FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
A. Will HeavyMetal
programs run on Windows Vista and Windows7/8/10?
I installed the HeavyMetal Pro on my new Vista
machine, but get an error about an OCX file and/or other
errors. How do I install on Vista?
Please visit the Running
HeavyMetal on Windows Vista/7/8/10 page for the latest in
instructions and information on running the
HeavyMetal program on Microsoft's latest operating
systems. The bottom line is: YES! You can run
your HeavyMetal programs on Vista and Windows7/8/10, even
64-bit versions. Bill just has
some hoops he'd like you to jump through first!
B. HeavyMetal Help
doesn't work, and I get an error. What's up with that?
I installed the HeavyMetal Pro on my new Vista
machine, and while it runs fine, whenever I hit F1 for
help, or use the help menu, I get a Windows dialog box
with an error and a link, but no help? How do I use HMP
For reasons only Microsoft can answer, they have
elected not to include the legacy help system (WinHlp.exe)
that has been included with every other version of
Windows since Windows 3.1. Furthermore, it is
illegal for me to include it with my programs. So,
you have to get the file and install it yourself, to
get the help systems to work. I provide additional
information on this, as well as links to download
the required file, on my
Running HeavyMetal Programs on Windows Vista/7/8/10 page.
1. Why do I get an error about
reinstalling the program?
I downloaded and installed the latest HeavyMetal Pro update, but when I run it I get an error message saying that the weapon files are not up to date and to reinstall the program. What do I need to do, reinstall?
No, chances are you don't need to reinstall. What you've done is unzipped the new update file into a directory other than the HeavyMetal Pro main directory (normally c:\Program Files\HeavyMetal Pro). When you run the new file from its incorrect location, it can't find the weapon and other support files, as they're not in the expected directory, and gives this error message. To fix this, simply copy the update file(s) (normally Hvypro.exe) to your HMPro directory, overwriting the older file, and run the program with the standard Start menu shortcut.
2. I get an error about fonts. Or My record sheets look like
they're in Greek.
What can I do?
Windows seems to have some quirks when it comes to installing fonts, and HMPro requires three fonts in order to operate correctly. So, if you're having font problems, please follow the following procedure:
- It may be easiest to print this section to refer to the instructions during rebooting.
- Download the
Fonts Zip File which contains the required three fonts.
- Unzip the font files and place them in a directory where you can easily find them (but not your Windows\Fonts directory).
- Go to Start | Settings | Control Panel, then double-click on the Fonts icon.
- Locate the three fonts "HM Thin", "HM Type" and "HM Title", select them and delete them. If there are multiple copies of any, delete them all.
- Restart Windows - this is important.
- Go back to Start | Settings | Control Panel | Fonts.
- Be sure that the three HM fonts listed above are no longer there. If they are, repeat the above procedure.
- Go to File | Install New Font, and browse to the directory where you unzipped the three fonts.
- Be sure that the Copy fonts to Font folders checkbox is checked.
- Highlight all three HM fonts and click OK.
- Restart Windows.
3. What kind of computer do I need to run HeavyMetal Pro/Vee/Lite/Aero?
The actual memory required will vary from program
to program, and Windows version in use. Generally, a system using Windows 95 or above
and at least a Pentium Class processor are required.
For complete requirements are shown on the
4. Why do some record sheets
print out improperly on multiple sheets?
When I print record sheets, parts of the printout are on several sheets of paper. What can I do to get it all to print on one sheet as it's supposed to?
Two things can cause this to happen: margins set at values that force parts of the printout to the next page, or printable area too small for the size printout. Go to File | Page Setup to check the margins and the Scaling Factor. Scaling factor determines how large the printout is, and if it's set too high for your printer, multiple pages will print out. First set the Scaling factor to a relatively low value, like .95. Go lower if you have to, and also adjust the margins. When it all prints on one page, you may be able to creep back up to a little larger size printout, or just leave it as is.
5. How do I add or remove arm
actuators in HMPro?
I can't figure out how to change the number of arm actuators. HeavyMetal had checkboxes for this purpose, but I can't find anything like that in HMPro. Where do I do this?
HMPro uses a different method for adding or removing arm
actuators. Go to the Distribution screen and right-click with the mouse on any arm actuators. A popup menu will appear which gives you the options you need to add or remove arm actuators. You can also armor the actuators in the same way.
