(MS) Design Goals – Cross Universe Compatibility

In the previous post we talked about scalability. Wanting the game system to be playable at a small scale of 3vs3, to as large as armies of 30+ Mechs duking it out. Another goal we’ve always maintained was the ability to use Mechs from different universes in the same series but different series as well.

In the previous post we talked about how MechaStellar started off as an homebrew RPG that was combined with a homebrew wargame system. The RPG side of the house saw several campaigns run with different settings and different units.

It also included what I would call Mecha Mashup games or Super Robot Wars. Each player would use a favorite Mech from different series. Some campaigns were a mix of different series, you might see Gundams, Evangelions, Big O, Valkyries from Macross, Knightmare Frames from Code Geass, Ravens from Armored Core and even an oddball Zoid. Other games might be Gundam only but feature suits from different universes such as Gundam Wing, UC Gundam, G Gundam, and SEED.

While Gundam remains our favorite Mecha series we always wanted the system to be flexible enough to incorporate units from other series in case the players wanted to try something different. We started by having two classes of Mech, a Mobile Skeleton class that was for your standard agile humanoid Mech such as a Gundam or Valkyrie and the other a Gigas class Mech big and hulking these had lots of HP and lots of firepower which could be a Mobile Armor from Gundam, a Jaeger from Pacific Rim or even Metal Gear! Below are a few examples:

Mobile Skeleton Class

  • Gundam
  • Macross
  • Aura Battler Dunbine
  • Code Geass
  • Detonator Orgun
  • Tekkaman Blade
  • Armored Core

Gigas Class

  • Pacific Rim Jaeger
  • Metal Gear
  • Big O
  • Escaflowne
  • Evangelion

Now that we had two classes of Mech we had to ensure we could build units from different Mecha series. To this end we made sure weapon profiles were abstract rather than being super defined, keeping only key stats like how many times it fires, what are the odds of a penetrating (lethal) hit, how much damage would it do and of course what is its effective range. With an abstract profile you can have a Beam Cannon and a Beam Sniper on the same profile, both are long range high power beam weapons after all with a low rate of fire.

We also wanted to avoid having a super granularity with several types of the same weapon class to make it easier to have cross universe capability and make it easier to import a Mech. So a machine gun from one universe is on par with another universe. Exceptions of course being a unit with a very unique or powerful version of this particular weapon, if for instance if there was a suit with a machine gun the size of the Mech we might use the “Prototype Weapon” to differentiate it.

Lastly we wanted to make sure weapon profiles could be flexible enough to be renamed to a different weapon. So the Shining Finger from G Gundam could share the same profile as the Radiation Claw on the Guren from Code Geass or even the Sudden Impact piledriver arms of Big O. Very different weapons but they all share the same effect, having enough power to annihilate the head of the enemy Mech.

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