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BattleBots Going Mainstream 129

quamper was the first of zillions to submit to us this msnbc story about the ever expanding world of BattleBots. I'm officially addicted to the show (thank god Tivo will save this weeks battle for me while I'm at the Atlanta Linux Showcase).
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BattleBots Going Mainstream

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  • You just have to be really _REALLY_ sure you can turn the damn thing off after it has won...
  • No, it's the GOLDEN nut, you moron. Not the shriveled nut.
  • Did you read the comments posted to this story? Reading at +1, the only comments I have seen that mention any sexism are pro-women. They all mention the sexist slant of the article and how that is not cool.

    Comments and moderators are backing you up - females can be geeeks and like RobotWars and the article was wrong.

    ObRobotWars: I will agree with the comments asking for more action, less talk. Is it just me or does that one announcer sound like Dennis Miller? That and axe the house robots. I want to see two robots fighting each other, not against some house robots.
  • While I dig the battlebots, I still like robocup a lot better. I think it's the "team" concept that I like...

    It all just reminds me of my MIT years... thank gods that's over with

  • Great. There's my nightmare for tonight. Thanks.
  • Personally, i'm disappointed with the kind of coverage that BattleBots has gotten. ITS NOT SPORTS! Its pure geek! I want engineers commentating, not half assed comedians. However, the large breasted women are fine, although they'd get my attention a hell of a lot more if they knew what they were talking about!

  • OK, I'll grant you that second point. :-)
  • Is BattleBots roughly similar to, or the same as, Robot Wars, made by BBC and hosted by the guy who plays Lister on Red Dwarf (Craig Charles)? Good to see the Americans are finally getting the benefit of British television. :)

  • >Gads you are a dolt. Not everyone in Canada is French-Canadian, i.e. in Quebec.

    Sure, as far as we're concerned out here in BC, Canada doesn't even include quebec.
  • I swear I can't be the only one who loves Lister... that guy absolutely rules. ... I know he really isn't Lister and is his own person but damn Lister is cool. VOTE LISTER 2000!
  • by jrs ( 27486 )
    Does anyone know anything about BattleBots being shown in canada?
  • Nice thing about BB instead of Robot Wars, is they don't have "House Robots".
    Tastes vary. I enjoy the house robots, especially when the competitor's robot takes them down.
  • Yeah, but at least MST3K was more than just a half-hour of smashing things...
  • The best part is when they go to their "sideline reporter" Donna D'Erico.

    I liked it when she spoke with a 15-year-old boy who had just lost his match. She made a lame joke about "premature destruction" and asked the kid if he would like a consolation kiss. He eagerly said yes and she bent over and kissed the robot! The look on that kid's face was priceless...
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • Check out the rules []. No EMP.

    In fact, not much of anything weaponwise. Kinetic energy only, no projectiles. Looking over the various entrants, it seems to me that the best way to store enough KE to kill is in rotating objects: see Mauler, Blendo or Backlash for good examples.


  • My friends and I had the chance to attend Robot Wars several years back with a round for autonomous bots - it just wasn't that fun. The bots were slow, didn't have any original attacks, and were generally less violent. I dont think amateur teams can afford the time or development resources to spend on making truely brutal autonomous bots. Maybe if some colleges sponsered the event....
  • And this brings up something I've wondered about: What is it with former Red Dwarf actors and hosting "build shit" shows? Lister on Robot Wars, Kyten on that junkyard series.

  • I would love to build a battle bot and compete but
    I'll be damed if I am going to fly out to california to do it. If they would start and east
    coast league I would enter a bot in a heart beat.

    Maybe they should divide up the country into 6 regions. ne, se, nc, sc, nw, sw. And then a huge
    once a year event to determine the ultimate winner.

  • I agree with you whole heartedly about the lameness of that particular article. The ridiculus overblown machismo of the article is only eclisped by that of the announcers on the show (the fact that there weak sports-like commentary seems to be universally reviled here on /. should be at least midly encouraging)

    If it makes a difference such stereotypes (mental inferiority, lack of tech ability) DO NOT exist in my particular group of geeks freinds/co-workers. That's not to say that stereotypes don't exist but it's not universal and female freindly IT shops do exist, including the one I work at. As a matter of fact I happen to prefer having at least as many female techs around as males, the whole department is more productive when we have that balance.

