sequential daze

Friday, March 13, 2009

5.07-5.08... Robo-mat!

So now we make our way back to Magellan Island and the Academy... woo! Note also that the clock has been turned back three days from the events of the first six pages. Overall though we are now six months further along from the end of the Bad Karma storyline... all the cadets have been knuckling down with their studies - no doubt there have been dramas and problems along the way, some of those will be picked up on as the current story progresses.

I wanted to kick off with a robo-mat sequence. It's a pre-used environment which first featured in Chapter 4 so hopefully most readers will be familiar with it and its function. It's the principle tactical training ground for not just the cadets but graduates as well. I see it as a great way for groups to work on their team dynamics going up against facsimiles of various villains in difficult situations.

In terms of writing and drawing them, the robots themselves are fun to work with. The idea is that they are essentially blank templates that can be programed to fulfill any particular role and their parameters are locked for single exercises. They also work from a central computer rather than having their own individual core programing, they cannot function outside the Robo-mat - that security feature is intended to stop them from running amok, escaping and becoming robot villains. The robots outer casing is designed to - in most instances- replicate the qualities of a human body so punching one is like punching a person (don't let their shiny metallic appearance fool you!). While most of the robots are human-standard in terms of strength and vulnerabilities, some of the robot units are designed to mimic the strength and powers of other villains and heroes.

Explosions and ammunition in the robo-mat are all simulated. The central robo-mat computer will calculate the effect of various impacts and blows so as to referee the session - it will declare if a cadet or robot participant is 'killed', 'injured' (and to what degree) or rendered 'unconscious' - the cadet then becomes a non-participant in the exercise. For example, we see Bill being declared unconscious for one minute - something which the robo-mat calculated would have been the likely result of a real encounter between him and a bazooka rocket blast - any other cadet probably would have been 'killed' or at least severely 'injured'. It's still possible for cadets to be injured during a robo-mat exercise of course, should they fall or get in the way of their own team mates actions than anything is possible but obviously all effort is made to ensure safety.

I should also mention that this is a good way for some cadets to learn how to minimise their powers - plenty of 'human-standard' robots have had their heads blasted, ripped or otherwise knocked off by cadets - something they would need to avoid doing in real life situations.

Once this sequence finishes in a couple more weeks we'll be catching with more more cadets...



  • Hi! I just wanted to say I love your comic, and really enjoy reading it every Tuesday/Thursday. I love superhero stories, especially ones that focus on team dynamics and let us see behind the spandex.

    I don't usually comment, but the blog looked surprisingly lonely for such an awesome comic. =)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:25 am  

  • Thanks! Great to hear you dig Magellan. Yes, my readers seem to be the silent type for the most part so it's awesome to get your comment.

    By Blogger xmung, at 7:04 am  

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