A lot of people have asked for background information
on RCW Enterprises and HeavyMetal Software. RCW
unique in many ways, and the information in this section
will hopefully provide some insight into just what makes
this company tick.
In a nutshell, RCW Enterprises is a very small company
that believes it can accomplish more than many other
companies of much larger size. How is this possible?
Through innovative ideas, unconventional approaches,
determination, hard work, and a heartfelt commitment to
excellence. RCW Enterprises is built upon integrity and
other old-fashioned values that are becoming scarce in
today's corporate culture. Perhaps we're idealists, but
we like to think the qualitative results we achieve
makes it all worthwhile.
We think we're doing something right, and a lot of others apparently do as
well, as our customers are located in all 50 of
the United States (and the District of Columbia), as well as over fifty other
(Click here If you're interested in what kind
of name Raisley is, to see a brief history of where my ancestors came
Our Mission Statement
Our Mission Statement
declares our commitment to the BattleTech
community and to our customers in particular.
The following gives a little more about the history of
the company, and how we got to where we are today:
Your privacy is important, both to you and to us. Please read our Privacy
In the Beginning...
Originally, HeavyMetal software was designed for my
personal use, and then for the use of our BattleTech
group. In 1993, in an effort to keep records and help to
automate some of our larger games, I began to develop
what I envisioned at that time as a computerized version
of FASA's BattleTech board game. Step one was a map
editor, so I wrote a simplistic one, that I could add
roads and rivers to, moving little 'Mechs around, while
they "fired" at each other. After designing a few other
screens, the next step was to design the BattleMech
editor, a program I could use to enter designs which the
main program would use. Little did I know that this one
program would obsess me over the next many years, and
that in fact I would never get back to the full
computerized "game" of BattleTech!
The first version of HeavyMetal, written for DOS of
course, was completed in 1993. It designed both Inner
Sphere and Clan designs, was extremely quick (as all DOS
programs were, compared to Windows programs, at the
time), and printed very nice, albeit all text, record
sheets for game play. We've included a
of the DOS HeavyMetal for those who would like to see
how things "used to be."
We had a lot of fun with the original HeavyMetal. It
allowed us to print out all our custom designs, without
typing them out manually or doing them by hand. It made
things quick and accurate, and despite the fact that I
owned all the record sheet books available at the time,
I still entered and printed out every design there was,
as I liked our sheets better.
Talks with FASA
In 1994, I saw an add in a FASA publication for a
future product, a CD which was to contain a great amount
of BattleTech material, as well as a 'Mech design
program for the PC. I was interested in when the CD
would be out, as this was the only place I had heard of
it, so one day called FASA on the phone. It turned out
that the deal they had with whoever was to write the
'Mech design program had failed, so they had no such
product available. Conveniently, I suggested that I
had developed such a program, and asked if they'd like
to have a look, to which they said yes. I sent the DOS
version of HeavyMetal to them in 1994. It turned out
that they were looking for a Windows® program, rather
than a DOS one, however, so I spent the remainder of
that year (and my vacation in Florida at my wife's
parents' house) writing a Windows version. HeavyMetal
for Windows was submitted to FASA in February of 1995.
After a few improvements, the "final" version of
HeavyMetal was submitted in December of 1996. Some of
you may have even seen it demoed at Origins in 1996 and
1997. But FASA was a very slow company in making up
their mind, at least as far as software was concerned.
Products other than books were new to them, and they
were unsure how to proceed. I won't bore you with all
the delays, promises and discussions, but eventually,
almost 2 years after the "final" version was submitted,
FASA finally published "BattleTech's HeavyMetal 'Mech
Design Generator" in October of 1998.
Improvements and Advancements
Before FASA even released the first HeavyMetal, we
were already well into development and playtesting of an
advanced version of HeavyMetal, HeavyMetal Pro. It is
very ironic that when HeavyMetal was first released, the
much more advanced HeavyMetal Pro was already being used
by our playing group. Those 2 wasted years really set
things back. Because of that, while many people liked
the original HeavyMetal, there were now (after 2 years)
other freeware programs with some capabilities that it
did not have. Efforts to quickly market and substitute
HeavyMetal Pro failed; FASA just wasn't interested in
any more software.
