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CYBERSPORTS FOLLOW ALONG WITH THE BATTLE OF THE NETWORK BOTS.

Byline: - Tom Hoffarth

--The book: ``BattleBots: The Official Guide''

--The author: Mark Clarkson

--The essential info: McGraw Hill/Osborne, $24.95, 229 pages

--The objective: ``Though BattleBots is an inherently technical subject, (this) is a fun book ... highly visual, with hundreds of sexy full-color photographs of your favorite BattleBots and their builders,'' writes the author.

Not sure if ``sexy'' is the right word there, but whatever shifts your gears.

--The Valley connection: The competition seen weekly on Comedy Central (Tuesdays, 10 p.m.) has local roots in co-founder Trey Roski, who grew up in North Hollywood (and is the son of Kings co-owner Ed Roski).

He got together with cousins Greg Munson and Garner Moss and became interested in something called Robot Wars in the mid-'90s.

The first full-on BattleBots competition was Aug. 14-15, 1999, at the Pyramid at Long Beach State (Roski's alma mater), and 60 robots (with their creators) showed up for it. A TV production company from New York picked it up and tried a pay-per-view event in November 1999.

That led to a deal with Comedy Central and a highly successful series that starts its fifth season next month.

``Comedy Central may put a funny spin on the show,'' says Munson in the book, ``but the bottom line is that BattleBots is a straight-up sport.''

Echoes Roski: ``BattleBots is true. There's nothing set up. There's nothing fake.''

--The rest of the book: Meet the builders. Meet the machines (more than 500 of them, and learn each of their turn-ons and turn-offs). Learn how to build your own bot. Just be careful: Don't over-volt the motor.

--More information: The official Web site (www.battlebots.com) also has tips, official rules, regulations and an online store to buy the book.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 15, 2002
Words:292
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