Build-A-Bot Workshop: M.A.V. Hitting Steam Early Access

I'd have included a chrome cast of my mother's face, personally.

Since childhood you’ve imagined it, drawing up lists and doodling designs on your schoolbooks, imagining what name you’d use, awaiting the day when all this would come true. It’s finally here. You can do it. Embrace it. Build the killbot of your dreams in M.A.V.. (Mine would be a lean four-metre biped in unpolished metal with shotguns, claws, and neon blue mood lighting.)

The tactical mech shooter with a fancy piece-by-piece builder will arrive on Steam Early Access today, having after its own pre-order alpha for a while, for people fussy about buying elsewhere.

As a confessed character creator enthusiast, it’s the mech lab which catches my eye most. It’s got hundreds of parts, from bases with wheels, legs, tracks and whatnot, through a whole range of weapons, armour, and cockpits, to tools deploying walls or turrets. These all snap together like in Kerbal Space Program, and their weight, stability, recoil, and so on naturally all affect your mech. A mech which you will then take into combat, I guess, though it might ruin that paintjob. Locational damage means you can exploit weak spots like connectors to knock great chunks off mechs.

The Early Access version currently has deathmatch and a team mode about exploding the other mechs’ base, but the full game is due to have a more extensive campaign mode. It’ll be a persistent affair about capturing and fortifying territories, recruiting AI chums, saving up for bot bits, and generally being a thorn in the big nasty government’s side.

M.A.V. is made by one-man developer Bombdog Studios. Here’s a bit of bot-building and bot-smashing from February:


  1. wodin says:

    Would love to see this sort of lab thing in a tactical sci fi Wargame. Say alternative steampunk WW1 setting with crazy looking mechs with a WW1 asthetic.

  2. DatonKallandor says:

    It’s bascially Indie Chromehounds but on the one-true-platform instead of console exclusive.

    • Wolvaroo says:

      I was about to say how it looks eerily like Chromehounds (Probably my favourite toybox exclusive of all time). About time if you ask me!

      I hope they keep COMBAS! Lugging around a giant radar dish was never so much fun.

      edit: I just read on their steam page they are adding “commander parts” SHIT YEAH.

  3. Phasma Felis says:

    A few minutes into the video…I can deal with enormous part selections, but I hope he improves either the names or the UI. At the moment it appears that the tread parts are literally just every possible combination of the root noun “Track” or “Tank” with the optional adjectives “Armored,” “Heavy,” “Enchanced” (sic), and “V2.”

    If the names are arbitrary, I’d like to see something a little more flavorful. If they’re modular options (e.g. “Armored” means +10 armor rating, “Enchanced” means +0.5 turn rate…) it would make a lot more sense to use a handful of checkboxes and radio buttons instead of scrolling up and down a huge list. I’m reminded of an insurance document I saw that paid out $X for each limb lost, but instead of just saying that it listed every possible combination of limb(s) individually…

    Edit: Yeah, looks like the adjectives are meaningful. Here’s hoping, then.

  4. Phasma Felis says:

    Oh dear. One of the example mechs uses support struts to dangle the vital torso behind its knees, like a hobo’s bindlestick, to make it harder to hit. This produces a machine with most of the weight in back, supported by two legs at the very front, which somehow remains upright.

    It’s cute for an experiment, but it really dampens my enthusiasm for the game as a mech sim. I hope that kind of cheesiness gets sorted out before the full release.

    He goes on to give other approving examples of players arranging all their guns and equipment in front of the cockpit with wraparound struts to serve as ablative armor. It appears that there’s no direct way to, say, just mount extra armor on the front of your most crucial component. Again, not so promising.

    Well, I’m gonna check it out anyway. :) How could I not? I’m a sucker for both mech games and modular construction.

    • rusty5pork says:

      Actually, it looks like balance is a requirement for a usable mech. I guess those big-ass guns balance it out.

    • KDR_11k says:

      It doesn’t care about the center of mass but other than that part placement matters a lot, recoil directions are affected by the position of the gun and the spacers he uses to move the cockpit backward can be shot out to destroy the entire mech.

      But honestly, it’s already hard enough to build a good mech, even more complexity and you’d require a PhD just to get something working.

  5. rusty5pork says:

    I just spent an hour designing the perfect mid-weight close-range mech.

    I’m now too tired and drunk to play a match with it.

    I still love this game.

  6. psuedonymous says:

    This just leaves me hungrier for a too-good-to-exist Steel Battalion PC Release With The Big Controller And Oculus Support With STEM/PrioVr Integration So You Can See Your Hands Flailing Around In The Cockpit When Trying To Press The Eject Button..