Universe

How to make a good robot concept?

Author - War Robots

Imagine: you're a War Robots designer. You have a new robot idea and you can't wait to share it.

We receive lots of cool robot suggestions — some are good and some are great. But what separates a good idea from a great one? We have worked out a clear and intuitive template for sharing our robot ideas with others.

So, what makes a great WR robot concept? Here's our quick cheat sheet!

Visual references

How will your robot look?

Very often the fastest way to get the idea across is to illustrate it with a picture. A sketch of your dream robot will convey the message and catch other's attention. If drawing is not your strongest feat, then any reference from the web will do. But don't forget to explain how you imagine working that in the game!

General concept

How will your robot fight?

A robot is basically a set of durability/speed characteristics, weapon slots and of course special abilities. But to find the right combination of those you have to answer some very specific questions first:

  • What will be its role on the battlefield? Is it a walking fortress that can survive tons of damage, a glass cannon that trades off armor for firepower, or something entirely different?
  • How is your robot different from the others? What is so new about it? Why people will choose your robot among others? It can be about some very special ability, an unusual weapon slot composition or something entirely else. Be creative!

Ability

What's your robot's special trick?

Coming up with an ability is tricky. You need to explain:

  • How do you activate and control the ability
  • What it does to your robot
  • What it does to enemies (or allies)

For every ability effect there are always lots of "what if" questions — nobody escapes that. Here's an example: Hellburner's ability makes an explosion after a short delay, damaging enemies within a long radius, while also chipping some damage from Hellburner itself. Now, what if Hellburner doesn't have enough durability to survive its own blast – can it still use the ability? If it does, will it survive? If it gets destroyed before the explosion goes off – will Hellburner explode twice?

And so on! There are always lots of corner cases to consider.

Counterplay

How should others fight against your robot?

For the game to remain balanced there should be a way to outplay any robot — that's why you also have to consider your robot's weak points when designing it. It may be low durability, allowing enemies to burst the robot down whenever its pilot lowers their guard. Or long ability cooldown, which requires planning for it wa-a-ay in advance. Or slow movement speed, which would make your robot a non-optimal choice when it comes to territory control.

***

Most likely, the bulk of the balancing work (like exact damage/durability/speed numbers — which, some might say, is the biggest part of the work) would be done by your colleagues from the game design department. But this can't happen before establishing these 4 pillars. And if you have a solid idea, that shouldn't be too hard!

A great core idea serves as a foundation for everything else and sets everything in motion. Answering these 4 questions should help you find your own amazing robot idea.

  1. How will your robot look?
  2. How will your robot fight?
  3. What's your robot's special trick?
  4. How should others fight against your robot?

Try it on your own — we hope you'll have lots of fun!

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