Cry Me A Robot

The MechWarrior: Living Legends mod popped a few times in comments over the break, and it has been landing in my inbox from various people, too. I can see why there’s excitement. It’s a Crysis mod based on the Mechwarrior universe, the beta for which is now underway. That means, well, robots piloted by men, with lasers, and missiles. You know the sort of thing. You can grab the most recent version of the mod over at the Moddb page, but you’ll need Crysis to play, obviously. Judging by the beta footage (posted below) this is look very promising indeed.


  1. Danny O'Dare says:

    That reminds me, whatever happened to all the amazing, stunning, awesome, etc deluge of mods for Crysis that we were promised?

    • Starky says:

      With an engine as complex as Crysis they’ll take a couple of years to start coming out.

      Crysis is still bleeding edge when it comes to engine and graphics; nothing has surpassed it yet anyway – but then Crytek made the damn thing for some mythical future computer we’ve yet to achieve in the home.
      The level of work needed to make a crysis mod (at least one that doesn’t look like crap when compared to Crysis itself) is staggering even if you reuse a vast chunk of the Crysis assets.

      Honestly, I think Carmack was right that in a few years we’ll see the death of mods (or more specifically total conversions) for AAA titles, to be replaced by tools like Unity or Unreal and the other engines that will join them – I fully expect Valve will with the source engine, maybe even offer the best ones place on steam as retail products. Free engines where idea’s that would previously only work for a mod might be made as a standalone game.
      The main reasons for TC-mods in the past were free assets (that of the base game) and built in user base – both of which are shrinking in importance. The former because the number of free to use assets people are creating for stuff like Unity is growing daily, soon it easily match the volume you’d get in any game, and the latter because the gaming community is no longer as focused to a few titles as it was back in the HL1/Unreal days.

      Games with excellent mod support will still get mods; extra levels, gameplay and graphics tweaks – but total conversions will dwindle. It just makes more sense to create them as a stand alone product – so if it becomes massively successful you could go commercial with it without having to start from scratch and taking years (like Natural Selection 2).

      I still think this is 5-7 years out though, but I think in 2-3 years we’ll begin to see, and notice the shift.

      I think the turning point will have arrived will be when a free indie game made using one of these free engines, releases non-free DLC/expansions.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, this is how I see it too. It’s not the death of mods – far from it. It’s something far better than that. It’s mods becoming full indie games due to engines being made free for non-profit purposes.

      Meanwhile, the best moddable games will be the modular ones with built-in toolsets. See the countless thousands of mods for Oblivion, Fallout 3 and such, and Torchlight being the new modular kid on the block.

    • Tei says:

      Re: source made free

      I can’t see Source made opensource any time soon, because is already very open (but not free). Valve seems to have a politic of “open, but not opensource”, and since It seems to work, will not change it.

    • Starky says:

      I never said open source, that is a very different thing from free.

      When I say that valve will join them with source, I mean that they’ll offer the source engine (the source SDK and maybe some HL2 assets) to anyone, with the requirement to own a source game removed.

      It makes sense, make it so that playing a source engine game (made using the source SDK) doesn’t require a user to own a source game, but DOES require them to use steam.

      It’s not a huge issue for Valve given almost any PC gamer worthy of owning a gaming PC already owns Half-life 2, and most source mods only require you to own HL2 (though I’ve seen a few that require CS:S also).
      Still it would be nice if they removed that requirement.

  2. MrBRAD! says:

    Apparently it is going to need Crysis Warhead soon. It seems that by the time I get around to buying a game, it out of production. Has happened three times in a row now and is annoying to find them.

  3. Dood says:

    I have been playing MWLL since they released the beta. Although there are some slight technical issues (performance, sound) it is hugely entertaining. I mean, how can shooting giant mechs in the face with other mechs (or airplanes, VTOLs or tanks) not be fun?

  4. Dominic White says:

    The funniest thing you can do in this mod is, after losing your vehicle, just bail out and immediately hop on top of the closest enemy mech, and just sit there.

    The poor bastard won’t be able to do anything, other than get out and try and kill you hand-to-hand. If his teammates aren’t retarded (rare) they’ll laser the unwanted hitchiker off like an armored boil, but this is rare. More often than not, you’ll be able to just sit there on top of an enemy mech, slowly using your laser (or autocannon, ideally) to burn into the enemys cockpit.

    Also, I think this is a much better gameplay video – a montage of reasons to play the game, pretty much.

    link to

    Anyway, unlike previous mechwarrior games, this one covers the whole range of units. Power-armored infantry, tanks (some of them remarkably dangerous), mechs of all weight classes (and all with their purposes), aerospace fighters and VTOLs. It gives it a lot more sense of scale and power than the series normally has.

    • Dood says:

      It’s a shame that it’s not possible to use the massive claw that’s often fitted to a battle armor to just rip the cockpit to shreds.

    • Dominic White says:

      Not yet, at least. Apparently there’s a lot of stuff they’ve got completed and working, but haven’t included in the beta version. Most notably a ton of additional mechs. We’ve only got a handfull here so they can assess balance based on some common archetypes, but the word is they’ve got dozens more completed and working in-game.

