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Weapons and Counter-measures
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Spockie-Tech
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Joined: 31 May 2004
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Location: Melbourne, Australia


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I would *love* to help out with BattleBots video's for people, but I only have them on VHS tape and I have tried and tried and failed to convert them into a more digital-friendly format.

They are on 6-hour (3 hour long play) NTSC tapes with some form of Macrovision-like copy-protection on them which has baffled every practical capture method I have tried, and even most Video Players from playing them properly.

I have tried multiple video capture cards, running them through both Pro and Consumer Mini-DV's with analog-inputs, copying them from one video to another through the analog-outputs and even displaying them on the screen and aiming a camera with a "sync-lock" feature (to eliminate the herringbone when two scan videos look at each other). None of them have produced an acceptable result.

Of all the video machines I have tried to play them in, the only one that produces a good picture is a Radio-Parts cheapy I bought for about $150 years ago. Friends high end "NTSC capable" machines either produce a dark picture, no color or highly variable color.

Copying from my machine to another produces a very low quality picture with variable or no color.

Trying to capture them through any sort of digital device produces either no color, or the sync doesnt lock (vertical bands rolling or 1/3 of the picture missing at the bottom). One cheapy card would produce a lo-res picture, but only at 15 frames a second 320x240

Playing them on the TV and aiming the sync-lock camera at it produced a very grainy coarse banded picture. sort of like when you scan a scanned image and get moire patterns when the pixels dont line up.

I even tried running them through a "Dr Video" sync corrector, which did nothing - probably because it wasnt made for NTSC video

The only thing I havent tried yet is playing them from my machine on a big computer LCD display with analog inputs (rare as) and aiming a camera at that. hopefully the higher res pixels would produce a fine grained picture.

The other problem is, they have *hundreds* of intro's and outro's (several time each 1/2hr episode) that make them bloody frustrating to watch and fill up 2/3 of the time with crap and Comedy Central's embarrasingly unfunny sketches. If I have to hear their "dont construct or operate a battlebot without proper supervision" disclaimer one more time I will scream.

There is over 24 hours on non-stop footage that has to be gone through and could probably be distilled down to a couple of hours of actual interesing bits if someone had the patience to sit there with a technique that worked.

Having them on DVD with an index to each fight would make them infinitely more watchable I have spent hours trying to do this to make them more accessible.

If anyone can come up with a *creditable* way to convert them to DVD at a high-quality I will pay you a fair hourly wage to do so for the entire 5 series !

If you dont know what a "Vertical Retrace Interval" is though and arent experienced at american tape duplication though, dont bother thinking you'll just link up your whiz-bang video capture card and do it,

Believe me, I have tried and tried. If you are a video-duplication professional and have *experience* with copy-protected long play NTSC tapes, and can do it at a reasonable price, please get in touch

Also, they are the only full copies of the tapes that I know of in the country, and fairly irreplacable. I dont even know if the person who sent them to me from the USA would be willing to repat the favour, it took a lot of cajoling and assurances of anonymity to get them, so I dont want to let them out of my sight unless I have a reasonable good hope of getting them back in a more robust "backupable" format. Remember, tapes break and jam easily !

You would probably have to borrow my tape machine to play them as well from what I've seen so far. It is the only video that produces a perfect picture from them. I'm willing to loan it out as well if anyone out there reckons they've got the know-how to pull it off at a reasonable price and make a lot of builders very happy ? Confused
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Post Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:06 pm 
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Glen
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kero -

i think thats a pretty good assessment of the problem, hence why cobra and roadkill all have totally angled panels on every surface. throw in the bendyness of the titanium bar and we shall see how it all works out.

lindsay, lol i think my driving will involve plenty of running away this event. either hoping nicks mag motor gives up the ghost or plan f's motors blow up in the process heh.
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Post Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:15 pm 
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Nick
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Sounds like I need some driving and whacking practise. Hmm, Cobra's base plate & motors are just down stairs, I'll just put them on the floor & get Jolt... Laughing

It's true that a good driver can beat a good bot, although I'm not sure about the 90% of the time. I figure that bad driving can be enhanced with huge amounts of kinetic energy Laughing

@ Daniel: I think you are possbly over analysing - Jolt does the same thing with every bot that is the same or lower hight than itself. Only tall bots like Sorry and El Bravo don't pop Jolt in the air. That's why the new version has self-righting and next version is an undercutter. I'm hoping that Jolt will get pushed into the floor and the other bot will catch some air!
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Post Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:15 pm 
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Glen
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quote:
Sounds like I need some driving and whacking practise. Hmm, Cobra's base plate & motors are just down stairs, I'll just put them on the floor & get Jolt...



go easy on it, you dont want jolt to get destroyed before the event Wink hehe

edit - btw check out the buster vs super megabyte movie in the links i posted in the other thread, first hit.

seems both weapons where spinning the opposite ways, connected and resulted in a massive hit and super megabyte loosing its tooth. guess fighting fire with fire might work after all
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Post Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:24 pm 
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Rotwang
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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I have a 38cm LCD 1024x768 16.7 million display colour TV that runs analog and computer inputs if you wonít to experiment. Itís a bit ordinary as a monitor but I just use it for TV type stuff. Smile

Post Fri Nov 25, 2005 4:38 am 
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Rotwang
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Thanks for posting those fights Glen.

