Developer Answers 5 - 'Mech Warfare

by InnerSphereNews in [ Developer Blogs ] on, Mar 14, 2012 10:05 AM UTC 139  comments


Matt Craig - Technical Director - Head of Engineering

Paul Inouye - Lead Designer - Game Systems and Presentation

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

Garth Erlam - Community Manager - Content Editor


Specific to the control interface, what devices other than keyboard and mouse has the game been tested with for program-ability? Can keys be reconfigured in a setup screen for instance. –Vexgrave Lars

[DAVID] Yes, all keys and buttons can be completely reconfigured. And we have been looking at alternate controls beyond a keyboard and mouse (joystick, pedals, throttle, etc.) but those have yet to be fully nailed down.

(similar to ammunition explosions) “Will there be similar effects for other equipment, such as your engine shielding being damaged and producing more waste heat as the internal structure in your torso takes damage?” –colodie

[DAVID] Yep, all the weapons and equipment on board your ’Mech are able to take damage, and each will produce different gameplay effects. Damaged engines will produce heat, damaged weapons will stop working (and some of them explode), damaged heat sinks impair your cooling, etc.

Now, how will you depict Standard Lasers/Pulse Lasers in MWO? –GB_Krubarax

[DAVID] A standard laser fires a continuous beam that applies damage over time while it remains on. A pulse laser fires a continuous beam that blinks on and off. (Not the blaster bolt style of light ‘bullets’ that fly at the target.) Damage is applied in short bursts each time the laser blinks on.

Will we have the ability to modify the HUD colours? If so, how will it affect the damage indicator, which slowly turns to red then turns black. What happens if we want a red HUD? –autogyro

[MATT C] There are plans around modifying the HUD post launch though for now there are other systems that need to be made nominal ;-).

What, if any, mechanic will be in place to prevent a large group of single-type weapons from devastating a single location, a problem that has plagued just about every incarnation of MW to date? –Thomas Hogarth

[DAVID] We’ve got a few systems in place to handle that problem. One is having weapons such as lasers do damage over time so that, in order to deliver full damage to a single location, you have to hold your fire on the location, which can be difficult when you and/or your target are moving.

Another consideration is the separate arm and torso aim reticles. They will naturally line up with each other but, whenever you aim, you’ll lead with your arms while the torso catches up. This means that, if you want weapons in both locations to hit the same spot, you’ll have to hold your shot until they all aim at the same point.

An additional aspect of our aiming system is weapon convergence. I touched on this in a post I made in reply to Dev Blog 5, but some of you may have missed it so I’ll copy it over here:

Basically, your targeting systems are always trying to adjust the angle of your weapons so that they converge or focus at a distance of whatever your aiming reticles are pointing at. So, if you fire at a target very far away, your lasers (or whatever else) may fire nearly parallel to each other; firing at a target up close will angle the shots inwards. However, the adjustment of these angles is not instant.

For instance, if you were facing a building, while taking cover right up against it, your convergence would adjust to hit just a short distance in front of you (the distance to the building). When you step out from around that building and fire on an enemy in the distance, your convergence point would automatically begin to adjust, but not instantly. If you shoot too soon, your first shots may converge and cross a short distance in front of you and completely miss the enemy as they pass on either side of him. Or perhaps you were aiming for the centre torso and hit his arms instead, as your aim adjusts towards his centre.

Does enemy mech health, represented by a percentage, need to be dropped to zero to kill a mech? Or is it just a number indicating total armor/internal remaining? In other words if I head shot someone, it could kill them with 85% health remaining. –Namwons

[DAVID] It represents the total armour and internal structure remaining. It’s basically your onboard computer’s initial assessment of the other ’Mech’s damage state. If you were to focus on taking out just their head or center torso, they would die well before the percentage reaches zero.

Will Mechs be exposed to randomized weather? If so, to what extent? Do missions/operations/games play out at different times of the day (dawn, midday, dusk, night)? -Aegis Kleaisâ„¢

[DAVID] While levels will have some environmental effects, such as ambient temperature and a time of day, we won’t have any random or dynamic effects at launch. We are, however, looking at implementing such things afterwards.

The blog mentioned that the amount and speed of the twist and pitch of the torso varies in each mech. Would arm movement also be subjected to the same conditions? –breeze

[DAVID] Yes, it will vary with each model of ’Mech. The more articulated the arm, the greater the range of movement. For instance, a Hunchback is able to swing its arms farther than a Jenner.

How will throttle reflect the difference between walking, running, and standing in order to reflect the penalties giving per movement type for weapons convergence? –ManDaisy

[DAVID] Currently, weapon convergence in unaffected by movement.

What is meant by this: "In addition to this, we have found that players differ in their preference in terms of which direction a BattleMech turns while reversing. This too will be added to the Options screen as a selectable choice." –Orzorn

[PAUL] For example, when I back up in a BattleMech by pressing S, I expect to go straight backward from my leg direction. If I turn while backing up, I expect pressing the A key will make me back up while my legs turn to the right. Some people feel more comfortable if pressing the A key turns the legs to the left instead. We have allowed the player to choose which mechanism works for them. It’s like allowing the player to invert their pitch controls.

Will there be a manual override to set weapon convergence to a set range and is there an interface indicator for current weapon convergence (current convergence range or Time-To-Converge-On-Target)? –Iron_Wardog

[DAVID] It’s unlikely that there will be a manual override in the game upon release, but the idea is still on the table. And there will be a HUD element to indicate the current state of your convergence, but its exact form is still being worked on.

