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Author Topic: Old TRO background from the original writers?  (Read 5097 times)

BATTLEMASTER

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Old TRO background from the original writers?
« on: 28 May 2022, 09:02:42 »
I really enjoy reading the out-of-fiction unit design background that writers like jymset and Jal Phoenix provide here.  Is there any possibility of getting the writers from older TROs like 3025 and 3050 to provide that kind of information here?  It's not so much "What were they thinking?!" but more my genuine interest in the genesis of older designs.
« Last Edit: 28 May 2022, 09:04:17 by BATTLEMASTER »
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ckosacranoid

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #1 on: 04 June 2022, 15:34:45 »
Try posting in the writer's thread asking about this might help.

DarkISI

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #2 on: 05 June 2022, 00:55:12 »
If they are still around...
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SteelRaven

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #3 on: 05 June 2022, 01:36:06 »
Pretty sure it's the same as today; someone starts jotting down a idea on paper they think is cool.     
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abou

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #4 on: 05 June 2022, 11:34:17 »
If they are still around...
A few are not. Forest Brown and Butch Leeper from TRO3025 & 3026 used to have a game store in my town. Forest passed away several years ago. Butch moved and retired, but I'm not sure if he is even still alive.

Jal Phoenix

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #5 on: 05 June 2022, 22:36:15 »
I do find it kind of amusing/depressing that we've been using many of these 'Mechs for some 35 years, and we have no idea who designed them. I wonder if the old FASA writers know how their creations are still celebrated decades later.

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #6 on: 06 June 2022, 14:51:39 »
I do find it kind of amusing/depressing that we've been using many of these 'Mechs for some 35 years, and we have no idea who designed them. I wonder if the old FASA writers know how their creations are still celebrated decades later.

"You designed the Urbanmech? So... this is all YOUR fault!?!?!"  ;D
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BATTLEMASTER

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #7 on: 06 June 2022, 14:55:13 »
"You designed the Urbanmech? So... this is all YOUR fault!?!?!"  ;D

I wonder if that writer has any clue about what they started...  If that person were ever identified then Jerome Blake will be seriously out-done!
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #8 on: 06 June 2022, 15:27:17 »
"You designed the Urbanmech? So... this is all YOUR fault!?!?!"  ;D
Think it's pretty obvious the Urbie and Charger was someone testing the construction rules followed by ether 'why not put it in the book' or 'we need two more Mechs and they can't be too similar to what we already have.'
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #9 on: 06 June 2022, 15:40:46 »
"You designed the Urbanmech? So... this is all YOUR fault!?!?!"  ;D
What Hellbie's not telling you is that quote is from Ray after having to deal with adding the Urbie to the Kickstarter and other such products. ;)
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #10 on: 10 June 2022, 08:20:40 »
I really enjoy reading the out-of-fiction unit design background that writers like jymset and Jal Phoenix provide here.  Is there any possibility of getting the writers from older TROs like 3025 and 3050 to provide that kind of information here?  It's not so much "What were they thinking?!" but more my genuine interest in the genesis of older designs.

I honestly doubt anyone that far back will be on the boards. Even going back to 3055, 3058 or 3060 would be tough. As ancient and wizened as I am, I only go back to 3050U and 3075.
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Decoy

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #11 on: 10 June 2022, 08:27:32 »
Didn't Blaine share a few of his notes a while back?

BATTLEMASTER

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #12 on: 13 June 2022, 06:54:12 »
I honestly doubt anyone that far back will be on the boards. Even going back to 3055, 3058 or 3060 would be tough. As ancient and wizened as I am, I only go back to 3050U and 3075.

I was thinking that if some of the production staff from the cartoon were still around to talk about it that perhaps other writers and developers who contribute here regularly could get some of the former writers back here, or Reddit, wherever that an AMA or essay may be appropriate.

Didn't Blaine share a few of his notes a while back?

I didn't realize he had TRO credits.
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CVB

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #13 on: 13 June 2022, 08:14:06 »
He is credited for TRO3025 (original & revised), 2750, 3050 revised (reused material from TRO2750), 3055 (original & revised), 3058 (original), AFAIK.
« Last Edit: 13 June 2022, 08:19:01 by CVB »
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #14 on: 14 June 2022, 03:17:36 »
He is credited for TRO3025 (original & revised), 2750, 3050 revised (reused material from TRO2750), 3055 (original & revised), 3058 (original), AFAIK.

