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Unread 03-12-2007, 08:24 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

Take it easy.

If you find that you are running the robot where you don't want it to be, slow it down a bit. There's no use in gunning it at full power when you can't do what you want with it.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 08:42 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeknerd99 View Post
Our coach kept track of the field, noting where we'd been, where we are, and where we need to go.
You wrote a PID control loop for your coach? Whoa.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 08:58 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

I can offer a bit of advice:

1- If defending, present the side of your robot perpendicular to your wheels (you waste no power and they waste plenty), and when they try to get around drive forward and backward. Being able to outguess and out-play other base drivers is necessary in all the FIRST games and certainly this one.

2- At all times, dont view the controls as buttons, but as a sharpshooter would view the trigger. Rough handling only makes you spastic, and not smooth. Feather those sticks!

3- Like in motorsports, the key to driving many of these robots is maintaining the "center of balance". people that have driven cars at the limits of tire adhesion know of this, and keeping your robot's weight balanced at the proper point will get you turning faster, and that can help you juke & jive.

4- If for some reason the battery in your robot is low, the worst you can do is attack the sticks. slowly bring them to power and the robot will move.

5- STAY CALM, DON'T PANIC

More specific to this game -

1- in most fairly competitive matches, you will have approx 1.5-3 seconds to drive up and score a tube, so act quickly and decisively.

2- Someone mentioned before, tagging someone the entire match is fairly wasteful, in most, if not all cases. stay between the scoring robot and the rack, and dont give him a leverage point to spin you around and overtake you.

3- With all the activity nearby the rack, traffic-running is key. It is often faster to go around a robot then try to plow through him. Plus, many operators are so concentrated on what they are doing they dont even notice, as long as you dont start smashing into them!

I didnt want to make this post enormous, sorry, but remember to remind yourselves....this IS supposed to be fun, so have at it!
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Last edited by Duke_of_Hazard : 03-12-2007 at 09:04 PM.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 08:58 PM
Grant Cox Grant Cox is offline
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Re: Driver Tips

Apologies in advance for this long post, writing about something I love is going to take a while

The biggest, most important thing is to RELAX. My operator and I spend the 30 seconds or so right before the match (waiting for auton to start) dancing to the music behind the player station wall; I've noticed that we're the only ones out there doing it, but it's a fun way to loosen up and realize that you're just out there to have fun.

Listen to your coach, even if it goes against your own best judgment. Paul made a call or two that, at the time, were not what I would have chosen if I had been alone. However, watching the videos later, I saw that it was strategically the best thing to do (i.e. switching to scoring on the middle row randomly in the middle of a match).

There is really no time to think; 2 minutes goes by a heck of a lot faster than you may realize. If you see an opening or a strategical groove to drive, just freaking do it. There is no time at all to have a self-debate over the pros and cons of an action. This game [due to, IMO, the effectively small playing field] is based on split second, make-or-break decisions. If you spend too much time thinking about what to do, before you know it the other team is going to be on you or scoring tubes.

On a related note, I read a quote in an earlier one of these threads that I really liked. "You can always fix a robot; you can never replay a match." During the build season, I was primarily on the mechanical build team, so I had a lot of effort and sweat put into that robot. Before my first match, I was so scared to touch other robots, I figured I would be a horrible defensive player. However, in the heat of the match, I just put those thoughts out of my mind and focused on the task at hand (plus the fact that I couldn't really think about what I was doing, again with the whole time and pressure thing).

Be on good terms with your operator (or vice versa). This may seem obvious, but just trust me. Don't let personal issues with them affect you during the matches; focus only on your task at hand (drive to tube, drive to rack, place tube, drive back. rinse, repeat). Don't worry about the people in the stands, don't worry about your ex girlfriend back home, don't worry about the math test you're missing.

Have fun with it. I see some people trying to act like they're professional robot drivers out there or something, it's a much better experience if you just rock out with it. For my first regional, I spiked up my hair and got all the swag I could find for 'good luck' (buttons, necklaces, armbands, whatever lol) and had a ball with it. Dance before matches, heck dance during matches if you can get the extra thought process (I think I bobbed my head a couple times when we were doing well).

Again, above all, RELAXX. If you feel yourself getting twitchy and jumpy, just take a second and breathe. Let up on the joysticks/gamepad a little; driving it a second slower and making the tube cleanly is a heckuva lot better than driving it 2 seconds faster, dropping the tube, hitting another robot, and losing your chance altogether.


