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Author Topic: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread  (Read 21956 times)

Bosefius

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New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« on: 22 August 2015, 19:04:43 »
Please use this thread to discuss the Catalyst software request. As stated above please don't ask about licensing agreements, etc, as of right now I don't have the info. Just know that this is an effort to once again have official, up to date, designer software.

Thanks
Bosefius
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monbvol

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #1 on: 22 August 2015, 20:04:24 »
Well I'll be...

That said though perhaps getting a F.A.Q. together and posting it here might be a good idea because I suspect you'll be getting a lot of repeat questions.

Like what kind of designers?  I can't imagine a shabby thing like my aToW character creation spreadsheet would actually be well received, especially with all of it's limitations.

GreekFire

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #2 on: 22 August 2015, 20:31:15 »
I'll go ahead and ask the obvious: have the MegaMek team been contacted regarding MML?
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nckestrel

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #3 on: 22 August 2015, 20:49:52 »
I believe MegaMek (and Solaris Skunk Werks) are licensed under an agreement that severly limits their commercial use.  Derivatives of MegaMek have to remain free for example. SSW's requires the source code be freely available.  I'm not an expert in software licensing, but I'm fairly certain CGL would have very little they could do with either MM or SSW, even with the current admins of those programs' permission.
Ie.  This would have to be built without using any part of those programs.

(my own opinion, I have no knowledge of CGL's thoughts/understanding of the matter).
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Bosefius

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #4 on: 22 August 2015, 21:15:35 »
I don't know anything about MML or SSW agreements. I'm sure, if they are eligible, it's been offered.

As for what kind of software? Something that can be turned into official software. Look at what HMPro was in it's day. A decent gui, able to be upgraded to incorporate new equipment/rules, etc.

Ideally a single piece of hardware would be able to do everything from a mech designer to warships to AToW characters and everything in between. And Alpha Strike of course. That's the ideal, though not expected.
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Bosefius

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #5 on: 22 August 2015, 21:16:56 »
Well I'll be...

That said though perhaps getting a F.A.Q. together and posting it here might be a good idea because I suspect you'll be getting a lot of repeat questions.

Like what kind of designers?  I can't imagine a shabby thing like my aToW character creation spreadsheet would actually be well received, especially with all of it's limitations.

I answered what kind of software in my other reply, I just wanted you to know that I'll work on a F.A.Q.
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Maingunnery

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #6 on: 23 August 2015, 02:17:42 »
A decent gui, able to be upgraded to incorporate new equipment/rules, etc.
Would that include the ability to automatically calculate the BV of new weapons and equipment?
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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #7 on: 23 August 2015, 04:05:59 »
Lemme just say I use any software named only as examples...

I really like what the guys from the megamek/mekhq team are doing.  This "series" of programs that are linked together are so useful, not only to a GM, but to a player as well.  What I would like would be something like this expanded.   For example; I would like to be able to just play a game by myself and play it anywhere from the strategic (interstellar ops) level all the way down to the personal (AToW) level with everything linked such that you could let the PC handle the battle and come back with results, or you could go all the way down to "who shot Liberty Valence?" level depeding on just how scrappy you're feeling.  Now, while I would like for this to be a game, I also would like for it to be a series of GM tools.  "who shot liberty valence?" could be changed to show some different results if the GM chose. 

Unit designer/character generator programs are great.  But I think they should be bundled into a package that would allow a person to plan the play of the game from top to bottom.  It should have things like a random force creator; a random function for creating a character(that could be edited by the GM), as well as a design your own character using the rules (maybe with some optional rules from the companion) function; These are just some things from my own wish list.  some of this already exists in various fanware progs, though most of them are currently unsupported right now. 

One thing I would like would be a random map generator.  not something to play battletech on, those exist.  Not really something planet scale either, you can find various types of those on the internet.  But something that would generate a battletech-like strategic or operational scale map would be great.  Something that would have hexes that might represent anything from 1km to 100km, that would generate a random map that could then be edited by the GM. 

Well, that's a start.  My wish list really is too big for posting here. 

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #8 on: 23 August 2015, 04:25:52 »
Please use this thread to discuss the Catalyst software request. As stated above please don't ask about licensing agreements, etc, as of right now I don't have the info. Just know that this is an effort to once again have official, up to date, designer software.

Thanks
Bosefius

Um..what Catalyst Software request? And where is it stated above?
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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #9 on: 23 August 2015, 06:57:03 »
I believe MegaMek (and Solaris Skunk Werks) are licensed under an agreement that severly limits their commercial use.  Derivatives of MegaMek have to remain free for example. SSW's requires the source code be freely available.