Star Python was his original name for the Nexus. That's why we used that name for it in Moving Forward and then in the Rec Guide.
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #15 on: 07 July 2022, 14:14:58 »
Pardoe did a lot of the most significant entries at least I know of in 3025.
He mentioned them in his blog with his and writing of the mec articles. Such as the BattleMaster.
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #16 on: 08 July 2022, 00:14:02 »
He has credits for the clan wolf sourcebook, so maybe wrote the pouncer, naga, phantom, and linebacker.
Rhona's Irregulars give him the excaliber and spartan,
the genocide module; battle cobra and crossbow.
Unbound; maybe Wildfire, prometheus, Epimetheus, and a pile of tech stuff. (notably DNI)

« Last Edit: 23 July 2022, 09:38:16 by Greatclub »

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #17 on: 13 July 2022, 03:33:44 »
...  Is there any possibility of getting the writers from older TROs like 3025 and 3050 to provide that kind of information here?  It's not so much "What were they thinking?!" but more my genuine interest in the genesis of older designs.

Ashley Pollard wrote about her second line Clan Mechs in TRO3055 on her blog:

https://panther6actual.blogspot.com/2015/10/technical-read-out-3055.html

i know i read a longer post about the Kraken somewhere, but can't find it anymore ...
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #18 on: 14 July 2022, 09:37:43 »
Wow, that's a great find!  I haven't tried reading any of the BTU.org pages yet.  Ashley was still responding to comments on her blog as of last year too  8)

Here's the text from her blog in case no one wants to click the link:

Quote from: Ashley Pollard about her designs for TRO 3055, October 31, 2015
I had the good fortune to be asked to write for the BattleTech universe by Sam Lewis.  I had written to him suggesting a TRO to cover the Clan second line mechs and Inner Sphere combat support vehicles.  My idea was to do a version of the 3025 book but using the new Clan technology rules.

Sam wrote back and said this was an interesting idea but given that I was in England it would be too difficult to coordinate this project.

You have to remember I was writing this stuff in the late 80s and early 90s before the advent of the internet we all know and love today.  There was also the little thing of just having one person write a whole TRO.  I was game, but the people at FASA thought it would be better if the work was given to more than one writer.

I remember having a conversation and asked what I would like to write for the book?  I said the Clan second line mechs, which made "Black" Mike Nystul happy.  Mostly because it seemed that no one had any interest in doing them because they were considered boring.  They sent me a bunch of drawings and told me to design stats to match.  At the time I knew nothing about the Harmony Gold problem and I was blissfully ignorant of any developments happening within FASA.  All I wanted to do was produce stats for classic Inner Sphere mechs I liked.

I Also remember Mike apologizing about cutting the text down for the TRO after insisting on it for the original specification.  I knew several of the other British based contributors to this product, and they all moaned about the amount of fluff text that had been specified.  It's quite difficult to write things which have any relevance to the game.

FASA wanted five of the design optimized for Solaris, which back then had a different ground and time scale. The designs had to take advantage of the rules, and I was told that if there was any spare tonnage that this would be a good thing.  Because they had ideas for scenarios with extra surprises.

They also told me that certain mechs were to be Diamond Sharks and to mention this when writing the text.  I didn't have the first clue about who or what they were, other than they had plans.  Also, I didn't design the Jenner that is in the Clan second line mech section.

The following are links to the full text I wrote for FASA.

BBN-1V Baboon

BEH-0M3 Behemoth

GRF-3BN Griffin

GSH-0VK Goshawk

KKN-5N Kraken

The AC2 version of the Kraken was optimized for then original version of Solaris.  This used a different time and ground scale combo.  The rules  allowed certain weapons, like the AC2, to fire either every turn or on more turns than a lot of other weapons.

LCT-3WU Locust
 
MAD-4R Marauder

MTD-0R Matador

What I called the Matador became the stats for the Phoenix Hawk.

