Robot Battles 2008
On Monday, Sept 1st, 2008, team “Dale’s Homemade Robots” (Dale, Ann, and Jay) invaded the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel with 12 pound Omega Force and 30 pound Overthruster to kick some shinny metal robot ass at Dragon*Con Robot Battles. There were eleven 12 pounders and nine in the 30# class fighting in the Centennial One ballroom in front of a standing room only crowd. Kelly, the emcee, was dressed in a bizarre purple outfit this year he described as visual terrorism.
Ann wanted to take photos from the balcony. Getting up there was no easy task. Eventually we worked our way through a series of back rooms and utility areas and found the secret door. Ann took lots of nice photos from up there. Jay Clegg did a good job running my video camera this year. Thanks Jay and Ann.
This year the stage was littered with 3 different sizes of colorful foam balls to provide amusement and a minor hazard. At least it wasn't snakes again! Carried over from the past three years were the 1/4 inch high steel speed bumps screwed to the stage to present a hazard to wedges. My auto-retracting smart wedges neutralized that threat and the snake guards(tm) on Omega Force took care of the foam ball problem. Overthruster's high ground clearance rendered it immune to these hazards.
Omega Force fights
The combat was setup for double elimination. 12# Omegaforce was first up against Free Cake, described as a wedge with crumbs. Free Cake consisted of a styrofoam cake taped to the top of a small dustpan wedge bot. It said "EAT ME" on the side. Free Cake exploded into several pieces as it was kicked off the stage after encountering the powerful Omega Force rotary flipper. The crowd cheered.
Omega Force was next up against Enoda, "A kinetic robot sculpture in mixed media". It was a red plastic bin with wheels inadvertently designed to be a perfect target for the Omega Force flipper. Enoda went airborne and cartwheeled several times before being pushed off the stage much to the delight of the cheering crowd.
We faced Flat Line next. It was a very effective two wheel drive dustpan wedge bot with no ground clearance on the front. This presented a big problem for the Omega Force smartwedges which require about 3/16 inch of space to wedge into. So, there was a lot of maneuvering to get a hit on his sides and rear. I had to escape his dustpan several times. This was one surprisingly tough customer. The 1/4 inch high steel speed bumps on the stage foiled his attempts to take Omega Force all the way to the edge. When I got him flipped over I had to turn off my flipper so not to flip back upright. Eventually Omega Force prevailed but it was the toughest battle of the event.
The 12 pound final pitted Omega Force against Nicole Richie, a rerun of last years final. The first hit knocked Nicole clear off the stage in one seamless motion. The next round was almost a disaster. We hit Nicole but she landed just short of the edge. I drove over to take her out but the spinner stopped and then Omega Force totally shut down. I got a lucky break because Nicole Richie had suffered some damage and due to loss of control drove herself off. Then Omega Force came back to life and we claimed the 12# championship award. It was a radio problem. The receiver had lost sensitivity and the range was maybe 15 feet. I think I'd had the problem all along but didn't know. Time to replace the radio receiver module.
Overthrusters first ever fight put him up against Jaws, another brand new bot. Jaws was a clamp bot with a nice pair of articulating "jaws". It required two operators, one to drive and the other to operate the jaw weapon. Overthruster easily shoved Jaws off the stage proving two operators aren't better than one. To be fair, they were still learning to drive the thing. Overthruster handled well and inspired my confidence.
Overthruster was paired next with Dandelions Revenge, a lawnmower frame painted yellow and decorated with flowers and a globe of little animated bouncing balls. Think hippy VW art van. I was not intimidated. Flip, push off stage, repeat, done.
Next we were to fight Überclocker by Charles Guan (Team Testbot). Yep, that Charles Guan. The kid that gave Invertabot the fight of its life in 2003 and beat me in 2004. The dude that's now at MIT with access to water jet cutters and other exotic fabrication tools. He even used my shop and tools this summer to build several parts for Überclocker (which looks great by the way). This could be awkward. Anyway, Überclocker, like Jaws, is a clamp bot. As far as I know up until now there have not been any clamp bots at Robot Battles. This year there were two. 1,2,3 fight! Überclockers forks got wedged under the 1/4 inch speed bump hazards in his starting corner. He could not move. Well, not until Overthruster came along and pushed him free... and off the stage. The next round was a little better. The bots locked horns and Überclocker tried to do a lift but was too close to the edge. His whole bot flipped over and with a little help from Overthruster, he fell off the stage. Another one bites the dust. Sorry Charles.
All of Überclockers fights can be viewed here.
Vorpal Bunny Fu-Fu was our next 30# victim. This bot is a product of Jason Brown's Evil Robots Inc. and I've wanted to beat him for a long time. The man can drive. His formula seems to be simple bots plus well honed driving skills equals winner. In 2005 I flipped his 12# bot about a dozen times. Eventually he got bored an shoved my bot Trisector off the stage. OK, lets see how it goes in 2008. The first round went very well (for me). Vorpal Bunny Fu-Fu got flipped over and pushed off the stage. Excellent! The next round was described as ballet by Kelly. I got Overthruster under VBFF and carried him around a while before he sort of fell off and then ran off the stage. YES!!!
Now it was time for the 30# final. Overthruster vs Scimitar from Stephen Chapman of Blade Robotics. Scimitar is a giant mostly plastic bot made from kids rideable toy car parts. It can drive over most opponents like a monster truck over cars and is invertable. The secret of its success seems to be stay on the stage until your opponent makes a mistake and drives off. It's sheer size alone often obscures the line of site between driver and smaller bots causing confusion and driving errors. It happened to me in round one. I drove off the stage while Overthruster was hidden behind Scimitar. The next two went much better. I pushed him off once and got in a good hit with the flipper on the last. Victory and the 30# championship!
Below are three videos of the event. Enjoy.
Highlights - All the good stuff
All Omega Force 2.0 fights
All Overthruster fights
Hover mouse over image to see description
Many more photos are on my Shutterfly account. Click here to view them.
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