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Thread: Mech Warfare Rules and Guidelines

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    Mech Warfare Rules and Guidelines

    These rules and guidelines are still up for discussion and may be subject to change. If you have any questions or would like to give feedback in on our Rules Thread.

    All Mechs are subject to final approval by an official before competing, and may be rejected if considered unsafe for human bystanders or not keeping in the spirit of the event. To elaborate, these rules here are intended to keep things balanced and fair, while I'm sure there are little loopholes that can be found for most things, have a sense of honor and respect for your opponents, and don't try to 'gimmick' your way to a win.


    If you have questions, please Contact Me.

    Updated: 1/30/09-
    Recent changes will be in bold. Mechs:


    • True walking robots only. Legs must be servo/actuator driven. This means no cam-driven, wheeled, or treaded configurations.
    • Your robot may have up to 4 legs. There is a penalty for using more than 2 legs.
    • Average Mech size is estimated between 10-18" tall. The arena itself has a 4' ceiling. There is no maximum height, bearing in mind the ceiling.
    • Maximum weight is 5 kg. This includes all batteries, weapons and ammo.
    • Your Mech may be remotely operated by a pilot or autonomous.
    • Shields are not allowed.


    Weapons:

    • There are two separate weapon classes, each with different limitations.




    • Hardcore Weapon Class will use much more powerful weapons such as CO2 powered rifles, micro class rockets, and flamethrowers.


    • Mechs can be outfitted to participate in either competition class as long as the weapons active abide by the rules of the class.


    • Auto-aiming, tracking and lock-on systems are allowed. Automatic firing is not allowed. The only exception to this is on a fully autonomous mechs. In this case automatic firing is allowed however there must be a verified remote kill switch, to be demonstrated before participating. I won't have Skynet go live on my watch.


    Control:


    • Pilots may only view the battle through a first person POV camera mounted on their bot.
    • Pilots may not view the battle directly.
    • Cameras should be mounted roughly in the center of mass of the robot, where the 'cockpit' would be. The intention is to simulate piloting the Mech, not having cameras on your guns mounted to extensions so you can fire around corners without fear of being shot. This would fall under the 'Gimmick Clause'.
    • Remote control setup is up to the pilot, though there are multiple methods being discussed on the forums, many of which are free and available to users.


    Arena:

    • The Arena dimensions are 8'x8'x4'. Larger arenas may be used in upcoming years. Expect an updated render of the arena and building placement shortly.
    • The Arena will be located within an armored fully enclosed 'Battle Bot' cage, with 4-8 mock 'buildings' roughly 2 feet tall placed strategically throughout the arena to provide cover.
    • 'Streets' will be 2' wide, enough to allow bots to traverse down and through the city.
    • Mechs will start at opposite corners of the arena.
    • Spectators will be able to watch the entire fight in the arena, and also have a view of each pilot's 'mech cam' displayed on monitors.
    • Proposed Arena Designs are currently being discussed.


    Scoring:

    • Matches are won by reducing your opponent's Mech hit points to 0.
    • Each Mech has X amount of hitpoints. X is still being decided, 10 is an estimate.
    • Targets will consist of thin plates mounted to micro switches. Multiple micro switches will probably have to be used in parallel to assure that hits can be registered at any point of impact on the plate.
    • Your Mech must be equipped with Targets equal to the amount of legs it has. Bipeds require one front target and one rear. Tripods and Quadrapods must have at least one target visible from any horizontal angle (meaning, if an enemy mech is facing you, at least one target must be visible)
    • Targets must be reasonably mounted on the Mech's main frame and not obscured by any limbs. This means no mounting them on poles sticking off of the Mech. Use common sense when choosing a mounting location, and keep in mind the spirit of the game. The intention is that if you are able to fire upon an opponent, they should be able to return fire given that they are facing you.
    • The target plates will most likely require a consistent color scheme to provide a basis for vision based tracking and aiming systems.
    • A knockover will also count as a hit. If you mech is unable to right itself, the match will be paused while the mech is assisted up and penalized an additional point of damage.
    • Targets will report hits to a Wireless Scoring Slave Unit, which will relay those hits to a Master Scoring Unit hooked up to a scoreboard.
    • Scoring Units will not register any more than 1 hit per every 1 second.
    • The Wireless Scoring Slave Unit is being developed and will be made available at cost. It will be plug and play, targets will plug in using .1" spaced 2 wire connectors (think of a servo connection with only 2 wires) It is being developed by Jon Hylands. Here is a brief overview:

    Quote Originally Posted by JonHylands
    "We're going to use this wireless module, one per robot, plus a master. The robot (slave) modules will have a secondary board (which I will design & build) that has an onboard ATmega168, and it will interface with up to four taget modules. Each target module is basically a micro-switch that shorts out two wires when it is hit. It will be up to the robot builder to build the target modules for their robot. We will come up with standards for the size of the target.