    Anyway just wanted to comment that not all (or even most IMO) male-geeks have their head in the sand about perserving the old "boys club" mindset.

  • That shit'll make you go blind, boy...

  • There is a lot of "legal" history with RobotWars, but to sum it up a quickly as possible.

    Robot Wars was concieved in the US by two partners if you will. When it was finally getting started... legal crap poof it was over. One partner (the one with the best lawyers) went overseas and licensed the name Robot Wars.

    In the US a few other things tried to take off but where stopped by "the lawyers of RW".

    Eventually came BattleBots which is run by actual robot builders. It is great and we (the robot builders) love it. We even can get roalties and profits are reinvested into the sport itself. Robot wars and the BBC put the money in their own pockets.

    Most of the robots in the Robot Wars BBC series are rip-offs of successful US robots. There are NO clones of BBC robots in the US!

    BattleBots will continue to improve. The battles shown on TV will (I predict) get a lot better in upcoming tapings because now US robot builders have a reason to invest in the future of our own robots. An example: in San Francisco there where maybe 60 robots. The next even in Las Vegas has over 120 entries. Eventually I will even can my old robot (been around for over 3 years even though no one has seen it) and build a new one. If Comedy Central shows the same number of episodes next time there will certainly be better bits and pieces to choose from.

    And remember if you think you can do better then lets' see it! But if you think you are going to be serious about competing then I doubt you would even have the time to be reading slashdot.

    Oh and SRL and Battlebots are two different things. SRL is about technology gone wrong. They also don't have rules and a time line to follow. Battlebots is about designing something to be better than your competition. I have helped SRL on different occasions, but I prefer to do my own thing.

    Autonomous robots are really lame, and you complain about boring fights now..... they would rarley come in contact with each other. It would be very difficult to predict the path of an opponent that is also trying to predict your path and both meet in the middle with weapons flailing...... but imagine the commentary, "Oh look robot xyz has got a blue screen! I guess he wasn't running linux", or "Ouch, pinguins may become an endangered species after that killing spree."

    Got to get back to the vectors..... my frame didn't hold up as well as I would have liked.

  • This mans life is dedicated to machines cruelty to machine in a bleak world where life imitates art. He gave his thumb as picasso gave an ear.Let your gaze fall to the floor and tremble when the warehouse reverberates the name;Mark Pauline of SURVIVAL RESEARCH LABORATORIES []
  • : )
    yeah yeah i'm on a roll.
    picasso gave a cheer for he who hath an ear to hear.I want mo'beer m'dear right hear?

  • so, what hapens if there is a redneck female geek?

    Nope. You end up with Monster OprahBots

  • Anyone interested in big mechanical mayhem should check out SRL []. If you don't already know about them, that is.
  • oh yeah, and there's also EIU []. Check them out too, they made their own EMP bomb!
  • so, what hapens if there is a redneck female geek? do they have to watch shows like "GI Jane"?
  • I'd rather be a woman who's a geek :)

  • ...I mean with all the hype it gets on comedy central you'd expect that the battlebots would actually do something, but with only 3 fights per episode and all the extra commentary, it is really depressing when the bots hardly even dent each other I'll admit I've only seen the show 3 times, but as far as television goes, if 3 shows isn't enough to see something cool, you can bet I won't watch it unless it's a last resort.

  • Isn't this the essence of being a hacker: take a random collection of (parts or code), roll your own (machine or robot), and show off your kick-ass results?

    Geeks with testosterone. Who woulda thought ? ;)

  • <aol>Yes, SRL fucking rocks.</aol>

    I have yet to actually make it to one of their performances, but I've been interested in them for years. Imagine battlebots, only with real projectile and weapons and flamethrowers and all the danger that comes with it. Great stuff :)

    There's a good review of their shows here. []
    Turn on, log in, burn out...

  • Now this is the fight I would like to see! Calculon vs Bender. I bet Bender would win.
  • No, no slashbot. DOS the other robots. Make sure they've got a website, then put a link to them on the front page of /. Instant victory :)
  • You know, those two guys piss me off. Bill Dwyer irritated me when he was the dumbass in the 989 Sports commercials, and Sean Salisbury is a washed-up, ex-third string quarterback for the San Diego Chargers.

