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Monday, August 5, 2019

Factory: 7R-PT "Droplet"

When the UMFL finally decided to send mercenaries to the surface, the first group to show up were a bunch of ex-military pilots with some of the old standard frames.
Presenting the 7R-PT "Droplet"

I know it's been a year, but I'm back! Sort of. I can't guarantee that I will suddenly start creating way more mechs, but I can say that some more are on the way.
This is a simple little guy that I've been sitting on for ages. Let's talk about the design.

As you can tell by this back picture, the arms don't have elbows, but with ball joint knees and hinged ankles, it falls pretty central on the articulation scale. The arms have full range of motion, thanks to the use of hand clips and stud holes. The hips are SSC's, allowing the legs to move in a pretty normal and functional way, but most of the (pun intended) heavy lifting is done with the knees. 

From the stripped down view, you can see that the torso is an engine block, and the shoulders use a stud-on-a-stick for maximum articulation. The feet and the back of the legs are technically not structural, but I imagine the feet are required for any standing ability. The hand clip neck leading to a triangle plate made for a great head when viewing it from (pun intended) head on.

During early drafts, check out a color scheme I scrapped.

I titled it camo, but really it looks like a junker mech, thrown together with scrap parts. You can also see older head and foot designs here. 

Side note, I couldn't make it to gen con this year, and this being the year that I am interested in critical role, certain attending celebrities, and certain obscure games, all of which made an appearance at the con. It sucks, but it's all good, and maybe next year!

More mechs are on their way, and be sure to follow my twitter!

That's it for today, be sure to stay cool!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Factory: J4-KL "Jakal"

When the streets of Hartipion were flung into chaos after the UMFL forcefully interfered, the locals once again proved their resourcefulness by modifying some old, broken, rusted out Jakals from some of the first colonization ships. The wreck of The Potentiate was hundreds of kilometers from city limits, but its hangars were mostly intact and their contents still viable. The refurbished Jakals kept their name, and it led only to confusion by the UMFL when the archaic frames took to arms and began to skirmish on the streets. Presenting the J4-KL "Jakal."
This build comes off the heels of Gen Con 2018, a tabletop gaming convention here in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started work on this day one, and by the time the con was over, I was done. I actually decided on the theme before I had even started, I knew that I wanted something with a stylized head and pointy ears, and after working on the legs for a few hours and many iterations,  I think the whole thing came out okay. The legs use mixels joints, but the arms are more classical linkages.

The gun is something you may have seen on some other designs, I have a folder for importable guns to throw on my frames. The chest piece was actually something that I iterated quite a bit. This is probably the sixth or seventh chest piece or design, but in the end I went with a single piece.

The head is made from what I think is a ninjago weapon, some kind of chakram or something. The shoulders use those blades which I have been wanting to use quite badly for a long time.

I found that there were quite a few times when putting a single stud covering a spindly looking rod piece made it look thicker. I used this technique on the arms, as well as previous iterations of the legs.

You can see from the stripped down view that his design isn't that crazy, and I use the mixels in his knees to allow for flat foot-placement. His pelvis is made from an engine block, and his upper torso can rotate and hinge. His arms are pretty basic, and his torso is a single travis brick. His neck is a single stud jumper, with a hand clip that holds the aforementioned weapon thing. The Pneumatic T's for hips are some of my favorite pieces of all time, and I think they worked okay here.

I was kind of going for a gritty look, not dissimilar to the current day desert tan military vehicles that the U.S. military uses. This meant lots of tan, which I normally am not a fan of. This build also challenged me with scale, since early iterations were disproportionate or off scale. For much of this build, I had a 7p human standing next to the frame to help me design it.

Fun note, I was working on this primarily in public at a convention, and people often came up to me to ask what I was doing or to watch me. It was really fun to see people's eyes explode when they saw their first tiny robot. Don't worry, as soon as someone asked me about it I showed them other (Better) builds. During the convention, something amazing and Kevin Bacon-y happened. One degree of Newman, I guess. I was sitting and eating some food when a girl named Erika asked me for directions to a panel. After I showed her the map and gave directions, she asked what I played. I said "Oh, just regular DnD, maybe Mobile Frame Zero." Without skipping a beat, she goes "You know MFZ?" I was stunned. I was like "Yeah? They don't run any games at this con, though. How do you know it?" And she goes "Oh, I share a booth with Joshua A.C. Newman every PAX. They always have a few tables playing it there. I have his info, do you want to talk to him?" I was blown away, as what are the odds that this sort of connection would happen in the most random way possible? "I'm good, we've talked over twitter, but that's really awesome, what do you do?" And she's like "Oh, I make games and write too." So hey, check her out. Link on her name above.

