Besiege exploded out of nowhere and left a huge impact on the PC gaming community this past January—not unlike many of the devices users have built in the game since. Its painterly visuals, modest price tag and destruction-oriented medieval sandbox won the alpha a massive audience almost overnight. And that audience has been busy. They’ve been building simple machines that do exactly as much as they need to do and no more. They’ve been building complex engines that do everything at once and somehow manage not to collapse in on themselves. They’ve… made a Nyan Cat, and a lot more. In case you’ve been out of the loop, here’s some of what the game’s most creative users have been up to.
1. The Cannon That Fires Itself
There’s a touch of contrarian brilliance in this design by TheHiccup. If you’re not fully versed in the building capabilities of Besiege, here’s what’s happening: First, a firing channel snaps into place courtesy of some well-placed hinges, and a suspended cannon aligns with it. Second, the joint supporting the cannon decouples simultaneously when it’s fired, so the momentum from that propels the now loose cannon up along that firing channel and towards its target. Sure, it would be a lot easier to just fire the cannon properly, but where’s the fun in that?
2. The Balloon-Supported Dragon
Planes are a finicky but popular item to build in Besiege. Even the ones that manage to get off the ground are pretty graceless contraptions, which is why the handful taking their inspiration from snakes and Chinese dragons are among the most captivating to watch. Bikuta_Geto’s Flying Snake is one of the better ones. It takes advantage of the balloons added in a game patch in February to give the machine lift without limiting its maneuverability—something that the rows and rows of wings bolted on to other dragon-like designs tend to do.
3. The Engine of (Highly Localized) Destruction
There’s something unnervingly personal about this build by MarikBentusi. You’ll find dozens like it, but they typically unfold to reveal arrays of cannons or a sea of whirling blades—and both of these things somehow manage to be less chilling than the far gentler and more precise weapon that this device hides.
4. The Metal Mammoth
After number three, the bombast of this walker-type build is downright soothing—at least until the video shows of the deluge of hotkeys necessary to control every aspect of this behemoth. Unlike a lot of walkers,
>Ezellines’ Mammoth Walker MK 4 offers a pretty diverse arsenal. The cannon embedded in its back is capable of firing three flaming boulders. The jet-powered rockets concealed along its sides offer four slightly less predictable strikes. Then of course there’s a pair of flamethrowers for tusks, because spikes would be a little too predictable, no? Firepower aside, it’s the little engineering details that really give the Mammoth its character; the floppiness of its trunk, the rotating feet that allow it to turn on a dime, the ears that tuck themselves out of the way once the missiles I mentioned previously are ready to launch. Long story short, this thing is an absolute marvel.
5. The Giant and Very Impolite Siege Hand
6. The Remarkably Detailed Model of the Eiffel Tower
It seems like such a shame to destroy this flawless structure, but then again in a game like this what else are you going to do? Strap some wheels to the feet, dot the front with flamethrowers en lieu of seasonal lights, and drive it right up to a completely defenseless cottage? Just a suggestion. If you’re wondering why the video seems to stop at the juiciest part, creator Johnny Graviti explains in the comments that the tower “has about 4000 parts so it was running at 3fps by the end”. The tragic downside of game physics.
7. The Dancing Robot
Although xbost’s SwagBot Mk II would be lucky to complete an objective in just once of Besiege’s current levels, that’s not exactly what the community surrounding this game is interested in at this point. Because the game is in Early Access there are only a handful of levels currently available to play, which is why so many user-made designs focus on being entertaining rather than being practical. As far as entertainment is concerned the flailing, flamethrowing SwagBot is a resounding success, but there are also a few basic lessons to be learned by anyone looking to build a bipedal Besiege-bot of their own. First of all, it’s incredibly hard to keep something like that upright, so the broader (and heavier) the base the better. Second, once that thing goes down it’s probably not getting back up again, so it’s not a bad idea to have a “plan B.” You know, like self-immolation.
8. The Completely Innocent Ferris Wheel
So what’s the catch with this one? Do concealed flamethrowers turn it into a jet-propelled slaughter carousel? Does each gondola contain a bomb, ready to drop the second the decoupling hotkey is hit? No? Malo just made a perfectly sweet little ferris wheel? Well, that’s lovely.
If you want to dig even further into the world of Besiege, you can find hundreds more builds on the game’s forums, the community Subreddit, or download and share your own over on the fan-run site Besiege Downloads.
Janine Hawkins is a games writer based in sunny Canada. You can find her written and video work on HealerArcherMage.com or follow her on Twitter @bleatingheart.