Robot Arena: Design and Destroy

Our 9 year old daughter loves robots. We have Lego Mindstorms and Vex robot kits, but one surprisingly good find has been Robot Arena: Design and Destroy, a PC video game that simulates BattleBots style robotic combat.

The game is getting quite old, but it runs well on Windows XP. It does have some occasional glitches and it crashes on my PC about once every dozen combat rounds, but I’ve never lost a robot design or anything. I just have to fight a battle again.

The computer’s artificial intelligence (AI) for your computer-controlled opponents is fairly weak except for one particular robot, Emergency. Older kids and grown-ups will find good attack patterns that work over and over again against all the bots. This doesn’t take too much away from the game, but it is an oddity. The one tough bot, Emergency, is quite a challenge and shows what the game could have been. There are some hacks available on the web that will add more difficult AI for the other bots, but we haven’t tried them yet.

The multiplayer mode is difficult to keep working. We’ve had a lot of times where we just could never get connected multiplayer. Even if we get connected, the game often lags or loses connection. It’s bad enough that we rarely even try to run multiplayer any more.

The design and construction of the robots is the real winner in the game. The designer starts by drawing out the shape of the robot. Then components are added, usually starting with motors and wheels followed by weapons and batteries. Then the whole thing has to be wired up to work with the remote control system.

There are several types of motors, wheels, batteries, and different linking parts. Each has a tradeoff like weight versus power or strength. The different motors draw different amounts of electrical power so working out what type of batteries and how many of them is also a factor.

The weapons include ram plates, spikes, circular saw blades, hammers and axes. There are also pneumatic actuators powered by compressed air so a weapon can quickly thrust, if you have room for the air tank.

There are THREE different weight classes in the game which is how bots are categorized. Cost isn’t considered so you have an unlimited budget. In each weight class you face a different set of computer controlled robots, with different strengths and weaknesses.

It’s a great game for robot enthusiasts and even has some educational value.

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2009 at 6:46 am and is filed under Game Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Robot Arena: Design and Destroy”

  1. Frances Chisler

    11:27 pm
    February 27th, 2013

    What is depressing with themed lego sets these days is actually that they rarely conceder the shelve life of the themed lego sets. Ninjago will put out its very last trend of sets to the sequence this year, which include: Temple of Light, Golden Dragon, Cole’s Powerdrill, Kai’s Robot, Samurai Bike and I think Garmatron. That is without question wonderful to know nonetheless what the discouraging thing is that, the television series is pretty much simply being replaced with a new introduction, Legends of Chima. Rumor has it that Legends of Chima will only run through 2015. And Cartoon Network has stated that the Lego Ninjago will be faded out this summer season before being terminated altogether pertaining to the 2014 season. Why am I buying into themed lego sets that are not projected to have anything much more than a brief life expectancy? When the Lego City Sets along with the Star Wars lego sets have experienced ongoing production.

 

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