The Mech Touch Chapter 1192
1190 Narrow Target Audience
Ves settled on designing a high-impact mech without too many frills. Aside from its dual weapon systems, he didn't think it was wise to overcomplicate his design any further.
"Hero mechs are already gimmicks by themselves." He snorted. "Adding a gimmick to a hero mech is like putting lipstick on a pig."
After determining the mech concept for his design, he moved on to fleshing out his vision for his mech.
A mech was more than just a collection of parts that fit with its mech concept. A good design attempted to tie them all together in a holistic manner. Synergy, fit, ease of use and more all depended on how a mech designer fashioned their designs.
When it came to his own design style, Ves exhibited a strong preference towards ease of use.
Influenced by his Mastery experiences, he designed his mechs around their pilots.
He developed a strong focus towards enabling the mech pilots of his products to showcase their maximum potential when paired together.
This inevitably meant that he sacrificed some optimization geared towards pulling more synergy and performance out of his mechs.
The question Ves faced right now was whether he should adopt the same approach to his current design project.
"Previously, I designed my mechs with moderately-skilled mech pilots in mind." He recalled.
The Blackbeak and Crystal Lord were both premium products, so Ves designed them with advanced pilots in mind.
However, the range of skill between an average advanced pilot and one who trained to the level of elites was quite substantial.
The latter displayed much greater skill and pulled out a lot more potential out of their mechs. This difference sometimes grew so large that their mechs couldn't keep up with their skill level!
"I'm not designing a mass market product this time. The only mech pilots that I need to take into account are the six elites I met before!"
The six members of the Kronon Dynasty graduated from the best Ylvainan mech academies with honors. They possessed a strong mastery in both swordsmanship and marksmanship despite their young ages.
All in all, Ves could expect so much more from their performance. Due to the narrow scope of his commision, he didn't need to take any other mech pilots into account.
If one of the six Kronons retired or transferred away for any reason, then Calabast could easily obtain another elite mech pilot from the Kronon Dynasty to occupy the freed-up machine.
"There's really no chance that a lesser-skilled mech pilot will pilot my hero mech."
This was an important realization. It liberated him from the invisible shackles that long constrained his mech designs.
Another way to describe his situation was that he didn't have to adhere to market demand. Unlike his commercial mech designs, this time he didn't have to place too much emphasis on the competition.
"I don't have to make design choices that increases the appeal of my mechs at the cost of practicality or performance."
That didn't mean that Ves had a license to design an uncompetitive mech that performed awfully compared to similar mech models on the market. He would be tarnishing his reputation instead of redeeming it if he exploited the commission in this fashion.
What actually mattered was that Ves only needed to design a mech for a very miniscule target audience.
However, a big complication arose when Ves thought about the complexity of hero mechs. This mech type was already very difficult to pilot.
A Terran mech pilot like Axelar Streon didn't exhibit much strain when piloting the Ouroboros. Ves could not expect a third-class mech pilot from the galactic rim to exhibit the same ease when piloting a 'simple' hero mech.
"I need more data." He concluded.
To that end, he made a brief comm call to Calabast. He requested a copy of the telemetry and combat footage of the recent simulation battles.
"No problem, Ves. The data is too sensitive to be transmitted over the galactic net, so I'll dispatch a courier. Be sure to treat the data carefully. You'll only be able to read the secure data chip from a restricted terminal at the mech workshop I've set aside for you. Don't lose it and don't let anyone else take it away. Destroy it once you're done."
Calabast treated the data very seriously because it could be disastrous for her if they fell in the wrong hands.
Ves hadn't visited the mech workshop yet, but he looked forward to working there. From what he heard, the site used to belong to another mech company that became defunct. Calabast took it over and transferred it to their new joint venture.
The idea was that the local mech designer they partnered up with would reside in the mech workshop most of the time. Such a well-equipped workplace enabled them to adapt the LMC's designs for the local market.
Unfortunately, they couldn't proceed with this part of the plan. Even the mech technicians that Calabast inherited from the defunct mech company all resigned from their jobs once they heard they worked for Ves now!
"I don't need them anyway." He sneered.
Ves accepted the fact that he was a pariah in Protectorate space. The only reason why he didn't make a big deal out of it was because he possessed the confidence to redeem his reputation.
Everything hinged on his results! As long as he dazzled the Ylvainans with a fantastic mech design, he could make them forget about all the accusations that had been thrown in his way!
Afterwards, he expected no further trouble in recruiting local mech designers and mech technicians.
"They shouldn't expect to receive generous conditions when that happens."
Ves prized loyalty. He hoped he could find someone motivated and dedicated enough to work with him to expand the LMC's reach.
Sadly, no one wanted to take the risk. With so many mech designers reluctant to associate with him, he no longer placed high expectations on the local mech designers.
