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Community Q&A 6 - MechLab


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#1 InnerSphereNews

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:00 AM

Participants:

Paul Inouye - Lead Designer - Game Systems and Presentation

David Bradley - Game Designer - Overseeing 'Mech combat and BattleTech® Rules

Bryan Ekman - Creative Director – Head of Design and Vision

Garth Erlam – Community Manager - Editor

 

How will engine upgrades (or downgrades) be handled in the MechLab? –Curon Hifor

[DAVID] You don’t really upgrade an engine so much as buy a new one to replace the old. If you buy an engine with a different engine rating and/or type (Standard, XL, etc.), you simply put it in place of the old one and your ’Mech’s new top speed will be automatically recalculated.

 

Can we upload custom unit decals and how would that be handled? –Mason Grimm

[BRYAN] At launch, we do not plan to support custom unit decals as there are a number of copyright issues that creep up with user content. Since MWO is a live ops game, it’s never really handed over to the player, and we’re responsible for the content displayed.

 

Will weapon changes be visually represented? –Helmer

[DAVID] Yes they will, though some weapons may end up looking very similar. For instance, if a laser is fully embedded into a ’Mech’s torso, so that all you see is the lens, that lens is probably going to look the same for a Small, Medium, or Large Laser. Though the beam fired by the laser will be indicative of the type of laser installed there.

 

Lets say I take an Awesome, normally with 3 PPCs, 1 small laser. Then I modify it to its maximum theoreitcaly extent, that is to say 10 medium lasers. Will this be possible, or could the hardpoint system further restrict so there's a maximum number of smaller weapons that could replace a larger one to help prevent crazy boating? –CapperDeluxe

[DAVID] The hardpoint system will be related to how many weapons are in the default loadout, and not how many slots those weapons take up.

 

Isnt this system a little rigid? If i got this right you can only downgrade weapons because you couldnt fit a bigger weapon into the hardpoints even if you reduced armor. –Rutok

[DAVID] Hardpoints will limit the number of weapons that can be placed in a location on the ’Mech. The number of slots those weapons can occupy is not predefined (outside of the maximum number of slots in the location). So let’s say that I’m allowed 2 energy weapons in my right arm. I currently have 2 Medium Lasers which occupy 1 slot each. I would still be allowed to put in 2 Large Lasers, which occupy 2 slots each.

 

Will parts be purchased automatically and freely available, or will players need to purchase them from a "parts market" which may have, for instance, fluctuating prices or availability depending on what the other players within the game are buying? –Dihm

[BRYAN] We’re not ready to go into details on the economics of the game. We plan to cover this in greater detail in the next couple of months via our dev blogs.

 

Can I not use all my armor points or not fill all the weapon blocks to reduce overall weight/tonnage and increase speed/acceleration? –Scanlon

[DAVID] No, you cannot do that. A ’Mech will always weigh the same, no matter what you put in or take out of it, as per tabletop rules.

 

When viewing weapons that could possibly fit into a slot (like your small laser, medium laser, PPC setup described in the examples), will we have access to quick-facts about those other weapons (such as a brief overview of their size/weight/dmg/heat/range)? –Prosperity Park

[PAUL] Yes, you will get full detailed information about anything that you select in the MechLab in terms of items/equipment/weapons etc. We don’t expect you to be flipping through your TRO books or searching Sarna while trying to equip your BattleMech.

 

Are hardpoints limited by the weapons that come stock with the mech? By that I mean will there be hardpoints available on a chassis that a particular configuration doesn't use? –BarHaid

[DAVID] The hardpoints will be based on the default loadout of a given ’Mech. However, different variants of the same ’Mech will have different default loadouts and, therefore, different hardpoints.

 

Will you be able to freely (C-bills aside, ofc ) upgrade/downgrade between single/double heat sinks, normal/XL engines, normal/endo steel internals and normal/ferro armour, or will these be strictly variant/chassis specific? –Gigaton

[DAVID] Currently these are unrestricted, though that may change with further testing.

 

Will ammo have to be placed nearby to the weapon it serves and if not, will placing it in specific parts of the mech cause specific damage if an ammo explosion occurs - depending on where it is placed? –Listless Nomad

[DAVID] You can place the ammo wherever you want (and can fit it) inside the ’Mech. And, yes, if ammo explodes, its placement on the ’Mech determines where the damage will be applied.

