CED Tactical Analysis of the Orbot

The orbot's primary weapon system is a volley of 5 purple lazers. It also boasts a secondary microwave cannon burst.

The Lazer System
The lazers move about half the speed of your own lazers and each causes 2HP of damage. The orbot can only shoot strait forward from its current orientation. So, rather than dodging the lazers when you see them, instead just keep a close eye on the orbot's orientation and stay out of it's direct line of sight (LOS).

As many CED pilots have noted, the extremely small size of the orbot makes it difficult to see exactly which way it is pointing, especially at a distance and in dark environments. Our cognitive techs suggest you memorize the light arrangement on the orbot and use them to quickly cue in to it's general orientation. Specifically, the orbot has a yellow eye and small blue eye on its front, along with a blue thruster light on its back.

Although the orbot can only shoot strait ahead, it will go ahead and start shooting once you are within about 15 degrees of its direct LOS. Thinking the lazer was actually aimed directly at them, some amateur CED pilots make the mistake of dodging into the lazer. Since the orbot aims on to you via an XY-plane rotation, its first shots will be aimed just to the left or right of your ship. So, if you are ambushed by an orbot and have to dodge its incoming lazers, always strafe up or down to dodge at first. Up/down strafing is generally prefered as a way to dodge any incomming lasers since typically your ship is only half as tall as it is wide. Thus if the lazer was aimed at you, strafing up/down will get you out of the lazers path twice as fast as strafing right/left.

In order to pack more punch into the tiny orbot, its designers decided to power its lazers with a charging capacitor. The orbot can only start firing a lazer volley once its capacitor is fully charged, which takes three to four seconds. It will not start charging its capacitor again until it has fired all 5 lazers. In other words, if it fires 2 lazers at you but then stops because you move out of range, it still has a charge of 3 lazers left in it. If you come into range of it again, it will fire off its last 3 lazers and then be defenseless while it charges its capacitor again.

Taking advantage of this is what seperates the CED's insane forces from other elite forces. During a dogfight with an orbot, focus all you concentration in dodging while the orbot is releasing its lazer volley. Only once the volley finishes and the orbot is charging should you attack. During its charging phase you needn't dodge at all, instead you will usually want to remain perfectly still to make aiming easier.

The Microwave Burst
When you are in the orbot's direct LOS it will often fire a single microwave cannon shot at you. The microwave burst causes only 1HP of damage but it blurs your vision for two or three seconds. These bursts are fairly rare and the damage is so minimal as to be almost negligible.

In simulations it has been shown that the real damage of the microwave burst is psychological. If your dodging ability is based on dodging lasers once you see them, then the blurring effect will cause you to take lots of damage from other enemy fire. This is all the more reason not to rely on reacting to lasers when you see them to dodge them, rather use a strafing pattern which consistently outmaneuvers the orbot's aiming system.

The blurring effect also disrupts your concentration. With experience however you will be able to cope with this. Just realize that no real damage was done to your ship, and keep doing your strafing pattern blindly while the effect wears off.

Our specialists have determined that the orbot functions in three primary fighting modes: flanking, defensive, and retreating.

Flanking Mode
During a fight, if the orbot is within 2 ship lengths (SL) of you, it will move in past you to try to get on your flank. Because of its small size, it can get on your flank quite quickly and it can be hard to get it back into your field of view (FOV). We suggest you avoid getting too close to the orbot since its flanking maneuver usually gives it a tactical advantage. One way to counter the maneuver is to keep your back to a wall and leave no space for it to flank to. Thus cramped areas such as narrow tunnels are an excellent environment to fight the orbot in.

Defensive Mode
When the orbot is further than 2SL from you, it will tend to keep backing away from you if you approach it. Our veteran CED fighters have learned to use this to their advantage by herding the orbot into a corner where it has little room to maneuver. Just select an edge or corner in the architecture around you and then make you goal to "push" the orbot into there.

Remember that getting the orbot against any surface gives you an advantage. If it is against a wall, it will only be able to strafe up, down, left, and right. If it is wedged in a horizonal edge, it can only dodge left and right. And if you can manage to herd the orbot into a corner, it won't be able to dodge at all. Just be careful not to get too close to the orbot or you will trigger its flanking mode and it will escape from your trap.

Retreating Mode
The closer to death the orbot is, the more likely it is it will retreat. Also, the more damage you do to it per second, the more likely it will retreat. If it does retreat, you can easily pursue for the kill since it doesn't maneuver at all and its lazer weapon is pointed away from you. Thus, a sure way to win a fight with an orbot is to send a powerful burst attack at the beginning in hopes of triggereing its retreating mode.

The VAL System
Like most bots you are likely to encounter, the orbot is fitted with velocity and accelleration leading tec (VAL). Each shot's aim is adjusted according to your ship's current velocity and acceleration. So, the only way to dodge is changing your vector after every lazer is released.

Most of our pilots find this counterintuitive at first. Our cognitive techs have determined that when an amateur pilot dodges a laser by moving a certain direction, vu keeps moving that direction hoping that further lasers will miss as well. This reasoning may work when our CED pilots go up against other organic pilots, but it completely backfires against robots equiped with the VAL system.

Every shot the orbot makes is perfectly led. This means that during the orbot's volley, if you stay on the same vector for more than half a second, you will take damage. Also, in the facilities we send our insane forces into, the speed of the orbot's lazers are usually fast enough to make dodging on a lazer-by-lazer basis physically impossible for a human mind.

Thus, the only effective means of dodging is a preset strafing pattern. Often, instead of performing complex maneuvers, you can simply slide your ship against a curved surface during the orbot's volley. Since the surface constantly changes your ship's vector for you, you will be safe.

Some of our elite pilots prefer out flanking as a way to avoid damage from the orbot. Be warned pilot, although out flanking may seem more honoranble because it requires more skill than a strafing pattern, it does not work effectively when you go up against more than one robot, especially when there are different types of robots in the mix with different movement characteristics.

Obstacle Detection
One very important weakness in the VAL system is that current versions are not equiped with obstacle detection. Thus if there is a wall between you and the orbot, it will continue firing at you anyway. However, since it cannot see you, it will aim based on the sounds your ship makes. It will immediately detect the sound of the collection of powerups, weapon changes, firing, and anytime your ship touches a wall.

Fortunately our strategic staff have developed some ways to take advantage of this weakness. An invaluable tactic is the "depleat-then-attack" maneuver. If you know an orbot is behind a wall, fire your weapons once into the air. The orbot will respond by firing off its entire 5 laser volley at you but nothing will hit you because of the wall. Right after it finishes and starts its 3 second-charging phase, come into view and attack while it is defenseless. Then retreat behind the wall again when it begins another laser volley.

Another tactic is the "sound decoy". If you know an orbot is lying in ambush, make some noise to get it to turn to face one direction. Then fly around and enter the room from the other direction to flank it. Even a slight 90 degree flank is enough of an edge to give you a good advantage.

John LeFlohic
February 12, 2000