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[DPRG] re:battlebots

Subject: [DPRG] re:battlebots
From: Tom Gralewicz mot at ieee.org
Date: Sun Oct 19 13:49:01 CDT 2003

Actually I just hit reply and figured it would go to the DPRG list, so here 
is the off list part as well.

I don't agree that combat robotics was a flash in the pan.  I think it is 
more like a hobby/sport that was pushed into the lime light too fast.  Take 
a look around the web, there are at least 8 different groups actively 
running combat events for BB class machines, and even more in the under 
30lb classes.  www.botleague.com

My personal opinion is that combat robotics is going to run like dirt track 
racing for a few year and might slowly grow to a national sport.  The good 
news is that with the smaller events you have the core groups, the people 
who do it because they love doing it, not to get on TV or get rich.

The closest event to me is in Minneapolis.  Mechwars holds two events a 
year (www.tcmechwars.com) attracting less than 100 bots.  Its a one weekend 
affair with an elimination system that guarantees at least 4 matches per 
bot.  The result is lots of battles, lots of fun, lower cost to the 
builders and just a great time.

I doubt if the "sport" is going to die out any time soon.


At 06:20 PM 10/18/2003 -0700, you wrote:
>At 07:27 PM 10/18/2003 -0500, Tom Gralewicz wrote:
> >I have a different view.  I have been to 4 BB events and never tired of
> >watching over 400 matches.  I would rather watch two robots going at it
> >than two talking heads.  It was a shame to see a robot that had an amazing
> >weapon tear up a few bots only to get to the TV rounds with a broken weapon
> >and just drive around.
>
>(Tom, you replied only to me, so I assume you wanted to keep your reply
>private. So I'm replying to only you as well.)
>
>While I don't much care for the faked animosity that's injected in so many
>of these "build-it" shows (Monster House/Garage and American Chopper
>sometime take it to extremes) I think as *television entertainment*, the
>BattleBots format was bound to have trouble sustaining its audience. It was
>modeled after professional wrestling, which is based on the personalities
>of the contestants, not so much the matches. BB had "behind the scenes"
>segments where they'd talk with the builder, but even the guys who tried to
>ham it up were builders first, actors second. Most of the time it just
>didn't come off well.
>
>I think these contests play better in person than on TV. While Chuck (in
>another message) may be right that Comedy Central might have kept the show
>if the producers followed the format the network wanted, it's also true
>that -- from my observation -- at the same time the "craze" of robot combat
>was dying down. The BB toys went on clearance at Target even before the
>show was cancelled, for example. Then there were the 8-10 books on the
>subject, most of which (except for Pete Miles' first one) had mediocre
>sales. Books are always a good indicator of public interest, IMO.
>
>In the meantime, The Man Show, which must cost much less to produce than
>BattleBots, is tearing up CC's ratings. Just goes to show you what the
>viewing public really wants... (girls on trampolines).
>
>-- Gordon

Tom Gralewicz
Midwest Computer Recyclers
(414) 541-1716 


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