Robot Gladiators

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Information - Robot Gladiators

GenreSports - Boxing / Martial ArtsYear
Publisher[no publisher]ControlsJagpad
Players1, 1 vs. 2Developer[n/a]

Smith, Eric R. [Ersmith]

Graphic Artist(s)SoftwareEnglish
Game designBox / Instructions
Sound FXSerial

Trivia - Robot Gladiators

These documents are converted from the contents of Eric Smith's development hard disk, originally written in AtariWorks STW format.

File dated 16.2.1994

Robot Gladiators


It is the future. Humans have spread out into the galaxy, meeting and
interacting with other species and joining the Galactic Confederation.
Many aliens are intrigued by this new, vigorous race, and have
adopted some human customs. Human sporting events are
particularly popular; it seems that no other races have such a variety
of contests. However, differences in gravity, atmosphere, and even
physical type make it impossible for different alien species to
directly compete with one another. So, instead, they build surrogate
competitors: specialized robots that are marvels of dexterity and

Since the competitors are robots, the rules can be relaxed, and more
dangerous sports have become common. Punishing hand to hand
combat is a particular favorite in the galaxy...

You are the owner and manager of a robot gladiator. It is your
mission to go out into the galaxy and win the Intergalactic Robot
Warriors Championship. To accomplish this goal, you will have to
construct your robot, travel with it to a variety of planets, and defeat
the toughest robots in the known universe. Good luck -- you'll be
needing all the luck you can get!


After the Jaguar logo, the player(s) will be presented with a short
introduction to the scenario. If time and resources permit, this will
be in the form of a video spooled from CD; otherwise it will be a
scrolling text screen. After this comes the robot selection screen.
Each player will be presented with 6 basic robot frames, which they
can then customize with extra hardware they purchase. Players start
with 1000 credits for hardware, and after each victory they earn
more credits, which they can use for such items as:

ú machine gun
ú flame thrower
ú rocket launcher
ú laser
ú body armor
ú reflective armor
ú heat resistant armor
ú jamming device (jams commands to the other robot)
ú anti-jamming defence
ú skill module (gives the robot new fighting moves)

The more powerful items, of course, will be too expensive for the
player to afford at first; only after successfully winning many battles
and saving money up will such things be affordable. But the player
who only saves and never spends money risks becoming vulnerable to
less powerful weapons.

After the robot and weapon selections screens comes the planet
selection screen. There are three sectors in the galaxy, Alpha, Beta
and Gamma, and each has four planets. Alpha sector is the most
technologically backwards, and the player will most likely want to
begin here (although it is not required; skilled players seeking a
bigger challenge will start with Beta or even Gamma sector). As the
difficulty level increases, so will the rewards (and hence the types of
weapons that the player will be able to afford).

In two player mode, the two robots will immediately appear in the
arena corresponding to the selected planet. Every planet's arena will
be unique, and will have some sort of "local flavor." The arenas will be
fully texture mapped, some with full motion video texture mapped
onto the walls, others with reflective surfaces, mist, and other
interesting lighting effects to catch the eye. Some arenas will have
moving 3D objects (like an overhead ceiling fan). The goal will be to
give a real feeling that each arena is on a distinct, and alien, world.
The worlds will also differ physically; some will have heavier gravity
than others, and some will have corrosive atmospheres, which will
inflict damage on unprepared robots.

In one player mode, a screen will appear to show what computer
controlled opponent(s) are present on this world. There are 12
possible computer controlled opponents: 4 "easy" ones, 4 "medium"
ones, and 4 "hard" ones. The opponents are distributed randomly to
the worlds in appropriate sectors (easy opponents in alpha sector,
medium in beta sector, hard in gamma sector). The player will never
know for sure which opponent will be on which planet, but some
combinations will be more likely. Sometimes more than one robot will
be present, in which case the player will get to choose which of them
he would like to fight. Each opponent will have a distinct personality
and abilities. Part of the game will be discovering these personalities
and traits; experienced players will learn which robots are most likely
to appear on which planets, and how they will fight.

The actual combat will proceed much as in the arcade game "Virtua
Fighting." The battle system will be simple to use: both combatants
will always be facing each other, so that most movement will take
place in a straight line. This simplifies coding and art work. Certain
moves will change the axis of that line, and the robots will
automatically re-align themselves afterwards (so the players don't
have to worry about minor details, and can concentrate on the

The view will be a third person perspective, with a variable camera
position. Unlike traditional fighting games (like Street Fighter and
Mortal Kombat) the combatants will be truly 3D figures, rendered in
real time and fighting in a 3D arena. This means that we will be able
to present arbitrary camera views. There will be a number of pre-set,
fixed camera positions which the user can toggle between, and also
an "auto mode" in which the camera automatically pans around the
arena to follow the action.

The standard sorts of "jump," "crouch," "kick," and "punch" moves will
be available to all robots. Some robots (and the player's robot, if the
right skill module combinations are present) will also be able to
perform special fighting moves. For example, some robots will
perform wrestling moves (e.g. a body slam), and others may be able
to pick up and throw their opponent. Some robots will even be
non-humaniod, and will hence have additional capabilities (e.g. a
scorpion-like robot could use its stinger).

Each time a robot is hit, it loses energy and perhaps abilities (a
particularly severe hit may knock out certain control modules, or
destroy some weapons or armor). When a robot's energy reaches 0, it
becomes inactive, and the other robot will win.

As mentioned earlier, the arenas will be fully texture mapped. The
robots will be rendered with a combination of texture maps (for
surface details, and perhaps "battle scars" to indicate damage) and
Gouraud shading (so that curved surfaces look more realistic).


The schedule below is only a very rough estimate; producing a
detailed schedule with milestones and dates will be the first order of
business for the team once work on the game begins in earnest. But
some ballpark figures for how long the game might take are:

Programming Tasks (time is given in programmer-weeks)

Data structure design: 2 weeks
3D rendering (using Denis' engine): 1 week
Shadows and special lighting effects: 3 weeks
Intro screens/credits: 2 weeks
Camera control: 1 week
Robot animation and control: 6 weeks
AI for enemy robots: 6 weeks
Full motion video texture mapping: 3 weeks
Level loading and CD-ROM control: 2 weeks
Sound and music: 2 weeks
Debugging and fine tuning: 3 weeks
Saving games/high score list: 1 week
Total: 32 weeks

Art Tasks (time is given in artist-weeks)

Character design and animation: 36 weeks (3
weeks/character, 12
Arena design and animation: 18 weeks (1.5
weeks/arena, 12 arenas)
Title screen art: 2 weeks
Introduction sequence: 4 weeks (?)
Total: 60 weeks

With 2 programmers and 4 artists, we could thus expect work to be
completed in approximately 16 weeks. With a month for testing, that
gives approximately 5 months to completion. If the project is started
in early April, we should be able to have a finished game in

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