    I think we'd need a split second camera to see if Bill's lips move before the FP shows up...those AC guys have had years of practice by now.
  • What it really needs are some damn robots that work. I think I've seen 2 fights where one of the robots hasn't just fallen apart on the floor.

    That lame-ass "Pressure Drop" robot keeps getting mauled by its opponent early in the match, and then the other robot breaks down. I've never seen it hit with that big weapon until the other robot has stopped moving.

    The dsigners should have just made a big block of metal that inches forward at this rate.
  • Just one more reason why I'd rather be a woman than a geek.
  • That's amazing. We did the same thing in my day.

    Wait a minute, I'm replying to my own post.


  • Never seen the show (too busy for tv) but one thing stands out..... EMP and a sledgehammer like mousetrap...... Mauler is just junk after that....
  • Thank god for TiVo. I use it to pick up robot wars on my local PBS channel. Nice thing about BB instead of Robot Wars, is they don't have "House Robots".
  • Hey, robots can have steroids too. Hmm. How...ah ha! Antiaerobic Duracell steroids. Supplies an extra 9v of energy each day you use them.
  • What's wrong with a geek sport?

    Sports requires:
    engineering to make better equipment to make your team better (like walkie talkies in football)
    strategy to defeat the opponet
    strategy requires intelligence
    physical ability

    That last one is the tricky one, after all pool and shufflepuck aren't too physical. But, when you have to lift a 300lb robot, that requires some strength.
  • The NERDS! Saw you guys the other week on Scrapheap. You'll have to learn if you come over here again - Britain's a nation of amateurs. If you get it right, and win bcos of that, it's just not sporting. Not cricket at all, old chap! ;-) Of course, the opposite school of thought says, if the other guys can't get it right then hammer the buggers into the ground and stomp on them.

    There's a few of us giving serious consideration to entering a Scrapheap team. Of course, we're going to need some practice welding b4 we do. Or we could get more duct tape instead.

  • Actually, fighting NanoBots would be even cooler.

    Bob! We've gained control of the arm, it's now stabbing the knee where the opponent base is! Ok who want to be the battlefield?

    Sorry, my english is crapy.

  • They don't all get build stuff shows - One of them is a host of YA reality tv show. Its called "Jailbreak". Some number of people, in a replica medium security prison. Guards even. First one to escape gets GBP 100,000 (divided if its an escape committie). Later escapes get less money. I can just see it now: if the ratings sag, they issue the guards live ammo. Oh yea, Robert (aka Kryten) only does the british version (Scrapheap) The american version (Junkyard) used a comic by the name of George Gray. On the scrapheap alumni list, someone suggested giving "Kryten" a sledgehammer, and entering him in the middleweight division.
  • Well it hasn't gotten significant airtime in the US yet. (it's only shown as "specials", three nights in mid summer). They are about to fix that. Some embargo's have lifted, so I can say a bit more.

    First: a better alternative to battles at the mall: A marathon showing of Junkyard on 24 November -- All the second UK season episodes, and a couple from season 3. Then on Wed Nights in December, they will run 3 episodes a night to get thru the rest of the 3rd UK season. (Our shows included). Then in January, the version they commisioned: Same junk, comparable challenges, all American teams. No Kryten.

    For those in the Boston area, make a note of 8 Nov. All the details aren't set in stone yet, but there should be a Sneak Preview show that night. (email me for more details)

    As to robot wars/battle bots chronology, Here is heresay from someone who wasn't even close to the original action. Someone who was around for part of all this told me that it started with this thing happening in the bay area. They called it Robot Wars. It ran as an annual event for several years. As it got bigger, it attracted some media attention. Somehow a TV deal happened. Things went variously contractual. The guy who was the original force behind the live event got squeezed out, as part of bringing the show over to the UK.

    The guy that got squeezed out, formed a rival organization, and that organization is the one behind Battlebots.

    As to duplication/licensing, the TV universe is not a rational place. And there are far more people in the business that aren't creative enough to think up a show on their own, so they see what made money for one network, and do a me-to, in hopes that some of the money will rub off on them instead.

    The whole "Junkyard Wars/Scrapheap Challenge" separation is supposedly because "people loved the show, but couldn't decode the accents". They went to the far greater expense of commisioning the same production company to make a US version of it, on the same British scrap pile. (which the UK network that did the British version is going to show. They even did a winner of british series vs winner of US series. special...)


