Watched Like A Hawk: Hawken Dev Diary

By Quintin Smith on June 2nd, 2011 at 11:08 am.

It's actually just a game about commuting in London

Is there a game in development that looks prettier than mech combat title Hawken? Perhaps not, which is remarkable, seeing as this is an indie game being assembled by no more than ten guys. Go, ten guys! I might not be entirely sold on your game’s combat mechanics, but so long as you keep sticking apartment blocks in the sky I will love you.

After the jump you’ll find a developer diary talking about the team’s “design goals”. which rather plays down the game’s visuals to talk about the game proper. It’s a bit like going to dinner with a supermodel only for her to keep talking about how she doesn’t like regenerative health and so on. Which doesn’t sound so bad, actually. What am I whinging about?

The tricky thing is, with a relatively simple multiplayer game like this, so much of whether the game is fun to play comes down to the “feel” of it. It’s very hard to judge that from a video.

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51 Comments »

  1. N says:

    Huh… this is worrisome. Section 8 Prejudice seems to be a more complex “mech” game than this lol.
    Anyway what anime did he pronounce exactly? (second vid) Couldn’t make it out

    • Dominus says:

      tekkonkinkreet and ghost in the shell

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      He definitely mentioned Tekkoninkreet, which i definitely thought the kinda-crowded cityscape looked like. And obvious ones like Ghost in the Shell.

      beautiful, slightly different anime!!

      I like the direction they’re taking the game in.

    • gorgol says:

      Hmm, true. Seems like its going to be a typical FPS but with a cockpit jpeg instead of a gun jpeg, and with undeniably interesting and pretty environemnts.

    • N says:

      Tekkonkinkreet, cool. Gonna watch it, seems to have a kickass art style! Thanks for the clear up.

    • karry says:

      I’d rather they cast a look at Blame! . Walking around Megastructure is…an exhilarating thought.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      tekkonkinkreet is such a brilliant film.

    • Premium User Badge heretic says:

      @karry Blame!… Blame! is awesome!!! :D

    • noom says:

      Agree with the Blame! love. Only read the first two volumes, but the rest are all on the to-buy list. Written/drawn by an actual architict iirc.

  2. James says:

    I want to be close and sensual with this game, I think.

  3. Teddy Leach says:

    Funnily enough, commuting in London is like that.

  4. Jason Moyer says:

    The way the mech cockpit sways and bobs while the player’s viewpoint doesn’t looks really really odd.

    Edit: Man, that camera is seriously hurting my brain. It’s like the pilot is bouncing all over the place inside the cockpit, while remaining completely rigid in relation to the world outside, which is the exact opposite of what you’d expect to actually see.

    • evilbobthebob says:

      It has really well-sprung seats.

    • slight says:

      Watch someone riding a horse someday, see how their torso and neck compensate for the movement, keeping the head fairly still. The eyes also follow what they’re focussing on to further steady what you see. It’s more realistic than most FPS head bob imho.

  5. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    RPG points.

    There you go.

  6. Premium User Badge c-Row says:

    This still looks awesome. I hope their multiplayer version sells good enough to let them invest in a proper singleplayer version afterwards.

  7. Premium User Badge tomeoftom says:

    I’m such a three-year old, chuckling at the mech named “bigmeatmissile”.

  8. groghog says:

    Watching this (and his rpg points comment) makes me want to play a survival rpg where you go around in a mech, fixing it up and shooting baddies. Mechs and conversation?

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Battletech: Crescent Hawk’s Inception.

    • Premium User Badge dog says:

      so that was what it was called !
      remember this being one of the only games i played through to completion….

      *edit
      the plot is about finding a huge cache of mechs and getting off-planet …. when you finally find the cache the game ended… i was all hyped up for seeing these other mechs!
      gutted i was.
      awesome game though. at the time.

    • Premium User Badge HermitUK says:

      I still sort of hope the Mass Effect team at Bioware move on to reviving Shattered Steel once ME3 ships. Mech combat simulator for missions, with ME-esque on foot sections between battles.

  9. Andrei Sebastian says:

    Wait, if 10 guys can do this in 11 months then… Why are AAA games so bad?

    • Felixader says:

      I wouldn’t just subscribe to your notion of “every tribble A Game is bad” or something.

      But more than everything else when i read from Big Companys and the Problems they have i have been reading of a problem with the Communication between teams of the development Studios.
      And it gets even worse when we come to the Publishers.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The AAA titles also only need a year to make it pretty and work.
      The next 3 years they spend on optimizing for lowest FPS possible, most intrusive DRM and dumbest control scheme and worst possible restriction of items/guns/whichever decisions.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Investors will be one factor. Investors don’t like risk, going PC only and thus having better graphics is risky, doing an obscure genre like mech simulation is risky (by comparison to shoot-generic-terrorists).

    • randomnine says:

      As nice as Hawken looks, a deathmatch game mode with a handful of weapons and a single level does not a AAA game make.

    • squirrel says:

      I hate conspiracy but this is real life after all. Come to think of this. If every game development project is based on creativity, how can a game publisher, which seeks to maximize monopolistic profit, squeeze the very last drop of juice from both developer (if independent) and gamers? The very logical sense is to kill off the creativity, so that developers have to rely on game publishers for funding to market their games aggressively. Therefore, developers no longer have control over their own IPs, since such IPs, without creativity, simply worth nothing. Even if a creative game is developed in-house by those giant game publishers, would you think they would be willing to let those who have to brain to develop creative game to be let go freely?

