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

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Hey Guys!

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

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

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

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

The Heroes Shorn.
The Heroes Shorn.

BATTLETECH Q&A This Wednesday, March 9!

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

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

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

Death From Above!

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

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

Supersize me!
Supersize me!

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

A Quick Development Update!

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

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

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

Introducing the Argo-Class DropShip

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Tour of the Argo

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Behind the Scenes - Designing the Argo

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Mike

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

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    1. BlackGauntlet
      Superbacker
      on

      @HBS - (Our gameplay prototype has evolved from a rough testing grounds to a fun, cohesive experience that has us all nodding and saying “Yes, this feels like BattleTech.”)

      Does this mean 4-6 hours of character creation and mech customization? YES!

    2. Melvin Poon on

      Hey Devs, any chance you'll share plans for those 3D printed mechs? =)

    3. Missing avatar

      Trevor Capp on

      Impressive art work I like the design

    4. Missing avatar

      Daniel Hodge on

      The audio to the saved twitch stream was "Muted due to copyright" or such :(

    5. Missing avatar

      Angel Rua Amo on

      You are awesome, guys. This update is top cool! A thousand thanks for this effort.

    6. Harebrained Schemes LLC 4-time creator on

      @Max - the best place to ask questions of the devs is https://community.battletechgame.com/

    7. Missing avatar

      Max Robitzsch on

      Hi folks - the dropship-base looks / sounds awesome. Some questions here:

      - Will there be an external view that changes with changes to the ship (for example showing any currently owned smaller dropships attached)?

      - How does the bridge have gravity if its not in the rotating part? When it is most needed (coordinating a planet-side fight?) wouldn't that be also the time when the ship/base would NOT be under thrust?

    8. William Janak on

      The ship seems to be something more from the 3k+ era then the way back when times. But it is still super awesome. It seems on Catalyst forum some purest don't like it but I find too many of those types don't want anything to really change for the game.

      For you guys and gals over there working on this great computer game, Go Computer Gaming, keep up the good work. And thank you for everything you all have done to this date.

    9. Missing avatar

      T Stirz on

      Looks great. Can't wait for this one!

    10. Khell
      Superbacker
      on

      Okay to be very VERY clear.
      NO!
      No ship's dog. No ship's cat. Too mundane (and if I'm going to suffer from allergies, it had better damn well be worth it). I'm not going for anything less than a ship's Red Panda, but would consider trading out the red furball for de-toothed and/or well-trained crocodile with a man-sized saddle, or a diamond-plated horse named Buttstalion.

    11. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on

      So.....just so I understand this....the Argo is between a jumpship and a dropship but can't land on a planet and can't jump? Anyway, I'm sure it will be cool, though I was kind of looking forward to kitting out my own Overlord or Union when I read the post headline.

    12. Harebrained Schemes LLC 4-time creator on

      There's a good thread about this update on the BATTLETECH forums:
      https://community.battletechgame.com/forums/threads/1604

      Join in!

      Mitch

    13. Missing avatar

      Philip Roberts on

      Are you releasing the .stl files for the 3D printed models?

    14. Erik Müller-Sandvik on

      Love the concept! Looks awesome!

    15. Justin Andrews on

      Laurent Maire:
      The Argo is does apparently appear to be a "Torchship"; that is a ship that is always under continuous thrust and flips halfway to its destination to decelerate. So I think you nailed it.

    16. Justin Andrews on

      I absolutely love the Argo, its a stunning design.

      Plus the art style in the video is fantastic, I do hope that art style makes it into the final game. Its really reminiscent of the original 90's style Battletech art in the Source books.

    17. Missing avatar

      Bernard Ong on

      Great update HBS. Looking forward to your next.

    18. The14th on

      Man, Jordan REALLY didn't want to lose that game. It was interesting to see how he actually put a price tag on how much he wanted to keep his beard.

      #jordansbeardneverforget

    19. Laurent Maire on

      Haha, just thought about it some more and realized that the ship flipping to reverse thrust would actually be the only way to avoid inverting the relative direction of momentum/a-gravity, at least temporarily. No rearranging the furniture, turning photos right-side-up or walking on the ceiling!

    20. Laurent Maire on

      Out of interest - not trying to pick holes in the universe's science, just genuinely curious - what sort of gravity would forward thrust provide in interplanetary space? Would the imparted momentum of objects within the craft cancel out the effect, or would the ship continuing to accelerate maintain it? I suppose continuous acceleration would make sense for interstellar travel, until a ship reached the halfway point to its destination and flipped to decelerate (Although then I suppose you would have the issue of the direction of the simulated gravity effect being inverted necessitating the reconfiguration of rooms as everyone walks around on what was previously the ceiling :))

      Any science/physics nerds out there with more enlightened thoughts on this stuff than my laymen ramblings?

    21. Missing avatar

      nin on

      Extremely happy with how the dropship/base is looking! Please tell the HBS crew we're psyched!

