Overview & History
M.E.C.H.s (short for Mechanised Environmental Construct or Mechs in general parlance) are large robotic constructs originally designed to handle the harsh environments from the hard vacuum of space to the deep depths of a planetary crust. The original Mechs were brought with the first settlers of Technonica on the first Generational ships when they first arrived and enabled the first exploratory teams to navigate across the surface in relative safety.
Built with robustness and the harsh climes they operate in, Mechs were designed to be modular in form and function, allowing their operators to swap out parts for specific tasks and to match the local conditions, whilst at the same time, protecting the pilots from environmental hazards such as extremes in temperature, hard vacuum, dust storms and other adverse conditions.
The first generation of Mechs were created to operate in the cold vacuum of space with little to no modification, including a supply of oxygen, carbon scrubbers and versatile thrusters. Current generation ones would require severe overhaul due to the fact that they no longer have to operate in complete vacuums and as such, modern cockpits lack the extensive oxygen recycling capabilities that the first generation Mechs did. They also lack any effective means of movement in space without retrofitting a complex web of thrusters.
Over the generations, the general breadth of tasks assigned to Mech pilots has been adapted a great many times. At first, they were primarily tasked with mining materials and construction work, and the range of construction parts available reflected that. Small armies of construction Mechs could build a small settlement in a few days, including terraforming the land, gathering construction materials and erecting buildings from locally available materials. Today, construction Mechs are relatively rare, as are the parts for them.
When the planet was colonised, there was an army of Mechs whom begun constructing the Big Eight Districts, with vast tracts of land cleared to lay the concrete foundations required for such colossal construction work. As construction of the Districts reached its climax, Mechs started being given other tasks of lesser import, although mining has remained as staple ever since the first generations. Today, mining forms a more purely economic role within society, fuelling the needs of the construction across the planet.
Modern Mechs inherit a number of features passed down from their first generation Mechs, including their modularity, aided by the fact that all parts manufactured today utilise the UAJ.
Universal Articulared Joints (UAJ's) are standardised devices which enable any part to affix to any other part through a common, standardised interface. Such UAJ units allow two-way data flow, bi-directional power transmission and a high degree of articulation between parts. Construction or re-tasking of a Mech themselves are handled by large Mech Assemblers which offer automated creation of a Mech with minimal human intervention apart from the initial part acquisition and selection process - which is done through highly automated computer controlled interfaces.
Due to their modular nature, creating specific classes of Mechs is nearly impossible, although they are generally classified by the gross weight and range from small, single purpose scout Mechs through to larger behemoths that are more general purpose and those that are capable of multiple tasks.
Standardisation of parts is of little concern for the manufacturers apart from offering full UAJ compatibility utilising standardised ports - there can be a great disparity between different parts manufacturers offerings on the open parts market place, even amongst parts of a similar nature, from power requirements, weight and construction and the UAJ is designed to accommodate them without difficulty.
Each Mech consists of a number of parts and as a minimum; each Mech needs the following types of parts:
- Cockpit to house the pilot.
- At least 1 weapon. Only the most foolhardy or insane would dare take out a defenceless Mech.
- Motivator to move the Mech around.
- Although a generator is usually mandatory, there are a few types of Mechs which don't require a generator for all their power needs.
There are certain patterns of Mech which are known by specific monikers, although these are by far from universal - allowing for dialect differences and common knowledge variences.
A Mech may go by one name in one region and a completely different name in another region, although they are usually substantially the same Mech - allowing for personal taste.