Rumbles have become a tradition at most robot events here. The first one I can remember seeing was during an early ROBO-ONE competition in 2004. The concept is simple. Usually all of the robots start off in the ring and try to push, shove, or kick their opponents out of the ring without falling out themselves. Sometimes, when there are a large number of robots, their entry into the ring can be staged.
For a highly produced event, like Robot Pro Wrestling Dekinnoka 10! there may even be script or storyboard. Rumbles, either free form or scripted, are hilariously funny.
’Robot Pro Wrestling 10 – Rumble (Video)’ continues
Humanoid robots aren't cheap. The lowest price kit runs at least $700, and builders typically pay from $1,200 just to get started in the biped robot game. So, when they compete at an event like RoboGames, they tend to be a little cautious about breaking servos or brackets, at least until the official part of the competition is over.
But, once they can relax and not have to worry about missing their turn in the ring due to a broken part, they throw caution to the wind. All the robots, both lightweight and middleweight, get into the ring together. When they referee shouts "Start!", the robot rumble is on.
The game is extremely simple. Knock your opponents out of the ring and avoid the same thing happening to yourself. The Last Robot Standing wins.
A little over two years ago, just prior to RoboGames 2009, Andrew Alter and a few of his colleagues were toying around with the idea of battling robots, both multi-legged and humanoid. Since they were all dyed-in-the-wool Mech fans, they naturally thought it might be a lot of fun to try and stage a "Mech Warfare" competition.
Their first attempt turned out to be more fun, and much more of a challenge, than they ever dreamed. They did manage to stage some battles and certainly proved the concept. More important, they generated tremendous interest and excitement. Robots stomping through downtown, ambushing the opposing forces, fighting to the death using bullets (air-soft pellets), giving and asking no quarter. The excitement, and the adrenaline/testosterone was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Suddenly the other robot builders started to stand up and take notice. They wanted to play too!
One year later at RoboGames 2010, Mech Warfare had grown up quite a bit. The playing field was professionally constructed and looked just like a real city, albeit in miniature. The bots were better too. Their builders had learned a lot from the first competition and incorporated all their learning into their new creations.
Next month, on April 15th through the 17th, they're going back into battle. But this time there's a major difference. Mech Warfare at RoboGames 2011 in San Mateo will be the first time that battle robots designed from the ground up will take the field. These 3rd generation Mech's are hot for blood and they come completely equipped to win, no matter what. There are already 21 robots officially registered to compete, and there is still a week before the registration closes.
This is one competition you won't want to miss! We'll be there all three days, from the time the doors open until they kick us out at night. Be there!
Photo credit: Giger - Andrew Alter
At a lot of competitions only the top scoring entries get to advance to the finals while the other players end up moping around while someone else gets all the fun. But at the Wonderful Robot Carnival 2011 the typical scenario was turned completely on its head. The top players had to sit on their hands and wait their turn while everyone else piled into the ring for a massive game of Robot Rumble.
’Robot Rumble Japan Style (Video)’ continues
In the early ROBO-ONE competitions there was always a 'Rumble' competition featuring the top robots trying to knock each other totally out of the ring. It was a robot version of 'King of the Hill' or 'Last Man Standing', and it was always a tremendous amount of fun.
Somewhere around ROBO-ONE 10, the Rumble was dropped from the lineup. But, thankfully, it's still a key part of independent competitions like the Wonderful Robot Carnival. Last weekend, at the 4th Wonderful Robot Carnival, 40+ robots participated in the Rumble, though they were split into 4 individual groups since it would have been total chaos if they all tried to fight at once.