 

Will equipment be able to take up critical slots recently vacated by weaponry, or will they also be restricted to equipment slots? –Kay Wolf

[DAVID] There will not be space reserved specifically for weapons or equipment only; there will simply be a limit to the number of weapons that can be included in a location. So, yes, equipment can use slots formerly used by weapons.

 

Is each chassis going to have a minimum/maximum for the amount you can tweak the engine, or is it only going to be tonnage limited? –syngyne

[DAVID] At the moment it is just limited by tonnage, but there is likely to be, at the very least, a minimum engine size so you don’t have people building ’Mechs with a top speed of 1 kph.

 

For mounting equipment (such as AMS, BAP, ECM), will we be able to place it anywhere there is critical space, as the devblog indicates heat sinks can be placed, or will those items have hardpoint limitations as well? –Solis Obscuri

[DAVID] For the most part, you’ll be able to place non-weapon equipment anywhere, subject to critical slot and tonnage restrictions. Though there are some restrictions. Some are derived from the tabletop rules, like CASE being allowed only in the torso locations, while others are specific to our game, like jump jets being allowed only on variants and locations that include jump jets by default.

 

Will the mechlab display the max heat and heat dissipation? –Stormwolf

[PAUL] Yes, this is something we want to display in MechLab. It’s fairly crucial that we display this to the player as they try to gauge how many heat syncs or weapons to put on their BattleMech.

 

Can i give my mech a name in the mechlab? -4b4dd0n

[DAVID] Yes you can! Though there’s no word on whether Paul wants to restrict others from copying his ‘Pink Thunder’ moniker.

 

Will be able to test drive a Mech before we buy it? What I mean is could we take a Mech into the Mechlab and experiment with its possible customization before we buy it? This way we will know what we can do with it before committing our hard earned C-Bills to a Mech we may not like in the End. –Finn McKool

[PAUL] This is something that we may be pushing off until after Launch. We do understand the importance of this feature and how it allows players to tinker around before making a purchase. We will release more information on this when we start talking about the store.

 

A Swayback Hunchie would have energy hard points in the arms, and right torso cannon mount. Does that mean in the left torso, where no weapon is normally mounted, there are non-weapon hard points for empty crit slots, which means no weapon can be mounted there? –Namwons

[DAVID] Yes, if there are no weapons in a location on the default loadout, then there will be no weapon hardpoints in that location. Equipment generally doesn’t use hardpoints and can be placed anywhere, including the Hunchback’s left torso.

 

If your have a weapon mounted in arm and literally lost this arm in battle - do you lose this weapon permanently or it will be moved to inventory? If yes, what about torso-mounted weapons? –Lima Zulu

[DAVID] You will still own the weapon, and the weapon will still be equipped to your ’Mech’s arm, but you’ll have to repair it before it can be of any use.

 

How are unique Mech chassis like the [Catapult] (no arms, non-traditional 'side torsos') handled in the MechLab? –Aegis Kleais™

[DAVID] Well, the Catapult technically does have arms; they’re just rather stubby and in the form of the missile pods jutting out from its sides. As for side torsos, for all ’Mechs we’re defining which parts of it constitute the left, center, and right torsos, as well as the rear sections of those torsos.

 

How will the hardpoint system apply to body sections that do not normally have weapons (but could) like the Centurion's left arm? –Morquedeas

[DAVID] If there is no weapon there in the default configuration of a particular variant, there will be no hardpoints there for you to mount weapons on.

 

Will Merc Corps be able to save and share configurations which are available to all members of that Merc Corp to access, download, and utilise in the configuration of their Battlemech? –John Clavell

[PAUL] This is not something unique to Merc Corps. We want this ability to share builds with the entire community. This will probably be done through the website with the possibility… yes... POSSIBILITY of a public released API for fan sites.

 

There is a big difference in performance between customized mechs and stock variants. What steps, if any, will be taken to balance the difference when it comes to matchmaking? In other words, will mechlab-optimized mechs be accounted for when it comes time to balance the teams and will we be shown how that will be done (higher bv, etc) when we are making changes in the mechlab? –Kudzu

[PAUL] The match making system will take into account whichever metrics we want it to. This is one of those things that gameplay and testing will prove out in closed and open Beta.

 

Can we set up weapon groups in the mech-lab & save them for that particular variant, or do we have to manually assign weapons to groups at the start of each battle?" please? Thank you in advance. -Soviet Alex/pursing

[DAVID] Yes, you’ll be able to set up and save weapon group configurations and they will automatically be loaded at the start of a match.

