CZeroFive here. I’m one of the gameplay programmers for Hawken and I have some exciting stuff to share with you today.
I would like to give you an update and get your opinions on upcoming changes to the console game, and share with you some upcoming updates to the way Primary Weapons, Internals, and Items work.
We’re going to be reintroducing a few elements to the console game, namely, the ability to switch out your primary weapons, adding back in the internals system from PC, and adding back in the items system from PC.
Let’s begin with a bit of an explanation of each:
Historically, on PC, Mechs have a default Primary, and an Alternate and Prestige Primary Weapon, both of which were available for purchase with MC at any time, and then upon achieving appropriate mech ranks, the weapon would also be purchasable with HC. Internally, this led to a few problems - we could not simply add a weapon easily to a Mech that we wanted to have the weapon available, beyond 2 choices. There were also parts of code that tied into the alternate and prestige weapon system, which limited your choices to simply those two weapons.
On Console, Mechs had only a single primary weapon; and no other ones to change out. This is good in theory, but dull in terms of overall gameplay. In a Mech shooter, you expect to be able to customize some of the weapons. Lore-wise, the weapons were basically bolted onto the Mechs when they were created, and it just did not make sense that you could not change them.
Players checking the game out from the PC side were confused as to why we did this, and we don’t blame them - the system worked in theory, but that left the progression options restricted. It would also set a bad precedent for when we would eventually move the console codebase over to the PC codebase, as the data would be largely incompatible.
Fast-forward to post-console launch. The initial goal was to enable more weapons to be available on every mech… at first, it was 5 weapons total, with 2 of them being alternate and prestige, and those were given for free upon reaching mech ranks x and y… whereas the others would be purchasable at any time for MC or HC. This, as you can imagine, had a few problems that we encountered during development.
The PC game and Console game somewhat diverged from each other in terms of design direction.
We wanted to unify the two codebases together, without creating imbalances for legacy PC players that had weapons that were not typically available.
The weapons that have been available in console have been just one weapon per mech. It would make a lot more sense to just enable the PC weapons as an ‘extra’ weapon as opposed to a prestige or secondary weapon.
There would be multiple issues of enabling more than a few weapons per Mech from a balance standpoint. We simply did not have enough weapons to support that many options per Mech.
We also encountered issues awarding the Alternate and Prestige weapons for free:
The underlying codebase did not have a means for awarding anything automatically on a per-mech basis, and we’re working with some internal restrictions for ‘free’ purchases.
We were going to award everything at a discounted price upon hitting the appropriate rank. However, this discount, once we applied it to one instance of the weapon, would apply to ALL Mechs for that weapon, and again we hit a technical limitation during development where we had to scrap the idea of awarding things for free. We could’ve made multiple offers for each Mech, but that would be a nightmare to maintain, and there would be an issue with multiple offers pointed at the same game item due to how the initial system was coded years ago.
So we agreed on a final idea that would work for everyone: Mechs will have one or more Primary weapons available for purchase at all times with HC or MC. All mechs will have just 1 secondary weapon. The entire notion of Prestige and Alternate weapons goes away, since if we’re all honest, the terminology was confusing.
There will be some mechs that only have 1 primary and 1 secondary weapon, largely these will be mechs that are unique in terms of loadout.
Oddly enough, this is close enough to PC as it stands that it will work ‘out of the box’ with the dataset from PC when we do end up merging in the codebase for PC.
Additionally, over time, we will be able to release more weapons for use with certain Mechs; this will be based on community feedback and balance concerns raised internally and externally.
*If* “prestige” and “alternate” weapons are reintroduced in the future, they will likely be “grindable-only” items, but we would need to do work to support per-mech awards as that is not currently integrated.
Below is a teaser (subject to change) of the interface used to switch out weapons. We picked a Mech that has a community favorite for the loadouts (also subject to change):
The internals system from PC will be making a return to the console game in the same form that it is on PC right now, with a few tweaks. For those who don’t know what the internals system from PC is, the internals system is a system where you can slot up to 6 ‘internals’ into your Mech, each with their own benefit. Some internals may take up more ‘slots’ than others. Some internals may come at a cost to other functionality, however, largely they will be mostly positive to start out. They’re the same items used in the console game right now for individual mech loadouts.
Below are the tweaks we’ve made to the console version of the internals system:
Tech Groups will be going away and instead will be replaced with a notion that you cannot equip multiple internals of the same type, e.g. you cannot equip both the basic and advanced variants of the same internal.
There’s a new type of internal we are going to be trying out: the 4-slot internal. These are mainly in place to balance the repair kit and extractor initially. Historically, the repair kit and extractor internals were far too powerful. They allowed you to receive too much self healing. We danced around the idea for a bit, and largely the community spoke and said these internals are simply too powerful. So, instead, we made some changes to the way these internals work directly instead of beating around the bush trying to make them work:
Here are the new stats for the Basic, “Normal”, Advanced and new Expert Internal of these types:
Basic Extractor: 2%
Advanced Extractor: 10%
Expert Extractor: 15%
Basic Repair Kit: 5%
Repair Kit: 10%
Advanced Repair Kit: 15%
Expert Repair Kit: 20%
The goal is to allow for these internals to fit their intended roles better. For example, in Siege mode, you may be more inclined to use an extractor internal over a repair kit internal as it applies to energy units and not just your own personal armor.
The internals from PC will all largely stay the same benefit/stat wise unless otherwise noted above.
We are also experimenting with the concept of positive-negative internals. Here is a picture of the single new internal that we will be adding to the console patch (subject to balancing concerns, of course):
The items system from PC is making a return to consoles as well! This system will allow you to fully customize the two items that are equipped in your Mech to any item that’s currently in the game. Items are unlocked per-mech just like internals.
Below are the changes we’ve made to the console version of the items system:
We are now making each item a 3-slot item. This is so you are more strategic in your choice of items. The other, lower slot items exist as a cost-effective way of getting an item you want (in example, if don’t have enough MC/HC to afford a higher item for this mech, you can unlock a lower one.)
Unlike internals, they do not follow tech group or one-per-mech rules. This is subject to change with feedback.
This includes the new items such as the Shock Turret in the available choices for Mech loadouts. Speaking of which, here is a picture of that item.
First, we’d like to thank you all for being supportive of Hawken. We’re glad that you guys have been voicing your concerns, and we would like you to continue to do so.
We’re hoping to get more feedback on these upcoming changes from both PC and Console players, so please post your feedback in this thread.
Thank you very much for your continued support and love of Hawken, and we hope to bring all of these updates to you soon!
Until next time,
Edited by CZeroFive, 25 October 2016 - 12:51 PM.