New Release Soon

GH1_NewTitle

I’m getting ready to make a new release of GearHead-1. The graphics changes seem to be working, but there are a couple of issues I’m hoping to iron out this weekend. Also, I’m pretty sure that there are going to be some problems that just slipped through my fingers, since you can’t really switch up the entire UI without at least a few unintended consequences.

Kettel Industries

The town of Gyori is nominally part of the Federated Territories, but the real power in charge is Kettel Industries. This company has divisions for everything from real estate to toothpaste. It is the wealthiest corporation on Earth, and consequently one of the wealthiest in the solar system.

Tybog Kettel was a warlord in the period shortly after the night of fire. She attempted to capture and preserve technological facilities, as opposed to many of her contemporaries who would strip any building they came across for mecha parts. Gyori Fortress was built atop the ruins of an industrial complex.

The Kettels ran their growing community with strict law and order. For those seeking an escape from the horrors of the deadzone, Gyori became a safe haven. There were plenty of jobs in the factories and mines. However, even minor transgressions could be punished by exile or worse.

In NT40, people from the space colonies began to return to Earth. A spaceport was established in Namok, and the factories of Gyori started producing goods for the L4 and L5 regions.

Elijah Kettel I was the last warlord of Gyori, and the first president of Kettel Industries. He sought to return the world to its former glory; he was fascinated by the age of superpowers, and believed it was only a matter of time until the start of a new golden age. Kettel updated the Gyori legal system, throwing out some of the more draconian laws and instituting a number of democratic reforms. He pushed for ratification of the Sunrise Pact and the establishment of the Federated Territories of Earth.

His son, Elijah Kettel II, built Kettel Industries into the powerhouse it is today. He had little interest in politics, but excelled at business. The younger Elijah expanded Kettel holdings to all parts of the solar system. He founded the Kettel mecha design division. He was also responsible for a certain ill-fated defense contract, but thanks to some deft maneuvers the public would never associate that disaster with the Kettel brand.

Elisha Kettel was born in NT125. She became president of Kettel Industries in NT151 when her father was assassinated. Elisha has continued the family tradition of searching for PreZero technology, and has recently come into possession of a couple of very valuable artifacts. Under her leadership Kettel Industries acquired Zero Tech, manufacturers of the popular Zerosaiko mecha.

Water and Stats

GH1_WaterAndStats

I did some work on the new interface today. The PC info box to the left of the message console now displays character stats, mecha movemode, and status conditions. Also, I’ve been playing around with seamless animated water tiles. I’m still not entirely happy with this version but it’s less bad than the first few attempts. With all of the displays now working and several new features added, a new release might be just around the corner.

In other news, I found out that there’s a fair amount of the GearHead Wiki archived at the Wayback Machine. This should be helpful to anyone seeking more information about the game, since a lot of the information that was out there went poof with the previous site.

Shuttle Service Interface Done

GH1_ShuttleService

The shuttle service has been updated to the new SDL UI system. As far as I know, this means that everything has been updated, though not everything looks good yet and I’ll probably have to move some things around.

This interface includes a picture of the destination town. For now, it’s just a screenshot of the world map. I would like to replace these with more evocative pictures later. Not sure yet whether I’d rather show the skyline of the town in question, or show a representative scene closer up.

I’ve been looking at the PC info box in the lower left corner, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t display all the information of the old one. The only thing holding that back is the fact that the navigation info block is too tall- 65 pixels, as opposed to 48 for the health diagram and 39 for the HP/St/Me text. I plan to shrink the nav bits down to 48 pixels tall, and that should leave plenty of space for two lines of info text above the clock.

Skill School Updated

GH1_NewTraining

The skill trainer interface has been reworked, and it is now possible to purchase skill training for your lancemates by pressing right or left to cycle through them. The best part: this also works in ASCII mode.

CBG-87 Ice Wind

IceWind_final

The Ice Wind is a light general-purpose battroid produced by Cobolt Battle Group of Wujung. It comes equipped with twin laser cannons and a variety of externally mounted weapons. Despite being the second most common chassis in the solar system, the Ice Wind is not popular with pilots, and is frequently denigrated as a “henchman’s mecha”.

The first Ice Winds rolled off the assembly line in NT139. The founder of CBG, Alexandr Cobolt, had great ambitions for this design. He intended the Ice Wind to serve as a modern replacement for the badly outdated defense mecha currently in use on Earth- the Buru-Buru, Condor, and Corsair. To this end the Ice Wind was equipped with the latest in modern technology. Of course, in order to keep the cost down some sacrifices had to be made.

