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sevisehda
03-07-2003, 10:44 AM
What is everyones impressions about how the game actually played out compared to how they thought it would.

As my screen is filled with as many webcasts as I can find I'm surprised by a few things but others i thought would happen.

1) In the majority of rounds at least 1 team fails to enetr autonomous because of the humans being to slow. This will surely decrease as time goes on but I'd think people would know to go fast.

2) So many boxes left on the ramp at the end. Teams have to start knocking them down. This WILL NOT be happening in the finals.

3) I haven't seen so many bots tip over since...I've never seen so many bots tip. I thought that tipping would be a rare occurance except for ramp-dom fighting.

4) I'm not surprised by the lack of stacking but its still early. It seams that instead of stacking most stackers end of tipping. The bots who stack inside the bot or steal stacks appear to be the only ones that contribute to the match.

5) Scoring is very low, the highest I've seen as of yet is 120. The lowest 0 and the average total is about 60. Also the close rounds seem to be in the 40s while the teams who score about 90 normally slaugter there opponent.

6) The score board, it took me 5 minutes to realize why the team numbers lit up. But I still haven't figured out the numbers next to them.

geo
03-07-2003, 03:39 PM
Do you have any pictures or videos from the competition?

geo
03-07-2003, 04:21 PM
never mind, here is the sit that has the pictures http://robots.larc.nasa.gov/vcu_2003/gallery/html/index.html

Adam Y.
03-07-2003, 04:25 PM
I haven't seen so many bots tip over since...I've never seen so many bots tip. I thought that tipping would be a rare occurance except for ramp-dom fighting.
Nah I knew tipping was going to be very very common considering that you need a tippy robot just to stack boxes.

Rob Colatutto
03-07-2003, 04:27 PM
its deffinately different than what was expected by us. so few of the stackers ever touch boxes. a few more robots auto mode works than we were expecting, but most don't look very effective yet. the highest stacks at the OH regional were 2 stacks of 3, made by robots, and one stack of 4 made by human players, no other stacks were left standing

sevisehda
03-07-2003, 05:34 PM
I'd really like to here from people who were there and on the field, that view is always the best. Chances are they won't be on in mass until Sunday though.

It appears that except for knocking down the boxes noone does what they designed there bot to do. The stackers just push the crates around. I haven't seen a ramp-dom hold the ramp but I haven't seen any of the true ramp-doms in action yet notable the technokats, clarkson, and swampthing. I have noted a few teams trying to hold the ramp but they just get thrown out of the way.

I didn't see any teams trying to throw bins or drop them over the ramp. The most common thing was to plow them over the ramp or shove them into the dead-zone.

It seemed that the winner was the team who had the most of the robots on the ramp, and the decding factor was commonly the numbers of crates in there zone. The exception was when teams protected there human player stacks.

Bruce C.
03-07-2003, 06:41 PM
Here are my observations from watching the VCU webcast, and a little of the Buckeye webcast:

Less than half of robots successfully use autonomous mode.

Line followers almost never work.

Dead reckoning nav with gyro assist seems most successful auto mode.

Strong 4 wheel drive robots have advantage, especially on the wire ramp.

Tall, high CG robots with stacking mechanisms get flipped a lot.

I saw only only one real attempt at stacking bins. It was not successful.
seems like all teams have determines that stacking bins is a waste of time
and effort.

Many robots are inactive on the field at all times. Some never leave the
starting box. Others die and then revive. Other than the obvious cases
where there were drive motors and batteries lying on the
field during the match, I'd guess there are a lot of breakers being tripped
from teams trying to get too much speed through tall gearing, and that batteries are
dying before the end of a match.

Not may robots seem to be going under the limbo bars, even the ones that are
low enough, and the way is open. This is puzzling. It would generally be
better to get to the other side of the field under the bar than over the
ramp. Much less power/energy required.

Robots with pnuematic tires bounced around a lot and lost traction
if their tires were full. Need to soften the tires for less bounce and more
traction.