Will we be able to dump ammo if you fill it is in danger of exploding? –Iron

[MATT C] We’ll be experimenting with dumping ammo to see how it plays.

[PAUL] This will be tricky for controls but as Matt said, we’ll be trying this out soon.

Effects like the glowing eyes, and possibly lasers. Will they be able to be switched off so you do not stand out like a field rave in the dark, or will it be like MWLL and glowing effects will always be on? –CoffiNail

[BRYAN] Glowing eyes will probably get cut for launch. (Possible re-added later)

How many different possible ways can your mech get destroyed or "mechwarrior" die (i.e. Your mechwarrior takes damage from high heat levels and can "pass out" or "die" if it takes enough damage, ect..). -=Outlaw=

[DAVID] To destroy a BattleMech, you have to destroy the head, destroy the center torso, or destroy both legs. You, the MechWarrior, can never die.

Could you tell us if we will be able to earn medals and achievments though game play. sort of like in WoT (bad example). –Qman

[PAUL] This is something we have on the backburner at the moment as we try to focus on core gamplay. It will be something that we’ll be addressing soon after release however because we do like our achievements.

With concerns to heat. Will there be visual indicators of an overheating mech? (Slight shimmer dulling eyes on the atlas or the MechAssault slag sink effect.) –WerewolfX

[BRYAN] ['Mechs will] steam when they enter water, [have a] distortion wave around them on cooler maps, etc.

How will Chainfire be implemented with; Fire weapon, Fire weapon group? –FinnMcKool

[DAVID] Right now chain fire is a lower priority than some of the other stuff we’re working on so, while we hope to have it in for the launch, it has yet to be fully designed.

Will damage to electronic systems, like say a damaged "head" of the mech, cause any visible effects inside the cockpit? Like a loss of radar or HUD altogether? –Watchit

[MATT C] Yes definitely you can already see in the gameplay video we have distortion effects as you take hits, these will be scaled correctly based on amount of damage and additional effects added prior to initial launch.

Will the ranges of the BattleMechs' weapons - and the relationships between them - be more similar to those from the BattleTech tabletop game (including, perhaps, some implementation of any of the minimum, short, medium, long, and extreme range brackets), or those from the previous MechWarrior computer games? –Strum Wealh

[DAVID] With minimum ranges, it depends on how justified we can be in putting them into the game without them being silly. For PPCs, there’s mentions in the lore about they don’t reach a full charge at close ranges so as not to damage the attacker’s own electronic systems. LRMs, being meant for long range, do not necessarily arm before they clear a certain distance. But it’s harder to justify why you can’t accurately fire an Autocannon/2 or Autocannon/5 up close, other than it was a balance to their long range in the tabletop game, so they won’t be affected by any sort of minimum range. The tabletop long ranges, on the other hand, we’re interpreting as the maximum effective range. Lasers, AC slugs, and whatnot will travel past this range, but will begin to do less and less damage, and the effects of gravity on any sort of physical projectile will make it harder to hit your target. Missiles reaching the limits of their range will automatically detonate. ;

(Dev Blog 2 states there are ‘layers’ of target info that are increased with modules) Nothing about the modules and mechs and their different targeting capabilities are mentioned in dev blog 5, instead it says all the information can be obtained by just holding the target long enough. Was the module & mech based information gathering/sharing scrapped and all information can be gained and shared by any pilot in any mech? –ArchLurker Chad

[DAVID] We’re still in the process of designing and testing the boundary between what all ’Mechs can do and what will require ’Mechs to carry certain modules or other equipment.

In The Escapist's preview of the demo build of the game, they mentioned a "Full-featured MechLab". Could you potentially elaborate what this means? Weapon loadout customization? Or perhaps even deeper levels of tweaking as seen in, say MechWarrior 4? –Mattiator

[DAVID] You’ll have to wait until next month, when we reveal more about the MechLab in our Dev Blog.

Does PGI have a plan to create balance within mech types in matches.? "24 Atlasses yay for steiner fan club" –Bluey

[DAVID] Our goal is not to enforce which ’Mechs players can bring to a team, but rather to make it desirable and ideal for players to put together a well-balanced lance/company instead of just the biggest ’Mechs they can get their hands on.

With all of the talk of dual reticules, convergence, possible recoil, etc., I am curious if mechs will be able to mount targeting computers to speed up convergence, mitigate the effects of recoil and [knockback?] –Exploding Boy

[DAVID] There will be equipment and modules to improve those sorts of things, but not all of them may be available at launch, often because they don’t yet fall into our timeline.

In table top when taking massive damage a piolt skill check is made to see if your mech stays on its feet. Will there be any negative effects from taking damage like falling or lose of control. –Romack

[DAVID] Yes, sufficiently powerful blows will be capable of knocking ’Mechs down to the ground. Standing back up will be handled automatically.

Will we be able to power down our Mechs voluntarily and hide from certain radar and/or targeting? –Silent

[DAVID] Yes, yes you will.

If allies can feed their teammates targeting information - does that mean that firesupport mechs (ala the Catapult) can receive LRM locks from allies as well? Will that require a module? –Listless Nomad

[DAVID] You can receive the targeting information from an ally but you can’t instantly receive a standard missile lock from them as well. You can, however, acquire a missile lock normally on any enemy that’s targeted by an ally simply by aiming at them yourself (even if there are obstacles in the way). Though I should add that the exact workings of equipment like Narc beacons, which essentially create missile locks, are still be designed and they may provide exceptions to that rule.

Thanks for reading everyone, (well thought out, and written...) comments are always welcome!


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