March 1999


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The BattleBots rules have been released! I haven't gone thru them completely yet, but so far, looks fantastic!


I was at the Robot Sumo competition yesterday at the Exploratorim in San Francisco to help cheer on Carlo B's little sumo robot 'Beast'. Carlo dominated the first few matches he was involved in, but then was defeated by a clever little robot with an awesome vacuum system (to keep it securely on the floor). I guess this vacuum system is the biggest deal for these sumo robots, there was one robot that they could drive on a tabletop even when the table was turned on its side, and then even upside down! It was great to see all the different robots and people there. I met some very interesting people from other robot companies as well as lots of other builders. I encourage everyone who reads this to attend events like this even if not for the competition but for the people you meet!


The Long Reach Robot Challenge has been cancelled by the event's organizers due to problems with the sponsors. More info as it becomes available, but basically it looks as if a concern for safety was the primary weapon in this murder.

I got the new Vantec speed controller for Hercules! I can't wait to see how it works for him! Yippee!

Don't forget! The Robot Sumo competition is at the San Francisco Exploratorium this Tuesday! Check it out!

I'm going crazy lately with the lack of time I have do do all my extracurricular activiites. Within the coming months I've got to complete construction of Nightmare, finish the adjustments to Hercules and Junior, plan a trip to Europe (in September-YAY!), build my beastly Halloween costume for the next ILM Haloween party (a BIG deal!), and complete my car audio system installation. In case you didn't know, that ismy other big expensive hobby- I have been preparing my truck with an absolutely amazing stereo/multimedia system to be ready for IASCA competition, which starts (for me, at least) on April 18 in Nevada. I've been taking pictures along the way and will post them nearby on a new Car Audio page eventualy. Talking with people about this lately, it has come to my attention that some people didn't even know there was such thing as car stereo competitions, but its been flourishing for years with a HUGE following. Its a great hobby/sport and I'm glad to finally be putting together a competition-quality install! Stay tuned on that subject...

Yeah, it's MY pack of cards and gum!
You can't have it! Nyyyyyah!

This here is a pack of Robot Wars cards from 1985! And yup, it still gots the gum in it. My friend Steve got mad at me when I showed it to him cuz he wanted it (I think he wants to do like it says on the front and win a real robot), but he can't have it cuz it's mine all mine. I might just let him have the gum tho, cuz I don't like gum very much and I think he does- he's always blowing bubbles and smoke and stuff.... Bye now.

3/18/99 (part 2)

Dan Danknick and Tony Buchignani have announced that they will be taking over the Robot Wars® Forum in negotion with Robot Wars®.
You can read the whole posting here.


Calro Bertocinni has just stepped down from his position as moderator of the Robot Wars Forum. This is so very unfortunate. It amazes me at the power these people have to make people back down! I guess in this world, money most certainly is power.

From:   Carlo (CARLOBERTO)
Posted:   3/18/99 8:39 AM

 Because of the lawsuit that the Robot Wars company has brought against me, I have decided to end my involvement with the Robot Wars Forum. I have informed the owners of Robot Wars, and they will be talking over the operation of the forum.

If anyone is interested, I will be posting the details and developments of this lawsuit here, or at alt.robotwars, or at

Carlo Bertocchini

Because of this development, it looks like traffic on the SORC Forum has suddenly picked up again, and a new BattleBots Tech Forum has been created!
I would encourage those of you involved in the Forums or interested in BattleBots to check out these alternate locations for discussion.


The BattleBots dates have been announced! August 14-15, 1999! Check out the BB website at for more info and a letter from Trey Roski- creator of the event!


Marc Thorpe has been pressured into releasing yet another statement to the robot community. Come on, Steve, can't you leave this guy alone for once and let him get back with his life?

The '99 Bot Bash rules have been posted! This is a great event for those of you with smaller (lightweight) robots! It is in Arizona and had a great following last year, go if you can!

My 4QD speed controllers have been sold! Thanks to all who responded, and to others that were asking and wondering: no, I am not scrapping Hercules, I was just finally deciding to get the big Vantec speed controller instead. (They are a lot smaller and easier to use) No offense to the 4QD guys or those of you using the controllers, It just looks like they weren't for me after all!


The SORC have announced their support and relationship to the upcoming BattleBots event. You can check out the full announcement here.
Looks like the SORC Rules have been adopted by BattleBots too! Excellent! I can't wait! Finally something to look forward to!


