Mecha Ace: The Q&A Thread


#1

Introduction:
Hello, I’m Paul Wang, author of Sabres of Infinity, and I’m here to introduce you to my soon-to-be released sci-fi interactive fiction for Choice of Games: “Mecha Ace: Heroes of the Vedrian War”.

Mecha Ace is a project I’ve been working on since last September. However, because the procedure for creating CoG projects is a bit different from that of making hosted games, I haven’t quite done the whole freestyle Q&A thread I did with Sabres of Infinity when it was a work-in-progress. Now, with Mecha Ace mere weeks from release, I’ve been given permission to put up a discussion thread to (hopefully) answer any questions you might have regarding the story, setting and upcoming release of “Mecha Ace: Heroes of the Vedrian War”.

The Basics:
Mecha Ace is set centuries in the future. Humanity has spread throughout the stars, but is now embroiled in a long, grinding civil war. On one side is the Earth-based Empire of Humanity Ascendant, an oppressive military regime controlled by the whims of a young and capricious empress. Against them is the Coalition of Democratic Extrasolar Colonies (CoDEC), a loose alliance of outer colonies who fight for their independence from imperial rule. For five years, these two factions have fought bitterly, and an end does not seem to be within sight.

One of the key weapons in this war are Combat Armatures: twenty-metre tall humanoid war machines armoured with high-tech metals and ceramics, armed with powerful weapons, and equipped with high-powered thrusters. In skilled hands, small groups of these heavily-armed, manoeuvrable mecha can turn the tide of a fleet battle within seconds. In the right place, at the right time, a sufficiently skilled pilot in the cockpit of one of these powerful machines can decide the fate of entire campaigns. The best of these pilots can take on entire groups of enemy combat armatures and even whole warships single-handed, and come out victorious.

In Mecha Ace, you play the role of one of these elite pilots: a CoDEC ace assigned to lead a lance (a six-machine unit) of combat armatures onboard the CWS Caliburn, the rebellion’s newest and fastest carrier. Over the course of the story, you will fight in large-scale battles, face enemy aces and command your unit in battle. Your choices will determine whether your fellow pilots live or die. Your choices will determine who becomes your friend and who your enemy. You choices will decide the fates of your unit, the Caliburn, even humanity itself.

A Note:
To those few who have participated in my closed beta test, please don’t reveal any major spoilers.


#2

I have one. What reason, if any in particular, did you have for making the rebel side into the protagonists/good guys over the Earth/loyalist side?


#3

What sort of stats will be in the game, and what exactly do the stats govern?


#4

@Ramidel
It made more sense to me from both a combination of setting and story factors. First of all, the Imperial Fleet is a much older and more stratified system than CoDEC’s. The rebel forces are more informal, more loosely organised. This means the player has more freedom to act, since, unlike in the Imperial military, orders are interpreted more loosely, and more leeway is given to field commanders/

The other reason is narrative: the Imperial Fleet is better equipped, better supplied and better trained than CoDEC’s forces. The only reason why CoDEC has held out so long is due to a combination of, a handful of talented imperial defectors, good positioning, luck, and sheer bloody-mindedness. The Empire is stronger, and that makes playing a character who is fighting against them more compelling, especially because it means your player character’s victories against them become more significant.

@WinterHawk
There are four personal stats: Piloting, Perception, Willpower and Presence.
-Piloting is reflexes, physical coordination, and experience in the cockpit. It’s a primary factor in high-speed dogfighting and fighting with melee weapons.
-Perception is situational awareness, and aim. It’s mostly used to look for anything out of the ordinary, and in fighting at range.
-Willpower is ability to keep calm and focused in stressful situations. It’s a bit less concrete than the other three base stats, but it’s useful when you need to fly into a storm of fire, or keep your head when doing something extremely dangerous or difficult.
-Presence is personal charisma, showmanship, and logic. High Presence means you can convince people to come around to your way of thinking, inspire allies, and intimidate enemies.

On top of that, there’s your combat armature’s stats, which vary based on the specific machine you’re flying, and the modifications it has installed.
-Speed determines how fast and agile your combat armature is.
-Armour determines how much punishment your machine can take. Having a combat armature with high armour means you could survive damage which would knock you out of the fight were you flying in a more thin-skinned machine.

