GeekNights Tuesday - Battletech (2018)


You can use a stock PS4 controller on a PC, IIRC Steam lets it run native as do several games. You have to use a USB cord though.


They can plug in or connect via bluetooth.

Many fighting game people prefer the PS4 d-pad because of the explicitness of the button presses. It makes it very obvious which inputs are occurring. That is, of course, in absence of a fight stick.

I was always big on the 360 controller and absolutely hated the PS3 controller, I still do and have a hard time tolerating it for any PS3 game. The Xbox One controller, IMO, took some of the bad parts of the PS3 controller, namely the stick height, and ruined a solid controller. However, going back to a 360 controller is a bit tough after doing PS4. The PS4 controller basically took all good aspects of other controllers and applied them to it’s design. The only thing that is kinda dumb is the trackpad which is almost entirely useless, but it doesn’t get in the way, it’s just kinda a waste of space that no dev uses.

Granted, I really like the Switch Pro controller, and would rather use it over most controllers. It’s insane how they managed to go from shit like the Wii and Wii U pro controllers to this beauty. But they’re really expensive comparatively. Especially when you can find deals like one I saw the other day for a PS4 controller for $40, and Xbox 360 controllers can be found on clearance sometimes.


I’ll need to hunt the archives for why Scott isn’t allowed to play Quartermaster General, but I do wonder what you guys think of the dice rolling in John Company. In brief, all of the most consequential actions that you make in John Company come down to dice checks. Want to send your nephews on campaign? Dice check. Generate company revenue? Dice check. Friggin’ retire? Dice check. Everything but retiring is handled by risk mitigation: you spend more cash to roll more d6s, and your total result is the lowest d6. 1 or 2? Success. 3 or 4? You can try again. 5 or 6? Your family member farted while bowing to the maharajah and must flee in disgrace; do not pass go, do not collect £200.

Usually 4 dice is enough to set you up for success, but during my first full game we had someone set up the “Governor General” which merged all the regions and trade missions to one player. Since he was also the chairman, he put all the company’s money on fulfilling that trade mission. He spent enough money to roll 11d6… and missed. Not a single 1 or 2 across 11 dice. The company went bankrupt, the government had to bail us out, and he lost 6VP worth of stock. And the rest of the table cheered for it.

The designer is very active on BGG, and posted a low-luck variant in his discussion on luck in the game (Any dice check with a strength of 4 automatically succeeds, and your office holders generate tradeable “seniority disks” that can be spent to modify the retirement rolls), but I think you’d lose out on some primo negotiation that way. Plus JC is about the most highbrow “ameritrash” game I can think of, one that aims to be an experience generator rather than a finely tuned puzzle.


With some more playtime, the rough spots in the UI are starting to show. It’s a fun game, but coming right after Into The Breach, the lack of polish is really glaring.

  • can’t buy items in bulk
  • selecting a part of the ship to jump to is fiddly and buttons are needlessly small
  • camera often jumps to the wrong mech during an enemy attack
  • slow battle and travel animations becoming more irritating
  • bars for mech stats. Just the number please.
  • hard to determine what and how many items you have during refitting

Last night after a mission I saved to compare how much a Jenner or Hunchback would sell for. Look at the Jenner in the store, reload the post-mission autosave. I have two Jenners and zero Hunchbacks. Reload my manual save and everything was good, but that is Concerning.


Yeah, the inventory management is shitty. Why not have one entry for a thing, and a number indicating how many of them you have? That’s like UI 101 right there.


They have numbers right above the item in question, but it is tiny as hell.

The overheat messages also do not display very well in light reddish-colored terrain.

It’s not just this game, but also in games that are going for a retro 8 or 16 bit look I’m not a fan of the choice of fonts.


Ah, never noticed it. I play on a projector, so tiny text is hard to read unless I’m magnifying (and I only bother when I know there’s something to read). Thanks for the tip!


I’ve been really diving into the campaign. This weekend the weather’s going to be bad, so let’s for-serious get some multiplayer games going. I’ll message here, tweet, and get on the Discord.

I made a custom light lance that I want to try.


Oh, I didn’t even look at the weather. Goddammit, I have sawing to do. Maybe I’ll move brush and branches back into the woods, and then saw and mow on Sunday afternoon.

That gives more time to make more stupid-ass 'mechs!

I haven’t actually played a skirmish yet - how do they do balancing? I have to imagine that you set a tonnage limit or something.


I can’t unsee it.


Patch hitting beta servers.

Accelerate the current action with SPACEBAR. Players can now press SPACEBAR to greatly accelerate the current action. Game speed will return to normal after the action completes.

