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Robot Wars Coming Stateside

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the death-to-bill-dwyer-from-battlebots dept.

Technology 229

aaronhaley writes "Reuters is reporting that Vicom will be bringing Robot wars stateside to air on several of their networks. Let's hope it's closer to the real thing that BattleBots is." And lets hope they keep the sportscaster crap to a minimum, and give us more mechanical bits.

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TLC? (1)

Lish (95509) | more than 13 years ago | (#316591)

Is this the Robotica they've been advertising on TLC? Looks sweet...


---

Canada? (1)

tcc (140386) | more than 13 years ago | (#316592)

ne idea if it's gonna air in canada?

Junkyard Wars (1)

punkrider (176796) | more than 13 years ago | (#316593)


It is from TLC and if it's half as cool as the episode of Junkyard wars where they built the dragsters I'll be a happy boy.

Battlebots (1)

Banjonardo (98327) | more than 13 years ago | (#316594)

Battlebots.....oh, sweet battlebots. So cool. But the announcers! They even have Bill Nye there now! I wanns see kill saws and action, not talking!

No sportscaster crap. (1)

FreeMath (230584) | more than 13 years ago | (#316595)

Please. I won't watch BattleBots just because they treat it more like football. It could really use a better focus on the technology.

Been on PBS a while... (2)

ujvtorque (254670) | more than 13 years ago | (#316596)

Check your local listings!

Why always violence? (3)

Jakob Sorrel (321598) | more than 13 years ago | (#316597)

I don't deny the appeal of watching robots fight each other, but why hasn't the genre progressed beyond that?

There are many constructive tasks that robots could compete at, but instead, producers turn out endless streams of robot battle shows. Maybe the audience demand isn't there, but I haven't even seen a more constructive show tried.

Perhaps I'm expecting too much from television, but the potential in robotics is amazing and it's a shame that isn't demonstrated more in these shows.

Real Robot Wars (1)

Anonymous Squonk (128339) | more than 13 years ago | (#316598)

Would those end up like the battles that Robotman [peanuts.com] had last month?

Don't click here [searchspell.com]

oh wonderful (3)

seanw (45548) | more than 13 years ago | (#316599)

> The company intends to adapt the existing U.K. series for American audiences and will also produce a U.S. version.

does this mean I'm going to have to listen to Joe Nameth argue with Howie Long (or whatever the hell their names are) and make comments like "now what they really need to do to win the game is score some points"? maybe I'll pass.

sean

Re:Junkyard Wars (1)

Padinka (151839) | more than 13 years ago | (#316600)

Happy boy, indeed... Can't we get an full-length feature on the Asmimi robot that's going to walk around our house and give us a pat on the back when it's time to go to work?

They're annoying, but... (2)

The Good Reverend (84440) | more than 13 years ago | (#316601)

Yes, the announcers/sportscasters on Battlebots are annoying. But we have to be reminded sometimes: the whole world isn't the slashdot crowd. Comedy Central/Battlebots/Everyone else involved has to try to appeal to a larger audience, including those people who watch sports with human athletes. I love the techie bits too, but I think Battlebots has a good mix - It could be all talk. At least Battlebots occasionally goes "behind the scenes" to highlight some of the robots. If everyone in the key demographics were /. readers and MIT grads, it wouldn't be an issue. But the real world has people who wanna hear silly anouncers and see things beat eachother, regardless of what the tech specifics.

The Good Reverend
I'm different, just like everybody else. [michris.com]

Is robotics the new slavery? (5)

alewando (854) | more than 13 years ago | (#316602)

The 20th century was a century of many things, not least of which was the advancement of robotics. Once battery power became truly feasible on a portable basis, and once machining was perfected on a small enough scale, robots emerged as a dominant mechanism of accomplishing what people either didn't want to do or were not well suited to doing.

There is lots of criticism based on how robotics is demeaning to working class humans, pushing them out of dull but well-paying factory jobs. But far too long overlooked is the plight of the robots themselves.

Most robots don't live the cushy lifestyles their celebrity brethren in Hollywood live. (Bender's cocaine and lubejob habits are well documented, for example.) Most are consigned to living in substandard conditions that we wouldn't inflict on even animals. They give of their sweat and toil until their parts wear out, upon which they are tossed onto the trash heap like soiled tissue or crunchy socks. Robots deserve better.

But at least we can justify such casualties as "necessary" for the advancement of the arts of production and development. How can we possibly justify the glorious outlays of money and robot chattel for mere gladiatorial combat? If you cut robots, do they not grease?

Our culture is descending into a tailspin of debauchery and gluttony where we laugh as sentient robots careen across our screens and disembowel themselves for our amusement. The mighty empire of Rome once stood where we stand, and their defeat at the hands of the Germanic barbarians is well documented. If we do not turn from this dark path, then we might too look down the barrel of a Swiss rifle and say, "Pass the popcorn, you're blocking my view of the set."

Don't be such a geek (2)

WilsonSD (159419) | more than 13 years ago | (#316603)

And lets hope they keep the sportscaster crap to a minimum, and give us more mechanical bits

Those sportscaster guys are half the fun of the show. Have you never watched Sportscenter on ESPN? The announcers on Battlebots are a great parody of the Sportscenter guys -- that whole thing is obviously toung-in-cheek and it's funny!