"They can be cowards all they want, but they shouldn't expect many rewards if they aren't willing to take some risks."
He knew he was being a bit unfair to the Ylvainan mech designers. Brighter mech designers could be just as cowardly and risk-averse.
He shook his head. "There's no point thinking any further about the locals."
Ves began to envision a high-impact mech that emphasized raw power in exchange for control. Even if this design direction meant that his hero mech would be slightly more difficult to pilot, he was confident that the elite Kronon mech pilots could keep up with the sheer might at their disposal.
"The mech has to be mechanically strong."
More mechanical power meant faster movements and better acrobatics. A skilled mech pilot would be able to use the additional power to perform all kinds of unorthodox moves that confounded normal mech pilots.
In fact, mech designers adopted a similar approach to professional dueling mechs.
While Ves didn't intend to design a dueling mech, some of its principles still applied to his project. Most dueling mechs consisted of high-impact, peak performance mechs because they maximized the skill of their mech pilots.
"If you have good mech pilots, then it's best to design a mech that is strongly affected by their skills."
The reverse also applied. If Ves had to design a mech for awful mech pilots, then it was best to dumb down his design and automate as many aspects as possible. This was the whole reason why frontline mechs existed in the first place.
Overall, Ves concluded that in this particular situation, it was best if he let go of some of his older priorities and focus on maximizing performance at the cost of ease of use.
It was a very incongruent mindset to adopt at first. Yet once he convinced himself that he was designing a custom mech, he was able to live with the changes.
Ves walked up to a terminal and activated a design program. He drafted up the basic shape of his hero mech design.
He unconsciously incorporated some of the elements of the Ouroboros into his design. Just like his first hero mech design, he split his current mech design in two. One side excelled in exerting a lot of mechanical strength while the other side offered much greater precision.
Just like with the Ouroboros, the asymmetry introduced a lot of imbalances in his design. Back then, the auto designer took care of all of the underlying technical problems that he introduced by designing such an uneven mech.
This time, he didn't have any access to sophisticated AIs that had been programmed with robust problem-solving capabilities.
Even if he somehow obtained a copy of the software of the auto designer, hardly any processor bank in the Protectorate could keep up with the sheer amount of calculations the AIs performed!
"It will take a lot of time for me to manually balance the design." He muttered.
This was a very pertinent problem because he was working on a time limit. If he took too much time on designing this mech, then he might miss his self-imposed deadline of earning the MTA's recognition!
While Ves really wanted to do his utmost to design his hero mech, the short amount of time he reserved on this project seriously hampered his ability to achieve all of his goals.
"I will just have to do the best I can and hope my increased ability can keep up with my pace."
He hadn't forgotten about the System either. If he found himself lacking in some aspect, he could always materialize his System comm from his Inventory and upgrade some of his Skills and Sub-Skills.
At this time, someone rang at his door, pulling him away from his contemplation on which Skill he should upgrade next.
Leland entered with a troubled expression. "There's a problem, Ves."
"What's the matter?" He asked while closing his design software. He could get back at his project at any time. "You seem quite concerned."
"Due to the recent terrorist attack, the Ylvaine Protectorate dispatched a lot of investigators to find out the truth and track down those responsible for the attack. One of them has arrived at our compound without warning."
Ves had already faced some questioning before immediately after the attack. "I've already answered plenty of questions. What more do they want to ask?"
"The investigators who questioned us before worked for the local police forces. They're aligned with the Curin Dynasty so they didn't press us very hard. This time is different. The Attendants of Ylvaine sent one of their high inquisitors to interrogate you in person!"
Ves widened his eyes. Even though he didn't know how much power they wielded, just this title alone implied many awful possibilities!
"What did the Curins say about this unannounced visit?"
"It's unwise to hinder a high inquisitor on duty." Leland ruefully smiled. "The Curins may be able to stop inquisitors from snooping on their core family members, but they aren't willing to pay the price when it comes to us. Regardless, we aren't guilty anyway, so they don't think we'll face too many risks."
This wasn't something that Miss Cecily could stop. The Attendants of Ylvaine may be largely concerned with administering the faith, but their importance in Ylvainan society was just as great as the Protectors of the Faith and the Shepherds of the Flock!
Ves exited his room with a resigned expression and went down to the foyer of the compound. There, he encountered a richly-dressed old man surrounded by more modest-looking lackeys.
An ugly expression came over the old man's face. "I am High Inquisitor Xefin Lin Poxco. You must be Mr. Larkinson."
Ves tried to maintain his composure. "Please to meet you, high inquisitor."
"I have come to inquire on some matters concerning the recent attack on the grand church. Are you willing to sit down with me and answer my questions?"
"I'd be glad to, sir."
It wasn't as if Ves could refuse. The piercing glance sent by the high inquisitor told him that he wouldn't like it if he said no!