In King of Bots episode 6 I accidentally recreated my favorite moment from Battlebots. Hit the break to find out what that is, and a fight recap from our episode 6 matchup against vertical spinner Two Barbecue!
First off, check out our fight below. It starts at 15 minutes:
Before we dive into a recap of what happened, I want to take a step back and remember a Comedy Central era fight between Nightmare and Slamjob in Season 3.0:
"That was the quickest 34 seconds of my life" - Bill Dwyer
The sawblades. The air time. The angles. The replays. Pretty spot on recreation.
This was my favorite all time moment from Battlebots. I LOVED Nightmare because of this hit. I suppose it's a bit ironic that I recreated it almost to the frame... from the losing side. At least it was at the end of the fight and I didn't get counted out! Hey... wait...
I guess it's time to jump into fight analysis mode!
Let's start at the end. According to the magic of TV editing, Blue got counted out and KO'd. This isn't what happened in the arena though. The hit was exactly as the clock wound down, and it went to a judges decision (which we rightfully lost). They filmed the announcement in the arena and did post fight interviews the same way they do after every judges decisions. They didn't show any of this on TV though... just these KO hands. But look closely. They're surrounded by red lights. I'm clearly on the blue side, surrounded by blue lights:
So yeah, we never got counted out and never got KO'd in that fight. It's just a tad bit annoying that it's all been changed for TV. We lost, but I was proud to make it the full 3 minutes against a tough opponent without a weapon for most of it.
Now on to the the rest of the fight. In the beginning we got one hit in and knocked a piece of their top flying. It was looking to be good news for us!
Unfortunately, shortly after this 2BBQ got a much better hit directly on our side as our hammer was retracting (lifting our wheels and making it impossible to turn out of the way). It was very similar to our fight against Polar Vortex with a very similar result... except we stayed upright. That hit ended up knocking loose a LOT of connectors inside of the hammer-side of our electronics and the hammer died as a result.
Lesson learned: zip tie all the connectors, ALL of them. I thought the Castle connectors were fine. I could barely even pull them out by hand, I figured there was no way to get a hit that could knock them loose. After this fight when I inspected them, a light breeze could have pulled them apart. The G forces from that hit had compressed the pins on the connectors and there was no resistance at all holding them together. Several of our P90 connectors even had cracked housings in addition to compressed pins. Totally crazy.
Our frame was also twisted after that first hit. Here's a video of how twisted our frame is when placed on a flat floor:
(note that the piece hanging off is actually damage from Polar Vortex at Robogames) With the frame twisted, only 2-3 wheels can touch the ground at a time. With a standard 4WD robot that's pretty ok, you'll just be using more current per wheel. With mecanum wheels, it throws off the whole thing. I need all 4 wheels on the ground to get the vectors working correctly. So the robot was a lot slower and even more difficult to control than normal.
There are a few moments of decent driving in the fight though. Sometimes it looks like 2BBQ is pushing me, but actually I'm strafing away from him at pretty much exactly the same speed he's running toward me, so he can't hit my sides. My strategy was basically "keep the front pointed towards 2BBQ" and "try to get him over the flippers" and although I got some good rams in against his weapon it didn't pay off. 2 BBQ said that we had damaged his motor extensively and it only had one or two hits left, but it lasted long enough! If only we'd gotten him over the flipper, we might have been able to get him on his back (and with his extra top armor, he was no longer invertable). With his apparently-brittle armor, it would have been a totally different fight if our hammer had stayed plugged in. Oh well! It was a good fight overall and we learned some things for next time.
Check out some damaged bits of ours after the fight:
Our one inch thick frame rail was totally sheared, our 0.3 inch thick front armor plate was bent like tin foil, and the bolt holding our ablative armor in was sheared and embedded inside the panel. Of course the ablative armor also cracked into tiny pieces, but that was to be expected. 2 BBQ is a powerful machine!
I was more than happy with our performance at KoB 1. We won 2 HW televised fights! Not many people can say that, so that's pretty cool :) It was also a blast to film, a real honor, and a dream come true to compete. King of Bots overall is a great production, and Karma (the showrunner) is an amazing person with a real passion for bringing the sport to the masses. I'm beyond thankful for the opportunity.
In the end we proved the viability of mecanum wheels in combat robotics, and we created an iconic hit for a new audience to enjoy (even if we were on the losing end, ha, it takes 2 to tango!). I hope we've helped to inspire a new generation of kids to pursue engineering and tech fields, the same way Battlebots, and that Nightmare vs Slamjob hit, did for me when I was younger.
I'm busy with KoB 1.5 filming right now, but check back soon for some info about the rumble, Motorama 2018, and also our preparations for KoB 1.5!