Atlas-t, A Video: Mechwarrior Online

By Adam Smith on March 1st, 2012 at 1:55 pm.

The joy of mechs

Now that I’ve shoe-horned it into the headline, it’d be doubly embarassing if my mechognition skills were a bit off. I think you’ll find that the handsome chap below is an Atlas though, performing a hot drop in the first Mechwarrior Online video. It doesn’t actually show the game being played, that would be far too useful, so instead of discussing the finer points of the interface and damage modelling, we’ll have to spend our time dissecting the canonical correctitude of what we’re being shown. Ready?

Let’s take this drop pod situation first of all. This looks like a freefall plummet. What do we have to say about that? I say it’s a boost-assisted stealth drop of sorts, so turn down the bloody music, or at least have the mech click its fingers in time and attempt mid-air tapping of the foot.

And what about that cockpit, eh? A windowed cockpit? Is that normal in an Atlas? The internet informs me that it both is and it isn’t, and my knowledge of the lore is weak. Some people seem very irate about it though, but then some people are probably irate that there aren’t enough rivets. Internet anger is relative – specifically, it’s Steaming Mad Uncle Bonkers, who flies into a rage whenever he breathes through his nose or mouth.

The systems voice sounds about right, although I’ve already heard the angry hum of a squadron of Battletech scholars who are displeased by some of the wording in that startup sequence.

Maybe it’s a variant, this Atlas? Perhaps someone can fully identify it and until we do have some in-game footage, that is the only thing to be done.

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77 Comments »

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  1. JackDandy says:

    Looks great, I loved the little hula girl on the side of the dashboard.

    I’m having big expectations from this title. It has tons of cool-sounding features, but I just hope its’ developers will manage to make it work.

  2. DogKiller says:

    Yeah, you’ve beaten me to everything I was going to say. In regards to windows, my very foggy memory tells me that in the books they had holographic displays instead or something. But I read those a long time ago and I can’t remember very well.

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      c-Row says:

      I think at one point in the Jade Falcon trilogy there’s a cockpit window cracking just before Aidan Pryde blacks out.

    • CobraFive says:

      Ok:

      Mechs do have windows and always have. They have a holographic overlay on the pilot’s helmet (And on some mechs, over the window) that allows them to see in 360 degrees. That’s only from the books though, it’s never been shown in games. Some mech do have a fully enclosed cockpit, but they’re extremely rare, and its a piece of equipment that had to be listed on the mech’s sheet. Very few mechs were equipped with it.

      That variant of the atlas is the AS7-D, which is one of the basic models. Its also a familiar one for “old-school” mechwarrior fans as it was the Atlas most commonly available in MW2:Mercenaries.

      Also, as for not showing gameplay or nothing of true “value”, the devs have confirmed that that cockpit view is actually what you will see in-game (The whole thing will be forced first-person from that view, with the cockpit moving around you), and that the HUD that is powering up on the atlas is the actual, in-game HUD (So for example we see the damage indicator in the bottom left). Everything looks too small to read during combat but I have a feeling at 1920×1080 it’ll be a bit more clear. It isn’t much but at least we are seeing both in-game assets and the game’s perspective.

      As for the drop-pod, it is a free fall plummet, yeah. It has disposable boosters attached to its shoulders that fire to slow his decent, then detach. I wonder if that will be in-game?

    • mckertis says:

      “They have a holographic overlay on the pilot’s helmet (And on some mechs, over the window)”

      Isnt Battletech universe a bit too primitive for that kind of technology ?
      In Gundam it was used from the start, and it makes sense there, but in BT ?

    • kaiserbob says:

      @mckertis

      What? Too primitive for holographic overlays?

      Considering every battlemech is powered by a fusion reactor and has a neural interface with their pilots I am pretty sure that they can put a holographic HUD on glass considering that’s almost possible with today’s technology.

    • MrPyro says:

      @kaiserbob: Battletech technology is a little weird though; I don’t think that a targeting computer in 3049 would weigh upward of 2 tonnes.

  3. Kdansky says:

    Most generic of generic stock sound at 0:20. Now if they add that lightning/explosion effect that even SF4 uses (despite it being decades old) we’re gold.

    Hotdropping a 100ton mech that doesn’t have jump jets? Really? Way to go and waste your most expensive weapon before the war has even started. But the designers probably could not come up with a mech that has JJs, looks cool and is more iconic. You know, like a http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Marauder_II or a Mad Cat.

  4. MrMud says:

    It makes me sad that it doesn’t say “All systems nominal” :(
    Making it say “online” instead just seems like a cheap way to reference the name of the game instead of making a great callback to the originals.