I think a lot of teams that shipped their 'bots with line following auto code will be now scrambling to figure out the yaw rate sensor!

Bruce C.

Swampdude
03-07-2003, 07:33 PM
I'm curious how the different suction cup gizmos were working. I saw a bot at the Buckeye that had these long yellow paddle arms, couldn't see the team #. But the bottom of them were lined with 6 cups each (12 total). They plopped them on the hdpe, but another bot pushed them right off, and they looked to be of average traction 2wd bot. Are those things working or what?? Looks as I expected, the hdpe is marred and sullied enough to prevent a seal??

Hailfire
03-07-2003, 07:36 PM
So I guess that suction cups are practically useless in a pushing battle huh?

Swampdude
03-07-2003, 07:44 PM
Dunno, that was the only bot I could make out from my 4" visual of the web-cast. Being that it had 12 of them sticking out all over the place, heh! But I'm sure more teams were using them. I just wonder if it was just them and the way they were applying them, or if this was a general problem??

Hailfire
03-07-2003, 07:46 PM
Well, I'm on one of the rookie teams and therefore we have no experience so I'm just trying to get an idea of what regionals may be like.

P.S. We're going to be at the Great Lakes Regional

Sachiel7
03-07-2003, 08:32 PM
We're here at VCU, and we've noticed few sucessful autonomous modes. The only thing that seems to work best is dead reckoning. Our team created an auto mode w/ dead reckoning, and we only used timing, and we seem to have it going fairly good.
Alot of human player stacks have ended up being the final stacks, and thus, not knocked over. Also, stackers seem to have a big disadvantage to pushbots, because the pushbots move bins so well that stackers can't work w/ the bins, or just don't work well. We weren't happy when we found out we couldn't use our stacker, but we quickly shifted our strategy to be a pushbot, and we're finding out that it was a wise move...

f22flyboy
03-07-2003, 09:06 PM
Stacking is useless.

The ability to move stacks may be useful but so far has been unsuccessful

The first stack attack is all-important

The best bots have a happy medium between strong and fast. 4wd is very helpful on the ramp, but not necessary.

Suction cups are impractical and not worth the effort.

Your bot must be able to take hits!

Traction on the HDPE isn't really all that much of a problem.

Limboing is useful but not necessary. The biggest use is against a team with a strong autonomous. You can knock them off reversing under the bar and giving them a good hit.

From a driver's perspective, the hardest thing is SEEING YOUR BOT. I advise all low teams to put some sort of flag on your bot so you have some idea where you are. One time, our other driver thought he was heading towards a stack off to the side in the blue scoring zone. We both lost sight of the bot, and the next thing we knew it was plowing through stacks at the top of the hill.

Some situations and experiences of team 540 at the VCU regionals:
We had six matches today. Yesterday, we got a partial inspection from an inspector from another team, and everything was checked off except for sharp edges, a couple uninsulated leads, size, weight, and components list. Today another inspector came 20 mins. before our first match and told us all of our wires needed to be rerouted and tied off. The rationale was that it might get caught in a mechanism, which I strongly disagree with. Some of our data cables got cross wired, and without enough time to check it, we didn' find out until the start of the first match. We were immobile, and just sat there flapping our wings all match trying to fly. The moral is to either get a full inspection at one time, or make sure you get the same inspector. Lost 89-53 (gg team 339)

The second match, our drivetrain was very sluggish (although we're still not quite sure why) and we spent most of the time trying to clear our our opponents scoring zone, while our ally was completely non-functional. We lost 62-8 (ouch!)

I left to get lunch before 3rd match because I wasn't driving and the robot wasn't broken. Before I left I gave our mentor very clear instructions that the battery needed to be replaced. It never happened and the level was too low. We ran for autonomous (into the wall), and then died. Our ally was only slightly more functional. Lost 77-3 (double ouch!!)