 

Will equipment be differentiated by manufacturer/product or simply by type? E.g. will my Dragon come with an "Imperator-A Autocannon/5" or a generic "Autocannon/5"? –pesco

[PAUL] At this time we have no plans on making the various weapons different from other manufacturers other than possibly be different looking.

 

Are you keeping all the traditional weights and criticals of the classic rules, or have you rebalanced some of them (like, say, ACs)? –Hao Yu

[DAVID] The weights and critical slots of weapons will remain the same, so that we can take ’Mechs straight out of the Technical Readout manuals and into the game. What we will be looking at tuning is the damage, cooldown time, speed, etc. of the weapons.

 

I bet this will be covered and should be straightforward, but, if you wanted to replace a PPC with two medium lasers, would you need to buy three medium lasers? or would you simply buy one and have it available when you want a medium laser for something. –zudukai

[PAUL] I’m not sure what you mean here. If you pull a PPC out of a hard point and you want to put 2 medium lasers in its place, there’s nothing stopping you from doing so. Just go to the store, buy 2 medium lasers, remove the PPC, put the 2 medium lasers in its space and Bob’s yer uncle! ;) If you’re thinking that the PPC’s 3 critical slots must be filled with 3 medium lasers, then no, you don’t have to do that.

 

Thanks everyone for all your questions and comments, we hope you enjoyed this Q&A, and that at least some of these answer some of your questions :D



#2 armitage

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:01 AM

To clarify on the engine upgrade I think we are mainly curious what engine upgrade options we will have. Will they be available for small speed increases or just to stick with the canon speeds of 53kph 64kph 85kph.

excitement pending..

Edited by armitage, 18 April 2012 - 09:05 AM.


#3 GaussDragon

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:03 AM

Posted ImageI amuse myself with running gags.

#4 CoffiNail

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:10 AM

Good infos here! Really liked learning more of the mechlab, and I can hardly wait to put a PPC in the swaybacks cannon mount ;)

#5 Marwynn

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:10 AM

For the last question, I think he meant to ask if you just purchase an "unlocking" of a specific weapon.

Like you get 1000 C-Bills and now you can unlock PPCs, and you no longer have to pay for each individual one.

#6 Nik Van Rhijn

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

Good clarification although it seems that some fine tuning remains.

#7 Gunmage

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:15 AM

I think that the [Catapult] was a Mad Cat originally. Censorship much?

#8 Nakir

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:17 AM

Is always a pleasure to read such good news ;) !

#9 GaussDragon

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:18 AM

View PostInnerSphereNews, on 18 April 2012 - 09:00 AM, said:

Will Merc Corps be able to save and share configurations which are available to all members of that Merc Corp to access, download, and utilise in the configuration of their Battlemech? –John Clavell
[PAUL] This is not something unique to Merc Corps. We want this ability to share builds with the entire community. This will probably be done through the website with the possibility… yes... POSSIBILITY of a public released API for fan sites.


This is awesome. Having APIs that track pretty much every metric would pop up on every clan/fan site. It'd be interesting if leagues could develop their own as well. It'd allow players of MWO to keep an eye on what's going on (say the progression of the meta game) even when they're not actually playing it.

Edited by GaussDragon, 18 April 2012 - 09:28 AM.


#10 Helmer

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:19 AM

What if Phil is my uncle and not Bob, can I still customize 'mechs?! I'm SOoooooo confused.

;)


Thanks guys!



Cheers.

Edited by Helmer, 18 April 2012 - 09:43 AM.


#11 Balnoric

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:19 AM

Personally, I just wanna know, IS IT OPEN BETA YET? IS IT OPEN BETA YET? IS IT OPEN BETA YET?


EDIT_

P.S. Seriously, Thanks for all the great info (and some fantastic questions too!)

Edited by Balnoric, 18 April 2012 - 09:21 AM.


#12 Aegis Kleais

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:20 AM

Hopefully by the time we go through the Beta, PGI might be near a point where they've implemented a "Try before you Buy" feature into the game. Looking forward to seeing the actual Mechlab UI.

#13 Ansel

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

Lets say I take an Awesome, normally with 3 PPCs, 1 small laser. Then I modify it to its maximum theoreitcaly extent, that is to say 10 medium lasers. Will this be possible, or could the hardpoint system further restrict so there's a maximum number of smaller weapons that could replace a larger one to help prevent crazy boating? –CapperDeluxe

[DAVID] The hardpoint system will be related to how many weapons are in the default loadout, and not how many slots those weapons take up.

