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Stobs
05-01-2010, 09:16 PM
I've been hesitant to bring this one up, but with the suggestions that Upgrayd brought up I might as well. What about adding an "entry level" category for BattleTech/MechWarrior based tanks ? I realize this wouldn't fit in as neatly as the events Upgrayd suggested since one wouldn't be bringing another mech for those events. On the other hand it would bring in younger/less experienced participants along with those who either aren't able to budget for a more involved mech or who are unsure of their [abilities] and are are either hesitant to expend their resources or might be intimidated by the perceived competition.

YouTube- MechWarrior: Living Legends - Oro Assault


[EDIT: Not to take any "credit" for a thread I didn't actually start, this post was split off to a new thread by an administrator from what had been the second post here (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=4086).]

darkback2
05-02-2010, 12:09 AM
Hey StoborRobonaught,

The idea of tanks has been brought up in the past, most people have suggested that it would push too far into the easy category. Also, there is an airsoft tank game already. Personally I think it would be cool to have in the same vain as an auto turret would. or a fully autonomous tank might work, but not for competition.

Hexapods were disallowed at first because people thought they were too easy. Now they are a separate "beginner" class. A hex is a lot of money, but cheaper servos can be used on a hex so it may balance out.

That said, money is tight for a lot of people right now. A tank or wheeled robot is a whole world cheaper than a walker.

Sweet video BTW

DB

Stobs
05-02-2010, 01:39 AM
Thanks DB :) The lower cost - and the fundamental complexity - of the tanks is what I was thinking off. I'm in the process of designing my biped now; I know I won't have any problem putting the pieces together - the ones that I can figure out that I need anyway - but getting them to actually do something is going to be the real test. I'm of a half a mind to start with a hex or a quad but I don't think I'm smart enough to take that route ;););)

master_of_robots
05-03-2010, 12:34 PM
Hey StoborRobonaught,

The idea of tanks has been brought up in the past, most people have suggested that it would push too far into the easy category. Also, there is an airsoft tank game already. Personally I think it would be cool to have in the same vain as an auto turret would. or a fully autonomous tank might work, but not for competition.

Hexapods were disallowed at first because people thought they were too easy. Now they are a separate "beginner" class. A hex is a lot of money, but cheaper servos can be used on a hex so it may balance out.

That said, money is tight for a lot of people right now. A tank or wheeled robot is a whole world cheaper than a walker.

Sweet video BTW

DB

I am also one who would like to see tank mechs added as a class. I'm nearing completion of a robot that has an upper half very much like the bipedal mechs, but the lower half is tank treads. I will say that this is NOT an easy project, and can cost as much if not more than a bi/quad/multi ped.

That being said, I understand the rules as they are now, but either way I'm going to keep pushing for a treaded class and see what happens. I'll be more than happy to fight in an exhibition/open class if it comes to it.

I'd also like to address how a tank tread mech would actually be more realistic since it is a type of technology currently being used by today's military.

Stobs
05-03-2010, 01:50 PM
@master of robots:
I've already decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with an initial "tank mech," then progress to either a hex or a quad, and then tackle the biped. Even if I only have the time to get the tank mech ready for next year, if I can even do that, I'm still going to invest in the learning curve of that project by integrating mech-centric sensors, while truncating the overall curve for now by not having to worry about balance and gait issues as well.

If you don't mind me asking what's the overall dimensions and approximate weight of your tank mech?

master_of_robots
05-03-2010, 02:05 PM
I'm shooting for 12" x 12" x 18". The base is very close to the Lynx Motion J5 (http://www.lynxmotion.com/images/hi-res/j501.jpg) but the top is way different. It's also quite heavy since most plates are now aluminum. It will also have working guns and rockets.

mannyr7
05-03-2010, 02:12 PM
While not belittling your efforts, the generally accepted definition of a 'mech' is a walking tank. Emphasis on 'walking'. If it doesn't walk, it's just a tank, whether wheeled, hover, or treaded. This is not based anywhere in reality or what current technology is capable of. See 'battletech', 'armored core', 'heavy gears', 'steel battalion' for examples. Hope I haven't offended anyone, just think some clarification was needed.

master_of_robots
05-03-2010, 02:18 PM
While not belittling your efforts, the generally accepted definition of a 'mech' is a walking tank. Emphasis on 'walking'. If it doesn't walk, it's just a tank, whether wheeled, hover, or treaded. This is not based anywhere in reality or what current technology is capable of. See 'battletech', 'armored core', 'heavy gears', 'steel battalion' for examples. Hope I haven't offended anyone, just think some clarification was needed.

