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Robotics Television

ABC's 'BattleBots' Reboot Will Come Back For a Second Season (thewrap.com) 37

An anonymous reader writes: Good news if you're a fan of watching robots fight or just flail around in a corner. ABC has renewed BattleBots for a second season. According to The Wrap: "Following the summer ratings hit "Celebrity Family Feud," the six-episode first season of "BattleBots" earned an average of 5.4 million total viewers and a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49. Season 2 will keep the single-elimination tournament format of the first, but will double the size of the field to include expert roboticists, garage builders, families on a mission and past winners returning to defend their turf."
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ABC's 'BattleBots' Reboot Will Come Back For a Second Season

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  • The reboot aint bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @03:18AM (#50891207)

    I just wanted to say I watched Battle Bots over the summer and was pleasantly surprised at how much more energy has gone into it. Finally we get some robot gore!

  • Too bad... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 09, 2015 @05:23AM (#50891391)

    Someone needs to steer the production in favor of greater emphasis on the engineering side. A format with an in-depth design & build episode per battlebot followed by the competition and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of competitors would be an improvement and an opporytunity to promote STEM education.

    • Re:Too bad... (Score:5, Informative)

      by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @05:45AM (#50891437) Homepage
      They did do a bit of this... for example, they talked about the building of Plan X, the design and aesthetic choices, the expertise of the team and so on. Then they showed Plan X get defeated by Bronco (which got no intro whatsoever) in approximately ten seconds.
    • Re:Too bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @09:39AM (#50892139) Homepage
      And get rid of the whole pro wrestling everything's-a-grudge-match coverage. In fact, get rid of the sports commentators in the green-screen studio altogether. I know they're trying to pretend it's a real sporting event but I feel that they're losing their core audience by playing up all the tropes that engineers tend to hate.
      • by shoor ( 33382 )

        I'm not a sports fan. I am a retired computer programmer (does that count as an engineer?) Anyway, I wouldn't feel qualified to speak for how all computer programmers feel about this. I will say that I personally did not have any problem with them treating it like more traditional sporting events. Actually, I think it's better to have what I would call a multi-faceted presentation. Mostly, I want to know something about the builders, their philosophy, strategy, what got them in to this stuff in the fir

  • Flagrantly Dull (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 09, 2015 @05:51AM (#50891457)

    1. They aren't actually even robots. They are remote-controlled.

    2. Any weapon that could possibly damage a metal-armored bot is banned as it could also kill a cameraman or spectator/audiencemember.

    So instead of say, a 30mm tank cannon, they carry, uh, a wedge, that might, uh, lift the enemy bot up an inch or too and then, well, it won't actually damage anything, but you might get some "points" for "aggression."

    • Re:Flagrantly Dull (Score:5, Informative)

      by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @06:14AM (#50891497) Homepage
      Did you even see the last season? A minibot got thrown into the ceiling, a full size bot was tossed 8 feet in the air and smashed against the armors, and the fire marshalls had to be called twice.
      • A minibot got thrown into the ceiling, a full size bot was tossed 8 feet in the air...

        There's no reason this can't be safely held out in the Black Rock Dessert, with remote viewing from afar. And missiles.

        • by mrzaph0d ( 25646 )
          or on another planet, like with the famous band Disaster Area, the engineers could control the robots from within the safety of a concrete bunker.
    • by leonbev ( 111395 )

      I do think that it's kinda lame that the robots are still remote controlled like they were in the 90's version of the show. Technology has advanced so much at the past 20 years, but they could probably bring back a flip bot from the old show like Biohazard and still make it into the semi-finals.

      They should really offer a weight bonus for anyone who successfully pulls off an AI controlled battlebot. Sure, it will still need a remote control backup if things go wrong, but at least it's adding some technology

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The ratings weren't that great, even during the summer. They were quite a bit lower than, say, CBS' Big Brother, which still does decent ratings after 17 seasons. Part of the reason it got renewed is that a show like this is very cheap to produce. It was filmed over a span of three days, with no need to pay writers or actors. They did have commentators and Molly McGrath did a good job as the host. BattleBots basically replaced Wipeout, which I thought was far more entertaining. At least Wipeout had the ente

  • by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @08:09AM (#50891773)
    We've had this shit in the UK for over a decade https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] or is this some other kind of battery operated carnage?
    • Re:Erm (Score:5, Informative)

      by f3rret ( 1776822 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @08:20AM (#50891807)

      We've had this shit in the UK for over a decade https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] or is this some other kind of battery operated carnage?

      The show in the UK (RobotWars) was based off the original US BattleBots.

