In a world where most games offer loot in a six-sided box of some sort, Apex Legends sticks with devious “Loot tick” bots. Little Spider-legged Pyramids are nervous men who flip through the screen before exploding in booty, and for good reason. Who likes to have their faces plump so some jerk can get a new stat tracker or pistol skin? YouTuber Graham Watson (AKA The3DPrintSpaceHe built a real loot sign and captured his creepy crawlies in his latest video, which you can watch above.
The video above is mostly a time shot of eight months of designing, building, and programming the swag sign, which is 2.5 feet or so high, based on its location on his kitchen counter. Watson works as a software engineer and has a degree in mechanical engineering, but says this was his first suitable robotics project.
The robot itself has everything you could wish for. There are independently mobile spider legs that allow them to walk slowly, kick or bend. Then there’s of course the pyramid head, which has three LEDs on each side to mimic the animation of opening a loot chest. The loot tag even has the ability to get rid of “Fear” just like the in-game version before you unlock it.
Speaking to PC Gamer, Watson explained how he’s been working on resurrecting the “extremely difficult” loot bot.
“I wanted this thing to be as real to the game as physically possible, but obviously the in-game loot bot was never designed to be something that exists in real life. It’s only designed to look as cool as possible, not actually motors or hardware, joints, electronics, Gravity, physics, etc.”
Watson noted that the slender legs resembling a stolen spider actually had nowhere to hide the servomotor that would be necessary to move and make articulated movements. He did about 10 leg repetitions before finding a design that supported enough weight. Then, it took a few months to figure out how to program a robot using a Raspberry Pi as its brain.
“The main focus at this point was keeping it as light as possible while still being strong enough not to break under very little force. I probably engineered too much even though I didn’t do any kind of FEA,” Watson said, noting Finite element analysis, a fancy engineering term for testing individual parts before creating a complete prototype. “Or even any basic stress analysis, but he just survived a lot of swipes that I wasn’t expecting.”
Watson says the software he designed for the loot tag ended up being more advanced than it needed to be, allowing the height to be changed and moved in different directions. However, once everything was put in place, the weight of the robot strained the servo motors to the edge of their power.
The end result is a very accurate robot that has a mean streak against its smaller likes. It’s mostly just forward wiggling and the ability to twist its hierarchical head, but it’s definitely close enough to an in-game bot that I’d like to unlock it myself. Watson plans to make a V2 loot sign, ideally using £150 servo motors instead of the £14 he used, which should allow his original vision to be visible and not threaten to wobble.
It’s not the only neat thing Apex’s Watson has made on his channel. Previous projects include a Wing pistol with working reloading mechanic Which ejects the cylinder and the top and bottom of the gun. Then there’s a powerful phone charger that’s designed to look like it is Octane Jumping Platform. He has a smaller version of Loot the tick that acts as an LEDصباح.