Man’s best friend has become an engineer’s best friend after a UK company built a fully working version of the robot dog in ReCore.
Mack, as the canine is known, plays a key role in the new Xbox game, helping heroine Joule Adams solve puzzles and fight enemies on a ravaged world in the early 2200s.
Robo Challenge, a family-run creative company based in Birmingham, was asked to build an exact replica of Mack that can also move.
“Mack is a really interesting character, he’s critical to the game. We looked at how we could make him and then custom-made all the parts. It was a really good challenge,” said managing director James Cooper, who runs Robo Challenge with his father and brother.
Mack took a team of five people around a month to build, as the company had to overcome issues with the size of the robot and making it as realistic as possible.
“Originally, we thought Mack was only going to be a foot tall. Then, when we got some scale drawings, we realised he was about four feet tall. But he had to be identical to Mack in the game, otherwise it would ruin the illusion.
“Internally he’s made from steel. We made sure we got the right sort of motors to get him to move at a certain speed, and we built custom gearboxes that go down to each joint. Once that was all meshed together and we had him moving, we started designing the bodywork. It took six 3D printers around 1,000 hours to produce the bodywork, which then had to be sanded, polished and assembled. Lastly, we added all the LEDs, and had lenses specially 3D printed for his eyes. Then there were two days of airbrushing and getting all the details on Mack right.”
Mack has since become a minor celebrity, attracting fans from the world of tech, gaming and 3D printing. He now sits in the entrance to Robo Challenge’s workshop, where the team also designed and built the house robots on BBC’s Robot Wars – Sir Killalot, Matilda, Shunt and Dead Metal.
James, 31, and his brother Grant, 28, are also keen Xbox gamers, and thought ReCore was “very good”. It is the first title to be released under Xbox’s Play Anywhere initiative, which allows people to buy the game on either Xbox or Windows 10 and play it on both platforms. Game progress, downloadable content – including add-ons, Season Passes, consumables and in-game unlocks, Gamerscore and achievements – are all saved on Xbox Live, so you can pick up where you left off on another Xbox One or Windows 10 PC.
Mike Rapson, Xbox Games Category Manager, said: “Recore is a game about companionship. When the team started looking at ways to try to bring the story of Recore to life, we decided to really focus in on that theme. Nothing epitomises companionship better than man’s best friend, and it just so happens that in Recore, your K9 friend is a robot. Robo Challenge has been an incredible partner in this endeavour. The Mack they created exceeded our expectations.”.
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