Mecha Ace: The Q&A Thread

This is going to be a standalone story, for no other reason other than the fact that the endings are too different to ever reconcile into a sequel, unless I specifically choose one of them, and that’ll make nobody happy. Of course, CoG owns the IP itself, so if they want me to expand on it somehow, I’d be happy to.

Mecha Ace comes with its own reference section, just like Sabres of Infinity: included are databases of technologies, weapons and a brief history of the setting.

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I shall paint it hot red and gold and name it Iron Man.

By default, romance option NPCs have their genders randomised: two will always be male and two will always be female. However, you will have the option of choosing the genders of all four romance options if you choose to do so at the beginning of the story.

Each NPC can be attracted to the player regardless of respective genders (it *is* the future, after all), the main determinants of whether a romance is possible are relationship values, and the player’s personality values (I forgot to mention those earlier, but there is a two-axis morality scale, the two axes being warrior/diplomat and deliberation/passion). If you get a high enough relationship value, have compatible personality values, and haven’t done anything truly unforgivable to them, then that romance option can be taken.

Your lance consists of two types of combat armatures (including your own): two of your lance-mates fly machines specialised for close combat, while three more (including your wingman) fly long-range support machines. You will initially have the choice of flying a close-combat machine, a long-range support machine, or a third model equipped with heavier armour.

No extraterrestrial appears or has any effect on the story of Mecha Ace: they’re probably out there somewhere, but humanity hasn’t even discovered any hints of their existence.

You’ll be able to choose quite a few things about your character’s background and motivations, as well as a little about their previous career. However, there are a few things that are fixed: like the player character’s starting rank, approximate age, homeworld, and the date they joined the CoDEC fleet.

My favourite character in Mecha Ace is a walking spoiler, so I’d rather not reveal who they are for now.

You will be able to both name your lance, and choose a custom paint job for your starting combat armature (Yes, @Dusk777, including red and gold). Should you lose that machine in combat however, you won’t be able to get that same paintjob on your replacement machine.

There are definite options to use the rebellion as a stepladder to political/military power, and one or two of those options don’t even require you to (figuratively) sell your soul to pull them off!

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Can’t wait, great beta, do you have any major changes from the beta?

Not really. The last beta version should be almost identical to the version I sent in for copyediting.

If anyone can help me learn to like the mecha genre, it’ll be @Cataphrak.

In particular, I’m sure you’ve a good answer for my perennial doubt: What is gained by making the war machines humanoid? Doesn’t the humanoid form introduce inefficiencies that will lead to the downfall of whichever army is the last to ditch its sentimental attachment to bipedalism? Shouldn’t the military tacticians of the future prioritise techs that are faster/smaller/larger/more robust/more sinuous/more aerodynamic/etc. than the humanoid figure?

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The answer is: because giant robots are cooler than flying metal bawkses. :slight_smile:

Yeah, that’s what I always thought. :smiley:

Are we going to be able to say its morphing time?
I got SOI when it came out so I am familiar with your work and am looking forward getting this as well.
Is there an option to betray the allies and take over as a ruthless dictator?

I’m actually glad you asked this one. The main reason for this is the introduction of orbital bombardment to the future battlescape. While combat armatures do have a much higher target profile than say, a main battle tank, they also have the advantage of being able to take to the sky quickly, “jumping” with their legs, and then staying in the air on thrusters. This means they can go from holding position on the ground to moving quickly in the air at a moment’s notice, something which is very useful when there are ships in orbit trying to take out enemy troop formations. Likewise, unlike MBTs, combat armatures have a lot more movement options in certain terrain, especially urban areas (a combat armature can hop over rubble and other large obstacles), mountainous regions and forests.

In addition, unlike aircraft, which need to be based in vulnerable servicing installations (airfields) and cannot act independently for prolonged periods of time due to fuel limitations and pilot fatigue, combat armature units can simply shut down all but non-essential systems and allow their pilots to rest when out of immediate danger. This sort of thing allows combat armatures to take and *hold* territory for prolonged periods of time. The fact that their overpowered reactors make them capable of exiting most planetary grav-wells mean that combat armatures fighting in a ground campaign can be based on mobile and well-defended carriers in orbit (which can’t enter atmosphere).