-Steve

PBS (1)

Octal (310) | more than 13 years ago | (#316604)

Didn't PBS show these earlier? Also, there *was* a US robot wars, which is what the UK show is based on. The US robot wars was discontinued due to legal wranglings.

sportscaster crap v tech stylee (1)

gr0ngb0t (410427) | more than 13 years ago | (#316605)

but would you really want a sports caster guy to try to go into the tech side of things? Id rather sit back and laugh at the commentators, when they try to explain whats going on...

Coming up next... (3)

Kasreyn (233624) | more than 13 years ago | (#316606)

...Robosport!

Sponsored by: Killum Weapon Systems!

...am I the only one who remembers this old Maxis gem? =)

-Kasreyn

Ut-oh... (2)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 13 years ago | (#316607)

The show will air on Viacom's Nickelodeon, MTV and TNN networks.

Oh man. Does this mean we will have a Kids Battle Bots, a generation X battlebots, and a "Super football like coverage" Bottlebots?

Re:oh wonderful (1)

suraklin (28841) | more than 13 years ago | (#316608)

Actually if this is the Robitica that TLC is showing the host/announcer is Ahmet Zappa. It looks pretty cool. Hopefully they do not resort to the fake sound effects Battlebots uses.

Robot Wars is very to the point (2)

vik (17857) | more than 13 years ago | (#316609)

I take it a lot of people here haven't seen it yet? It is brutal!

Yes, the losers go home in several storage crates, after the flames have been put out that is. Four large "house robots" see to it that any wussy behaviour, hesitation, or 'bot failure is rewarded by, say, being impaled on a robot-wielded drill, grilled over a flame pit, hoisted overhead for all to see and finally dumped into The Pit Of Oblivion in a cloud of smoke.

The taking of prisoners is not permitted.

Vik :v)

Re:Ut-oh... (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 13 years ago | (#316610)

Actually the TNN version would be best. You have to remember this: TNN is The Nashville Network. Whenever they're not broadcasting square dancing competitons (which is actually often), it's something mechanical. NASCAR is on quite a lot and I wouldn't doubt that TNN has the record for most hours of Dukes of Hazard played. Ever.

Bah... (1)

Sarcasmooo! (267601) | more than 13 years ago | (#316611)

I've never understood the draw with these shows. When the robots shoot missles from their fingers and lasers from their eyes, while simultaneously transforming into a tank, I'll watch.

Robot Wars has been on PBS for several years (1)

HohlerMann (410170) | more than 13 years ago | (#316612)

Robot Wars [robotwars.co.uk] (entering its fifth season) has been rebroadcasted in the United States for many years on scattered PBS stations (including WCNY [wcny.org] ). Hosted by Craig Charles [craigcharles.co.uk] (best known as Red Dwarf [reddwarf.co.uk] 's intergalactic space traveller Lister), the twenty-five minute program (no commercial interruption) is just plain, ungimmicky fun. The format is fairly simple; a series of elimination bouts, mostly involved with running some kind of guantlet. Have no fear, each show culmnates with a no-holds-barred bashing match between the survivors and the house robots. No macho BS, no WWF announcing... Robot Wars is just good British entertainment.

Can't wait until they take the humans out of it... (1)

ClassExport (323284) | more than 13 years ago | (#316613)

Maybe we're a little slow here in Aus, but the only robot wars we got to ever see were remotely controlled by people.

Robot wars won't really appeal to me until the humans are taken out of the loop. A neural net willing to kill tied to a metal body...now THAT'S entertainment!

Heh, either that, or watching the sportscasters go nuts trying to work out what the robot is thinking...

-Scott

Lets try hands off control! (5)

DaHat (247651) | more than 13 years ago | (#316614)

Am I the only one that is a little sick of the remote controlled battle bots, admit it, it would be interesting to see a couple fully autonomous bots going at it, completely independent of any external control. Heck 99% of the fun would be trying to build one of these.

Re:TLC? (1)

god_of_the_machine (90151) | more than 13 years ago | (#316615)

c'mon, then he wouldn't get post #3. bastard.

-rt-

Re:Why always violence? (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 13 years ago | (#316616)

Not so! Check this [robocup.org] out. Most robot competition is non-violent. Though it is fun to see parts fly.

Re:Why always violence? (2)

Symphony Girl (110627) | more than 13 years ago | (#316617)

There are a number of other robot competitions, but they're a lot less commercial than BattleBots and Robot Wars, so they don't get the media attention. I don't consider BB and RW to be actual robots anyway, because they're radio controlled rather than autonomous. There's a list of many of the other competitions here [robots.net] .

Robot Wars: Annihalator (1)

Dunx (23729) | more than 13 years ago | (#316618)

There were a couple of Robot Wars specials which were shown over Christmas 2000 in the UK, the Annihalators. Six robots went into the ring, one was eliminated each round, and the last one still moving after five rounds won.

Absolutely fantastic format - much better than anything I've seen on Battlebots since I arrived in the US. Those of you who haven't seen it are in for a real treat.

And I've finally got my multi-system VCR so I can watch the Robot Wars tapes from the end of the last series! Hurray!
--
Dunx

Re:Why always violence? (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 13 years ago | (#316619)

I should add that the reason for this is that intelligent combat is a very non-trivial AI task. BattleBots isn't really robot competition. Just fancy remote control.

You lucky lucky people (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 13 years ago | (#316620)

Stick with it,, if they show season 1 first you might not be impressed. Compared to Battlebots it is tame.

Just wait will you get the newer series, the robots have got very very good.

Slashdot TV (1)

iReflect (215501) | more than 13 years ago | (#316621)

What if Slashdot.org had it's own TV network?