We finally got everything working before the 4th match (and I vowed never to leave again). Bot worked great, and we spent most of the match cleaning blue carpet (we were red). Our ally scored points and made it to the top of the hill after a brief fight. Won 73-41

Grudge match. This was exactly the same lineup as our first match (random computer my butt!) Same strategy as previous match. Knocked down a couple stacks of bins on the hill, then attacked blue's bins. Team 388 had about 25 bins scattered across their scoring zone including 2 stacks. We basically set up a grid pattern to sweep boxes out of their zone. When we were done there were 3 left. We then pushed one box from the blue scoring zone over the hill into our scoring zone, which is the only time I have seen a box move from one zone to another. Went to the top of the hill and sat and watched as 339 and 388 battled over the top for the last 45 seconds. The reason we didn't help was that I was yelling at 339's drivers to let 388 have the hill- we needed some QP's. Eventually they gave up trying to prove who had the most powerful bot, and 388 took the hill. Won 49-28

Last match- battle of the pushers. All 4 bots were low-slung, fast and powerful. Resembled battlebots. We shoved 1 bot off the top and took their place, and we were trying to push the other enemy off when our ally comes rocketing up the ramp, knocking the blue bot off, and taking its place at the buzzer. Possibly the most exciting match of the day. (at least that I saw) Won 70-32

We are currently ranked 17th, and hopefully that will improve tommorrow. If not, please, please, please, please, please, please, please pick us if you are in the top 8. We have a powerful and versatile bot that is working great. We probably would be doing better if not for 2 very dumb mistakes.

Richard Wallace
03-07-2003, 10:08 PM
My team is at the St Louis regional. I'm an engineer/mentor who helps mostly with drivetrain and electrical things, so I had some extra time after we shipped the robot. I volunteered to help the FIRST crew at the regional.

I spent Thursday inspecting robots, and today doing sundry odd-jobs around the pits and playing field. I got a very good close-up view of many robots and many matches.

Some apparent trends:

(1) Stacking appears to be a waste of time because almost any robot can knock down a stack, and a robot that is powerful enough to defend a stack can usually get more points by finishing on top of the hill. Every stack that actually survived to count in scoring at St Louis today was made by a human player. The highest multiplier achieved today was six, and that only happened in one match.

(2) Powerful robots tend to win by forcing the wall to fall their way and then staying on the hill while forcing opponents off. Typical QP totals were about 100 for the winning alliance, and there were several high-scoring close matches where the winners got more than 200 QP. The highest QP total I recall was 250.

(3) Because of the ramp, this game is very hard on robots that are not built to take hard shoving and impacts. Many robots sustained major damage. Some left parts on the field. Several were disabled or knocked over. One emitted smoke during two of its matches.

(4) Lowriding robots can help win matches if they are driven well. I saw at least two matches in which opposing KOH robots shared the hill, while the lowrider on one side rounded up bins in its own scoring zone and also cleared bins away from the opponents' zone.

GregT
03-07-2003, 10:20 PM
I would argue that you just haven't seen any good stacking bots yet...

Saying that "stacking is a waste of time" may or may not be an accurate statement. "stacking is a waste of my team's time" would've been a better phrase :)

You may be right, but until my team gives it a go I will remain positive.

Seriously though, I was watching the VCU webcast and I didn't even see anyone attempt to make a stack. Why I don't know- probably because it's a waste of time.

The question as I see it is:
Is stacking a waste of time, or have we not seen a team with enough practice and a good enough bot to do so successfully?

MikeDubreuil
03-07-2003, 10:40 PM
Everyone is bashing the suction cup bots. We have not been moved after deploying the cups. If you do it correctly it works.
Our team pushes down our cups, starts a vacuum pump on them, and after 2 seconds pull them back up. You aren't moving us, period.

Erin Rapacki
03-07-2003, 10:51 PM
Way to brag dubes... way to brag

Check out the picture, 190 couldn't push us off so they resulted to climbing on top (our robot definately SUCKS!)

