use is put in a Mechbay. They each cost upkeep, about 7200 C-bills. This number is the same for every Mech, heavier Mechs don't cost more. This was decided because it would punish the player. If you get a new Mech, a heavier and more impressive one, you shouldn't be penalized. The hand-wave-in-universe reason is that you pay for the Mech Bay to be turned on and kept running.
  • Wages also are a recurring cost. These depend on the skill of the MechWarrior, but they will also increase depending on your "generosity". You can decide to spend more money on wages, basically giving your pilots a bonus. This will increase their morale. The higher the morale, the more positive events you'll get. During combat missions, morale will be used to trigger special morale abilities. The higher your morale, the faster you can trigger those.
  • Mechs are repaired and customized in the Mech Bay Menu. You have your main Engineer, Yang. Like Farah, you can ask him questions, leading to more tutorial bits. He has a lot of those, because there is a lot to learn.
  • The Mech Bay Menu has three sub-divisions. The Bays themselves, where your active Mechs are located. Storage, where your other inactive Mechs and Mechparts are stored. And finally, there is Components, the pool where all your weapons and equipment is stored.
  • You have three rows of Mechbays. The first one is unlocked when finding the Argo. You can have up to 6 active Mechs per row. More rows are unlocked as you upgrade the Argo.
  • Fun aside: one of Anders Mechs was completely destroyed, except for a completely intact cockpit. Turns out that in certain missions you have to call-down your Leopard DropShip and when it is coming down, there are certain spaces around it that are considered dangerous. Leave a unit there and ... well, it gets squished by the DropShip.
  • Removing destroyed components from a Mech takes no time and costs nothing. Installing something new takes a little bit of time and cash. Repairing a destroyed part of a Mech (a lost arm for instance) takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money. As an example, the Spider that Anders had (the one with the intact cockpit), was pretty much completely gone. Repairing it back to full strength and equipping it with new weapons and such takes 33 days!
  • Mechtech Rating means how much engineers and repair crew you have. The higher this rating, the faster repairs will go. This will increase as time progresses, but upgrading the Argo will give you more Tech points. Events will also influence the amount of points you have available.
  • You can refit your Mechs, switching out weapons and components. The quest to build a perfect Mech! However, you rarely will be able to have your Mechs just right because you will be forced to re-build them with stuff you have in your storage.
  • Weapons have improved variants. These improved variants are all about bonuses (some might add extra crit, some others extra raw damage, ...), they won't have drawbacks. A better weapon is a better weapon.
  • Each Mech has a certain "intended" role. At the Mech Outfit screen (the MechLab), you can always see what the intended role / standard equipment of that certain Mech Variant normally is. In case you want to rebuild a Mech to "factory specifications". But you can deviate from this of course. You have the power.
  • There will also be special alerts. If you refit a Mech with an Autocannon, but forget the ammo, there will be a counter saying "hey, you need ammo!".
  • Your MechTechs can only work on one project at a time. So, if you need to repair three Mechs, they'll do one after the other. You can switch the priority of these tasks, allowing to change the order in which things are done. At the same time, upgrading your Argo is handled by a different team, meaning you can upgrade the ship and repair / outfit mechs at the same time.
  • In the Storage menu, you can see all your inactive Mechs and Mech Parts. Inactive mechs are basically stowed away, stripped of all armor and components. You can bring these back to active status (which costs time and money) and you'll have to re-install all your weapons and components. However, while they are in storage, Mechs don't cost any maintenance.
  • You also have Mechparts in storage. Each Mech consists of three "parts". When you destroy a Mech, it will leave behind parts. Collect enough of these parts and you can rebuild that Mech, adding it to your roster.
  • Blowing out the center torso of a Mech means that Mech is destroyed, leaving behind just one part. Taking out the legs will leave you with two parts. Killing the pilot (either by killing the cockpit or by falling damage) will leave you with three parts (and thus, a Mech you can assemble pretty much immediately).
  • The component list is your inventory of weapons and components. Here you get an overview of your stuff and can easily see what weapons you have (and if you have improved variants of those weapons).
  • Weapons tie into the hardpoint system of BattleTech. Each Mech has a certain amount of hardpoints, spots where certain type of weapons can be installed. Two ballistic hardpoints mean that you mount up to two ballistic weapons on that Mech. You have four types, going from ballistic, energy, missile and support (machine guns, flamers, small lasers, ...).
  • Support came into being because HBS wanted to take away certain weapons out of certain categories. If Machine Guns were also considered ballistic weapons, you could strip them out and basically have room in your hardpoints for more autocannons.
  • The hardpoint system is also an inheritance of the MechWarrior Online system. PGI has already done the mapping of weapons to certain locations and HBS can use that work. But the more important reason why hardpoints are being used, is because HBS wants Mechs to feel unique and have different flavor. Compared to the MWO hardpoints, they added extra hardpoints in order to give you a bit more customization options.
