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    Advanced A.I.
    OK, I'm just going to come right out and say it.  This is the hardest part of the game to get the hang of.  However, since this is a strategic beat-em-up, hopefully you, the player, will have more than just 5 minutes patience...if you don't then you can satisfy yourself with using the bot wizard to generate you basic bot and then tweaking the look of the bot within the design panel, making sure to update an affected moves if you change any of the joints.

    Anyway, the AI panel is where you provide your robot with it's intelligence.  This is a script taking the form of a tree of nodes, with each node being a test, an action (such as the previously choreographed moves or a variable assignment) or a grouping node (to collect several other nodes into a handy parcel).  By combining various decisions and actions you are describing the behaviour you want from your robot.  In order to be successful, you will need a bot with a good design and a good AI so it is definitely worth putting in the effort to understand the A.I. and what it can do for you.

    Tactical Tweaking
    All of the above construction phases described for the manual bot construction can be used on a bot generated by the wizard.  This means you can change the colour scheme, weapons and AI used so you can easily end up with a bot that is completely different to the one which you started with.

    Bodacious Battles
    Within the game, once you've given your bot it's intelligence, you are ready to fight against an opponent.  This takes place from within the Test panel, where you can select the opponent, the arena in which to fight the duration of the fight, and even start locations for each bot within the arena.  While the battle simulation is in progress, you get to see what is going on (even for online challenge matches, which provides a small preview window).  You can stop the simulation at any time if you wish to sort out an obvious problem.  Once you have stopped the simulation or the fight is completed (due to time running out, or the total destruction of one of the bots) you can watch the battle in the Battle Viewer.  This is where some of the cool eye-candy can be found.  You'll get to see sparks fly when weapons clash and smoke billowing from damaged chassis, as well as being able to watch the battle from a variety of different viewpoints, all of which allow you to fly around and some even include zooming in and out.

    Tormenting Tournaments
    Part of the appeal of Roboforge is that you can enter your robots into regularly held, large online knockout tournaments.  During the beta phase some tournaments had well over 100 entries and the sense of achievement you feel from winning such tournaments is quite an addictive buzz.  Some of the tournaments will be amateur and some will be professional.  The amateur tournaments will be free to enter and will likely result in the largest entry lists.  The professional tournaments will require a nominal entry fee (probably around US$5).  The upside to the professional tournaments is that there will be some great prizes available to the winners, with the possibility that such prizes could well include a large amount of cash.  Just imagine the looks you'll get at the airport when they read your passport and your occupation says "Professional Robotic Gladiator Designer".

    Online Options
    A second part to the online functionality lies in the Challenge Rooms.  These are rooms where you can chat with your friends, whilst you generate battles between your bots. Only one competitor needs to generate the battles, preferably the one with the faster CPU as it will be faster for the simulation to complete. Once the battles are completed, all those in the room can watch it.  Challenge rooms are a great place to test your bots prior to a tournaments since you will likely come against bot designs you have never seen before.

    Final Thoughts
    Roboforge is a completely new style game.  If you are simply into robots in general or Manga you can have a blast from constructing bots that look really cool and maybe enter them into amateur tournaments.  If you are more interested in winning professional tournaments, then you'd be well advised to put a bit more thought into the A.I.  Either way, for the (expected) relatively small outlay of US$29.95, you'll certainly have loads of fun. NB: If you pre-order now you could save 50% of the expected RRP.

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