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New MechWarrior Announced, MechWarrior4 To Be Distributed Free 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-in-beer dept.
Vamman writes "In light of the recent announcement of the new MechWarrior game, Smith and Tinker has granted our online dev team MekTek.net (which has been supporting MechWarrior for almost a decade now) permission to release MechWarrior 4 entirely for free using the same type of distribution model that id Games used for Quake3's free release.
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New MechWarrior Announced, MechWarrior4 To Be Distributed Free

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  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:4, Informative)

    by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday July 09, 2009 @02:28PM (#28639955) Journal

    Yes, that was great as well. I quite liked the balance they reached in MW4 with that, where you had room to tweak, but had to keep the categories of weapons etc vaguely in line with the original ethos of the chassis. So a laser-heavy mech might only be able to use energy weapons in a lot of its slots. It struck me as a good way of finding a balance between allowing for customisation, without turning it into a game of pure min/maxing.

  • Re:Unseen 'Mechs? (Score:2, Informative)

    by you-nix-boy (698814) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @02:38PM (#28640113)
    Nope, Catalyst Games Labs (who now have the rights for the Battletech game) have secured the rights for the Unseen again. The classic "Robotech" mechs are all available again in Battletech. http://catalystgamelabs.com/2009/06/24/catalyst-game-labs-brings-back-unseen/ [catalystgamelabs.com]
  • by Gwarsbane (905113) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:06PM (#28640569)
    Everything, will be free. Vengence, Blackknight, the packs and Mercs. It will also include a whole bunch of maps and MekTek's own MekPaks. It will all be one download more then likely via bit torrent, the ISO image maybe as large as 3 or 4 gigs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:16PM (#28640727)

    To a question like that my first reaction was "RTFA! I am sure it is explained there.". Then I RTFA and... It wasn't. Then I followed the link to Battletech and didn't quickly find it there either. Then I googled for "Quake 3 free release", got to wikipedia and... Still found no mention of what this magical distribution method is.

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:3, Informative)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:42PM (#28641121) Homepage

    Yep, MW2 had it set. I was pretty disappointed with MW3 and MW3 loadout ability. It was really restrictive compared to MW2. I couldn't use my favorite combinations.

    I had a friend who loved the Jenner and, god forbid, the Uller for multiplayer. He'd strip the armor down to nothing, give it a handful of heatsinks and a jumpjet or two, boost up the engines to the max, and outfit it just a handful of small lasers. He was devistating against anything but other similarly equipped mechs: he'd avoid all incoming fire with finesse, get in close, and either get up underneath you and shoot the cockpit out (quickly) or follow you (if you were in a medium or other light mech) and shoot the backside middle of the chassis out. It was a really good technique, and he could do it while avoiding another mech as well.

    In 3 and 4, a lot of the more esoteric combinations didn't really work. For that matter, it was largely a moot point; they'd changed the chassis on most mechs enough, as well as the general aiming and gameplay, that it didn't matter much. Pretty frustrating.

    The other thing about 3 and 4 I didn't like was that LRMs weren't as effective for actual long-range use, it seemed.

  • Re:Q! (Score:3, Informative)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:44PM (#28641153) Homepage

    Quake 3's source code was released under the GPL, but the game assets remained commercial property of id Software.

    They did the same thing with Quake 2, Quake 1, and Doom. Hopefully Doom 3's code will be released soon.

    I don't know why the story submitter couldn't have said "source code released under GPL", like Slashdotters won't know what "source code" means?

  • Wait wait wait... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:48PM (#28641201) Homepage

    I'm looking at these announcements and they're saying the game is going to be released "for free". I do not see what this has to do with Quake 3 at all, or even how the two releases are similar. Quake 3 the game was never released "for free" unless you are counting Quake Live.

    I think the submitter may have fucked up.

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster...man@@@gmail...com> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:59PM (#28641365)

    So the developers laziness or technological limitations are just cause for forcing players to choose specific loadouts?