We could have tech-oriented shows like this rather than entertainment (or edutainment) versions with retarded sportscasters.

Or more realistically, maybe slashdot could have a 2 hour per week slot on an existing network that could be subdivided for whatever shows it wants. Perhaps a mod system could be put in place to decide what airs.

Dream...

Violence Sells- be glad it's robots for a change (1)

cerulean (99519) | more than 13 years ago | (#316622)

Why? Producers know people like to watch fights, as demonstrated by action movies and the WWF.

The good thing about robot fights is that no one gets hurt- it can satisfy the desire for violence without making us imagine performing acts of violence on other living things. Instead, it makes us want to build fighting robots to fight other robots.

I think that if robot fighting catches on enough, it will begin to displace human fighting in entertainment, and once there are lots of robot fighting shows, we will start to see other shows with robots doing different things, as a reaction by the producers to a saturated market.

Re:Lets try hands off control! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#316623)

you might want to take a look at MIT's 6.270 autonomous robot design competition. students get a bunch of legos, a microcontroller and 3 1/2 weeks to build bots for head-to-head competition. sometimes the competitions are lame, but there have been years when the robots smash each other to bits.

It already is stateside.. (2)

joey (315) | more than 13 years ago | (#316624)

I have seen a few episodes of robot wars on public TV here -- KTEH (or was it KQED, I forget), in the Bay Area.

It's a fun show, better than battlebots in at least these ways:

  • FIRE! FIRE! There's a fire pit, there are flamethrowers. It sure beats wimpy little raise-up saws and a big hammer.
  • House robots. The house robots were consturucted by professionals, and they look cool, and are quote good at making the contenstant's lives miserable if the fight gets boring.
  • No wedges. At least, I didn't see any. Yes, it seems that the wedge shape is the path evolution is directing "robots" down in battlebots, based on the particular set of rules chosen for the game. But they're _boring_.
  • No cheezy pro-wrestling motif. Nuff said.

--

Re:No sportscaster crap. (2)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 13 years ago | (#316625)

What technology? 'tis just fancy remote control. I think the truth is that we are afraid to make real killer robots!

Re:Is robotics the new slavery? (3)

The Fox (414349) | more than 13 years ago | (#316626)

But think about this: Where would the great Australasian, Oscar winning actor, Russell "Tom Hanks tried to kidnap me" Crowe, without the great, Oscar winning movie, (drum roll please!), Gladiator!

Imagine this: Time - 4001 AD, Place - 2000+something Academy Awards. Sentient robots have been dominating the movie industry for centuries.

The great robot actor Ru5537 Cr0w3 is nominated for a movie about the evil Human society pitting poor innocent robots against each other in a battle to the death, for the viewers pleasure. He is up against T0m 4ank5 who starred in a pitiful movie about being stuck on a deserted asteroid with only a Imac called Wilson for company.
The announcement comes through. "And the winner of Best Actor is... Ru5537 Cr0w3!". His career flourishes, and the movie industry is all the better for his excellent acting skills.

This RoboWars will further art for robots for millenia, by providing material for the robo-movie industry. By sacrificing some primitive robots now, we will improve the lifestyle of robots in the future, by sparing them from having to watch the adventures of an Imac called Wilson.

Viva la RoboWars!

I have had my say.

Re:Robot Wars == Wimpy Robots (2)

Nonesuch (90847) | more than 13 years ago | (#316627)

The #1 problem with Robot Wars- only the house robots get to have cool weapons!

The competitors themselves are very much restricted in weapons design, resulting in very wimpy 'bots that seldom do any real damage.

We need the challenges of Robot Wars with the design rules of Battlebots.

The Bots (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#316628)

I got too see 2 promo shows and it's not what most people hope it is. More like an "extreme" sport than anything. With lots of flashing lights, courses that look like a 12 year old designed them and a announcer that can go from 0 to annoying in about a second flat. The shows target audence is that same as the WWF or the X-games. Sadly a more toned down version of the show was made but it did not test well. Pitty.

Re:Lets try hands off control! (1)

SnakeStu (60546) | more than 13 years ago | (#316629)

Indeed -- although I find the 'remote control' version amusing enough to watch for a few minutes, it's not really what I had in mind when I first tuned in. I would be much more willing to watch something that is programmed once and then unleashed (perhaps with a remote shutdown in case it went in the wrong direction!). That would make the challenge more intriguing, rather than simply building mechanical devices that can take and give a beating.

Re:TLC? (1)

Lish (95509) | more than 13 years ago | (#316630)

Actually I did. I don't know which networks Viacom owns, and the host is the guy who used to host that MTV quiz show (what was that called?), so the connection made sense to me. It was a serious question.


