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Alucard
02-13-2009, 10:53 PM
Hello. I'm new here. First off, I'd like to ask some questions regarding weaponry for this competition. You can pretty much guarantee that I'm almost exclusively interested in the "hard core" variety. Alright, first off;

1) Are tethered projectiles allowed? I can just imagine the sort of madness that would ensue if you're allowed to pull a Scorpion on somebody, to reference Mortal Kombat. It would DEFINITELY help with ratings, and therefore allow you to build a bigger better arena for the subsequent years.

2) This is probably obvious, but are we allowed to use a flame thrower system that sprays the target area with flammable liquid first before igniting it using the "traditional" system? It would add an interesting dynamic, but it might be a bit overpowered.

3) If by some means of force we manage to render the opponent completely inoperable without them running out of "health points", do we still win?

4) Would it be possible somewhere down the road to allow in-arena equipment and "enhancements" for the robots? Like, for example, have pads (A la Deathrace) that when stepped on do various things, such as give a health boost, give a damage multiplier (successful hits take more HP), or even take points away (like an environmental hazard or trap). Another type would be actual items for them to use; obviously, they'd need to be designed to allow the robot type they're made for to equip them without difficulty. An example of this would be (for bipedal robots with hands) a sword that can do additional damage or (for tripodal turret types) an "armor repair unit" that gives the robot 1 HP/[insert appropriet time here] for every [insert appropriet time here] they stay "undamaged", which would most likely be in actuality a blinking light with a sticky side to stay on the thing.

5) Just how do you do the HP damage of a flamethrower? I'd think that it would probably do 1 HP/affected target plate at the normal rate of HP loss, but that might make them too overpowering.

6) How long do you expect until we can play around with robots that weigh a LOT more than 4-5 Kg? I don't know about you, but I can't wait until we can use some of the heavy equipment AND control it in a first person perspective. Even better if we can somehow allow explosives. (we need an evil grin smiley)

Thanks for any expedient replies. Also, I wouldn't mind if you asked your own hard core weapons questions on this thread. It helps keep all the info centralised so people don't have to search so much.

lnxfergy
02-13-2009, 11:20 PM
Not the definitive expert here, I'll leave that for tybs, but:

2) I think not, in the end, no weapons system should be truly destructive.
3) See point #2, no true destruction -- its just too expensive
4) In theory, yes something could be tied into the scoring system. No idea if we would want to go this route...
5) Flamethrower = all for show. HP hits require a physical hit against the target panel. Further, all flamethrowers need to be approved before use..
6) Have you looked at the cost of building a biped that carries 5kg? Got more than 10K just lying around?

-Fergs

DresnerRobotics
02-13-2009, 11:39 PM
Some ambitious ideas, and definitely things to keep in mind for the future, but we'll probably keep it simple until the hardcore class matures a bit more. We only have 2, maybe 3 people that I know of that are building for it for year 1. I think it will require a much larger arena to fully develop too.

As Fergs said, ultimate point is not to destroy, even with Hardcore class. Flamethrowers are just for show and must be VERY mild, tethered projectiles I'm not sure on... much easier said than done, and could cause problems. It'd be far too powerful on something very stable like a quad. Gotta keep game balance in mind with all of these decisions.

Give it time to mature, we'll see what works and what doesn't, and go from there.

Alucard
02-14-2009, 12:02 AM
Some ambitious ideas, and definitely things to keep in mind for the future, but we'll probably keep it simple until the hardcore class matures a bit more. We only have 2, maybe 3 people that I know of that are building for it for year 1. I think it will require a much larger arena to fully develop too.

As Fergs said, ultimate point is not to destroy, even with Hardcore class. Flamethrowers are just for show and must be VERY mild, tethered projectiles I'm not sure on... much easier said than done, and could cause problems. It'd be far too powerful on something very stable like a quad. Gotta keep game balance in mind with all of these decisions.

Give it time to mature, we'll see what works and what doesn't, and go from there.
Yeah, a tethered weapon would be best suited to a quad. However, they're also bigger targets, they can't use certain weapon types effectively that are also fairly useful, and they're generally slow. I think that it balances out. Also keep in mind that in order for a tethered weapon to be effective, it'd have to be fairly heavy; probably enough to make it a primary weapon. That also would be a drawback.

