>> Original Post
Ladies and Gentlemen,
After careful deliberation, and multiple edits, I am happy to announce the official draft of the 2010 rules. Multiple clarifications and updates, related to experience from our trial year, have been incorporated into the rules.
This thread is to serve as a public comment space. The official comment period is from now until August 31st, 2009. Andrew and I will take all suggestions into account, however, we cannot guarantee that they will be incorporated into the rule set. A final rule set should be posted sometime in September, along with finalized details on the scoring system, including purchasing information.
>> April 6, 2010 Update
The final rules are finally posted here:
Mech Warfare Rules
JULY 2009 DRAFT, CHANGES AND CLARIFICATIONS FROM THE 2009 RULES ARE IN RED.
FINAL CHANGES FROM JULY 2009 ARE IN BLUE
Mech Warfare is a robotics competition. Our goal is to create a real-life robotic combat competition that mirror the scenarios found in sci-fi universes such as Battletech, Warhammer 40k and Armored Core. Competitors will build 1/24 scale armed robots which they will pilot through a wireless first-person POV system.
Section I - Leagues of Play
There are three leagues of competition:
- The Airsoft Classic league is open to all walking robots with 4 or less legs.
- The Airsoft Hexapod league is open to all 6-legged robots. It is intended as an easier entry point into Mech Warfare.
- The Hardcore league is open to all walking robots with 6 or less legs.
Section II – Mech Construction
All competitors are subject to final approval by Mech Warfare officials. Each competitor must be presented to an official for a Safety and Technical Inspection before competing, and must be re-inspected after any major alterations. A mech may be rejected from competing if it is deemed to be unsafe for human bystanders or not in the spirit of the event. All mechs should be designed within the spirit of the game. Do not try to 'gimmick' yourself to a win. If you have a question about a particular part of your robot, ask the event organizers beforehand.
- Mechs are to be true walking robots. Legs must be servo/actuator driven. No cam-driven, wheeled, or treaded configurations.
- Mechs may have up to 4 legs. (6 in the hexapod league).
- Average mech size is expected to be between 8” and 18” tall. No robot may be taller than 36”.
- Mechs may be remotely-operated or autonomous.
- Pilots may only view the match through their first person POV camera mounted on their bot, further:
- Pilots are not allowed to view the arena or match directly.
- Cameras should be mounted roughly in the center of the 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'.
- Wireless IP Cameras are recommended. Non-wifi cameras will not work in the high RF interference arena.
- Spectators will be able to view the full arena and match,however they should not provide hints, tips or assistance to pilots.
- Mechs should not separate, or leave pieces of themselves behind, especially beacons or debris that would inhibit other competitors.
- Each pilot should send the following information to the event organizers at least 4 weeks before the event so that competitor information can be added to the website, and on-site promotional information:
- Mech Name, Pilot Name
- Basic outline of how the mech is constructed, what parts it uses.
- A picture of the mech, on a neutral background, at least 800x600 pixels
Note that weight restrictions have been removed. Once participant density allows, separate lightweight and heavyweight classes will be formed.
Section III – Weapons Systems
There are two separate sets of weapons rules, one for each of the Airsoft or Hardcore classes. Mechs may be outfitted to run either class, however, only guns legal for the current match may be loaded and active.
- The Airsoft class allows the use of Nerf weapons and electric Airsoft guns. Guns are to use standard Airsoft 6mm plastic BB ammo. While there is no hard limit on your gun's muzzle velocity, it must be low enough so as not to break the mesh walls of the arena. When outside the competition arena, all guns must have a physical barrel lock in place which prevents BBs from being fired.
- The Hardcore class will be offered based on availability of a fully enclosed combat cage. The Hardcore class allows use of much more powerful weapons such as CO2 powered rifles, micro class rockets, and flamethrowers.
- In all weapons classes, any mech that is capable of shooting without explicit human input must have a verified remote kill switch and a visual indicator that they are "armed". We will not have Skynet go live on our watch.
- In all weapons classes, weapons designed to interfere in any way with an opponent's camera or wireless control are strictly forbidden.
Section IV – Arena
- The airsoft arena is approximately 15'x15'. The hardcore arena is 8'x8'.
- The walls of the arena will be non-transparent to at least a height of 12”.