  • Now, granted I've only seen 3 episodes of BB, but of those 3, only 1 of 9 matches kicked ass. In the other ones the bots get caught on the spikes on the side, or one of them can't move anymore, etc... Kinda pisses me off. Sure, some of the bots can take a LOT of punishment, but it just seems that perhaps the arena itself could use some adjustments. Mainly, get rid of the damn spiked walls. I'd like it a lot better if the bots had better weapons too, (faster, more agile.... you know, able to kill the other one no matter what position both are in). And finally, matches would probably be better if the teams actually spent as much time practicing with their bots as actually building their bots.
  • I love Battlebots, I hate the crappy announcers who seem to think that this is some sort of WWF episode.

    SILENCE! Bil Dwyer is a God who walks among mortal men. When Bil Dwyer conquers all of mankind (as he is destined to do), only those of us who recognize the genius of spelling your name with one "L" will be allowed to sit at the Great Council Hall!

    The best part is when they go to their "sideline reporter" Donna D'Erico. Watching those M-Tech geeks stare at her tits while she asks them, "So, what do you feel the turning point of the match was?" is just pure funny.
  • "Instead of 50 channels for 40 bucks a month, how about just Comedy Central for 5?"

    Nope, didn't work. :(

    I watch the sea.
    I saw it on TV.

  • Check this out: Here's the intro to the MSNBC article

    Note to female readers: Stop right here. Forget about it. You're not gonna get this one. No way, no how. This is the Three Stooges of journalism, the ultimate gender litmus test: Guys will love this story, women will just think it's stupid. Trust us. I personally think the intro is funny, but does anybody else see this as a bit hypocritical from "MSNBC"? Lets face it... MSNBC is one of the most liberal news sources on this planet, usually involved in pushing so called "Gender Equality". If I was a feminist, I'd be pissed off.

    ... know what? Go cry somewhere else. HAAAA!!!

    I've got an idea CmdrTacoRobMaldaSlashWhore: Why not have some sort of contest here @ /. where the winner gets some funding and sponsorship to build a "/. battlebot"?? Huh? Wadd'ya think?

    Pass it around... its a G R E A T idea.


  • Yeah, the show needs way less taking and more battles.

    Well if they need talking, let it be something interesting, not the crap they say now.

    I stopped watching after the first two episodes cause of the chit-chat, and unless they make it more interesting, I won't be coming back. There is a downside, more technical talk means more viewers get confused and stop watching. Then there goes the show.

  • I agree, but there's one problem, what would it be named? Battlebots and Robot Wars are taken, so... Autobots?

    I think I'll call mine Roadblock.

  • actually... it was van gogh who gave the ear. :)
  • Bah battle bots are a toned down, jocked up version of Survival Research Laboratories, who started in I believe the early eighties However, from what I understand they have a bit of trouble putting on evrnts in the United States because of all the injuries in the audience.

    here's an excerpt from their web page on one of the newer robots:

    Track Robot

    The Track Robot, similar to the devices used by police and military to defuse explosives, and the Button Panel machine with flailing arms, were constructed for the Japan event at the ICC. Using a tetherless control and video transmission system the Track Robot can be operated remotely through a standard internet browser window. The Button Panel device can relay control signals through a serIal port to other machines.

    along with:

    Flame Whistle

    The Boeing Jet was modified for the Austin event by the addition of a large police whistle. Fuel injectors were added along with an ignition system, therby creating the loudest flamethrower in history.
  • Yeah, you can only violate the rules if you're a house robot (RobotWars.)
    (most visibly, using a flame thrower, and going for a good half-minute after being told to stop.)
  • Er, why don't you read the quote again. Note the word "net". Your nonsense has absolutely nothing to do with my sig.

    Beyond that, "growing up" usually applies to attitudes such as yours. Don't worry; hopefully someday you'll grow out of adolescence.


  • They outbid Sci Fi, simple as that.
  • ...and it should be named "Slash-Bot". ("/bot for short)
  • If you watch the show you'll see that the intended audience is NOT SF fans or geeks. Really, it probably should be stuck in a block with WWF crap. Robot Wars, on the other hand, would fit nicely.
  • WOW That is an utterly frightening amount of thought put to such utterly pointless conversation. You ser are a true geek. I am not worthy.
  • It's times like these that make me wanna get cable.

