Let's Make Robots!

Online RoboCraft anyone?

You may have read my idea for a Mini Robotic Ant Farm. I just re-read it yesterday and today I had a new thought:

Online RoboCraft!

What? Think of a game of WarCraft or StarCraft with robots. There is a field with some obstacles. There are cubes scattered around. Two teams start with a single robot, a Builder, situated in the Home Base, where there is a Flag. The Builder is equiped with a gripper and has to go grab cubes, one by one, and build a protection Wall. As soon as the Wall is built, a second robot enters the team, this time a Warrior. The Warrior can lift up cubes with it's mighty arms and he can also kick them down if he gets to the other team's Home Base. The Builder can still gather cubes so the Warrior can build a Tower. As soon as the Tower is built, another robot enters the team. This robot is a Balista. It can shoot big arrows at the enemy fortress or robots, but it moves slowly. Together, the robots have to defend their Flag and capture the enemy flag and bring it to the Home Base. Each robot should be controled by a different person through internet, as in the Football game.

What do you guys think?

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lumi's picture

Difficult task. I am watching this very closly and will try to help as much as I can. Most of the time I will drop some ideas here since my time is very limited (yes that's very sad) but I hope it will help.

antonio.caciuc's picture

The challenge is to make the robots simple enough that they are easy to build and still keep the game challenging enough to be fun to play.

I like the idea of building things from smaller blocks, like building fortifications out of legos, but it may be a bit challenging to do using small robots.

Your ideas of adding units as a reward for completing certain tasks (like building a tower out of foam cubes) sounds great, you just have to find a good set of tasks and ways of preventing the other team from completing them in order to keep the game balanced and fun.

I guess this needs to be more like a tactics game than a strategy game, not building an army, but using the elements that already exist on the playing field to your advantage. Although, if I were LEGO (the company) I would definately build a "lego robot that can build robots out of legos". This would then be deployed in a large playing field with lego bricks all over the place. The players are given a set of starting bricks and they have to program the "mother" robots to create robots that can go out and gather parts to build more and more robots. This could be multi player and persistent. Hmmmmmm... if only legos weren't this expensive...

Ro-Bot-X's picture

Thanks for your comments!

I'll try to build the robots simple, the Builder (I should call it the Gatherer) it will have only 4 servos, 2 CR and 2 for the gripper. The Warrior will have 8 servos, 4 for walking and 4 for the arms (2DOF per arm). The Balista will have 2 DC motors for driving, threads and the most important piece, a Nerf dart launcher. We'll see how I can build that, but I'll try. As soon as I will have my 3D printer I will print out steampunk shells for the robots and props for the game field.

I can't use Lego bricks, because they are hard to lock in place and hard to take apart. I was thinking of stirene foam cubes, about 4cm in size. The foam cubes are good because we can throw a dart at them and blow them away, that will be spectacular.

This game is somewhat like a Mech Warfare, but with the difference that people have to build something before starting to destroy what others built.

I think it will also be interesting that after getting the Warrior and building the Tower, the third robot might be chosen from several type of robots: another Warrior, a Balista, (a Spider?) etc. At the moment only 6 robots can play at a time, perhaps I'll find a way to get more in the game at the same time. A future improvement can be an automated game field that has turrets that pop out in some places to defend the base as a reward for building something. 

Markamas's picture

I've always wanted to make a robot first-person shooter, but I couldn't find anyone to model the 3d models. Gameplay (only some gameplay elements) were based on http://www.battlefieldheroes.com/en/.

Markamas's picture

Great ideea but I think is very hard to build those robots and the whole logistic, then it will be a little hard to play. Plus the 2D view of a camera over the field would make the playing harder.

You can start easy and with a lot more fun (I think) like this: "capture the flag" competition, identical robots, two teams (red/blue LED on the robots to identify the team), two home bases.

The flag is just a light that turns on/off.
Capture the flag from the base by touch a designated part of the base with a designated part of the robot, the base's LED turns off, the robot's flag LED turn on.
Capture the flag from a robot by touch, again with designated parts.

Of course, a more appropiate name should be chosed beeing a "capture the flag" game

If you really consider doing this I will try my best to help with design and software.

Ro-Bot-X's picture

The robots will not be autonomous. They will be remote controlled through internet. Same thing like the Football robots. Only the Balista robots is hard to build because involves things I don't have yet. I'm thinking of one onf CtC's tank kits, perhaps we can work together to design a cannon or something like that. He also can cut the foam cubes on his CNC and building a playfield is not that hard, just a rectangular field with some obstacles. Since the robots will have a gripper, the flag can actually captured and taken to their own base for the match to end. So yeah, this will be a "build a fortress and capture the flag game".

MetalmonkeeLad's picture

OMG! AWESOMENESS! i would really love to play a robot version of dota!

vishurockssrivastava's picture
I'm interested in this but why not make it a capture the flag competition like Quake where the builder just builds fortresses, and soldiers have to capture the opponent's flag and return to their fortress to score points.
TeleFox's picture

When I think of RTS games and robots, I think of Total Annihilation (or the successor, Supreme Commander).

Sounds like a really exciting concept, it'll be really impressive if you can pull all these ideas together.