- Buildings, averaging two feet tall, will be provided for cover. Building layout will be consistent throughout the event for ranked matches, however layout may not be finalized until the event. Exhibition matches may have varied building layouts at coordinators discretion.
- No 'street' will be less than 36” wide.
- The corners will be masked off with 3'x3' squares taped on the floor denoting the starting positions for mechs.
- All sizes are approximate. Your mech must be able to deal with any small changes in these dimensions.
Section V – Match Rules
A match consists of two mechs facing off in an arena, trying to decimate one another's Hit Points (HP). The winner is the mech with the most HP left at the end of a match. The Scoring system consists of target plates and a transponder unit which wirelessly relays information back to a base station.
- There will be a bulletin board denoting when matches are to be held. The event organizers will give 5 minute and 1 minute warnings. If you mech is not ready for a match, it will forfeit that match. Builders will be give one 2-minute extension to use throughout the weekend.
- Each Mech will start a match with 15 hit points (HP). Remaining HP will be reduced as the transponder unit registers hits, or when penalty hits are assessed. Starting HP may be raised, if at the end of any day the average match time, not including forfeited matches, is less than 8 minutes.
- Mechs will start in opposite corners of the arena. All of a mech's feet must fully cross the corner tape before it can score a hit on it's opponent.
- Competitors reduce an opponent's HP by scoring hits on an opponent's target plates
- The scoring system will not score more than 1 hit per second, regardless of how often it is hit.
- A collision or knockover will score as a hit if the scoring transponder detects it. If your mech is unable to right itself, the match will be paused while the mech is assisted and penalized an additional hit point of damage. The clock will not stop during any assistance.
- If a mech does not move for 20 seconds, it will be assessed 1 penalty hit point. If a mech does not move for 60 seconds, it will be determined 'dead' and forfeit the match. Panning/tilting of turrets does not count as movement. This rule is intended to encourage mobility and prevent American Civil War Era fighting strategies.
- A match ends when either one of the mech's has it's HP reduced to 0, or when the match clock runs past the 12 minute limit. The mech with the higher HP at the match's end wins.
Section VI – Scoring Transponders
The scoring transponders and target plates are distributed by the Mech Warfare organizers, overall cost to participants should be less than $100 per entry.
- Target plate specifications:
- Target plates are 3”x3”, weighing approximately 20g, and must be purchased from the event organizers. The plates should not be altered, other than to apply velcro or similar to the back for attachment to the mech. Due to technological constraints, plate design may change from time to time, however event organizers will strive to be consistent from year to year with the plate design.
- A Mech must carry as many target plates as it has legs. Bipeds require one front and one rear target plate. Tripods and Quadrapods must have at least one scoring plate visible from any horizontal angle.
- Target plates must be reasonably mounted on a mech,with their entire face located between 2” and 22” off the ground, and not obscured by any limbs. Use common sense when choosing a mounting location, and keep in mind the spirit of the game. If you are firing on an opponent, they should be capable of hitting your scoring plates.For instance, if a biped has it's camera and guns on a turret, the target plates must also be on the turret.
- In order to allow autonomous bots, and those using visual tracking, competitors may bring a visual fiducial of any color which may be applied to an opponent's target plates using tape of any color. Fiducials should be no bigger than 3"x3". As these fidicuals may become damaged during use, it is suggested to bring a decent quantity of them with you.
- Scoring transponder unit specifications:
- Transponders are approximately 2.4”x2.4” weighing approximately 25g.
- The unit requires a power connection capable of providing 7-16VDC at up to 200mA.
- The unit will send out a 200ms high pulse each time it reports a hit. This can be tied into your robot to allow your control solution to register hits.
- The unit will be programmed with the appropriate firmware and ID information when distributed. The event organizers reserve the right to require firmware upgrades at the competition, so be sure that the In-System Programing header on the transponder is easily accessible.
- Scoring displays will be set up in locations visible to both competitors and spectators.
Section VII – Record of Changes
- June 22, 2009 - Document created from 2009 rule set
- June 23, 2009 - Slight changes, notes added. Removed weight limit (we will have weight classes some day).
- July 29, 2009 - Final highlighting changes before release to general public.
- December 7, 2009 - Revision for final release.
- April 6, 2010 - Actually posted (yay!)