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Battlebots 2018 Season Discussion

@crookedjackson44 Oh, I completely agree. He has won a nut and his bot was simply terribly destructive. 

 

IMO, you can be cocky and charming or cocky and rude. I just happen to prefer charming. 🤷‍♀️

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I vote with the "Billings=Rude" side...

 

As for Bombshell being selected instead of Duck, I thought that was unfair with one proviso: "points for damage with the main weapon."  Duck has no main weapon.  That li'l eye-poking 'beak' could accomplish - what?  Lift up a skirt and poke its nose under it?  That's about it.  And now, with Bombshell being inside the arena as Billings drives over his own chain, well...

 

I'm mostly sorry we didn't see matches like Tombstone vs IceWave vs Son Of Wyachi.  Put the blades against each other... put the vertical spinners against each other. 

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Well, so much for IceWave.  I'm glad that it was defeated not by a holder-bar but it had the chance to bash Rotator and wasn't effective, and when it's blade stopped, Rotator's choice for it's high-blade-only was the right choice.  I still liked IceWave's drive control and strength.  If you're going to go down, do it swinging!  Er, shoving.

 

And to see Huge split itself after knocking BiteForce's spinner out of commission - I thought BiteForce's driving was its main problem - going head-on instead of heading for those back-supports and wheels... oh well... there are four sides to attack, three of which are relatively harmless to attackers.  And BiteForce kept going head-on.)

Edited by BuffaloChuck.
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And another Screws Escape, when WarHawk gets tossed into the back of the screws by Bronco, and after the screws reversed (??), WarHawk was spit out over the top, back onto the battle-floor but apparently lost its drive-train.  KO'd.

Then, yet another AWFUL choice of editing - the TV folks decided to give us their version of Best-Of snippets of Yeti vs. Whiplash, which looked like a terrific battle with Whiplash outlasting Yeti. 

 

These producers - like other writers here have complained - should be editing out minutes of Fluff and giving us 100% of the fights.  They could trim out all the "equipment hauling"... and well, the talking-heads banter. 

 

(This is the end of this bracket's opening round... this bracket's final-four...

Edited by BuffaloChuck.
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Biteforce bashes Rotator constantly and finally disables it for a KO.  Biteforce did lose more 'white shielding' early on - there was no mention of it but I saw a bit flying off early on. 

 

So, Biteforce seems to have slotted itself into its bracket finals.

 

This will mean the championship match will only 3 battles?  I think so - each bracket's Final 2 against each other, then those winners go head to head.  I mention this because we'll be in for 9 minutes of battles (and less, including KO's) and 51 minutes of everything but.  I would like to suggest that, if Battlebots wants to have more rumbles, then stretch them out to 4 minutes (for 3-4 participants) or even 5 minutes for those 5-6+ rumbles.  I'd like to each robot have at least a minute, head to head.

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Bronco goes down!  Out driven totally - Whiplash's young Vasquez spends two and a half minutes pushing Bronco side to side, lifting him onto the screws and almost out of the arena!  Amazing!  Finally, Bronco's drive-train and batteries gave out.  Wow.  This wasn't Bronco losing due to parts-failure - this was Bronco being beaten by great driving.

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1 hour ago, BuffaloChuck said:

Then, yet another AWFUL choice of editing - the TV folks decided to give us their version of Best-Of snippets of Yeti vs. Whiplash, which looked like a terrific battle with Whiplash outlasting Yeti. 

OR  the Discovery Science channel was paying for some of the expenses of the total Battlebots package and their contract gives them an additional fight each Wednesday night that wasn't broadcast by Discovery major the preceding Friday.  I'd guess that the full Yeti v Whiplash will be on this coming Wednesday.  (When they started showing snipets, I thought they were showing a previous encounter as an enty for the finale thing.  Then I had the ah ha moment.  ) 

Some of the other matches were too short for them to have gone to Wednesday.  (Gone to Wednesday sounds like a bad comedy half hour show.)

