Omniframes support both MEK and avatar customization

The Omniframe – A M.E.K. Battlesuit

UPDATE: These frames are *fast*. They move like Firefall characters. They do not lumber like mechs. Just and FYI for those wondering.

This is the Ember character as it will most commonly be seen, sporting an Omniframe MEK (Mechanically Enhanced Kinetics) Battlesuit. Players can jump in and out of the suit to get to other vehicles in the game such as aircraft and ground vehicles, but the suit is always summonable and ready to go. It is the primary means that players will fight alongside T.H.M.P.R. mining MEK-A and other encounters.

The Omniframe contains jumpjets as well as glider wings, allowing it to jumpjet over obstacles as well as glide from high points to more distant locations. It does not, however, fly under power. The entire suit is actually very light, being composed primarily of aerogel titanium reinforced at a molecular level with an energized integrity field. This make it light enough to glide, but strong enough to break through a brick wall.

This is the Omniframe without the pilot. It is made of Titanium Aerogel and supported by an integrity field.
This is the Omniframe without the pilot. It is made of Titanium Aerogel and supported by an integrity field.

The pilot sits exposed, but protected by energy shields. This is a what I like to call a “design conceit.” I wanted a way for players to fully customize their character and not have it hidden by a an armored suit all the time. Yet, I still wanted the feel of a MEK you can ride and customize like a car in a racing game. A classic problem with mech designs is how dehumanizing they are, reducing the connection between player and character. By keeping the character visible, you can identify with it more and form a closer bond to both your avatar and your personalized Omniframe.

Both the Omniframe and the character will be customizable. The Omniframe can be improved with crafted components both internally and externally. You’ll be able to give it additional functions and abilities with crafted upgrades, improve its jumpjets and glide capability, sensor arrays, replace heads, wings, armor plates, etc. You can create stealth versions, heavy armor versions, mobility based versions, and specialize your Omniframe for any given role. You can collect more than one frame, customize them for different roles, have them in you garage and switch between them.

Both Omniframe and the player's avatar can be customized in a variety of ways.
Both Omniframe and the player’s avatar can be customized in a variety of ways. These are color examples, but armor plates, heads and wings can be interchanged.

Both the player avatar and the MEK can have a variety of cosmetic options. In addition to swapping out components of your Omniframe, you can add custom paint and decals to achieve a variety of looks. The player character can also be customized in clothing and colors, from casual to fully armored looks. Character will have morphs targets in places like facial features and body sliders, but height and proportion will likely have to remain fixed so we can make sure you fit in your Omniframe properly (and other vehicles). The plan is to have both male and female models available.

EmberCharactersShaded
The player character can be customize with sliders and clothing. You can wear as much or as little body armor as you like.

The combination of player and frame is an interesting one. While no design is set yet, one idea I’m playing with is to have the player have skills and stats that can be improved (such as piloting skills for different vehicles). These skill would be improved by use and practice in the field. The Omniframe abilities, on the other hand, would be dictated by internal and external crafted upgrades. Abilities and features would reside in the Omniframe. Some features and abilities would only be usable by players who have attained enough skill in the relevant areas to use these features.

Once again, the basic principle of horizontal progression is the goal. As you improve you expand your options and capabilities, but the power curve is shallow compared to a MMO. Your skill as a player should be an integral component to how well you do in Ember.

43 comments

  1. sinnsvak says:

    Certain channeled abilities could require a pilot specific stat, called for instance; focus, presence, concentration, neural energy etc.

    Like the look, nothing to complain about there 🙂

  2. rdS says:

    I am intrested to see what the ‘tech tree’ is going to look like with these new battlesuits. More specific the variation of advanced version of these suits, also like the character design(clothing ect).

  3. sinogard says:

    I hope you also take some inspiration from the Armored Core Series (Not Armored core 5… that one sucked) with the ability to completely overhaul the frame, making it heavier and slower while at the same time making it deal high damage, or light and low armored but fast. Lots of different weapons that do lots do different things. you know that horizontal progression that we were looking for with firefall. Where skill is all that mattered. Many different play styles many different approaches. Looking forward to the game. Now lets be honest. This will get the sigs needed.

  4. Mark Kern says:

    Given our budget, our customization options will likely come after the game is launched. We’ll have some beforehand, and we will rig the meshes to accommodate more clothing on avatars and more armor options on the MEK (wing replacements, heads, decals, etc.)

    Prior to launch we can probably do color variations and decals cost effectively. The most important thing is to get to gameplay as soon as possible!

  5. Sevej says:

    I like it. You could add to the concept that in the future due to great improvement in firepower, material-based armor is useless and force field is all the rage. Thus it makes sense to have only limbs, which is used for movement, manipulation and weapons mount. I agree that it’s a little all over the place (block vs round vs spikes).

    Navel alert!

  6. TeCoolX says:

    The shoulders and legs are bent forward, making the big suit look even bigger, and the frame itself has a head along with the character which makes it look like a covering for the operator rather than part of a greater whole. I don’t mind and think it’s a nice design.

    To help bring the ‘identify with your character’ concept farther, you can try shrinking the shoulders and thighs of the suit or bring it back, and make the wings larger to compensate, and as a last resort you can lift the character up and let his head completely replace the suits’, rather than having two heads.

    However, they’re machines and they’re made with practicality in mind (the benefits of energy shields beat physical cover, etc etc to explain the current design) so whatever direction you go, there’s a good in-game explanation anyway. I think the current design realistically portrays a futuristic style without doing the cheesy ‘everything is a shiny white macbook or iphone’ trope where people sit in spheres and are completely replaced by the machine.

  7. ByteMyAscii says:

    Not sure as to the purpose of the MEK’s head really, which seems to stick out a bit given the separation of that from the operator.
    As a sort of helmet offering a Heads-Up-Display it perhaps would have worked better, but its position doesn’t seem to fit that.

    Though I do think the separation of them into individual entities works well, as it adds more customisation options in addition to being perhaps more convincing as it more closely resembles what we see in modern exoskeletons.
    Where we are supplemented by them.

  8. NaleelDragneel says:

    Maybe the head is hollow and works like a helmet for improved targetting? Also i cant wait to play the game when its ready for players! I think Ember will ignite and be a wonderful game unlike any other!

  9. LorNaDos says:

    Shit, this is realy cool. The first thing I thought when I saw this was that it would be cool if it could transform into a jet-bike. But that probaly dont gonna happen cuz it cant hower. And I’m a bit conserned, is tis the only frame that we will be abel to costomize. hope not, if so it would a let down. But the game will probaly be grate.

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