After only one year of availability, FASA removed
HeavyMetal from their web site product listing (it was
only marketed from their site, never from another
location). The impending sale by Microsoft had paralyzed
them to the point that decisions could not be made as to
what to do with the product.
Negotiations, Negotiations, and finally a License
For two years I again negotiated with FASA, with
numerous letters and phone calls, attempting to obtain a
license to produce and market HeavyMetal products
myself. Only by my being personally involved in all
phases of marketing, I felt, could HeavyMetal software
ever be all it could be. Finally, in May of 2000,
permission to produce HeavyMetal software under license
from FASA was received! HeavyMetal Pro was introduced to
rave reviews at the Origins Con in Columbus Ohio in July
of 2000, where it was a sell-out.
New Products Come Along
When HeavyMetal Pro was previewed and released at
Origins, I had already developed earlier versions of
HeavyMetal Vee, a vehicle design program, and HeavyMetal
Lite, a ProtoMech design program. In fact, I had them
with me and showed them to several people at the time.
Since HMPro was done, work shifted to HeavyMetal Vee,
which was finally released in March of 2001. Prior to
that, a free program called RUS (Random Unit
Selector) was released and made available to the public.
RUS provides a fair and random way to roll dice,
determine hit locations, select 'Mechs and most anything
else you can describe using odds and dice.
In July of 2001, almost exactly a year after
HeavyMetal Pro was released, HeavyMetal Lite made
its appearance. Not only designing ProtoMechs, HMLite
also provided for modifying and adding options to Battle
Armor and Infantry, as well as printing record sheets
The first three programs were incorporated into a
combination package, along with RUS and thousands of
data files, hundreds of pictures, and more, to make
HeavyMetal Plus, which was released in September,
After almost a year of intensive work and
playtesting, one of the most complex and comprehensive program
in the HeavyMetal stable was released: HeavyMetal
Aero. Able to design all types of atmospheric and
space vehicles, from fighters to the largest WarShips,
HMAero was released in September of 2002.
Another milestone in the release of HeavyMetal stable
was HeavyMetal Battle Armor, a program
which designs and prints sheets for all Battle Armor
sizes in accordance with the latest design rules in the
Classic BattleTech Companion. It can design for
use with both BattleTech and RPG rules,
and was released in
December of 2004.
There have been a lot of changes during the last
couple years concerning the ownership of the BattleTech
game and property. The Topps Company acquired WizKids,
Inc., and Microsoft has control of all electronic and
digital representations of BattleTech. HeavyMetal
Software licensing had to be updated to exist in this
new world. Well, that has now been done (as of late
2004). A new agreement with Microsoft will allow current
and future HeavyMetal software to be developed and
marketed, and a recent, updated license agreement with
WizKids also insures that HeavyMetal software products
will continue in the future. It took a while to get all
the kinks worked out of this new arrangement, but now
that they are, we are very excited about the future!
The latest in the HeavyMetal stable of software
products is HeavyMetal Map, a program
which designs and prints map sheets for use during
gameplay. The sheets can be full size, like the
published sheets, or you can specify both larger and
smaller sizes, basically making them any size you want.
And it adapts to any printer, automatically printing in
multiple sheets when required. HMMap was released in
October of 2006.
RCW Enterprises Today
During the entire production time of HeavyMetal
software, we have also posted for download many updates
for all of the programs, as well as data files, from all
technical readouts and record sheet books, as soon as
possible after they were released. In addition, new
equipment released in the books has constantly been
added as appropriate to all of the programs, insuring
the user can have the latest tech for his/her designs.
It is our intent to continue serving the BattleTech community as long as there is an interest in
software for BattleTech. Work on other projects has been
ongoing, and several future products are in the works or
planning stage. After well over 20 Years of BattleTech, the future
of BattleTech is bright. Despite the closing of FASA, our game is healthier than ever, with
The Topps Company and
Catalyst Game Labs bringing more products that ever to
our gaming tables and libraries. We hope that you enjoy
this great game as much as we have and do.
RCW Enterprises is continuing to build its
reputation as THE source for quality tools for BattleTech.
We're delighted to say that the future is looking very