    • iaguz says:

      What the fuck?

      ARGH HOW DO PEOPLE BUGGER UP NOSTALGIA?!

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      A Dev response said :

      “7) Yes, we know that the term was “nominal” but unfortunately couldn’t source the term for audio.”

      Whatever that means.

    • CMaster says:

      That they’re just using stock audio and couldn’t find an “all systems nominal” stock female voice.

    • MrMud says:

      Cant they just record some?
      Its important damnit!

    • Elltot says:

      I’m sure I’ve got an old copy of Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries at home. They can pinch audio off that if they want.

      I also hope they’re still doing temperature in Kelvin.

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      I suggest we all upload five second youtube clips of us saying the word “nominal” and they can pick the best one to autotune and paste into the game.

      Winner gets a Marauder MAD-2R.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Well because it’s a battlemech. The systems aren’t nominal, that’s a bit optimistic. They are online and frankly you should be happy they are currently working. She’s just calling it how she sees it.

  5. Dana says:

    Not Madcat not interested. Never liked Atlas. Waiting for the game though.

    • marsilainen says:

      Yeah. This is what those poor OCD-people must go through.

    • Crazy Hippo says:

      snap, madcat and raven were always my favourites. although the puma and daishi also took my fancy

    • Antsy says:

      I actually like the fact its an Atlas and recalls Battletech before the bloody Clan stuff was introduced. But then again, I’m an old bastard.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      Not Birdymech, not interested.

    • Crazy Hippo says:

      thats before my time, not by long mind.

    • FluffDaSheep says:

      So weird. I never liked Atlas either, no idea why.

      So many fond memories of Madcat in MW4 multiplayer.
      1. Load up on lasers and LRMs.
      2. Alpha strike, instantly overheat.
      3. Be out of coolant, shut down and sit there like an idiot, praying to the LRM gods that the other guy dies before he notices you.

      I miss that game.

    • jonfitt says:

      I had to Google Madcat before I realised that it was my favourite: Timberwolf by another name!

    • niasyn says:

      What’s wrong with the Thor?

    • Puppy says:

      But isn’t the Madcat a Clan mech?

      I’m under the assumption that MechWarrior Online will be mostly Inner Sphere to begin with, then they’ll roll out with Clans later on.

    • Highstorm says:

      The Marauder IIC was always my mech of choice in MW2. Man I miss that game. I still have the soundtrack in my playlists.

    • marcusfell says:

      The Shadowcat was always my favorite. Running circles around a heavier opponent while using a gauss rifle just never got old.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Real men use a Hunchback… or Axeman.

    • LuNatic says:

      Vulture or Rifleman please.

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      imperialus says:

      Pish! No Matcat for you!

      It’s set in 2048. Clans the clan invasion didn’t start until 2049. Didn’t really get rolling until 2050.

      Honestly I kinda hope they don’t introduce the Clans. Especially in an MMO. Clan Omnimechs are vastly superior than IS mechs in almost every capacity.

      Of course, they probably will, the clans are too popular not to have them show up.

      Still I’d take a Phoenix Hawk any day.

    • vecordae says:

      No Urbanmech, no sale.

    • bill says:

      BattleCat was always my favorite, but madcats were cool too.

      I like the way you get a sense of scale with the humans… i never found the older games did a great job of giving you a sense of scale… but that might have been mainly down to the graphics at the time.

  6. marlin says:

    What! No ‘wub wub wub’? No purchase for
    me…

  7. Mr Bismarck says:

    Massive nerd alert!

    The AS7-K3 Atlas took off the two streak SRM-6s and replaced them with jump jets and an SRM-4. But that’s significantly out-of-timeline for this game which is somewhere around 3048.

    There were single-use jumpjet “backpacks” which would give the Atlas a jump rating of something like 3, but they were, (slightly?), post-3048 too.

    Having said which, I don’t care. Just let me play the thing already.

    • mckertis says:

      Thats why if i ever make a mech game – i will purge any and all thoughts about using Battletech universe. Because of these kinds of people, who will throw feces at me for mistaking a year when some planet was invaded, or that a specific clan didnt actually use LRMs, or something else along these lines. No sir, i wont touch Battletech with any pole length.

  8. GrandmaFunk says:

    Given that what should be a giant window is not visible on the outside, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it’s a view screen linked to cameras.

    that being said, 100tonners without jump jets don’t get dropped from that altitude.

    I also question the design choice of installing easy-to-use rungs for ppl to climb up to your knee joints.

