Monthly Archives: September 2018

Vox Machinae!

VoxM Date trailer Cover

Giant robots…who doesn’t love them?

By: Craig H. Handler,

The cratered battlefields of the future will no doubt be fought over by giant mechanized warlords.  These giant metallic behemoths, locked in fierce combat with lasers, machine guns and missile batteries, have captured my imagination dating all the way back to the earliest of my sci-fi memories.  My love for this genre of future war was encouraged by popular series like Battletech, Mech Warrior and Robotech.  As a gamer, I instantly buy any title that even remotely involves giant piloted robots.  This Fall, however, I will finally be able to pilot a 140-foot tall walker and engage in battle with my virtual reality headset!  Vox Machinae, the upcoming title by indie developer Space Bullet, promises to let players, “strap into the cockpit of a robot seven times taller than a Tyrannosaurus Rex!”  Although developed with VR specifically in mind, Vox Machinae promises to be the ultimate giant robot combat action-simulator for both VR and standard screens.

The guys at Space Bullet were kind enough to provide me with an early access code, and after playing around for a bit, I am entirely sold on the concept!  Several games have tried to create an immersive giant “mech” experience for VR, but to date, none have succeeded like Vox Machinae. In a word, its AWESOME!  The war machines of Vox Machinae, known as “GDRs” or “Grinders,” feel heavy as they lumber across alien terrain. The cockpit controls are functional and can be accessed using the motion wands of my HTC Vive.  Lasers zip across the battlefield and missiles corkscrew through the air. Armor shatters off of Grinders as cannon shells rip into targets. Arms and legs can be blown off causing a loss of mobility or firepower.  Pilots have to manage heat output as too much can cause a shutdown of systems, a deadly possibility in the thick of combat.  The battle experience of Vox Machinae is nasty, brutish and short.

Although the action is geared toward multi-player battlefields, each game mode can be filled with friendly and enemy bots.  Prior to heading into combat, the player can select one of a number of different Grinder chassis, each being separated by weight class. Generally speaking, a heavy Grinder will have thicker armor and more firepower, at a cost of mobility.  The lighter Grinders literally jet across the field.  Players can hop into battle with a pre-loaded Grinder, or they can create a custom Grinder with a powerful arsenal of lasers, rail guns, missiles, flak, cannons and more.  According to Space Bullet, there is no loot-box or micro-transaction “nonsense.”

So far, I have only tried out one Grinder class (a heavy) and fought on a single rocky martian battlefield.  The game promises to see players fighting over a “plethora of unique alien worlds” with a number of different objectives.

As noted above, although Vox Machinae can be played on a regular screen, it was clearly meant to be experienced in VR. It is very hard to convey the immersion of VR Grinder combat. It is one of those things that you just have to see and feel firsthand to appreciate.

A brief overview of features at release includes:

  • A weighty tactical VR simulator blended with responsive action.
  • Crossplay between PC VR (Rift/Vive/WMR) and desktops across Steam and Oculus Store.
  • Play offline, on a local network, or online with drop-in support and up to 16 players.
  • Be the pilot and immerse yourself with a full avatar body and motion control operations.
  • Pick from 5 customizable grinders and deck them out with an array of devastating weaponry.
  • Work with your team to recover and protect the monolithic Decker machine in Salvage mode.
  • Control the majority of 5 factories dotting the map and reap their benefits in Stockpile Mode.
  • Coordinate the battle plan with your team using unique visual VOIP comms, and look your best with an array of headgear.
  • Hone your skills with full bot support across all gameplay modes.

Stay tuned for more coverage as the release of Vox Machniae draws closer. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some killer screenshots!

Moving On!

A note from the content editor ~

Brant Guillory, 9 September 2018

Hey folks,

If you frequent our forums, then you’ve probably seen the announcement that I’m leaving GrogHeads. This wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s the one I felt the need to make at this point in my life.

I’m leaving behind a fun, vibrant, exciting community that didn’t exist 7 years ago. Together, we took GrogHeads from “non-existent” to a serious site in the wargaming world. At one point we were one of the top 100k sites in the US, and were regularly killing our competition in some pretty neat measurables, like the time the average user spent on the site.

You guys rallied around your fellow community members like no other. One of our Wives of Grog™ got inundated with Christmas cards when they’d moved to a new base only weeks earlier, and he had to pack up for Afghanistan, leaving her with a newborn and few other kids in a new town for the holidays. Twice, you guys rallied to support Bayonet Jr getting to a major soccer tournament when I was un(der)employed. You pitched in for the community ranging from fighting childhood cancer to surprise birthday card avalanches to helping a young man fighting possible vision loss.  We’ve had Grogs show up a funerals for folks we only knew through online interactions, with cards signed on behalf of the whole family.
That generous spirit is a key reason we had an active and vibrant thread just to donate extra copies of games to each other, usually digital codes, but often tabletop games, too.
And the annual family reunion that was Origins became a tentpole event for some people’s summer vacations.

We started a podcast, a video show, tried a few different recurring series, and peppered a variety of Civ AARs with unnecessary sexual innuendos. We wore our bowling shirts like a university history department tried to form a biker gang and ended up going out for tacos instead, and what started on a lark turned into 2500+ posts of puns to torture MetalDog.

It’s been a fun 6-1/2 years, but it’s time to pass the torch. Gus & Jarhead will be steering the ship now, and it’ll be exciting to see where they take it.
I’d tell y’all to give them the same amount of love you gave me, but that’s just kind of a mean thing to wish on them!

You guys take care, and remember that it’s all just one big, dysfunctional gaming family.

— Bayonet 06, Out.

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Gaming Nostalgia – Sci-Fi by SPI

#TBT at GrogHeads!

SPI had plenty of sci-fi tabletop games.  We’ve seen some before, and here are a few more.

click images to enlarge

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