Author: David McLeod, Heavy Gear Game Development Curator
January 22nd, 2014, Blog 001
Welcome to the Heavy Gear Development Blog.
This blog will be a place to announce and discuss the new rules edition for Heavy Gear, and other related topics. One of the many fun parts of this development is that I get to define a great many things, one of which is my title. I’ve decided that being a development curator is a pretty good description of what I do. I’ll elaborate on that later, first I should introduce myself.
I came to Heavy Gear relatively recently when I worked the manager of a game store here in Canada. I was looking for a new science fiction game for the store and we started to get some in and sell people some starter armies. I started with a Peace River force, mostly because I loved the concept that an arms manufacturer would have the word peace in the title. I assumed that this must have been chosen ironically and appreciated the humor behind it. This initial hook pulled me into a story universe that is satisfyingly complex. I can not call myself a manga superfan, there are forum members who can quote line and verse from every mecha film and series ever made, but I can call myself a fan.
Since then I’ve moved from being just another production guy to stepping up to production manager. I make the molds for the metal figures and I consult on the new big hybrid kits. If you are buying a kit manufactured in the past two years it is likely that I was the hands making and picking the parts. Sharing some experiences from the casting room is something I’m looking forward to. I have participated heavily in fan based development work for other games as well as being a miniature gamer myself for over twenty years in a variety of games. I would call myself a gamer first and a painter and modeler second though my forum posts of crazy conversions show off a side where I like to concert and rebuild models. In those terms Heavy Gear is the best. Anything I get to pose the way I want to, rather than go with a limited pose model, is worth the little amount of extra effort it takes to build them. More on that in another blog.
When I went to see the excellent film Pacific Rim last summer (ignore its faults, it’s giant robots smacking a beat down on monsters) and couldn’t help thinking about, and appreciating, how much the scale of Gears from the Heavy Gear Universe is a real scale. To put it in other terms the scale of the Jagers in Pacific Rim, as well designed as they were, are a fantasy scale of giant robot. I spent the movie thinking about how well a targeted artillery strike with heavy anti-tank missiles would be a lot quicker and easier than some (awesome/silly) rocket-elbow assisted punches to the face.
In other words the world that Heavy Gears exist in must, by necessity, be a future reality rather than a future fantasy. Gears are exactly what they would be if a manufacturer was told to make a man operated all terrain combat vehicle that is armored, has a low sensor profile, can mount a variety of combat systems, and be as economical as possible. And, by the way, we’re going to want between thirty and fifty thousand of them as soon as possible. The manufacturer is going to make that vehicle happen and the the force that has the advanced combat capabilities of Gears is going to have an advantage. In the Heavy Gear universe the Gear is the pinnacle of military technology.
It’s from this basis that the game of Heavy Gear has always been about a future where combining the skill of an individual soldier with the advantages of a Gear has changed the face of warfare forever. When working on the early versions of the Game that we will soon come to know as the new Heavy Gear Blitz (5th edition) we always kept it in our mind that the simulation of a realistic combat scenario is the goal but to create a game where the Gears would be the fun playing pieces of a game was the point of the development. Just like the goal of the game is to win, but the point of the game is to have fun.
We’re only just starting this development journey together. There are many people who have collaborated on the game of Heavy Gear in all of it’s incarnations and to all of them the current generation of player is indebted for their ideas and passion about the Heavy Gear universe. The play test is a start of a new road for the game, a chance to clear the air and re-boot some concepts and rebuild others that have always been a bit shaky. It is a game that has to have depth while remaining a tactical miniatures wargame. We want new players to pick it up and say “Oh yeah!” and our veteran players pick it up and go “Oh Hell Yeah!”.
Here at the Pod we know something about collaboration with our players. This is part of the reason my title is Game Development Curator. I will be the curator and the arbiter of the rules but I can’t do that without sober second thought from play testers. It is the community that will be the driving force that decides the future of the game. In future development blogs I’m going to detail about how the players can get involved in play testing, core rules development, and army development. We can’t do this without you, so Gear up!
forum handle: dave
Currently painting: Southern Infantry, Voltigeur Tanks