Wow.. that was really long. Uhh.. have fun driving, and good luck
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Unread 03-12-2007, 09:25 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

I'd like to thank posters on behalf of myself and new drivers everywhere. there great advice. our 1st competition's in 3 days and I'm pretty excited/anxious
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Unread 03-12-2007, 09:37 PM
Grant Cox Grant Cox is offline
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Re: Driver Tips

No problem Foxy! You guys are going to Detroit, right? Look me up, I'll be there on Friday/Saturday most likely with the spikes
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Unread 03-12-2007, 09:49 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

hopefully see you then and good luck. we can hope for a 27+217 alliance
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Unread 03-12-2007, 09:51 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

This is my first year driving to but our first comp was thursday so here are some observations from that...
-In the wonderful words of Douglas Adams DON'T PANIC!!! one of the worst things you can do is freak out.
-Also on the flip side of that, don't get over exited. If you start twitching you don't think right, so take a few deep breaths and keep your head level.(this is one of my biggest problems so don't feel bad if it happens to you.)
-pay attetion to your own robot. Your coach is there to watch the rest of the field, that's not your job.
-But most importalty enjoy it. This is one of the coolest things i've done in FIRST yet so relax and take it in. You only get to do this as a student so savor it while you can!!
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Unread 03-12-2007, 10:01 PM
meatmanek meatmanek is offline
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Re: Driver Tips

When you're testing code at the last minute waiting in the queuing lines, and you unplug your drivetrain so it won't kill anyone, don't forget to plug it back in. *Both sides*

Not that we've done anything silly like that...

Seriously, though, while you're clearing your head before the match, run through a quick check of your robot. Drivetrain plugged in? Arm plugged in? Battery plugged in, secured, and legal? Pneumatics charged?

The last thing you want to happen is to go out and realize that you forgot to plug something in.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 10:19 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

First of all know when to drive crazy and when to drive conservative. As a coach in matches where getting on the ramp will make us win I try to get back with 30-45 seconds left. With that much time don't go crazy and mess up going on the ramp. Just slow down and take your time, have your coach tell you how much time left. If there are 3 seconds left gun it up the ramp, if there are 20 seconds take your time.

In general for placing rings it is fast movement in between fine movement. When you are moving from the rack to a ring go fast, but once there you have to slow down and relax. In your first match you will probably be way to excited and try to do everything quickly, just slow down and get the rings on conservatively. By the second match you should be able to get back to regular speed.

Listen to your coach. Hopefully they have studied the rules and strategy a lot and know every obscure strategy that just might come up once or twice. Do not second guess your coach until after the match.

But the big thing is just to have fun and don't get too focused on winning. If the ref doesn't call a penalty that you saw its no big deal. If the referee messed up in your favor, go and back up the other alliance when they are arguing their case.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 10:40 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

While watching web casts and other competitions, I've seen robots with omni/crab/swerve drive, and I was wondering what it's like to drive one of those
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Unread 03-12-2007, 10:46 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by LightWaves1636 View Post
So for the people who have already competed, think you guys got any tips to give to the people who haven't competed yet?
STAY NEAR THE RACK WHEN PLAYING DEFENSE!

Especially when defending two cappers.

Minimize your movement - stay between the cappers and the rack. Don't chase them to where they pick up ringers - their partners can sneak around you.

Face your opposition - push them away. Don't let them reach over you.

Don't wait too long to get back and deploy ramps.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 10:53 PM
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Re: Driver Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by FoXy92 View Post
While watching web casts and other competitions, I've seen robots with omni/crab/swerve drive, and I was wondering what it's like to drive one of those
My rookie year on 1083 we had an omni drive. I wasn't the driver but I drove it for fun a cople of times. It drove alot like a video game, one stick controled rotation and the other controlled the four (forward, back, left, right) directions and all those in between, alot like Halo crosshair control if that makes any sense
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Unread 03-13-2007, 12:33 AM
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Re: Driver Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by FoXy92 View Post
While watching web casts and other competitions, I've seen robots with omni/crab/swerve drive, and I was wondering what it's like to drive one of those
I was the base driver for 1083 the two years that we had holonomic drive. It was really, really fun! There are so many cool moves that you can make with a holonomic robot that you can't make with a typical tank drive bot. To answer your question, driving an omni bot is like driving a hockey puck on ice, you slide everywhere. When driving an omni bot you can just forget about pushing anyone, you just have to out maneuver them.

As for driving in this year's game, I think one of the keys is staying calm. I have seen some matches (and regionals) that could have been won if the drivers would have just kept their cool and took some time to line a ringer up and cap it.
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Unread 03-13-2007, 05:33 AM
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Re: Driver Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Hoffman View Post
STAY NEAR THE RACK WHEN PLAYING DEFENSE!
On that note, STAY AWAY FROM THE RACK WHEN PLAYING OFFENSE!! Unless your arm/turret/shuttle/human hand/whatever requires you to get near it, getting near those spiders is bad news. We discovered oh so many times during practice how easy it is to get caught up in there and mess up your grabber or arm. If you have the capability to reach up and over, USE IT.
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