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Dev Blog 2 - Information Warfare

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#1 InnerSphereNews

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:27 AM

Dev Blog 2 - Information Warfare

In this blog we discuss some of the details about Information Warfare and what it means to MechWarrior® Online™. As always we're revealing details that are beta ready.
Contributors include Bryan Ekman, Paul Inouye, and David Bradley.

Overview

At its heart, Information Warfare is about controlling the flow of information on the battlefield.
  • Knowing where your enemy is.
  • Knowing the current status of your enemy.
  • Understanding your enemy’s intentions.
  • Sharing information between units.
BattleGrid



The core of information warfare is the BattleGrid, a combination of command center and dynamic battlefield map useable by players during gameplay. The BattleGrid is an extension of the HUD and allows players to quickly review the tactical situation at hand. Players will immediately recognize elements from other successful shooters and previous MechWarrior® products.
  • A scalable battlefield top-down map.
  • Object and waypoint markers.
  • Friendly and Enemy Unit Markers
  • Support Units
  • Orders
Modules – A New Concept



In order to evolve the concept of MechWarrior®, we needed a new layer of customization. After several scrapped ideas, we settled on a module concept. Modules allow players to customize their BattleMech with functionality without having to deal with the existing slots and tonnage rules.
Each BattleMech will come with a Module Board. Players can insert modules of their choice, provided they have space. Each module adds a layer of functionality. Modules are linked to the Pilot Tree and are unlocked by training various skills.
Modules are also a very important part of Role Warfare - a topic for a future blog.

Targeting Tweaks

We’ve changed how targeting has worked by layering and controlling what players see and know about the opposing force elements.
Target information is now exclusively Line of Sight/Detection (LOSD). Simply put, if you, a teammate or support unit can’t directly see or detect a target using a module, that target is invisible. Target information decays rapidly. This means if you lose LOSD, you will lose all knowledge that target’s position and current status.
Details about a target are not inclusive, and is now layered based on the type of modules and BattleMech you are piloting. The concept helps emphasizes using specific `Mech and Module combinations to gain and share enhanced targeting information.
Sharing of target information is also no longer inclusive and requires a Module or C3 Master/Slave unit.

Detection

So how do you gather LOSD information? Well there are several ways.
  • Direct – You can see the target directly (LOSD).
  • Radar – Your radar can detect a target in a predetermined arc, also LOSD.
  • Satellite Scan – Orbital scan of the battlefield, highly efficient however still limited to top-down LOSD.
  • UAV – Similar to a Sat Scan, but localized to a specific area on the battlefield.
  • Detectors – Dropped off on the battlefield.
  • Units – Any non-BattleMech present on the battlefield.
Detection Modes



Each type of detection device may also have different primary or secondary modes of detection as follows:
  • Night Vision – Allows players to see more detail in low light situations.
  • Thermal Vision – Allows players to see heat signatures that can be detected through obstacles.
  • Magnetometer Assisted – Allows players to detect metal and metal densities which can uncover a BattleMech hiding behind a building.
Some of these modes will not be available at launch, but I want to give you an overview of where we plan to take this concept.



Disruption/Spoofing

With such an emphasis on detection and tracking, we also needed a counter balance, something that players could equip. Using the module system, we allow players to equip Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) devices in the form of:
  • Spoofers – Beacons that send out a false target signatures.
  • Disruptors – Disrupt or block modes, communication, target acquisition and locks.
  • Surveillance – Allows a player to intercept and decode enemy intel.
We've opened up the Community Q&A 3 thread for your questions, so ask away!

#2 Barantor

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:31 AM

Awesome! Sounds good!

#3 Vincent Vascaul

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:32 AM

Man I wish all games pre release periods were like this!

#4 GaussDragon

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:33 AM

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#5 Helmer

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:33 AM

YEAH!

#6 Soturi05

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:35 AM

Awesome stuff, can't wait to see it in action. ^_^

#7 Mezzanine

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:37 AM

Love where this is going. This is a great way to add strategy and tension, and this is what will keep each drop feeling unique and fresh. Can't wait for the Q&A to learn more about this.

Edited by Mezzanine, 04 January 2012 - 10:37 AM.


#8 Orzorn

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:40 AM

I love all of this. We actually are going to get all the different sensor types! And just look at the tools available (satellites, UAVs, remote sensors, etc)!

Its a good day to be a scout.

#9 Suko

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:40 AM

"Sharing of target information is also no longer inclusive and requires a Module or C3 Master/Slave unit."

Very interesting.

Also, great idea with the module system. I'm hoping that this allows us to customize the HUD and layout of screens in our cockpits as well!

#10 Bianca Flowers

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:40 AM

so far, its sounds REMARKABLY similar to how the old BattleTech MU*s worked, which had visual, radar, low light and infrared sensors, along with very short ranged seismic sensors. While you wouldn't see things out of your LOS, others who could see them could radio coordinates. Late systems incuded bot-driven tanks and sensor vehicles that reported on contacts.


The changes from MU* sensors are the countermeasures, satellite, and UAVs, which makes sense given UAVs weren't really part of combat in the 1990s.

#11 asaxvuh

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:44 AM

This sounds fantastic! I can't wait, it'll be good to have a proper strategy game.
A

#12 John Clavell

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:46 AM

First. This is really nice reading. I'm very pleased with how you guys are planning it out. This will allow for some really awesome tactics and play. Secondly. When the mention C3. I don't think they mean in the same sense as how it works in TT, were you have the targeting modifier based on the spotter. I think it basically means that unlike in previous MechWarrior games. If a scout spots the enemy where the rest of the company can't see them, these units will show up on everyones battlegrid, giving everyone on your team situational awareness.

#13 Dihm

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:47 AM

Modules, interesting. I don't know how I feel about them taking up no critical space and having no weight. Without more info though, I'll stand on the cautiously optimistic side and put my questions about it in the Q&A. ^_^

Targeting: It sounds like it will end up being more true to the table top rules, based on the new system.

Also... I guess night vision confirms that they will have time-of-day variations on the different maps! Awesome. I hate it when every match is high noon.

Edited by Dihm, 04 January 2012 - 10:59 AM.


#14 Skwisgaar Skwigelf

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:52 AM

So glad that there is going to be more "fog of war" in this installment. Makes the scouts useful and the sneaks sneakier!

#15 magicprime

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:52 AM

Will it be possible to take a light or med mech and kit it out with ECM modules to the point where you're basic role in the fight is to mess with the targeting of the other team, while the rest of your star or lance takes the fight to them?

The thought of a little scout mech running around jamming the crap out of the enemy team is something I would like to see.

#16 Fresh Meat

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:54 AM

Woo teamwork!

#17 Kay Wolf

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:55 AM

My God, this sounds like above and beyond the modern battlefield. THIS actually sounds like fun to me... but I will, admittedly, NEED to train well to make this work for AU.

Thank you.

EDIT: I'm also not certain about the modules system, but I'm a lot more eager to see it in action than I am reticent about how it fits the lore. This is making sense to me.

Edited by Kay Wolf, 04 January 2012 - 10:57 AM.


#18 Skwisgaar Skwigelf

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:55 AM

I would think that'd be a valid tactic. I can also see modules being very mission- and enviroment-specific, and it would pay to be prepared BEFORE the battle as well as during.

#19 Ghost

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:56 AM

You have given me the Commander Mode that DICE has taken away. I am satisfied!

Also the module system has me intrigued. I'll have to ask some questions in the Q&A thread!

#20 wildbrahmin

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:57 AM

This sounds soooo great! Indeed we need more ways to bring back tactical part of the game.

Keep up the good work dev team!





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