Saturday, March 8, 2014

QuadCommand - Welcome to the future - at least, what's left of it!

(image: a computer render concept of what a QuadCommand tabletop might look like. Click images in this blog for larger view.)

QuadCommand

Hi, my name is Paul and I've started designing a 3D Print on Demand tabletop miniatures game, mainly concerning massive machines of war known as "Quads" (Armoured Assault Quad Walkers).\

The Game World

During the 21st Century, scientists and engineers underwent the construction of massive Rejuvenation Complexes scattered around the world. The goal: to clean up the air and the water, and try to restore environmental balance while under the threat of increased changes to the planet's climate. 

The world's environment was spiraling out of control, and at a speed far beyond the early calculations of the 90's and 2000's. When it was found that the Rejuvenation Complexes might not be enough to turn things around, that the surface might in fact become hostile to human life within one or two hundred years, the mentality of the people of the Earth shifted. Life was now 'one last party'. The End was coming. 

With the possibility of the End of the World, many militaries and terrorist groups saw it as one last chance to have revenge on their enemies. The whole world began to plunge into anarchy and war.

Toward the end, borders became meaningless. Governments fell. Nations were nothing but a memory. It was every family, every individual for themselves. Still, amid the chaos, some sought to rally people together. They formed the Gangs - groups that helped each other to survive, groups that believed that humanity could still survive.

As dust clouds, acid storms and worse savaged the surface world, gangs around the globe moved underground, taking as much technology, knowledge, and military hardware as they could. They planned to wait out the chaos of the surface world in the hope that the Rejuvenation Complexes would one day correct the planet above. Under the surface, they carved out high-tech cities in which to live and survive as darkness fell on the world above.

And then, some unknown period of time later, those from the cities who still dared to explore the surface world discovered that sunlight was piercing through the storms. Within another decade, there was day and night. Within another decade, people began to come forth from the subterranean cities to explore the new world above.

Remnants of the Old World still existed - rusty, overgrown hulks of ancient landmarks and skyscrapers. Massive lakes made from craters of weapons of mass destruction, and a new layer of dirt and grass covering almost everything. Small forests and woods were spreading out across the landscape where streets and parkland had once been.

But there was still danger to be found - rival gangs began to fight over sources of fresh water, or ancient artifacts scavenged from crumbling ruins. Then more militant gangs began to unleash their Quads - war machines from the Old World, kept functioning through countless repairs from ruin scavenged supplies over perhaps hundreds of years.

Old hatreds and new feuds began to ignite flames of war among the ruins of the 21st Century civilizations.

No More Death Match

My hope is that rather than a standard "death-match, team vs team until one is left standing" type of game, that it will be scenario and objective based. The idea is that players have goals they must complete to achieve Objective Points. Matches will only last for a certain amount of turns. Whoever gains the most points over that time is the winner, regardless of units lost in battle - it's not about an individual soldier surviving the battle, it's about ensuring that their gang receives the resources it needs to survive. As such, objectives would be things such as capturing and stealing a rival gang's water tanker, and escaping with it.

Identify That Target!

This game is a little different to most other miniatures games. When play begins, 'radar blip' tokens show the forces of a Red Team and a Blue Team. These blips have numbers on them, the maximum the blip can move each turn.

The moment a blip enters line-of-sight from an opponent, the counter is flipped over to reveal a unit ID. This ID is the type of unit at that location, and the radar blip is swapped out for a 3D miniature representing the unit - be it a towering Quad machine, or a more conventional vehicle such as a water tanker collecting drinking water for its people, or a civilian transport full of scavengers who your forces are guarding while they were searching ruins for 'ancient' artifacts.

Once a blip is identified, any unit on the opposing team may fire weapons at it if able. However, if the unit breaks line of sight to all opposing units, it becomes a radar blip again.

Sensors and ECM Suites

There are ways to get around this deadly game of hide and seek - varying levels of sensor equipment that can help identify anything within a given range.

Of course, some forces come equipped with electronic countermeasures that scramble sensors and help reduce the distance at which their forces can be identified. Some advanced ECM suites can even disrupt enemy weapon systems, reducing the distance at which the enemy can fire its weapons at them.

3D Terrain - Go Smaller!

To make the game more enjoyable and exciting, as much of the board as possible should be covered in terrain features - ruined buildings, crumbling ancient landmarks, overgrown, water filled craters, scattered woods springing up where streets and parkland used to lie, and more. Many of these terrain features will be available as 3D Print on Demand models to collect and paint up, just like the miniatures themselves.

One of the key features of the game, is that where many other games 'go bigger' for more detail, QuadCommand goes smaller - making the scale of the tabletop much bigger than most miniatures games, and enabling whole sections of historical cities or countrysides to be recreated in miniature.

Lots of other terrain items that can be purchased from already existing scenery manufacturers will also be recommended for use with the game.

Early Prototypes of Quads


These four-legged war machine prototype models were my first concept idea, 3D printed out with a two-story A-frame house at the same scale: approximately 2mm = 1m, or about 1:500 scale. This Quad miniature is only about two centimeters tall! (That's around 3/4 of an inch).

I'm working hard to make sure there is some visible detail showing at this small scale, while ensuring that the models can physically be 3D Printed out without breaking or falling apart when handled. The models are created out of laser-sintered nylon powder, which is a strong material with just a little bit of give, so it will flex just a fraction rather than being brittle and easy to break.

Each Quad will come with variations - alternate loadouts to suit different roles. This prototype is an early form of the Commanche AV (Armoured Assault Variant). There is also the Commanche WV, which has an increased Weapon Arsenal, and a Commanche BV which replaces the dummy-fire missiles in its torso with a back mounted Bombard Missile Rack. 'Bombards' are missiles which lob into the air and come apart over a target area, raining down micro explosives as a small area-effect weapon.

At a later date I hope to master the TV variants of Quads - war machines with small hover thrusters mounted on each of the four legs. These thrusters will allow small Quads to lift off the ground a bit, and hover, letting them rocket over rough terrain or obstacles such as rivers and lakes. (Thrusters do not let them leap over buildings in a single bound, or fly, or anything like that. It takes a lot just to lift a five-story hunk of metal off the ground, let alone anything else!) I'm hoping to have two models for each TV variant of a Quad - one model is the Quad with its treads on the ground, the alternate model is the Quad hovering above the ground on four jets of steam/smoke. I've almost got prototypes for TV variants, but are not happy with it yet.

Here's an early computer render preview showing some more models and variations. Keep in mind that the torso sections and leg sections have altered since this render was done. The current models also have tread-feet (sort of like if small treaded tanks were stuck onto the bottom of their legs) allowing the Quads to roll about on their treads, or to lock down their treads and stomp about. Some design ideas for TV Quads in hover mode are also in the render.


In another two or three weeks, I should have some more actual physical models or Quads and scenery pieces, to give a better idea of the current state of the models and the project, but hopefully some of these prototype design previews give a taste of where some of this is heading. The models have changed since this render was taken, and I'll wait until I've got some physical painted models before showing how they turned out.

The Quads in the render above are all from the same 21st Century 'manfacturer'. There will be a range of design 'flavours' that originated in different parts of the world, but in this game, any hulk scavenged by a City Tribe will be fixed up for deployment, so a player's force will have a wide range of chassis flavours to pick from. There are no faction specific Quads - instead, each player has a wide array of Quads and equipment variations to choose from, to make their own force that suits their play style.

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