From the introduction:
The Heavy Gear Universe (HGU) is a science fiction universe designed to encompass both a roleplaying game and a skirmish battle system from the get-go. If you know what these types of games are, skip this section. If you are unfamiliar with the concepts of roleplaying and wargaming, allow us to introduce you to both game styles.
Roleplaying is a form of interactive storytelling in which a director (called the Gamemaster, or GM) prepares scenarios for a story. The GM guides a group of Players (usually from 3 to 6) through the scenarios. Each Player has a character (called a Player Character, or PC) with Attributes (natural talents) and Skills (acquired or learned talents). During the game sessions, the Players are encouraged to create interesting personalities and act out their decisions and reactions to the settings and situations described by the Gamemaster. When the PCs participate in several sessions, these combine to form a campaign, that is a continuing series of adventures much like TV episodes. Roleplaying requires very little strategy - it mostly emphasizes problem-solving and acting.
Skirmish battles simulate combat on a hypothetical or historical battlefield (usually only a few city blocks or less than a square kilometer of ground). In Heavy Gear, it usually entails pitting infantry or armored vehicles against each other using technical rules to resolve combat. Skirmish games require tactics to win, although some dice rolling is involved to simulate the unknowns of real-life combat. Skirmish games require no Gamemaster, only players who have roughly equivalent forces to fight with and a set of rules which apply to everyone equally. A skirmish game requires a great deal of creative thinking, but little problem-solving and no acting skills.
Roleplaying does not have winners or losers. Player Characters may live or die, but winning or losing has little to do with that. The goal of the game varies for each character, although the Gamemaster may set a tentative campaign goal for himself. Most importantly, roleplaying is creating a story that centers around the actions and reactions of the players’ characters, who can be likened to the central cast of a movie, or the protagonists of a novel.
With HGU’s skirmish scale game, the situation is more clear cut. When the game is over, there should be one Player who completed more of his assigned objectives - he’s the winner, everyone else loses to a varying degree.
Heavy Gear, as we said above, is a hybrid game. This rulebook contains the rules for both roleplaying, and will also have the skirmish scale battle system included. We provide character creation rules and a general background for the world characters to evolve in. We also provide complete rules, vehicles and weapons to allow players almost unlimited flexibility in their combat scenarios. This book has a lot of everything for all types of gamers. You can use it to roleplay, to battle or to do both. You, the gamer, are in charge.
The Test Pilot Program: Phase 1 Version 0.2 was released to a limited group of playtesters. Intended to stimulate feedback for further development, instead it became the "final state" of the game when future development was discontinued.