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Messages - MarvinMan

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Challenges / Re: Autonomous Combat League
« on: April 01, 2019, 08:22:30 pm »
Interesting idea.

The fixed camera seems to have same trouble finding targets compared to turret bots, but once it gets up close it is very effective. The low profile seems to make it difficult for most other bots to hit, and the cannon placement is almost guaranteed to cause crippling chassis/internal damage.

Development Logs / Re: The Development Road map
« on: March 30, 2019, 12:18:47 pm »
Once we have the ability to store code in re-usable blocks, it would be relatively simple to include a library of example functions that new players can use and learn from. Combined with a set of blueprints of archetypal bots, this would provide a good platform to get new players started and provide shortcuts for more general use.

Development Logs / Marvins view on the grand plan
« on: March 29, 2019, 09:07:25 pm »
The current state of Rawbots:
The Rawbots we have today is largely stable (remarkably so for something claiming to be pre-alpha), and numerous bugfixes and quality-of-life improvements have been made by the dev team for 0.15/0.16. The bot building and programming system is pretty solid, as evidenced by the creations on display in the various workshop and ACL threads. In other words, you can build nearly anything, but there isn't really any inherent motivation to, which has to be supplied by the players creative urges or community challenges.

The code contains several parts, ranging from the relatively straightforward but tedious to fully implement, through to parts presumably intended to have complex functions but only exist as a name and a model. Making these usable is likely to be part of the first stages of development as a reasonably safe addition of content we've been denied all these years.

Where to next?
The Rawbots universe is fairly dull, populated by a scattering of barren planets or whatever blocky structure the player cares to build suspended in an infinite void. On the structures front, there are plans to re-add the pillars and platforms seen in earlier versions, suitably scaled for compatibility with the smaller terrain hexes found in the current version. Also to be added are an assortment of minerals, resources and asteroids, which will start to bring the world alive and lay the foundations for an energy economy and motivation for exploration. While these would likely be inert statically generated features at first, developments could include random spawning, regeneration of resources, mining/harvesting and increased variety.

Longer term:
Cupid has done a pretty good job of outlining how gameplay driven by an energy/materials economy would work, so I'll just add a few paints here. While getting to this point is unlikely to require a complete overhaul of the game, significant changes will be required, and it would be best for us to understand the ultimate objectives now, rather than starting out without a clear picture and finding we've made some feature far more awkward to add than it otherwise could have been. In my opinion, the end game should provide a reason to build, automate and explore a dynamic universe, while allowing room for creativity for the sake of creativity at all stages of progression. Populating the world with NPC bots could be cool and really help bring the universe to life, but risks changing the character of the game, especially if things get too combat-heavy and it ends up resembling a base-building/tower defence game.

Parallel goals:
In addition to ongoing bugfixes, and the developments listed above, there should be gradual bot-building focused additions. These would include original new parts, new operands, building/programming aids, user friendliness/UI efficiency improvements, etc. As mentioned previously, there are potential changes to the underlying platform/physics engine, but I'll keep this post limited to user-facing changes for now.

Robotics / Re: Things you've built/invented/programmed (or want to)
« on: February 07, 2019, 07:05:21 pm »
Cool. I do electronic design professionally, and everyone I know considers anything RF to be a dark art.

Assembly language programming is getting to be a bit of an arkane ability these days, but it's certainly a good way to learn the intricacies of a particular processor, and useful for generating precise timings.

Challenges / Re: Autonomous Combat League
« on: January 27, 2019, 05:43:35 pm »
Things are even quieter than normal around here these days, but there are still a couple of us around.

Shame to hear the forums might be disappearing again, but I suppose it's hard to justify paying for the hosting when there are usually months between posts.

Screenshots & Videos / Re: Marvins Creations
« on: September 28, 2018, 07:51:46 am »
Interesting idea. I've not come across any obvious mechanical integrity problems with the props I've been testing, but I assume offsetting the fins is beneficial because it counters some of the stretch in the arcs, letting them effectively move to their optimal position under load/at speed.

Can hypercubes be used for de-stressing any structure? For example a string of continuums bent into a loop being turned into a stable structure that won't spring back when broken.

Screenshots & Videos / Re: Marvins Creations
« on: September 27, 2018, 09:24:16 pm »
I had noticed the graphs were broken when I uploaded them. I had hoped that google docs would make the spreadsheets more accessible than uploading them to dropbox.

When I started I wasn't particularly planning on publishing the data, so the labelling reflects my aversion to unnecessary typing. On the static results W is rotational speed of the prop, T is torque, and F is forward thrust (because T was already taken by torque). F/T gives a sort of measure of efficiency. On the second sheet, V is airspeed.

As torque and rotational speed are pretty constant at all airspeeds using variable pitch to control speed is probably better, but would need more work to characterise the pitch needed for peak thrust and zero thrust across the full speed range, especially if you did want to increase prop speed once in the air to take advantage of the improved airflow over the wings.

It appears that most of the energy input goes into just rotating the fins for no gain, so larger props allow more thrust/speed from a given rotational speed. The large props I tested using a cross piece as the hub were the best of the non-offset designs tested. Assuming it had enough thrust to get off the ground when retracted, a prop with pistons to increase its diameter might work well for efficient cruising or maximising top speed. I imagine such a design would make the handling of the plane awful, but it would be very fast.

Airspeed test rig.

Static thrust rig.

Screenshots & Videos / Re: Marvins Creations
« on: September 26, 2018, 10:55:05 pm »
Propeller infodump

Propellers in Rawbots are weird. The high torque they require and their dependence on airspeed make them ideal for quadrotors, but very tricky for planes. I was looking for a better design to power my planes, so I've characterised several different configurations to try to find out what works best. I've put the results in a couple of spreadsheets.

Static results

The first set of tests were for static thrust against torque, measured by balancing the thrust against a jet. The offset elbow type is the one seen fitted to my propeller plane above, and turns out to be the best fixed-pitch design over much of the range tested. Logically, a faster spinning, lower pitch prop should require less torque to provide the same thrust, however this only appears to be accurate at the lowest power levels. In general, a 45 degree pitch works pretty well. For best performance, use the largest diameter prop you can, and offset the fins slightly, like the offset elbow design.


Optimising the pitch over a range of airspeeds is where things get really weird. With a fixed 45 degree pitch and constant torque, the rotational speed only changes by 12% from stationary to a forward speed of 70 while the trust decreases linearly. This suggests that most of the torque requirement goes into just spinning the prop. When the pitch is optimised at each speed, the thrust shows more of a 1/x decay with airspeed, enabling much higher aircraft speeds to be attained (to the point where the wheeled test platform used for these tests reached escape velocity). Interestingly, the rotational speed of the prop stays largely constant throughout the test. For most sensible speeds, the pitch can be mapped linearly to forward speed.

Overall, it's probably better to just use a lightweight fixed-pitch prop optimised for lower speeds, but higher pitches will be needed to go fast.

General Discussion / Re: Is the development still being rebooted?
« on: July 02, 2018, 08:46:36 am »

The only thing I've seen is this:, although it doesn't exactly seem official. I think there was meant to be some sort of announcement months ago, but obviously nothing appeared.

Introductions / Re: Im back too!
« on: June 10, 2018, 09:35:46 am »
Welcome back.

I don't know what the deal is with that new site, but it does at least offer a more legitimate source to download the game, and presumably gets a little more publicity too.

General Discussion / Re: Rawbots development restart discussion
« on: June 04, 2018, 08:05:25 am »
There is of course this thing that appeared recently:

Still only has the same version of the game we've had for years and a load of old videos, but someones bothered to put it up.

General Discussion / Re: Rawbots development restart discussion
« on: March 02, 2018, 04:51:48 pm »
Apparently gmail thinks Rawbots forum updates are spam.

Anyway, there are a few of us still here, and the domain name got renewed recently.

General Discussion / Re: Rawbots development restart discussion
« on: September 24, 2017, 11:17:37 am »

I suppose it has been rather quiet recently, especially with the server going down for a while. But there are still a few of us here, and the server came back, so we're not going to just disappear again any time soon.

Introductions / Re: Petit Scarabee
« on: May 10, 2017, 07:37:44 pm »
We've been here 4 years already, it's not like we're going away any time soon.

It is a bit odd how we got that those couple of posts about new rawbots, and then it went silent again.

General Discussion / Re: A question
« on: April 14, 2017, 01:25:59 am »
Welcome back!

+1 on XFM, it is pretty much a standard part of the install these days.

We are hopeful for there to be a new version of the game, although things do seem to have gone quiet again since the last couple of demo videos.

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