    That and The Simspons. =)

  • ObSayings begin

    Imagine a beowulf cluster of these killer robots!

    Do they run Linux?

    ObSayings end
  • I'm aware of this - it's just that we have to get the "Beowulf Cluster" and "Does X run Linux" posts out of the way.

    That way normal, sane discussion can resume.
  • I'm quite depressed that the truely humorous stuff never gets moderated appropriately. Even your email address is funny. Do you think it could get the "First Post" out before Bil Dwyer says "It's robot fightin' time?"
  • Cambridge University entered a robot in the UK Robot Wars series twice.. it was wicked.. cevlar/titanium all over the place iir.. and nice meaty tank treads... i think it cost £15k or something....

    Problem is each robot entered lost like it's first battle by falling down 'the hole' or something equally lame..

    Anyone wanna sponser a student?
  • Cool show, it needs way less commentary
    and more action...

    Or it needs more technical commentary and less drivel.
  • This is how that would go:
    -Bot #1 goes straight forward and spends the next 3 hours trying to get out of the corner.
    -Bot #2 spins in a circle because it can't find Bot #1.
    Wait, that's what they do now...
  • What feature of the Washington Post article merited its being posted on slashdot? It seems that its main point is to prove how tough and manly Battlebots is ("What? You haven't seen `BattleBots' yet? What kind of a man are you?"). At the end of the article, the author asks "Could it be that BattleBots are ultimately ... feminine?"

    Once again gender stereotypes rear their ugly head. Slashdot moderators, when will you realize that women are not mentally inferior? that women CAN like Battlebots? (I like Battlebots and I'm female.) that women are entering the IS (i.e. `geek') industry in droves?

    You will have to deal with these questions eventually. Stop sticking your head in the sand.

  • They hype it up like we're gonna see pieces of molten titanium splatter on the glass and pieces of shrap flying every which way, but half of the matches could be summed up as: the big powerful one got immobilzed against the side and the wedge flipped it halfway over.

    Even when there's an intriguing weapon like a buzzsaw, most of these things have so much armor that nothing much really happens. And usually the more menacing-looking bot loses. Either it loses its weapon for some reason, or it's less mobile and gets dragged over the saws.

    If I were producing this show, I'd make some rule changes:

    • Only armor permitted is 1/4" acrylic. The best bot I've seen is that female-operated one that looks like a bug. They can't flip her, they can cut her but it has no effect, and she eats the competition by trapping them and cutting them open. More of that please.
    • Projectiles are permitted. That's why the audience is behind bullet-proof glass.
    • More than half the weight of the bot has to be an offensive weapon.
    • Jabs don't count in the score.
    • Flipping a bot over doesn't count in the score unless you radically pummel its underside.
    • Chemical agents are permitted. Flame throwing is permitted. Unlimited remote controls and two drivers, permitted permitted permitted.
    This is television dammit: I want serious violence.

    And as for autonomy, the obvious approach is semi-autonomy, like the auto-aiming cheats in Quake. Let the human drive, but let the bot decide when the sledgehammer comes down, or something. I bet that could lead to serious advantages.

  • Hmm.. why can't you do that with a conventional VCR? Sorry.. I'm not about to shell out that kind of money for a system that locks you into a proprietary format. Tell me when the encoding format is cracked and I can start backing up programs that I record on it to permanent media like I do with my VHS tapes and I will think about getting one. That and getting rid of that requirement to subscribe to their monthly service. Ugh. Just what I need.. yet another company invading my privacy by tracking what I watch.
  • what else it needs?

    BattleBots versus inanimate objects. Like cars, soda machines, lawn mowers, watermelons, perhaps even a small, furry, endangered animal or something.

    That would enormously increase the entertainment value.
  • Dont forget steroids, cybernetics, and DNA alteration!
  • They did have one "free for all" a couple of weeks back, a bunch of lightweights. Turned out pretty lame, but the concept got me exited.

    We need to get back to the flame-throwers and projectile weapons though. I mean, if this is going to be radio-controlled, what's the challenge? (beyond finding a driver who can fight his way out of a paper bag) just escalation in weaponry, right? Maybe make that lexan a bit thicker. . .
  • I think the idea of Battlebots is great.. SME has a yearly robotics contest and we entered the Sumo competiton several times.

