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HeavyMetal Press Release:  May 16, 2000

Hello all,

Some of you are aware of HeavyMetal, FASA's 'Mech Design Generator, and that it has been out of print, per FASA's site, for some time. This was the case because the current stock had sold out and FASA has been in the midst of deciding exactly what to do with it, given the dynamic changes there and elsewhere in the gaming industry.

It has finally been decided to allow me (Rick Raisley) to become a FASA licensee and produce and market the program myself. We have been working on this for quite some time, and I am very excited about the prospect, as I feel I can be more responsive to the needs of the BattleTech community. FASA will continue to sell HeavyMetal products from their web site, but I will in addition be marketing them myself, by mail and hopefully through a new web site.

While HeavyMetal has many proponents, I realize that many were not exactly thrilled with the program. It was kind of a matter of "too little, too late." And unfortunately, this occurred due to the delays in marketing the program. The "final" design was submitted almost two years before it was actually released for purchase, and despite the addition of some equipment from Maximum Tech, it was dated when it appeared. This was very unfortunate, and is one of the things I hope to correct.

Well, down to business. HeavyMetal Pro, the advanced successor to the original HeavyMetal, has been in playtest now for over two years, and has gone through a complete metamorphosis. The program is complete except for adding some MechForce UK weapons I promised to Bob Nicholls and the completion of the extensive help file. It has been updated to 32-bit (i.e. it won't run on Win3.x) and has a myriad of new features which I'll list below. I hope for it to be ready for market in time for Origins in July.

In addition, there are two more items in the HeavyMetal line:  HeavyMetal Vee, a Vehicle Editor which includes all Maximum Tech equipment such as super-heavy tanks and ships, multiple turrets, etc. Unfortunately, HMVee is still a 16-bit program similar to original HeavyMetal, although the printouts and design utility are outstanding. I may update HMVee to 32-bit and the new look also; that will depend on the demand, as well as time available. I'd like your thoughts on that.

And then there's HeavyMetal Lite: It's a ProtoMech Design Generator that's been out for over a year in playtest (nice timing, huh?), but it does more than Protos. It also prints out record sheets for all infantry (even with artillery) and Battle Armor, complete with all options such as heavy armor, etc. In addition to the standard BA/Infantry record sheets (enhanced, of course), it will print BattleForce2 record sheets (as will all the new HeavyMetal programs).

My ultimate goal is to produce a CD with HMPro, HMVee, HMLite and all designs for all equipment (except the unseen - they'll stay unseen). (Webmaster's note: recent posts on the message boards and rec.games.mecha show that FASA has said the losmechs are legal for inclusion in HMP as long as no images of them are included) This will take some time, especially if Vee and Lite are to become 32-bit apps, and again, I'd like your thoughts here.

There is also a possibility of producing an Aerotech2 editor, but only after the others have been done, and only if there appears to be enough interest.

I am working on a HeavyMetal web site, which will be a complete source for HeavyMetal products. In addition to complete specifications and sample screens, I intend to make HeavyMetal products available for purchase and download, provide program, weapon and 'Mech updates, FAQs, hints, news, etc. It will be the premier site for all FASA's HeavyMetal products. Once done, I can assure you that new weapons will be included in the HMPro weapons database as soon as they are published (maybe before!).

Enough generalities: The following is a list of the /enhanced/ features and improvements that HeavyMetal Pro has over standard HeavyMetal. I think you'll be impressed. Of course, all the features of standard HeavyMetal are still there, only much, much better.


* HeavyMetal Pro has been completely redesigned, and makes full use of Windows95+ features. Therefore, it can no longer be run with Windows 3.x.
* The main screen includes a customizable Toolbar, giving the user instant access to many features.
* Three viewing modes are included: Regular with a simplified interface and less clutter for the new user, Veteran which adds constant summary info to the screen and Elite which adds weapon and status information, HTAL armor and damage graphs and other information for instant reference. HeavyMetal Pro works the way you want it to!