    22. Missing avatar

      Warren Nelson
      Superbacker
      on

      @Antonio Xavier
      I am pretty sure that Comstar would of loved to have ships like these for its Explorer Corps as well as Interstellar {?}, the company run by the Kurita family merchant who made a go at exploring the periphery, although that was set post 4th SW and maybe even post clan war, although he might of been active in this time frame as I think he had something to do with the formation of the Grey Death Legion. Been so long since I read that trilogy that I cannot remember to much about it.

    23. Oh Zhi Wei
      Superbacker
      on

      Omg I want to design and get my own mech 3d printed(but I don't have a 3D printer)

    24. Laurent Maire on

      Sweet deets! Thanks. Waring, I will internet rage if "We should get a dog for the ship" isn't present as a conversation option in the final build, ;)

      Also, 'Toast' is the best callsign ever - mysterious. That is all.

    25. William J. (B.J.) Altman on

      Does the Argo come with a wave motion gun?

    26. Jeff McNeil on

      @HBS

      Wow! Thanks for the incredible update. The Argo looks pretty awesome and the Behind the Scenes goodies are interesting! Can't wait for more. Keep up the good work, guys and girls!

    27. Missing avatar

      Marcus williams on

      Looks and sounds great! Can not wait to see it in action!

    28. Missing avatar

      Antonio Xavier on

      @Ed130 The Vanguard

      Well the fluff we know so far is this was "a peacetime ship meant for peacetime exploration duties"

      It makes sense if you aren't at war. As a science/exploration vessel a mobile space station is valuable as hell to explore and coordinate while jumpships continue scouting ahead.

    29. Andrew VanCamp on

      I like what I see! I know you haven't even gotten to alpha testing yet but this game is looking good! Money well spent I think

    30. Ed130 The Vanguard on

      @Angelic_Scars It's probably why it was a commercial failure as a military vessel, it's an entire extra link in the logistics chain (Jumpship, Argo, Dropship, Battlefield), as well as a tempting target being essentially a supply dump/hospital with minimal defense.

    31. Angelic_Scars on

      @Robert While it is called a dropship it seems like the Argo is more akin to a jumpship in role, it stays in space and resupplies dropships, just without the actual jump drive. It is an intermediary between jump and dropship and probably deserves it's own unique classification independent of either.

    32. Angelic_Scars on

      Excellent work so far guys. I love the thought and logic going into the project to make it realistic. Have to balance those damn mechs. :P Mechs themselves as cool as they are, are inherently fanciful..

      About the aircraft carrier style bridge, which does look nice. I prefer to think of it like this, the actual bridge is buried deep inside the ship all nice and safe but it does have something which from the outside appears to be the bridge. It will have windows but behind those windows are banks of sensors, cameras etc to feed information to the rest of the ship. This won't by any stretch be all of the sensors, but it would be the lions share.

      Just something to think about.

    33. Missing avatar

      Josh on

      Sweet! While I generally avoid commenting on games under development, it's highly encouraging to see that the hard science and practicality captured by setting isn't being ignored and the implications of vehicles even being considered is exciting too. While BattleMechs are pretty much the stars in the BattleTech universe, for me it's all the supporting industrial mechs, vehicles, aircraft, and infantry are the elements that really bring the setting to life. (Not to mention all those elements help answer that age old problem of "Now how do I get this home?!?" which is question that just naturally arises after winning or finding something really large or heavy -- and it becomes even more of interesting question when there are others around who may just want to take away whatever "this" happens to be)

    34. Jacob Albers on

      I'm so excited to hear all of this. I grew up on Battletech and it's seems like it's coming to life beautifully. I read so many of the books and have been pining for a way to make them accessible today since many of them were lost to a basement flood. Long story short, what you guys are doing is incredibly meaningful to me and I know I'm not alone in feeling that. I'm a huge fan. Thanks!

    35. bonuswavepilot
      Superbacker
      on

      It is heartening to see you folks taking this seriously enough to consider it in this level of detail! Very much looking forward to this :)

    36. Missing avatar

      Deudanann on

      > We should get a dog for the ship.

      I'd suggest as ship's cat, but a dog works too.
      Seriously though, I get that it's a throwaway lorem ipsum thing, but I do like the idea of the ship having a mascot animal, even if all it does is look cute.

    37. Trevor Reeve-Newson on

      Excellent, love the Dropship design and concept, so much that i'm considering 'stealing' it for my campaign. :-)

    38. Missing avatar

      Warren Nelson
      Superbacker
      on

      @Robert Mech's cannot directly deploy from this dropship, they will have to be deployed from dropships docked to it using its prototype dropship docking collars.

      The hab rings are a prototype made for this ship and never developed further due to the start of the wars. It was meant as a way to allow their to be grav a a ship thats out on long deployment without it having to have very large fuel bunkers to keep up a 1G grav.

    39. Hendell on

      This is likely the best combination of granting a single player game the 'unique snow flake' feature that makes the story feel like it revolves around the player's primary character and not making the game one of super powered heroes of legend stomping their way through the hoards of 'normal' enemies I have seen in a long, long time.

      Even the overwhelming urge to name the main character Jason (even if we can customize it) to fit with the existing naming convention only adds to the level of awesome we see here.