    What I don't like about BB is that they are remote controlled... that's on where near as fun as watching to autonomous bots go after each other...otherwise its just remote controlled power tools, you know?

  • Nahhh.

    Nobody would watch it if it were called "Waldo Wars."

  • Actually, for BattleBots this is definitely NOT for the programming crowd. I mean, they can program but can they build lots of small, fast-moving parts needed for a BattleBot?

    This is actually more suited for automotive and aerospace engineers, people who are used to working with lots of small, moving parts. Can you imagine what kind of BattleBot a bunch of engineers at Lockheed-Martin's "Skunk Works" on their spare time can come up with using aerospace materials? (boggle)
  • Voltron would lose. Voltron always fights first as the lions and gets their asses kicked, before they decide to form voltron. They wouldn't have time in battle bots because the rounds are 3 minutes long, and the stock voltron forming footage, "Form legs and arms! Form feet and hands! Form...", takes like 5 minutes.
  • If you don't want to drop the cash on a TiVo, you can do the same thing with an $80 DC10+ capture card and this Linux driver [].

    An epsisode of battle bots is 30 minutes long, and contains 3 battles. Each battle lasts at most 3 minutes, and usually one battle will be over in 1 minute or less. So you've got about 7 minutes of robot fighting and 23 minutes of commercials and, well, mindless drivel.

    If they actually talked to the designers about the bots, how they are built, what kind of batteries they use, running time, what they use for armor, cost, etc. it would be interesting. But instead they say things like, "the one bot, like, hit the other one, huhuhuhuh, bang!, huhuhuh. Ram, ram, ram!! yeah! ram him with the rod! huhuhuh! The bot with the rod is totally mondo super cool, dude!"

    If you pay attention you can spot clever things they designers have done, like little hooks on the side of the bot to stop wedges from getting under, or fenders that flip up to prevent the bot from getting tipped. It would be more intesting the the drivel the have now if they let the designers give a "tour" of the bot and point these things out.

  • Robot Wars with Lister is SUCH a better show. IT isn't so ESPNlike with BattleBots. Also, it's an hour long with various competitions, not just 1 on 1. Mind you the house robots are nearly impossible to beat, but it makes the show much more enjoyable. The tug of war and king of the hill competitions are fun.
  • There seems to be a lot of snchronicity in TV at the moment. Or possibly companies who are not licensing shows from overseas.

    Big Brother and WWTBAMillionare get licensed all around the world, and yet other shows spawn derivatives rather than clones, either because the producers think they can improve on the format, or beause they don't want to buy the licsense. I wonder which?

    I presume that Battle Bots owes something to the success of the BBC Robot Wars, which in turn is derived (and I think licensed) from the original US Robot Wars (which I think went bust): Can anyone confirm this chronology?

    Can anyone who sees both tell us how much robot builders are peeking across the pond? Mauler sounds like a clone of Hypnodisc, which must have first competed in the UK about 15 months ago, and reached the final, but was beaten by Chaos-2, a flipper-bot whose flipper is powerful enough to throw other robots right out of the arena. But of course it could be the other way round, or they could be independent.

    How long has the US Junkyard show been running? I think Scrapheap Challenge is now in its third season.

    Are there any other US shows in this genre that we might see imported anytime soon?
  • i can see it now, it'd be shaped like jon katz, have a world war 2 bomber-style natalie portman motif, and spin around in circles spewing hot grits.

    attack? just point at the opponent and thousands of tiny slashbots swarm to it...

  • Does each team only get to field one robot?

    I would imagine that you could have different types of robots with different sorts of weapons (for instance, I could imagine trying to entangle the Mauler with some kind of Kevlar net).

    Oh God, I just realized - this reminds me of POKEMON! *AAAAIEEEEEEE*
  • I read that as "thank (god Tivo)" instead of "(thank god) Tivo". Time for my 3rd bottle of Jolt...
  • BattleBots is a cool concept and from what I gather a great show (I haven't gotten around to actually watching it yet :-) )

    However one thing puzzles me...*why* is it on Comedy Central of all networks? It's sort of like showing Babylon 5 on TNN!
    1. Why does Battlebots have sports-like coverage?
    2. Without any commentary or setup, each Battlebots ep. would be ~10 minutes.
    3. It's Comedy Central. It's a joke. It's dry and overdone and often badly delivered, but it is a joke.
    4. Battlebots is... a sport.