    No, it's the game canon. Most Mechs are not intensely customizable. They have some hardpoints for mounting, and it makes sense that some hardpoints might not have the hardware to accept any old weapon. Energy weapon hardpoints will have large power and coolant conduits. ACs and Missiles will have smaller energy/coolant conduits, and ammo feed mechanisms. Additional modifications would not be within the realm of possiblity for a mercenary lance or other small combat group.

    It seems a fair assumption that the MadCat designers (in canon) would not find the need to place ammo feeds into the arms (where the PPCs were located) or high-power conduits to the missile pods.

  • Re:a few features (Score:4, Informative)

    by Yosho (135835) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @04:14PM (#28641579) Homepage

    I'm especially glad they went back to the Clans, as they had the more interesting mechs and backstory.

    That's not quite right -- the game is being set in 3015, which is before the Clan invasion, and so it's unlikely you'll see any Clan technology in the game.

    What, did computer technology get lost in the intervening years?

    Actually, yes; in the BattleTech universe, centuries of warfare have caused the loss of quite a bit of scientific knowledge and technology. That's why Clan technology was so much more advanced than the Inner Sphere stuff.

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun@ g m a i l . com> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @04:44PM (#28641931) Journal

    Exactly. Classic CLASSIC BattleTech, where a 'mech was often a family heirloom, battles were as much ritual combat as anything else, and MechWarriors were akin to pilots in WW1.

    All got farked up when the GDL found that damn Star League memory core and New Avalon Academy of Science started unlocking lostech....

    (hope I remembered all that fluff properly - been a while, but dammit, I'm going to reread the Warrior trilogy tonight. Justin Allard for the win!)

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:3, Informative)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:09PM (#28642291) Homepage Journal

    You don't know what you are talking about.

    The event in question is the Eternal September [wikipedia.org], and that happened before Diablo. It also had nothing to do with instant messaging.

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:3, Informative)

    by slaker (53818) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:19PM (#28642431)

    Based on my recollection of the original Mechwarrior RPG, the Inner Sphere states controlled between them somewhere between 300 and 400 regiments, each consisting of roughly 100 battlemechs. Add in all the mercenaries, pirates and periphery powers and figure that maybe there might be a total of 50,000 mechs.

    That's for the whole of human space in the Battletech Universe of 3025 (the fiction also suggests that Comstar had its Com Guards, which had some vast and uncounted number of mechs).

    Going by the game fiction the largest planetary conflicts (Twycross) might have involved 4000 - 5000 Mechs, while a heavily guarded single planet like Tharkad might have 8 regiments acting in defense. Huge hellish battles certainly could happen.

    At the same time, a multiple-planet Bandit Kingdom might have been formed by somebody with four mechs and a dropship, outside the general area of organized civilization. If you have giant war machines and the only means of providing things like water and food, you are in charge.

    The game also makes clear that some worlds would have no mechs and for that matter only a 19th century technology base, either because of the size of the state vs. the importance of that planet, or because of the feudalist attitudes of that planet's ruler. Or both.

    Battletech has really awesome source material.

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fireye (415617) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:21PM (#28642479)

    Up until (as a previous poster mentioned) LosTech (Old Star League technology) was rediscovered, what I said was true. All MechWarrior games after the first were set post-clan invasion, which is after the Inner Sphere began to recover methods and technology on the creation of BattleMechs. The Clans never lost that tech, so building mechs wasn't as large an issue for them. ... also, pretty much all of the MechWarrior games so far have been pretty Action/Arcadey. It's nescessary to have a multitude of enemies, so the limitations of the fictional universe weren't applied nearly as strictly.

    Regarding adaptation, I think you're partially correct, within the confines of the fictional universe. Yes, weapons can be adapted to fit mechs that weren't designed for them, but I'd guess it's extremely unlikely that you could do it effectively in the field. It'd be like taking an afternoon to put a 600hp rotary engine in a Corolla. Also, the weapons may not have been so compartmentalized back in 3015. Sure, you could probably weld on a weapon to a part of the Chassis, but did you plan for the added weight in that area? Did you make sure that enough power was routed there? Do you have localized heatsinks ready to dissipate the heat involved with firing that weapon?