    • bronze says:

      I’m with Mr Bismarck its obvious the Atlas is being dropped with a jump pack of some sort (its mounted to it and you see it fire off a stabilization burst). Likely a disposable external package.

      Also about the ladder legs…unless its an Elemental I can’t imagine any infantry being able to hang on much less climb it. When a 200 ton mech is striding along the battlefield, the vibrations alone would be near seismic.

    • iaguz says:

      Mechs only get to about 100 tons max though.

      That’s assuming you’re lucky enough to get close in the first place (although maybe in an urban environment it would be easier).

    • BAshment says:

      soylent mince infantry burger meal no fries.

    • Fumarole says:

      Am I the only person who thinks mechs should really be much heavier? An Atlas weighing 100 tons isn’t that much when you consider a modern day MBT weighs in at upwards of 60 tons. Yeah, futuristic metals and all that, it still has always struck me as odd.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Honestly the physics of the Battlemech universe never made a lick of sense. I am always sad they have stuck with them instead of updating them. I realize it would be a lot of work.

    • Sapper Gopher says:

      But the ton is a masure of weight, which can only be derived if you have the local gravitational acceleration, which would differ from planet to planet, plus the mass of the object, or w =mg. What genius mech designer decided to just standardize weight based on earth… uh … I mean Terra gravity?

  9. Blackcompany says:

    “canonical correctitude.”
    .
    If that’s a problem, I think there’s a pill for it. Just saying.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Do you have anything for rodular rectitude?

    • HothMonster says:

      Yeah but you don’t want it. Its a rather, erm…long suppository that is suppose to be “inserted vigorously” 3 times a day.

  10. Godsmith says:

    I could come here just for the headlines.

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    Smashbox says:

    Mechognition™

    Brilliant.

  12. Artist says:

    Boys, just do it like Activision did… Dont fail on me! I still wish the Marauder could be ingame. Damn law suits..

    And yes, and Atlas cant be dropped like that nor is there a fitting drop capsule for heavies or higher.

  13. psaldorn says:

    Futuristic tech = looks like windows but are actually really good displays fed by cameras, everybod’y happy!

    Wording of system voice clearly designed to match up with the product name.

    Reactor online, weapons online, MECHWARRIOR ONLINE. DO YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE?

    This trailer seriously need wub not heavy metal. Tsk.

    • Stranglove says:

      The window is quite evidently the left eye.

    • Strange_guy says:

      The mechs in mechwarrior aren’t actually all that big really, I doubt the eyes would be anywhere near that size. It’s 100 tons max, and feeling curious I decided to look up tank weights on wikipedia. Modern tanks appear to be around 60-70 tons. I guess they use super light future materials, so are pretty big, but they aren’t as gigantic as mechs in some other fiction.

      Anyway my only experience with the universe is Mechcommander,which I did enjoy, so I’m fairly interested in this.

    • kaiserbob says:

      Except you are all wrong.

      The cockpit of the Atlas is in the left eye and is glass, not a hologram. In the Battletech canon, it can be found on pages 20-21 in the “Test of Vengeance” paperback.

      Where an Atlas pilot loses a duel to an Elemental and is subsequently crushed to death by the Elemental’s claw.

      “Kanazawa looked out through the cracked canopy of his cockpit at the sky above…”

      Amazon has the pages in question online if anybody cares to read it.

  14. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    Watching that startup sequence made me daydream about how awesome it would be to play a Mech sim with DCS : Blackshark levels of fidelity.

    Then I cried a bit.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The classic Mechwarrior games didn’t have that level of deep modeling, but they did support multiple controllers. So if you were into flight sims and had all the HOTAS stuff, it would work. I have fond memories of mapping my rudder pedals to the torso twist, for doing that all-important circle strafe. Fun times.

      I wonder if this new one supports things like TrackIR? Doesn’t matter… if it’s multiplayer only, then I won’t be playing it. (cue sadface).

    • Therax says:

      Believe it or not, it’s been done, if not in the Battletech universe. Result? Just like DCS, It wasn’t fun for those players not in the minority interested in such details.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel_Battalion

  15. Nasser says:

    Never played a Mechwarrior game before, but this looks pretty neat.

  16. Gothnak says:

    Am i the only person who would only really want to play this single player or Co-op vs bots?

    There is something about being beaten by someone else who has spent loads to get the top mechs which is so much more annoying than the same thing happening because the AI happens to have better stuff than you.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      WOD (Word Of Developer) is that you can’t buy power, lemme see if I can find it…

      nope, can’t find that anywhere. I’m sure they have or will say it, though. Everyone says that these days. Games that aren’t F2P say it these days.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Same here. All that effort, and they’re probably locking out a large number of the most dedicated fans for this type of thing.