At 13m tall the Ice Wind is fairly small for a main line combatant. Its general build has been described as “sleek” by proponents and as “scrawny” by people who are being perhaps a bit more honest. Its standard weapon complement is fairly light, consisting mainly of swarm missiles and an 8mm railgun. The cockpit is spartan and doesn’t even include an entertainment center.

Although the Ice Wind performed well by any objective standard, its various deficiencies meant that it would never be accepted by pilots as a “sexy” machine. In order to boost sales CBG began offering bulk discounts to governments and individuals who bought five or more Ice Winds at once. The strategy paid off. Within five years Ice Winds were in common use from Earth to Mars.

Nobody buys an Ice Wind so they can use it themselves. No, it’s definitely a henchman’s ride. It’s short so it won’t show up the captain on the news footage. And the weapons? That slivergun isn’t designed for destroying enemies, oh no, it’s just there to soften them up a bit. Same with the missiles. Send in the Ice Winds, soften them up, then swoop in and claim the kills. It’s a brilliant machine Cobolt designed. It’s just something that no self-respecting cavalier should ever be forced to pilot.

For the design’s tenth anniversary in NT149, CBG released a new mid-range variant known as the Ice Fox. This version featured a redesigned head, heavier missile racks, improved electronics, and enhanced mobility. The Ice Fox has avoided the stigma associated with the Ice Wind and is generally hailed as a good mecha, but ironically it hasn’t sold nearly as well as its predecessor. According to rumor CBG is planning to release another new design in NT159 for the twentieth anniversary.

New Shop Interface

GH1_NewShop

The shop interface has been laid out. Now all I have to do is connect it with all the sub-menus in the shopping unit.

New Design Browser, Snapshot Compiling Instructions

GH1_BrowseDesignFiles

Just about everything seems to be working in the new SDL interface. The “Browse Design Files” option in the main menu now works like the GH2 version- you can see each mecha’s info display as you scroll through the list, and selecting a mecha will open up its parts viewer. The last two things that need to be updated are the shopping interface and the yes/no menu.

Please note that to compile the current snapshot from GitHub, you should use:

fpc -dSDLMODE -dWIZARD gharena

This is because I haven’t cleaned up the WIZARD/ULTIMATE bits yet. By the time v1.210 is released you should be able to compile with just the -dSDLMODE tag.

Mecha Engineering Display

GH1_MechaEngineering

Today I added a new Mecha Engineering interface. The technical info panel lists the following things:

  • Mecha mass, form, and form bonuses
  • Intrinsic mass and equipment mass, along with associated MV/TR penalties
  • Walk and roll capacity; at 100% the mecha will move at maximum speed
  • Skim and flight thrust values, for mecha capable of skimming or flying/jumping
  • Full speed bonus gained from overchargers

Hopefully this extra information will help to de-mystify the mecha design process. Do you think there’s anything else I should add?

Edit- One potential problem is that the form MV/TR bonuses could be mistaken for the mecha’s current MV/TR. I should make that more clear on the display.

Help Wanted

2011-05-09-lost-and-found

I don’t have as much time for programming as I used to. There are a couple of things I could use some help with, so if you have at least a passing familiarity with Pascal and GearHead then read on.

Understanding the i18n version

The Japanese GearHead fan community has made a lot of improvements to GearHead over the years. nameless provided some links to the changes in a previous comment thread. It would be easiest for me if someone could submit each of the changes as GitHub pull requests; that way, I could quite easily see what each of the changes does, and quickly incorporate them into the main branch. Most of the changes seem to be within $IFDEF blocks, so even an explanation of what each tag does and which tags depend on other tags would be nice.

My main concerns:

  • What is the minimum code that needs to be patched in so that international translations work?
  • Are there any big bugfixes or improvements that should be imported right away?

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to compile the i18n version or run the precompiled binaries on my current laptop. I suspect that I’m doing something wrong.

Importing the GH2 ASCII interface

Right now I’m busy improving the SDL interface. Due to limitations of the console interface, many of these changes cannot be applied to ASCII mode. One way to get around this would be to adapt the GH2 vidgfx, vidmenus, and vidmap units to GH1. In theory, it should be possible to set things up so that most of the $IFDEF SDLMODE switches can be removed.

One possible complication: Are the GH2 ASCII units compatible with the i18n patches?