      What I find interesting is that since RobotWars ran for longer and had several of the same teams competing every year you got to see them basically find some of the best ways to win (HypnoDisc, Chaos II and Razor), interestingly enough looking at the new BattleBots it seems that almost all of the bots there either try to reinvent the wheel and come up with some stupid new gimmick like minibots, flamethrowers or other useless, stupid things; or try to mimic the big three from Robot Wars.

      Still weirds me out how many people want to make a flipper bot and go the electric route, when clearly a pneumatic flipper is far superior - admittedly far less controllable, but it will actually flip or throw robots. Like, look at this season of BattleBots, there are several flipper bots - but most are electrical flippers, so those bots tend to get into wrestling matches where they sort of lift another robot and push them around, then you have something like Bronco that basically just drives at the other robots, tackles them to the wall and fires the pneumatic flipper, sending the other bots out over the edge - I know which one I prefer.
      Kinetic spinners are as effective and fun to watch as ever, even though the BattleBots guys kinda sucked at designing them, the disc design pioneered by HypnoDisc is obviously superior to the "two hammers" design showed in this season on BattleBots, as it is less likely to get slammed to a halt, burning out the engine or basically break itself at the joints.

      • Re:Erm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @09:20AM (#50892041) Homepage

        Robot Wars (1998 [imdb.com]) was based on BattleBots (2000 [imdb.com])?

        If Craig Charles had a way to go back into the past, why didn't he tell his younger self to invent the Tension Sheet [wikipedia.org]? (or warn him not to do drugs [dailymail.co.uk] or what got him thrown into jail [dailymail.co.uk])

        If you want the obvious sign, look at how many Brits were competing on BattleBots, and how few Americans were on the early seasons of Robot Wars.

        Oh ... and 'minibots' were allowed in the original BattleBots -- you were allowed extra weight, but the bots had to be able to start out joined, and have some way to re-join, if I remember correctly. (I considered entering years ago, but it'd been a decade since I read all of the rules about gas engines vs. electric drive, wheeled vs. walking, etc.)

        • The UK Robot Wars (1998) is based off the US Robot Wars which started in 1994:

          "A forerunner to the UK Series, The 1994 Robot Wars in San Francisco, California featured three different 'games' for each of three robot weight classes"

          Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • Still weirds me out how many people want to make a flipper bot and go the electric route, when clearly a pneumatic flipper is far superior - admittedly far less controllable, but it will actually flip or throw robots. Like, look at this season of BattleBots, there are several flipper bots - but most are electrical flippers, so those bots tend to get into wrestling matches where they sort of lift another robot and push them around, then you have something like Bronco that basically just drives at the other robots, tackles them to the wall and fires the pneumatic flipper, sending the other bots out over the edge - I know which one I prefer.
        Kinetic spinners are as effective and fun to watch as ever, even though the BattleBots guys kinda sucked at designing them, the disc design pioneered by HypnoDisc is obviously superior to the "two hammers" design showed in this season on BattleBots, as it is less likely to get slammed to a halt, burning out the engine or basically break itself at the joints.

        This is reality TV. The producers are manipulating everything behind the scenes. They want robots that are "good TV," not best at fighting. And the competitors know that these idiotic but flashy features will get them on the show. The old show had plenty of those. Remember the upside-down kiddy pool bot? Remember that the Myth Busters were asked to leave the competition because they produced a bot that won in just a few seconds. Not good TV.

  • Please, just have the fights and keep the 15 minute back stories to a minimum. I don't care about the plight of some person in their garage who's only dream is to be in a robot fight.
  • Enough of this BattleBots chitchat. I want to hear more about Family Feud!

  • I remembered the original, which sprang from hobbyist competitions, so I watched this. Not only did I rather quickly start fast-forwarding through all the yakity yak yak tak to get to the actual competition, but I found it terribly predictable who was going to win. Sorry, but it's all mature technology now, there are a few designs that are more or less guaranteed to win, and the only variables there seems to be are whether they were competently constructed, whether the materials used were appropriate, and t
    • Which is why I'd love to see more engineering backstory and less blather about how they'd always wanted to build a robot since they were 5, or how they overcame the fact that they had boobs (as if that's somehow relevant) to design something and enter the competition.

      Tested had some decent footage on youtube of the various builders talking about their robots and showing off the internals and design challenges, which I found more interesting than the actual battles. If ABC doesn't want to show the enginee
      • If ABC doesn't want to show the engineering stuff on air

        See, that's the problem. Who they're appealing to (obviously, so far as I'm concerned) is the same crowd who likes wrestling and/or monster trucks. If you start having people talk about the nuts and bolts and the process of building it, their intended audiences' eyes will glaze over, and they'll change the channel 'because of all that boring science stuff'. That's not what their target audience wants, they want to see machines tear each other to bits in 3 minutes or less. I'll be surprised if it lasts past season 2.

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