---

Re:It already is stateside.. (1)

joey (315) | more than 13 years ago | (#316631)

(pick any 3 :-P)
--

well .... not everywhere ..... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 13 years ago | (#316632)

I suspect that it's not universally available - certainly KTEH in San Jose runs it .... but they also run Dr Who, Red Dwarf, .... etc things that are also not covered on the bulk of the PBS network ... and I suspect that now someone's presumeably paying big bucks for the series your local PBS station may not be able to afford to buy it

(battlebots robotwars) && why (5)

mkbz (317881) | more than 13 years ago | (#316633)

i greatly prefer battlebots to robotwars for a myriad of reasons.

first being, watching a robot go thru an obstacle course is very, very boring.

second, the 'house robots' on robotwars have an unreasonable advantage, and don't present the same degree of opposition to all contestants. (i.e. it seems that some people get a much harder wallop than others.) and they do actual serious destruction to competitors robots, which stifles innovation (why would i want to invest a great deal of money/time into a robot if their much-too-favored 'house robot' snips and blowtorches and spikes the hell out of it?)

i think the head to head competition as seen in battlebots is the best combination of testing the builders' mechanical prowess AND driving abilities, with just enough arena obstacle to keep them on their toes. it's challenging a driver (or team) to be on both offense and defense simultaneously, while needing to be keenly aware of their environment (to avoid the arena hazards).

the robotwars 'courses' leave hardly enough room to maneuver, and by the time one gets themselves pointed in the right direction, there's already one or several hulking 'house robots' there waiting to take your creation to bits.

that's just my $0.02. oh, and the announcer on robotwars is so annoying i sometimes consider avoiding the program because of him alone. (too bad TLC seems to have found someone even MORE annoying for robotica :\ ).

Re:Slashdot TV (1)

HiggsBoson (248010) | more than 13 years ago | (#316634)

Well, i'd certainly watch a lot of SlashTV.. but realistically i think it'd probably be at least 50% anime.

Re:Coming up next... (1)

garethwi (118563) | more than 13 years ago | (#316635)

They already have that in the UK. It's called Techno Games [technogames.net] .

kuro5hin (1)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 13 years ago | (#316636)

Actually a similar argument was used to justify a kuro5hin poll over who would take over after the US was crushed. Or something similar.

Peace,
Amit
ICQ 77863057

Battlebots ain't so bad... (1)

Mossfoot (310128) | more than 13 years ago | (#316637)

Robot Warz (the british version anyways) isn't exactly what I'd be looking forward to. Sure the host was Lister from Red Dwarf, but obstical courses? Come on!

Let's just admit what we really want: MECHS! (oops, please don't sue, Wizards of the Coast, since that's a copyrighted term and all)

We want MECHS. We want Mechs to do battle, not to do a robot version of American Gladiators (which is exactly what Robot Wars is!)

I'm looking forward to Battlebots 2020, personally. Just imagine what that will be like!

Robots fighting is an end in itself (2)

yardgnome (190624) | more than 13 years ago | (#316638)

Anything else you could have robots do would be nowhere near as cool as having them fight. Need proof?

Bob the Angry Flower - The Inner Light [angryflower.com]
Check it out.

---

Re:Why always violence? (1)

Alatar (227876) | more than 13 years ago | (#316639)

There are many constructive tasks that robots could compete at

So, TV producers should go into a Toyota plant and see how many welds a robot could make in a day? If you wanted competition, its productivity could be measured against other robots from GM and Ford plants.

Perhaps I'm expecting too much from television

Yup. Sure are.

the potential in robotics is amazing and it's a shame that isn't demonstrated more in these shows.

Battlebots doesn't have any robots on the show. They're all remote-control cars. Saying robotics has something to do with it is a misnomer.

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (1)

DrunknJediKnight (410800) | more than 13 years ago | (#316640)

Hey, what about 'who's line is it anyway'? That didn't..er..um... well you have a point

Violence on TV and movies (1)

HerrGlock (141750) | more than 13 years ago | (#316641)

Uhhh, ohhhh. If they bring this to TV, my toaster may watch it and decide to take out a small country. Just like someone has decided that make believe violence can make kids violence.

Spend quality time with your appliances, people before they see this show and do something they shouldn't.

DanH
Cav Pilot's Reference Page [cavalrypilot.com]

Robot Wars - Me Happy :-) (1)

fredness (95020) | more than 13 years ago | (#316642)

Great Show! PBS Channel 54 in the bay area has been broadcasting the UK version [robotwars.co.uk] for about a year. It is amazing how creative the designs are and how unexpected events determine who wins. With any luck I will have an entry this year :-)

Bit of clarification - in actuality the show is about radio controlled fighting machines. The competition is as much about human remote control skill as it is about good 'vehicle' design. Calling it Robot Wars is a bit of a stretch ... perhaps a better name would be "remote control wrestling machines"

Robot Wars, Battle Bots and Scrapheep (1)

Tin (78505) | more than 13 years ago | (#316643)

Robot wars is more fun (good oldfashioned family
fun) than Battle Bots. But don't expect anything
like Scrapheep from it. Robotwars doesn't get
mechanical. At least not on BBC. The bright side
is that they're not pretending it is a sport like
on Battle bots.
Personally I like scrapheep better but I still
enjy watching it. When I saw Battlebots I felt
sorry for America. :)

Uh, they aren't robots (1)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 13 years ago | (#316644)

They're remote control cars with silly appendages. One episode of that crap was enough for me.

Now if they were actual autonomous robots, that would be cool.

Re:Why always violence? (1)

MikeyNg (88437) | more than 13 years ago | (#316645)

There are many constructive tasks that robots could compete at, but instead, producers turn out endless streams of robot battle shows. Maybe the audience demand isn't there, but I haven't even seen a more constructive show tried.

Well, competition certainly drives alot of what people watch. Maybe robot football (American or European, whatever) would appeal more. Or robot hockey! Oh wait, that's robot battle show again.

Besides sports shows, what other genres are popular on TV? You want a robot sit-com? People can construct robots which would produce the most comedic stereotypes? Or robot drama? Maybe Calculon can show up! Robot doctor shows? How about a robot President who's controlled by a real-life human Vice-President. Oh wait....

