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Thread: Arena Discussion

  1. #1
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    Arena Discussion

    Okay, few things I want to throw out on the table. First of all, I say we shoot for around a 15'x15' urban style arena environment. Buildings no taller than 3', most will be around 2-2.5'. I'm thinking about 1 square foot for the footprint of them.

    I'm open to suggestions on material to be used for the buildings. Matt suggested we could make them wider at the base than the top and make them out of sheet metal, that way we could stack them for easy storage. Foam has also been brought up as an option (I'm talking to Fon Davis about some stuff that is destroyable, crumbles like stone when hit, etc). I originally was going to make them out of thin ply, but I'm thinking its probably a bit too flimsy for transportation and storage.

    I'll be posting a render tonight of the proposed arena layout for the Robogames event, going to try to keep it fairly simple though. I'd appreciate feedback on it.

    Lastly, we have the safety issue to address.

    While a thin mesh net on the crowd facing side would probably suffice, it will probably make visibility difficult. I am going to look at a plexiglass like wall to put up, preferably something that can be broken down for transportation. I can provide storage for all of this stuff locally, but I'd still prefer that it was a managable size. Any input on what we could use to make a high visibility safety wall on the crowd facing side would be much appreciated. I realize this could be a bit spendy, which is why I've launched a Sponsors page on the Mech Wars site here: http://mech-warfare.com/sponsors.aspx

    If anyone knows of additional companies that would be interested in helping us get this rolling, I'd appreciate it. I've listed our current sponsors in alphabetical order. These are companies that are providing time, parts, and other various resources and I greatly appreciate all that they have done. We'll try to get some 'billboards' up in the arena with ads to help get them some exposure, maybe they can have their own buildings as well?

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    Re: Arena Discussion

    I would do plywood on all sides, preferably painted 'cityscape' style. The walls would only need to be 36" tall or so, and you can have step stools for little kids. I would then place 4 buildings in the middle of the arena, at (5,5), (5,10), (10,5), and (10,10). These 4 buildings (also the tallest 4) really hide the four support shafts that hold up the ceiling. The ceiling then would be divided up into nine 5' x 5' planes of thin polycarbonate, supported on rails going from the walls to the four support buildings. The setup would then break down into the following:

    (9) 5' x 3' wall pieces
    (4) 36" 'buildings'
    (12) 5' long roof supports
    (9) 5' x 5' plates of polycarbonate.
    (n) Random buildings

    Now, keeping in mind that polycarb is hard to come by in 5' x 5' sections, I would say make the arena 12' x 18', and instead have 4' x 6' sections using the principle above.

    Why do I want the walls filled in?
    1) Immersion for the operators. Keeps the crowd out of one disadvantaged pilot's view.
    2) It will be much easier for the crowd to look down on the action I think then try to view it side on. Plus, if you mandate white BBs and have a black floor, it will be easier to see those as well.

    As to the buildings: While foam would be cool, and look great getting hit when it tears off... its going to look hideous later and need to be replaced. Also, the buildings (as much as possible) should allow for loading sand, water, or some other type of 'dead weight' to prevent bots from being able to move them around. (or worse... topple them onto an enemy!)

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    Re: Arena Discussion

    Standard paintball netting should do you just fine, it will reduce visabilty a bit, but nothing to bad (people watch paintball games through them all the time with no problem . Netting is very easy to set up and store, there are lots of people with movable fields.
    As far as buildings go, if you want to go cheap, cardboard would be cool, but the bbs would easily shred the buildings, rendering them less then useful for cover. Solid foam would be enough to stop a bb, and would have the added effect of breaking apart like you said, the down side would of course be the environmental effect, and getting it in the right shapes. Sheet metal (for the non lethal series anyway) seems a little excessive IMO. Sheet rock might be the best of both worlds, strong enough to prevent total destruction, but shreadable enough top be awesome.

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    Re: Arena Discussion

    Sheetrock or even 'crete board are awesome suggestions, Electricity! Thanks for that, and welcome to the TRC!
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

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    Re: Arena Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Electricity View Post
    Solid foam would be enough to stop a bb, and would have the added effect of breaking apart like you said, the down side would of course be the environmental effect, and getting it in the right shapes.
    I went ahead and signed up for the CNC hot wire cutting class at TechShop, so I'll probably crank out some small foam demos of buildings just to prove that it can work as well as to give me an idea how how much they deteriorate when shot.