    • Jacques says:

      Not content with Dragon Age, “the new shit” appears to have infested big stompy robot land.

    • Dominic White says:

      To be fair, while it is a questionable choice of track, it’s much more at home accompanying a montage of giant robots exploding, as opposed to a tolkien-esque fantasy epic.

    • Jacques says:


  5. 12kill4 says:

    This looks like it could be pretty fun, however the person playing in that demo vid is possibly the least interesting player ive ever seen!

    In regards to it soon requiring Warhead: I nearly picked up warhead in the steam sales but it was only discounted in the pack with crysis vanilla- which i already own.

  6. JuJuCam says:

    Tell me it’s possible to blast the legs off of an enemy mech and watch them squirm and
    I am all over this…

    • Dominic White says:

      Absolutely. With a leg lost, you can actually writhe around and try and bring your guns to bear, but you’re definitely not going to be going anywhere.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Well now I have to buy Crysis next time it’s on sale

  7. mbp says:

    Back in the heyday of big stompy robot games when Mechwarrior 2 ruled the roost I actually preferred the Earthsiege games. Although they didn’t have the glamour of the Battletech setting the robot models in Earth siege were insanely detailed with pages of subsystems that could be individually damaged. Piloting an Earthsiege robot had more in common with Microsoft Flight Simulator than the jump in and start shooting simplicity of Mechwarrior. Nevertheless the game was immensely engrossing once you conquered the cliff like learning curve.

  8. CHR says:

    I’ve been playing it since it was released and it’s been great. There’s nothing quite like taking your Raven out and putting your first shot into a Shadowcats cockpit killing the pilot, gore going everywhere! Or using your small hand laser as battle armour and bringing down an Atlas. You can take up an aerospace fighter and dogfight or mount strafing runs on Mechs. Tanks and Hover craft can easily kill any opposing vehicles or even mechs.

    It runs well. There are some crashes but the first hot fix has helped with that. There’s a bug with falling through the mech hanger floors, which can also make hard to get any mechs or vehicles out tough but you can just walk through the walls at the moment!

  9. mrpier says:

    And of course I uninstalled Crysis and put away my joystick just before christmas. I downloaded this yesterday and I’m eager to check it out.

  10. Heliocentric says:

    Mechs, like angry metal giants.

    • Dominic White says:

      Now moreso than ever. Especially when you’re on foot and armed with a tiddly little laser rifle, a handfull of demolition charges, and a slowly recharging jetpack, and you’ve managed to piss off an Atlas.

      It’s also amazingly fun if you can avoid that initial earthshattering salvo that would reduce your fragile squishy body into a fine red mist.

  11. massivesheep says:

    Is there anywhere with Crysis on offer at the moment? Inquiring minds wish to know!

    I happily traipsed over to Steam, hoping it was included in the Holiday Sale, but was denied.

    • Wisq says:

      @massivesheep: The Crysis Maximum Pack was two-thirds off during day nine of the sale. Sadly, the timing of this article puts it on the wrong side of that sale, timewise.

  12. Kelron says:

    Anyone know if it works with Warhead? I don’t own the original Crysis.

    • Dominic White says:

      It will eventually, but for the moment it’s just for vanilla Crysis.

  13. jsutcliffe says:

    While I like the look of this, how likely is it to be shut down by the IP holders? I vaguely recall FASA having troubles a couple of years ago, and the rights to Mechwarrior being up in the air.

    • Dominic White says:

      Almost no chance of being shut down. When Microsoft owned the rights, they gave the MW:LL guys official blessing to do with it what they like. I’m not sure it’s even within the new rights-holders powers to retroactively declare it invalid. Keep in mind that the current rights-holders are also currently trying to get Mechwarrior 4 + expansions (which were Microsoft products) released as freeware, too.

  14. Alexander Norris says:

    Really wish I could get this to run. Sadly, Crysis just ups and crashes whenever I join a server. I get so far as seeing the team select menu, then it crashes to desktop. :(

  15. scopie says:

    Been watching this for a while… totally psyched it’s finally publicly available (without getting on the dev team, which i considered attempting). Bummer that you need crysis and then warhead to play as I own neither.

    Any idea when the switchover to warhead will occur?

  16. Davee says:

    Finally! The mod Iv’e been waiting for the most! To the Crysis discs!

    Will play as much as I can before it goes Warhead, haven’t been bothered to buy it… Played it on a friends comp, and I wasn’t terribly impressed. But if the mod is as good as it seems, I’ll just have to buy the expansion I guess.

  17. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Got Crysis + Warhead off the sale specifically for this mod. It’s beautiful (thanks to the engine) and lots of fun. Very satisfying to play shoot and scoot with a LRM20 equipped harasser, or zap an overconfident battle armor guy with medium lasers.

    Things that could use some work – BA might be too good/annoying (unless you’re in a vehicle with good turret rotation and have autocannons, they eat em up). As Dominic White said you sometimes have to pop out of your vehicle and go mano e mano with another battle armor – which is a little silly. Two of the major maps for the game, the lava one and the low grav purple asteroid, have annoying ridges making tanks tough to operate and it’s almost impossible to find team mates on those maps.

