A Quick Dev Update and a Special Peek Behind the Curtain with Classic BattleTech Artist Duane Loose
Happy Anniversary, MechWarriors!
Can you believe that it was one year ago today that you funded our Kickstarter Alpha Strike in 53 minutes, raising over $1,000,000 in just 24 hours?
We were blown away by your support, not just financially, but also by your passion for the BattleTech universe and everything it means to you. We’re working hard to live up to your expectations for the game and can’t wait to get it in your hands next year!
Welcome Late Reinforcement Backers!
- Customizable Home Base Details (The Argo)
- On Prototyping Turn-Order
- Campaign Setting Details (Aurigan Reach)
- GenCon #SuperPreAlpha Gameplay Video
- Cinematic Teaser Video
- BATTLETECH Fan Kit (Icons, Banners, Wallpapers)
To continue with the weird car analogy, I really couldn’t be more proud of this team and feel like everyone is really firing on all cylinders. Jordan and Mitch and I would like to give a particular shoutout here to our engineering team though, they have been absolutely crushing it in their efforts to get a huge amount of features into the game quickly while maintaining a quality, scalable codebase.
We expect to be back with one more Kickstarter update towards the end of 2016 including another progress update and some Kickstarter Beta details. After that, expect our KS updates to slow down a bit as production ramps WAY up.
Meet the Team Guest-Star: Duane Loose
1984 – I’m working as an Industrial Designer in the Boston area. A friend of mine from design school, Dave Deitrick, contacts me about a possible freelance job designing/drawing 30-meter tall vertical tanks. Not really understanding what that means, I’m soon connected with Jordan Weisman who introduces me to Battletech and explains what he’s looking for a Technical Readout illustrating the units in a way not previously seen. I’m excited, intrigued and commit to draw a Battlemech as a test to see if I can do it.
Since my early days as a designer I’ve been fascinated by the way industrial design principles have been applied to the design of machines in Science Fiction universes. The production design work of Joe Johnston in the original Star Wars, as documented in the first sketchbooks featuring his artwork, was specifically inspiring. When Jordan told me of his idea to create a Technical Readout detailing the machines of the Battletech universe, I embraced the opportunity to learn how to design ‘mechs and to grow as an artist.
After Jordan explained the basic technical specifications of a Battlemech, I started sketching. It took about a week to find my “way” of approaching the design of the mech. My sketching process was the one I’d used (and continue to use) as an Industrial Designer – a rough underlay to establish proportion, scale and perspective, then using that underlay for a final sketch. I focused on visual cues to show function – joints, gears, engine nacelles, weapon details, and so forth – all designed to detail accurate, though imaginary, engineering. I wanted to show “real” technology – or at least a plausible version of “real”. I finished the first sketch and sent it off to Jordan for review. The ‘mech was Hatchetman, the first of many mechs and vehicles I would draw and design over the next 10 years.
In the years since my last Battletech project in 1994, I watched, with interest and pride, the success and growth of the Battletech universe. Fast forward to 2015, Jordan contacted me, in November, to see if I had some time to help out with a new Battletech game specifically the redesign of some of the units I’d helped create decades ago. I was soon introduced to Mike McCain and we began our collaboration on the redesign of the first two: Striker and the J. Edgar. Mike’s direction was to make the units feel more reflective of current military design ideas while still retaining the intent, spirit and design of the originals - to make the units more believable. What a great and rare opportunity to learn how to achieve that ideal and, once again, to grow as an artist.
When Mike asked me to write about what it’s like to be able to rework some of the units I’d designed so long ago, my initial answer and feeling was “It’s Awesome and very gratifying!” Especially being a part of Mike’s team and making another contribution to a universe worthy of devotion.
As designers we live with our work forever. What we create, especially in the internet age, lives on, often unexpectedly, to our credit and our critique. To have my name associated with Battletech has always been a blessing for which I am grateful. This association has created many opportunities to connect with designers and artists who grew up playing Battletech and enjoying the art from so many of my amazing Battletech artist colleagues. They inspired me then, as they do today.
I often tell my students that drawing 100 ‘mechs and machines, in three months, for the first technical readout, is where I really learned how to draw. The experience working in the Battletech universe paved the way for my career as an art director and production designer in game development and animated film production. I still look at many of the drawings of mechs I’ve done and think of them as some of the best work in my career. The Atlas for example and definitely the Hatchetman my first ‘Mech.
I say thank you, once again, to Jordan who took a chance in 1984 and gave me the opportunity to be a Battletech artist, then and now. I’m excited for you to see the redesigned units we’ve created and look forward to the success of the game.
Duane “Dr.D” Loose
Lake Elsinore, CA
I had an absolute blast working with Duane on the new vehicle designs, and I love where he was able to take these designs, refreshing the art while retaining the spirit of the original designs - much like Piranha was able to accomplish with their great ‘Mech design updates for MWO. Here’s an example of his concept art for the Striker Light Tank and the resulting in-game unit made by the talented Maury Weiss. We’ve got many more classic BattleTech vehicles heading into production soon based on Duane’s designs, and I’m excited for you all to see them in game next year!
In Other News
See You in Vancouver for Mech_Con this December!
We’ll be heading up to the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver for Mech_Con on Saturday, December 3rd. It’s a special one-day event dedicated to the celebration of BattleTech hosted by Piranha Games.
Mech_Con is a full day of BATTLETECH with Catalyst Game Labs running play-sessions throughout the day and Pirahna’s Grand Finals of the MechWarrior Online World Championship Tournament.
Jordan, Mitch, and Mike will be there doing presentations and panels, a couple of Q&A sessions, signing autographs AND we’ll be bringing the game for folks to play. They’d love to meet you, so come join them and other members of the Dev Team!
PAX West 2016
It’s hard to believe it’s been less than a month since PAX West. What a whirlwind! Showing the BATTLETECH #SuperPreAlpha demo (the same one we showed at GenCon) in our own backyard was a blast as was meeting so many Backers (and seeing so many of you wearing Kickstarter swag)!
Kickstarter Reward Update
If you’re in the United States: The last of the United States bound Jacket + Heraldry shipments left the warehouse late last week and you should have received an email with your tracking information. If you haven’t, please contact us.
If you are NOT in the United States: This week, the warehouse really pounced on the international-bound shipments with a vengeance -- and blasted out 63% of our international orders so far! We have around 300 packages left to go which should ship over the next week.
A few reminders:
---The following countries are all benefiting from the upgraded shipping with door-to-door tracking: Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand
---Total transit for international shipping is typically between 3-4 weeks + customs time
---If you are getting static from customs about declared values or showing your Kickstarter receipt, contact us, because we have some extra paperwork to provide that might help you.
September BATTLETECH Q&A
Our September BATTLETECH Q&A focused on “how the sausage is made” as Mitch and Jordan like to put it. Lots of great questions asked and lots of answers given about making choices when creating a game. You can find all the BATTLETECH Q&A’s along with the BattleTech Charity Beard-Off here.
And, just a quick heads up, after our October Q&A, we’re going to take a break as we head into full production and then the holidays. We’ll come back in January and continue with the Q&A’s on a bi-monthly basis instead of every month. We really enjoy answering questions and interacting with the community live but we need to stay focused and heads down while we’re in full production mode.
But, the Dev Team will still be around to answer questions on the BATTLETECH Forums and we encourage you to join the conversation there!
That's all for now!