"Loyalist" Assault Bot

The Loyalist Assault bot is the first of a new generation of mechs
The prime feature that sets it apart from my previous work is that it operates entirely via the "Cloud Technology" concept outlined in the FPSbot.
Critically, all its visible parts are "Holograms". non-physics capable versions of props which can be positioned, rotated, scaled and retextured via the expression gate that created them.
Doing things this way enables a great deal more design-freedom and allows me to have many new features that I wasn't previously able to do.

The Loyalist is a quadrupedal combat mech based on the machine of the same name from the game, Supreme Commander 2.
This isn't intended as a recreation of it, more that it's inspired heavily by it. For reference, the original design can be found Here

Features:
* Jumpjets - The loyalist is capable of leaping great distances via hull-mounted rockets. From personal experience, I can say that there is no better way to navigate in a game than via a jetpack.
* Color-shifting - The loyalist has the capability to change color and texture-set via presets which can be controlled through the game-chat. This is a feature which has been standard for most mechs to follow.
* Whole new artistic style - The switchover to pure holograms for the visual side of things means that I pay closer attention to the look of the mech than I used to.
I am no longer as focused on the functionality as I have that firmly under control.

 

Inverse Kinematics

This isn't exactly new to my mechs, but this is the mech that popularised it for me, the day I built this mech was the day I abandoned using physics based props in my mech's legs in favor of pure IK techniques.
In this context, IK refers to the math required to establish the angles the leg-joints need to be at in order for them to reach from hip to the desired foot position.
For two-part legs, this is simple, just an application of the Cosine rule which any high school graduate knows. for three-part legs, the possible solution-space becomes effectively infinite. I have a mech which uses truly three-part legs, but I had to narrow my mechanics behind it massively to do it.

The real challenge in IK legs for mechs is in the calculations required for Biped mechs, which is the reason I didn't switch over a lot earlier. I solved this problem with the Powersuit Mk3 and perfected it quite rapidly.

Jump-Jets
Due to the way my mechs function, the legs dislike being lifted from the ground except when walking. This makes the mechs nearly impossible to forcibly move around, they also strongly dislike elevators, jumping, being smacked with large objects and anything else that makes them move.
By dislike of course, I mean, they don't move. any attempt to move them forcibly will result in the mech snapping back to its original location none the worse for wear.

The solution is a State based system, The mech is given a secondary state where the hip no longer moves in heirarchy with the legs, instead, the legs are tucked up under the hip in a "flying" pose, while the hip acts independantly. There is a raytrace from the hip straight down, to establish relative altitude, and when the hip drops below a certain height, it switches mode to Walk mode and reestablishes the heirarchy. This brings with it its own issues as the mech must immediately establish new locations for the feet to be moved to otherwise it will attempt to snap back to the point it jumped from.This issue still hasn't been solved to my satisfaction, though my mechs usually land safely.
The Loyalist is by no means the first mech I've fitted Jumpjets to, but it's one of the better ones. and the earliest I still make any use of.
The first one was the appropriately titled "JumpSuit" which for a time was my favoured mech. for a sense of its appearance, looking at the FPSbot will give you the idea, The FPSbot can be considered its spiritual successor.

Color Shifting

The Color shifting mechanic in this mech was inspired by a friend of mine (online handle of Cipher Ultra) who created a drivable replica of a Warthog ATV from the hit series of Halo. His Warthog was capable of similarly color-shifting and I liked the idea enough to recreate it on my own mechs. My reasoning being that in the games, the Skirmish (and even the singleplayer) show a variety of colorschemes for different factions, so I wanted to be able to do the same. By default, the Loyalist is Red since that's the standard color of the Cybrans. however I typically play the game with White or Orange. so I allowed for that too.

My mechanism for the color-shifting was to identify all the holograms that make up the "armor" parts of the mech, then when the appropriate chat-command is recieved, update their colors and materials with whatever is ordered. the system worked exceptionally well and was included on the next half-dozen mechs I built, to great effect on the Harbinger and PowerSuit Mk3
I have since set it aside since the code required to do it, while simple, is bulky and largely unused during normal play. The current version of the Harbinger has lost the ability to colorshift as I removed it.


Video to come.

 

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