    The slave module will require a 3-wire connection to the robot - power (5 volts), ground, and a digital input pin that will be strobed each time a target is hit. This is so that the robot can send that information back to the controlling PC, and the person controlling the robot will know how many hits they have. Each slave module will have a unique ID.

    Once per second, the master will interrogate each slave to find out how many hits they have, and the results will be posted on a large screen that the audience can see.

    In terms of number of targets per robot, that is up in the air, but my initial thoughts are:

    # of targets = # of legs

    So a biped would have two targets (front and rear), a tripod would have three, and a quad would have four. One of the targets has to be clearly visible and hittable when the robot is facing an opponent.

    I'm going to build two version of the slave module - one as mentioned above for non-Bioloid mechs, and one that is a Bioloid bus device for Bioloid mechs (so the three-wire connection will be a standard Bioloid bus connector).

    The slave modules will be available at cost, which will be somewhere around $50.





    Airsoft Weapon Class

    The Airsoft Weapon Class is standard competition class. Mechs are not likely to be damaged when participating in this class, as weapons are design to score hits rather than cause damage.


    Weapons:
    • Airsoft projectile and Nerf missile type weapons are allowed. No shotgun type weapons.
    • Basic melee weapons are allowed. Powered and/or rotary melee weapons are not allowed.
    • Flamethrowers or sharp melee weapons are not allowed. The point is not to physically damage the Mechs.
    • Rate of Fire- There is no limitation to rate of fire.
    • Velocity- Maximum of 350fps.
    • Ammo- Airsoft BBs and Nerf-type 'missiles'



    Hardcore Weapon Class

    The Hardcore Weapon Class is meant for contestants who wish to use higher power weapon systems. The weapon guidelines for this class are fairly open, however we must obey laws and keep bystander safety in mind. If you plan on participating in this class, be prepared for your Mech to take some damage.



    Weapons:

    • 'BB gun' type weapons are allowed. This includes CO2 and spring powered weapons. Gunpowder based weapons are not allowed.
    • Micro-Class Rockets are allowed. The MicroMaxx type rockets are a good example of what is allowed. Rockets must have less than a .5 second burst and cannot be explosive.
    • Flamethrowers are allowed, though highly ineffective due to the way that scoring is handled. Consider these weapons mostly for show. Contact an official prior to even considering a flamethrower.
    • Basic melee weapons are allowed. Powered and/or rotary melee weapons are not allowed.
    • No Liquid, Chemical or Electricity based weapons.
    • Rate of Fire- There is no limitation to rate of fire.
    • Velocity- Maximum of 450fps.
    Last edited by DresnerRobotics; 01-30-2009 at 12:00 PM.

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyberius View Post

    • Pilots may only view the battle through a first person POV camera mounted on their bot.
    Clarification request: can we have more than one camera? Any restrictions on placement or facing? If it seems reasonable, maybe we could change the phrasing to be:

    "Pilots may only view the battle through cameras mounted on their bot"

    Excellent rules though.

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by lamont View Post
    Clarification request: can we have more than one camera? Any restrictions on placement or facing? If it seems reasonable, maybe we could change the phrasing to be:

    "Pilots may only view the battle through cameras mounted on their bot"

    Excellent rules though.
    I was thinking about this, and while I don't have an issue with the robots having more than one camera, we may run into technology limitations as far as camera channels go. So, while we can allow more than one camera, we would also require that the pilot create a solution that does not use other standard channels, that would cause interference with other pilot's camera(s).

    This came up, because for example, The 2.4ghz Swann camera that Jon has linked seems like a pretty solid choice, however they are limited to only 4 channels. If we have 4 people using those in a single match, all 4 channels would be used up already.

    Anybody have any suggestions how a pilot could use more than one camera and not eat up all the channels available?

    My suggestion is a simple one- put you camera on a quick pan servo and have preset angles to aim to.

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    IP Cameras. Your limit then is bandwidth.

    2.4Ghz video defines only 4 channels.
    5.8Ghz video defines 16 channels in the US, 32 in many other regions.
    UHF unlicensed defines 2 channels. I think 900Mhz is also two channels.

    IP cameras could theoretically have 16.7M channels, but you'd never squeeze 'em down the backbone.

    Realistically, figure 4-8 cams should be trivial on 802.11g. More than that and framerate and/or frame quality will have to suffer. I've put 24 on a router at QCIF 10fps before...
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    IP Cameras. Your limit then is bandwidth.