A new alternative Robot Combat event has just surfaced! Today was released the press release for Battlebots!
NOW we're talking! A robot combat event made for the competitors by a competitor! Looks like Trey Roski, creator of LaMachine and other fantastic robots, is the brains behind this operation, so you KNOW it's going to be good. The entire press release is copied for your convenience below:


March 10, 1999

CONTACT: BattleBots, Inc.
(415) 558-8385

SAN FRANCISCO CA. - Trey Roski, champion robot warrior, today announced the launch of "BattleBots™" a new and unique entry into the expanding field of extreme robotic sports. The spectacle of custom-built, battling robots - utilizing destructive weapons such as saws, hammers and spikes - will come to life this August with four steel-crushing events spread over two days at the CSULB Long Beach Pyramid.

Roski, whose robots have fought across Germany, England and the United States said, "Because I have been a contestant, I engineered BattleBots with the contestant in mind. I have adopted rules to cultivate innovation, invention, engineering and challenge for the robot creators. The goal is to survive in uncharted territory."

Radio controlled robots fight their way through various opponents while spectators are protected by the "BattleBox™," a cleverly engineered arena which is larger and more menacing than anything seen before. Three classes of robots, sorted by weight, and reaching two hundred pounds, will make the event a spectacle for the fans and the ultimate challenge for the participants.

"This is the first in a series of ongoing events. My goal is to make BattleBots a regular home to the robotic creators of the world. I'm going to expand the public exposure to Robotic Battle, while increasing the payoff for all builders," Roski said. "I want to send a message to all potential entrants: Start building your BattleBots now! The new millennium of robotic combat starts this summer."

BattleBots challenges you to face off in Long Beach this August. Anyone interested in registering to compete, or looking for more information should visit the BattleBots Website at

BattleBots has no affiliation with Robot Wars® or any other robotic sports organization.

Yesss! Count ME In!!!! I am SO there! And hey! My robots can gain a little weight too!

3/9/99 (part 2)

I finished the pages for the FIRST robot competition and the Underground Robot Street Fight! Check 'em out!


Marc Thorpe's response I was expecting was posted on the Robot Wars Forum this morning. Here it is as posted:

From:   marc (MARCTHORPE)
Posted:   3/9/99 11:17 AM

For personal reasons I have chosen to avoid participation in the RW forum. Profile has asked me make an exception at this time and to post a message clarifying my relationship to the business and to say that I want people to participate in the event Robot Wars is planning for SF this summer. I informed Gary Pini of Profile Holdings which now owns Robot Wars that when people ask me what the situation is I tell them that I am no longer an owner but that I stand to benefit from the success of the business as a royalty participant in all revenue generated by the Robot Wars property. And, regarding participation in RW 99 I tell people that I want them to do what they genuinely want to do and that I will respect their decisions regardless of what they are. I do have an obligation as part of the settlement to promote the business and I intend to do so when interviewed by the press or if I appear in public. Having created the sport and having seen the wonderful community that has grown around it, I will always have good things to say about it. For clarification insofar as RW 99 is concerned Profile is financing and producing the event and I will not be participating in the production. Circumstances permitting, I will be there. In the meantime I wish Profile the best of luck and success with it.

Is it just me, or does this read like Marc had someone pointing a gun at his head while at the keyboard?

I don't know exactly what is going on here, but keep in mind that whatever Marc says publicly about the circumstances has a direct relation to the settlement by the courts, so make sure to do your homework!


Gary Pini (associate of Steve Plotnicki) has posted a follow-up reply on the Robot Wars Forum, you can read it here.

Reaction to the announcement of the Robot Wars settlement on the Forum has been quite mixed, to say the least. Here is a recent reply of note from Carlo Bertocinni:

From:   Carlo (CARLOBERTO)
Posted:   3/8/99 8:53 AM

I asked Marc Thorpe about the press release and he said that he will have nothing to do with the production of the Robot Wars show.

The Robot Wars company is suing me for about 30 million dollars. I have had no indication that they are going to drop this lawsuit.

You might want to sign up for one of those pre-paid legal services if you are thinking about performing at this event.

I, too must urge anyone who is even considering attending this event to do some reasearch on this subject before committing to anything. Much of what you need to know can be found elsewhere on this website, so take some time to look at the old letters and past updates. This is going to become a sore subject in the coming months for a lot of you so make sure you know the facts before you get too excited about getting back in the ring.