I loved the way Donald Hutson made it look so easy taking out those 2 nasty spinners at that Combot event; Just like the final destiny fight he made it look easy, thatís real skill controlling the bot. Cool

One of the guys I work with is an expert RC glider pilot and he talks about it quite a bit about it so I suspect that Donaldís flying skills might come in handy as far as the hand eye coordination thing.

He obviously has a carefully worked out plan, Modular attachments to suite potential opponents, another feature I really like in a bot.

Post Fri Nov 25, 2005 7:50 am 
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Daniel
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Looking at the pictures of Karcass last week I had a pretty good idea that the scoop Donald was using could be used like the anti-spinner bar I used on Sidewinder. After watching the video between Karcass and Brutality it seems that I was right. Its designed to flick horizontal spinners into the air.

http://www.madoverlord.com/lg/_B120707.JPG

http://www.robowars.org/forum/album_pic.php?pic_id=1087

The trick is to keep the angle to about 20 - 25 degrees. Greater then that you you get too much side impact, so you take damage instead of deflecting it. Less then 20 and you don't get enough upward flick and the spinner just slides off.

Post Fri Nov 25, 2005 2:03 pm 
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Big AL
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what up with the thing on the front of sidewinder?

also are your talking bout wih angle of deflection the angle of the spinning disk or armor plate?
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Post Fri Nov 25, 2005 2:55 pm 
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andrew



Joined: 16 Jun 2004
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angle of deflection dude.

Sort of a dark art in a way to get it right as too shallow and the spinner will simply go over top of bot or get other stuff and too deep and wpinner will catch and tear instead of going upwards. JUUSSSSTTT RIIGGHHTT like on karkus and sewer snake means serious spinner ownage and controlling of a match
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Post Fri Nov 25, 2005 3:02 pm 
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Daniel
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quote:
Originally posted by Big AL:
what up with the thing on the front of sidewinder?

also are your talking bout wih angle of deflection the angle of the spinning disk or armor plate?


The thing on Sidewinder is 4 bits of steel bracket very badly welded together. I bolted it on when I fought against Budget Bot v3. BBv3 had a nasty horizontal spinning bar out the front of the robot which I really didn't want to get hit by. So the day before the comp I quickly knocked up the anti-BBv3 attachment.
Basically with a horizontal spinner the blade will always come at you from the side. I could have added a wedge the faced forward, but the corners of it would have been hit and it wouldn't have worked as well as what I had here as it won't be deflecting the hit upward. The two angled bits of steel (I only needed one but I didn't know which way BBv3's weapon spun) act as a wedge that is facing out the side of the robot. When the spinner hits them the would not be able to bite into it because of the angle would be too shallow and would bounce upward. Inspecting the bar after the fight there were a few nice dings in the front of it but none on the sloped surface, so I got the angle correct.
The idea was to deflect the spinner upward. If the spinner had enough speed I was hoping it would jump the other robot into the air like in those video's Glen posted. Unfortuanly BBv3's weight was well away from the spinner so it just ended up doing wheelies and then dropping down on top of Sidewinder. No damage done, but it wasn't what I planned. If it was Jolt then the result would have been the same as the video's Glen posted because Jolts center of gravity is under the spinner.

And the angle I'm refering to is the angle of the two sloped brackets.

Post Fri Nov 25, 2005 3:16 pm 
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kkeerroo
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick:
@ Daniel: I think you are possbly over analysing - Jolt does the same thing with every bot that is the same or lower hight than itself. Only tall bots like Sorry and El Bravo don't pop Jolt in the air. That's why the new version has self-righting and next version is an undercutter. I'm hoping that Jolt will get pushed into the floor and the other bot will catch some air!


Over analysing? Yeah, 4 years studying engineering will do that to someone.
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Post Fri Nov 25, 2005 3:42 pm 
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marto
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Just remeber that the angle might have to be slightly diferent for other spinners as you have to remember that the axes had about a 1m diameter and they could angle up and down about 100mm at the end on the pivots. This is completely different to a rigid bar and your angle may have to change accordingly.


I can say that it did work thou Mad
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Post Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:47 pm 
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Rotwang
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Just wondering where have all the vertical discs gone?

The once popular hardest hitting bots in the comp appear to have gone extinct.
Something that has happened while I havenít been paying attention.
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Post Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:31 pm 
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Nick
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We never really had that many at any one time - Glen made the category seem crowded just with Demon. Catastrophe is still active (I hope) but Jaemus hasn't been able to go to events recently.

Until Lipo batteries and large brushless motors came along, vertical disks didn't do that well; they usually had to compromise between a low power weapon or a weak frame. Now that we can get so much energy out of lightweight parts, its about time vertical disks made a comeback.
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Post Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:53 pm 
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Glen
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Double edged sword, transfer more power to the opponent but with the disadvantage of there being an energy limit before the robot becomes uncontrollable / won't steer.

They definitely aren't as good as horizontals for uber power levels or drums for effectiveness.

Lots of them going around in the UK though, but the arena favours it. They have the fall out area about the arena so naturally a vertical spinner is great for throwing people out, as well as a steel floor so using magnets to keep them stuck to the ground meaning they can actually drive well.
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Post Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:59 pm 
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