That's about it for today,

As always, files are free to download from my bricklink baseplate.

Also, I'm still working on refining (and frankly fixing) the hacking variant, hopefully I can get a working copy out soon.

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Combat: Hacking Variant?

Many years ago(2014), I put together a variant for MFZ:RA called ELP, Escape Location Prime. In it, I make some messy statements about station placement and team starting etc, but I lay down some serious rules about a "Hacking" system. Here's a link, but then an excerpt.
Here's the Google Doc.

Below I'm dropping the original, unedited part about how hacking works.
Hacking, in a nutshell, is a battle between your frame’s technology, and that of the station. A frame must complete three successful, uninterrupted rolls of its yellow dice, all of which being greater than or equal to a Wd6 rolled by anyone on behalf of the station. A team may not hack the central station unless they have control of at least one of the surrounding stations the entire time. If a frame is hit in any way while hacking, the hack resets and it must begin again, as well as the frame losing a system like it normally would have. Any number of teams may race to hack the station at once, but they can optionally designate a die roll (Before it is rolled) to be a counter-hack for another designated hacker, resetting them both(But still using only the station’s white die). Only one frame per team may hack the central station, and any interaction(For example having the hacking frame get hit while being used as cover, or if a friendly frame exchanges a system with the hacker) will break the hacker’s focus and reset the hack. The device being hacked will roll a single Wd6 in defense to whatever the hacking frame has for Yellow Dice. The hacking frame’s roll MUST be, additively, equal to or greater than that of the device being hacked(The strength of the hacked device may increase to simulate security features), otherwise the hack is reset. Hacking may not be shared with or switched between any other frame subsequently, unless the hacking is reset and the original frame stops hacking.

 So, while this is a bit of a mouthful, I'd like to re-address it and tweak it, since honestly when I wrote that I had never played a full game of MFZ.

The variant's win condition had nothing to do with asset points. While they are still involved in turn order, they play no role in victory. The only way to win a game of ELP was to hack the central station first, which made an instant game over. I think I would like to essentially drop the rest of the variant and turn this into just a "Hackable Station Variant." Basically, most things will function the same way as a normal game, but with the addition of a particular station (Always neutral and potentially worth extra points) being only claimable by hacking. I think I made hacking the win condition in the original gametype because I wanted to make sure that it was worth their time and the risk to waste entire turns on singular die rolls. Also, I didn't state it clearly in the original text, but I think white dice and yellow dice are all viable for the hacking roll. I used the word additively, which makes me think that I wanted to originally add all yellow dice into a single value, but I think that the standard system of just choosing the highest roll would be appropriate. In order to address the risks of hacking, and essentially throwing away three straight turns just for a station, there would definitely need to be a strong incentive for a player to do so.
Here are some ideas.

-Once a station is hacked, it can repair one of your frames by one system or dice(Fun fact, I had originally made this word "Die," but I can see how it may be misunderstood as "DO THIS OR DIE"). This makes hacked stations extremely lucrative later in the game, as well as being tactically useful.

-Hacked stations are worth double points. This way, even if you're the primary attacker, you will get strong point value from taking the time to hack it. Optionally, perhaps owning a hacked station universally raises your asset value or increases the value of all other friendly stations?

-A hacked station lets you affect the doomsday clock. This one may be a bit more controversial, but give the player who owns the hacked station the ability to either move the clock down two each turn, or turn it back by one. This is probably a bad idea and will need tons of testing before I'd be willing to use it, but I think it would be a fun reward for the dedicated hacker. It also makes more sense in the lore, with the theme that you are communicating with a fleet ready to bombard the planet.

Now, I'm sure that if someone brought this up before a game, someone would make a frame designated for hacking. As such, let's clear up and retcon some of the things I said. In the original post, I said that "Any interaction(For example having the hacking frame get hit while being used as cover, or if a friendly frame exchanges a system with the hacker[Which in retrospect what the heck is that? Can you hand systems between frames???]) will break the hacker’s focus and reset the hack." Looking at it now, it seems a bit too harsh, so here are some changes I want to propose. First, if you have two defensive systems and are being used as cover, you may continue to hack uninterrupted. If you get shot at but do not take any damage, You may continue to hack. If you move a single step but stay in range of the station, you are reset and must restart the hack.