Robot battle shows are just plain cool. They're pro wrestling for the engineer/geek in all of us! If we could just get the robots to talk trash with each other while they're whacking or chopping up each other, THEN we'd have something we could sell on a pay-per-view!

Robotica is airing tonight, too (1)

Echo|Fox (156022) | more than 13 years ago | (#316646)

TLC's own robot fighting show, "Robitica" is airing tonight (i.e. April 4th). I've been seeing commercials for it every week when I watch Junkyard Wars (one of my favorite things on TV) and it certainly does look interesting... we'll see later tonight though ;p
The show's page can be found here: http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/robotica/robotic a.html [discovery.com]
I love the Discovery Channel. So much cool crap on it all the time.

Re:Why always violence? (2)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 13 years ago | (#316647)

I don't deny the appeal of watching robots fight each other, but why hasn't the genre progressed beyond that?

Because it's not legal to film PEOPLE killing each other!

"Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (2)

StenD (34260) | more than 13 years ago | (#316648)

i greatly prefer battlebots to robotwars for a myriad of reasons.


first being, watching a robot go thru an obstacle course is very, very boring.
Well, I disagree, but the producers of Robot Wars apparently agreed with you. In the first episode of "Robot Wars UK" (the new season) which KLRU showed, was 7 one-on-one duels (with the house robots, of course). I tend to agree with you about the house robots not going after both contestants in the same fashion (following one contestant out of the PPZ, while the other goes in and out of it without being attacked), but I enjoy the house robots themselves, expecially when one of the contestants does get the upper hand.

the announcer on robotwars is so annoying
Now what's your problem with Lister? ;)

Dutch version also (1)

morie (227571) | more than 13 years ago | (#316649)

Robot wars will also start on the dutch television station BNN from december onwards. Right now they are broadcasting the english series and looking for dutch contestants.

Re:They're annoying, but... (2)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 13 years ago | (#316650)

Here in New Zealand we have the pleasure of seeing both BattleBots from the US and RobotWars from the UK.

There is no question which is the better.

RobotWars has far cooler, deadler robots, the 4 house robots in particular are not to be messed with. I'm talking chain saws, flame throwers, "jaws of life" (should that be jaws of death I wonder), real nasty stuff. Add to that the better hazards like a pit and a flame grill and you really do get more action.

They actually go through the pits and look at the robots.

The show lasts an hour, with twice as many bouts. No stupid "sports casting".

And best of all, it's not dumbed down for the American audience.

We also see Scrapheap Challenge, and don't have to endure the stupid rebadging to "Junkyard Wars".

---
James Sleeman

Re:Why always violence? (2)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 13 years ago | (#316651)

Because it's not legal to film PEOPLE killing each other!
Hey, you gave me an idea! Killer Robots vs. people. The robots, as long as they were real robots rather than tele-operated mechanisms, would provide a perfect legal loophole against murder charges. If no one controlled them, who could be charged with murder? Now this would attract some real sickos that wanted to watch robots "CRUSH, KILL, DESTROY" and otherwise mangle people. I know if it ever gets on TV, I will be glad to have my TiVo!

Re:Why always violence? (2)

IronChef (164482) | more than 13 years ago | (#316652)

There are many constructive tasks that robots could compete at, but instead, producers turn out endless streams of robot battle shows.

Yes, there are many tasks worthy of competition... but fighting is the best. I'd rather watch robots bursting into flames than robots cooperating to put a ball in a goal, or irrigate crops. Ack.

robot wars (1)

jarheadgnu (245094) | more than 13 years ago | (#316653)

I have to say, at least for anyone living in the bay area, that PBS already has the scoop on MTV. I have been watching it here in the bay for a good many months. Nothing beats seing an overbuilt,destruction inducing "house robot" destroy machine after machine.

Re:Why always violence? (3)

StenD (34260) | more than 13 years ago | (#316654)

Battlebots doesn't have any robots on the show. They're all remote-control cars. Saying robotics has something to do with it is a misnomer.
Perhaps not to a purist, but the robotics is the study of robots, and one of the dictionary definitions of a robot is a machine or device that operates automatically or by remote control [dictionary.com] .

REAL Robot Fighting (2)

commandant (208059) | more than 13 years ago | (#316655)

I just saw on TechTV, Robot Sumo Wrestling. These are actual robots, constructed from the ground up to push the opponent out of a ring.

The sample robot I saw is the current American champion, it runs on assembler code, which is placed on the machine via an RJ-45 port (I'm not sure if it's ethernet or an RS-232 adapter).

The robots are so powerful, a full-sized man could not push the American champion out of the ring (this was Martin Sargent, a bit skinny, but still a full-sized man). This is achieved (at least in this particular robot) through the use of a vacuum pump, which sucks the robot to smooth flooring. When it needs to move, it rolls along on rubber treads.

I watched Battlebots once, but couldn't stand it. Part of it was the general pointlessness, and part of it was the fact that I couldn't stop thinking of WCW/WWF wrestling.

What we really need is a telecast of the Robot Sumo Wrestling.

A new year calls for a new signature.

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (1)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 13 years ago | (#316656)

"When American producers take a Brtish production and try and change it to suit the American audience, the result ALWAYS sucks. Name one that didn't."

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? comes to mind. But of course it is the *only* one that comes to mind. And mostly because they stole every last detail (I've seen both). Heck, the hosts are even close to the same in that case...

I hope they don't screw with The Weakest Link, though..... Goodbye!

