Which Steel Conflict is this?
This is SC1, which occured in August 2002. I currently have the first two videotapes of the competition and will be purchasing the third video when it comes out.
Where do I get these tapes?
You can show your support for robot fighting by purchasing the tapes here. I want to mention that I am in no way whatsoever affliated with Steel Conflict or the RFL. I'm not making any money off this. I'm just a fan with a computer and a VCR and too much time on my hands who is trying to provide some modicum of mindless entertainment for other bot fighting fans. I chose Steel Conflict simply because they had tapes of the fights and, as far as I could tell, noone else did.
The format for the reviews will be a little different than it was for Battlebots reviews. I'm planning on 5 fights per week. At the top of the page, instead of just listing the fights, I'm going to have a table, with bot name, team, weight class and record. I'll highlight the teams and/or bots that competed in BB in red (the "and/or bots" part of it will not be necessary from SC2 on, see the sticker verbiage further down the page.)
Differences between SC and BB
Steel Conflict 2
By the time this kind-of-FAQ gets posted, Steel Conflict 2 will have occured. I watched this event over botcast, and I have to say, I was fairly amazed at how far this event has come in the past 6 months. The first SC definitely had the feel of a small first-time event. The second SC had the look and feel of a long running established event. The battlebox itself was much improved, with all the painted wood replaced by steel beams, there was a professional PA with big screens displaying the action, a definite increase in quantity and quality of bots, interviews with all the match winners....the organizers did a really wonderful job. With events like this going on that I can watch on the Internet, I'm really not missing TV Battlebots all that much.
I have to mention something about botcasting here. Botcasting really and truly is the next best thing to being there. $15 got me 20 hours worth unobstructed, close-up views of the SC2 fights, all the commentary, the interviews, the actually banging and screeching and whirring noises of the fight (not some random metal clanging noise stuck in during post production), about the only thing you don't get is the smell. I missed the first Saturday session, but caught the remaining three sessions. On Saturday it seemed that they had just taken a room mike and hooked that up to the feed, so you were getting all the commentary out of the PA, which unfortunately reduced it to something along the lines of "Hurph ruum frrr urhum humph....". (Eventually my audio totally cut out, but that was due to problems on my side, not theirs). On Sunday, it appears they took the audio feed off of some sort of professional mixing board, so everything was crystal clear and mixed properly. Seriously, I thought the feed on Sunday was equally as good quality as the televised Battlebots broadcasts, but without all the banal filter and commercials. 20 hours of wall-to-wall action. I got little done that weekend. Botcasting can be found here, and purchased through robotcombat.com. Once again, I have no affiliation with the botcasters or event organizers, I'm just trying to spread the word. There is another reason to get the botcast instead of waiting for a video to eventually come out...
We don't need no steenkin' stickers...
The videos that I have of Steel Conflict 1 contain all the fights and all the bots, even the ones that were Battlebots. Apparently this will no longer be the case for future events. Battlebots apparently has their feathers ruffled a bit that "their" bots are being used in "your" event videos. "Licensed Battlebots" (i.e. anyone who signed a players agreement for Battlebots) now have to have a special sticker affixed to them so that they can be identified and edited out post-production. I guess if you change the name and appearance of your bot you don't have to have the sticker. (For SC2, I think Team Death By Monkeys did this by changing Death By Monkeys into "Furious George" and I think Gamma Raptor became "Alien Raptor" about halfway through the tournament, but it looked to me that most people just took the sticker.) Steel Conflict 2 LW and MW divisions were teeming with easily recognizable "Licensed Battlebots", and it will be interesting to see how the videos for this turn out because there's so much that needs to be cut out.
Just a final thought
From the looks of things, it appears the RFL is starting to really gel. Personally, I wonder whether it might be best for robot fighting if the RFL was shopped to TV rather than just plain "Battlebots". I know enough BB histoy to realize that absolutely none of this would be going on today if the original Battlebots organizers hadn't managed to get BB on Pay Per View and CC. But it seems like things are different now than before and I'm wondering whether it might be more engaging for potential viewers if there was say five hours of programming devoted to Event A, and then five hours of programming devoted to Event B, and so on, and then at the end of the season do coverage of "nationals". It would expose more bots and arenas, and maybe get more people interested in things since it's "in their backyard" so to say. If there's TV involved I suspect that bots would need to be licensed somehow, but perhaps they could be licensed to the RFL in general and not one event so you could be in the video, promotional materials/whatever of any RFL sponsored event. As for profits, maybe some sort of sharing amongst the league. I'm not a promoter or lawyer, and I suspect that there's probably 18 gazillion legal, financial, and logistical reasons why this wouldn't be feasible, but it's something that's interesting to think about.
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