Thirdly, there is the fact that a humanoid combat armature has a distinct advantage over traditional space-borne fighters: namely, prehensile limbs which allow a combat armature to attack or defend in one direction, while accelerating or decelerating in another. In addition, the amount of thrust required to move one or two limbs carrying weaponry (which, also unlike a starfighter’s armament, can be swapped out on the fly) into position is a lot lower than that required to re-orient an entire spacecraft. Lastly, there is the fact that by retracting or extending these limbs (and therefore, the vernier thrusters attached to them), a skilled pilot can manage more precise manoeuvres than with fixed manoeuvring thrusters.

Lastly, there is the question of size and the need for a pilot. Combat armatures are the size they are due to one of the setting’s primary technologies: the Inertial Canceller Field Generator (ICFG), a device capable of negating inertial forces in a small area. These are needed to protect combat armature’s pilots and the delicate electronics of its flight computer (as opposed to the more robust, and more primitive computers in unprotected missile warheads) from the crushing (up to 950 gs) inertial forces of high-acceleration space combat. However, hardware limits have made it impossible for an ICF to be generated to cover any volume less than about 125 (5x5x5) cubic metres. As a result, combat armatures have their internal ICFs packed with the “squishy” flight computer and cockpit, and the more robust portions (especially the thrusters, which ICFs tend to wreak havoc with) outside. The inclusion of a pilot was simply due to the fact that with FTL communication being highly expensive and resource-intensive, having a pilot in the chair was the only way to have a human brain with a reasonable reaction time ready, even if combat was taking place light-seconds, or even light-minutes away from the mothership.

It is for these reasons, especially their ability to act as armour, air support, infantry and starfighter, that humanoid combat armatures have remained a key part of humanity’s war-making arsenal.

And yeah, also because they look awesome.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to combine with your lance-mates to form a giant combat armature.

There are options to betray CoDEC for your own gain/freedom/insertmotivationhere, though you might end up regretting it.

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@jcury, GO! GO! Power Rangers!

@Cataphrak, Can you tell us who you favorite NPC is, of the ones who are not walking spoilers? Since we will be able to paint our combat armatures, will we be able name them as well? Only setting appropriate I assure you; I am definitely not painting it red, white, and blue and calling it Liberty Prime. Nope… thought hasn’t even crossed mind.

In that case, my favourite (non-spoiler) NPC would probably be the captain of the Caliburn, who isn’t really that in-focus story-wise, except as your character’s direct superior. Captain Artemisia Baelyn was a defector from the Imperial military, who switched sides both out of principle and out of personal ambition. She’s a career officer who won’t take your antics lying down, but she’s not above pulling some magnificently crazy shit once things get really desperate. Despite her limited presence, Captain Baelyn was a joy to write, and I hope everyone will find her a joy to interact with.

You won’t be able to name your combat armature. I wanted to try to keep anthropomorphisation to a minimum, just as a reminder that as awesome as they are, combat armatures are still just machines, and the vast majority of its value lies in the man or woman sitting in the pilot’s seat.

Will the Combat Armatures always be robot form or do they like some mecha have a jet mode?

@Cataphrak Which style of combat Mecha do you prefer? Close combat, or long range? Does CoDEC have any sort of President or Prime Minister, or is it more of a Congressional leadership right now? While our Mecha Ace may betray CoDEC, is there any chance our actions throughout the story drive other members of the rebels to support the Empire? And lastly, how was he Empire originally formed, if it’s not too spoilery

Does the warrior/diplomat and deliberation/passion have affects on other NPCs besides romance options?
Also how does reputation work, is it similar to SoI where to it has social implications or is it a measure of how well our pilots deeds in battle are know?

How much would a combat armature cost if it was possible to make one today?

How far-spanning is the Empire throughout the galaxy?

How fast is the FTL travel here?

Where is it set on the scale of science fiction hardness?

Could a mecha defeat Godzilla?

I’m looking really forward to this!

I actually really like that you’ve not slipped into what I’d consider the two tropes of the mecha genre: Sentient mechas and merging/combining (and/or magic?) mechas.

As cool as those two things are, they do tend to come across as a bit cheesy and I do tend to find myself tarring the entire genre as a bit of a cheesefest (albeit one I do occasionally - and somewhat guiltily - enjoy!).

When I read your descriptions, answers and explanations however, the word cheese never seems to come to mind. The only two words coming to fore of my mind at the moment are ‘cool’ and ‘epic’.

Since this is a Q&A thread though, I best ask a question or two, so:

  • I am curious as to how many (drastically different) endings there are (not including early deaths)?
  • Do we get any chance to customize our mecha’s loadout between battles?

@817819 LOL