I don’t know who was asking for the Loot Tick robot from Apex Legends to get a real-life counterpart, but congratulations!
YouTuber The3DPrintSpace, who has done a few things on YouTube with Apex before like building the game’s jump pad into a wireless charger, has created a monstrosity and/or cute pet to make Boston Dynamics proud. It’s a recreation of the loot tick from Respawn’s battle royale, one that’s capable of moving and kicking over smaller loot ticks.
The amount of challenge involved in this is pretty enormous. There’s the length of the loot bot’s legs, which pose a challenge for the bot’s stability when moving. That’s a software challenge too, because algorithms had to be tuned over weeks so the bot knew how to rebalance itself.
That was eventually scrapped after plenty of trial and error, replaced with a system where only two legs would ever move at the same time. “With that you end up with equal and opposite forces that cancel each other out; you don’t need to worry about any balancing,” Graham Watson, the creator behind the channel, said.
Watson told PC Gamer that he wanted to replicate the loot tick as closely as possible, but the tricky part was that Respawn never actually designed the loot tick to be something that exists in reality. That’s the fun part of video games — you don’t have to adhere to the laws of meatspace if you don’t want to. “The main focus at this point was to keep it as light as possible while being just about strong enough to not break under a bit of force,” he said.
With the complexity of movement out of the way, the rest of the build was sorting out the aesthetics. The final loot bot has pulsating lights on all sides, it rises and flexes, and the head mounted unit can do some freaky little turns of its own. The whole unit has a tendency to wobble — it honestly looks like it’s just barely staying up, but that’s a massive achievement considering the thickness of the legs and how much support those tiny joints have to carry the extra weight of the motors and lights.
Even kicking over the baby loot crate — which lights up too — was a challenge of its own. Part of the problem with the original build was the balancing issues around moving just one leg. That was solved by having two opposite legs move at any given time, but to boot the baby bot over, the whole unit has to shift up and backwards slightly so it doesn’t knock itself over.
Watson told PC Gamer that he will make a second version of the bot with more expensive servo motors, and in a comment posted on the YouTube video he implied he might look at making the loot tick’s triangles eject (just like they do in Apex Legends). With all the experience and time spent on those algorithms, I imagine it’ll be one hell of a creation to make Respawn truly proud.
Thanks, PC Gamer!