Yeah, I can see the point behind not wanting the weaponry to be overly damaging. However, once things get kicking later on, I'd imagine that it would just be unfair to the combat junkies to not allow something like that. At that point, what is now hard core would probably be renamed something like intermediate. Hard core under that would probably have a very high (by comparison) ceiling for HP, but it should also allow heavier mechs to compare. Also, certain destructive weapons would be allowed. Can you honestly say that it wouldn't be a crowd/sponsor magnet to allow a first person view of two or more mechs literally tearing each other apart? Yeah, it would definitely be almost as destructive to the competitors' wallets. Maybe there could be a little prize money for the winners to compensate, which would probably come out of the (after all the necessary expenses are made to set this up) profit that this venture would produce.

DresnerRobotics
02-14-2009, 12:13 AM
Yeah, a tethered weapon would be best suited to a quad. However, they're also bigger targets, they can't use certain weapon types effectively that are also fairly useful, and they're generally slow. I think that it balances out. Also keep in mind that in order for a tethered weapon to be effective, it'd have to be fairly heavy; probably enough to make it a primary weapon. That also would be a drawback.

Yeah, I can see the point behind not wanting the weaponry to be overly damaging. However, once things get kicking later on, I'd imagine that it would just be unfair to the combat junkies to not allow something like that. At that point, what is now hard core would probably be renamed something like intermediate. Hard core under that would probably have a very high (by comparison) ceiling for HP, but it should also allow heavier mechs to compare. Also, certain destructive weapons would be allowed. Can you honestly say that it wouldn't be a crowd/sponsor magnet to allow a first person view of two or more mechs literally tearing each other apart? Yeah, it would definitely be almost as destructive to the competitors' wallets. Maybe there could be a little prize money for the winners to compensate, which would probably come out of the (after all the necessary expenses are made to set this up) profit that this venture would produce.


And if you find me sponsors willing to dish out tends of thousands to competitors, please let me know :D

Only bots capable of carrying that type of firepower are in the 10-15k range. You set a bot like that on fire and you're literally burning money. As much as I'd like to dream about where the competition could go, I'm keeping my sights focused and set on Year 1, and making this competition a reality.

I mean, if two competitors want to put their 10-15k bots into an arena and go at it to the death, by all means, it just won't be my bot ;)

Alucard
02-14-2009, 12:26 AM
And if you find me sponsors willing to dish out tends of thousands to competitors, please let me know :D

Only bots capable of carrying that type of firepower are in the 10-15k range. You set a bot like that on fire and you're literally burning money. As much as I'd like to dream about where the competition could go, I'm keeping my sights focused and set on Year 1, and making this competition a reality.

I mean, if two competitors want to put their 10-15k bots into an arena and go at it to the death, by all means, it just won't be my bot ;)
That amount of weight, and if they actually have certain self-repair allowances, the mechs should have the ability to hold SOME sort of fire extinguishing method. Even if it's little more than some sort of foam, it should work.

Right now, the biggest thing that would preclude a sponsor from putting forth the sorts of capitol needed to build a heavy bot is the fact that this competition is still in its infancy. I'm going to guess that it'll be 3-4 competitions before this is put on the table in an official manner. HOWEVER, I think that that is prime time for people to develop bots. Maybe if the people who are running this thing can whip up a rule set for this, we can start work? I mean, at this point it looks like the chances that we will NOT be able to do this in a couple years time are minimal, with how freaking colossal the potential is for something like this to be aired. That in and of itself would probably be enough to persuade people to invest in a team; sponsors could get a cut of the proceeds from airing the fights, more if their team wins. That sound like enough persuasion?

And on that little bit at the end; fine, but don't whine if you don't get a bunch of stuff for winning, as well as some major street cred.

lnxfergy
02-14-2009, 12:29 AM
Yeah, a tethered weapon would be best suited to a quad. However, they're also bigger targets, they can't use certain weapon types effectively that are also fairly useful, and they're generally slow. I think that it balances out.

