The Machine Shop
This site is dedicated to the construction of Battletech units (Battlemechs and Combat Vehicles), which are used for play in the eponymous board game. In order to play this game, you're going to need a copy of the rules. And frankly to make much sense of anything you'll find here, you need to go pick up these two source books which explain the rules and usage surrounding all the equipment available to you.
So what's the point? Well, constructing these designs has always been somewhat math and labor intensive, especially with the introduction of the experimental rules found in Tactical Operations. As a result, industrious fans over the years have developed excellent programs that ease this process by handling the heavy lifting behind the scenes, allowing the players to focus on the design itself.
While these tools typically provide copious amounts of canonical units, the program itself is run offline, and that often relegates new designs to the creator's PC. This site takes that same type of tool and moves it entirely onto the internet, where it can be used from any modern browser. Furthermore, it creates a persistent backend where designs can be stored (so when the browser is closed, work is not lost). As players expand the design catalog, designs could be stored, accessed, and shared without any specialized software. New designs could also be checked against existing ones to minimize redundancy (no reason to reinvent the wheel). Similarly, as new rules and errata are released, those changes could be folded into the data without the original designers needing to make any changes themselves. The system would expand with the game.
Originally, this site only concerned itself with constructing standard Battlemechs, but now has expanded into other designs. You still won't find air vehicles here, nor will you find Industrial or Proto" mechs. Battletech is complex, with the code for this application now comprising over 20,000 lines of code (not including HTML markup). I have a standing invitation open to anyone who wants to help expand it into any other areas. If you're interested and familiar with the tech shown at the bottom of the page, by all means, drop me a line.
Below you will find some basic instructions (with screenshots) covering how to use the web application. This page is context-specific, so if you would like directions for a different unit, use the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner. Again, it doesn't cover any gameplay or construction rules, only how to use the site with a knowledge of said rules. I hope the community enjoys the site. It's a fun challenge building it and I will continue to update it as much as I can.
This section is just what it sounds like: a catalog. Here you will find a paginated listing of all published mechs in the system, both canonical and custom.
You can sort by the name, model, tech base, and tonnage. It also features a basic searching system that will look for a given string in the names and models of mechs. Clicking on any record will take you to that mech’s page where you can view the configuration.
On the mech information screen, if the mech is an Omni, a drop-down menu will allow you to quickly browse the various configurations, both canonical and custom, of that unit. You can also click a link (if you are logged in with your account) to generate a new configuration from the base and place it in your workbench.
There is also a link to generate record sheets here. Prior to generating the record sheet, it is possible to substitute in alternative ammo onto the sheet.
Only legal ammo can be swapped into the record sheet, and these changes do not affect the underlying design.
The search section is incredibly useful for finding designs that conform to what you need with any level of specificity you want. Equipment is listed on the left with corresponding checkboxes. Clicking any of these checkboxes updates the results on the right side of the page.
A dropdown box directs the results to include “Any” or “All” equipment selected. An “Any” search will return units featuring any of the items chosen. An “All” search will return only units that have every item selected. In addition to these criteria, a tonnage can be selected to further refine the results.
Results are limited to no more than 100 units. Clicking on any entry will take you directly to that unit/variant.
All record sheets are generated on the fly and rendered with HTML/SVG, so no specialized software is needed to view or print them (though depending on your system/browser settings you may need to scale the output).
They use a landscape format as opposed to the traditional letter. For ballistic weapons, all damage, magazine size, and range information are displayed as part of the ammunition section since the values associated with these weapon types vary depending on the ammunition. Armor points are displayed in the familiar humanoid graphic (whether biped or quad). Internal structure points have been moved to their respective critical hit sections and displayed inside the “I.S.” bubbles. Everything, including the heat scale, reflects information from the expanded record sheet model found in the Tactical Operations sourcebook.
Printing record sheets varies from browser to browser. For Firefox, choose "Print Preview", then select "Landcape" and adjust "Scale" accordingly. Chrome works much the same way, with the scaling found under "More Settings" in the "Print" menu. However, if a scaling option is not present (as us the case on older versions), in the address bar, enter "chrome://flags/#print-scaling" and change it to "Enabled" (h/t Vallerio).
This is where any unpublished mechs or variants are kept.
Each design is tied to a login ID and cannot be accessed by anyone other than the designer until they are published. Clicking on a record will open the appropriate design page. Unpublished designs and variants can be removed at any time prior to publishing by pressing the red "x" button. Once published, a design or variant cannot be further modified or removed.
New designs are started from this area by clicking the button in the upper right corner. This brings up a dialogue window that presents the initiali design options. All these can be modified later with the exception of name, model and tech base.