6. How can I move weapons up and
down in the listing?
Every time I distribute
weapons and equipment, the weapon listing re-orders on
the main screen. I'd like the weapons to be in the same
order as on the published record sheets. How can I move
them where I want them?
A: Select the weapon you'd like to move in the listing, press and hold the Control key, and use the up/down arrow keys to move it. This doesn't change locations, just re-orders the weapons the way you want them to be. You'll find help on this if you press F1 when at the equipment listing.
7. How do I change the ugly
colors on my screens?
Some of the colors, like on the opening and help about screens, are pretty ugly. Is my installation okay?
Yes, I'm sure it is. You're probably running Windows in 256 color or lower mode, while some of the graphics display better at high or true color. Go to Control Panel | Display | Settings, and see if you can set the number of colors to high color (16 bit) or true color (24 bit). You may have to adjust the screen resolution, depending on the memory of your video card.
8. Can I see more on my screens?
I'd like to see more information while I'm designing my 'Mechs. Is there an option that lets me see more?
Yes, the screen mode determines this. Go to Options | Screen Mode and choose Veteran or Elite. Each of these display more information on-screen while you are designing. They require 800x600 small fonts or 1024x768 large fonts resolution settings, however.
9. Why can't I use the Veteran or
I'd like to use the Veteran or Elite screen modes
to display more information, but the selections are
grayed out and I can't choose them. What can I do?
Veteran and Elite screen modes only work with higher resolutions, not standard VGA (640x480). You must change your display settings to 800x600 with small fonts or 1024x768 with large fonts to use these screens. Go to Control Panel | Display | Settings to change your resolution and/or font settings.
10. How do I get the Tip of the
I liked the 'Tip of the Day' screen that started up with HMPro, but turned it off. Is there a way of getting it back?
Sure. Just go to Help | Tip of the Day. The screen will appear and the box will be automatically checked for it to appear whenever HMPro starts up. The next time you start HMPro, the Tip of the Day will appear first.
11. How do I design OmniMech variants?
Other 'Mech editors I've used have an Omni menu selection which controls this, but all the OmniMech button in HMPro seems to do is increase the cost.
OmniMechs in HMPro are saved in individual files, rather than all variants in one file. The best way to proceed is to design the base Omni, without any weapons or equipment that are not common to all versions. Especially, make sure you add any "fluff" text and manufacturer info, so you won't have to re-enter it with the new designs. The status will show the Pod Space as tons left. Save this design. I usually put "(base)" in the Model box, with the Omni name in the Type box. Now you can load this base design to design any variant. Change the Model to 'Prime' or 'A', whatever you want, and add the desired equipment. Then save it with the new model. Both the Type and Model are used in determining the 'Mech data file name. Also notice, that Omnis have fixed heat sinks. These are usually the base number of heat sinks before adding pod equipment. Make sure you specify this number in the Fixed heat sink drop-down list. Continue this procedure with all your variants.
12. How do I import custom
A friend sent me a 'Mech with custom weapons, and I'd like to use those same custom weapons on some of my designs. How do I add them to my custom weapons database?
First load the 'Mech, then go to the weapon selection screen. Highlight the custom weapon you'd like to add to your database, and press the Absorb button. The weapon will now be available for your own designs.
13. What armor calculation
method should I use in HMPro?
I can't figure out when to use Automatic, Fixed and Manual armor distribution. How and when do I use these?
When set to Automatic, the armor will be adjusted to the maximum if you have enough tons left, or reduced as you add extra equipment, always using the maximum that it can. This is handy when you want certain equipment in place, and are willing to reduce armor as required to accommodate it. Even though distribution is automatic, you can still fine-tune the armor at various locations. Just click the up or down arrow next to the armor at the location you want to change. Now, some may not change when maximum armor is used. For example the only way you can have maximum armor on a 'Mech requires that the arms, head and legs carry the maximum possible armor. Therefore, you can't change it. Fixed armor is set by you in tons or total armor points, but you still can adjust it amongst the 'Mech's locations. You can use this to have control over the total armor, with automatic distribution and manual fine-tuning. Manual armor is set by changing each location to have the desired number of armor points. It will not change when you add or delete equipment, and will remain that way until you want to change it. Note that when changing the total 'Mech tonnage, the armor points may have to change, however.
14. How can I choose only 'Mechs
I have minis for?