PER-G1N Peregrine

RFL-6LP Rifleman

SHD-3J Shadow Hawk

VPR-0S1 Viper

VXN-2S Vixen

WHM-9U Warhammer

WVR-6MU Hellhound

Name changed from Wolverine to Hellhound by FASA.

I later learnt Herb Beas rewrote the rules because of my designs.  Seems the mechs were a popular choice for tournament games. Due to the combined bonus to hit from having pulse lasers and targeting computers.

My design philosophy at the time (even now) is to design mechs which over heat slowly, and as they take damage, degrade gracefully. This suits my style of play.  I'm not a frother who likes to overheat a mech for one extra shot on the enemy which ends up shutting down your mech.

This comes from a steep learning curve with unforgivingly brutal opponents like Glenn Wallbridge.  Though I think I can say that we were fairly evenly matched?  I've seen him reduce people's units, who were considered pretty good players, to shambling wrecks without breaking into a sweat.

He taught me a few things I had missed.  I remember playing a MechForce UK game against I think Neill Fowler Wright?  I fought his then unbeaten Jenner trio to a standstill with a Black Jack BJ-1D & Rifleman RFL-3D team. He reconsidered his tactics, and I started using Jenners after that.

Any other blog links for past BattleTech writers?
« Last Edit: 14 July 2022, 09:42:05 by BATTLEMASTER »
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HABeas2

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #19 on: 14 July 2022, 16:43:17 »
I later learnt Herb Beas rewrote the rules because of my designs.  Seems the mechs were a popular choice for tournament games. Due to the combined bonus to hit from having pulse lasers and targeting computers.

... Revisions to the pulse lasers + TC rules predated my time in the saddle. I don't recall making any changes based on those units.

- Herb

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #20 on: 14 July 2022, 17:41:27 »
I'm just floored that (at one point at least), Clan mechs (at least 2nd line) had IS manufacture Designations...

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #21 on: 14 July 2022, 18:33:41 »
i'd love to hear from the person who wrote the original TRO3050 entry for the Urbanmech. mostly so we can learn some of the context to the "removed an MG" bit and finally settle that little debate.

I'm just floored that (at one point at least), Clan mechs (at least 2nd line) had IS manufacture Designations...
my understanding is that the whole Clan thing came around later in the develop of things, and originally they were going to be just a hostile SLDF returned. given how quickly that TRO3055 came out after TRO3050 and the clan invasion itself dropped (only 2 years), odds are the planning for TRO3055 was already ongoing when that shift happened.
« Last Edit: 14 July 2022, 18:36:18 by glitterboy2098 »

Empyrus

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #22 on: 14 July 2022, 18:35:52 »
Wouldn't be surprised someone worked from their own custom variant and forgot it was a custom. A machine gun is logical for an Urbie so...
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #23 on: 14 July 2022, 22:05:50 »
... Revisions to the pulse lasers + TC rules predated my time in the saddle. I don't recall making any changes based on those units.

- Herb
Yeah that was when Randell was line dev IIRC. early fanpro days.
I honestly assumed it was more reaction to mechs like the Saggitire and Leggionare, which had become VERY popular "buzzsaws" shortly after they where introduced.

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #24 on: 15 July 2022, 06:13:11 »
Got to admit it is nice to see my assumption about the Solaris influence on the 3055 era has some validity.

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #25 on: 15 July 2022, 09:42:20 »
i'd love to hear from the person who wrote the original TRO3050 entry for the Urbanmech. mostly so we can learn some of the context to the "removed an MG" bit and finally settle that little debate.

Want to make it even crazier? Ask why that line about the MG was added into the text for the revised version, the one which removed the Unseen. It's not present in original printings.

BATTLEMASTER

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #26 on: 15 July 2022, 16:16:25 »
I believe I found one of Blaine Lee Pardoe's blog posts referenced earlier in the thread:

https://blainepardoe.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/out-of-the-archives-the-battlemechs-i-wrote-about-or-designed/

I reformatted this to be more forum-friendly.  If you visit his blog link you can see some of the images he posted of his TRO work.

Quote from: Author Blaine Lee Pardoe on some TROs he worked on, posted August 16, 2018
I started on this fantastic journey of writing BattleTech stuff, it began with the first technical readout.  I had submitted The Strider Incident to FASA for Star Trek.  They said “yes, but you need to check out BattleDroids!”  I was hooked early on.