Re:Lets try hands off control! (1)

flikx (191915) | more than 13 years ago | (#316657)

Nothing wrong with building devices that can give or take a beating, I do that every day as a Mechanical Engineering student.. they should simply name the show someting that doesn't have the word "robot" in it.



Problem solved.
--

Re:Damned Brits (1)

StenD (34260) | more than 13 years ago | (#316658)

Dub over the annoying British accents? Translate their completely foreign language?
Another case of two countries separated by a common language.

AOLanywhere seems useless (1)

pedro (1613) | more than 13 years ago | (#316659)

THAT was a news item?
For whom? For Ferrets?
Only semi-brain-compromised individuals could actually utilise the pointed to page to inform themselves.
Furrfu!

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 13 years ago | (#316660)

When American producers take a Brtish production and try and change it to suit the American audience, the result ALWAYS sucks. Name one that didn't.

Archie Bunker

robotrights (1)

s00perfudge (415047) | more than 13 years ago | (#316661)

http://robotrights.org

Re:It already is stateside.. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 13 years ago | (#316662)

there are flamethrowers. It sure beats wimpy little raise-up saws

The battlebot saws are pretty good. No direct damage, but they do move the thing. I've rarely seen a robot wars bot actually catch fire. Thats just for effect

The house robots were consturucted by professionals

The house robots were built by the same people that did K-9 in Doctor Who!

No wedges.

True. Season 1 was won by a wedge. But recently everyone has been building self righting robots, or invertable bots. Wedges don't work against these.

No cheezy pro-wrestling motif.

Yeah. Never have been able to work this one out. Is it just that they haven't worked out a decent format for it, or are they just trying to be funny?

Re:Slashdot TV (1)

Buggernut (74804) | more than 13 years ago | (#316663)

Is Discovery Channel not good enough?

I think they should be the ones showing these robotics competitions, not MTV and Comedy Central. Even ESPN2 would be more appropriate (since it is competition).

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 13 years ago | (#316664)

The thing is... The house bots weigh anything from 120kg (264lb) to 300kg (660lb). Contestants are limited to 75kg which has now gone up to 100kg, but still at a disadvantage. There are 4 house robots, and the things are expensive, so the producers tend to cut out all footage of succesful attacks.

Re:It already is stateside.. (1)

cedhed (143529) | more than 13 years ago | (#316665)

It's COMEDY Central. They're trying to be funny.

SportsCaster: Bill Walton (1)

_newwave_ (265061) | more than 13 years ago | (#316666)

"What can you say about the defending robitic materpiece? It's the greatest piece of machinery in the history of the NBA!"

Re:REAL Robot Fighting vs Cost (2)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 13 years ago | (#316667)

The problem with ANY of these shows is what they attempt. Robotics is cutting edge, which means if you want something to work REALLY well, you have to make it top-of-the-line. Making top of the line stuff takes time, research, and lots of knowledge, parts and money.

This is something you can't get EVERY week in a television show. It takes a really long time. And when you make something that good, you don't want to just wreck it. Its an academic achievement, after all.

Real robotics just isn't that exciting. Being a member of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems at my college, we're making something that moves on its own and records and responds to Video...THAT'S IT. Its actually not far behind the times, and ahead of the industry as it is.

Its just not a lot of fun to watch remote control cars move around...

Of course, you could just build sophistocated remote control cars and CALL it robotics...or BattleBots.

Re:Coming up next... (1)

_newwave_ (265061) | more than 13 years ago | (#316668)

Robosport was awesome! I can remember the countless hours I sat in front of my friend's Macintosh playing this game.

You can thank my frat bro's father ("Mr." Jackson, former owner of the company that also produced 'Airplane') for selling Maxis and not continiung this great game.

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 13 years ago | (#316669)


The latest season of Robot Wars was pure head to head carnage.

And if you think the house bots have an advantage, you haven't seen Razor taking them on.

~Cederic

Online version? (1)

_newwave_ (265061) | more than 13 years ago | (#316670)

OK. I once came across a site that allowed individuals to submit their AI code (that conformed to a given API in several languages) toward robots that would perform in competitions against each other in CG simulated battles.

Unfortunately, I was young and impressionable and programming in VB at the time. Does anything like this still exist?

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (1)

tonyPick (161066) | more than 13 years ago | (#316671)

"Well, I disagree, but the producers of Robot Wars apparently agreed with you. In the first episode of "Robot Wars UK" (the new season) which KLRU showed, was 7 one-on-one duels (with the house robots, of course).
Yeah, the last couple of seasons of RW have been duels based, but the first couple of series had a few obstacle/challenge rounds up front, and to be honest they really just got real dull real quick (watching several badly damaged robots crawl around trying to push a football into a net is really not a whole lot of fun).
Although to be fair they also run special challenges like the pinball challenge (run your robot round a huge pinball course & score points) and sumo (push against a house robot) which are pretty neat.
Actually ISTR seeing a series on the making of RW where on one of the production people mentioned that the obstacle course stuff was introduced partially beause they were scared that a contestant might come up with a robot that just walked over everything (including the house robots) and that could have left them with a pretty short series :)
the announcer on robotwars is so annoying
Well, lister (Craig charles) is alright, but the guy who voice overs the matches is *really* annoying

Re:REAL Robot Fighting (2)

Mike Connell (81274) | more than 13 years ago | (#316672)

The robots are so powerful, a full-sized man could not push the American champion out of the ring (this was Martin Sargent, a bit skinny, but still a full-sized man). This is achieved (at least in this particular robot) through the use of a vacuum pump, which sucks the...