    This game seems to be based upon the defense of a fairly backwater planet from a Kurita invasion. Based on that subject, I think it's unlikely that there would be too much customization of weapons possible, if it sticks true(er) to the fictional universe.

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:3, Informative)

    by dunkelfalke (91624) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @08:44PM (#28644823)

    Sure. Start with the Gray Death Legion trilogy, then continue with the Warrior trilogy and after that the Kurita books:

    Gray Death Legion trilogy:
    Decision at Thunder Rift 0451451848
    Mercenary's Star 0451451945
    The Price of Glory 0451452178

    Warrior trilogy:
    En Garde 0451456831
    Riposte 0451457188
    Coupe 0451457226

    Wolves on the Border 0451453883
    Heir to the Dragon 0451455274

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:3, Informative)

    by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @10:03PM (#28645365)

    So the developers laziness or technological limitations are just cause for forcing players to choose specific loadouts?

    No, it's the game canon. Most Mechs are not intensely customizable. They have some hardpoints for mounting, and it makes sense that some hardpoints might not have the hardware to accept any old weapon. Energy weapon hardpoints will have large power and coolant conduits. ACs and Missiles will have smaller energy/coolant conduits, and ammo feed mechanisms. Additional modifications would not be within the realm of possiblity for a mercenary lance or other small combat group.

    It seems a fair assumption that the MadCat designers (in canon) would not find the need to place ammo feeds into the arms (where the PPCs were located) or high-power conduits to the missile pods.

    Actually, you're very close to exactly right but not quite. Traditional 'Mech designs were like real world armoured vehicles in that their weapons & equipment loadout was pretty non-modular. Like the real world, however, there were also many revisions of most of the basic designs. In the tabletop game, altering the loadout of one of these 'Mechs was a significant engineering effort that required skilled engineers, technicians, and weeks of work.

    However, the Mad Cat is a slightly different beast. One of the primary features of the Mad Cat and its sister Clan mechs was that they were "OmniMechs", which had a completely modular design with respect to weaponry. (In the tabletop game, you have more or less free reign: You can't remove the built-in armour or heatsinks, although you can add more, and you can't change the engine. Other than that, go nuts). Canonically, these could be completely refitted in a matter of hours, and each OmniMech chassis came with 4 or 5 different "standard loadouts". They typically tend to follow the same general theme as the standard loadout, (eg tweaking the size and type of missile racks, or changing one "large barrel" type weapon for a different one such as swapping autocannons for lasers). However there are counter examples - I'm pretty sure there is at least one canonical Mad Cat loadout that doesn't include any missiles at all.

    Lower-class warriors were required to use a standard loadout, if they could get an OmniMech at all, while higher-class warriors were allowed custom loadouts. I believe there are actually some miniatures available to represent some of the popular alternate loadouts.

  • Re:Woo-hoo (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sibko (1036168) on Friday July 10, 2009 @03:28AM (#28646719)
    Just wanted to point out a few things here:

    The "Mad Cat" is the inner sphere designation for the clan Timber Wolf. It was named such because it looks like a cross between a Marauder and a Catapult.

    Further, the Timber Wolf is an Omni-mech, it was specifically designed for alternative weapon loadouts. Which is to say, it doesn't have any problems with ammo or missiles going in specific locations, because the whole thing is modular. A Timber Wolf Prime carries the iconic LRM 20's, while the Timber Wolf A only carries a single SSRM 6 in the right torso.

    So essentially your statement that

    the MadCat designers (in canon) would not find the need to place ammo feeds into the arms (where the PPCs were located) or high-power conduits to the missile pods.

    Is entirely wrong. In fact, the clans liked the ability to change and customize loadouts so much that they've relegated all non-omni mechs to second-line status.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.

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