The current Robot Wars Arena is the sixth incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena, used for the three rebooted series 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, and was designed by Robo Challenge. The wooden painted flooring of old was replaced with 6mm steel, with the arena walls being described by BBC Two's Twitter as "bulletproof".
The floor is a 20x20m square, and the whole arena is 7m in height. 6 tonnes of polycarbonate create the roof, and 16.5 tonnes of steel are used in the flooring.
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 - where the high bulletproof panels do not exist: these are theoretically the only places where a robot can throw another out of the arena. However, in Series 10, Apollo was able to launch one of The Swarm's clusterbots over the high screen and out of the arena. In Series 8, a similar section along the fourth wall holding the pit release button also existed, which was covered up by the Dial of Doom in Series 9 (see Hazards). Around the arena is The Trench, an empty space between the inner and outer walls which acts as a flip-out zone, beyond this is seating for the live audience, with a capacity for 400 people. 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 on, as well as revised lighting.
The following hazards appear within the Series 8-9 arena, many of which are carried over from the original series:
- The Corner Patrol Zones (CPZs) remained in each of the arena corners, patrolled by either Shunt, Dead Metal, Matilda, or Sir Killalot. Unlike previous series, only one House Robot would be seen in the arena in Group Battles throughout the main series, and two in almost every round thereafter. Each CPZ 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 10, a plume of smoke erupts from the pit whenever a competitor falls in, as with the original series.
- In Series 9-10, the pit release button, also referred to as the Arena Tyre, also activated the Dial of Doom, an arm which moves to the left to lower the pit, or to the right to enable 'Rogue House Robot'. Once activated, the latter mode enables the House Robots to leave their CPZs and attack mobile competitors for up to ten seconds.
- A third Dial of Doom hazard, 'Fog of War', was introduced in Series 10. Once activated, this setting causes large jets of CO2 to fill various parts of the arena for approximately ten seconds, forming a dense 'fog' which temporarily obscures the view of competing roboteers. The 'Fog of War' hazard was originally planned to be introduced in Series 9 along with 'Rogue House Robot', but was not implemented for that series.
- 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 throw defeated competitors after they had become immobilised, making it especially hazardous for robots with limited self-righting capabilities.
- The Flame Pit was relocated next to the Pit, and was made larger along with the other hazards. It is once again outlined by a red square.
- The Arena Spikes appeared for the first time since Series 3, with a set of five being clearly marked on the floor inside a red square. Initially, they were fired individually and travelled higher, but much slower than in previous series, with the original intention of lifting competitors off the arena floor for a few seconds. Between the spikes are small holes for pyrotechnics which produce large jets of sparks if a robot is lifted by one (Series 8) or drives over the marked area (Series 10). In Series 9, the spikes all fired simultaneously, and are once again fast and powerful enough to flip competitors over if they drive over them. In Series 10 only four spikes fire, the middle spike having been removed.
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, yellow 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 more clearly marked.
- 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 flip-out zone behind the walls/entry gates was officially referred to as The Trenches.
- For Series 9-10, the Pit release button was modified to either activate the pit, allow the House Robots to temporarily leave their CPZs and attack competitors in 'Rogue House Robot' mode, or fill the arena with CO2 jets in 'Fog of War' mode (Series 10 only).
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.
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. To combat this, competitors were allowed to place their CO2 bottles in a heated room prior to battles. Series 10 was filmed in May 2017, somewhat remedying the issue.
- ↑ http://www.fightingrobots.co.uk/threads/12907-bbc-robot-wars?p=460519&viewfull=1#post460519
- ↑ http://www.passiondistribution.com/media/140427/robot-wars_format-presentation_passion-distribution_2016.pdf
- ↑ http://www.robotwars.tv/the-show/
- ↑ BBC Media Centre press release on Series 9, Episode 1
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2017/43/robot-wars
- ↑ https://soundcloud.com/insidethebot/15th-march-2017-robot-wars-heat-b-the-little-angels-ft-shane-swan-push-to-exit
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4dZLJg6fFX8ktrMltnxPPZ3/david-vs-goliath-s-how-apollo-flipped-the-house-robots
- ↑ Robot Wars: The Official Handbook