Isnt this system a little rigid? If i got this right you can only downgrade weapons because you couldnt fit a bigger weapon into the hardpoints even if you reduced armor. –Rutok

[DAVID] Hardpoints will limit the number of weapons that can be placed in a location on the ’Mech. The number of slots those weapons can occupy is not predefined (outside of the maximum number of slots in the location). So let’s say that I’m allowed 2 energy weapons in my right arm. I currently have 2 Medium Lasers which occupy 1 slot each. I would still be allowed to put in 2 Large Lasers, which occupy 2 slots each.


Lets see if I understand this right. If I have an awesome and remove the ppc in the arm there would be 3 critical slots and 7 tons open and there is a chance that only 1 weapon can fit there, so I couldn't fit 2 medium lasers in that arm even if I have the criticals and tonage to do so unless there is moar than one weapon slot correct?

If so that is an interesting way to stop boating lol.

#14 Roh

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:34 AM

I am getting the impression that you won't adjust engine speed at all. I think you will actually buy ENGINES. And certain engines will cause certain chassis to move at certain speeds. Could be wrong but that is sort of what i got out of the answer they gave.

#15 Felicitatem Parco

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:38 AM

View PostInnerSphereNews, on 18 April 2012 - 09:00 AM, said:

When viewing weapons that could possibly fit into a slot (like your small laser, medium laser, PPC setup described in the examples), will we have access to quick-facts about those other weapons (such as a brief overview of their size/weight/dmg/heat/range)? –Prosperity Park

[PAUL] Yes, you will get full detailed information about anything that you select in the MechLab in terms of items/equipment/weapons etc. We don’t expect you to be flipping through your TRO books or searching Sarna while trying to equip your BattleMech.


Well... what I meant was when you are viewing the currently installed item (like your large laser), and a list of other weapons that could theoretically fit into that slot pops up to the side of your MechLab screen, will that pop-up list also include a tiny blurb about those weapons' stats (like a small bar graph, or a small list of numerical values under each weapn so you can quickly gauge it's combat properties)?

Quote

Let’s have the player remove the Large Laser and replace it with some other weapons.
Posted ImageWhen the player selects the Large Laser, as list of available replacement parts appears. In this case they are the; Small Laser, Medium Laser and the PPC.
The player’s inventory is brought on screen at this time as well so they can pull items from their inventory that may or may not be displayed in the possible replacement part list.
You will notice that the possible replacement parts are colour coded. In this example, the green items indicate that they will fit into the slot occupied by the Large Laser, and they are within tonnage limits for the BattleMech, and lastly that the player has one of the items in their inventory. Items that are listed in red indicate that the item exceeds space/tonnage limitations or that the player does not currently own one of the items, or a combination thereof. In this case, the PPC both weighs too much and exceeds space limitations.


I think it's obvious that we'd have stat readouts for the currently installed/viewed weapon, and full readouts for other weapons as you browse through your inventory, but what about the pop-up list that's described above? Will that list of PPC, ML, and SL have stats for those three weapons, or would we have to view their entries in the inventory to get that data?

Edited by Prosperity Park, 18 April 2012 - 09:42 AM.


#16 EDMW CSN

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:39 AM

Great news. So oh yeah, no 10 medium laser awesomes ;)
And now I can turn the Atlas to a long range support mech.

4 med lasers.
1 AC/10
2 LRM-15s

hmmmm

Edited by [EDMW]CSN, 18 April 2012 - 09:40 AM.


#17 RedHairDave

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:39 AM

so if you have one ppc in a torso with nothing else(so lost of open crits) and you pull the ppc can you put in 2 large lasers? its one crit to many.

#18 guardian wolf

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:40 AM

Liking what I see, this is definitely going to be a great mechlab.

#19 CapperDeluxe

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:41 AM

Quote

Then I modify it to its maximum theoreitcaly extent



Hey, I'm pretty sure I spelled that correctly in my post! Now I look like a chump who can't spell theoretical ;)

EDIT: nevermind I just looked. I'm a chump.

Edited by CapperDeluxe, 18 April 2012 - 09:43 AM.


#20 clutchgetspaid

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:42 AM

Can we upload custom unit decals and how would that be handled? –Mason Grimm
[BRYAN] At launch, we do not plan to support custom unit decals as there are a number of copyright issues that creep up with user content. Since MWO is a live ops game, it’s never really handed over to the player, and we’re responsible for the content displayed.


Ugh. Just ugh. I'm going to be jerk and say this is a major disappointment. We have to hope that our chosen units are included in the art for launch? Not comforting.





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