Not true. MML is listed as GPL which means it can be made commercially available PROVIDED that people can have at the source code. As for SSW it probably is as well.

The real question though is weather or not something like SSW or MML is really up to the task. Neither have the features that HM Pro has and being an open source project the MM devs do have real life to deal with and as such get to adding features when they have time for them. See current state of SSW as an example.

While it can still be done as a commercial release, selling open source software is... a bit difficult in its own way. Am going to try and hunt down software request (I really should have looked prior to this posintg...) and post some more feedback in a bit

ColBosch

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #10 on: 23 August 2015, 07:16:20 »
It's literally stickied at the top of this subforum.

I just want to see a modern UI. The last official design programs had with a Windows 95 aesthetic. If the program(s) are clunky to use, I won't use them.
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nckestrel

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #11 on: 23 August 2015, 07:39:18 »
The GNU GPL (that MegaMek is licensed under acrodong to their website), Linked here http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#DoesTheGPLAllowMoney, allow you to charge for selling the program.  But you can't prevent somebody else from giving it away for free.  Ie, CGL could charge, but couldn't keep anybody from then freely distributing it.
Again,I'm not an expert, but that seems pretty clear. 
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monbvol

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #12 on: 23 August 2015, 07:50:23 »
Which if we're honest about the nature of the beast that is the modern Internet, I don't think that is an automatic deal breaker but won't pretend that it isn't something for CGL to consider either.

pheonixstorm

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #13 on: 23 August 2015, 08:30:17 »
So here I wonder. What OS will it need to run on. Windows? Linux? Mac??

What all should be designed??

What features should it have (compared to HMP)?

The GNU GPL (that MegaMek is licensed under acrodong to their website), Linked here http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#DoesTheGPLAllowMoney, allow you to charge for selling the program.  But you can't prevent somebody else from giving it away for free.  Ie, CGL could charge, but couldn't keep anybody from then freely distributing it.

Yep, which is why you can find people selling open source software on ebay. By this I am talking about finding some project somewhere and selling whatever they offer and never having to do any work.

The catch here though is that electronic BT is licensed via Microsoft and as such I don't think MS would think too kindly of having someone else selling software they don't have a license for.

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #14 on: 23 August 2015, 09:16:41 »
Presumably CGL knows what the actual licenses or other agreements say, not just the common interest assumption is.
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monbvol

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #15 on: 23 August 2015, 09:41:58 »
Knowing Battletech's legal history I have no doubt whatever form it has taken CGL has all their legal i's dotted and t's crossed.

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #16 on: 23 August 2015, 09:48:16 »
So here I wonder. What OS will it need to run on. Windows? Linux? Mac??

I for one think it should support all three. Write it in Java, or .NET [specifically the mono variant so it's 100% cross platform], or some similar codebse.

ColBosch

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #17 on: 23 August 2015, 10:21:57 »
Yeah, let's not worry about the legalities. Let's talk about what we want!

I mentioned before that I'd like a modern UI, something that looks and works like it was created this millennium.
I'd like top to bottom design support for the full range of BT units, from RPG characters to WarShips.
I'd like full support for all current BT rules sets, from Alpha Strike to Inner Sphere at War.
I'd like prompt updates for errata and new technologies.
I'd like native PDF support for record sheets, be it for single units or entire formations.
I'd like an easy to navigate system for looking up canon and custom units, with clear delineations between them.
I'd like Master Unit List integration, so the program can pull things like faction availability from the MUL.
I'd like a "locked" or "verified" function for canon units to prevent cheating.
I'd like to be able to import custom art - character portraits, drawings, and faction logos - to appear on record sheets.
Ideally, I'd like full Technical Readout integration as well, both so I can research all units in one place and to facilitate fan and custom TROs.
I am willing to pay $30-$50 if the program meets my needs and desires, and $10-$15 for each a la carte TRO/RS volume integrated.

I do not want something that requires me to do any calculations; all formulas should be automatic.
I do not want "legacy" support for outdated rules or retconned equipment.
I do not want a browser or smartphone-only app.
I do not want a suite of programs, just one that can do everything
I do not want something that causes Windows to bug me each time I run it; it's a Microsoft license, so register it with them.
I do not want something that assumes it's the only program running. Windowed mode is a must.

I for one think it should support all three. Write it in Java, or .NET [specifically the mono variant so it's 100% cross platform], or some similar codebse.

