Robot Arena III – Coming in May 2016! + Dev Q&A

While not being the usual TAP stuff, this is something I am extremely hyped for.

The sequel to Robot Arena 2 (an old game about making combat robots and fighting them) will be released very soon (26 May). The graphics are somewhat better, but the arenas are not looking too good yet.

Bot concept art (there are several, so I will just insert one):

Steam link


There are also some Q&As from the RA3 developers which I will paste here, together with some in-game screenshots:

>Will there be mod support?

Yes, our initial mod support will be through Steam Workshop, for bot blueprints. Bot blueprints are what you create in the botlab, be it a full blown bot, just a chassis, or a partial bot for others to add on to. We know that access to modifying components, arenas, sounds, physics, and UI are important to the mod community as well, but we want to be careful about how we introduce them as some of those changes may break the balance of the game. While these are not part of our initial plans for Steam Workshop, we have built the components/weapons and arenas in such a way that they can be modified and new ones created. Without the dedication of the mod community for RA 2 we wouldn’t have an RA III.

>What engine are you using?

We’re using using Unity 5. We looked at other engines, and while they all could have done the job nicely, Unity 5 gave us the best balance today.

>Why DirectX 9.0c in the system requirements?

We want to make RA III compatible for the widest amount of hardware out there that we can. We know not everyone has a DirectX 11 or 12 compatible GPU so the DirectX 9.0c requirement is to reach as wide an audience of fans of RA 2 as possible. RA 2 was never a visual tour de force in its day but it did what it needed to. That’s not to say RA III is going to slack in the visual department, it just means that we want to spend more of our energy on other areas, at least at first!

>What physics are you using?

With Unity 5 we have PhysX. Apologies to the Havok fans, we know that it’s a great solution and was our solution for RA 2 in the early days of physics solutions. Physics is important and tricky to get right and we believe that PhysX is the right solution for us. There have been some really great physics based games created in Unity and while it is always a challenge to get physics just right, the tools in Unity give us good access to what we need.

>Will there be multiplayer?

Yes. We will have 4 player online multiplayer, that’s our current plan.

Bugs –

Your attention to detail is great to see, and sometimes a bit scary as well. Some of you lovingly dissected the early trailer and others vivisected it, either way you found some bugs.

> The connected components are not centered properly. [Insert still image from the video of the rotating mace-windoo-doo bot. That’s not the official name of the bot, but maybe it should?]

In this early version we have all sorts of odd misaligned connections, including the ability to place parts in places you shouldn’t (ouch). This will be addressed for release. As we discover misalignments we bug them. We can’t promise every misalignment will be fixed given the millions of combinations, but we will do our best to get to them all!

> The wheel physics look messed up dude.

Yes they do. Initially we were using the basic Unity vehicle physics. We thought that would work. We quickly found that when you made a bot using the vehicle physics and the default shock-absorber system that is included it wouldn’t work when a bot was flipped over. Essentially the default Unity vehicle physics would behave like a car upside down, shocks and all, without a downward force on the wheels. We had to scrap that system and start a new one that allowed for upside down bots to drive around as you would expect. Unity by default also has weird rubbery physics when objects are connected so things weren’t actually rigid the way you’d expect them to be, which also meant taking a different approach for connecting items together.

With that being said, we knew the physics would be a tough one to conquer from the start and while we’ve made some good progress I’m sure there will be plenty of day-one videos of bots flying all over the place, falling apart fantastically and flinging themselves into some type of planetary orbit or the bowels of hell. We like to laugh to, but not so much that it hurts or makes us cry.


There were several things you saw in the videos, screenshots or in the copy that were missing or we could do better.

>Why just the stock Robot Arena 2 components?

The truth is we had to start somewhere with the components and we felt the easiest would be with the RA2 components. We do plan on having many more components than the ones in RA2 for launch. In future videos you’ll see some new ones.

>Why do all the bots in the video have the same white/silver color?

When we made the video and took the screenshots we didn’t have the bot lab paint shop hooked up yet. The bot lab will have a paint shop with familiar features to RA2. We’ll have more to share in future videos.

>The chassis creation in the video looks different than in RA2. Where did the old method go?

There is much, much more flexibility in chassis creation than in RA2. That does sound like a bit of hyperbole but the truth is there are lots of ways to create chassis in RA III. The RA 2 method, which we call the extrusion method, still exists in RA III, but we didn’t show it in the video as the UI was still coming on line. The video shows the new primitive shape approach where you pick a shape from many base shapes, and like a block of clay you can mold and shape the chassis by pulling vertexes in each layer to get what you want.

New Features-

> Will I be able to import my stock Robot Arena 2 bot into RA III.

This is a big one for many folks and is something we have talked about a lot. We don’t think this will be possible to do before the launch, but the format we are saving the RA III bots in is very mod friendly so it certainly could be possible in the future.

> Since you are using Unity what about Mac and Linux?

Using Unity does give us options to go to Mac and Linux. We are carefully considering each as they have some challenges even with Unity. Presently we don’t want to get distracted by those challenges however so we’re focusing on Windows now. We’re hoping that the challenges for Mac and Linux are minimal however as we would very much like to see Robot Arena on both.

>Can you rupture or puncture the chassis?

We agree that this would be really cool. As we balance all of the development tasks this one is a bit more technically challenging than we have plans for today. It’s not off the table it’s just not something we’ll have initially.


To everyone that suggested we reach out to Nerd³ or reached out to them on our behalf it looks like it worked, thank you! We appreciate @DanNerdCubed for the tweet letting people know that we’re on Steam. We would be happy to share an early version for them to take a look at!

To those who asked how much the game will cost, it actually depends on what part of the world you are in. The science of pricing on Steam is a whole other topic, involving fluctuating currencies and market pricing realities for games in each region. With that being said we are asking $19.99 for RA III in the US and will do our very best to make the game reasonably priced throughout the world.

Like most folks who create games we would like to have enough financial success so we can continue to add new features and make more significant improvements beyond our launch. We know that many folks downloaded Robot Arena 2 for free because it wasn’t readily available for purchase. We would like to try and make it as easy as possible for those people to justify purchasing.

>Are you planning on DLC?

One of the more popular debates the past couple weeks has been DLC, downloadable content. Paid or free, it seems that DLC is a bit of a third rail subject with lots of opinions on both sides. We haven’t closed the door on having paid DLC as part of Robot Arena III down the road but we know it would have to be something special and not take the focus off the core RA III gameplay balance.

Our initial thought about any possible free DLC is that it should not be a separate thing and just be an update to the core game so it doesn’t affect balance. Keeping the door open for paid DLC gives us flexibility to work with content creators who may have unique content that we can only obtain at an extra cost. We don’t have plans for paid DLC today, but we don’t want to close the door on it completely in cases where there’s a cool piece of content that we can only obtain by supporting paid DLC.

>Do we know if there are going to be weight classes other than the old lite weight, middle weight, and heavy weight?

We are currently sticking with the LW, MW, and HW formats to keep things simple for new RA folks. Having 7 weight classes from the start can get pretty confusing for folks who are new to RA.

On our wish list we would like to add flexibility in the weight classes, and we have discussed a few approaches for that including allowing you to set an arbitrary weight class for your own single/multiplayer purposes. This is not something we will have for launch, but the game is being built in such a way that we could support multiple classes.

>Is there a limit to chaining components together, a rule of 7 components chained in a row?

There is no limit currently defined, nor do we intend to provide a limit initially. Testing every permutation and combination of components would take quite a long time and we don’t want to set an arbitrary limit. We want the user to be able to experiment with the bot creation as much as possible and discover what inherent limitations there are. What does that mean? Well let’s say you chain 100 components together and it works, that’s awesome, if you add the 101st component and the physics fail and things fly apart, well “The more you know”.

>Will there be belts or chains?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that while we don’t intend to have belts or chains for the aesthetic side of bot creation, we will have smaller motors that will attach to the end of extenders that can accomplish things similar to what a belt and chain might.

>How many bots can we have on a team, and how many teams can we have?

In RA III the player will not have multiple teams but they can have a large number (TBD) of bots under their profile. For single player mode, events will have the concept of “teams”. A single player profile will be limited to one team.

We realize that this might not be the answer that some want to hear, but it’s something we struggled with managing in the user interface. We felt the best approach would be to offer one profile (essentially team), with the ability to have a large number of bots of various classes.

>In the chassis shaping, can you overlap corner-points? Create a pyramid? Or do all bots have to have a flat top like RA 2?

Currently every layer has to have the same number of vertices but they can be very close together, giving the appearance of fewer vertices. As we work through the bot lab paint shop, we’re trying to strike a balance between more control in customizing the look of the chassis with the flexibility to stack vertices or bring them very close together.

>Will there be elastic components that bend or are they static like RA 2?

We have looked at springy joints, but initially we are going to focus on rigid joints to start. Springy joints are possible with Physx, we just don’t have the ability to get them implemented and tested properly while we are working on the rigid physics.

>Will players be able to skin components in the bot lab or will people have to apply a new skin outside of the bot lab?

Currently there are no plans to include the ability to skin components in the bot lab. We have heard this idea from a number of people however, and know that it is something that many of you would like to see in future updates if possible.

>What’s in the box?

The crushed dreams of the RA III supporters if we don’t get things right…the pressure.

>Will there be more screenshots and video prior to release?