ByE

erin

Yan Wang
03-07-2003, 11:57 PM
I think the value of stacking still has not been determined. Watching VCU, there just weren't enough ATTEMPTS at stacking for people to decide on its effectiveness. Many teams just didn't try even though their robot was built for it! I think that rather than stacking being a problem, it was an error on the robot's part.

Ball grabbers last year who were truly effective such as 121 (heh, nice to drive with you guys at nationals) were rare but their potential in a game and consistency was unrivaled. They won matches and they won them big. I expect big, experienced teams this year to be able to dominate whatever strategy they happen to have chosen. Whether it's KoH or stacking, each provide great ways of winning or getting points but require a robot that can do it. Being the first qualifying day of the first regional, it is expected that many team have not completely finished and perfected their robot. Going to two or more regionals will definitely affect robot performance in the stacking area. I believe by the end of the month around the time of the Canadian regional, stackers will be dominant in getting points.

That's just my thoughts on this at midnight.

Jeff_Rice
03-08-2003, 12:10 AM
Dubreuil:

Our team pushes down our cups, starts a vacuum pump on them, and after 2 seconds pull them back up. You aren't moving us, period.

I am fairly sure this is in violation of rule m12.

Only the allowed air cylinders and permitted suction cups may be used to generate vacuum.

You might want to fix it before you go on, just so that you stay within the rules.

Back on topic:

What are the average top of the ramp times? No boasts, only facts please.

MikeDubreuil
03-08-2003, 02:59 AM
Jeff_Rice-

An air cylinder generates the vacuum.

Team Update 10:
PAGE 19, RULE M12
Discussion:
In order to facilitate the use of off-the-shelf suction cups, especially those with built-in
fittings, connections or supply tubing, additional fittings such as reducers and connectors will
be permitted to connect the suction cup to the tubing supplied in the 2003 Kit of Parts.


Our suction cups have built in fittings. No one said that we could not connect a vacuum to the built in fitting on our prefab suction cups. Still think its in violation?

sevisehda
03-08-2003, 09:58 AM
So its half an hour into the second day and I'm seeing the same things as before. I'm bot sure what match it is at BuckEye but MadCow tipped over and a team forgot to plug in there bot (no matter how good you are most veteran teams will not select a team that does that). It seems a general consensus that stacker is a wate of time, maybe that desrves it own thread....

Anyway someone mentioned damage, and this round I can clearly see the end of someones arm hanging by it wires. Are there any midday inspections of these highly damaged bots? 1) to check for safetly and 2) make sure the teams don't add weight in repairs?

Are there any true rampdoms competing this weekend such as technokats, clarkson, or swampthing? I ask because I've been keeping count of traffic over the ramp and not counting the initial bash there are on average 5 movements over the ramp pre match and this would make a rampdom have a tremendous effect on the game.

Are the crates getting broken to the extent everyone thought they would? Its probobly the low quality of the webcast but i haven't seen any shatter yet.

I almost forgot has anyone kept track of a pattern between hitting the wall first and winning?

Good Luck to all the CD addicts who will check the posts today even when there at competions.

f22flyboy
03-08-2003, 06:01 PM
It's not that robot's can't stack, its just that its a waste of time to take half the match to build a 8 high stack when a lowrider can take it down in 15 seconds. There is just too much else to do.

Madison
03-08-2003, 06:04 PM
Originally posted by f22flyboy
It's not that robot's can't stack, its just that its a waste of time to take half the match to build a 8 high stack when a lowrider can take it down in 15 seconds. There is just too much else to do.

What else is there to do, exactly?

Move bins, stack, defend stacks, defend bins, and sit atop the ramp. . . .

It seems to me that the webcast regionals were nothing more than, for the most part, robots running around doing absolutely nothing at all. There wasn't strategy or teamwork, it seemed. Just chaos.