Here's something I forgot: I do not want a bloated piece of crap. If Java or NET must be used, they must be used properly.
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monbvol

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #18 on: 23 August 2015, 10:47:38 »
If we can get all that, great, I'll dance a happy dance.

Though I think I'll add one item to that wishlist, that the program in question be fully able to export designs in a format that MegaMek can understand because that's how I play Battletech anymore.

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #19 on: 23 August 2015, 13:05:43 »
In addition to the above, I want to see faction/unit images linked to each record sheet/alpha strike card.

Bosefius

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #20 on: 23 August 2015, 13:40:17 »
Would that include the ability to automatically calculate the BV of new weapons and equipment?

Theoretically they are moving away from BV for "something else", though what it is I don't know. But yes it would have to be able to be updated to factor new equipment into BV 3 (for lack of a better term).
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Bosefius

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #21 on: 23 August 2015, 13:45:23 »
Lemme just say I use any software named only as examples...

I really like what the guys from the megamek/mekhq team are doing.  This "series" of programs that are linked together are so useful, not only to a GM, but to a player as well.  What I would like would be something like this expanded.   For example; I would like to be able to just play a game by myself and play it anywhere from the strategic (interstellar ops) level all the way down to the personal (AToW) level with everything linked such that you could let the PC handle the battle and come back with results, or you could go all the way down to "who shot Liberty Valence?" level depeding on just how scrappy you're feeling.  Now, while I would like for this to be a game, I also would like for it to be a series of GM tools.  "who shot liberty valence?" could be changed to show some different results if the GM chose. 

Unit designer/character generator programs are great.  But I think they should be bundled into a package that would allow a person to plan the play of the game from top to bottom.  It should have things like a random force creator; a random function for creating a character(that could be edited by the GM), as well as a design your own character using the rules (maybe with some optional rules from the companion) function; These are just some things from my own wish list.  some of this already exists in various fanware progs, though most of them are currently unsupported right now. 

One thing I would like would be a random map generator.  not something to play battletech on, those exist.  Not really something planet scale either, you can find various types of those on the internet.  But something that would generate a battletech-like strategic or operational scale map would be great.  Something that would have hexes that might represent anything from 1km to 100km, that would generate a random map that could then be edited by the GM. 

Well, that's a start.  My wish list really is too big for posting here.

This is only about unit designer software. What you're looking for is well beyond the realm of what CGL wants and would take away from their intention, solid, well supported unit designer software.
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Bosefius

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #22 on: 23 August 2015, 13:47:22 »
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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #23 on: 23 August 2015, 14:06:17 »
I mentioned before that I'd like a modern UI, something that looks and works like it was created this millennium.
I'd like top to bottom design support for the full range of BT units, from RPG characters to WarShips.
I'd like full support for all current BT rules sets, from Alpha Strike to Inner Sphere at War.
I'd like prompt updates for errata and new technologies.
I'd like native PDF support for record sheets, be it for single units or entire formations.
I'd like an easy to navigate system for looking up canon and custom units, with clear delineations between them.
I'd like Master Unit List integration, so the program can pull things like faction availability from the MUL.
I'd like a "locked" or "verified" function for canon units to prevent cheating.
I'd like to be able to import custom art - character portraits, drawings, and faction logos - to appear on record sheets.
Ideally, I'd like full Technical Readout integration as well, both so I can research all units in one place and to facilitate fan and custom TROs.
I am willing to pay $30-$50 if the program meets my needs and desires, and $10-$15 for each a la carte TRO/RS volume integrated.

The ones in bold I can agree with on updated or future releases, but are probably a bit beyond what should be ideal for a program to start off.  The one italicized would be a bit prickly for people who have already bought all these TROs and now have to buy them again in order to show up in their shiny new design and editing program.  That price point would probably have to go down a bit before I'd be at all happy with it.
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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #24 on: 23 August 2015, 15:10:09 »
Theoretically they are moving away from BV for "something else", though what it is I don't know. But yes it would have to be able to be updated to factor new equipment into BV 3 (for lack of a better term).
So if I enter some custom equipment, then it can automatically calculate the correct BV2/3 for it?
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Xenon54z

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #25 on: 23 August 2015, 15:37:46 »
I for one think it should support all three. Write it in Java, or .NET [specifically the mono variant so it's 100% cross platform], or some similar codebse.

