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Robot Wars Arena/Series 8-9

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Robot-Wars-Arena 2016

The arena in Series 8

The current Robot Wars Arena is the sixth incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena, used for the six most recent episodes of Robot Wars. The arena was custom built at a previously unused warehouse in Westway Park, Renfrew, in Glasgow, making this arena the first to move outside of England. The wooden painted flooring of old was replaced with 6mm steel[1], with the arena walls being described by BBC Two's Twitter as "bulletproof". The floor is 15x15m in size, and the whole arena is 7m in height.

Series 9, broadcast in 2017, was also filmed in the same Glasgow warehouse.[2]

General DescriptionEdit

The arena consists of a square, 6mm steel surface with an area of 15x15m surrounded by high steel walls, and a gap to the "bulletproof" panels. This outer box has an area of 20x20m. The walls consist of a solid wall of slightly higher height than previous arenas, with high bulletproof panels on top of most of the walls. There are three robot entrances (one in the middle of three of the walls) and a similar section along the fourth wall holding the pit release button where the high bulletproof panels do not exist: these are theoretically the only places a robot can throw another out of the arena. Around the arena is The Trench, where robots who have been flipped out will end up, beyond this is seating for the live audience, with a capacity for 400 people [3]. Two control booths, now referred to as Control Rooms or Viewing Towers, are located behind the front wall, each shielded with bulletproof panels. As before, teams control their robots from inside each control room, however unlike in previous series, the hosts are also able to perform interviews there instead of the now-abandoned central booth/balcony. Occasionally, the show's hosts could also be seen watching battles from inside one of the control rooms.

In Series 9, the arena floor was given a minor repaint, with more black spores painted in.

HazardsEdit

The following hazards appear within the arena:

  • The Corner Patrol Zones remained in the arena corners, patrolled by either Shunt, Dead Metal, Matilda, or Sir Killalot. Each was outlined in black.
  • The Pit of Oblivion appears once again, activated by the pit release button on the wall nearest the control rooms and outlined by a red square. The pit is also larger and descends much quicker than before. In Series 8, the pit did not produce a plume of smoke or pyrotechnics when a robot fell in; in Series 9, smoke started as soon as the pit was opened.
    • In Series 9, the pit release button, also referred to as the Arena Tyre, now activates the Dial of Doom, an arm that moves to the left to lower the pit, or to the right to enable 'Rogue House Robot', where the House Robots are allowed to leave their CPZs and attack competitors for up to ten seconds.[4]. A third feature, Fog of War, was planned but ultimately was not included[5].
  • The Floor Flipper is now mounted diagonally along the arena floor, outlined by a red square, and boasts roughly the same power as it did in Series 7. Unlike the original series, it also fires on mobile robots during fights instead of solely being used to punish immobilised competitors.
  • The Flame Pit, next to the flipper and pit, is larger than before and again outlined by a red square.
  • The Arena Spikes appeared for the first time since the arena of the Third Wars, with a set of five being clearly marked on the floor inside a red square. They are much slower than in previous series, but can travel individually and much higher up. Between the spikes are small holes for pyrotechnics which produce large sparks when triggered, making it appear as though the trapped robot has been badly damaged. In Series 9, the spikes no longer fire individually, instead they all fire at once and are much quicker than in Series 8.

Changes from the Previous SeriesEdit

  • The change in colour scheme and paint design from grey, red, yellow and black with blue lighting, to grey, red, black and orange with red, blue, purple, turquoise, green, white and grey lighting.
  • More dramatic lighting sequences, e.g., in the beginning/ending countdowns and whenever the pit release button is pressed.
  • A change in dimensions and shape - the floor plan is now a square, contrasting the rectangular arenas of the previous series.
  • Revised control booths, now larger, lower and referred to as Control Rooms/Viewing Towers.
  • The central booth present in the Series 5-7 arena was discarded, with interviews taking place in the control rooms and inside the arena.
  • The robot entrance gates are now located on the side and rear walls, and alongside the space behind the pit release button are the only parts of the arena wall where robots can potentially be flipped out.
  • Heavier use of strobe effects for arena hazards and around the arena.
  • Enlarged pit and flame pit.
  • The Floor Flipper is now set diagonally and fires on mobile competitors during battles.
  • The return of the arena floor spikes, albeit slower, more clearly marked and able to travel higher.
  • Heightened arena walls and introduction of polycarbonate screens on top of most of the walls.
  • Removal of the angle grinders.
  • Removal of the Drop Zone.
  • Removal of pyrotechnics/smoke from the Pit of Oblivion (Series 8 only).
  • The pit release button was changed from a tyre to a full unmarked wheel.
  • The siren heard when the pit descended in previous series was replaced with a series of warning beeps.
  • Alternatively shaped Corner Patrol Zones.
  • Additional sound effects in battles, for example a buzzer heard after 'Activate!' is called, and an air horn signaling the end of each battle.
  • The Trench is an empty area around the arena for robots who have been flipped out.
  • For Series 9, the Pit release button was modified to either activate the pit or allow the House Robots to temporarily leave their CPZs and attack competitors.

Cold WeatherEdit

During filming of Series 8, which took place in March 2016, there were a few cases where competitors with pneumatic weapon systems were adversely affected by cold weather. The low temperatures of the studio limited the ability of the stored liquid CO2 to vaporise - a condition which is required for some valves in order not to freeze the components with liquid CO2 . This restricted vaporisation of the CO2, thus limiting the flow rate and ultimately the effectiveness of the weapons systems.

Q: "How many times can Apollo flip before it runs out of gas?"
A: "Apollo usual has around 10 to 15 full power flips, and then they will gradually get less powerful. However the studio and arena for the filming was very cold, this means the gas moves a lot slower around the system. Meaning the flipper runs with less power. So this series of Robot Wars doesn't show the full potential of Apollo’s flipper. If we were to run in a warmer environment the flipper power would improve almost double."
— Q&A with Team MAD's Dave Young.[6]

Robots affected by this include Bonk, Dantomkia, Glitterbomb, and Terrorhurtz, the four proving unable to self-right due to the cold temperatures.

Sergeant Bash was also impossible as a concept for similar reasons - the cold temperatures would have caused the fuel for the flamethrower to freeze and as such did not return for the series.

Series 9 was filmed in December 2016, with further concerns being raised beforehand regarding how cold weather would affect certain competitors.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.fightingrobots.co.uk/threads/12907-bbc-robot-wars?p=460519&viewfull=1#post460519
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2016/robot-wars?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_press_office&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=corporate
  3. http://www.passiondistribution.com/media/140427/robot-wars_format-presentation_passion-distribution_2016.pdf
  4. BBC Media Centre press release on Series 9, Episode 1
  5. https://soundcloud.com/insidethebot/15th-march-2017-robot-wars-heat-b-the-little-angels-ft-shane-swan-push-to-exit
  6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4dZLJg6fFX8ktrMltnxPPZ3/david-vs-goliath-s-how-apollo-flipped-the-house-robots

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