  • No'd just get 10,000 anonymous requests for the robot to pour hot grits down the other robot's pants.

    That and the robot would just sit around waiting for the fight to start, tap the other robot and yell:


    Then it would make fun of the other robot because it doesn't use Linux, play illegal MP3s, then run away and call Jon Katz gay.
  • And what if he was...would it bother you? And why?

    Why is "difference" such a BAD thing?

    What I really don't get about all these "name of group"-ist movements is that they get all pissed off when people try and acknowledge that there is a difference between their group and the rest of humanity, but they get really pissed off at the idea of just blending in with the rest of society.

    Let me give you an example. I'm Chinese. I'm playing Counter-Strike, and I run into a group of people playing with their country in their name.

    Now nothing to me is sadder than having to "represent" for your country in a video game. Exactly how much honor and glory do you think you're doing for you country by playing Counter-Strike? People won't remember who won in the Olympics, much less who won a piddling game of CS on a random server...I point this out and the response I get from people is:

    "Because I gotta represent 24-7!"

    So I reply, "Don't you realize that that makes you no more than your nationalism?"

    The response: "And what are you then, you're nothing!"

    I respond: "I'm an individual, I'm #1, and my country is #2 in my life." To which they respond: "Ok, you wannabee white boy." (I've corrected their spelling, btw.)

    So, what this long winded example was supposed to show is that, while those same people would be utterly pissed if I was to claim that their race had differences that seperated it from the rest of society. (not negative or positive differences, mind you, just differences. Not everything in life has a - or + attached to it...there are neutrons, and hence, there are equally neutral thoughts, ideas, and actions.)

    You can't have it both ways. But you can accept both, because that's the way it is. Women are different from men. Get used to it, or you're going to have a hard time trying to conceive children. (This goes out to both sexes, btw.)

    At the same time, they're just like all the men in society, because all humanity has the same basic needs and wants.

    However, this doesn't mean that they're all going to attack a problem the same way. Using the example of all my "geek" friends, every single girl I know who is a gamer wants to enter the game industry in some sort of artistic position, because they have artistic ability.

    By contrast, and the male gamers I know want to be coders or designers, and couldn't draw a stick man if you gave them a ruler and a compass.

    If I gathered them all together and we made a game, it would be through our differences that we achieve a balance and get all parts of the job accomplished. Nobody would do less work than the other, and this is not to say that the artistic abilities that the women would be the only thing the women provided.

    Why is this such a BAD thing? Why is this sexism? And furthermore, why do I have to write something this long to explain that it isn't sexism because people stopped taking things at face value? Just jump on someone for making a comment a comment like that makes you at LEAST as sexist for jumping on what you assume their intentions to be.
  • Botsters started selling out the moment they bought their parts from major corporate entities.

    In my day we built our own CPUs from hand.

    Kids today, scheeze.

  • Remember, they are trying to get half a season of 1/2 hour shows out of a one day event.

    They were able to go back and interview a couple of the particpants, it is too bad that they don't ask about the details. But they sent the sportscasters, not Nye. They must have only had him for the competition day. (not that they give him noticiable air time)

    In fact, the thing I most dislike about the spin they put on the tech stuff is the "You aren't expected to understand this" attitude.

    As another poster noted, there isn't computation involved. Its mostly beefed up radio control gear. Some of them might have something pneumatic to operate a weapon, nothing particularly exotic...

    Personally, I think they are missing a bet with all the exotic stuff. If I were going to build something, I would give real consideration to cast iron (likely one of the annealed forms for the extra ductility) And an IC engine for motive power, its hard to beat one for energy density. (anything that can chemically store significant electrical energy makes a good anchor) I would spend my weight budget on armor and weaponry. Brute Force and Ignorance can be hard to beat...

    (I won't be building, I expect to do another season of Scrapheap/Junkyard. Given a choice between Las Vegas, and London, I will take London every time. I also like the variety, and surprise of the show format. Suiting up not knowing what Robert is going to ask you to build is a lot of fun.)
  • Once again gender stereotypes rear their ugly head. Slashdot moderators, when will you realize that women are not mentally inferior?

    Er, exactly where does "mentally inferior" enter into anything?

    You do realize that men and women are different, right? Not inferior or superior, just different. And, of course, that doesn't mean that every man has no interest in sewing, or that every woman has no interest in battlebots. But on the average, it's true.