Prospective authors were given a bunch of photocopies of the artwork with handwritten notes about the stats.  All of us were given the Rifleman first, as a test.  I must have passed because I was asked to write a whole bunch more stuff.

A proviso to this list, it might be wrong.  There are subtle little things I planted in my stuff over the years that allowed me to figure out what ‘Mechs I did (usually in the armaments I used).  Well, over time, other authors used those too.  As such, I had to do some of this for memory.  Any errors are unintentional.

Tech Readout 3025

Locust
Spider
Ostscout
Assassin
Clint
Vulcan
Shadow Hawk
Scorpion
Ostsol
Catapult
Warhammer
Goliath
Victor
BattleMaster
Wasp LAM
Phoenix Hawk LAM
Sparrowhawk
Corsair
Stuka
Seydlitz
Lucifer
Chippewa
Von Luckner
Galleon
Packrat
Long Tom
J-27 Ordnance Transport

Note:  We got the ‘Mechs with names and stats.  The rest we just go stats, so we got to name them.  The Chippewa was named after my college mascot.  The Seydlitz was one of my favorite battle cruisers from WWI. There was some pushback on the Stuka, too German WWII related.  In the end, it cleared edit.

I have to admit, I’m shocked I kept some of this stuff.

Tech Readout 2750

Hussar
Champion
Lancelot
Crockett
Highlander
Spad
Zero
Gotha
Ironsides
Rapier
Rotunda
Demon
Burke
Puma
Titan

The Personal Equipment (Yes, I came up with the grapple rod.)

Note:  I am not sure about the Wyvern…I may have done it.  With this Tech Readout, we got to a mix of design and working with FASA’s stats.

Don’t give me crap about the Hussar.  I know it is universally hated, but I am proud of the design.  It is a ‘Mech version of a Savannah Master.  Fast, toilet paper for armor, annoying weaponry.  Get this behind the enemy and wreck havoc.  That was what it was designed to do.

Tech Readout 3055

Battle Hawk
Jackal
Hollander (I think)
Watchman (I think)
Huron Warrior
Grim Reaper
Gallowglas
Hercules
Penetrator
War Dog
Cerberus
Grand Titan
Behemoth

The Huron Warrior was named for the old Eastern Michigan University mascot, which has since been changed.  The War Dog has remained one of my favorite designs I did from scatch.

Note:  True story.  I got the request to design a few of these ‘Mechs, notably the Grand Titan, while on a business trip.  I remember telling the line editor at FASA I didn’t have my books with me, so I would be designing them from memory.  They were pinched for time and didn’t want to wait two weeks.  “Don’t worry, we will crunch the numbers once we get the write-ups from you.”  Yeah.  That totally didn’t happen with the Grand Titan.  I stopped designing ‘Mechs after the online outrage over my idiocy.  That will change with my upcoming Wolf’s Dragoon novella, where I am tossing caution to the wind. It wasn’t worth dealing with the rabid fan community that had no patience for mistakes…they just wanted blood and FASA’s line at the time was, “The author clearly didn’t’ follow the rules.”

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JadeHellbringer

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #27 on: 15 July 2022, 19:32:35 »
Want to make it even crazier? Ask why that line about the MG was added into the text for the revised version, the one which removed the Unseen. It's not present in original printings.

My tired old copy is packed for moving, but to my knowledge has the unseen and the MG reference. Hoping others can corroborate with their copy, and I'm not just exhausted from packing and hallucinating. ;)
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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #28 on: 16 July 2022, 05:05:02 »
My tired old copy is packed for moving, but to my knowledge has the unseen and the MG reference. Hoping others can corroborate with their copy, and I'm not just exhausted from packing and hallucinating. ;)

Can confirm. There is no mention of the MG in either the first or second printings of TR3050. It only appears in the revised version.

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Re: Old TRO background from the original writers?
« Reply #29 on: 16 July 2022, 06:01:45 »
+1 confirmation. My copy of 3050 doesn’t mention the half sentence about the MG, it only appears in my copy of 3050r.
Interesting.
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