A single page for full construction. Incompatibilities between and amongst areas of construction are prevented, with messages displaying what the issue is. If a change to an underlying system is made, other systems will be recomputed or resolved based on this change. For example, if you decide to change the base tonnage of your design, the engine, gyro and other aspects are automatically recomputed based on the new request, and any melee weapons will be removed. This is because melee class weapons often have weight/critical dependencies on the base tonnage, and therefore as a class, they must be removed so that these factors can be recalculated as they are remounted.
The system tries as best it can to anticipate decisions. Where ambiguity exists, it will attempt to reconfigure systems dependent on the change, reconcile the change by removing incompatible systems, or prevent the change entirely.
On the left side of the screen is the Attributes section. This area allows configuration of structural and advanced electronic system. It also keeps track of the weights of each section and displays them below the configuration options.
If Omni is designated, an “Set Base” button is displayed. If you wish to make your design an Omnimech, you will have to set a “base” configuration before publishing.
Once this base is set, certain systems will no longer be configurable (per Technical Manual construction rules), and the design will be designated as the “Primary” moving forward. The Base, is not yet published at this time, and if the Primary is deleted, the Base will be also.
The critical location diagram is located on the right side. Clicking any slot will allow you to add/remove equipment from that slot. Equipment is added and removed from a pop-up dialogue which groups the equipment by category.
This dialogue also has checkboxes located at the top to mount the desired equipment in the rear arc or within turrets if applicable. In addition to the standard designations, there is also a “Required” tab which contains the items that are in the Unassigned equipment bin.
The “Unassigned Eqp” bin is important to keep in mind.
This is a bin where configuration-related critical slots (armor, jump jets, targeting computer, etc.) are kept. As they are added to the critical location diagram, the bin is emptied. This bin must be empty for a mech to be published.
Added equipment will be placed in the critical slot that was clicked. If more than one slot is needed, placement will automatically proceed downward from the chosen slot. An error will result if a piece of equipment that must be removed through configuration (engines, gyros, etc) is in the way of the contiguous critical slots. If this equipment can be legally removed, it will be dropped in favor of the new equipment (returning to the Unassigned bin if necessary).
Some items can be split into multiple locations. If such an item is chosen, a second dialogue will open asking you for information on how the item is to be split, and allowing you to choose the secondary location/crit by clicking a slot in the same manner the primary was chosen.
As with everything else, placement within the diagram conforms to the construction rules of items as outlined in the Tech Manual, Tactical Operations, and published errata.
Located at the center of the critical location diagram is a button labeled "Consolidate Eqp".
Pressing this button will move all the equipment in each location into contiguous slots. As was stated previously, some items are assigned to slots through the attributes list on the left. Depending on the order of operations and what other equipment may have been added or removed during design, this may result in equipment splitting the location in such a way that there are enough slots for a desired item, but they are not contiguous. By consolidating the equipment, these open slots are made contiguous, allowing for larger items to be loaded. Be careful though, as consolidations cannot be undone, and some equipment (ex. Lower Arms/Hands) have specific locations into which they must be placed. If other, permanent items are consolidated into those slots, such items are effectively locked out of the design going forward.
The last major part of mech design is assigning armor, and possiby armoring individual pieces of equipment. Armoring your mech is accomplished by clicking the drop down menus next to the shield icon.
Menus for front/rear will automatically update as the complimentary armor is updated. Modifying armor type in the attributes section will not cause a change in the armor allocation, though other factors such as weight and critical slot allocation may be changed. Changing the tonnage will necessarily cause a reset of the armor values.
There is also the matter of armoring individual components. If the shield icon is clicked, this will bring up yet another menu which will allow such designations.
That is a quick overview of mech design on this site. For specific rules, please consult the source materials and associated errata.
If you have any specific questions, or find issues with the site, please contact me.
There is a self-imposed moratorium of 60 days on any new material that is released. While names and models may be reserved by the system so that they cannot be entered, the designs will not be viewable until after this period expires. This is similar to the policies of the BattletechWiki and an excellent practice.
The BattleTech intellectual property is owned by Wizkids Games and they have sole discretionary power over all things having to do with it. Many of the products detailed and much of the information on the Machine Shop comes from material created by Fantasy Productions and/or Catalyst Game Labs, who hold (or have held) the license to produce such materials as BattleTech. The Machine Shop should not be seen as a challenge to those copyrights.
The BattleTech titles and associated names are the sole property of Wizkids Games. The administrators of the Machine Shop believe that the operation of this website falls under the definition of "Fair use" under United States copyright laws.
MechWarrior, BattleMech, ‘Mech and AeroTech are registered trademarks of The Topps Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
Catalyst Game Labs and the Catalyst Game Labs logo are trademarks of InMediaRes Productions, LLC.