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First, a little bit of background - I, like
almost everyone else on the planet, have
wanted to ride/own a mech ever since I
was a child. Unfortunately, roboticists and
engineers are taking a little too long in
bringing my dream to fruitation. In Japan,
however, there is currently a competition
known as ROBO-ONE for small humanoid
robots. The robots are remote-controlled
and they wrestle other robots for the
championship title. They move pretty
fluidly, rapidly, have some pretty cool
moves, and are relatively cheap. They're
Now for my idea - I envision a room with a
bunch of small cockpit pods into which
combatants step into. Within the cockpit,
the players will find all of the buttons,
switches, and levers that are necessary to
control a mech along with a nice
assortment of screens and monitors.
Additionally, the cockpits will be mounted
on a hydrolic frame. Each cockpit controls
a small mech (probably 6-8 inches tall, a
foot at most) via remote control. The
mechs are placed in a battle arena
simulating a variety of battlefields and
conditions using miniature models and
what not. The mech's head houses a
camera - what the mech sees, the player
sees from the cockpit. Overlayed on the
images recieved from the mech are
targetting reticles, ammo counts, radars,
The environment in which the mechs fight
wil be semi-destructable. The mechs
could be made to fire small projectiles or
battle it out via augmented reality. In
addtion, as the mech recieves damage,
pieces of its armor and body will fall off
(the parts can be put back on after the
battle). As the mech takes steps, moves,
and takes battle damage, the cockpit will
The advantage of this over just playing a
mech video game is the spectator element
- people would be able to watch the
action, while the players would feel like
they are really a part of a battle. It's a
little like the difference between riding in a
go-kart and playing a video game about
go-karts or playing paintball vs. an FPS on
your PC. The only reason I mention
augmented reality is for the sake of
A system like this could also be applied to
R/C tanks, boats, cars, airplanes
(dogfights!), submarines, etc. Hell you
could even combine all of those vehicles
on one battlefield for a truly epic battle!
||Great idea. I think it'd be an advantage to have a top-down view, so you'd have to restrict all the players to the "robot's eye view". Stereo cameras would be good too.
||Mechs - bah. Anyone who entered a
mech in one of the extant "Robot Wars"
type competitions would see it tipped
over, then spanked
soundly by anything on treads or
wheels. Bipedal is just not a good
shape for a war machine. Also, it seems
to me that those
who are enamored of mechs are
gamers, and have no ability to build a
machine. I am sure that anyone with
the time and ability to build such a
machine would ask to be paid top dollar
before letting some gamer jump into
the cockpit and destroy the robot.
||As regards spectator robot battles, I
was thinking about this recently while
looking at the old Robot Battles
programming site. I had a hoot with
that, and with its Apple II predecessor.
I was in the mood to watch a good
battle or 2, but could not find video
||Yeah, look what happened to the AT-AT's on Hoth.
||Granted, Robot Wars and Battlebots robots are very specialized to their arena. Many of them would founder helplessly on any sort of rough terrain (I know, I used to build them). For a while there was a push for "off-road" Battlebots, but it never really caught on.
||There was a guy who built a full size mech in his garden as a playhouse for his kids. It was really good but it didn't move. I've looked for the link but I can't find it.
||Like bungston I never quite understood the fascination with bipedal robots. On rough terrain a four or more legged vehicle would seem much better and even then I think it'd be beaten by a tracked or wheeled vehicle designed for that terrain.
||However, that doesn't detract from this idea. If people are fighting pre-built, well matched robots it doesn't really matter what form they're in.
||It says a lot about humankind that we get new robot technology and want to use it for fighting each other. I wonder what Asimov would have thought.