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View Poll Results: If you built and used a practice bot, how many competitions did you win?
0 11 35.48%
1 12 38.71%
2 5 16.13%
3 1 3.23%
4+ 2 6.45%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 05-02-2012, 05:35 PM
Dietrich Dietrich is offline
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Success of practice bots

I realize there is already a poll about using a practice bot if you won. I'm just curious about how much of a total difference it made. If you did end up making a practice bot, what was your success rate?
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Unread 05-02-2012, 05:59 PM
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Re: Success of practice bots

One thing that really helped 1540 with our practice robot was the fact that we only used one turret, and just brought it to the competition. I know lots of other teams did this too, and it really helped to limit variability between the practice bot and the competition bot.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 06:18 PM
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Re: Success of practice bots

Our team used a practice bot before regionals and worlds. Without it, I doubt we would have won at all. Balancing required a lot more practice than you might think.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 06:30 PM
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Re: Success of practice bots

I think a better question is how much did it help/did you build a practice bot and NOT win a regional.

My old team started building a practice robot in 2009. That year it allowed us a very iterative design process all season. Between our regional and the championship we made some modifications to our shooter, added traction control, and a few other modifications. We were quarter finalists at our regional and won the chairmans award. While we didn't win we learned a lot and were able to fine tune our robot over the month of time we had. In 2010 we went into a larger iterative process that started as full prototype robots and ending with one that we could theoretically ship and compete with, then making a clone we would ship if finished on time. This worked great, over our two regionals and championship we made many changes to our kicker and ball collection in between events and a lot of driver training was accomplished. That season we won our first event (GSR), were finalists at our second regional (NCR), and were quarter finalists on our division (Archimedes).

If a team intends to build a practice robot, you need to be extremely focused an organized. Some times you can start making a duplicate set of parts, and other times things need to be changed so communication is extremely important. There are rewards to gain from a practice robot, but it doesn't mean you will win your event. There are many robots each season that win regionals and even the championship and they don't build a practice robot!
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Unread 05-02-2012, 06:35 PM
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Re: Success of practice bots

My team, 1023, did not make a practice bot but we practiced a ton with our main bot during build season. We won both of our district events. Like they always say, practice makes perfect.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 07:30 PM
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Re: Success of practice bots

We built a practice bot this year, and we won a regional for the first time in a decade. But personally, I don't think there's a strong correlation. Because of the structure of our shop hours, we don't iterate our designs post-build very well at all. We make almost no changes, except in software. And we did a LOT of software development leading up to each event, but due to bugs we never implemented it successfully on the competition bot.

So for us, it was basically a software development vehicle. We had a difficult time getting time and space to actually practice, so we did very little of that. There were plenty of times at competition where I looked a match we just played and though that if I had practiced a lot more, I wouldn't have made so many mistakes and could have driven more fluidly. There's probably more we could do to actually practice with the practice bot after build, but the energy level is low, the shop hours are basically non-existant, and with no available practice space, practice doesn't really happen.

Now, if we had a field that was always accessible, I think we would make much more use of it. But of course, it's always easy to talk about how much we could do if only we had x.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 07:40 PM
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Re: Success of practice bots

I think the concept that comes with practice bots is more important than the bot itself; the concept of which I speak is of course, practice.

The driver gains experience through playing in matches, and as closely as you can simulate that situation, the better. Ideally, 6 teams would get together during week 6 and play the game for hours, giving the drivers practice. That's completely different from having a practice bot and doing obstacle courses with it.

So in summary, I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's all about how you use that practice bot. Or rather, how your driver uses that practice bot.
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