Tyler 178
03-08-2003, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by sevisehda

Are the crates getting broken to the extent everyone thought they would? Its probobly the low quality of the webcast but i haven't seen any shatter yet.


http://www.soap108.com/2003/movies/oh/

in the video: oh_qf3m1
when 830 tips towards the end of the match, you can see a pretty broken box. (Thank team SOAP and NASA for recorded webcasts)
(the best way to get the video is right click on it, then pick "save target as" and save it somewhere than open it).

Originally posted by Swampdude
I'm curious how the different suction cup gizmos were working. I saw a bot at the Buckeye that had these long yellow paddle arms, couldn't see the team #. But the bottom of them were lined with 6 cups each (12 total). They plopped them on the hdpe, but another bot pushed them right off, and they looked to be of average traction 2wd bot. Are those things working or what?? Looks as I expected, the hdpe is marred and sullied enough to prevent a seal??

That bot was #85 BOB (Bots with Brains), and I couldn't really tell either, but it didn't really look like it stuck.

Jeff_Rice
03-08-2003, 06:23 PM
I stand corrected. I thought you meant you were using a separate off the shelf pump to generate vacuum in your suction cups.

Good luck!

Anybody got those ramp times?

Hailfire
03-08-2003, 07:01 PM
Originally posted by f22flyboy
Your bot must be able to take hits!

Well, that's no problem for us. Our robot accidentally fell off the table during testing and it didn't even leave a scratch. Not even a dent in the steel.

etoleb
03-08-2003, 07:51 PM
After watching pieces of the VCU regional, I was very suprised to see virtually no stacking attempts, with the exception of bots picking bins up and holding them (were there mechanical problems or something?). Am I totally missing something? Maybe the "stacking is useless" rumor has been convincing teams to not even try? Perhaps drivers don't have enough practice and their stacking mechanism needs fine tuning? Does it just take too much time for some teams? Could it be that its so confusing in the alliance station that drivers are distracted?

Even stacks of 2 could sway the results of some matches I've seen (and I know we can reliably make them in less than 10 seconds, even with poorly-oriented bins and harrasement). Stacks of 3 would be even more important. Teams could even increase their multiplier stack while the opponents are elsewhere.

Maybe I'm simply in denial.

Greg

Alex Salomonsky
03-08-2003, 08:06 PM
Our team had a stacking device during pratice, but our driver had a hard time getting our hooks under the boxes, plus we had a ton of power in our drive system which made us do wheelies, and the lifting device made us fall on our back. Immediately after practice rounds ended, we took off the device and put a wedge on, which is very effective if your bot is powerful like our. Our bot actually lifted the arena off the ground during a practice round when our auto. went to wrong way

Melissa H.
03-08-2003, 08:26 PM
Originally posted by Hailfire
Well, that's no problem for us. Our robot accidentally fell off the table during testing and it didn't even leave a scratch. Not even a dent in the steel.

Ha. I remember that. One minute it's on the table the next, I was screaming :D...not a single scratch or dent....amazing.

Jeff Waegelin
03-08-2003, 08:39 PM
Heh.... I drove our bot off a table last year. No problems.

Clanat
03-08-2003, 09:11 PM
We also drove our robot off of the top of our ramp this year. It was a lot of fun :)

David.Cook
03-08-2003, 09:14 PM
Originally posted by etoleb
After watching pieces of the VCU regional, I was very suprised to see virtually no stacking attempts, with the exception of bots picking bins up and holding them (were there mechanical problems or something?). Am I totally missing something? Maybe the "stacking is useless" rumor has been convincing teams to not even try? Perhaps drivers don't have enough practice and their stacking mechanism needs fine tuning? Does it just take too much time for some teams? Could it be that its so confusing in the alliance station that drivers are distracted?


OK, I'll give you my thoughts. I thought stacking would be more useful. But I was at VCU, and my belief now is that it isn't.

Reasons:
1) Bots are way too fast, and it doesn't take much to knock down a stack.
2) Yes, stacking takes tooooooooo looooooooonnnnngggg! Several attempts were made at VCU - all of them failed.
3) It is easier and more statistically likely that you can defend a stack if you have a good sturdy pusher in your alliance. This was demonstrated in several matches at VCU.

