- "All over the globe, engineers, designers, technicians, students, and anyone with a lust for wanton violence are designing and building radio-controlled mechanised warriors. Why? So they can destroy each other in our hi-tech arena."
- — Craig Charles
The Series 3 Robot Wars Set was the third incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena, designed by Series 1-2 set designer Steve Clark. For this series, the location was moved to Elstree Studios, with the Docklands location used in Series 1-2 being razed to the ground to make room for the new Millennium Dome (now the O2 arena). According to the Robot Wars Fun Fax this set was only used for this series, because the producers decided that the set was too small. Filming was moved to Park Street in St. Albans for Series 4, although Elstree would again be used to film Series 5, part of Robot Wars Extreme: Series 1 and the first series of Dutch Robot Wars.
The Series 3 arena was heavily modified from its previous incarnation, mostly as a result of it no longer being required to be set up for the now-discontinued Gauntlet stage. Its usage was therefore restricted to the main combat-focused UK Championship as well as numerous combat- and trial-based side competitions held throughout the series. As with previous years, the arena was made out of plywood, and the relative weakness of the arena floor meant that several robots got their axes stuck in the arena during this series.
As in previous series, the arena consisted of a large plywood square, surrounded by a small metal barrier. The large metal bars used in Series 2 were replaced with a more solid fixture, although still with small holes cut in the sides. The neon scrap metal sculptures remained a prominent feature of the façade wall, although there were noticeably fewer of these than in the first two series. The entire arena was less well-lit than in previous and future sets, with heavy usage of blue, purple, yellow and grey lights giving it a dark, mysterious aura. The setup of the balcony remained the same, although its appearance was significantly changed. The cherry pickers were enlarged, consisting of a fully-enclosed compartment where roboteers controlled their robots, and an open area where they could interact with Craig Charles after battles.
The large Robot Wars logo remained, but was not used as an entry gate as in previous series. Instead, it was used only once in the Grand Final to let Team Chaos enter the arena for their trophy presentation. For this series, competing robots would be wheeled into the arena via a large ramp on the other side.
The third incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena featured fewer hazards than the arena in the previous series, mostly due to the decision to abandon the Gauntlet and Trial stages from previous series. Hazards that were retired included the swinging pendulums, the Perimeter Patrol Zone (PPZ) and the spiked pyramids.
- The Corner Patrol Zones (CPZs) were reintroduced to replace the PPZ, situated in all four corners of the arena. Each CPZ was a circular zone marked in yellow and black hazard stripes, and would contain one of the four House Robots featured in every battle. As in previous series, entering a CPZ would be especially hazardous to competitors, as the House Robots had the potential to severely damage, immobilise or take them to other arena hazards throughout the course of the series.
- The Pit of Oblivion also made a return for this series, retaining the same size and visual appearance as in Series 2. However, unlike in Series 2 and all series between Series 4-7, a jet of sparks would be fired whenever a competitor robot was pushed or fell into it, instead of the smoke plumes in the aforementioned series. For this series, the pit was opened for the first two rounds of every Heat, and closed from the Heat Final stage onwards. In stages were it was closed, the pit was filled with lights and covered by a grate which robots could drive over.
- The Flame Pit was another of the returning hazards, once again located in the bottom right-hand corner of the arena. As in previous series, it proved highly effective in burning internal components and setting fire to robots with flammable armour and materials, with Technophobic, Diotoir and even Sir Killalot being notably affected throughout this series. Even so, it was generally ineffective against well-armoured and flame-proof competitors. Sets of wall-mounted flamethrowers were also located on the wall immediately beneath the balcony, which operated just as effectively as the Flame Pit.
- Perhaps the most controversial hazards in Series 3 were the upgraded Arena Spikes. Unlike in previous series, where they slowly rose out of the floor to lift and dislodge a robot's chains or tracks, they fired much more quickly, with enough force to thrust robots off the arena floor. This would usually be enough to knock them off balance or possibly flip them over completely, resulting in several robots such as Behemoth, Thing 2 and Pitbull losing battles after driving over and getting flipped by a spike.
- Most of the arena was lined with circular saws, which were mounted through some of the holes in the barriers. They were intended to cause damage to any robots that drove close to them, and while the damage they caused was largely superficial, they usually caused large amounts of sparks to fly, adding to the visual spectacle.
- As in Series 2, a grate with lights beneath it also featured opposite the Flame Pit, although this primarily served as an aesthetic feature.
- The final addition for this series was the Floor Flipper, which would become one of the arena's signature hazards in later series. In Series 3, the Floor Flipper was a plain square panel lined with yellow and black hazard tape, and was only powerful enough in this series to flip defeated competitors over a short distance after they had been placed on it by a House Robot. A spotlight would be fixed onto the affected robot immediately before it was flipped but this did not happen when Beast of Bodmin was flipped in Semi-Final 2, with the spotlight instead appearing after it was flipped. The first time the Floor Flipper was used was in Heat B, where Behemoth was thrown over after controversially losing its Heat Final to Pitbull.
As with the rest of the arena, the arena perimeter underwent a total revamp. The number of neon sculptures lined on the façade wall had been reduced, while the Robot Wars logo no longer functioned as an entry gate, although it was still seen to function during the Grand Final.
The design for the balcony was also altered, with the solid wall used in previous series being replaced with metal guard rails, and the balcony itself made separate to the cherry pickers. The cherry pickers themselves were also significantly altered. Besides the addition of fully-enclosed compartments with transparent screens, they could now be accessible from the arena floor and moved to one of two higher levels; the middle level for battles, and the upper level for interviews. While more accessible than the static cherry pickers used in Series 1-2, these cherry pickers had a tendency to sway and wobble while moving and when raised; one notable incident saw David Kingsbury, the driver of Anorakaphobia, becoming physically sick during its battle against Miss Ile as a direct result of the cherry picker's movements.
As in Series 2, Craig Charles would present and interview roboteers from the balcony, with roboteers communicating with him from their cherry pickers during interviews.
Another noticeable change concerned the audience stands, which featured improved protection between them and the arena circumference. While the audience were still seated above the arena as in Series 1-2, they were also positioned further back from the arena wall than before, with the space in between the stands and the wall effectively acting as a flip-out zone when Chaos 2 threw Fire Storm out of the arena during its Grand Final eliminator.
Changes from the Previous SeriesEdit
- The Floor Flipper was introduced.
- The CPZs were reintroduced to replace the PPZs.
- Circular saws lined the arena walls.
- Flamethrowers lined the wall beneath the balcony.
- The pit now fired sparks instead of a smoke plume whenever a competitor robot fell in.
- The arena spikes were upgraded to fire faster than in previous series.
- The arena wall was replaced by a solid wall, instead of metal rails.
- The balcony and cherry pickers were no longer connected to each other.
- The cherry pickers were now capable of raising and lowering to three different levels.
- The audience stands were moved further back and better protected.
- The large Robot Wars logo no longer functioned as an entry gate for competitor robots; roboteers instead brought their machines into the arena via a ramp on the other side.
- The arena was less well-lit in this series, with predominantly blue, purple, yellow and grey lighting.