Each combat armature you can fly also has a ranged and melee weapon (which also vary with each machine). You’ll generally have the choice of which you want to use in combat, and each has their own unique advantages and disadvantages as well.

Lastly, there’s your count of confirmed kills, the status of each of the pilots in your lance, your personal reputation, and hidden relationship stats for each of the major NPCs.


#5

Interesting, I like the confirmed kills stat. Is that for all kills such as taking down a warships and infantry or just confirmed kills against other mecha pilots making it similar to confirmed kills for fighter pilots?


#6

@WinterHawk
Your confirmed kills counter only registers warship and combat armature kills.


#7

I have heard disturbing rumors that there are no laundromats and it has me concerned that I won’t be able to keep my lovely Mecha clean and shiny after ripping out opposing Mecha pilots and destroying warships. Will I have a crew keeping my Mecha clean, or am I going to be hand washing it all by myself?

Thanks for doing the Q and A, looking forward to the game.


#8

@WinterHawk
Each combat armature needs dozens of maintenance techs to keep it in combat condition. Not only will you have a full deck crew, you’ll also be able to interact with the head of the Caliburn’s hangar maintenance teams.


#9

Should we expect opportunities to lay combat traps (a la Amuro Ray’s mastery of ambushes and decoys)?


#10

How long will the free tryout part be?


#11

You mentioned hidden relationships. Can you expand on that a little?


#12

@WulfyK
It’ll go until near the end of the third “episode” (out of nine episodes and three interludes), roughly 25 000 words in.

@undead
The state of your personal relationships with romanceable NPCs are hidden values: they’re tracked, but you won’t get to see them. You’ll have to judge how much they like you through how they act around you. I’ve never liked the idea of having openly displayed relationship meters, primarily for the reason that you can’t really determine exactly how much a person likes you on a 100-point scale in real life.


#13

What’s the difference in your structure between “episode” and “interlude?”


#14

@Ramidel
Episodes are mostly fast-paced action-centric sequences, with set objectives and direction. Most are spent in the cockpit, in combat, with the lives of the player character and his/her lance-mates in very real danger.

Interludes are more like breather sequences. Though the plot still moves forward in interludes, you will have the chance to wander around and interact with both the setting and NPCs more freely.

That isn’t to say that interludes are entirely safe, or that episodes are spent entirely in combat, but the former definitely favours combat, and the latter definitely favours character interaction.


#15

On the romances. Do the romance options have fixed genders, swap to fit the player’s preferences, or are you doing a mixture of both? And are any romance interests solely interested in one gender, or are they all potentially interested in the player regardless of that detail?


#16

What are the types of combat armatures, specific modifications, and weapons both ranged and melee available?

How’s your lance set up? Is there a CQC specialist, a designated marksman (with a much range-yer than normal ranged weapon), heavy weapons, etc?


#17

Are there aliens? How do they involve themselves? And if there aren’t is there an in-universe example?


#18

@Cataphrak First off, HOORAY! Can’t wait for for Mecha Ace to come out on apple a couple days after E3 ends, June is gonna be awesome! :smiley: Second, the actual questions about Mecha Ace. Will we be able to determine our pilot’s background in depth, or will it be more restricted like in SoI where we are more pigeonholed into a background for narrative purposes? Who is your favorite character from Mecha Ace? Will we be able to name our lance squadron? Can we paint our Mecha? Can we be devious and only use the rebel movement as a power play? Do you have any references or cameos from SoI or the Infinite Sea in general?


#19

@Ramidel
You can definitely have a few dirty tricks up your sleeve. In writing the battles, I tried to make every major archetype of ace pilot playable: you can talk a good number of your more dangerous opponents down, tear through the enemy with sheer skill, fight as a team with the rest of your lance, or use whatever you have on hand to lay traps, use the terrain to your advantage, or launch attacks from unexpected directions.


#20

Is this a standalone game or are you planning a series? Also are you going to include more background info on the universe in the game like you did in Sabres of Infinity?