In my first job, they put all the newly hired graduate engineers onto a training scheme (with rotation through various departments etc), and then they sent us off to college for a two week (I think - maybe it was a month) design and build project.
Since this was 2000, Robot Wars was about at its peak popularity in the UK, so we built one for our project.
Sadly, the guys that took it down to the BBC didn’t get through the qualification stages to appear on the program.
Was a lot of fun, though, especially since we got paid to do it
I’d like to see it brought back. Always loved Razer.
I bet it would be more popular if they introduced new categories which encouraged designs that were more exciting than glorified RC cars with spatulas attached. Ideas for new contestants:
ICEHAMMER: This robot’s signature move is to douse its opponent with liquid nitrogen, then shatter it with a captive bolt gun like the one from No Country for Old Men.
KILLIPEDE: Multilegged wall-crawler with a machine gun for a face.
SCORCHED EARTH: Basically just a quadcopter that drops napalm.
IIRC, the Beeb rules didn’t say anything about not having flying robots.
You were allowed walkers, and they had a higher max weight limit if you went that route.
Flamethrowers and projectiles were banned, though. Which was odd, because their own robot had a flamethrower.
I’m sure that was their lawyers going “this is a spectator sport, if you let them play with fire someone is going to be burned.”
IMHO, the problem with these contests is that the most effective robot kill is just flipping them over. The most effective robots are basically mobile hard hats with spatulas.
I’d like to see it where there was a point based system. 10 points if your opponent breaks down or gets stuck on their own. 20 points if you flip them or push them into an obsticle where they just get jammed. 50 points for inflicting enough physical damage on the opposing robot to disable it.
Note that all of the pictures above include the robots with spinning blades or piston spikes. That’s because they are way more interesting than some RC car with a metal turtle shell on top.
I always thought it was a shame they were RC controlled rather than autonomous.
Back around 2001 or so I did the packaging and user manual design for a multiplatform video game adaptation of “BattleBots.” The game was basically completed but they pulled the plug on the project at the last minute. After playing a demo of the game at that year’s E3 expo I understood why: it’s really pretty anticlimactic to spend several minutes trying to flip over an RC car with another RC car, even when there are spinning blades and floor spikes in the vicinity.
This was the cover art we made. It was about 100 times more dramatic than anything which happened in the game itself, but still much less exciting than almost any other combat-based video game. Next to PS2 or GameCube titles that let users fight Mechagodzilla or other super-powered robots, realistic combat on a toy-like scale just wasn’t cutting it.
I always wanted to build a competition 'bot that was pretty much a slightly faceted giant ball of concrete, with a motorized gyro in it. It would just roll around and crush things by sheer weight. Or a pogo-bouncing robot that would smash into things from above.
My favorite one that I’ve seen was essentially an enclosed axle with these huge shiny needle sharp talon things arrayed on it. It could walk around on its talons but if it put all its weight on one, it’d punch through whatever was beneath it. I cannot find a picture anywhere!
You may be thinking of Mechadon. The concept art I originally pitched for the game I mentioned above depicted Mechadon posing menacingly over the wreckage of fallen competitors, but the client decided they wanted to go with a scene more typical of the show’s combat style (I think Mechadon was too heavy to fall into any of the normal contestant categories).
Yes! Thank you! That’s the one. I love the concept, I just wish they could have completely enclosed the works with smooth metal… but it was already too heavy for anything but the superheavyweight class even without armoring the actuators.
I’ve tried for the past few years to find BattleBots episodes online, to no avail. I used to love that show, wish it was viewable somewhere.
That was so much fun to watch! Thank you for sharing.
Yes, like that. (well maybe with more destruction).
Modern robot competitions tend to stress co-operation rather than attempted destruction these days. If you’re trying to encourage kids to choose a career in robotics, you generally want to encourage them to build the kind of robots that can work together towards a common goal. (I’ve been a judge for FRC.) Robot soccer and stuff like that gives teams a competitive experience while still rewarding the more useful and interesting solutions that a teamwork requirement inspires.
Me too! Planning to do it again this year. Around here it’s just the Lego robotics league though, I’d rather get more involved with something more advanced.
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