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Robot Wars Returns - Sunday 8pm BBC2


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I thought that was a deserved champion.

 

Spoiler

Carbide clearly most destructive, but definitely fragile with it.  The lad driving TR2 was superb and just a little unlucky not to get into the final, where I think he would have done exactly what Apollo's crew did. You could tell they were gutted when Apollo got through. One thing that annoyed me about old RW was the lack of driving skill, but the pilots for the finalists were definitely much better.

 

Thor brought an axe to a gun fight.  Unlucky to draw Carbide first and that was that.

 

A good return for the series overall.

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Apollo were one of the more entertaining champions that RW has had, and a great start to the reboot.

 

I know it's a feat of engineering that makes a good robot but to make entertaining TV you need showmanship and good old fashioned fun. Carbide had a seriously good weapon, but all the spinners suffer from the fact that every action has an equal and opposite reaction and the shock of hitting an opponent causes their internals to get a shock. Also the weight limit means that they're using lightweight motors that can't quite handle the torque for sustained periods.

 

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Did Hypnodisc ever have as many issues as the likes of Carbide and Pulsar? (The latter of which really need to sort out their drive issues).

 

Some good designs though this series, I quite like the one with its spinner underneath, plus the one with 3D printed parts, that yellow thing one from episode 5 sounded interesting but was really poorly driven. Pulsar and Carbide looked incredibly destructive when it a came together. TR2 and Apollo better the Chaos 2 formula. And the returning teams showed that there's a bit of evolution since the old series as none of them got very far.

 

I would like to see a return of some of the older teams though, the Plunderbird guys were monumental twats but really took to acting the part, I always kinda liked Wheelie Big Cheese too, this time there's been a severe lack of personality in the teams, their creations, the arena and the presenting.

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Hypnodisc never had those problems because it's weapon was disc based, weighed 18kg and spun at 500-600 rpm . Carbide has a 25kg spinning bar that spins at over 2000 rpm which makes it more prone to breaking the motor on high impact. Pulsar's drive breaking is just a design error more than anything, the only place the drive could go is an area that is easy to damage.

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It was embarrassing, including the women for the roles of made up job titles like logistics and supply (bringing tea and sandwiches to the boys in the garage), morale officer (it's nice to see a woman when you're stressed out fixing robots) and my personal favourite, "aesthetics consultant" (so which colour would you like on the robot, honey?).

 

If you're going to motivate more girls to get into STEM, better to have only guys on screen, rather than have the only women featuring in stereotyped roles. That way, girls are more likely to think "I can do better than those boys" rather than "oh so that's what grown up girls do, supporting our men do the real work".

 

Still though, it was incredibly fun to watch. Glad Apollo won, the only robot to take on 3 of the house robots and win.

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The format needs a bit of rejigging as well - the heat final is one battle too many, considering they've already fought (it's good in the final though).

 

They should just bring all the league winners from their heat in the final automatically, with 2nd place of each heat to fight to make up the final spot.

 

Also the battle arena - it's too messy, so many times the drivers (who have been extremely skillful in avoiding the traps) are put off going out on the attack because they're right next to the several hazards. They should get rid of the pit (instant defeat is very unfair), and put the others in the corners. Maybe add circular saws on the sidewalls. That would give the robots more of a run up, and freedom to charge.

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The pit has only become a massive problem now because the area is smaller, combine that with larger robots and the need for a larger pit for them to go in it makes for a pretty busted hazard.

I heard Spike TV are going to start showing Battlebots on Sundays at 8pm. No idea what sky channel Spike is like.

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These are comparatively small tweaks though - it is a first series (apparently thrown together at short notice) and many of the kinks can be worked out.

 

I like the Head to Head section - the flaw with that is that if you get trashed in the first battle, repair time is too short to put up much resistance in the next two rounds.  However, it is much better than the potential "one lucky hit and you're out of the entire competition" scenario.

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I think Pulsar's control issues may have been some sort of overheating cut-out - the way it would, drive fine for the first minute of the bout, then stop, and spend the rest of the fight alternating between working and not working seems a lot like something getting hot, cutting out, coming back when it's cooled down, then cutting out again...