    It's like saying that men are physically superior to women. They're not; men are far stronger physically than women on the average, but women can bear children. Which is superior? It depends on what measurement you use.

    It's just bizarre to me that this has to be said.


  • But it wouldn't be a sporting event without those cloying human-interest stories! "How the Mauler team overcame satanic child abuse while growing up homeless in the South Bronx to finally stand up and defeat the overwhelming favorite," played in slow-motion to the Chariots of Fire soundtrack, and so on...
  • A Match made in heaven. A whole episode can be watched in 10 minutes.
  • by ry4an ( 1568 ) <> on Friday October 13, 2000 @03:05PM (#707473) Homepage
    If you're in Minnesota, and more specifically the Twin Cities, then you should check out []. It's coming on the 21st and should be pretty good.
  • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Friday October 13, 2000 @02:11PM (#707474) Journal
    Those of you who do not have a TiVo may think the above is a joke. It is not. I love Battlebots, I hate the crappy announcers who seem to think that this is some sort of WWF episode.
  • by YoJ ( 20860 ) on Friday October 13, 2000 @07:12PM (#707475) Journal
    I was seriously offended by the chauvinist attitude of the article. And I'm a guy. Why should robotics or engineering have anything to do with your gender? Ok, maybe guys are more likely to be interested in those subjects. So what. If you're interested, you're interested, whether you're a boy or a girl.

    Comments like, "women leave now", "Comedy Central says that 26% of the viewers are female, but we think they missed a decimal in there" (paraphrased) are not acceptable journalism. I know it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. But this stuff matters. Maybe articles like this are why more women aren't interested in robotics.

  • by jlovette69 ( 83465 ) on Friday October 13, 2000 @02:01PM (#707476) Homepage
    We need some Voltron action on Battlebots. Voltron would kick the shit out of mauler.

  • by sien ( 35268 ) on Friday October 13, 2000 @01:59PM (#707477) Homepage
    It should be called remote controlled wars...
    It would be soooo much cooler if the machines were autonomous.
  • by smoondog ( 85133 ) on Friday October 13, 2000 @02:07PM (#707478)
    Slashdot should compile a team of people to build a robot. I bet there are a lot of people who would want to participate! Open source robot....

  • by Seinfeld ( 243496 ) on Friday October 13, 2000 @01:59PM (#707479)
    Rednecks -> Monster Truck Rallies
    Geeks -> BattleBots
    Women -> Oprah
  • by WindowsTroll ( 243509 ) on Friday October 13, 2000 @03:23PM (#707480) Homepage
    BattleBots is marketed like pro-wrestling - over hyped "competition", loud music, large breasted women and cliched interviews and commentary. You are giving Joe-six-pack three things that he wants : violence, sex and rock-n-roll. If BattleBots had engineers commentating the matches, Joe-six-pack at home would sit in front of the tube, say "duh, I don't get what they are saying", and switch the channel. If you want the show to remain on television, you have to deal with the fact that it must be dumbed down and marketed to the masses. If you marketed to geeks, it wouldn't last on television - why do you think PBS has such a hard time keeping shows on television?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 13, 2000 @02:54PM (#707481)
    I competed in this BattleBots, and will compete in the next comp. in Nov., which will be held in Vegas. A few points: 1) Battlebots is not about men, manliness, or any of the other chauvinistic crap in that article. It's about who builds the best bot. We have several female competitors, including Lisa Winter and Amy Sun, and I can only guess how offensive they find that article. 2) If you think autonomous bots would be cooler, feel free to build one. There was an autonomous class in the old US Robot Wars in 95' or 96'. There were only two entrants, and that was the last year anyone did it, for lack of interest. You can talk a lot of smack about how it would be better to have autonomous combat bots, but the reason we don't is NO ONE IS BUILDING THEM. Including you. Plus, if you think the battles are boring now, imagine the bots are wandering around looking for each other most of the time. . . 3) This "open source" stuff is crap. The actual electronics of a combat robot is limited to a PCM radio reciever, a high-amperage PWM speed controller and perhaps some pic chips controlling relays for weapons and such. Fantasies about proving the superiority of Linux over Windows in a combat bot are ridiculous. Both are inappropriate.

Loose bits sink chips.