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How do you go about designing giant robots...
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You are currently reading a thread in /m/ - Mecha

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How do you go about designing giant robots from scratch, assuming a fresh slate and a blank setting? It's one thing to have ideas about the sort of setting and style you might want, but making buckets of bolts and blocky squares that convey that is tricky. Is there a general approach used in /m/ content?
first and only important question, humanoid style or chickenwalker style

everything else secondary because it's basically deciding whether your new setting will have physics or not
Different artists have different ways of doing it.

>blocky squares
You're already going wrong. Perhaps I'm being presumptuous, but try not to create something akin to some horrible American "realistic" bowlegged headless chicken of which there are already a million.

Big O comes to mind for me. The titular megadeus, other megadei, and the other machines and monsters were inspired by toku and intended to emulate those designs in look and feel, and if you look into the artbook you can see how O was developed in detail. You can also see less extensive drawings for other machines.

Toku character design in and of itself is also super interesting and there was a very nice thread on it a while ago. Perhaps it's still in desustorage?
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>chickenwalker style
>fresh slate and a blank setting
No such thing.

Write your story and let the robots come from the setting, world and the needs of plot.
Or just makes shit up that's fucking cool to you.
Just rip off from the Nips or old SF magazines, but try not to make it too obvious.
Make sure you dont end up like a 00 designer and just put a bunch of squares in a vaguely humanoid shape
>You're already going wrong. Perhaps I'm being presumptuous, but try not to create something akin to some horrible American "realistic" bowlegged headless chicken of which there are already a million.
Right, because there aren't a million "Samurai armor" anime robots already either.
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Perhaps you guys can compromise and make a Samurai Chicken mecha.

Could be neat.
There are also other shapes that are less used. Like blobs, 4 or 8 (or more) legged machines, UFO shaped saucer robots and whatever you can think of. Nothing forces the artist to go for anything resembling humanity, or one that works with Earth physics for that matter. If it's a new universe,there can be new laws governing it.
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To be totally honest I see only mainly Gundam type MS with this aesthetic. Perhaps I'm shortsighted but near on every other franchise is wildly different to me, and I think even the Gundam-samurai thing is stretching it a bit.
For as many Gundams are in Gundam, you do have the Big Zams, Goggs, and the whole of Zanscare. And all the wacky Crossbone bad guy suits.
To clarify I mean Gundam type as in "has Gundam in the name"
Any other Mobile Suit and you get any other aesthetic. How the hell's a Dra-C or Dom or Dodgore like a samurai?
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Give everything these specific proportions. And movement.
i'm assuming it was just a flippant, offhand generalization the same way the guy he was quoting generalized boxy, bowlegged american robots
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OP, do you know about Medabots? There's plenty of design variety there to loom at.
Whole new laws of physics are a bit of a tall order. Most people will let you bend the rules enough to let your robot work with some excuse like new super-alloys or fusion power or whatever.
The harder part is contriving your setting such that giant robots are a reasonable weapon of war at all, since their profiles are needlessly tall and human elements like heads or using hands to grip weapons don't really make sense.
Well, as much as different gravity can affect a lot. That can decide if your robot needs to fly to gain height, or can simply jump. Another way is to go digital like the Digimon or Megaman Battle Network franchises, where it's just data and thus you open yourself up to quite a bit of interpretation as to what happens. I'm not much for this kind of thing, I was merely giving a suggestion.
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I'm that guy and I was saying that those robots are boxy, yes, and in all the wrong ways.

I was trying to say "I see this in American stuff way too much". There's a way to do a chicken right, I think. A lot of chickens today just aren't that appealing to me and when I write about it it comes off badly.

I just feel like there's more, fresher, and more appealing variety in other countries', and not just Japans' stuff. US has good stuff too but it's by far IMO the weakest and least common. I should articulate better.
You can set it in space and space colonies like Gundam was originally suppose to be, no Earth.

"Anti-gravity" tech.
Or just have the culture be different enough as to allow robots in whatever context.

Mecha, as a genre, is pretty much dead anyway, all it does is recycle a few time tested ideas and zombie franchises, pushing characters in the forefront for the most part,
Here's some good starting questions to ask yourself:

-Are robots unique, or mass-produced? Are they customized and personalized, and to what degree? Are there a small number of designs, are designs by faction/group, or is there a plethora of designs used all over?

-How much variety of body-types will there be? Will humanoids, "chicken-walkers", blobs, quadrupeds, tracks and every other kind of robot coexist together, and if so how do you make them fit well enough that they look part of the same world? Or if you limit the types, which ones?

-What is the general aesthetic of the setting's tech level? Near-modern with oil, grit, recognizable military box-edge designs? Smooth, curved, organic space-age? Colourful and dynamic? Muted? Modular?

-What kind of pace do the machines move at? Are they zippy, dancing things that fly through the air and space and explode into a billion fragments when hit, or are they ponderous tanks on legs that slowly swivel howitzers toward each other? Or something in-between?

The answer to each of these questions should come from what goals your setting has. Once you have a rough idea of what kinds of robots you need, there's plenty of existing material you can look at for inspiration.
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If y'all don't think this is the titest shit ever get the fuck outta my face
I'm not OP but
>Modular and smooth space age at the same time
>Imagining the grunts from Turn-A with the parts swapping of IBO
New mecha fetish acquired.
>Mecha, as a genre, is pretty much dead anyway, all it does is recycle a few time tested ideas and zombie franchises, pushing characters in the forefront for the most part,

From a design perspective, then, what would it take for a fresh spin on the subject?