 

The new "league" format's fine - I like that it makes servicability/repairability a design goal, and that yes, you're not totally eliminated by one unlucky hit.

 

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23 hours ago, Bacon Horsemeat said:

It was embarrassing, including the women for the roles of made up job titles like logistics and supply (bringing tea and sandwiches to the boys in the garage), morale officer (it's nice to see a woman when you're stressed out fixing robots) and my personal favourite, "aesthetics consultant" (so which colour would you like on the robot, honey?).

 

If you're going to motivate more girls to get into STEM, better to have only guys on screen, rather than have the only women featuring in stereotyped roles. That way, girls are more likely to think "I can do better than those boys" rather than "oh so that's what grown up girls do, supporting our men do the real work".

 

 

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Still though, it was incredibly fun to watch. Glad Apollo won, the only robot to take on 3 of the house robots and win.

 

 

Its particularly odd as the very first episode of the current season of Battlebots has no less than 3 woman fronted teams (engineers and or drivers) in the very first episode.

 

I know it's clearly less common but there can't simply be no female robot makers in the UK surely?

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My thoughts on the new series, in no particular order.

 

* Overall I enjoyed it very much. Not perfect by any means, but it's good to have it back. Bring on series 2 (or, like, 9 or whatever it is).

 

* Shame the series was so short, although that may have been for want of entrants.

 

* Glad Apollo won it. Excellent robot, excellent driving, and I loved their showmanship both inside and outside the ring. Particularly fond of them for going after the house robots, of course. They said it could flip a 1000kg car so it would have been lovely if they'd had a chance to turn over 750kg Killalot.

 

* I also wouldn't have been sad if Carbide had taken it on the night, as they were my second favourite machine and team.

 

* The bracket format has its drawbacks but I think the best teams made it through to the end...

 

* ... with the exception of Thor, which turned out to be a massive waste of a wildcard. Seems like a nice chap but the machine couldn't cut it.

 

* I'm not sure we saw any really effective hammer/axe robots in this series. There have been a few on Battlebots (most notably Beta, which is built/operated by Team Killer Hurtz from the UK).

 

* Pity that so many of the flipper machines were so prone to losing gas pressure as the matches went on. Made for some exciting starts, followed by drawn-out grinds if they couldn't score a quick win. I guess it's a combination of things:
- Cold temperatures in the arena (Boyle's Law)...

- ...which in turn will have been a function of the location and time of year (Scotland in winter) and the industry's move to LED stage lighting rather than incandescent.

- Inherent tradeoff of capacity versus power (Apollo mentioned that if they ran their flipper at full pressure it used up its gas very quickly).
- Engineering flaws (for example one of the crews said that if their machine spent too long on its back, its gas regulator valve would freeze up and stick closed).

- General unforeseeable damage (eg gas leaks from weapon strikes etc).
- Relatively long matches of attrition.

 

* Presumably the temperature wasn't good for the all-electric robots either, as batteries don't like being cold.

 

* A lot of matches ended prematurely because the safety links fell out, often from the first big jolt or thump that the robots received. I get that they have to be insertable and removable very quickly for safety reasons, but it's still very disappointing. Conversely, many machines survived being thrown around all over the place, so it's evidently quite feasible to build a link that can stay intact.

 

* Spinners are best for pure destruction (I loved Carbide ripping the arena wall off) but as noted, they're hard to build reliably. They should have a clutch to disengage the drivetrain on impact and protect the motor from the shock, but that's still by no means foolproof - we saw Carbide's clutch blowing itself out at least once, and they lost some motors too. I guess it's difficult (if not impossible) to test high-KE weapons at home, so the teams don't really know what will happen in combat. (Of course some of the teams are very experienced, whether on TV, in amateur competitions or both - but it was quite clear that for many of the teams in this series, it was their very first attempt.)

 

* Spinner robots are also very hard to drive due to the gyroscopic forces involved, which was hardly mentioned throughout the series. I'm surprised there wasn't more made of it. TR2's dad did mention it ahead of one of their bouts against Carbide - "I don't know if he can steer once the spinner's going". Earlier in the series we saw another spinner robot go out when it just drove itself directly into the pit.

