Chapter 1963 Virtual Library
Ves felt a lot better after he lectured his subordinate mech designers.
He imparted some very important insights to them. To their credit, none of them dismissed his advice.
It would not be easy to develop and exercise their creativity and ingenuity. It would be even harder to develop their 'heart' for mech design!
Spiritual potential or not, Ves believed that every mech designer benefited if they approached their work with the mindset of an innovator rather than a problem solver!
A mech designer and an engineer possessed the same tools. Yet to Ves, the former distinguished himself from the latter by focusing on creation.
To create a new product, a mech designer possessed an unlimited amount of options. Each mech designer developed a unique pattern of design choices which formed their design style.
This was the mech designer's way of making sense out of the limitless possibilities.
Those who failed to develop a design style or commit to a design philosophy risked getting lost in this vast and endless forest.
In mech design, obtaining more choices wasn't always better.
This was what his subordinates were doing by spending all of their free time on studying textbooks.
This was what Ves had done in the past when he prioritized earning DP in order to exchange for valuable skills.
Yet all of that distracted from the fun side of mech design. How many kids had dreamt of designing their own mechs? How many of them were able to turn this childhood dream into a reality?
Ves observed something very interesting about mech designers. As the dreamers grew older, they became more mature. They became more focused on 'grown-up' concerns such as making a living or pleasing their bosses.
It was easy for them to set aside their silly childhood wonder and fascination.
Yet to someone like Ves, this pure and innocent adoration towards mech was one of the strongest sources of strength for passionate mech designers like himself!
To him, successful mech designers didn't necessarily have to think all the time! It was fine if they turned off their brains! As long as their hearts were strong enough to cover for their minds, they all had the potential to create novel new mech designs that broke existing boundaries!
Ves took a brief break after lecturing his subordinates. As Gloriana began to unveil their new design project, he began to reflect on his own lesson.
Even though Ves was the one who came up with these insights, he felt as if he gained a deeper understanding of his own teachings!
He was always confident about his heart for mech design. He considered it a strength derived from himself rather than the System.
While the assistance he derived from the System granted him the luxury of exploring this aspect of mech design, it was something that he could continue to improve without depending on others.
Though Ves was aware that his views on mech designers wasn't the only interpretation available. He was sure that there were plenty of other schools of thought who vehemently disagreed with his emphasis on the heart of a mech designer!
Rational mech designers are probably disgusted with my views. He muttered under his breath.
When Ves finished his self-reflection, his girlfriend had just finished her own presentation.
...Don't forget the central premise of this project. Our primary goal is to design a spaceborn striker mech that is able to deter incoming enemies through intimidation. It is a mech designed for massed battles and intense engagement. It also has to be commercially viable, so we need to pay close attention to our budget. Any questions?
What kind of glow will you put in this mech design? Mayer asked.
He answered the question.
You've met me in my Pride of Dusk outfit a few times. The glow of our upcoming mech will largely resemble the glow from my Pride of Dusk. I'll bring it to the design lab next time so you can familiarize yourself with the glow and so you can acquire the right mood to design this specific mech. Any other questions?
Is this a niche product or a mass market product?
That's a very important question. Right now, I'm not sure yet. Ves admitted. He rubbed his smooth-shaven chin in thought. I'm inclined towards both directions. While I would like to make my product universally appealing, it is very hard to accomplish such a level of success. The Desolate Soldier succeeded because there was a very desperate need for this kind of product. Different from then, the various crises and wars in the Komodo Star Sector did not result in a surge in demand for striker mechs. There isn't an obvious hole for striker mechs either, though I believe the value proposition of our upcoming design is enough to generate its own demand! We just have to make sure our product is reasonably well-rounded.
There were two general strategies towards mech design. They could try to make their product as well-rounded as possible while still retaining its distinctive strengths.
Ves adopted this approach to varying degrees to most of his commercial mechs. He needed to accommodate a very wide diversity of customers. While it was impossible to please everybody, he still sought to enhance the sales potential of his products as much as possible by increasing their applicability.
In contrast, a mech designer could also take the opposite approach and forget about checking as many boxes as possible.
Instead of focusing on elevating as many performance parameters as possible, Ves had also designed mechs where he focused on a couple of critical parameters and tried to raise them as much as possible!
Extreme mech designs such as the Aurora Titan and the Deliverer which focused mostly on a single aspect to the detriment of everything else were not very good sellers. Though the Deliverer came paired with fantastic special features, there was no question the mech was a niche product!
Though Ves had a lot of fun in designing these weird mechs, he recognized the importance of keeping his market instincts sharp.
He still needed to earn a lot of money!
While his recent circumstances allowed him to pursue other priorities, he hadn't forgotten about his enormous wish list of goodies he wanted to procure! Obtaining a fully-fledged second-class factory ship was just the start!
