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Total Warfare Q & A

Custom Weapon/Equipment Data Files for Total Warfare

While the current HeavyMetal programs do not completely support all of the new equipment, Leon Shirow has generously supplied custom weapons files for all of the programs, making it possible to design using all of the latest equipment. These files are installed using an automated setup program, which can update all of your HeavyMetal programs at once. Down the setup from the Data Files for Programs page.

Q: What is Total Warfare?

A: Previously, a new book would introduce new information, equipment and rules for using that equipment, and each new book would add a few items. As a result, tournament-legal rules and equipment will be found in literally dozens of books, scattered around in a manner difficult, or for some, impossible, to find.

Total Warfare is the first in a series of BattleTech books which changes the manner in which information is presented. Total Warfare is the rulebook in this series, and contains the basic rules for playing BattleTech using all tournament-legal rules. These aren't called Level 1 or Level 2 anymore; as far as rules levels are concerned, there is only standard, or tournament-legal rules, and advanced rules. Advanced rules will be the subject of future books in the series.

Notice I stated that Total Warfare is a rulebook, and I used that wording for a reason: It has rules for using all the tournament-legal equipment, but not for designing with it. For example, some new equipment is included in Total Warfare, but the size (crits) and mass (tons) for that equipment is not given; those will be the subject of the Classic BattleTech TechManual, which was released in 2007.

Q: Are BattleTech rules and equipment changing?

A: Not really. Over 95% of the rules and equipment will be the same as they've been for a very long time. The main thing that Total Warfare does is to clarify rules that have been ambiguous, and put all standard rules into a single publication. However, there are some new or revised rules, some of which have been adopted from Maximum Tech and other sources. In addition, there are some new weapons and equipment. Again, some have been adopted from MaxTech, while others are new to the game. But the vast majority of rules and equipment are not changing. 

Q: When was Total Warfare released?

A: Total Warfare was released in August of 2006 and the TechManual, was released in March 2007, both first in PDF format, and later in hardcopy. Tactical Operations and Strategic Operations came much later.

Q: How will Total Warfare series affect the HeavyMetal programs?

A: In the short term, not much. As most of the rules and equipment are the same as previous, the HeavyMetal programs, such as HeavyMetal Pro, can be used as they are. All Level 2 equipment (by the old rules) are still legal as tournament-legal in Total Warfare. However, starting with HMPro, the programs will have major upgrades to add a wealth of new features and improvements, and when doing that, any changes in Total Warfare that affect the programs, such as new record sheet designs, will be done at that time.

Q: Do the HeavyMetal programs have Total Warfare rules and equipment in them?

A: The programs don't really have rules as such in them, so that isn't very applicable. But in the short term, the current HeavyMetal programs will not have the new Total Warfare equipment in them. With the books only recently released, it will take a while for those changes to be included in the programs.

All of the programs will be rewritten to include all the new equipment, and as applicable, the rules as well. For example, Total Warfare includes new and updated record sheet designs. Those new record sheets will be a part of the new series of programs. What with all the other projects I have to work on, it makes no sense to go back and change the current programs to include this and some other data; some changes are more radical, and the only way of doing Total Warfare justice is to have a major rewrite of the programs.

Update: In the meantime, custom weapons data files have been created that add almost all of the new equipment from not only Total Warfare & the TechManual, but also the advanced equipment from Tactical Operations. You can download a single setup program that places all of the custom files in place for all of your programs from the Data Files for Programs page.

Q: Will the new programs with Total Warfare rules be free updates to those who own the programs now?

A: No, they won't. Since the introduction of HeavyMetal Pro in July of 2000, updates, which often included new features, weapons and equipment, have been free. However, with the major rewrite required for the new programs, due to both Total Warfare and the TechManual, in addition to all the new and improved program features that will be included, I simply cannot provide the new updates at no cost. A new version of the programs (such as HMPro6, in the case of HMPro) will be released at a somewhat higher price. However, anyone who currently owns the a previous version of the program, will be able to purchase the new one at an upgrade price of approximately one-half the new price. As this is the first time an upgrade fee has been charged since introduction of the programs, I think that's fair.

Q: When will the new programs, such as HMPro6, be available?

A: I'm sorry, but I don't have a date. "Real Life" has hit me extremely hard over the last couple years, and has thrown out every date estimate I've come up with. But I intend to get back on the project in earnest, shortly (honest!). I don't believe in vaporware, so won't be giving any new estimated dates at this time. But HMPro6 will be the first program rewritten to the new rules. Other HeavyMetal programs rewritten to the new rules and equipment would follow that.

Q: Are you saying that I can't use the Total Warfare rules until the new programs come out??

A: No, I'm not. As I stated above, over 95% of the rules and equipment are the same; you've already got them. Most of the rules don't affect the programs themselves, but rather how you play the game, so there's no problem there. As to the new equipment, all of the HeavyMetal programs have custom weapons editors, making it simple to add the new Total Warfare equipment as information for it becomes available. The new record sheet designs are not required; the old ones work just fine, and will be used for quite some time to come. But when the new programs come out, it will make playing BattleTech according to the new rules and equipment in Total Warfare even easier, and add a new dimension to your play.

If you have any other questions concerning how Total Warfare meshes with the HeavyMetal series of programs, please don't hesitate to email me at: rick@heavymetalpro.com

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All HeavyMetal programs are developed by Rick Raisley of RCW Enterprises, and Copyrighted by RCW Enterprises. All rights reserved.
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