  • Pilots have four "stats". There is gunnery, piloting, guts and tactics. You can level up your pilots along these four paths. And yes, you can have a pilot that's a solid level 10 in each stat. However, each point in a certain tree will require more and more experience. The current formula is: (skill level)^2 *100 xp. So, piloting level 8 requires 6400 xp.
  • Every 5th level along a skill tree, will give you a special ability, a "specialization". Every 8th level will give you another ability, a "mastery" ability. Each MechWarrior can have 2 specializations and 1 mastery. So, you'll have 2 abilities in one tree and another in a second tree. Once you have those unlocked, the other abilities will "disappear" from the pilot development screen. You can still upgrade the regular statistics, but getting a 3rd ability will be impossible.
  • The special skills are:
    Gunnery Level 5 = Multi-Target (Fire Weapons at up to three separate targets within this `Mechs current firing arc).
    Piloting Level 5 = Evasive Movement (This unit generates an extra EVASIVE charge from movement actions, up to its maximum.)
    Guts Level 5: Bulwark = Gain Guarded (50% damage reduction against ranged attacks to the front and side) when remaining stationary.)
    Tactics Level 5 = Sensor Lock (Select a target within sensor range to reveal it until the end of the current round and remove two of its EVASIVE charges).

    Gunnery Level 8 = Breaching Shot (Attacks with a single weapon ignore COVER and GUARDED on the target.)
    Piloting Level 8 = Ace Pilot (This unit can move after shooting if it has not moved yet.)
    Guts Level 8 = Juggernaut (Succesful Melee attacks knock your target back one Initiative Phase.)
    Tactics Level 8 = `Mechs piloted by this MechWarrior gain +1 Initiative, and remove one bar of stability damage when Reserving.)

  • As pilots start to specialize themselves, they will gain a new title. For instance, a MechWarrior with the level 5 guts skill will now be considered a "Defender". There is one unique rank title for every combination of specializations and masteries.
  • Pilots have service records too. This includes how many kills they made, how long they have been in your service, etc ... There is also the background of the pilot. You'll see their biography in text form and you'll see their attributes (Criminal, Military, Inner Sphere, Lyran, ...). These attributes have a tie-in into the event system. Having a MechWarrior with the Criminal attribute might give you a few events related to that ...
  • Pilots are hired in Hiring Halls. Each planet has a different Hiring Hall. Your reputation with the faction that controls pilot influences how expensive your new recruits will be. And of course, the more experienced the Pilot, the more expensive he or she will be. Some pilots require that you have a certain reputation with the Mercenary Reviewing Bond before they will deign to work with you.
  • Beyond hiring pilots, you can also purchase equipment, Mech Parts and even full Mechs. Once again, reputation affects prices. But the quality of the world (and its specifics) will determine the quality and what exactly you'll be able to buy.
  • Maybe an obvious observation, but, the timeline doesn't advance when you are tinkering in these menus. Only when you press "advance time", will the time start to move forward.
  • There are so-called "travel" contracts. An employer will pay you to go to another system and do a mission there. Meanwhile, your travel costs are handled by your employer. Otherwise, you'll have to pay for the journey yourself.
  • The Star Map shows you ... you guessed it ... a map of Stars. Each dot represents a system with planets. Clicking on it, you'll see who owns it, which factions are active in the system and what attributes a system had (Research, Agriculture, ...). Rich worlds are interesting, as are Black Market and Star League Remains.
  • Each system also has a challenge score. This gives you an insight in how hard the contracts are in that system. A neutral world in the middle of nowhere will be easier than a border world on the frontier between the Taurian Concordat and the Federated Suns. The difficulty is also influenced by a global modifier, depending on how powerful you are and how far along you are.
  • Running out of money (going bankrupt) will end the game for you. You are a mercenary and it's all about the money. If you start running out of money, you can start selling stuff and you can decide to cut back on wages (lowering morale in the process).
  • There are also MedTech points, representing your Medical Technology and staff. This can also increase over time and gain more points via upgrades. And, like MechTech Rating, events will influence this as well. The more points you have, the faster pilots will heal. Without a lot of MedTech points, a heavily wounded pilot might spend 2 months in the sickbay.
  • When signing a contract, you get to negotiate certain aspects. You have Cash, Salvage and Reputation. If you want more Cash, move that slider to the right. More salvage? The same. Of course, both are exclusive. More Salvage will result in less Cash. If you move them both back, you'll get a reputation bonus because you are working for someone on the "cheap".
  • Salvage means how much stuff you get once the mission is done. There are two numbers: Priority salvage and Normal Salvage. If you have a 1/4 salvage rating, that means you'll get 4 pieces of salvage. One of those you can pick yourself, the other 3 are random. What remains is given to the employer. If you don't go for at least 1 point of priority salvage, you might not be able to get that sweet unique piece of loot that dropped.
  • Once negotiations end, you'll go to the mission prep screen. You get an overview of your Mechs, your pilots. You then decide which ones to take with you. Based on that, you'll get a lance score, which you can compare to the mission difficulty score. This way, you'll know if your lance is roughly up to snuff. Of course, mission intelligence isn't flawless and you might be in for a harder fight than you bargained for.