Chapter 1856 Design Challenges

Just like several other problems Ves encountered, he eventually solved the Lancer problem by resorting to superior materials.

After deciding on this approach, Ves and Gloriana worked for days to plan this solution out.
They explored countless proportions and settled for one that tripled the proportion of Amris in the alloy formula.

They then applied this modified Breyer alloy in various places in both the base platform and the internal and external structural braces that was specific to the lancer configuration.

The most drastic implementation of modified Breyer alloy lay in the arms of the mech.
Meant to hold the lance, they incorporated a bunch of elements that beefed them up and secured an effective grip on the weapon.

The lance itself was not just a very sharp and long metal stick.
Its shape became more complex as its design was tailored to maximize the grip and transfer of momentum.

All of these adjustments coincided in a lancer configuration that was able to match or exceed the offensive power of a traditional lancer mech!

The defense of the lancer configuration was weaker than that of the other melee configurations.
Capacity that could have been utilized to bulk up the mech was instead allocated to modified Breyer alloy that mainly served to bleed away the recoil of a collision.

Fortunately, it worked.
The rudimentary simulations that Ves performed all indicated that the lancer configuration could indeed shrug off the impact of a powerful collision!

The mech did not fare as well as the other configurations in terms of absorbing hits, though.
It was still substantially better than the rifleman mech configuration on this front, but it fell far short of the swordsman mech and space knight configurations.

The amount of work needed to make the lancer configuration viable and effective was incredible.
Ves had to revise the time table for the project several times to accommodate for the sheer design burden the lancer configuration presented.

Fortunately, the other configurations did not present them with so many insurmountable challenges.

The space knight configuration needed to gain at least some shock-absorbing protection, but not as much as the lancer mech.
Designing it was a simple manner of finding every possible opportunity to pile more armor onto the base platform.

The swordsman mech configuration was a bit more delicate.
While it still needed a decent amount of protection, it also had to retain a sufficient amount of mobility.

The most important aspect of a swordsman mech was its ability to apply force and its range motion.
More advanced swordsman mechs featured an incredibly exaggerated range of motion of all of its limbs.
Even their torsos were able to rotate 180 or even 360 degrees in order to make the mech launch attacks at surprising angles!

This was not an option this time due to all of the compromises imposed by the modular mech platform approach.
It wasn ’t that big of a deal anyway since only the most skilled and dedicated swordsman mech pilots made effective use of those advanced features.

What Ves aimed for was not a mech that won its duels and battles through skill, finesse and technique.
Instead, he wanted to take full advantage of the high defense afforded by the use of Breyer alloy to turn the swordsman mech configuration into brawler!

Its mech pilots had to muster as much courage as possible and dive their mechs head-first into an enemy!

No matter how many hits they absorbed, the best way of winning battle was by trading blows!

Instead of trying to parry and block enemy attacks, the swordsman mech configuration should just take the hits and seek to launch as many blows as possible!

Certainly, his swordsman mech configuration to fight in a more conservative fashion if the mech pilot was skilled enough.
Ves just wanted to lower the skill ceiling of this configuration in order to accommodate less focused or skilled mech pilots.

”That said, the skill floor of this configuration should still be fairly high. ”

Swordsman mechs were regarded as offensive powerhouses that had the potential to reverse any disadvantageous situations! As long as a skilled and talented mech pilot drew out the full potential of a sword-wielding mech, it was not impossible for it to defeat an entire mech company!

Ves wanted to preserve this capacity for his swordsman mech configuration, so he made sure to leave as much room as possible for skill expression without compromising its primary properties.

Compared to the melee configurations, the ranged configuration was an entirely separate beast.

Every mech designer had to switch their mindsets before they began working on the rifleman mech configuration.

To be honest, it wasn ’t very difficult to design a decent rifleman mech.
Ves designed several ranged mechs over the course of his short career, and he exchanged a large amount of skills related to laser and ballistic rifles.

He possessed an extensive theoretical grasp towards both types of weapons.
He managed to make use of this advantage to design the broad strokes of a rifleman mech that could wield either weapon when the situation called for a specific choice.

The problematic aspect about this configuration was that ballistic rifles and laser rifles imposed different demands on a mech.

It wasn ’t particularly problematic to throw a rifle with a self-contained magazine or battery to random humanoid mech.

As long as that mech possessed articulating hands that could grip the rifle, it could easily fire the weapon until it ran dry.

Yet why didn ’t mech forces deploy spare rifles to their melee mechs?

There were several reasons behind this pattern of behavior.

First, it wasn ’t worth it for third-class mechs.
The capacity of the rifles wasn ’t much if the mech didn ’t allocate any capacity towards replenishing their energy or ammunition.

Second, melee mechs were built differently from ranged mechs.
Just like how humans undergoing archery training developed different physiques from humans undergoing swordsmanship training, a melee mech would have to weaken its primary function in order to strengthen its secondary function.

Since specialization was the established doctrine in third-class mech design, most mech designers simply opted to leave it out entirely.
At best, they would just pair their swordsman mechs and knight mechs with backup pistols that hardly burdened their frames.