    One word of warning, you need to have a [retch] Gamespy [barf] account to play Crysis (and hence MWLL) online. Took a bit of working figuring that out. :/

    But still, ultimately a very fun and positive experience so far, hoping to play on some better maps and see some more patches soon.

    • Dominic White says:

      I don’t think Battle Armor needs nerfing at all. It’s basically a big flashing warning sign to players saying ‘Don’t go Lone Wolf’. A single BA may be able to dodge one stream of punishment from a mech, but if it has any kind if support, he’s screwed.

      At the cheapest point, a single Partisan autocannon (4xAC5s = Constant stream of flak) tank can provide anti-air and anti-BA cover for an entire lance of mechs, too. A Huil Large Pulse Laser tank is even better for the job, as it has both sustained fire capabilities and doesn’t have to lead the target.

      It’s fitting that an Atlas, wading through a field of charred tanks and mechs, can be undone by a couple of dudes with jetpacks. That’s hubris for ya.

    • Jacques says:

      The Atlas should be able to reach up and tear the little guys apart with his manly fists.

      Like an angry Trex.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you Dominic, but the maps that people always seem to be playing are terrible for finding people. You can see them on your radar but you can’t get to them because of the 300M sheer cliffs. I’ll probably learn their layout eventually but if I find a server that only plays that really beautiful almost alpine map with the green grass everywhere and the wide open valleys I’ll be happy.

    • Dominic White says:

      The alpine map, and the desert one are both really open. The lava one effectively has three ‘roads’, and it’s really easy to get mauled if you get split up.

      Really, this is a combined arms game. Mechs are huge, heavy, tough weapons platforms that can take a lot of damage and deal a lot back, but they have low accuracy, low maneuverability, and can only really engage within a 180 degree arc of movement. Tanks are weaker, worse armed, can’t navigate rough terrain as well, but they have full 360 degree turret mobility and can often aim higher up than mechs to deal with aerial targets.

      It’s classic rock/paper/scissors stuff.

    • KP says:

      You’re wrong, battlearmor are balanced almost perfectly as is, and they’re so fun. They’re terrifying in a group and in ambush. Harmless in the open or one-on-one. Learn to use the mech weapons against them, just about anything kills them in a single hit and machineguns are brutal murder.

  18. Slaphead says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like the players are always suited up in an Elemental suit when they aren’t in a vehicle? I can sort of see the gameplay reason for that, but still it’s a bit of an immersion killer to have a dude in a huge power armor pop out of a cramped mech cockpit.

    Good to finally see a new Battletech game though. And not a bad looking one either.

    • Dominic White says:

      You can actually see the dudes in the cockpits in this, and they do strip out of their power armor when piloting stuff.

      Also, scoring a critical hit on the cockpit will give you a nice red splat effect as the pilot sprays all over the windscreen.

    • Slaphead says:

      I can definitely get over the power armor thing. This thing looks niiiice with the combined arms stuff. This is the first time AFAIK that we see Aerospace fighters in a Battletech game. Sparrowhawk seems to be in, and I think I saw a a couple of Stukas in the vid…

      I was so unimpressed with Far Cry, that I paid zero attention to Crysis when it was released. Might have to catch up then.

  19. Shalrath says:

    Is it Crysis that has DRM crap on it, or Crysis Warhead?

    • mrpier says:


      Crysis Warhead had activation limits when it came out, but EA or Crytek changed their mind and released a tool to fix this. It’s not a perfect solution but you should be able to install Warhead as many times as you want.

      link to

  20. Eschatos says:

    This game really needs a tutorial, but it’s great fun once you put some effort in. My favorite thing so far is flying around in a VTOL and splatting BAs with my lightning gun whenever they land.

  21. KP says:

    link to

    it’s really fun.

    • Dominic White says:

      That is indeed a great video, and shows a lot of general gameplay. Nice choice of music too – very moody/pensive, which captures the feeling of rolling your way across the battlefield quite nicely.

      That’s something that stands out about this mod – it’s actually quite spectacular just to watch. The night-fight scenes where pretty whoa.

    • Dood says:

      Good to see that I’m not the only one with the teleporting enemy problem.

  22. godwin says:

    Anonymous Coward said:


    it’s really fun.

    Meh the comment system ate my post, posting from forum instead. Anyway that’s a great video, I love the night level footage and all the awesome particle effects, as well as how the guy could ride on top of a mech (reminiscent of Battlefield 1942). Oh, and the Neotokyo music there, that is plain awesome (much better than This is the New Shit).

  23. Acidburns says:

    I gave the mod a go today with a friend and found it to be good fun. Playing on a 16 player or smaller server keeps the game lag-free. A little bit of teamwork goes a long way too. The battle armours are a bit of a pain to deal with. They have regenerating health and can be a real pain if they start hanging around your spawn. I think the base defences need a bit of a boost.

  24. westyfield says:

    Has anyone else seen what’s at the top of the mountain on the alpine map (Clearcut, I think)?

    It’s worth the trip… :)

  25. Mitch says:

    Anybody else notice this article was a part of the new Google Reader mobile announcement today? link to