In This post I’ve already told you how I see the situation in a field that should have been a mass phenomenon a long time ago, but it didn’t happen. Household robots have not become a natural product for at least some noticeable part of planet population.
In the comments people have expressed their opinions about the reasons for this situation, and some people offered ideas about how to fix it.
Well, I, as an engineer, could not pass by this situation and offer my "method" of solving this problem… Real WarBots (yes, hello Cygob at the same time)
However, let’s go back 30+ years, when personal computers had about the same problem.
After all, at one time computers were also a very expensive thing with questionable usefulness. There were even statements like "We don’t need computers for ordinary people"…
Now, however, there are computers in almost every home. But how did they become popular? As I see it, entertainment, and games in particular, are to blame. For this is human psychology, everything that adds fun invariably attracts attention.
Whether it was students walking into the department and hacking away at Castle Wolfenstein or much later a young me seeing the first Fallout, everyone invariably wanted the same thing at home. And sooner or later they did.
And now, in many ways, the engine of computer hardware progress, it is games. For office workers cool iron is not necessary, and 3D modelers and other specific professionals just too little.
Here we have got these theses and applied them to robotics.
So, I present to you Real WarBots.
Real WarBots is a strategy game for two or more players, where the battlefield is not a computer screen, and the rooms in your home. The war will be real robots, with real shells.
The objectives of the game repeat the mechanics of computer real-time strategies. Just as there, the player must scout the "map, " gather resources, defend the base, and destroy the enemy
However, they are robots, which means that their control is different from the standard one.
The strategy game player constantly, consciously or not, collects in his head a kind of "algorithm of actions". Something like: "these troops should go here, this squad will distract the enemy here, and in the meantime we’ll gather resources from here".
Roughly the same thing we introduce in the direct control of robots. The player has to assemble an algorithm for the robot from simple blocks, each of which is responsible for a particular action – shooting, moving, turning, and so on. After that, the algorithm is sent wirelessly to the robot, and it begins to perform its task. And if the situation on the battlefield changes, the player creates a new algorithm, sends it to the robot and it starts acting in a new way. This kind of control allows you to operate a large number of robots, the battles between a couple dozen machines is not a problem, of course, if you have them.
The player is free to compose algorithms of varying complexity. Someone will collect their many and simple, created literally in a couple of clicks, and constantly send new tasks to the robots, which will give the player the opportunity to quickly respond to the situation. A kind of micromanagement.
Another player will sit some time before the game, and make a huge non-linear algorithm out of thousands of blocks with cycles and conditions, in fact create a kind of simplified artificial intelligence, and on the game itself, having loaded it into robots, drinking tea will watch an uncomprehending opponent, who loses his troops.
Or not, if he makes a mistake or miscalculates somewhere, and he will strain himself to find a way out of the situation.
Transmission of the algorithm to the robot is not instantaneous. There is a small delay between the transfer of the algorithm and the start of its execution.
On the one hand this makes direct control of robots impossible and forces players to think out their actions in advance, on the other hand it adds tension to the game, because sometimes you need to urgently change or correct an algorithm, and then have to frantically count the seconds until its execution begins, while the opponent carries out his plan.
Players are given a software environment to control the robots.
Conventionally it can be divided into several zones. The working zone, where the algorithm of the different blocks is created. A map, which shows what obstacles the robots see around them. There is also a list of buttons denoting the software blocks and a list of those robots that the player has. Each robot will have its own unique identification number, part of which will also be displayed in this list. And a big send button, which sends the collected algorithm to the robot that is highlighted in the list.
At the moment it works on computers, later it will be transferred to iOS/Android
Robots have ultrasonic obstacle sensors and everything they see is displayed on the map in the player interface. This allows you to estimate the distance between the robot and the objects around it, and to set the parameters in the movement blocks not by eye, but with a certain accuracy. It also allows you to assess whether there are obstacles in the way of the robot in places where a human can no longer physically see the "landscape", for example, if the robot has moved behind some chair, or has moved into another room altogether.