* Added BattleForce2 screen, with ability to Save and Load 'Mech Rosters, up to 4 sheets of up to 40 units per sheet, printing of FASA-style BattleForce2 sheets, many options to Assign, Unassign and Clear. BattleForce2 rosters can be made up with mixed units of 'Mechs, vehicles, ProtoMechs, Battle Armor and Infantry.
* Added MechWarriors database, accessible from Print dialog box and Roster screen, which saves names and skills for printing on Record Sheets. Multiple warrior databases are supported, and two are included with the program.
* Added Battle Value Calculation Screen, with complete details of the required steps and values.
* Added Text Technical Readout, can print or copy to Windows clipboard, for pasting into E-mails or news posts, etc.
* Added Manufacturer Screen and databases. Includes 9 databases for engine, chassis, etc. This information prints in Text and Standard Tech Readouts. Screen operation allows the user to automatically modify, add or delete items in the databases.
* A new HTML option screen allows setting and previewing the screen and options.

* Added Large, XXL, Compact and I.C.E. Engines (with power amplifiers) and Engine Supercharger.
* Added Hardened, Light & Heavy Ferro-Fibrous Armor, as well as Component Armor. Even Patchwork Armor is supported, with the ability to have a different armor in each location.
* Added Reinforced, Composite and Utility 'Mech Structure (yes, Utility 'Mechs can now be designed and printed).
* Added CASE II and improved CASE selection operation.
* Added Null Signature Systems, Variable Range, Multi-Trac II, Short & Long Range, Anti-Aircraft and Multi-Trac targeting systems.
* Added Grenade Launchers, Artemis V, Clan Heavy Lasers, new Micro Lasers, ATM's and Improved Single Shot (I-OS) weapons.
* Added Laser & Compact heat sinks.
* Added XL, Compact and Heavy Duty Gyros.
* Added Torso Cockpit, Small Cockpit & Command Console, as well as Enhanced Imaging.
* Added Improved Jump Jets, Mechanical Jump Boosters and 'Mech Jump Packs.
* Added Head and Shoulder Turrets, plus Quad turrets.
* Added optional Critical Slot limits for smaller 'Mechs, including Record Sheet printing.
* Added Armless 'Mech configuration, design and printing.
* Added Fractional Accounting (no rounding of most calculations), including Fractional Tons of Ammo for all weapons. You can now specify exactly how many shots of ammo are in each crit.
* Added Combine, Chainsaw, Lift Hoist & Cargo for Utility 'Mechs.
* Added Mixed Tech. User may select desired Tech individually for chassis, armor, engine, weapons, physical attack weapons, etc. Added all weapons to both Clans and Inner Sphere, with complete cross-reference to the Tech Base and older weapons.
* Added 3060 Era as well as the ability to specify an exact year (like 3054) rather than only preselected eras.

* Visible 'Mechs can be filtered by Era, tonnage, Rules Level and many other criteria at the Open 'Mech Screen, which can be viewed in either Standard or Advanced mode.
* Added SRD, MRD and LRD (Short-, Medium and Long-Range Damage) factors to Damage Graph, 'Mech Select and Open 'Mech Screens.
* Changed Colors of all screens to System Colors.
* Added BattleForce2 damage factor to display and screens.
* Added Autoscale to Damage Graph.
* Added Most Recently Used files to Files menu.
* Added ability to display Pictures (bitmaps) of 'Mechs on engineering screen, saving with file.
* Full Windows95+ long filename capability is included.

* Custom Weapons now saved with Data file, & can be loaded in any version of HeavyMetal Pro, even without the custom weapons data file.
* Added ability to absorb Custom weapons into Custom Weapon data file. When you give someone a 'Mech design with custom weapons, they can then use the weapon on other 'Mechs.
* Added ability to Split missile system from Artemis in head and center torso.
* Removed limitation of 1000 'Mechs in each folder and 100 'Mechs selected from Open and Files screens. Maximum is now limited only by memory.
* Increased maximum number of weapons from 25 to 50 (you really don't want more, do you?).
* Added optional Automatic Heat Sink Adjustment: When adding/deleting weapons, heat sink number automatically increase or decrease, according to criteria set by the user (such as overheat by 5, use 80% available heat, etc.).
* Added Save as Text, duplicating information on Text Tech Readout screen.
* Added Save as HTML, including choice of text and background color, background bitmap, optional Logo and Picture of 'Mech, header and footer. Viewable with Internet Explorer or other browsers. Easily uploaded to web sites for publication.
* An optional Tip Of The Day screen gives hints on use of the program.

