Robot Claw

posted in: Devlog, Nostalgia | 0

Perhaps the most important way your ChipWit interacts with the world is to pick up items. This is done using the “PICKUP” operator, which extends a robot claw and picks up whichever item is directly in front of the robot.

Picking up good items such as pie, coffee, oil cans or disks can recharge your fuel or score you points. Attempting to pick up a wall or a baddie such as a bouncer or electrocrab can result in damage, whereas picking up a bomb will end the game immediately!

The original 1984 version of ChipWits on the Mac, and the port to the Apple II and Commodore 64, each had their way of animating the robotic claw, as did the ChipWits II version from 2008. Below, we’ve captured these for posterity.

We’re also excited to reveal what the robot claw animation looks like in the new reboot of the game (scroll down to see)!

Macintosh Version (1984)

The Macintosh version had a black robotic claw that would articulate outward and then disappear as soon as it touched the item.

Macintosh version of robot arm animation

Apple II Version (1985)

The Apple II extended a multicolor robot claw, and felt somewhat organic, like a tentacle.

Apple II version of robot arm animation

Commodore 64 Version (1984)

The Commodore 64 version used a white robot claw, and was extended and then retracted.

Commodore 64 version of robot arm animation

ChipWits II Version (2008)

In the ChipWits II version, the same robotic claw was used for the “IFFEEL” operator and the “PICKUP” operator, but the claw would retract inwards when picking up an item.

New Version (2023)

We’re excited to share a preview of the animation of the “PICKUP” operator in our reboot! In the new version of the game, we tried to incorporate the best elements from the originals, and included an animation of the item itself.

Here’s a zoomed-in view:

The claw was modeled and rigged in Blender, and was then animated using Unity’s animation editor. There are several variations of the animation, depending on whether you attempt to pick up air, a wall, or an item. When the claw intersects with the item, the item is reparented to the claw and then disappears when it gets to the ChipWit’s mouth.

Robot claw animation in the Unity Animation Editor
Robot Claw animation in the Unity Animation Editor


What do you think of the new robot arm animation in the reboot of ChipWits? Which of the original classic versions were your favorite? Write your comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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