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Some more great battles tonight and some surprising results.  Tombstone and Bronco, the #1 and #2 seeds, are now both out.  Whiplash was amazing, not the most impressive weapon, perhaps, but the driving!  OMG, the driving!  To take out both Yeti and Bronco? Inconceivable!

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10 hours ago, enoughcats said:

OR  the Discovery Science channel was paying for some of the expenses...

Good point, and that offers some sanity - er, at least economics - for castrating good matches for the sake of a video time-slot.  Still... they could chop up the lengthy stalls of dramatic-buildup for announcing "judges' decisions" for all I care. 

 

When I saw the Sci Channel's entire match of Son Of WHyachi's (I always leave out that H-!) defeat, I was impressed with the match and SOW's early main-weapon failure but his driving skill made the 'pushing match' fairly compelling.  Not enough to win, and I'm always surprised this isn't the Big Dawg in Battlebots kills - SOW's had quite a few self-defeats, I think.  We'll have to wait to see the full versions of this last chopped-up battle.

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For the moment, YouTube seems to be offering this 2nd-Bracket Battle-Off video here.   (I don't know how long these 'stay up' on YouTube.)

The first 4 battles on this 2nd-Bracket ended with Bronco taking down Warhawk...

...Whiplash taking down Yeti...

...Rotator opting for it's high-blade-only weapon, and then decapitating IceWave after IceWave's blade & motor had failed...

...BiteForce suffering from it's less-than-good driving against Huge, but Huge's mechanics and structure split itself apart after bashing into BiteForce.

 

That left this bracket's final four battles to end with Whiplash completely dominating Bronco by smashing into it's long sides for two and a half minutes until Bronco's mechanics failed for a KO.  This wasn't so much lack-of-endurance or poor reliability as a total driving domincation by Whiplash.

And then Biteforce pounded the 2-blade version of Rotator into submission. 

 

In the next episode, we'll have the season's Final Four in two battles, and those winners will face off for the Giant Nut.  I think Minotaur is facing Lockjaw and, unless Minotaur's driving reverts to the abysmal level, it should win.  And BiteForce vs. Whiplash... NO TELLING.  BiteForce clearly has the superior weapon between those two, but that's not saying much - however, Whiplash's crummy weapon was effectively replaced by its lifting arm against the massive Bronco.  Whiplash's driving and that lifting arm makes this a toss-up, in my mind.

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(I wanted to add a quibbling, nitpicky complaint - I wish 'attrition' wasn't part of Battlebots.  I realize these fights are probably filmed over a week's period of time.  Or even 4 days, I've read in the past.  This means significant damage in one battle means the robot is unworthy to fight so soon.  I wish the budget allowed for these builders to remain on-site - hotels, meals, expenses - for a few days between each match so that robots could be returned to something close to their original, best-working order.)

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15 hours ago, BuffaloChuck said:

This will mean the championship match will only 3 battles?  I think so - each bracket's Final 2 against each other, then those winners go head to head.  I mention this because we'll be in for 9 minutes of battles (and less, including KO's) and 51 minutes of everything but. 

I wonder if they'll fill it with rumbles or free-for-alls, but not sure why anyone would risk they're bot without some kind of reward.

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23 hours ago, jhlipton said:

I wonder if they'll fill it with rumbles or free-for-alls, but not sure why anyone would risk they're bot without some kind of reward.

That's what I think too.  Some sort of Battle Royale or exhibition match to fill time.

Edited by Destiny74.
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Yes, I'm voting for "battle royale" although I'd like to see 2-3-4 of those.  Maybe 3-robot matches?  Hopefully, they're all being paid enough to do rebuilds and cover all other expenses, and these time-fillers might do well at a staggered pay-off - so much $$$ for 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  (I'm a little concerned when I see the same commercials being played repeatedly.  This usually means "no other advertisers were interested in paying even a fair price" so they go to Original Sponsors and offer them cut-rates for subsequent repeats.  That doesn't bode well for the expense payments to the roboteers.)