* Rosters can now be composed of 'Mechs from multiple directories or folders.
* Added ability to save and load MechWarrior name with Roster.
* Added ability to "batch" print all 'Mechs in Roster, with MechWarrior names and skills. Just select the 'Mechs desired, choose Batch Print, and go get something to eat while they all print, each with individual MechWarrior names and skills.
* Added ability to set Skills of each 'Mech on Roster screen, and calculated Battle Value accordingly.
* Added ability to highlight 'Mechs on Roster screen to send to BF2 screen.
* Added ability to show BF2 factor, damage factors, or weapon value on screen, and sort by ones desired.
* Added ability to save the data files for all Roster 'Mechs to a floppy or other directory. Great for taking them to another computer for printing or play.

* Added Sort-by Column Buttons, on Open, Roster and most other screens.
* Adding or Deleting weapon and most other changes no longer undistributes equipment (I heard the grumbling!).
* Added Auto-Distribute and Auto-Undistribute buttons to Distribution Screen for all heat sinks, armor, etc.
* Added Move Crits Up button to Distribution Screen, to fill in blank crits.
* Added pop-up menus for most components, allowing user to Auto-Distribute to one or multiple locations, Auto-Undistribute from one or multiple locations and select Rear or turret-mounted weapons.
* Added Rules Level selection on Weapons Screen.
* Wider selection of graphic formats can now be used for logos and pictures.

* Various configurations of Record Sheet can be simply selected for printing with a thumbnail view. Configurations include full size, reduced size with turn grid, reduced size with hit location tables, Level 3 heat table, etc. Missile hit tables include the latest missile quantity for ATM's.
* Added notations on Record Sheet for Armor & Internal Structure type, even with Patchwork Armor.
* Added 3 Presets to Print dialog box and ability to save each (with Logo, printout type, colors, etc.).
* Added printing of comprehensive step-by-step Battle Value calculations, for comparison, checking or instruction.
* Added printing of BattleForce2 record sheets (works with vehicles, ProtoMechs and infantry from other HeavyMetal programs too). These sheets look fantastic, just like FASA's!
* When printing of 'Mech listings, desired factors such as BF2, damage and weapon value may be selected and printed.
* Greatly enhanced Tech Readout (TRO) printout, optionally displaying a picture of the 'Mech as well as all manufacturer and model information in addition to "fluff" text.

* Added Display of SRD, MRD & LRD (Short, Medium & Long Range damage) and BattleForce2 factors to Open 'Mech Screen, also sorting by them and by their ratio.
* Added Select 'Mechs using Tons and Cost, in addition to Battle Value, as a basis, and the ability to Maximize Battle Value, SRD, MRD, LRD or BattleForce2 factor, in addition to Weapon Value.
* Added Random 'Mech selection, where HeavyMetal Pro randomly selects 'Mechs which meet the desired criteria.
* Can now specify a range of years or eras to view or select from (e.g.: 3055-3060).
* Added Skills selection to Select 'Mech screen, to correct total Battle Value per FASA's skill multipliers.
* Added ability to specify skills on Open screen, to correct Battle Values.


Thanks for your time. I hope you will give HeavyMetal Pro a chance. I really feel you will be blown away by it, as the playtesters have. I will keep in touch and let you know when and where it will be available, and will let you know when the new HeavyMetal web site is up and running. In the meantime, I'll try to convey more information as it becomes available.


Rick Raisley

Since Tuesday, November 12, 2002

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