Yes, yes...another MechWarrior post. This will without a doubt drag on so I'll get the non-MechWarrior business out of the way first. T.I.M.E. Stories is a board game that my girlfriend and I found at our local comic book store (The Lamp and Dragon in Ayer, MA) and I ended up getting it for her for her birthday. It's a cooperative mystery game that involves time travel and it is downright amazing.
Not only is it fun, it is also insanely well designed...almost impossibly so. In my last semester at Fitchburg State I took an 'Elements of Game Design Class' it focused on creating fun and balanced board games as a basis for students interested in pursuing video games. Not only did I have to DM a 'Dungeons and Dragons' campaign for a bunch of unwilling college students, I also had the joy of attempting to design my own game.
My game was very simple and it took extensive amounts of testing to make it playable. It was a simple hex based strategy game, T.I.M.E. Stories however is far more complex. The game is a narrative, cards are drawn from a deck and arranged in a panorama and characters 'receptacle' (aka the person's body they inhabited when their subconscious was sent back in time) occupy one of the cards and can only read it to themselves and then share what they have learned via paraphrasing or roleplay.
You have to move around the board trying to solve the mystery as time slowly ticks away, and you only have 3 tries to solve the mystery. How the game creators were able to balance all of the elements and moving parts to this game is so beyond me. It's no wonder that the core game retails for about 60 bucks and each additional mystery is 30 dollars.
Whats great about this company is they actually provide on their website a module creation pack free so you can create you own mysteries. Which I might just have to try out.
In T.I.M.E. Stories the party leader is known as the 'Time Captain', which inspired the new name of my previously described Blackjack Mech Build. Yeah, you see that transition...dank transition son. I have played a few more games with it and I have definitlly still been loving it. My Mech pilot wingman 'Bladedash' like it so much he now runs a slightly different version of the same setup and with the two of us hanging close together...We.Are.Deadly.
The highest damage output I've done in a game is about 706, which is more than I ever got in my 'meta build' Ebon Jaguar. Meta Builds are builds considered to be the best possible for a mech, usually used by players in tournament and competitive play. I think that the 'drain-style DPS' is more complementary to my play style than quick bursts of laser blasts.
They also announced the Linebacker this week, it's a Heavy Mech that will be capable of 100kmph...it looks absolutely crazy and I'm interested to play as it....though it is unfortunately a Clan Mech. Meaning as a House Davion Loyalist I would never be able to bring it to faction warfare. I still preordered because I'm morbidly curious about it, despite it not being able to help me in Faction Warfare.
MWO also recently had a 'Medium Mech Madness' event, and it marked the first time I was able to complete the event and get all of the bonuses. During the event I even 1 shot-1 killed an opposing mech with an air strike...really hope he watched that kill cam. That's the good news, the bad news is that the Blackjack was nerfed (or powered down) by the latest patch. It will be interesting to see where my numbers fall after the changes.
So at this point in the post you're probably looking that the title being like...'Well he covered T.I.M.E Stories, and Time Captain....with a beautiful transition no less. So what in the hell is this talk of a bulldozer. Well it doesn't stray too far from the topic of 'Time Captain', I talked in my Community Warfare post about being interested in constructing a MechWarrior sim pit, similar to flight simulator enthusiasts.
I'll likely start a series of blog posts that chronicle the build, but I secured my first few parts this week. The first is a Saitek PH09 Pro Flight Headset, which has a much more 'universe appropriate' style than my Razer Headset, as well as a built in mute button and volume controls, which is a really nice feature.
The second item is a bit weird but cool never-the-less, but first some background. MechWarrior controls mimic that of tanks. Basically what that means is there is a center twist and the giant stompy robot's legs and torso are controlled by 2 different inputs. In a lot of ways this is similar to the controls on modern FPS, but feels a lot different because of the pace of the game.
So that means that a MechWarrior cockpit would need two controls, one for the legs and one for the torso. Today we are going to be talking about leg control. In the standard control configuration the legs are controlled via WASD which means there is very little finesse. The button is either up or down, so the sensitivity of the 'movement joystick' isn't really important.
I found that most commercially available control sticks, with a fair amount of buttons, are designed for flight simulators and therefore molded for right hand use. This generates an issue as I intend on using my right hand for aiming (torso control) and me left hand for movement (leg control). So I perused all different sorts of options and ended up finding a solution that I think will work great.
Mother. Fucking. Bulldozer. Simulator.
This is a simple stick made by SimLog for commercial training on bulldozers. It is USB Plug and Play, has 8 programmable buttons and a trigger. Even though I got two of these sticks they are not precise enough for Torso control. I'll likely resell the other one, or gift it to a friend with similar mech pit ambitions. Best part about this, I got them for less than I would have a similar non-bulldozer stick at 80 bucks for the two of them.
I figure the trigger will be mapped to targeting/information gathering, and the some of the 8 upper buttons will be mapped to what I refer to as 'Admin Functions'. Things like bringing up the map, deploying UAVs, activating TeamSpeak and in-game voice chat (Two separate buttons), and calling airstrikes. This is just the first steps, it will be a long build.