Edited by BuffaloChuck.
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During the 2018 season, we've seen a few 3-4 and even 6 bot "battle royale" rumbles, but they were limited to 3 minutes.  This turned out to be OK but we saw that one robot would hold back.  The tendency would be "run my bot at lowest power than sweep in during the final minute and blast the last man standing."

 

That's a rather dull and unfortunate likelihood when the robots seem to be geared around a 3-minute-max battery time.

 

Can the producers do something to change that?  Yes.  What about a 'halftime break' at 2 minutes ( or ?? ) and let all the surviving robots get recharged?  This might take hours, I realize - but only in real-time.  NOT TV TIME.  And the producers could have the floors swept up, and perhaps stage a second multi-bot free-for-all - also in a First Half/Second Half configuration.

 

Once that follow-up rumble's First Half is done, bring back the first rumble's survivors and have them finish with a 2-minute Second Half. 

 

What about that? 

 

This is all predicated on the battery's ability to be recharged in an hour or so.  What if they're not?  What if those need 5 or 6 or overnight?  Ugh... "Never mind-!"

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17 hours ago, BuffaloChuck said:

During the 2018 season, we've seen a few 3-4 and even 6 bot "battle royale" rumbles, but they were limited to 3 minutes.  This turned out to be OK but we saw that one robot would hold back.  The tendency would be "run my bot at lowest power than sweep in during the final minute and blast the last man standing."

 

That's a rather dull and unfortunate likelihood when the robots seem to be geared around a 3-minute-max battery time.

 

Can the producers do something to change that?  Yes.  What about a 'halftime break' at 2 minutes ( or ?? ) and let all the surviving robots get recharged?  This might take hours, I realize - but only in real-time.  NOT TV TIME.  And the producers could have the floors swept up, and perhaps stage a second multi-bot free-for-all - also in a First Half/Second Half configuration.

 

Once that follow-up rumble's First Half is done, bring back the first rumble's survivors and have them finish with a 2-minute Second Half. 

 

What about that? 

 

This is all predicated on the battery's ability to be recharged in an hour or so.  What if they're not?  What if those need 5 or 6 or overnight?  Ugh... "Never mind-!"

The bigger problem is repair time, especially is there's any major damage (which can happen even to a winning bot).  That can take quite some time, if they have the parts for repair.

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Did Battlebots ever "fight to the death"?  A last bot standing, regardless of time?  We have been watching for quite a while (back when there was a forum of competitors talking about particular drill motors and their availablility, and then the appearance on CSI, where there murder happened at a bot competition in Las Vegas, and we'd been watching several years before that.)

As I recall, back then the battle were three minutes.  With all the changes in technology, it's still three minutes. 

In other competitions, with lighter weight catagory bots (that presumably drain the power at a lower rate), are the battles still three minutes? 

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Yes, I'm a long-time watcher as well... those early 2-wheeled 'battle ax' bots that would rotate, hoping to connect and knock the bejeepers out of someone with a full-swinging bot.  Then Ziggo came along and started wiping out wheels, left and right.  (Ziggo's owner seemed to be a terrible driver, I always had the feeling he didn't know Front from Back, Left from Right, and he'd sit there and count off on his fingers, then make a move.  Of course, since he would - like Whyachi - tend to destroy himself, maybe his painfully-slow driving was his caution.)   Whyachie and IceWave seemed to have conquered the "Which way is Front?" question by their body design - which made me think, "Why didn't Ziggo simply install a thin thin sheet of aluminum facing back or forward, something under the carriage that would make "front" visible?  Ah well...

 

When this season's Free Shipping ended up with his free-swinging, hanging-by-cable front-end, it appeared doubtful that he'd ever practiced those 'ancient' maneuvers - the "swing yer partner, dosey doh" round kicks...

