The rise of the robots
Robot began to be truly viable in the early 21st century. Unmanned aerial vehicles were used to perfect control and sensor functions first. Viable humanoid-style chassis eventually perfected balance and actuator control. These were still not ‘true’ robots in the sense that they had to be guided by a human operator, but over time their need for direct guidance was reduced and heuristic software gave robots the ability to learn tasks and behavior patterns semi-autonomously.
The capability of semi-autonomous robots came to prominence in the development of the Atlas3 Emergency Response Unit from Boston Dynamics. In 2019 Atlas3s performed such impressive service fighting wildfires and administering disaster relief in Southern California that they saw worldwide adoption. Within a few years other manufacturers were creating robots for agricultural, commercial and domestic use. Worryingly, the major nation-states also began to develop dedicated war-bots to replace their existing armies with legions of tireless and utterly obedient soldiers.
As robots became more and more mainstream robot-fighting contests gained popularity as an unsanctioned, sometimes illegal, sport. Amateur understanding of how to build and reconfigure existing designs of robot flourished in hundreds of thousands of backyards and workshops across the globe. The sport itself was called ‘Ironkill’.
After the fall of the God hammer nations and corporations ceased to exist. The skills of the surviving The Robots of Ironkill fighters came to the fore. The unstoppable metal warriors became guardians and protectors against the predations of raiders and cannibals. As communities re-established contact with one another disputes were settled by battle of champions between their Ironkill robots. As civilization returned Ironkill fighting leagues became increasingly formalized to avoid wasteful conflicts.
In the post-apocalypse world after the fall of the God hammer three factions emerged with very distinctive makes of robot.
Robots from the Americas derive are heavily influenced by their predecessors built by the likes of Boston Dynamics and Lockheed Martin. Their roots in aerospace design mean they tend to be well-balanced, fairly agile designs capable of quick movements, leaping and even short flights in some cases. The Americas often produce the most human-looking robot designs with notably square-looking jaws, leading them to be generically nicknamed ‘Oscars’. Robots from the Americas tend to have large built-in weapons – sometimes including ranged ones like guns or rockets – more often than those made by other factions.
African Union robots are known for being strong and durable, making them formidable opponents in a long bout. Their limb and torso designs tend toward being more curved and organic-looking than those of the Americas or Greater Asia with sloping shoulders a characteristic feature. Intricate etching and engraving is commonly used to decorate African Union components, giving them a more textured look than the sleeker American and Asian types. African robots generally favor heavy melee attacks as their primary fighting style and have thick armor to survive long bouts.
Greater Asia robots are the lightest and fastest models, excelling in short bouts where the number of strikes landed is important. Their heuristic software is also some of the most advanced and ‘learns’ at a higher rate than those of the Americas and the African Union. Stylistically Greater Asia robots are recognizable by their sharp edges and angles, with an emphasis on compact, ergonomic design. In combat Greater Asian robots tend to use their speed to their best advantage.