The free-to-play MechWarrior Online is not a run-and-gun shoot’em up. Instead, it is a simulation heavy Mech game with fairly complex controls. Piranha Games broke down how players will move and shoot with the massive mechs while making sure they don’t overheat when the game launches on the PC later this year. We also get our first in-game screenshots out of the 2012 Game Developers Conference showing the romping stomping robots.
MechWarrior Online follows the traditional WASD controls with the ‘W’ and ‘A’ controlling the Mech’s throttle, not necessarily moving forward or backwards. Weapons can also be assigned to up to six different groups using keys ’1′-’6′ on the keyboard. This allows players to cycle through which weapons are fired when the keys are pressed.
Heat management plays a prominent role once again as a BattleMech can automatically shut down if your blast off all your weapons continuously. This is where the weapon groups mentioned above help out. The amount of heat sinks and where they are located will help with dissipating heat as well and you can do things like mounting heat sinks on the Mech’s legs and stand in water to help.
Weapons are divided into Energy (Lasers, Flamers, PPCs), Ballistic (Gauss, Machine Guns, AutoCannons), and Projectile (Missiles, Artillery) categories. Since the weapons come in different sizes and weights, choosing the right mix for the BattleMech chasis you drive will be critical to success.
Like any good sim game, the HUD in MechWarrior Online floods the pilot with information including throttle speed, damage readout, jumpjet energy, heat meter, compass, torso twist and more including the targeting information when you’ve locked on to an enemy Mech as you can see below.
Unlike other fast-paced Mech games coming out in 2012, managing your BattleMech in MechWarrior Online will be more important than a twitchy trigger finger. We’ll find out how much more when the game launches this summer.
You can check out the full explanation of the BattleMech controls at the official MechWarrior Online blog.