Did someone say Python 3?  :)
« Last Edit: 23 August 2015, 15:42:39 by Xenon54z »
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ColBosch

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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #26 on: 23 August 2015, 16:59:46 »
The ones in bold I can agree with on updated or future releases, but are probably a bit beyond what should be ideal for a program to start off.  The one italicized would be a bit prickly for people who have already bought all these TROs and now have to buy them again in order to show up in their shiny new design and editing program.  That price point would probably have to go down a bit before I'd be at all happy with it.

I don't want to have to enter the information by hand, and I'm willing to pay someone to do it for me. If you don't want to pay for premade files, you can just input them manually. For the work involved, there should be some form of compensation. Or, perhaps, if you already own the item in PDF form through DriveThru or Battlecorps, you can get the program files for free.

...or I'm willing to do data entry for whoever does get the contract. PM me. ;)
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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #27 on: 23 August 2015, 16:59:57 »
My hopes and desires. I've broken it into three modules: some players may only want the basics. Soem may never play campaigns or care about repair rules. Waiting to do it all at once would just be too long.

An initial Creator and Force Organizer.

Quick and good enough is better than perfect. Although eventually all units would be great, covering the core, Mechs, Tanks, and Infantry, is enough for me initially. For speed and ease of release, better not waiting. Aerospace and Warships can wait. It should support Battletech and Alpha Strike.
 
It should be able to print out units in many formats: traditional record sheets.
It should print out compact unit sheets that avoid armor diagrams and bubbles for Armor and Structure listings.
It should print out Alpha Strike Cards, or as Sheets.
It should be able to store forces; you should be able to designate a group of units, with skill ratings, and save them.
Unit construction should include limits by tech, era, factions, as well as letting the player set a BV, tonnage, or Cbill limit.
It should be able able to save or associate multiple forces, so they can be balanced and compared against each other. 
It should be able to search for units by name, by faction, by era.
It should be able to sort and group mechs by weight, name, era, tech level, and faction.
It should always note a custom design from a Canon Design, including on the record sheet print out. No custom design should ever be able to be printed with a designation that it is a Canon design.
It should have the design functions we are used to, to create custom designs.

Every rules sheet should state if the unit has advanced, experimental, or custom made tech.


Bonus feature, would be nice: Players should be able to note their miniatures collection, so an option on the force listing can indicate if they own particular mech to help build forces.
Bonus feature, would be nice: Players can create Custom equipment or weapons. (This might be put off to the next moduel below) It may want to be flexible enough where players can create a custom tech file to add to designs.



Next  upgrade for later purchase as an option: Combat Module

Allows you to store units, tracking damage to armor, structure, critical damage and pilots.
It should be able to allow you to load up force rosters, then go from unit to unit, noting damage and tracking combat effects such as heat, critical hits, and other modifiers, such as ECM, currently prone, shutdown, etc.
It should have a tactical module, where forces are loaded up and tracked. Much like Hero Labs does with Shadowrun Character portfolios. This would help track initiative, damage, heat, damage, note various status effects like on fire, shutdown, ecm, etc.
It should allow you to run/calculate hit numbers.
It should help you manage ammo.
It should be able to save a force, with notes section on hexmap location and facing to save games for future play.
This module adds in utility for mech quirks and pilot abilities.
Bonus feature the ability to handle off map artillery and abstract radar map combat for aerospace.


Next to develop and sell: Campaign module

allows players to choose a from a few options of repair resolution. Warchest points, BV campaign management, or C-Bill management.  T
Ties in with Combat module to help players manage repairs using one of the three campaign options.
Allows a unit builder, where techs and support personnel are noted.
Repair Times and costs are noted and calculated.
Allows players to note payments for contracts, deduct repair costs, add units as salvage.
Allows units to purchase parts, ammo, components for use with the repair process.
Allows tracking unit participation in a scenario, kills, and promotions in skill levels.

Crazy feature: Inner Sphere map with Jump calculator. Calculates transport costs based on selected dropships.








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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #28 on: 24 August 2015, 00:29:53 »
I think ColBosch pretty much listed everything I would want, as well.
If it can exist, I should be able to bloody well make it, print it out, and use it.

I would also like something that I could use either on a tablet or a lap-top to keep
track of damage to specific units.

And, above all, I want a program that anyone can pick up and use intuitively.
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Re: New Battletech Software Discussion Thread
« Reply #29 on: 24 August 2015, 02:20:18 »

When I am working on a AU or custom faction, I often make custom technology (weapons, equipment, armor, engines, etc). However I don't want all those custom entries to always pollute the canon database/list, thus I want to be able to load an additional database/list with custom technology if I require it for that session. However any printed record sheet should have them designated as using custom technology.
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