Bigger changes: Resetting. In the post, I was quite harsh about hacks being reset. Three successful sequential d6 rolls seem a bit extreme to me, so here's how I want to change that. Every round you spend hacking, (And yes moving into a spot and beginning the hack in the same turn is allowed) you take whatever spot rolls and remaining white rolls to function as your hack. If you fail, you may try again the next round. If you succeed, you get 1/3 hacking points, and must continue next round if you wish to keep them (You are permitted to instead move or fight, but that resets whatever points you have. You may also shoot then start hacking again, since it takes the place of your spot round, but your score will be reset if you spend any other dice/perform any action that is not hacking.). If you, for example, get one point in the hack, but fail your second roll, instead of being reset like my original post explained, I think it should instead just deny you a point and you remain at 1/3. This way, it's not about luck, as much as it is about persistence.

I stated in the original post that a random player would roll a white die to function as the device being hacked, but I think I would like to be more specific. Due to my grasp on how scores and turn order work, I am proposing that the hacked station's die roll should be performed by the player that is next in the turn order. This is a bit arbitrary but I think it sits better with me from a gameplay standpoint. Also, maybe you can fish out that player's luck rolls and do more to them next round.

I made a quick statement about counter-hacking, so let's go into detail. If two frames are both hacking the same station, one player may announce before they roll their dice for that frame that they intend to counter-hack instead. A successful counter-hack will reset the hack points of everyone currently trying to hack the station, including the counter-hacker. This gives more flexibility to the player, allowing them to decide if their luck will allow them to catch up to others, or if they are willing to sacrifice their rolls to keep the station away from their opponents. Counter-hacks are subjected to the exact same system of yellow and white dice versus the station's roll.

In the original gametype variant, I included a clause about being in control of a smaller "substation" that surrounded the main hackable station in each direction. I think that this should be changed to state that in order to complete a hack, you must control any station. Most of the time, this shouldn't be too hard, but if you are playing a losing game and trying to hail mary your hack, you'll have to claim a station before you can claim the hack. If you don't own a station, you can still perform the hacking, but you may end up sitting at 3/3 hacks (At which point you do not need to roll but your frame can still not perform any other action) until you reclaim a station.

Since the original game ended as soon as the station was hacked, I didn't have any information about taking the station form another player. To put it simply, once a player successfully hacks a station, they claim it just like a normal station and all hacks currently in process are reset. From this point, all rolls performed by the station are physically rolled by the station owner. The station owner may attempt counter-hacks on their own station to disrupt other players, but they must roll the station's dice seperately. Also, to clarify, The station only rolls its die once per turn, and the roll persists until dice are cleared at the end of the round. If the station gets a six, then you may want to shift focus until the next round. You gain a point on the station being hacked if your roll is EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN the station's roll, so it is still possible to get hacking points when the station rolls a six.

Oh, and in case it wasn't clear, you still may roll your defensive dice and apply it to your frame, for cases in which your hacking frame comes under attack.

If you've bothered to read this far, I want to both thank you, and let you know that I'm working on a concise version of this as a new google doc, release TBD. (I'll post a link whenever I'm done)

Otherwise, be sure to drop a comment or let me know what you think. You can comment here, or send me messages through my flickr, deviantart, twitter, or instagram, all @malde37.

You can always get my designs off of my baseplate on bricklink, links are in the factory posts.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Factory: 7Y-N0 "DYNO"

The streets of Lenoria are a dangerous place for rebels. As such, frame racers adapt and arm their racing mechs to serve as light foot-soldiers in combat.
Presenting the 7Y-N0 "DYNO"

A fast, lightly armored, and highly agile frame, the Dyno's springy feet are the top of the game when it comes to racing frames. This frame was pretty custom and relatively simple, but I drew a little inspiration from Mech-A-Day's minifig gun legs. I broke my real-parts rule by making the paintball gun gray, but no ragrets here, it's really the only thing. I went for a very thin and wiry look for this frame, trying to cut as much bulk as possible while still looking sleek.
I also took a little inspiration from the Titanfall Spectres and robot pilots, who have spring feet for running and humanoid shapes. I'm a big fan of the look, and I can just imagine this this thing sprinting down a street.

From the slimmed down view, you can see I used an engine block as the torso, and ice picks for the feet. Admittedly, this may not like to stand IRL, but I still think it looks cool enough for the rule of cool to make it not matter. :P

As always, the files are on My baseplate on bricklink.

Thanks for checking this out, and good luck out there.