The Series 2 Robot Wars Set was the second incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena. Designed by Steve Clark, who was also the set designer for the Series 1 arena, the set was located once again in a warehouse in the Docklands, London.
The Series 2 set featured several changes to the main arena relating to its Gauntlet, Trial and battle configurations, while keeping various features from the original Series 1 arena. The large Robot Wars logo entry doors, neon signage and balcony configuration all remained in place.
The arena consisted of a rectangular base with a plywood floor, surrounded by a small metal wall with railings; access was provided by a pair of sliding doors forming part of a large Robot Wars logo. As with the previous series, the backwall was furnished with neon signage and salvaged scrap metal sculptures, including two large metal cones made to resemble metallic trees on the balcony. In contrast to Series 1, the lighting for Series 2 was drastically altered, adopting a rapidly alternating sequence of yellow, green, blue, purple and pink ambient lights, rather than the constant red, blue, purple and grey lighting used in the former. Another significant change from the previous series was that for most rounds, roboteers were required to competed from inside the cherry pickers only, located on either side of the balcony and now fitted with rooves.
In the arena's Gauntlet and Pinball configurations, the area immediately in front of the entry doors usually featured a large mesh pen, which replaced the previous' series turntable in the former and acted as a start zone for competitors in both stages. This area also provided the start zone for various other Trials (e.g. Joust), and would be closed off for all Arena stage battles.
The second incarnation of the arena featured many hazards, most of which were also used in the Gauntlet with multiple variations between Heats and Semi-Finals.
- Main article: The Gauntlet#Series 2
In its Gauntlet configuration, the Series 2 arena featured a litany of obstacles and hazards between each of the three available routes. These included the ramrig, the Flame Pit, static and moving ramps, one or more Pits, walls of barrels, bricks or breezeblocks, and - in later Heats and the Semi-Finals - The Sentinel.
The usage of arena hazards in Trial events varied depending on the nature of the events themselves. For example, the Flame Pit was shown to be active in the Skittles Trial in Heat A, while the Tug of War was based around competitors attempting to avoid being dragged into an open Pit by Dead Metal or Matilda. Several Pits, the Flame Pit and the Pendulum were also used in Pinball.
In its Arena configuration, the arena featured several new hazards to replace ones that had been retired from Series 1. Retired hazards included the Corner Patrol Zones (CPZs), below floor-level grilles and the side bars lining the arena walls.
- The first major new hazard was the Perimeter Patrol Zone, or PPZ, which directly replaced the CPZs. The PPZ was an area marked with black and yellow stripes (black and red in Heats A to F) which ran around the circumference of the arena, where the House Robots were free to attack any competitor which drove into it. The PPZ was capable of housing all five House Robots at any one time, as well as The Sentinel in the Grand Final and Grudge Matches special. Many Series 2 arena battles tended to end with one robot straying into a PPZ and being attacked by the House Robots until they became immobilised. However, robots such as Roadblock and Inquisitor did manage to escape on occasions.
- The second major introduction was the Flame Pit, which was positioned inside the PPZ. It consisted of a large grille which spouted flames from beneath the floor, with the intention of burning or setting robots on fire if they drove or stopped over it. In this series, the introduction of Sir Killalot saw the Flame Pit play a far greater role, with Sir Killalot usually carrying robots over the flames with his jaws or spiked lance. The Flame Pit was crucial in setting fire to flammable armour and fluids, as well as causing damage to a robot's internals if they were carried, driven or pushed onto it. It also proved one of the more visually spectacular hazards in the earlier series of Robot Wars, and was especially hazardous to the considerably less advanced competitors from this series.
- The third and most famous addition was the Pit of Oblivion. The Pit was a one-metre cubed hole filled with old tyres and pyrotechnic effects, which would be used to eliminate competitors immediately if they drove or were pushed in by another robot. The Pit was large enough to fit most competitor robots and even the House Robots in, the latter especially during the Gauntlet and Trial stages. When a competitor robot fell into the Pit, a plume of smoke would fire, signalling the robot's defeat. The Pit would be retained for all subsequent series, and became one of the arena's most famous hazards.
Additionally, a few other hazards were retained and modified:
- The Pendulum was remodeled into a spiked cube and hung from outside the Perimeter Patrol Zone, again primarily serving as an atmospheric object rather than a genuine hazard.
- The spiked pyramids now lined the back corners of the PPZ instead of being evenly distributed around the arena.
- The floor spikes were retained, with a similar function to their Series 1 form. They were located in various places around the arena in both its Gauntlet and battle configurations, and upgraded to fire faster than before. The spikes proved reasonably effective in lifting and jostling competitors off the floor when they drove over them, as well as damaging their wheels, tracks and/or drive chains on occasions.
- A few grates remained present, each with lights positioned beneath it, although unlike the Series 1 grilles, they did not serve any purpose in immobilising robots which drove over them. In the Arena Semi-Final stages of Heats A to F, one grate was used to cover up the Pit, which would be re-enabled for the Heat Final stage of those respective Heats.
- A row of circular saws also featured in the top-right corner, which actually formed part of the ramrig in the Gauntlet.
The arena perimeter remained virtually unchanged from Series 1, with the balcony and entrance largely intact, and the façade wall retaining the neon signage, metal sculptures and tree-like metal cones from before.
The most notable change came with the cherry pickers, which had rooves fitted on top in order to offer overhead protection for the roboteers. Competitors were now required to control their robots from the cherry pickers only; the exception being the Football Trial, which required all five qualifying robots to compete at the same time. During this event, the roboteers would be distributed between the cherry pickers and the balcony, as in Series 1.
Craig Charles would present and interview roboteers from the balcony, with competitors transferring from the cherry pickers onto the balcony for interviews. Charles would also introduce the Trial stages from inside the arena, with Philippa Forrester also retaining her previous role in introducing the Gauntlet stage in the same way.
As in Series 1, the audience stands were raised above the arena, but were now enclosed to offer protection from flying debris.
Changes from the Previous Series
- Cherry pickers now had rooves, and were the only places where competitors could control their robots for most rounds.
- The ambient lighting used was changed from red, blue, purple and grey, to alternating blue, yellow, pink, purple and green.
- The Perimeter Patrol Zone replaced the Corner Patrol Zones.
- The Pit of Oblivion replaced the below-floor level grilles.
- The Flame Pit was introduced.
- The swinging pendulum was redesigned.
- The spiked pyramids were relocated to various places within the PPZ.
- The arena spikes were upgraded to fire faster.
- The side bars were retired.
- The Gauntlet set became more adaptable, with the setup changing in between Heats and Semi-Finals.
- The turntable used for The Gauntlet was replaced with a mesh pen, which was also used for Pinball.
- The audience stands were redesigned and enclosed.