Ranged mechs needed extensive accommodations to strengthen their functions to a competitive level.
From designing their arms and upper structure to increase their accuracy and precision as much as possible, to devoting a substantial amount of capacity towards stuffing as much ammunition, energy cells of heatsinks as a mech designer could get away with, pretty much the entire frame had to be dedicated towards ranged combat!

This was also the reason why most ranged mechs didn ’t bother carrying anything more than a pitiful knife as a final resort.
A typical melee mech could just overpower a ranged mech wielding a sword by leveraging their abundant amount of physical strength!

In any case, Ves didn ’t attempt to address this weakness this time.
What he wanted to do instead wanted to do was to make his rifleman mech compatible with both physical and energy rifles.

This was very troublesome.

Ballistic rifleman mechs didn ’t consume a lot of energy.
Most of it was spent on keeping the core systems active and to power the propulsion or locomotion system.

Instead, their burden was much more simple.
The rounds they fired took up space.
A lot of space.

Mechs were pretty tough.
Aside from light mechs, most mechs featured at least some armor.

As a consequence, ranged mechs needed to pack a formidable punch in order to punch through their armor and inflict serious internal damage.

This was not easy!

In the early days of the Age of Mechs, rifles and cannons came in all shapes and sizes.
Only after several generations of refinement did the mech industry manage to settle for a set of universal standards.

A ballistic rifle was quite big.
They were often bigger than laser rifles, in fact.
Much of this had to do with the caliber of the rounds they fired.
They had to be big enough to pack enough of a punch or payload to crack the armor of a sturdy mech!

A ballistic rifleman mech had to carry enough rounds to last a while on the battlefield.
Whether they stored their ammunition internally, externally or both, the sad reality was that ballistic rifleman mechs could never carry enough rounds to satisfy the needs of their mech pilots.

The mechs had to ration their ammunition and make their shots count in order to maximize their effectiveness on the battlefield!

”This problem is ever greater for my rifleman mech configuration. ” Ves sighed.

Due to revolving his rifleman mech configuration around a base platform that wasn ’t optimized for ranged combat, he had less capacity to work with than he wanted.

In order to expand the capacity of this configuration, he had to add a modular storage module that fit right under the flight system of the mech.

This only just extended the ammunition capacity of his rifleman mech to an adequate level.
It wasn ’t as bad as Ves feared, but his Desolate Soldier and Deliverer mechs handedly beat the Larkinson mech on this front!

”My new mech will have to resupply frequently in order to remain relevant in long-duration engagements. ”

As for arming his rifleman mech configuration with a laser weapon, Ves had to tackle different challenges.

Energy cells generally took up much less space than physical ammunition for the amount of damage they could offer.

The more energy cells, the longer it took for the laser rifleman mech to drain its energy reserves.

Yet that did not mean that laser rifleman mechs made ballistic rifleman mechs obsolete!

One of the most persistent limitations of mechs wielding energy weapons was the incredible amount of heat they generated.
All of this heat did not escape from the mech quickly and continued to build up inside.

If a mech was not designed with heat management in mind, then it was highly possible to cook the delicate internal components of the mech until it became completely inoperable!

This happened often in overheated mechs.
While these machines usually came with integrated safeguards that automatically shut down the energy weapons when the internal temperature of the mechs reached critical levels, mech technicians sometimes deactivated this safety function on the request of their mech pilots!

To prevent such a catastrophe and lengthen the deployment time of a mech, heat management became a priority.
This was especially important in space where vacuum hampered the transfer of heat!

Neither conduction nor convection could cool down a mech in space.
The only way it could dump its heat to the environment was through radiation, which was obviously a very slow and inefficient process!

Therefore, every spaceborn mech needed to be able to deal with the heat buildup internally.
The solutions ranged from adding heatsinks to the mech to increasing its overall tolerance towards extreme heat.

More advanced solutions existed.
His Amastendira for example came with a dimensional heatsink that dumped the heat into another dimension.

This was obviously not possible here.
Ves relied primarily on detachable heatsinks to manage the heat buildup of his rifleman mech configuration.

They took up a lot of space.
While effective in absorbing and containing heat, they substantially cut the energy reserves of his rifleman mech configuration!

”Still, at least it ’s still strong. ” He sighed in relief.

There was one variable that affected the strength of laser weapons in relation to ballistic weapons.

The new mech generation was characterized with lots of innovation with regards to laser weapons.
They hit harder, generated less waste heat and occupied less space than before!

For this reason, a Larkinson mech armed with a laser weapon could inflict substantially more damage than a Larkinson mech armed with a ballistic rifle!

Of course, that did not make the latter irrelevant.
The advantage of laser weapons could only be felt in drawn-out engagements.
In short-duration battles, physical weapons were still better because their damage delivery was a lot more front-loaded!

All in all, as Ves and Gloriana refined the rifleman mech configuration, they ended up with something that was lesser to a specialized rifleman mech in every aspect aside from defense.

There was no way around it.
Both of them had already anticipated this result, so it didn ’t damage their passion all that much.
They still felt they could do something more with this important configuration.

In many mech forces, at least half of their rosters consisted of ranged mechs! This proportion was even higher for spaceborn units!

Therefore, increasing the strength of the rifleman mech configuration would have huge implications down the line.
The more he could do at this stage, the more his efforts would pay off when he was confronted by a formidable enemy in space!

”How can we give this configuration some extra oomph? ”

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