 

I think the weight issues are a combination of Armor Plus Batteries - which are terrifically heavy.  Four heavy batteries vs. two, perhaps, and with much lighter weight, two batteries might last as long as the 4-battery Heavyweights.  That's what I've presumed were deciding factors: a big strong shell with a lot of batteries, and a half-weight shell with half the batteries but equal to 3 straight minutes of combat.

 

The argument of First and Second Halves of melee multi-bot rumbles might preclude fixing damage outside of the time-frame of battery recharging.   I think we'd be treading on requiring bots to use a certain type of battery that allowed a certain (precise, predictable, etc) re-charge time.

 

Or - what about making them ONLY replace batteries, and do that in X minutes?  "To participate in this rumble, you must have a full-charged 2nd set of batteries and your bot must allow mechanical replacement within _X_ minutes."  I wonder how problematic this would be?  I presume batteries are fairly easy to get to - Ray Billings' guts were spilling out in one battle (where he'd cheap-shotted the loser only to blast himself to smithereens, too.  I loved that one.)

Edited by BuffaloChuck.
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That was a pretty good championship. Too bad Minotaur's weapon went down early.

Did we really need to see Tombstone vs a sacrificial lamb in an exhibition? A rumble would have been more fun, although the fist getting stuck in the wall was pretty cool.

I have just started watching Battlebots Resurrection online and it is an interesting look behind the scenes at the repairs and testing. They mention that it is a 2 week tournament. It is also cool to see how the teams are always willing to help other teams with parts/repairs or even helping to make parts.

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1 hour ago, SayMyName said:

Did we really need to see Tombstone vs a sacrificial lamb in an exhibition?

I kind of assumed that TPTB would figure out a way to bring Tombstone into the final episode.  I would have been happier if the battle had been Tombstone vs. Bronco, as having the displaced #1 and #2 seeds fight each other would be logical.  When they announced the competitor and it's some bot I'd never even heard of, I was astounded.  Then they mentioned that Billings just went around asking "Who'd like to fight me?" and everyone else demurred, it made more sense. 

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I was glad to see Biteforce 'win' his championship this time - even though again the main weapon of his competitor failed, I really thought this time Biteforce could take credit with head-to-head crashes knocking it out instead of having Tombstone wreck itself on the arena walls. 

 

I wondered if Biteforce could have been subjected to a Count-Out too because he seemed to stall or be stuck as Minotaur's count-out was going on.  But Biteforce was the dominant battler in that championship instead of it being reduced to 1 minute of battle and 2 minutes of push-bots.

 

There was a previous quibble where Biteforce takes out 2 of Whiplash's wheels but they started the Count-Out on the 2-wheels-remaining Whiplash.  I've never seen a count-out start on a 2-wheels-remaining bot before.  I wondered if the Whiplash team had thrown in the towel, wishing to avoid further damage?  ("Why bother?  There is no tomorrow."  But I'm sure the bills to repair 4 wheels will be greater than 2, so fine...)

 

No matter, in the end - Biteforce was the dominant bot in both of his battles, with a good weapon and great (sometimes fortuitous) driving.   I love the slo-mo camera work where we see Biteforce slide under Whiplash and just clip one of the wheels from the underside, then accidentally catch the 2nd wheel in a crash-spin.

Edited by BuffaloChuck.
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And thanks for the tip about BATTLEBOTS RESURRECTION.  Here's the link to that...  It sounds like it can provide a lot of the answers I've always wondered about...

 

That "two week time frame" is about what I expected.  I hoped it was longer than 1 week, and I knew they probably couldn't afford space, facilities and expenses for 3-4 weeks - which is too bad.  I keep hoping this show will be successful enough to spread the money around to the contestants and crew, so repair times and parts wouldn't be rushed. 

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And I agree with the Tombstone vs. WHO?!! comment, as well as understanding that few roboteers might want to be destroyed.  I was hoping they'd have, yes, Tombstone vs. Bronco in exactly that Former #1 vs #2.  And I'd like to have seen a rematch with Bronco vs. Minotaur and see if Bronco's cute li'l garden-fencing wheel-protection would work or not.  Against Whiplash, it failed 100% - heck, Whiplash was actually able to nestle into those things and hold its position even better when it was sideways-pushing Bronco towards destruction.