I heard from Steve Plotnicki today regarding this whole thing and although his intentions now seem positive, I am remaining cautious for the time being. Lets see what he has in mind to make things right.

If you've been tuned into the Forum lately, you've probably noticed that there has been a flood of flamers, putdowns, and other crap going on in there. I urge anyone who uses the Forum for its intended purpose of enlightenment and current news, to avoid responding to these stupid flames. We all know that these individuals are incapable of making a robot themselves so have to vent their frustrations against those who are more creative and talented than they- there is no reason to continue announcing this to everyone on the Forum. These children (if indeed they are several different individuals) will eventually go away when we ignore them completely, so PLEASE stop encouraging them to continue this foolishness.

I got some parts in for Nightmare today. Got one heck of a big linear actuator, its bigger and stronger than I had expected! It can lift nearly 500lbs and has a travel of 12 inches! I've also started to decide that it will be more practical for me to build Nightmare as a rolling robot instead of my original plan of a walker. It will simply be more cost effective that way.


A new month. The February updates have been archeved below. And what a way to start a new month....

It's finally over. The courts have announced approval of the agreement between Marc Thorpe and Profile Records regarding the Robot Wars Trademark. The letter is copied in its entirety for your convenience below:

NEW YORK, NY 10003

For immediate release: New York, NY March 5, 1999

Robot Wars Back On Track

Steven Plotnicki, President of Profile Holdings, Inc. (fka as Profile Records) and Marc Thorpe are happy to announce that the United States Bankruptcy Court in Santa Rosa, California, has approved the terms of a settlement that provides for the acquisition of Marc Thorpeïs interest in the Robot Wars Joint Venture. The business will be known as Robot Wars LLC. Thorpe will continue to have a financial interest in Robot Wars through ongoing royalty payments.

Robot Wars was first staged in the summer of 1994 at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It was an immediate artistic as well as critical success. The event was widely reported in the worldwide media and from 1994 through 1997 the live event grew as the number of contestants went from 17 to 70 and attendance increased from 1,000 to over 5,000 people.

In the spring of 1997, the British Broadcasting Company commissioned a television program based on Robot Wars and in November of 1997, Mentorn, Barracough, Carey produced six episodes which were broadcast on the BBC2 in the spring of 1998. The show was met with so much enthusiasm that the BBC ordered eighteen new episodes that began airing in the fall of 1998. Robot Wars is currently a weekly series watched by over 6,000,000 people in the United Kingdom.

Robot Wars is the highest rated childrenïs television program in the UK, with over 2,000,000 children viewing each week. Building on the series success, the show is beginning to spawn licenses around the Robot Wars brand. A book about Robot Wars was just published in the United Kingdom by Boxtree. A home video about Robot Wars is in production and will be released in the UK by Polygram . In addition, a live competition for United Kingdom competitors is in the works for later this year.

³Now that the litigation is behind us, we can finally get the property back on track in the U.S.,² says Plotnicki. Over 7,500 people in the United Kingdom have joined the Robot Wars Club and more than 400 people built robots for last years series. ³Considering that the U.S. television market is more than four times the size of the UKïs, the potential here is enormous,² adds Plotnicki.

³Plans are in motion for a live Robot Wars event to be held in San Francisco this summer. I know that the U.S. robot makers have been anxious for the event to be held. Now they will once again have their chance to compete during the summer of 1999,² says Thorpe. The success of the UK program has created some interest among U.S. broadcasters. ³Discussions are underway to broadcast this summerïs event,² says Plotnicki. In addition, a weekly television program is being planned.

Marc Thorpe will also be connected to the property as its roving ambassador. Robot Wars' Gary Pini says, ³Weïre hoping that we can bring Marcïs original vision into every household in the world. The evolution of the quality of robot building has been phenomenal. We believe we are on the road to finding enough star-quality robots to make Robot Wars a premier television program and live entertainment property throughout the world.²

The Robot Wars website (, will soon be updated to provide more information for contestants as well as fans. For press/media information, please contact Tracey Miller at 201-531-0484. For other inquiries, contact Gary Pini at 212-529-2600.

I have no comments on this at this time, I will wait to see Marc's reply. It shouldn't be much longer....