I got that far and had the most vivid image of the human not leaving the ring because the robot had a suction device attatched to the guy's, erm, ...

Ah, nevermind...

something new? (1)

Iron Webmaster (262826) | more than 13 years ago | (#316673)

I've been watching it on PBS for about a year now in Tampa.

Not the sportscaster hype but about as bad.

Re:You lucky lucky people (1)

MavEtJu (241979) | more than 13 years ago | (#316674)

> Stick with it,, if they show season 1 first you
> might not be impressed. Compared to Battlebots
> it is tame.

The episodes of the two seasons of RobotWars consisted of three parts:

- a trip through a maze on which people could
show how well they are able to control their
robots.
- a fight against a house-robot, sometimes based
on strength, sometimes based on cleverness,
sometimes based on dexterity.
- and at the end, fights against the other robots.

Maybe you consider it tame, but this showed that competing is more than smashing each other heads in with a stick.

Season three is btw only fight against the other robots...

Re:Damned Brits (1)

The Dodger (10689) | more than 13 years ago | (#316675)


Can someone tell me how in the world the networks can edit the show and actually make it more appealing to "Americans"?

Well, I guess they'll leave out the techy bits, because Americans probably wouldn't understand them and, in any case, the American audience will get bored if more than ten seconds go by without and explosion, and switch over.

They'll also have to weaken the house robots, because otherwise the American entries would just get wasted and the obstacle-course-type rounds will have to be made easier, of course. Then there's the whole problem of Americans not getting most of the humour...

It's not easy dumbing down British programs for you Yanks, you know...


D.

Watched them, im from the UK (1)

boogy nightmare (207669) | more than 13 years ago | (#316676)

If you love robots and hated that crappy Battlebots (or whatever) then you will love Robot Wars. More Fights, more metal, less chat. We have just started getting your US version over here and what are those announcers on man, talk about spoil it. The Main difference is that in the arena with the two bots are 3 house robots as well, Watch out for Sir Killalot (massive)

Re:Robot Wars == Wimpy Robots (1)

jamesbulman (103594) | more than 13 years ago | (#316677)

You obviously haven't seen HypnoDisc, it literally shreaded every robot it came up against, except ChaosII (which won the series). They had to sweap the area clear of dead robot bits!

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (1)

The_Flames (184659) | more than 13 years ago | (#316678)

Robotwars Have evolved since the obstacle course.

IT's Just a big war

If the house robots are more powerfull so what, It gives the contestents more incentive to produce stonger bots, or faster one to get out of trobble

Situation is reversed in the UK (1)

Imagiro (248116) | more than 13 years ago | (#316679)

Having watched Robot Wars for several series now, they are just introducing Battlebots here.

Having seen some of the more interesting robots (Mechatron) on AVI/MPG's I was looking forward to it. Having seen the first few programs it looks just as bad as Robot Wars...

Robot Wars appears to be aimed at a much younger audience and hence the robots are smaller (the upper weight category is less) and more *annoyingly cute/pathetic*.

They also spend too much time talking about the people and recapping the robot's previous battles. Who gives a crap about this - if it's not technical info or stuff that I haven't seen before I couldn't care less... There are only so many times that you can stand to see a small child humiliate themselves in an interview on national TV (Well, maybe not... >;).

Battlebots has the same problem with the WWF/WCW style commentary. Don't talk - just get on with it. Do they really need to ask if the competitor is ready? Has anyone _ever_ said 'No'? Did they spend months/years preparing for this just to miss the deadline because of a few loose nuts?

The house robots do provide an unfair advantage. Let me build a robot to their weight/weapon specs and we'll see who wins...

Whovever was saying about the wedge shaped robot evolution was correct. It happens in RW too. Along with the flipping arm and the self righting mechanism.

They have recently showed the 'Techno Games' which were an attempt at a robot Olympics. No weapons, just a series of events similar to human Olympics (shot put, long jump, swimming, sprints etc. supposedly there was even a crossbow accuracy event but they never showed it...)

The premise was sound enough but again they aimed it at school kids (this drew out the inevitable toss) and spent far too much time talking about it. I'd rather see one or two well put together shows with lots of action than two weeks worth of inane interviews, even if two of the presenters were cute.

btw Razer [razer.co.uk] kicks ass...

Re:It already is stateside.. (1)

TomV (138637) | more than 13 years ago | (#316680)

No wedges. At least, I didn't see any. Yes, it seems that the wedge shape is the path evolution is directing "robots" down in battlebots, based on the particular set of rules chosen for the game

It's the evolution that keeps me watching. Oh, and the mindless destruction of course.

A classic case in point was a robot that first appeared a year or so ago called HypnoDisc. Up til that point there had been a clear tendency towards wedge-shaped robots with some sort of 'flipper' for both attack and self-righting. Some of these things could flip a car, no trouble.

And then HypnoDisc appeared, just a low-slung trolley with a disc on top. A flywheel, steel, maybe 18" diameter and about 2" thick with a grinding surface around the perimeter. Thbe first disc I'd seen that clearly did the oft-claimed several thousand rpm. Which ofd course gave the thing gyroscopic stability - not actually flippable.

Up til then, bouts had ended with a flip, perhaps some damage from a pick or saw, maybe a small fire. This thing rewrote the game - to win you need to show aggression, but the slightest contact with the disc tended to leave the attacker, how best to put this, digested. Wherever contact was made, just a big hole full of tiny, twisted, mangled, unrecognisable tangles of junk.