Some anecdotes:
There were two teams with GREAT multi-stacker bots, Robodogs and team 122. Both have excellent designs, but in the end were unable to set the stacks down successfully. Robodogs almost got theirs down, and I think it would have won the match, but the bottom bin was crooked and the stack was still touching the bot when time expired. 122 never placed their 4-stack without it tipping over - either due to external bot bumping or their own wobbling - I really don't know which.
Team 388 (congrats on the Chairman's award!!) was able to pick up and manuever a single box, and was in a match where I think they could have won if they had gotten it stacked, but fast little bots running around and bumping them foiled the attempt.

I am sure somewhere there exists a bot that will successfully stack to win - I actually hope for it. But it will be the statistical outlier, not the bell curve.

sevisehda
03-08-2003, 10:14 PM
The thing I noticed was that the crates didn't seem to be the way I expected them. The boxes seemed to be in every orientation in closely packed groups. To complicate things further these groups would move at the slightest bump. I saw many bots trying to get a box out of the mass just to get a hold of it.

I surprised we haven't seen any stack kidnapping yet. I thought some of the stack-huggers would grab a human player stack, shove for a minut then place it near the end.

Hopefully the teams competeing next weekend will start to rethink the ideas to solve the problems experienced today/yesterday.

Willum
03-08-2003, 10:37 PM
If you watched the ohio regional on webcast you would have seen that RIT built up a stack of 4 very quickly. And it lasted bc most teams were fighting for the ramp by then. The would eventually lose the match and be eliminated, but it stood as the only team to effectively stack intentionally.

Yan Wang
03-08-2003, 11:32 PM
The matches have been quite disappointing. A robot like ours could easily stack/orient 3 bins in about 20-30 seconds depending on the mess. With those few bins in a stack, you can easily win a match and it's not tall enough to be knocked down (well, depends on your design)... I still don't understand WHY stacking robots didn't try to stack. The lack of attempts just puzzles me.

David.Cook
03-08-2003, 11:51 PM
Let me debunk that theory...

A stack of two can be easily undone. What is happening is bots are just running into the base bin full speed from a few feet away and they go flying. Also, the side walls help cause motion when bins are rammed against them.

One example from VCU, with 15 seconds left to go, our bot was hung up on the side rail. We got loose, rammed the stack to break it, wheeled around from the corner of the field and made it onto the ramp to hear "2, 1, times up!"
(I don't mean this boastfully... we were all sweating bullets at the time. I don't believe our driver pulled it off.)

I do agree with you, that if you can stack three or four in 20-30 seconds you can swing a match. Provided there are enough bins left in the scoring area. It seems a fair number are getting knocked out of the playing area.

CORRECTION: My son reminded me that the Robodogs were able to pick up a human player stack of four and placed it on another bin to make five, then they repeated that to make a six-high stack. This was during a qualifying round.

Mullen
03-08-2003, 11:58 PM
alot of people are saying stacking is a waste of time. it is and it isnt, it all depends on your stacker. if you get a stacker that hold it internally, much like team 73, that can make the difference. if you can hold your stack until the end i see it as a big advantage, i noticed that if a stack was still up in the last 20-15 seconds it had a good chance of staying up simply because everyone was focused on getting on the ramp.
our robot does have a stacker but we left it off at the Buckeye Regional because its not as efficient as we wanted it to be and in alot of matches its just too hard to pull it off, but if you can i think its worth it