Yes, MannyR7, you are correct regarding the definition, and Wikipedia backs that up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecha

I would hope that semantics wouldn't prevent a new class from forming, especially if there is interest.

I take a more general interpretation of "Mech Warfare" as "robots with guns", and therefore would love to see all types of "robots with guns" interacting in a fun competitive sport, whether or not the competition is under the guise of the current "Mech Warefare League" (if you will).

I see synergy here, but I may be mistaken...

DresnerRobotics
05-03-2010, 02:32 PM
Yes, MannyR7, you are correct regarding the definition, and Wikipedia backs that up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecha

I would hope that semantics wouldn't prevent a new class from forming, especially if there is interest.

I take a more general interpretation of "Mech Warfare" as "robots with guns", and therefore would love to see all types of "robots with guns" interacting in a fun competitive sport, whether or not the competition is under the guise of the current "Mech Warefare League" (if you will).

I see synergy here, but I may be mistaken...

You are more than welcome to build any mech-type robot you want. That said, I currently have no plans for implementing a wheeled, treaded, or hover class in Mech Warfare. We may end up using airsoft tanks in support roles for 'war scenario' exhibition matches in the future, but these would be strictly a support role and not intended to be a pilot's main entry.

I encourage you to show up to Robogames and have fun, and you're more than welcome to try out your robot in exhibition matches as long as it does not interfere with the registered Mech Warfare contestants' exhibition matches or damage the arena.

Stobs
05-03-2010, 02:47 PM
While not belittling your efforts, the generally accepted definition of a 'mech' is a walking tank. ...

No offense taken; I'd have to agree with you that it wouldn't be considered a mech per se, but they are part of the mech [macrocosm], at least with the new "MechWarrior Living Legends" product. The only other mech games I'm familiar with are "MechWarrior 3" and a couple of the "MechWarrior 4" products - within none of which I recall encountering a tank or artillery unit, but it's been nearly a decade since I've played any of them.

Besides, "tank mechs" are clearly outside of the current rules implementation so as far as I'm concerned it's simply an exercise in self-education. :)

[EDIT] PS, @Ty (I just saw your post after replying to mannyr7's): /me nods, my thoughts on your/the Mech-Warfare's community take on things, and for what it's worth I agree entirely. Besides, if we pull off the tanks well enough, there's enough interest, and the general consensus of the Mech-Warfare's community/governing body agrees, there could be an inclusive category for them sometime in the future.

Stobs
05-03-2010, 03:24 PM
I'm shooting for 12" x 12" x 18". ...

sorry m o r, I missed this post entirely. I'm sure mine will be considerably smaller than that, as I'm trying to base my design (very) loosely on one of the vehicles of the MWLL (http://mw.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=Main_Page) universe, while keeping in mind the current rules of our biped category. FYI, the units I'm considering as the basis of my robot are the APC (http://mw.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=APC), the Partisan (http://mw.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=Partisan) [or] the Morrigu (http://mw.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=Morrigu), but I've yet to find a reference to their individual tonnage designation, which I would use to help develop an approximate scale.

[EDIT] Well, each of the vehicle page's that I linked to above have an embedded link to the BattleTech Wiki (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Main_Page), within which are noted their masses: APC (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Wheeled_APC), Partisan (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Partisan) and Morrigu (http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Morrigu).

master_of_robots
05-03-2010, 03:29 PM
sorry m o r, I missed this post entirely. I'm sure mine will be considerably smaller than that, as I'm trying to base my design (very) loosely on one of the vehicles of the MWLL (http://mw.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=Main_Page) universe, while keeping in mind the current rules of our biped category. FYI, the units I'm considering as the basis of my robot are the APC (http://mw.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=APC), the Partisan (http://mw.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=Partisan) [or] the Morrigu (http://mw.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=Morrigu), but I've yet to find a reference to their individual tonnage designation, which I would use to help develop an approximate scale.

Not to derail here, but I'm basing mine off of the tank in Red Faction Guerrilla:
http://www.vgblogger.com/wp-content/uploads/Games/RedFactionGuerrilla/RFG-WeaponsVehicles/missle%20tank.jpg

master_of_robots
05-03-2010, 04:15 PM
So to give a clearer example, it would be easier to just see what I'm working on:

http://axiomrobotics.com/

The photos are old (I'm updating the site here in a few weeks), but you get the idea. The video also shows the HUD that I built to go along with it.

Stobs
05-03-2010, 04:35 PM
wow, very cool :) I'm thinking that's over 10lbs/4.5kgs? Just before I start to build mine I'll setup an interactive page on which I'll be posting media and reference resources.