Wait... wait... wait... Are you arguing that a quad is slower than a biped??? Quads a have a huge upper hand in stability, which also translates to faster walking gaits. And what are these "certain weapon types" that they can't use effectively? They've generally got much higher payloads, so they should again have an upper hand in weaponry.

-Fergs

Alucard
02-14-2009, 12:36 AM
Wait... wait... wait... Are you arguing that a quad is slower than a biped??? Quads a have a huge upper hand in stability, which also translates to faster walking gaits. And what are these "certain weapon types" that they can't use effectively? They've generally got much higher payloads, so they should again have an upper hand in weaponry.

-Fergs
I'd imagine that quads would have at least some difficulty with close range weapons, whereas a biped wouldn't. A quad would be best suited to mid to long range combat, such as tethered weapons and various guns. Also, I guessed that since the quad has to move 4 legs, feet and other appendages rather than 2 and make sure they don't fall would slow them down. Of course, due to my location (middle of Nowhereland, West Virginia), I haven't had much opportunity to test this.

DresnerRobotics
02-14-2009, 12:38 AM
Naw, quads pretty much have every advantage when it comes to mobility, stability, and payload. Those of us building bipeds aren't doing it due to some inherit design advantage. That's why Quads have more target plates, in an attempt to balance things out.

lnxfergy
02-14-2009, 12:42 AM
Maybe if the people who are running this thing can whip up a rule set for this, we can start work?

That would be Tyberius (the people running this thing)... rules for the competition are here http://www.mech-warfare.com


That in and of itself would probably be enough to persuade people to invest in a team; sponsors could get a cut of the proceeds from airing the fights, more if their team wins. That sound like enough persuasion?

Show us a prototype! Seriously. Tybs has a mech approaching 10k right now, and it's under 5kg.


And on that little bit at the end; fine, but don't whine if you don't get a bunch of stuff for winning, as well as some major street cred.

Um yeah. The last thing Tyb needs is more "street cred" -- he's building a 10k mech, bankrolling a large portion of this competition to get it up off the ground, not mention the work he's done promoting it, setting up the event, and getting people developing relevant technologies. This is the FIRST year we've run this competition, let's get it up off the ground before we worry about "bunch of stuff" for winning. By the way, are you by any chance a former executive of a mortgage lender?

-Fergs

lnxfergy
02-14-2009, 12:46 AM
I'd imagine that quads would have at least some difficulty with close range weapons, whereas a biped wouldn't. A quad would be best suited to mid to long range combat, such as tethered weapons and various guns. Also, I guessed that since the quad has to move 4 legs, feet and other appendages rather than 2 and make sure they don't fall would slow them down. Of course, due to my location (middle of Nowhereland, West Virginia), I haven't had much opportunity to test this.

By this logic, a 1-legged robot is king.... but yeah.

-Fergs

Alucard
02-14-2009, 12:48 AM
Naw, quads pretty much have every advantage when it comes to mobility, stability, and payload. Those of us building bipeds aren't doing it due to some inherit design advantage. That's why Quads have more target plates, in an attempt to balance things out.
Meh, I just thought that it was because of the fact that it would be more indicative of something in reality; bigger things are easier to hit. I'd figure that bipeds at LEAST are better at handling fine movements and turning. They also have the option of arms, whereas most quad arms are for the most part cosmetic by comparison. If someone is smart about it, they could maybe use that as an advantage.

Anyway, I'm still waiting to hear some other questions about hard core; I know you have them! I want to see what's going through other peoples' heads on this.

sthmck
02-14-2009, 01:03 AM
I'd imagine that quads would have at least some difficulty with close range weapons, whereas a biped wouldn't. A quad would be best suited to mid to long range combat, such as tethered weapons and various guns. Also, I guessed that since the quad has to move 4 legs, feet and other appendages rather than 2 and make sure they don't fall would slow them down. Of course, due to my location (middle of Nowhereland, West Virginia), I haven't had much opportunity to test this.

Alucard, just to clarify a few things. I am in the process of developing a quad for this competition.
The reasons that I choose a quad over a biped are as follows:
More stability
Higher payload
Faster speed (depending on how well your code is and your understanding of kinematics)
Because quads have two more points contacting the ground than bipeds they automatically have a stability advantage which should translate to a more stable walking gate. Same thing goes for an increased payload.

If you are really interested in competing I suggest you get to work and build a functional robot before you start suggesting lots of ideas for changes. It is going to be challenging enough the first year just getting things going. While everyone would like to see some hardcore clashes this year it isnt really realistic. This type of competition hasn't been done before and I will be impressed if it goes through without any problems.

Also try not to use your location as an excuse for not being able to do anything. I also live in West Virginia, and while at sometimes it is frustrating not being able to stop by a hobby shop it really hasn't slowed me down to much.

Adrenalynn
02-14-2009, 01:10 AM
Have you ever actually seen a Biped robot in action before? I always enjoy watching their "fights". They can almost stand up for a few seconds before falling all over themselves...

A Quad is infinitely better at this kinda thing in every way.

Alucard
02-14-2009, 01:13 AM
Sadly, I also live in one of the deadest parts of the state; right around the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Not exactly a wide selection of parts. I also have the "slight" hindrance of not having any means of going to/from work at least until I get to Marshall for schooling. I have little to no means of even finding something that I can work with, let alone buy it. At minimum, I'll have a decent amount of money when I turn 18, but that'll probably not get me very far. Seriously, where do you go for your stuff? Preferably, it's within at most 2 hours from Weston.

lnxfergy
02-14-2009, 01:17 AM
Sadly, I also live in one of the deadest parts of the state; right around the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Not exactly a wide selection of parts. I also have the "slight" hindrance of not having any means of going to/from work at least until I get to Marshall for schooling. I have little to no means of even finding something that I can work with, let alone buy it. At minimum, I'll have a decent amount of money when I turn 18, but that'll probably not get me very far. Seriously, where do you go for your stuff? Preferably, it's within at most 2 hours from Weston.

The internet. Its great for research. It's a place to buy stuff. In fact, thats about the only place to buy robot parts -- online. Radio shack sells a few electronics components that could be useful, but thats the most you can possibly get from a brick and mortar store in most parts of the US.

-Fergs

DresnerRobotics
02-14-2009, 01:20 AM
I prefer a little shop called Trossen Robotics (http://www.trossenrobotics.com). Even if the people who work there are jerks. :p

sthmck
02-14-2009, 01:25 AM
Sadly, I also live in one of the deadest parts of the state; right around the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Not exactly a wide selection of parts. I also have the "slight" hindrance of not having any means of going to/from work at least until I get to Marshall for schooling. I have little to no means of even finding something that I can work with, let alone buy it. At minimum, I'll have a decent amount of money when I turn 18, but that'll probably not get me very far. Seriously, where do you go for your stuff? Preferably, it's within at most 2 hours from Weston.

Ok well yeah you do live a little bit out of the way. I am on the eastern panhandle (although most people from where you live have never even heard of it). Like Fergs said the internet is great stuff, and since you are posting on this forum you obviously have access. I don't know what to tell you as far as money goes though.

Adrenalynn
02-14-2009, 01:44 AM
I tend to shop at that little place called Trossen Robotics.com (http://www.trossenrobotics.com) even if one of the people that works there is a jerk. :P

Firestorm65
02-14-2009, 12:32 PM
Wow, I now see from the other side what my burst on the scene must have seemed like. Sincere apologies to those I annoyed.

Alucard
02-14-2009, 01:46 PM
I have one major problem with buying things off the net; how in all the Hells am I going to pay them? I'm not going to use Paypal, and credit cards are going to be down my throat with fees and whatnot. Unless if they will take cash sent by snail mail or some sort of money card (like what Amazon.com uses, for example), I'm pretty much screwed.

gdubb2
02-14-2009, 01:59 PM
Get a credit card with a small upper limit, use it ONLY for online purchases, and pay it off each month before you rack up any fees or charges. Or use Paypal which you have said you won't use...Even with Paypal, you need a method of getting money to them.

Personally I do the credit card thing..

Adrenalynn
02-14-2009, 02:01 PM
>> I'm pretty much screwed

Yup!

lnxfergy
02-14-2009, 02:04 PM
Not to be rude, but if you don't like buying stuff online... well, you better find a different hobby... cause you can buy about 0.5% of robot parts in a store...

-Fergs

Alucard
02-14-2009, 02:33 PM
It's not buying the stuff that's the problem, it's paying for it. Getting a credit card and paying it off immediately is probably one of the best options for me though, unless if these people take money cards like Amazon does. Meh. Anyway, I'm still waiting to hear other peoples' questions about the hard core weapons, and maybe some ideas. I'll post some of mine if you do! :p

Adrenalynn
02-14-2009, 03:00 PM
My idea: Build a platform, get it walking, turning, getting up after it's fallen down. Then unteather it and get it working reliably over wireless. Then put a network camera on it, and enough battery power to carry it and the camera and the wireless control system at least 20 minutes. Then test the remaining payload. Now you now what your practical limitations are for weapons in the real world.

Once you have all that working, and you know what your payload is, and have worked out the balance, then let's talk about what weaponry you'd like to put on it.

Alucard
02-14-2009, 03:05 PM
My idea: Build a platform, get it walking, turning, getting up after it's fallen down. Then unteather it and get it working reliably over wireless. Then put a network camera on it, and enough battery power to carry it and the camera and the wireless control system at least 20 minutes. Then test the remaining payload. Now you now what your practical limitations are for weapons in the real world.

Once you have all that working, and you know what your payload is, and have worked out the balance, then let's talk about what weaponry you'd like to put on it.
I was talking ideas for weaponry, not a rundown of how to build the base robot. Sorry if it seems like I'm being pushy, but that reply seemed more than a little condescending. As annoying as I probably am, at least I'm not doing that. -_-

Adrenalynn
02-14-2009, 03:10 PM
I'm sorry if you felt it was condescending. Physics frequently limits our options when designing for build and I was simply pointing out that until the robot is walking, turning, getting up, and performing the basic tasks required, no weapons system in the world is deployable.

Alucard
02-14-2009, 03:18 PM
I'm sorry if you felt it was condescending. Physics frequently limits our options when designing for build and I was simply pointing out that until the robot is walking, turning, getting up, and performing the basic tasks required, no weapons system in the world is deployable.
Alright. Just for argument's sake, presume that there already is a robot made which is both capable of housing a decent amount of artillery and designed to be able to use that weapon effectively. What weapons can you come up with, and what would you expect would be able to use them most effectively? Again, if you post your ideas I'll post mine.

Adrenalynn
02-14-2009, 03:31 PM
My idea for hardcore is to fit an L60 Bofors cannon under the nose, a 25mm GAU-12U gatling gun in each "hand", a mixed complement of Hydra 70 FFAR rockets and AGM-114 Hellfires on the shoulders. A small turrent on top will have two cutting lasers, one facing forward and one facing back, but can rotate 360 degrees. One will probably be an Nd laser at a low pulse rate for blowing holes and the other a simple CO2 for cutting. Maybe an Nd/YAG instead of the Nd.

It will have a "suicide pill" to cause its nuclear reactor to enter thermal runaway - if I start losing, clear out at least a ten mile radius.

;)

Alucard
02-14-2009, 03:38 PM
My idea for hardcore is to fit an L60 Bofors cannon under the nose, a 25mm GAU-12U gatling gun in each "hand", a mixed complement of Hydra 70 FFAR rockets and AGM-114 Hellfires on the shoulders. A small turrent on top will have two cutting lasers, one facing forward and one facing back, but can rotate 360 degrees. One will probably be an Nd laser at a low pulse rate for blowing holes and the other a simple CO2 for cutting. Maybe an Nd/YAG instead of the Nd.

It will have a "suicide pill" to cause its nuclear reactor to enter thermal runaway - if I start losing, clear out at least a ten mile radius.