    2.4Ghz video defines only 4 channels.
    5.8Ghz video defines 16 channels in the US, 32 in many other regions.
    UHF unlicensed defines 2 channels. I think 900Mhz is also two channels.

    IP cameras could theoretically have 16.7M channels, but you'd never squeeze 'em down the backbone.

    Realistically, figure 4-8 cams should be trivial on 802.11g. More than that and framerate and/or frame quality will have to suffer. I've put 24 on a router at QCIF 10fps before...
    I agree with the IP cameras idea, the problem is finding a small wifi camera that's reasonably priced.

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    Design one.
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    OK twist my arm, I have been reading all the fourms that was starting up in the original thread. I love it and its a great idea. I've been talking with my wife about this and if I could aford to take flight to CA and she said OK. So I'll start my BiPed Mech design and wepons that 4mem8 and I have been talking about under our breaths which I will not discuss here but it is within the legal limits. Is there a down to earth thread that I have not found yet telling us what everyone should have as of R/C transmitters, Cammeras, MCUs or anything else set in stone. If so please direct me to it so I can design my Mech around it. Oh ya by the way I'm in as long as the cost does not kill me..which I think I can get around that. hehehe

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJax View Post
    OK twist my arm, I have been reading all the fourms that was starting up in the original thread. I love it and its a great idea. I've been talking with my wife about this and if I could aford to take flight to CA and she said OK. So I'll start my BiPed Mech design and wepons that 4mem8 and I have been talking about under our breaths which I will not discuss here but it is within the legal limits. Is there a down to earth thread that I have not found yet telling us what everyone should have as of R/C transmitters, Cammeras, MCUs or anything else set in stone. If so please direct me to it so I can design my Mech around it. Oh ya by the way I'm in as long as the cost does not kill me..which I think I can get around that. hehehe
    Looks like there will also be a east coast event as well.

    Not a lot is set in stone, and a lot of what you're asking is up to you.

    Control scheme is up to you, I personally plan on controlling via PC over wireless (bluetooth, wifi, not sure yet).

    We're still discussing camera options, 2.4ghz is the cheapest/easiest, but we'll likely run into interference and/or limited channels.

    MCU is up to you again.

    I want this to be as much an engineering competition as it is a combat competition. One of the shortcomings of Battlebots type competitions is the simplicity of it all. You're essentially looking at armored RC cars with basic weapons. I want this to be more advanced, more strategic, and thus the design of the mechs is largely up to the pilots aside from some basic ground rules (no flamethrowers, etc)

    Good to have you onboard though

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    Thanks Tyberius,
    4mem8 has talked alot of good things about you and how understanding and patient you are with him, Its good to see that in people as there are not many of us around that like to help out those in need. So good for you on that note!

    Did I hear an East coast event? That would be great. At what location would this be held in or State? So if I read you right, all is fair game as long as its RF controlled right? my wepon systems will include plastic bbs, I think this is in the guide lines for the first year since we don't want to destroy the Mechs. Metal bbs would hurt the covers pretty bad and distroy most of the target pads along with the city. Does any parts have to come from the Trossen store or can we get them anywhere we want to. Let me know when the contest comes to the East so I can get my Mech ready!! Thanks.
    Jax

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    Re: Mech Wars Rules and Guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJax View Post
    Thanks Tyberius,
    4mem8 has talked alot of good things about you and how understanding and patient you are with him, Its good to see that in people as there are not many of us around that like to help out those in need. So good for you on that note!

    Did I hear an East coast event? That would be great. At what location would this be held in or State? So if I read you right, all is fair game as long as its RF controlled right? my wepon systems will include plastic bbs, I think this is in the guide lines for the first year since we don't want to destroy the Mechs. Metal bbs would hurt the covers pretty bad and distroy most of the target pads along with the city. Does any parts have to come from the Trossen store or can we get them anywhere we want to. Let me know when the contest comes to the East so I can get my Mech ready!! Thanks.
    Jax
    I would not be hosting the east coast event, but I believe it would be in New York and Droidworks would be in charge of hosting that one. That said, my plan is to attend both events. I believe he mentioned it might be at a County Fair? So not exactly the same venue as Robogames, but a Mech Wars event nonetheless. No idea on timeframe with that one... my goal is to be 100% ready by Robogames 2009, but I'll still try me absolute best to make the east coast event (which is supposed to be before that)

    We're sticking with Airsoft for year 1. Parts can come from wherever, but Trossen has *very* competitive prices so I doubt you'll find things cheaper if they carry them.

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