Battletech Pods?
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Posted by ematuskey

I was lucky enough to have access to a few of these in Seattle at the old WotC store on the Ave--went there with a few friends and had a blast.  I hope, when they eventually become impossible to maintain, that someone is able to retrofit them with new tech to keep them going (which, IMO, would be the most BT thing ever). 

Posted by smithjoara
#27

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Posted by cinnibar

I hope the pods return!  Red Planet!

Posted by gryfalia

If you haven't tried the Pods, you absolutely should.  Will you likely suck the first few times?  Oh yes.  Will there...always...be someone better than you?  Oh yes.  Will you have tons and tons of fun even if you come in dead last and the people watching you outside see you blow up over and over.. Oh yes.

Seriously, they are a ton of fun and no amount of dying makes them unfun...

Posted by armadilloal

While the endorsement is appreciated, I'm sure, they won't actually be present this year.

Posted by derekguder

Correct, they are not at the convention this year.

-
Derek Guder
Director of Events
Gen Con LLC

Posted by gamegogo

Reading Facebook & threads. The stated reason for Battle tech Pods no show was the higher cost of transportation, fuel, labor... These units are around 800 pounds each with a footprint of around 4'X7'X7'. They were not originally designed to be mobile. Frames of wood with ridged hard wiring high-tech in 1990. 
There is an independent Houston, Texas Battletech Pod group with a home base and support group that did make it to conventions. During COVID, they worked with the State Health Department and established an acceptable sanitation, inspection protocol. 
I was glad to see this progress given the nature of an enclosed structure with many touchable buttons, joysticks. 
Wiki and other sites Show a very clear trend, even before COVID, of over a dozen public Battletech sites dropping to the single Houston site. Even the Houston location has lesser hours of operations. I am planning to visit it during a business trip. 
Given the trend, its my opinion future appearances outside of Houston would be rare. 
As Bob Hope sang, Thanks For The Memorie

Posted by qwaserity

Thought of the day: What would it take to make a modern, mobile yet nifty version of the battlepods?

Posted by father bloodlust gamegogo

gamegogo wrote:
Reading Facebook & threads. The stated reason for Battle tech Pods no show was the higher cost of transportation, fuel, labor... These units are around 800 pounds each with a footprint of around 4'X7'X7'. They were not originally designed to be mobile. Frames of wood with ridged hard wiring high-tech in 1990. 
There is an independent Houston, Texas Battletech Pod group with a home base and support group that did make it to conventions. During COVID, they worked with the State Health Department and established an acceptable sanitation, inspection protocol. 
I was glad to see this progress given the nature of an enclosed structure with many touchable buttons, joysticks. 
Wiki and other sites Show a very clear trend, even before COVID, of over a dozen public Battletech sites dropping to the single Houston site. Even the Houston location has lesser hours of operations. I am planning to visit it during a business trip. 
Given the trend, its my opinion future appearances outside of Houston would be rare. 
As Bob Hope sang, Thanks For The Memorie

If true, it's the sad end of an era. I had a feeling it would happen sooner or later, given that the technology behind them has basically become IRL lostech, but it's been part of Gen Con for so long that saying goodbye forever would still be hard.

Here's hoping they can swing a few more Gen Cons before the machines crap out completely.

Posted by wells

My understanding is that the pods are based around Amiga computers. Commodore went belly up in 1994. While there are Amiga emulators, I don't know how the pods are interconnected. What do we think the market for new pods is, a couple of hundred units total? I don't see it happening. Sadly, the world has moved on from these single purpose arcade type units.

Posted by kertdawg

I'd talk to the people that run the video game rooms. I talked to them for a while. The founder said that they build custom things with emulators for people. I wonder if they'd be interested since they seem to raise enough money to keep coming back. 

Posted by gamegogo

Sims are not just computer screen. They have a large convex mirror used in 1980 flight simulator. It creates a Collimator effect that creates the sensation. Not manufactured for over 3 decades now. More professional ones are larger, won't fit, cost over $15K. The software. Isn't upgradable.
The same game online, MWO,  is incredibly modern! They should be close to 3D goggles soon.  In addition MWO won't weigh 800 lbs. And take 40 sqft of floor space each. They can host over 1,200 users. The player base will support improvements.
Not sure any Battle tech site has made money since Seattle closed. Its more dependent on volunteers. The Michigan game site closed years ago. All the talk of reopening for years now is mired in delay. The New Mexico Family Center of 25 years sold their six for very little to make room for revenue producing arcade. Those old units are now in a garage. 
i had lots of fun when D&B had these. Almost two dozen of us would eat, drink and play. They were getting old back then. They were not feasible back then. Nothing really replaced that Arcade age. Was good to see at conversations back when. Still didn't play them. 

 

Posted by father bloodlust

Yeah, but no modern version I know of can replicate the "in the cockpit" feel like the battle pods did. That's one of the big things I'll miss if this truly is the end.

Posted by rfsullivan qwaserity

qwaserity wrote:
Thought of the day: What would it take to make a modern, mobile yet nifty version of the battlepods?

Probably the thing that would make this most doable is either A) Piranha Games deciding to do it themselves as a marketing/promo thing, or B) Piranha giving someone their blessing (or a paid license) to use their software as a base. As it stands, the biggest obstacle is the age of the software, which makes it impossible to swap in modern hardware as a replacement; you can copy the files as many times as you want, but c.1994 computers, monitors, non-usb flight controls, and so on are a scarce commodity. In theory, a version of MWO set to connect to a local server could run on a pod built around modern hardware, which would be far easier to source, and could be built from the ground up with transportability in mind (not to mention the weight savings of using flat panels instead of CRTs). Of course, it would still likely be several grand a pod, the experience wouldn't be the same, and Red Planet would be a whole different ball of wax, but it seems like we're hitting the point where "close" will have to be close enough. 

Posted by gamegogo

Liability insurance impossible! Watch a line of 300 lb players plop in, out, & wiggle around. Then since Covid, how are they cleaned? The person claiming to be the headquarters hasn't kept a place e open to public for what, 7 years now? These are relics.

Posted by jeffreyfrancis
#41

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