      So this is the way to go. Kill off creativity! Only games with aggressive marketing campaigns be allowed in the market! Long live the monopoly, long live the capitalism!!

  10. Coins says:

    They should implement a sightseeing mode mode: No enemies, just lovely, lovely terrain.

  11. Dana says:

    Mandatory: ‘Take my money!”

  12. NPC says:

    Colour-coded levels, me likes!

  13. DevilSShadoW says:

    if they did this in 11 months they can only make it better till 2012. I still love everything i’m seeing about this game so far. Hope they keep it up.

    • Burchard says:

      My thoughts exactly. I think if they hear more interest from a mech community rather than this “Halo” arcade community, future design or even a sequel may prompt more depth.

      It needs to get that far, though.

  14. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Has mechs. Has an amazing cockpit. Well these details are nice but I’ll be buying on release regardless.

  15. inertia says:

    Reminds me of Lost Planet. I loved that game, zooming around the map, just me and my mechsuit, collecting delicious orange goo for more power. Good times.

  16. Gilly says:

    Very pretty game with very little gameplay depth, it seems to me.

    “We don’t want players to be able to make mistakes”…har har, is that what we’ve come to?

  17. Duke of Chutney says:

    I suspect in terms of game play this might be a bit like Soldat

  18. squareking says:

    Halo and COD as influences makes me sad, but gosh, it’s beautiful. I wish it was as easy as doubling their team and increasing gameplay depth just a little.

  19. Vexing Vision says:

    I like what I see. I cringe at what I hear. “We don’t want players to make mistakes”… It’s not a mistake, it’s a tactic noone ever found yet!

  20. Cirdain says:

    Somewhere in-between Halo and Mechwarrior

    fucking sold!

  21. dethgar says:

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

  22. kwyjibo says:

    Multiplayer only games rarely work. It’s going to be incredibly hard for this game to pick up traction. Free2Play would be a lot better choice.

    • Starky says:

      Agreed, as much interest as I have in buying this game, almost every single MP only game I’ve ever bought died horridly within a couple of months as it just couldn’t sustain a large enough community.

    • wazups2x says:

      No no no! I sure hope it’s not F2P.

  23. Kazang says:

    2012… but that’s ages!

  24. Consumatopia says:

    Are the trucks a new addition? Earlier videos I saw of this game I never saw anything familiar to give me any sense of scale. The trucks seem to solve that problem

    Obviously it would be cooler to have people running around so that I could step on them, but I can see why they might not go for that.

  25. Wulf says:

    The incredibly organic look and spritely feel of mech type A makes me very, very happy. That’s what I want a mech to look and feel like. I’m kind of tired of square, chunky, slow tech. I mean, we have stuff like BIGDOG right now which is absolutely amazing and proves that we’re going down more the sort of agile mech route, the big, chunky mech is sort of beginning to look like the 60′s bridge of the Enterprise, or the earliest control room of the TARDIS, if you know what I mean. Outdated and no longer relevant except to those who enjoy that look.

    So that makes me happy, the look of this game in general does too, I’m a big fan of the bobbing that the HUD does in time with the *whump whump whump* of the legs, that’s great stuff. I can’t really see anything about this game that I don’t like or won’t like.

    The only thing I hope they don’t do is toss human pilots in there as a massive anachronism, because that would totally ruin it for me.

    One of the things that ruins distant Sci-Fi sometimes for me is unmodified humans. Most sci-fi in books deals with human modification, and the rapidly changing rate and style of human nature, and that’s what it deals with, that’s what makes it interesting to me. I mean, I think that as soon as we get to the point where we can, most humans are going to start modifying the hell out of themselves, small mods to big mods, just to see what various things are like.

    Your model of body is going to be like a model of car, and modifying that is going to be like pimping a car today. When we’re far enough along, we’re going to be doing that, modifications on both biological and technological levels, even down to the lowest levels with wetware and what have you.

    With Hawken I can kind of see it being a far future sports game, where they create these environments for mechs to battle in, and that’s great, but if there are human pilots there then that’s just going to be an anachronism, it would be like someone on a high-tech ship going to prepare their food in a more old-fashioned microwave with dials. Just kind of ruins it for me. So I hope they keep it to the mechs alone, sans visual pilots.

    (In fact, it might even be fun to have robotic drone pilots as part of a ‘sports’ scenario. They’re almost antique mechs from a more wartorn era now used for entertainment, piloted by robotic hostforms which are controlled by brains on an entirely different planet. That planet there having been terraformed to act as a sportsworld for various mech battles.)

  26. JayeRandom says:

    I am disappointed to hear that the levels are designed. I had crazy, unfounded hopes based on the spectacularly unplanned-seeming appearance of the cityscape that they had some sort of genius procedural cityscape generator, that would just spin up new chunks of decaying cyberpunk city as you walked into them ala Minecraft. If someone were to do that, that would be *so* *awesome*.

    That aside, Hawken looks amazing and I can’t wait to buy it.

  27. Aesop says:

    This is one of the saddest posts I’ve experienced here. I’m looking at one of the most inspiring environment designs I’ve laid eyes on, in recent times, and the game seems so shallow in comparison. Why be an indie if all you’re going to do is generate hollow beauty like the big guys?

    Maybe the artwork clicks with me so much that I want it to be something it’s not supposed to be.