Right now, Ves recognized he was in an enviable position compared to other mech designers.
After receiving his masterwork certificate, a lot of industry insiders started to pay more attention to him. While it was hard to notice all of the regard he received due to spending all of his time on a ship, he knew his presence would probably ignite a storm among the local mech community if he landed on any occupied planet!
With all of this publicity in fame, Ves did not have to work too hard to market his next product. As long as it was noteworthy enough, the free publicity would likely be considerable!
Naturally, he also needed to publish his mech design before the mech community forgot about his recent accomplishment. That was why he set a deadline of four months for this project despite how little time it afforded for optimization!
Everyone soon began to work. Ves and Gloriana tasked all of their subordinates to browse the MTA's component library and select the most fitting publicly-available parts to licence.
Ves sat down behind a terminal and performed his own search.
This time, he didn't log into the MTA's virtual portal the normal way.
Instead, he pressed his finger on a port, thereby forming a hardline connection between the terminal and the implant in his mind!
His entire senses changed.
In one moment, Ves was sitting in the design lab of the Scarlet Rose.
In the next moment, he entered a vast and ancient library that was filled with an enormous amount of traditional hardcover books!
While his sense of smell and taste weren't working right, his sense of sight and sense of hearing had fully immersed themselves in this virtual illusion!
Interesting. He smiled.
In this endless library of wooden shelves and wooden interior, thousands of mech designers quietly browsed its contents through various means, and those were just the people within the vicinity!
Some of them looked up the location of a physical book and walked all the way in order to pull it out of the shelf.
Others just sat down at one of the many traditional wooden desks and summoned the book by manipulating a projected interface.
Most mech designers didn't bother this charade at all. They eschewed the archaic tradition of reading actual books in favor of reading their contents directly through the projected interface!
After studying the other mech designers, he felt the latter two groups were missing out on the ritual the MTA presented.
Why did the MTA set up their virtual portal in this fashion? Were they trying to go back to the past? Were they encouraging mech designers to waste valuable time by looking up a specific book among the seemingly-endless shelves?
Ves didn't think those arguments were true.
He developed several interpretations on the meaning of this ritual.
The one he was the most sure of was that the MTA tried to make its knowledge a bit more troublesome to reach in order to drive an important point.
Knowledge wasn't free. Knowledge didn't come from nowhere. Knowledge needed to be valued.
As Ves determined the location of a specific catalog of component licenses from a nearby interface, he began to walk through the long and broad halls flanked by rows and rows of impressively-tall bookcases.
Occasionally, Ves encountered a crossroads, and sometimes he turned left or right.
He encountered plenty of mech designers along the way. These mech designers occasionally approached random colleagues and started up a spontaneous exchange.
The interior design library fostered a sense of knowledge sharing. Everyone who entered the library in this manner wanted to learn something new. This put the visiting mech designers in a generous mood.
In some cases, their moods encourage them to share some of the knowledge and insights that they ordinarily kept close to their chests!
Due to the unique virtual setting of the library, the mech designers had the option to pull their conversation partners into a private communication channel.
Even though they stood in the middle of a hall, to outsiders no sound escaped from their mouths. Their faces turned fuzzy as if they were swept up by static in order to prevent any bystanders from reading their facial expressions.
Of course, there were also those who didn't bother with hiding what they shared.
Light mechs are worse than heavy mechs! An old man shouted to a younger woman. Your statement is factually wrong! Larger is better! Heavy mechs are so loaded with features that they always have a solution for every problem! As for light mechs, their capacity is so small that I can't even fit a pocket knife in their puny frames!
The young woman smirked at the old codge. I have one word for you. Mobility.
So what?! Do you think all heavy mechs are slow to move?! As long as you strap a powerful enough engine or flight system to a heavy mech, they can move just as fast as their lighter counterparts!
What's the point of a heavy mech if three-fourths of its available capacity is occupied by a supersized mech engine or flight system? That's a huge waste of exotic materials to me! Mobility is the one area which always redeems light mechs and dooms heavy mechs!
As Ves walked past the quarreling mech designers, he shook his head. Their argument sounded completely silly to him. There were advantages and disadvantages to both weight classes!
Of course, there was no way to sink this conclusion in their thick skulls. Ves didn't have to study their records to realize that they were specialists in light mechs and heavy mechs respectfully.
When mech designers believed their design philosophy was right, no one would be able to convince them that they were wrong!
Fortunately, the audio of their conversation automatically cut off once Ves took a few more steps.
He smirked. What a nefarious library.
He suddenly realized the true goal of the virtual library. The MTA just wanted to foster as many exchanges as possible. As long as these conversations took place in this setting, the Association would be able to record all of their valuable insights!