Speed-Up mode to accelerate all combat actions. Added an option in the Gameplay Settings menu that significantly speeds up combat. Note that this setting is ignored during Multiplayer, and while story dialogue is playing during campaign missions.

General combat speed optimizations. To decrease turn times even when not using new speed-up options. In addition, the settings for combat result pauses and camera transition times have been exposed in CombatGameConstants.json for easier modding.

A shortcut button is now available to bring up the Store directly from the MechLab, allowing players to buy weapons, equipment, and ammo without leaving the MechLab. (Must still be in-orbit to purchase items.)

They’re aware and working on things at least. A while ago I got annoyed with all the UI issues and stopped playing. I unwrapped a fresh copy of X-COM 2, and it was such a stark difference in fun. Battletech’s UI was even worse than I realized, until I played a game with a better one again.


There are some UI issues I find bothersome, but overall I actually like most of the in-combat UI. It does a good job of presenting layered information, so you can get as tactical as you want.

If only they explained any of it in the game.

Also, that shortcut to the store from the MechLab is the best news today.


I haven’t played in probably a month, but my memory is that my ire was split about 50/50 between the combat and ship UI. Combat choices I find baffling:

  • If a previously-seen unit goes out of LOS, it reverts to “unknown mech” or whatever. Can’t click on it to see what weapons/damage it has.
  • Animations stealing focus all the time. Multiple times in a row.
  • I really wish the map showed a circle around my mechs with my radar and weapons’ ranges.
  • Is there any way to see enemy weapon range? Enemy movement range?

Mechs are such a numbersy game - managing just so your weapon loadout, and heats, and armors, and … And Battletech seems to not cater to that much.

It feels like it should be My Jam, but it also feels the game is not designed for me. Maybe I’ll just wait for Mechwarrior 5.


The radar thing mostly sucks because the maps are too small, it’s missing an intentional shutdown mechanic, etc. There is a radar circle, it’s a thin blue line. The game could get quite a bit more interesting if you actually had situations like “oh hey there’s a mech over here, then he went behind that building and now all I have is a blip” then next round you get four mechs activating from shutdown at your flanks… like a good proper mechwarrior game. Or in field repairs/ammo. Etc. Etc.

I feel like Battletech is a good base game, and I hope it goes full Crusader Kings expansion content where we can gradually add new tech, clean up options, add aoe, more terrain significance, etc.

What I don’t like is the mods right this second where they throw everything in at once without really thinking about the more complex interactions of different parts. Like the mod that adds “you can sprint and fire with a penalty to hit” but half the time it bugs out characters because the game still wants to auto-end-turn then you get stuck with only the option to quit the game or load an old save because you can’t go back and end any prior turns.


Yeah, I’ve stayed away from mods because most of the modding community is insane. The only mods I want are carefully-considered implementations of closer TT rules, and periodic tech advancement in line with canon.

Maps development and some deepening of strategy options would be great, but I see that being DLC or an expack. I really really really really want to deploy a company, including support personnel and armor. Let’s go from tactics to strategy with a tactical zoom.


I dunno, this one to me is an opportunity cost thing. If I see something, I will take stock of it and remember what it has. If I don’t take stock of it when it’s visible to my pilots, then that’s kind of like my pilots failing to maintain battlefield awareness. And once I know what a thing is, I’ll remember even when I lose LOS. But I can see the annoyance there.

Jesus fuck yes. And it really bothers me when they’re off-center or something.

Y’know, I thought there was, but now I forget. They do suck ass at documenting their UI features, so it’s plausible.


I tried out the beta. They are not kidding when they say sped up battle animations. It is very much improved.
However, there are still rough edges.

Move a mech.
Nothing happens.
Move a mech.
Nothing happens.


Patch day. Can’t seem to get the game to load into a new campaign (or even the mech bay). Just gets to loading screen then delays forever, barely even using any system resources.

Uninstalled the game and reinstalled but the same thing happens. Nothing left locally from any modding, save games, or anything as far as I can tell. Guess I’m going to go at this for drivers and things. There doesn’t seem to be anyone complaining of the same issue online.


I’ve had some fun redoing some 'mechs and actually putting Large Lasers on them. Now they’re not stupid!


Welp I went to format and reinstall. Full purge of steam and battletech wasn’t working. It doesn’t seem like anyone else that was modding had exactly the problems I was having after deleting and reinstalling their directories at the worst. I wasn’t even trying to load an old save or anything weird. Oddly I totally could get the mod up and running again, but I’m not really much of a fan of the mod’s quality and I actually just wanted to play a new patched vanilla ironman.

Clean windows install did work at least…