I like using the Select 'Mechs feature, but HMPro keeps coming up with 'Mechs which I don't have miniatures for, and I like to play only with miniatures. How can I make it so it doesn't select 'Mechs I don't have?
The best way is to use the Clan User or Inner Sphere User #1 and #2 on the usage screen. For all the 'Mech data files, check one of the boxes for all those you have miniatures for, uncheck it for the others. Now, when selecting 'Mechs, go to the Tech selection and choose "Select" rather than a Tech Base. A usage screen will appear. Check the User #1 box and the press okay. Now, selection will be limited to only those 'Mechs which also have the User #1 box checked, which in your case is those for which you have miniatures.
15. Why does the Auto Weapon
button in Pro always suggest the same weapon?
The Auto weapon select button on the main screen always seems to give me the same weapons, and it gives multiple ones at that. I'd never use it this way, so how am I supposed to use this feature.
The Auto weapon select feature in HMPro determines what it calculates as the "best" weapon available, considering heat, available crits and tons, and other factors. For a given set of conditions, one particular weapon will always be considered "best", so it will be selected continuously. You can always reduce the number of weapons of that type that were selected (you may also want to reduce the ammo at the same time), then re-select to find more. Sometimes it will give you new weapons, while other times it will choose the same one again. The best way to use this feature, and its intended purpose, is to help select only a weapon or two that will fit in the room available. For example, you've almost finished your new 'Mech design, and have 3 crits and 3.5 tons left. What's the best weapon to fill this spot? The Auto weapon select works well here, giving you ideas on what will fit, not be overweight, and is a powerful weapon.
16. What is Weapon Value?
What is this Weapon Value I see on many of the screens? Is this a new FASA way of measuring power, like Battle Value?
Well, it is a new way of measuring the battle power of the 'Mech, but it's not endorsed by FASA. It was developed in the early days of HeavyMetal, when BV had not been introduced and I considered Combat Value a very poor choice of combat power. But now that BV has been introduced, WV is still used to help in selecting 'Mechs and other uses. The main difference between BV and WV is that WV is basically a factor of the defensive power times the offensive power. For example, a large, heavily armed 'Mech with no weapons will always have a zero (0) WV. The logic for this is that this 'Mech, in combat with another that has weapons, will always lose the fight, because except for physical attacks, it can do no damage. It is very possible for a large 'Mech without weapons to have a BV higher than a smaller 'Mech with weapons, yet which do you think will win a battle? Anyhow, use it if you like, don't use it if you prefer. You always have other choices available for measuring effectiveness, like HMPro's SRDmg (Short Range Damage), MRDmg, LRDmg and BattleForce2 factors!
17. Do you make a Mac version of
I don't have a Windows PC, I use a Mac. Are your
programs available for the Mac, or do you intend to port
it to Macs in the future?
No, I'm afraid the programs do not run on Macs,
and I seriously doubt I would be able to port them
to Macs in the future. The operating systems are
just too different, I don't have the skills on the
Mac, and I feel my time is better spent on new
You do have alternatives, though. First, several
Mac users have told me they have been successful at
running HMPro and other HM programs on Macs using
Windows emulators. Now, I'm not suggesting you buy
an emulator just to run HM programs; but if you have
a desire to run other Windows programs on your Mac,
that may be an alternative.
Another is to get the BattleTech 'Mech
Designer program, by FMS Techniques. It is the original
'Mech design program, authorized by FASA, for
designing BattleMechs, and was used to print the
earlier record sheet books. Despite what some people
think, it is still available. You can get more
information on it
here; the current cost is $30 plus $5 S&H,
it ships on a single 3.5" floppy and
it includes 58 BattleMechs from the 3025 era. Others
may or may not be still available at a cost of $8
per disk/era, you'll have to check with them on
18. Are the new rules and
equipment from Total Warfare included?
I just bought the new BattleTech book
Total Warfare, and see some new equipment not in HeavyMetal
Pro. Will you be adding them in an upcoming update?
Yes, I will. The first program to incorporate all
the new rules (from several books, not just one)
will be HeavyMetal Pro 6. Work is in progress on
this program, and HeavyMetal Pro and HeavyMetal Plus
users will qualify for a half price upgrade when it
is released. For more information on how the
introduction of the Total War series of books
affects the programs, please visit the the
Total War Q&A page.
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
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