    40. drow on

      duuuuuuuuuuuuuudes.... this is fantastic.

    41. Robert Colt on

      I have one question: Where do the Mechs get deploy from? There no information where they're going pop out from.

    42. Robert Colt on

      I have not much to add, but fantastic progress HBS is making with the game.

      I do have one concern, being a avid Battletech fan. DropShips don't have rotating sections, such as this Argo-Class ship. A JumpShip does have rotating section (inside or externally). I know it for show. I does throw off things little bit.

    43. Khell
      Superbacker
      on

      @Ber
      I am having faith in HBS. If they were just some other studio or (curse the thought) some EA/Ubi/Blizztavision property, I probably wouldn't have even backed the project. But HBS has a high percentage of FASA in their DNA, and with the added chops of team members from one of the top Battletech PC games. That buys them a HELL of a lot of good faith, trust, and love. But as previously said, it's going to take real writing talent to work such a monumental artifact into a story of four MechNoobs on Mercie's first outing. I believe they can do it, but it can't be just hand-wavium, it has to be something credible. And from HBS's reply, I'm optimistic they have it figured out already.

      Re: the Kooky Old Mansion analogy... Not quite parallel. There is no such thing as a Dropship (or greater) that isn't in intense demand. Even a run-down bucket has infinitely more value (and built in weapons) than any single Mech. If anything, the kooky old mansion someone inherits is more akin to a Mech. Fix it up and it could be worth something, but never make you rich without time, effort, and money invested.

    44. Missing avatar

      Ross Whalen on

      LOVE IT! Intriguing design and a classy literary reference in one. Here's hoping it becomes as lovable a character as the Normandy.

      Also, really enjoyed the previz concept video. I like how everything is directly accessible from a single screen (directly clicking on the object brings up the sub-management tool), rather than a massive - and boring - inventory list of things to do. This is especially true for mech maintenance and armament management.

      2 polite suggestions here:

      - Can we get wire frame fades-ins/fade-outs when transitioning between locations? I just think it would fit the visual style, and would look really cool. Like, you briefly see the outline of the ship's bulkheads and such as you zoom through the different compartments during the transitions.

      - Can we include dedicated hotkeys for transitioning between screens and sub-management screens to use after we've seen the art and just want to get stuff done? Moving and clicking through is fun at first, but can get repetitive. How about we use that TAB key? :)

      That's all I got. Thanks so much for the update, was starting to get antsy! Everything looks great!

    45. Missing avatar

      Charles Lister
      Superbacker
      on

      Wow thats an awesome update - loving all the dropship stuff

      Thanks and well done!

    46. Harebrained Schemes LLC 4-time creator on

      @alcaray - Great point! I didn't mention it in the update, but I'd been thinking that the three O2/water reserve units in-between the hab modules (the smaller cylinders that don't flip outward) are used as counterbalance, and are connected through the central spindle to redistribute mass when too large a discrepancy is encountered.

    47. Ber on

      To the guys concerned about the players having such a unique dropship, I say relax and have faith :)

      Yes, it's a unique ship, but its an old, pre-war, abandoned concept. They abandoned it because it wasn't a broadly viable design. It happens to be good for the player's purposes, but otherwise its probably a beat up old relic of little interest to most important people. Sure the one-of-a-kind is a convenient story telling trope they're employing, but you know where else this kind of thing happens all the time? Real life!

      An analogy based on a house for a family to live in. Most people have a suburban house or a unit, but you find yourself in possession of a kooky old mansion that was built by a tycoon-turned-greenie who was trying to make a self sufficient home. Technically it is a one-of-a-kind property worth millions, but in practice pretty much nobody wants to live there.

      And as for how you get your hands on it ... have faith in HBS's story telling chops. You'll get given it as payment by someone important who has it but has absolutely zero use for it, thereby solving a problem for him and saving some credits, or you'll take it by force from vagrants who live in, otherwise mostly abandoned. Or they'll be attacked by ruffians, then you'll protect them and they'll invite you to move in. Or you'll find it completely abandoned with everyone on board dead in orbit around some uninhabited planet. So many great options.

    48. Harebrained Schemes LLC 4-time creator on

      Hey, glad you guys like the ship! : )

      For those wondering about story & affordability for your Merc unit - I don't want to dip into any spoilers here but I can say that the Argo itself is intentionally an important part of the story we're telling in the campaign. (It isn't acquired by accidental salvage or financial means.)

      - Mike

    49. alcaray on

      I'm worried about how they keep those rotating pods in balance with each other. How they keep the entire ship from turning into a low-frequency... erm... vibrator.

      May I suggest a deployable ring about the spin-circumference, with weights that would move to the right locations to keep it perfectly balanced? Like how automobile wheels are balanced with lead weights.

    50. Prussian Havoc on

      Looks GREAT!

      The Argo most definitely marks a high point of HBS contribution to BattleTech canon and lore!

      I applaud the decision, and I am greatly in favor of such a resource being eventually made available to the gamer early in Solo Campaigns.

      I hadn't thought it possible but this Ramos up may anticipation for BATTLETECH all the more!