 

All of these "Wish they'd have shown-!" battles are because Battlebots doesn't provide weeks and weeks of time for the Roboteers to repair their bots after so many battles.  I'd enjoy umpteen more episodes (not the ad nauseum endless repeats) if they'd afford 6 or 10 weeks or more.

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56 minutes ago, BuffaloChuck said:

I was hoping they'd have, yes, Tombstone vs. Bronco in exactly that Former #1 vs #2.

I think that may have been explained last week, by editing in comments by Bronco's leader who talked about the metal fatigue in his robot before its battle, and then we got to see the damage caused by the battle.  Bronco, from what I saw, was going to need a major rebuild.

About the Tombstone fight: Ray wanted to see if by repairing the chain (and maybe some more things) that Tombstone was back up to fighting, and the previously unseen (among many many of the 64) wanted to see how it could stand up.  What impressed me (and scared me) was that Ray keyed in on the "hands" and surgically removed them.  That's a driving skill that I didn't think he had. Tombstone's blade didn't just take off each hand, the energy that it used to launch the hand into the arena wall was simply awesome (in a world where I overuse that word).  

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10 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

I kind of assumed that TPTB would figure out a way to bring Tombstone into the final episode.  I would have been happier if the battle had been Tombstone vs. Bronco, as having the displaced #1 and #2 seeds fight each other would be logical.  When they announced the competitor and it's some bot I'd never even heard of, I was astounded.  Then they mentioned that Billings just went around asking "Who'd like to fight me?" and everyone else demurred, it made more sense. 

Same thing I was thinking.... they just had to bring it in. And against who? lol!

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I watched #6, 4 and 5 of the RESURRECTION videos and had many corrections to my incorrect presumptions.  Thanks for the heads-up on those - I'd have glossed over those and I'll come back later and catch the first 3. 

 

Then, I pulled up the Battlebots 2018 Robots page for a list of the contestants.  Deviled Egg?  I don't recall - it looks like a drum spinner. 

 

Have we seen the last of Chomp?  (I don't consider it a viable design for championship competition - it's nice fodder, I assume, and full of interesting functions - but is that enough?  Shark___ something - the same thing.  Huge's weapon was surprisingly destructive - it really smashed up Biteforce's 'guard rails' on top - but that and BattleAxe have their wheels far too exposed for serious championship goals. 

 

Or is that a fair criteria?  Should all robots be designed to "win it all"?  Chess has their pawns, after all... lotsa wins have been based on great pawn play. 

 

Monsoon seemed to be a revelation - I was surprised that it survived and was such a good pushbot with a potent weapon, too.  I'd love to see all the spinners (including spinning blades  like Tombstone, Rotator, Shredderator, Gigabyte and S.O.W.) have a "conference battle" and all the drum spinners - Witch Doctor, Minotaur, etc. battle it out.

 

But would this end up professionalizing this too much?  Would we end up with something like my least-favorite variant, the British Robot Wars?   Ugh.  Please no.  Leave Matilda and the House Robots across the pond.

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The last 3 fights were pretty cool and all knockouts.  The #3 seed fought the #4 seed (after getting #9 and #10 out of the way.) 

19 hours ago, SayMyName said:

Did we really need to see Tombstone vs a sacrificial lamb in an exhibition?

18 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

Then they mentioned that Billings just went around asking "Who'd like to fight me?" and everyone else demurred, it made more sense. 

Because it's all about Billings, all the time.  Any other builder could have done the same, and it would have been FAR more interesting.  I just FFed through it.

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I was hoping Minotaur could pull off the upset, but it wasn't to be.  They started okay, but couldn't hang.  Biteforce looks like a piece of construction equipment, that's a tough bot.