    I'd envisioned CNCing out a whole block at a time, with the various height buildings connected as a block, like rowhouses. Making them various lenghts, we could lay them out as such when seen from the top

    XX X XX
    XX XX X
    XXX X X
    X X XXX

    such that for a given square arena, a mech has a clear line of sight down the long horizontal block, but the ability to run into that block and duck into a side (vertical) street.

    Some buildings would be tall enough to just see over, or see between gaps, but not fire between.

    And if they were grouped together in lumps of 1, 2 or 3 buildings as shown by the Xs above, the arena could be reconfigured quickly between rounds to minimize the chance of someone seeing/knowing the arena or just to hide the damage an outer building has taken by moving it into the middle.

    I don't know much about the types of foam availible to me for cutting, but I'm sure some of them are more puncture resistant than others, or will crumble differently. They might even have black foam that wouldn't show damage nearly as well and be easier to paint.

  6. Re: Arena Discussion

    There's no reason you couldn't make the building core from foam, and then apply a thin coating on the outside - maybe something like 1/32" polycarb, or drywall as was mentioned before.
    "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay, inventor of Smalltalk

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    Re: Arena Discussion

    My thoughts:

    1) since pilots can't view the field directly, they don't have to be right next to it. They could be... 20-40 feet away. So the crowd is between them and the arena. Gives the crowd more room and keeps the drivers honest.

    2) safety, safety, safety. If you want to use BB's, it's gotta be enclosed. We could put you in the corner where fire-fighting is:
    http://robogames.net/ft-mason/festiv...ilion-2009.pdf
    so the corwd can view directly via two sides (the bldg walls being the other two sides. Then have cameras and projectors displaying the action above the "city." Projectors could switch from a city-wide view to bot operator... Or show multiple views at once.

    I think the Japanese humanoid builders are gonna eat this up.

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    Re: Arena Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by dcalkins View Post
    My thoughts:

    1) since pilots can't view the field directly, they don't have to be right next to it. They could be... 20-40 feet away. So the crowd is between them and the arena. Gives the crowd more room and keeps the drivers honest.

    2) safety, safety, safety. If you want to use BB's, it's gotta be enclosed. We could put you in the corner where fire-fighting is:
    http://robogames.net/ft-mason/festiv...ilion-2009.pdf
    so the corwd can view directly via two sides (the bldg walls being the other two sides. Then have cameras and projectors displaying the action above the "city." Projectors could switch from a city-wide view to bot operator... Or show multiple views at once.

    I think the Japanese humanoid builders are gonna eat this up.
    The arena itself is going to be in the realm of 15x15 feet + an area a little bit away for the computers running everything and the pilots to sit, do you think thats doable?

    Two sides would be great! And your idea for the projectors is awesome, I've got a fairly high resolution one I can bring along, could project it up on the walls. I planned on having two fairly large TVs with a constant view of each pilot's mech camera as well.

    I'm hoping this event will appeal to the humanoid fighters, as it's designed so that a Robo-one type robot could be retrofitted to compete.

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    Re: Arena Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyberius View Post
    The arena itself is going to be in the realm of 15x15 feet + an area a little bit away for the computers running everything and the pilots to sit, do you think thats doable?
    That's fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyberius View Post
    Two sides would be great! And your idea for the projectors is awesome, I've got a fairly high resolution one I can bring along, could project it up on the walls. I planned on having two fairly large TVs with a constant view of each pilot's mech camera as well.
    You'll need a 5000+ lumins projector. Brightness is more important than resolution. Try it in a bright room - you know how bright Ft. Mason is...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyberius View Post
    I'm hoping this event will appeal to the humanoid fighters, as it's designed so that a Robo-one type robot could be retrofitted to compete.
    Yup. We'll pull a lot of them in.

  10. #10
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    Re: Arena Discussion

    Tyb - I have a 6000 lumen commercial Canon projector. I also have an 8 channel video mixer/fx deck/titler sitting out in the garage (storage unit now, sigh) left over from a past life. In fact, I still have an entire webcasting setup in roadie cases. When you get closer to an event drop me a note about that stuff before you go the rental-route.
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

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