For example, I notice most of >>13473584's questions are grounded in familiar ideas surrounding mecha which don't really get away from the "gundams or battlemechs" discussion in the rest of the thread. Where's a good place to start for some lateral thinking to come up with an approach to Fightin' Robots that hasn't already been done to undeath?
Not to be rude, but logically speaking everything has at least been touched on, if not a great number of times. Mixing things is always an option, like a robotic inner frame that on the outside has an organic coating (think Symbiotes from Spider-Man) which can take on shape at will. The movement will generally be the same thanks to the inner frame but as the outside morphs, new weapons and armor are given to it.
I've always hated Battletech, so I will try to bother you no more.
Obligatory insulting explanation.arguing greentext
>spawned from Dougramm though I only learned this after watching Dougram
> actual original design machines I can't make heads or tails of
>weird and unnecessary greebling consistent throughout series regardless
>cockpit of pictured machine has zero flow to it; it's a half-oval on a box
>nasty leg connections
>where's the hands?
>CG image
>CG still image
>canonically bans artillery to enable mech combat rather than roll with it

It's not for me. I'll take an AT-ST or ED-209 any day over that guy. Is there good American stuff? Undoubtedly. But Battletech never has and never will cut it for me. Also, what's a titest? Deff Dreds are British and I have no issue with them.
There's certainly lesser-known variations. You're right that organic mecha would be rarer, as would various themed mechs like a setting that's all 50's futurist style a la Fallout's Liberty Prime. Or a magic-based fantasy setting where the 'mechs' are more like huge golems or walking castles, battling dragons and giant elementals. Or what about an age-of-sail inspired take on space travel where starships fight close-in with broadsides and mecha fight boarding actions along their outer hulls?

Fusion alone allows for some at least somewhat novel ideas. Although obviously completely original ideas are pretty rare and tough to articulate.
I know Break Blade used mechs called golems, didn't watch it though so I don't know how the lore works. The jaguar entity in Road To El Dorado is a neat concept. I always enjoyed the imagery of magic lights on a black.stone-like body.

>where's the hands?
This might be a question you can answer for me, because I've never understood why people want to put hands on mechs and have those hands hold weapons beyond that that's how humans do it and so they want their robot to be human-like. Would you build a tank that could possibly drop its gun by accident? A warmachine shouldn't need to be doing handed operations, it's for blowing up other warmachines, and 99.99% of the ones that do the background fighting and exploding in mecha series never needed their hands in their operational lives once.
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I will forever hold the notion that 90's Kawamori had the best blending of "eastern" and "western" mecha stylings (if that even makes fucking sense).

His original armored core designs were sex. I thought the chicken legs were actually decent looking with most setups.
Technically I cannot answer the question as it's specific to the Battletech setting.

The 'that's how humans do it' thing I think is more easily solved simply because they let the machine manipulate things outside of combat more easily. In general however, I'd say yeah, it makes the machine more human, and that's not a problem at all. I don't see mecha as needing to be realistic, and I don't enjoy stuff that tries to be as realistic as possible with mechs because if you have to make your mech realistic at all, why even have it exist?

Don't get me wrong, chicken legs are delicious, it's just that us guys in the US utilize them really badly.

I'd also argue that things like chicken legs are not things exclusive to nations, because they aren't. It's how you put these things together that matters. Japanese guys, they've been doing it for a long time and when people get lucky they know what they're doing and it works. Across the pond this is much less common and you have different ideas floating around as well as less overall experience, audience familiarity and attitudes, etc., and it shows.

US audiences have no taste for robots, so we get shitty robots a lot. Japan's had robots for a while, and even with younger people enjoying them less there's still experience. Japan however will still shart out plenty of bad shit but it's bad in an entirely different way than how I complained about US robots.

>99.99% never needed their hands
This isn't true. In Gundam alone the very first scene involves the Zaku landing team using their hands to manipulate the colony cylinder's mechanisms and other MS in other series continue to do various things with their hands, manipulators, etc.
Outside of Gundam it continues as well. Melee, construction or repair, moving things, etc.
>Outside of Gundam it continues as well. Melee, construction or repair, moving things, etc.
You don't need hands to melee, and if you're using your weapons of war to do construction or moving things they're being misused. You don't use a tank to move ammo around the hangar bay.
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Again with the realism thing, see? To you it matters that weapons are weapons, elsewhere this isn't so distinct. Giant Robo has hands. He doesn't need 'em, but he has 'em, because why not? Same with any other robot. Why not give them hands if they have arms? Gun arms are fine, gun fingers are fine, but what's the problem with hands if you have a war machine shaped like a man? You've gone this far, so why not? This is also ignoring the earlier note of hands being used for outside manipulation besides fighting. Clearing debris, helping others, and generally being able to hold stuff in a pinch is hardly a problem. Many tanks can mount winches, dozer blades or mine plows, etc. They don't and shouldn't use them at all times, but they're still there and still useful.

We also talked about chicken walkers, so here's another I like. The Sentinel is small, ubiquitous, and IMO more handsome than the BT guy. No greebles where they're unnecessary, no extra lining but for plates and actual panels. To me it's an example of what a good chicken walker could and should be- and again, rather than American, it's British.
Hands are quicker for swapping mission specific payloads than hardpoints. Also a missile launcher would need a different rig to a melee weapon due to function.

Suggesting mechs only serve as weapons is slightly flawed, existing armors sometimes carry gear for engineering ops, a lot of them are equipped with winches. If you wheel that hardware into a battlefield on top of the kind of engine that can shift a tank and then only use it to point a gun i'd say that counts as misuse
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