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News: Hawken isn’t a mecha game, apparently

Posted on : 17-06-2012 | By : | In : News


The rather luscious looking Hawken has apparently already been receiving criticism from its prospective fanbase; due to the mecha coming across as merely mecha skinned people rather than pilotable machines in their own functional right. In some ways, we can see where people are coming from (as a recent game will attest to) but we think the rationale put forward does somewhat miss the point. Specifically that why would mecha be made unnecessarily awkward to pilot, despite being a rather obvious straw man on their part no decent mecha game goes out of its way to do what they claim. In fact the opposite is true; that in order to give as much control to the player the controls and movement need to be managed more carefully. Gamers want to feel that they’re controlling a complex and potent machine, as there are already plenty of pedestrian shooters out there to choose from. All this aside we’re still sitting on the fence until Hawken is finally out later this year.


Comments (22)

…I don’t get that article. They seem to be assuming that the only reason a 60-ton robot might not move exactly like a person is because it was deliberately designed that way.

Do I really need to explain why that’s silly?

I’ve always had a problem with Mechwarrior and other western style mecha games (tabletop, video, whatever) because, IMO, if mecha were that slow and crappy they would never be built and used in the first place. We already have tanks and jets that are far more capable than the crappy Battletech garbage.

If you could make a Gundam in this day in age, someone would. We’d be razing wedding parties in Afghanistan with them right now. But because the only mechs we could make would be sub-Alien Powerloader in performance, nobody is building them.

Therefore, while horrible slow western mecha games are more “realistic” in the sense that that’s what a near-future robot suit would look like, they are extremely UNrealistic in the sense that nobody would mass produce garbage like that because F16s and M1s would blow it’s slow ass to smithereens in minutes.

while it is true that nobody in the right mind would design a big, slow, and clunky mech for warfare. i think the point here is that these people want this game’s battle to be a little different than the shooters we see in the market right now.

I agree that there should be some sort of difference between Halo and a mech game other than the textures.

Except that its pretty much the same. Its just that you’re a robot and have missiles.

I mean no matter that they’re trying to present the pretext that you’re tooling around in a giant mech about a city scaled for smaller normal people, you’re not really having an impact or presence. Walls and buildings are impervious to your weapons disrupting the illusion. Nevermind that you’re practically floating around the place.

Dude, Hawken is exactly what a western audience needs so they can wet their appetite with fast-paced mech concepts.

A sophisticated powerful machine WOULD react fluidly…THATS whats badass about them! They glide and boost and leap and dump violent, hellish payloads of explosive ordinance on targets with grand efficiency.

“Hawken isn’t a mecha game?” My ass it isn’t. I’m excited for it’s release.

People complaining Hawken not being a mech game want something like this:

Sounds like fans think this is an action sim instead of a pure action experience.

Not really, as something like Virtual On isn’t at all a sim and that still conveys the sense you’re a piloting a machine (in a very arcade and concise way). I can see why people are concerned but I’ll wait till I get to play it before I make my mind up.

Virtual On is merely farther to the left on the mech scale than Hawken is.If you could imagine a scale where Steel Battalion, with its start up sequences and it big ass controller, are on the far left and your average non “sim-y” Gundam title sits on the far right, you could say Hawken leans to the right.I’ve always found the argument the the feeling of controlling a mech comes from the actual controls is somewhat off mainly because mechs operate on a case by case basis and can be a simple or complex as the developer feels they should be. The true sensation of being within a walking war machine comes from the ambiance and details around you.High quality,gritty,throaty sound effects,Persistent corpses and more importantly differentiation between modes of death (hit with a cannon,enemy falls with a big chunk of its side missing, hit with a laser, enemy falls with a big glowing hole in side),ramming and other raw physical impacts, environmental damage,visceral impacts from weapons,well made animations,head bob and cockpit shaking (if applicable).In short, mucking up the controls and saying “its a robot,it needs more complexity” is merely a ham fisted and misguided interpretation of what a mech actually is.A mech is defined by the way it interacts with the environment and the destruction it leaves in it wake.With this in mind controls are really secondary to the experience,fans should be asking questions like “will there be vision blur when my pilot experiences the Gs from boosting”,”Will I be able to see my hands?” or “how weighty will my mech feel?” instead of worrying about actually beneficially simple controls.The assertion that Hawken doesn’t feel very mech like are correct but these are problems with presentation and won’t be solved with control schemes.