SkitzoSmurf
03-09-2003, 12:22 AM
Just got back from the BAE regional. Was great. I noticed that autonimous does make a big difference. The correct alignment of your robot could win the match. Aces High had an excellent program in which they went up, down went four stacks, and then another two with their big arm. Alot of teams just did a center plow, some were good enough to do multiple runs.
Alot of you are talking about the problems of stacking. One team that did it very effectively was 213, the dirty birds. They could steal, and then add onto it. was amazing. We have a modular robot, and our stacker part just had the hardest of times. You have to have that bin perfect, and if it gets bumped, BAMMM start all over. And a minute 45 is kinda hard to work with. BUT!!!, YES THERE IS A BUT!!!
I did notice the look of satisfaction on Dean Kamen's face when a team could successfully build a stack and defend it. Because that was what he designed the game to be about. It really pleased him to see teams take on the harder, more rewarding task, than just plowing around. I think it would be different if everyone concerned themselves with stacks, then plowing wouldnt be suckh a problem. I swear though, you think you have something, and a plow bot comes along, and it's gone. Stackers tend to tip alot too. . .

Tonay K
03-09-2003, 12:27 AM
Here are my observations (I was there):

1. Don't even try and stack, it's useless.
2. If you have put extra traction onto your stock wheels to get grip, take them off! Stock wheels grip very well and all the extra traction will do is stall your motors (this is what happened to us, please don't make the same mistake)
3. The drill motors are pieces of crap. If a team didn't have problems with the drill motors, they weren't using them (ours fell apart in our hands)
4. The easy way to tell who builds their robot and who doesn't (engineers and mentors build) is to see who can still yell and cheer after 3 p.m. on the second day.
5. If you're in a smaller regional (35 teams or less), get your batteries charging and keep them charging. Match turnaround is extremely fast. (When you step off the field, you may already be on Final Call for your next match)

Please be prepared adequately. Our bot was not in great condition when we got there and we only got it working correctly for our last two qualification matches.

David.Cook
03-09-2003, 12:34 AM
Well said, and I agree with you. I would prefer to be able to stack, and focus on building the point score rather than destroying it. Our students did not set out to create a stacker, so we are what we are.

I applaud the teams that designed the more difficult solution. Now we need a game that enables that solution to pay off as a valid strategy and have some reasonable chance of success. Please understand, I am not saying you shouldn't try to stack. I expect teams with well-designed stackers to win awards. What I am saying is that statistically speaking, stacking is an outlier. It will happen, but only rarely.

Rook
03-09-2003, 08:26 AM
Unless a stacker can stack faster than another bot can knock stacks down, then stacking will be useless. Sure some stackers will win a match here and there, but it's just too easy to knock them down. Many of the bots that won the matches were nothing more than a square box on wheels. Perhaps if the stacks had to be built on a platform that holds the bottom box in place, then stacking would be more reliable.

Many people may not agree with me, but I liked the game in 2001 better. All 4 teams on the field were cooperating. The robots could do what they were designed to do.

sevisehda
03-09-2003, 10:34 AM
Alot of teams who still support stacking argue it would swing the score by stacking a 2 or 3 stack. That doesn't make sense if you look at the stats. If you look at the match scores about half are within 25 points. Which means the ramp was the deciding factor in those matches. Solution in this situation, a purebred rampdom like the technokats. This would also stop the highway of traffic over the ramp. I counted on average 5 bots travle over the ramp throughout a match. This does not include hitting the wall or bots parking on it to finish.


Also why stack 2 or 3 when you could just defend a human player stack of 2, 3 or 4. I agree having a 4 stack is a key goal in a game. It's a waste of time to make a stack but you need a stack? Solution...Autonomous mode that lowrides under the bar and stops the bot near your 4 stack then defend it with your life for the next minut 45.

bigk2k4
03-09-2003, 10:51 AM
We actually did have a match where a stack of 3 turned the match in our favor after all the stacks were knocked down and we need to rebuild one quick. We ended up having a battle for the top of the ramp, in which we both got knocked off. So the stack of 3 was the deciding factor... Wish it would've been earlier though...

By the way I loved your robot Sparky, I thought you guys were awesome! :D

Hailfire
03-09-2003, 11:21 AM
How did all of the other stackers operate that made stacking take too long?