I could have gone without seeing Tombstone in the squash match, but he was the defending champ, so I understand it.  It's like having the previous winner of the Masters around to give the new winner the green jacket.

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12 hours ago, BuffaloChuck said:

Deviled Egg?  I don't recall

I think that was the appetizer before Burger Royale with Cheese. ;-)

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When I 'drill down' (er, hover and "view") onto each bot, there's a list of matches, too.  There were quite a few rumbles, I see (Bale Spear had 3 matches, all in 3- and 4-bot rumbles). 

 

I was ranting about designs for "winning it all" but nothing screams Folly louder than Burger Royale With Cheese.  Maybe Chomp.  And I'd have definitely listed Huge, originally, until I saw what it's weapon did against Biteforce.  From looking at the list of 2018 bots, though, I see most of them had significant weaknesses (like exposed wheels), or a limited weapon (Duck, Bale Spear, Kracken & Hypothermia which are grabbers, and even Blacksmith with a hammer that - if it was at all effective - would have displayed it's destructive abilities on many opponents).

 

Would I really want to see umpteen vertical drums and Tombstone-IceWave-SOWs?  I know I'd like to see several fight among themselves, at least.  Would I like to see a 'conference' or some division based on weapons?  Yes.  I'd like to see all the Lifters against each other.  All the Hammers.  All the blades.  All the spinners. 

 

But pushbots lost favor because their battles are not too interesting.  Poor Duck, as incredibly reliable as it was, couldn't inflict Damage and thus couldn't score Damage points.  It was left standing and working, but reliability alone doesn't make for great battle-bots.  Great cars, yes. 

 

I'd definitely like to see some kind of 'division by weapon' for future initial rankings, at least.  And, by the way, get Gigabyte's builders to always fasten that top-shell bolt securely. 

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Chomp and the hammer used to irritate me. As did so many wasted chomps from other hammer bots,  But that group won a 'special' prize in the previous (two years ago) competition for going in the direction that TPTB wanted bots to go.  That is, they awarded a prize for the automation that drove the bot to align in a specific way with its target.  At least I guess that's why the they got a prize.  I hope that bots don't go that way because watching the drivers' and their choices is important.  

At the end of the competition there were pictures of previous winners.  Does anyone know what happened with the couple who always dressed in green scrubs and who drove a ? wedge that had the nuclear danger symbol (trefoil) on it (I could be forgetting or misremembering some of this). 

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I was sorry to see JHLipton's comments about "all about Billings, all the time" but it certainly seems that way.  My only solace is that, maybe, just maybe Tombstone's reputation for being the most destructive bot takes a bit away from the "BIllings" shadow.  I would have preferred so many other matches, however.  This is the cost of the Billings Rudeness, dear TV producers. 

 

Then, EnoughCats mentions Chomp's added technology earning it some show-leadership points - "the direction that TPTB wanted to go".  As much as I like the destructive bots, I do enjoy some of those weird ones - even though few of them were designed to survive, apparently.  My Chomp negativity is based on my dislike for Hammerbots.  If hammers were effective, the Pulverizer would crush bots with a single blow.  Instead, it mostly bounces them around and adds chrome-glitz and sound effects.  Frankly, it'd be the one 'feature' I'd dispense with entirely, and put in more screws or a powerful slapper-flipper and knock bots back into the middle of the floor.

 

I'd complained about Whiplash's loss of two wheels resulting in a 'premature' count-out against Biteforce in the Final Four bout.  Upon rewatching a few moments in earlier episodes, there two contradictory events: Overhaul and Warhawk battled and each lost one side of their mobility, but continued the match.  Then, I think it was Valkyerie vs. Brutus, and one lost power on one side, and the count-out was initiated quickly. 

 

There was a succinct note that was mentioned at this point, but it certainly could have been directed at DUCK in that Big Rumble: "Damage wins points, not pushing the other guys around."

 

One last note about "loss of mobility resulting in premature count-outs" - a victorious bot probably enjoys not enduring more self-damage if it's required to take out all mobility.

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