So since my last attempt at an arena didn't go over...massively well due to various issues with it, I've decided to have another crack at the whole arena-designing business. In particular, refining the look a bit more, reshuffling the hazards and how they work, and adding loads more floor space to it (and scale!) in order to not only make it much more practical for fighting in, but also to give more of an idea of how I could imagine it looking.
Ice Cubed Coliseum
Location: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
"A more recently-opened venue designed for UK-based robot combat competitions, the Ice Cubed Coliseum was opened and sponsored by the region's most successful ARC team. With a thick steel floor and bulletproof lexan shielding and outfitted with a number of tricky traps and hazards whilst still maintaining enough floor space for a good brawl, it's designed for maximum safety on the outside and pure robotic torture on the inside. And whilst it may take inspiration from the coliseums of Ancient Rome...today, Lions would fear being thrown to these robots!"
And for a scout around the various features of the arena, there's a quick guide to them all below. I'm not sure what to have the arena walls lined with yet, but I'm thinking probably thicker versions of the wedge walls all-round, except at the corners, entrance doors, and the areas where the wall is used (Drop Zone, Mangle, Roulette of Wreckoning), and also applying the rough-grain surface to the floor that the Robot Bastards
arena has to nerf pressing wedges. But, anyway!
1) Pit of Despair
Always a crowd favourite but hardly ever used on ARC, this staple of Robot Wars
appears here as a potential game-changer...or a game-ender for anyone not wary of it. It starts out closed in the match, with the top panel and edges being flush with the floor (and therefore not getting in the way of robots with low ground clearance), but is one of three potential hazards that can be activated using the Roulette of Wreckoning at the top end of the arena.
When it does, it descends to approximately 3ft deep, fills with smoke, and should anyone fall, be pushed, or even rather stupidly drive in- it eliminates any bot that remains stuck in it for more than 20 seconds, if they're dropped in after already being immobilised and counted out, or if they're left in there at the end of a fight.
So, much like the rules regarding it for the live circuit, and intended to work as a means of being useable, but at the same time not a sure-fire way of winning.
2) Floor Flipper
Fly on your way like an eagle, fly as high as the Sun!
This floor-based pneumatic catapult might be mounted like the Pit (in that it runs flush with the floor to avoid catching on low-driving robots), but it activates if a robot sits on it for more than two seconds at a time, launching them across the arena with considerable power. It's especially dangerous to slower or more lightweight robots, and in this version, has been mounted so that if the Pit's open at the time, it can potentially hurl a particularly unlucky machine into it from across the arena. So don't stick around!
Just one of these this time around for the sake of diversity, but still just as much of a hot place to hang out as ever! It's a nasty surprise designed especially for robots that are flammable, or have low armour/ground clearance. Consisting of a triangular grille set about 1 inch down from the rest of the arena and cut off from it via a short, steep ramp, it's lined with powerful flamethrowers set up under said grille and into either arena wall facing into it, for maximum burnination from both the sides and underneath. Escapable but difficult to do so with a low ground clearace, they're more than capable of cooking a robot like a mechanical grilled-cheese sandwich if they get stuck there.
Abra, abra-kebabra! They're gonna reach out and stab ya!
Another change from the usual Pulverisers and Killsaws, this corner is rigged up with a set of six thick spikes with hardened tips that poke up from underneath the floor quite quickly to lift, impale or hang up any robot that strays too close for comfort, staying up longer (about three seconds) if a robot gets caught on them. So, considerably more painful to drive over than any plug or bucket of Lego you'll find!
5) Release Switch/Roulette of Wreckoning
A little something for all the gamblers and strategists of the ARC world! This tough reinforced bumper serves as a release mechanism for one of the three deadliest arena hazards (The Pit of Despair, the Mangle, and the Drop Zone) selected at random, along with a space in which nothing happens. However, once the button has been hit once, it cannot be used again for 45 seconds,
adding an element of risk to the proceedings for anyone wanting to go for the Pit immediately.
6) The Drop Zone
Now considerably smaller and renamed from what it used to be, this is now a lowered "side pocket" of the arena (about the same depth as the Pit) that is cut off from the rest of it by a lowerable polycarbonate wall behind the regular arena barrier, and is lined with a fireproof crash mat for falling onto. By default, the polycarbonate wall blocks it off, but if the option for this comes up on the Roulette, it drops down to a much lower height, opening up a spot for flippers to chuck opponents into to immediately eliminate them. It's pretty hard to get to without some foresight and planning- but get flipped into this, and it's curtains.
7) The Mangle
No, not the God of Randomness.
It's actually a pretty monstrous new hazard (that's some unholy mixture of the Screws, the Drum, and an obsessive desire for smashing robots) that consists of a row of thick, one-toothed hardox spinning discs that are arranged in a row. They start out switched off by default, but if they come up on the Roulette, then they start spinning upward at a frankly terrifying speed for a minute
- making them a great spot to push robots into to quickly cause some spectacular damage, or throw them across the arena if they're tough enough to survive. Rust in Pieces!
8) Starting Squares and Entrance Ramps*
(*With Dreadnought Mk3 and Josh's Redemption Denied for HW scale.)
A spin on the classic starting square, designed to deter box-rushing, provide more space to the arena, and add an element of strategy to the proceedings for both spinners and rammers. The robots start off sealed away from the arena by a set of raising/lowering doors inside a pen containing their respective square (this area can also be used for pre-match checks and tests), which open up as the countdown to start the match begins, and then close up again 10 seconds after the robots have left their respective corners to prevent them from being used as camping or blind spots.
9) Robot Control Area
Of course, this is the protected area where the teams control their robots from. It's slightly raised compared to the rest of the arena, allowing a good view of the whole arena, has both stair and ramp access for good all-round accessibility for the teams involved, and it's equipped with both the button to stop/start the match and a screen with the immobilisation timer and other statuses on it (ala the new series of Robot Wars
). Plenty of space for the presenters in any interviews, too!
And finally, it's got all the seating and everything in it as well to really complete the look. So with that, I'm genuinely quite pleased with how this has turned out, and hopefully this has significantly improved from the original design in terms of both looks and practicality as a potential battlefield for ARC. Thoughts?