Adam
05-03-2010, 08:30 PM
IMHO a tank competition isn't cool unless it's autonomous. Otherwise it's just RC.

darkback2
05-03-2010, 09:07 PM
A word of caution...maybe just a word of advice. I first heard about mech warfare almost two years ago, four days after I put down my hard earned money on a hexapod. I swear I wish I had the time to look up all of the posts that I made that were almost word for word the posts I see on this thread. I said that I didn't have the money to build a second robot. I said that Hexes are just as hard as quads...I feel like I said it all, and Andrew the guy who did the work to put the event together stuck firm to his ideals. It took me a long time of hating all of the talk about mech warfare, and not wanting to be a part of it...(I even went so far as to mount a gun on my hexapod) before I finally came around. I decided that I would try to make a quad out of junk so that I could participate in mech warfare without spending much money. I convinced myself that I really didn't care about the event, that it didn't really matter. That I would do it with the junk that I had laying around, and metal that I could salvage from the junk yard. I first build charlie for $100. Sure she caught on fire, but she worked. Over time I got together enough money to build squidword. Also from recycled aluminum, though using much more powerful (expensive) servos.

The point is I grew as a result of stepping up to the challenge. I grew as a builder, as a programmer. I have learned so much because I took on the challenge of making something that I didn't think I had the money to, skill to, energy or time to make. For that I am eternally grateful to the people on this forum, mostly Andrew, who didn't back down when they said no to my requests.

I encourage you to think about the real challenges that this competition presents you with, and to think about how much you will gain by stepping up to the challenge. Understand that I mean no disrespect, and after looking at the pictures of your robot I think it is really cool looking, but I don't see it as meeting the challenges laid out by this event.

I hope to see you at robogames 2011, no matter what kind of bot you show up with, and I'll be happy to face you in the arena. I love robotics, and anyone else who feels as passionately as I do is welcome in my mind.

Good Luck

DB

Stobs
05-03-2010, 09:43 PM
@Adam: I agree entirely, and that is what I'm planning to attempt doing.

@DB: Thank you for making that post, I know it wasn't aimed at me specifically but most if it could have been, and it was nicely done! :) My dreams for 2011 are to do the tank, a quad and a biped. The realities are that I've done nothing within the mechtronics realm and I don't have an unlimited budget, so I'm sure I'm going to be disappointed in whatever I attain, but that won't stop me from doing my very best. At this point I'm falling back to my youthful teachings to simply shut-up and do. With that I'm taking the approach of Gary Sinise's Ken Mattingly, rather than Mel Gibson's Wiliam Wallace: diligent, focused and resourceful. I'm not intimidated at all by what lies ahead, but I am mindful, respectful and eager to meet the challenges ahead - and when one hears me let out that Big Sigh when my tank doesn't make like a Fourth of July sparkler or my mech actually stands on it's feet the secret that I'm an eternal optimist will be out of the bag. ;)

master_of_robots
05-03-2010, 10:19 PM
It is true that the biped/quad vehicles do have their complexities in design and implementation, but so do treaded vehicles. I do however notice how my own system designs (software and hardware) have similar roots to the current mech league.

For instance, I noticed from the most recent Robogames that someone was using a Trendnet webcam admin panel to view the webcam as he was piloting his vehicle. I too have a similar set up for my "HUD" and have since incorporated the webcam output into a custom web browser command application to navigate and control my tank.

I'm also working on implementing a few control mechanisms for the Toy East cannons and for the E-Flight micro rockets, both of which are being used by the mech warfare league.

All in all, I think we share a common goal of "robot carnage", I just prefer the Terminator T115:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3655/3351298980_590b3a5fd5.jpg

darrellt
05-04-2010, 03:08 AM
I have a spykee I was thinking about converting into an automatic BB sweeper tank but now im thinking I should add an air-soft gun just in case. Shooting more bbs would kind of defeat the purpose of sweeping but hey what ya gonna do.

In any case if you are just getting started in robotics it would be a perfectly logical path to get a tank working before you go for a walker. Cellbots.com has some examples of cheep tank steer bots controlled via various cell phones. I am currently working on merging my video and PlayStation controller code with them.

master_of_robots
05-28-2010, 04:10 PM
I'm shooting for 12" x 12" x 18". The base is very close to the Lynx Motion J5 (http://www.lynxmotion.com/images/hi-res/j501.jpg) but the top is way different. It's also quite heavy since most plates are now aluminum. It will also have working guns and rockets.

This video might help describe it better: http://vimeo.com/5746437