      There is some crossover appeal between driving a mech and the other categories of hardcore vehicle simulation like planes, tanks, subs. These have always been at their best in single player format, where there can be multiplayer but it’s optional. Heck, I’d even settle for something like that new Star Wars thing where it can be played in a pseudo-singleplayer mode.

      Someday, someone will make another great singleplayer Mech game. And then everyone can get their joysticks, throttle quadrants and pedals out of the closet, and rejoice! But not now. (cue another sadface).

    • marcusfell says:

      Didn’t they mention that there would be some sort of leveling system to balance that out? Like that I you use a medium mech a lot, you can get it just as powerful as a heavier one?

  17. sidhellfire says:

    House Steiner deployed their scout unit.

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      My Mechwarrior RPG unit spent so long fighting for the Lyran Commonwealth and Lyran Alliance that seeing you misspell “Steiner” like that actively makes me twitch.

      I also have a weird devotion to anyone called Melissa.

    • nimzy says:

      They actually even confirmed that little in-joke yesterday, when they released the 1080p version of the trailer. There’s an accompanying narrative that suggests that this particular Atlas is part of a recon lance. Oh Lyrans. :V

      For everyone else wondering about the whole drop pod situation: there are three ways of doing hot drops: jumping out of a hovering dropship just above the surface of the planet, getting dropped from extremely high altitude (orbit) in an ablative shell that has parachutes in it, and (combined with the high altitude shell, actually) getting dropped from a lower altitude and using the ‘Mech’s jump jets to slow down before hitting the ground. For ‘Mechs without jump jets they can attach a temporary pack on the back that does the same thing.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Hahaha the LCAF? Interesting choice for your RPG, spend alot of time running errands for fat noble idiots? ;)

    • sidhellfire says:

      Pardon my friend. Shame on me. At least that stain could be washed out by edit button.

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      “Hahaha the LCAF? Interesting choice for your RPG, spend alot of time running errands for fat noble idiots? ;)”

      Our first “choice”, (by which I mean we took the only contract available to start), was Marik and then we ended up in a loop of not being paid for our work repeatedly until, with our mechs practically falling apart Davion rode in on a white horse and offered us real cash to make nuisances of ourselves while the wedding was being set up.

      The gratitude for Davion for getting us out of that slow death spiral turned into devotion for Steiner when they told me I could keep the Hunchback I “liberated” from House Marik. I didn’t love that thing like I loved my bucket-of-bolts Shadow Hawk, but it would at least move five steps without shutting itself down.

      Sometime later Steiner gave me a Marauder the Alliance had captured off Liao, at which point I would have shot myself if she’d asked me to.

      The fact that I remember details of this game 15 years later shows the impact it had on me.

  18. Dominic White says:

    The developers have confirmed that the teaser trailer isn’t pre-rendered. It’s all in-game-engine stuff using the actual gameplay models. So while it might just be a cutscene, you can be fairly sure that it’s how it’ll look up-close when playing.

  19. Dominic White says:

    Any worries I had about MW:O being dumbed down/casual just evaporated. The developers have confirmed that arm and torso-mounted weapons have separate targeting reticules, aimed independently.

  20. Tams80 says:

    What if Steaming Mad Uncle Bonkers has had a tracheotomy?

    The video is great! I can’t wait to play though.

  21. PodX140 says:

    If that cockpit starts lighting up with red lights and starts smoking and whatnot as heat and damage occur, I will love this game to death.

    I’ll still love it, but it seems like such a waste to model the cockpits to such levels if you aren’t going to utilize all those lovely panels going red and staticy.

  22. rocketman71 says:

    So not only are they giving us a shitty MMO instead of the MW5 they promised, now they show they have no fucking idea how big a mech is. The human / mech scale in the video is completely wrong.

    And what’s with the Atlas?. Old video from two years ago promising lots of shit that they didn’t deliver on?. Atlas. New shitty P2W website?. Atlas. New video?. Atlas. Mechwarrior Tactics?. Atlas front and center. I understand FASA / Piranha also fucked up in regards to the rights of the Warhammer, but there are hundreds of other mechs to choose from!.

  23. RegisteredUser says:

    Well that was one hell of a pointless video.

    Thanks morons(devs/publishers).

  24. cutechao999 says:

    You don’t need to be a BattleTech scholar to cringe when the computer says “…all systems online” NOMINAL!! IT’S NOMINAL!!! Whew, really blew my lid there. Hopefully they realize their mistake.