So, as promised, I started a Question-and-Answer thread on the Choice of Games forums regarding my upcoming interactive fiction, Mecha Ace. For those of you who haven’t been part of the discussion, I’ve picked out a few highlights from the thread.
So, what made you decide to write a mecha COG?
Nothing in particular. Mecha anime has always kind of been a peripheral interest of mine (I also build gunpla (Gundam model kits) when I have the time) and it was one of the three outlines I sent to CoG last year. This was the one they chose.
Will we be able to determine our pilot’s background in depth?
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.
What sort of stats will be in the game, and what exactly do the stats govern?
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.
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?
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 likely be taken.
I’ll probably post a few more of these in a few days: