If you’re taking the time to read this then you’re likely interested in competing at BattleBots. If the Season 2 application process is anything to go by, you’ll be competing with hundreds of teams for a spot on the bracket, and it absolutely is a competition. You’ve got to convince BattleBots and ABC that your team and your bot should be on the show instead of potentially hundreds of other applicants. It’s not an easy thing to do. With that in mind, here are a few of our suggestions for how to put yourself in the best position for Season 3.
Design Something Cool
BattleBots is both a competition and a TV show. A dense metal box with a powerful spinning weapon may be a good way to win a fight, but you may be one of 50 teams submitting what is essentially the same design. Find some way to make your entry stand out. Play with geometry, try some interesting or unexpected components, add some color. The selection committee is going to be reviewing hundreds of designs so you want to have something in the design that will make sure it sticks in their minds.
Build a Proof of Concept For Risky Systems
Coming up with a wild concept for weapon operation or robot locomotion is great, but if it’s really something that’s uncommon or outright unseen in combat build some sort of proof of concept for your application. The people on the selection committee don’t know you and don’t know what you are or aren’t capable of, so show them. “Yeah, it’s cool, but will it work?” is only slightly better than not making an impression at all when it comes to your design.
Have a Cohesive Style
Whether it’s the look of the bot fitting the style of the team, or the look of the bot driving some team styling it can only help to have the look of the bot and team align. This doesn’t mean you need to dress up as 50’s sci-fi robots because you’re applying with a bot that’s covered in riveted, unpainted metal, it means that you should spend a bit of time thinking on how you can make the team look like they belong with the robot when it comes time for team photos. Jeans and a t-shirt can work, but putting some effort into a cohesive bot-team combination makes an impression.
The Competition Doesn’t Start When You Get to the Arena
We took an approach to Season 2 that viewed the BattleBots competition as three major rounds. The first was the application process, where you’re showing that you’ve got the design skills and team that can both pull off the build and manage some level of stage presence at the event. The second is the build season, where you’re proving that you’re capable of delivering on the promises you made in round one. The event itself is round three, where it all comes together and if you managed to make it through the second round with what you promised, you now get the chance to put it in the box and put it to the test.
Start Planning and Designing Now
If you’ve got an idea there’s no time like the present to do the planning and design work. The earlier you start on this side of things the earlier you’ll find any issues and earlier you’ll be able to resolve them. This isn’t the time to start buying parts or building unless you’re planning to build the bot no matter whether or not your application is accepted, but everything that goes into the bot prior to buying parts or cutting metal can be done now and will save you time during the build season.
You don’t have to do any of the above, but from what we’ve seen keeping the above in mind while preparing your entry will put you in a better than average position when it comes to applying for Season 3. Best of luck and we hope to see you in the BattleBox.
Don’t forget, applications for Season 3 are already open at http://registration.battlebots.com/ so if you’re serious about entering, go there and start filling out your application.