The ability to play "blind" without adjusting what the robot’s sensors see with what the human himself sees will add interest to the game, although it will increase its complexity, which means it is recommended for more experienced players.
In addition, it is obvious that as the number of robots increases, and thus the size of the game room expands, the number of "blind spots" for humans – areas that his personal vision no longer covers and there will still have to rely entirely on the robots’ sensors – will increase.
Obstacles on the map, with the exception of other robots, are marked with simple dashes, enough to know that the robot will not pass there. Other robots, on the other hand, are marked with icons to distinguish the enemy from, say, a wall
Tabletop wargames have the ability to personalize their units. Usually tabletop figures are painted and often modified by the player himself, which means that for him this particular "soldier" becomes not just another faceless unit in the army. He has some differences from all the others. And later, if he was able to do something little possible during the game, it is this soldier who remains in the player’s memory for a long time. Because he is associated with a story, and along with the story associated emotions, in general, and attracting people to board games.
So why not add a similar element to our robots?
So. Each robot will have its own identification number, which will be scored at the factory and will never change. In essence, each robot will be unique, with its own name.
This will personalize each robot, and when asked "And which one of your robots made that shot?" you will no longer vaguely answer "That one over there…", but can proudly say "That’s my 313, it never misses!"
Each robot’s victories in official tournaments will be entered into the Real WarBots Hall of Fame, so everyone will have a chance to compare who’s cooler.
Rpg elements are present nowadays, almost in every first game. This is understandable, watching "pumping" your troops/characters/buildings is always extremely fascinating.
So how can similar elements be introduced to our robots?
Well, first of all, the most obvious. The robot tank, when destroying other robots, gets experience points, which the player can spend on… on what? The easiest way to do that is to add experience points to the robot. The more hits the tank can withstand, the more useful it will have time to do before life. Then you can decrease the pause time between when the robot receives the algorithm and starts executing it. (You do remember that the algorithm doesn’t start executing instantly, right?) It’s even possible to introduce a "hero mode" – a mode with direct control of the robot, like radio-controlled cars… but this option could break the game.
Further, separate robot heroes are possible. On a different platform, with different hardware.
There you can already introduce enhanced "pumping". In addition to the standard increase in life points, make it possible to accelerate the movement of the robot. Perhaps add removable modules, with an increased number of guns, or even a rotating turret. You can also change the shape of robot itself, from tank platform to hexapod, robot with several legs.
For projects like ours, an important part is supporting and developing a gaming community.
To attract the attention of new people, as well as introducing a sports element for experienced players, tournaments will be organized. Formats of tournaments over time, and based on practice, of course, will expand, but already now the main modes are clear: the battle between two players using a small number of robots, and mass battles for several people and a large number of robots at once. The second mode, though demanding to the size of the platform for battle, but it should be the most spectacular and varied from a strategic point of view.
At the same time, in both of these modes players will be able to prove themselves, both in terms of their tactical/strategic talents, and in their ability to compose algorithms for robots. At the same time, there is no element of chance, because our robots are real, which means that a ricocheted projectile can ruin even a seemingly perfect algorithm. Unless the player can account for such accidents and minimize their impact, which again depends on his experience and skill.
It is very important to maintain communication between players, accordingly, on our site will be organized forum. There players will be able to share their experiences, ideas for algorithms, agree on games, etc. And of course, there the players will be able to offer their ideas to the developers. New robots, new modes, improvements to the game interface, anything that can help make a great hobby.
And let’s not forget the game shows either, it’s a fun and useful thing.
And we should probably add a video of our robots… or rather a short excerpt of our future video
Anyway…that’s our idea, please rate it.
Our Vkontakte group is somewhere here vk.com/realwarbots
And yes, in a couple of days we’ll have it all on Kickstarter, so please, all who like strategy, or care about robotics, or who simply hate their cat and looking for new ways to mock him, subscribe to our groups, so as not to miss the launch, and support us with rubles and repost.