 

* I really don't like the pit. Encourages boring, conservative robot design. I want things flying around. Don't mind if it's a spinner ripping bits off, or a flipper/launcher throwing whole robots in the air.

 

* Not fussed about the floor spikes or flame grille either. Pointless clutter. The spikes would be just about OK if they shot up at great speed but as it is they're a total non-event.

 

* The floor flipper is good for razzmatazz at times, and I loved Carbide driving on to it repeatedly on purpose to try to get back to being right-side-up.

 

* In every episode, the script made a point of mentioning how they have "the biggest fighting robot arena in the world", which I assumed was a dig at Battlebots. It *felt* small though. I think it might be because it's so cluttered.

 

* If there are going to be house robots, they should be a real, genuine hazard. How many times have we seen Dead Metal gently kiss a robot with its saw blade, send up the briefest of sparks and then let it go? Honestly I want massive destruction if anyone's silly enough to go near them. We saw it a little bit when Matilda's flywheel ripped some armour off, but I think the house robot drivers are just too nice.

 

* Some of the TV production was weirdly unprofessional. Things like inconsistent frame rates. Or that one episode where Dara's (rather flat and lifeless) voiceovers kept finishing, then they would hold on a still image of the current league standings for five or ten seconds in total silence.

 

* A few of the competitor robots had GoPros on them. I'm a little bit surprised that that footage didn't make it into the show as it would have mixed things up a bit. There was occasionally some (25fps) video from a house robot but not a lot.

 

* I agree with the various comments, most recently Bacon Horsemeat and JPickford's, about women. I'm sure someone else noted that it also seems very white and middle-class. Not sure whether the BBC can do anything about these things or whether it essentially has to try and play the hand it's dealt, but it would certainly be refreshing to see more diversity than "I've built this robot, this chap here will drive it, and here's my girlfriend".

 

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On 28 August 2016 at 23:31, Dig Dug said:

Hypnodisc never had those problems because it's weapon was disc based, weighed 18kg and spun at 500-600 rpm . Carbide has a 25kg spinning bar that spins at over 2000 rpm which makes it more prone to breaking the motor on high impact. Pulsar's drive breaking is just a design error more than anything, the only place the drive could go is an area that is easy to damage.

 

I can think of at least one occasion when Hypnodisc's disc stopped working, because it had shaken out of line. It also struggled to self-right. Carbide can run either way up but seemed to have problems getting up to speed when the "wrong" way up.

 

 

The one thing that needs to change? The link.

Too many robots this series stopped because the safety link dropped out.

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I like that they've got to survive several rounds in fairly short succession. I prefer that to the idea that a Carbide could go in, destroy an opponent but be absolutely fucked, and then be back at 100% weeks later.

 

I didn't like the reliance on the pit, mainly. And I'm not sure the house robots really add anything. If anything, I thought the house robots helped contenders at times.

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The house robot operators were much more disciplined in this series. In the past it seemed that they were given a fairly free hand, now it seems like they will give contestants much more of a chance. Killalot's claw for instance used to spell certain death, now it gives them a nip and lets them go. I actually prefer it this way, I don't want to see an immobilised robot get torn to shreds early on.

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I do understand that, I just don't like it. :)

 

Mostly I think I've been spoiled by Battlebots. No house robots, no pit, and the judges' scoring heavily favours offence. If your weapon goes down, for example, any contact you make (eg ramming, pushing) will be classed as purely defensive and won't score you any points for aggression.

 

Furthermore, the Battlebots rules state that all robots must *have* at least one weapon that is deemed capable of causing significant damage.

 

Upshot is that there's a lot more drama on screen. I like it.

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8 hours ago, deerokus said:

They should replace Dara next series, I thought he would be good but he's just terribly stuffy. Craig Charles would be fine but really, anyone with a bit of charisma and energy.

 

Someone mentioned in the Crystal Maze thread that one of the reasons that show worked is that they used an actor to "sell" the show to the competitors and the audience. Dara just doesn't bring enough pantomime to Robot Wars but not sure if Craig Charles would deliver like he used to either.

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