And at that point it was clear that an evolutionary fork had arrived.

I can't wait to see what comes next - because whatever it is it wil be surprising.

Oh, and there's also a special joy to watching some University's 20,000 quid 3-year project get ripped up by somethnig put together in a garden shed in 3 weeks for a couple of hundred.

TomV

Re:Damned Brits (1)

boogy nightmare (207669) | more than 13 years ago | (#316681)

I think that you will find that you speak the alien language, since you speak English (well try to, over here you speak American). you can't even spell word properly. Like Armour and catalogue. A damn Brit 'in good homour'

Re:Why always violence? (1)

andyt (149701) | more than 13 years ago | (#316682)

Technogames was shite. Mainly because the average age of the (human) competitors was 13-16. This meant the quality of the machines involved was ludicrously bad.

Example a : The winner of the "high jump" event was essentially a large spring.

Example b: The winners of the "relay" event was a team of three off-the-shelf remote controlled cars.

Re:Why always violence? (1)

w2gy (324957) | more than 13 years ago | (#316683)

There are many constructive tasks that robots could compete at, but instead, producers turn out endless streams of robot battle shows. Maybe the audience demand isn't there, but I haven't even seen a more constructive show tried.

The BBC runs a short series once a year called the "Robot Games" or somesuch. Done by the same production company as Robot Wars, the idea is that the robots compete in sort of Olympic-inspired athletics games. So, there is a competition for the robot that can jump the highest (with all energy being mechanically stored), go the fastest (without using wheels), etc. I seem to remember there is even a swimming contest.

It's kind of entertaining, but it was done in the style of the UK version of sportscast - robot pundits! I suspect that it will find it's way over to the US at some point soon. What suprises me is that the UK seems to be producing all of these shows like Robot Wars and Scrapheap Challenge that encourage scientific and engineering creativity that then get exported and renamed in the US.

The UK - home of the bedroom scientist and engineer, repressive IT laws and me. :-)

Re:(battlebots robotwars) && why (1)

TomV (138637) | more than 13 years ago | (#316684)

...and they do actual serious destruction to competitors robots, which stifles innovation (why would i want to invest a great deal of money/time into a robot if their much-too-favored 'house robot' snips and blowtorches and spikes the hell out of it?)

Methinks you've rather missed the point here. If you and I were Mallory and Irvine contemplating an ascent of Everest, would you say "why would I want to invest a huge amount of money and time if the odds are we'll just freeze to death half way up?"

Behind the shiny brash facade, there's a terribly old-fashioned attitude behind Robot Wars, a blend of the boffin mentality and the corinthian ideal that it's the taking part which counts, and the win is just a bonus. I've seen players laughing their hearts out as their robots get mangled. I've also seen competitors' robots junking the House Robots. Which is always joyous. There have been robots which have won their bout within half a minute and then gone after the house robots just to please the crowd.

Believe me, the house robots are a good thing - they guarantee an entertaining bout even if one competitor robot is a total walkover.

TomV

My 2 pence (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#316685)

Living in the UK i'd never seen battlebots and basically found it very amusing the first time I saw it. I couldnt understand why they'd decided to mix american football/boxing/WWF style cheesy presenters with robot fighting.
The robots seemed to be a similar mix of good and bad as you get in UK robot wars though so I can't fault the people doing the fighting.
The worst thing about UK Robot Wars is damned Craig Charles, he irritates the hell out of me (and I used to love Red Dwarf) - he makes me cringe...

Re:It already is stateside.. (1)

andyt (149701) | more than 13 years ago | (#316686)

Oh, and there's also a special joy to watching some University's 20,000 quid 3-year project get ripped up by somethnig put together in a garden shed in 3 weeks for a couple of hundred.

For those of you that have just started watching Robot Wars, watch out for a machine called Mortis. It's built by Cambridge University, cost the afore-mentioned tens of thousands to build, and is clad in some kind of Titantium/Kevlar composite stuff.

It has been in every series of Robot Wars so far and has consistantly failed to get past the first round ....

Re:Robot Wars has been on PBS for several years (1)

icebear.dk (182125) | more than 13 years ago | (#316687)

What no mention of our all time darling Phillipha (don`t know the spelling)? Her reports from the pits is what gives the show depths and make the funny. Hell the Diotor team even grilled a vegetarian sausage on the burning fur (a yearly and much loved event). The Icebear

Re:Damned Brits (1)

fondue (244902) | more than 13 years ago | (#316688)

The commentary on Robot Wars is impossible to understand even if you're English - it's delivered by some football commentator who sounds like he's on an IV caffiene drip.

Re:No sportscaster crap. (1)

Claric (316725) | more than 13 years ago | (#316689)

Having watched Robot Wars quite a lot (afterall, it's hosted by Lister off Red Dwarf) I can honestly say that the sportscaster crap is kept to a minimum - but I'm guessing that that's because the English are not very good at it.

I hope in the American version the contestants make something more interesting than a wedge with a silly name as what usually happens over here.

Claric
--

Re:Robot Wars == Wimpy Robots (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#316690)

There was pussy cat and Razor who were pretty destructive too. I think a lot of people who dont think Robot Wars is very destructive only see one or two of the less interesting episodes and make a judgement on that. For some reason they seem to sometimes pit all the crappest robots against each other so while it may seem fairer what you get is an episode where flimsy robots try to push each other slowly around the ring.
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