To get back to my scale example there are mech games that try to capture the feeling of controlling a mech and a game with mechs like Gundam Senki or Lost Planet that simply have them as a means to an end without try to emulate there gravitas.Is this a shame? Yes,I would love to see all the methods of ambiance implemented in every mech game in order to increase immersion but they aren’t necessarily required.Gundam Senki was one of the best Gundam titles made in years and it was pretty far to the right.

I think that’s a very shallow understanding of what makes a mecha game functionally distinct from something else. Ambiance and effects mean fuck all when it comes to nailing the functionality of a mecha.

Controls are partly to do with that but you can utterly standardise them and still have something that has the weight and complexity of a piloted vehicle.

That’s the key really. All mecha games are distilled from a functional premise; controlling a piloted mecha. This is why SRW and VO can be both mecha games despite being in different genres. The parameters of the mecha are retained, just implemented differently.

The issue people are having with Hawken is that “mecha” element, controls or otherwise, is possibly absent. That all the game will be is robot skinned people in terms of the functionality.

That always sucks.

I don’t quite follow.If you believe that controls are only slightly responsible and view capturing the “feel” of a mech unimportant than what is this “functionality” you speak of?A heat gauge,vision modes?

I think the best mechs are a fusion of both styles, namely the mecha you see in Front Mission and Patlabour.

Yeah going to have to wait and see how this game turns out, hopefully its good.

The simple controls are whats kept me watching for this game. This is gonna be like going back to the Quake 3 days for me. Pure hardcore action. Shogo wasnt an amazing game but everyone seemed to like it.

As clunky as the vehicle mode controls were, Shogo was a great idea. Totally underrated, but it hasn’t aged well AT ALL, lol. We’re overdo for a great mech game on PC that ain’t Mechwarrior.

I, the game is fine, all we would ask esque also put the game in third person because you might notice haci the mech …

@Greg Controls are a small part of getting the handling right. Fundamentally mecha either need to have weight or a delay or even macro type movement commands. It’s a vehicle and as such it should handle accordingly. The controls are the next layer after that and technically can still be standardised (as per the dual analogue/ mouse and keyboard setup seen in most TPS/FPS games) whilst still retaining the functional core that makes it uniquely a mecha game.

Literally everything else after the controls is window dressing to sell the functional elements in an audio visual way.

I see.

What is mecha really? Isn’t it a giant, cumbersome emulation of a man or a creature? Do you know how to tell if a game is presenting an arcadey or simulative version of giant robots? WATCH THEIR FEET – If it slides along the ground unnaturally when walking or running then designers are gunning for you to have a fast paced Arcade like experience because they won’t put more detail to the animation and physics.
If the feet hold their position while walking and running because of detailed animation and physics of feet and legs then you have a true Simulation.

Take Anubis for example: You start out in an LEV. For the most part it was the most boring part of the game because you waited for it to finish walking and jumping to the other end of the map. But it walked most realistically – you could see how each stride started , landed and ended . And then for the rest of the game you’re switched over to Jehuty itself which for the most part had quick responsive controls and NO FEET so it would just float. It had turned into an arcade game.

The thing about mecha controls is it needs to be condensed into the form of a game pad or keyboard and must capture the feel of looseness that one would associate with driving a huge vehicle like a truck or a yacht.

Designers of mecha have the hard choice of making players feel their game (Simulation) or enjoy it (Arcade). So they try to strike up a balance that combines both feeling and fun.

So as mecha lovers first and gamers next, what are the things we love about giant mecha? These are probably the things game designers want to know when they design how to control mecha.

So LEVs are mechs because their low tech level requires them to walk in a cumbersome manner, but once the main character gets to a quantum leap in mecha technology in finding Jehuty he’s supposed to get as upset as some mechwarrior purist when he isn’t getting sea sick or tripping over cars? “I’m offended that this so-called robot handles like a dream!” Battletech has so poisoned the minds of western robot lovers that they despise grace and speed?

My issue with this game is not the controls or the way it feels but the fact that these so called mechs look more like boxes with legs and random weapons attached to them. Why cant we get a multi player customizable mech game that look and control like the mechs in zone of enders

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