Community Q&A 6 - MechLab

by InnerSphereNews in [ Developer Blogs ] on, Apr 18, 2012 10:00 AM UTC 201  comments


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 :)


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