;)
Being a smart-ass is also very condescending. It's also entirely unhelpful. I know that you're a mod; however, this should NOT be a free pass to be a complete OMG I LOVE PUPPIES!. See my problem?

lnxfergy
02-14-2009, 03:48 PM
Alucard -- take a search of the forum, this is about the 5th or 6th thread on weapons systems. Lots of ideas, both practical and impractical, floating around out there.

The problem right now is this: there have probably been 500 posts hypothesizing about crazy weapons sytems, but only about 20 posts of actual, near-working robots. In fact, at the moment, as far as I can recall, we have 3-5 working quads, and a few more bipeds out there that may or may not be completely working (I define "working" as meaing they can walk, turn, and shoot an airsoft gun). Theres a dozen or more people that have actual plans on how they are going to build thier mechs. Then there are 30-100 people who seem to have plans how to build crazy weapon systems, active interference, and all sorts of other stuff that still requires a working mech...

Getting a biped to reliably carry a kilo of firepower, batteries, and control equipment (for 15-20 minutes) is really quite a challenge. Doing so for less than $5k is even more of a challenge. Quads would be slightly easier, but even things that seem simple, like a reliable camera, are quite the challenge...

So forgive us if we appear "condescending", but many of these threads are getting out of control, and people seem to be losing sight of the absolute requirements to actually compete... a walking mech.

-Fergs

Adrenalynn
02-14-2009, 03:53 PM
Eloquent as always, Fergs.

DresnerRobotics
02-14-2009, 03:59 PM
Alucard -- take a search of the forum, this is about the 5th or 6th thread on weapons systems. Lots of ideas, both practical and impractical, floating around out there.

The problem right now is this: there have probably been 500 posts hypothesizing about crazy weapons sytems, but only about 20 posts of actual, near-working robots. In fact, at the moment, as far as I can recall, we have 3-5 working quads, and a few more bipeds out there that may or may not be completely working (I define "working" as meaing they can walk, turn, and shoot an airsoft gun). Theres a dozen or more people that have actual plans on how they are going to build thier mechs. Then there are 30-100 people who seem to have plans how to build crazy weapon systems, active interference, and all sorts of other stuff that still requires a working mech...

Getting a biped to reliably carry a kilo of firepower, batteries, and control equipment (for 15-20 minutes) is really quite a challenge. Doing so for less than $5k is even more of a challenge. Quads would be slightly easier, but even things that seem simple, like a reliable camera, are quite the challenge...

So forgive us if we appear "condescending", but many of these threads are getting out of control, and people seem to be losing sight of the absolute requirements to actually compete... a walking mech.

-Fergs


This.

We really are a nice bunch of people, but again- we get a lot of people who show up super excited about this competition, come up with tons of wild and extravagant ideas about weapons systems and mechs, without sight of what really goes into making a working system. We try to be as patient as possible.

You want to build a competitive hardcore class mech? Look at spending about 5-10k for a biped.

This would require you to:

A) Use the internet to buy things.

B) Have a working knowledge of the physics and mechanical limitations of building a biped.

C) Having enough programming knowledge to coordinate the multiple subsystems that go into making one of these robots work.

Not trying to be a downer, but everyone involved needs a reality check every once in awhile =)

Adrenalynn
02-14-2009, 04:03 PM
Not trying to be a downer, but everyone involved needs a reality check every once in awhile =)

My Reality Check has bounced numerous times preparing for this competition.

That said - I'll leave this alone now. Some appreciate my slightly acerbic wit, others don't. [shrug]

Alucard
02-14-2009, 05:44 PM
Alright, sorry. I may have been a tad overzealous. Understatement of the year. However, just for the assistance that you (after you got over the hostility because I posted yet another weapons topic) gave, I'll tell you something that I'm thinking of. This would be primarily for a quad, and would need some very good engineering skills. Wouldn't it be possible to equip the legs with spikes that, when deployed, can shunt into and hold the mech to the sides of the "buildings"? This would be very dependent on what is used to make the buildings, but it would be a very interesting element if it can be used effectively, especially if they can somehow manage to climb in that manner (attach with 3 legs, move 1 forward, shunt it in, rinse & repeat). Would be very damaging to the building, though.