DirtyBird213
03-09-2003, 07:39 PM
Relying on the human stackers to give 2 stacks of 4 was an effective strategy. We team 213 were able to effectively grab a stack of 4 and add to it. We also were able to transport up to 6 bins over the ramp. This made the stealing a part as well, if our opponent knocked down our 2 stacks of 4 we would steal their stacks. We also were able to create our own stacks. Time was of the essence tho. We were able to get 4,and we would sacrifice the ramp to protect our stack, out of 10 rounds our stacks were knocked down twice (once by ourselves) and once by the other team at the last second. Bin orientation was not a factor, as we have the ability to flip bins. The highest stack we made was 6 high.

Jeff Waegelin
03-09-2003, 08:36 PM
What about higher human stacks? Did anyone build a human stack higher than 4?

DirtyBird213
03-09-2003, 08:46 PM
One team did place a stack of 6 (at the BAE), one human player placed 4, and the other player ran over with 2 and barely made it back out in time. However the other team knocked it down very quickly!
The most popular placement was 2 stacks of 2, or a standard 4.

Ryan Foley
03-09-2003, 09:18 PM
it seemed to me (at BAE) that the winner was almost always determined by which way the boxes fell on the ramp. If the boxes on the ramp fell towards the red zone, red most often won, from the matches i saw at least. Once alliance A had most of the bins fall into their zone, alliance B had their work cut out for them trying to clear out alliance A's end zone, so they didnt have enough time to try and get some points for themselves.

stacking? only stacks you could actually make consistantly were the human player stacks. Robot-made stacks were extremely rare.

Tonay K
03-09-2003, 10:54 PM
When I first got to the Sac regional and saw the bins fall at the start, I quickly came to the conclusion that whichever way the boxes fell, so too fell the match. Our robot was able to play effective defense by shoving boxes out the back or sides of an opponents zone, sometimes affecting the outcome in our favor. Don't be fooled by your first impression, these bins can be easily moved out of the scoring zone without picking them up. This seemed to be a very effective way of lowering your opponents score to the point where either you won, or you brought your average opponent score down and raised your rank.

Eric G
03-09-2003, 11:11 PM
As far as stacking goes, there were two teams at the VCU regionals that I saw successfully stack boxes.

388 stacked one on another using a salad tong approach. They could lift a box in any configuration. <Good Job Grundy!!>

435 had a 3 sided stacker with surgical tubing on a frame to grab under the lip of each stack. They appeared to only be able to pick up stacks in the up right position. They always worked on stacks whether they won or not. They created a 6 stack and won with it.

Humans created stacks of 5 and 6 frequently. Normally the stacks were created by a box or two being SLID across the floor to the other human player. Most stacks were placed just inside the gate. Boxes placed in front of robots, or in their paths, never seemed to make a difference on the VCU field. If the other fields have more of a lip at the bottom of the wire mesh, there could be potential for more obstruction.

As for teams always winning who get most of the boxes from the ramp, there were times when that is not what happened. Once it happened when I was coaching our team. I checked the scoreboard to see if we were ahead and I decided that we not to knock down our opponents' stacks. I was hoping to maximize our score, but they turned out to be ahead at the end. <Good Job 977!>

See you all at nationals!
Eric

WakeZero
03-09-2003, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by David.Cook
Well said, and I agree with you. I would prefer to be able to stack, and focus on building the point score rather than destroying it. Our students did not set out to create a stacker, so we are what we are.

I applaud the teams that designed the more difficult solution. Now we need a game that enables that solution to pay off as a valid strategy and have some reasonable chance of success. Please understand, I am not saying you shouldn't try to stack. I expect teams with well-designed stackers to win awards. What I am saying is that statistically speaking, stacking is an outlier. It will happen, but only rarely.

We will just have to wait and see. Honestly, I agree with you on the outlier part...

There will be at least one team who can stack 6 high about 75% of the time. I can't wait to see it, and I think they will seed high... so they can pick the best KotH bot :yikes: