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#1




Power Cubes as a finite resource
It seems to me there will come a time during the season (maybe in elims at a wellattended regional, maybe not until the Festival of Champions) where Power Cubes will go from being an “infinite” resource to a finite one. Before this time, there will always be Cubes available either on the field or in a Portal when a robot needs one. After this time, two highpowered alliances could be left with no more cubes to place by the end of the match.
The math:
I for one am excited to see the additional layer of complexity this adds (in an already complex game). A few implications I can see:
All that being said, I expect this “no cubes remaining” scenario to occur very few times this season, if only because none of the above considers teams playing botonbot defense, which would certainly slow cycle times. Perhaps the more useful question is “How do I maximize the value of each Power Cube I play?” The obvious answer is that it’s totally dependent on the realtime conditions of each match. No single cube you play will have the same value in each match. Any cube played on a Switch or the Scale could be worth 0 points at worst and over 150 at best. Even Vault cubes, with their associated 5 points, have variable additional points based on the match conditions when you play the PowerUp. But is there a lessobvious halfanswer? Is there a way to rank the relative value of every possible action you can take with a cube, and allow that list to drive your inmatch strategy? I haven’t tried much yet, but the number of uncertainties is daunting. It seems like too much for a drive coach to remember and act upon. Yes, there will be plenty of matches where a team clearly needs one last cube to tip the Scale, but in the two minutes leading up to that last one, the choices may be far from clear. Maybe drive coaches will end up holding iPads, furiously tracking the location of Power Cubes in a simulation of the game and letting their team’s proprietary strategy algorithm determine the next move. I feel like I need PhDs in math and economics to properly analyze the game this year… 
#2




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
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#3




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
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I agree that a starvation (tactic at higher levels of play) is a possibility. 
#4




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
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#5




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
You are correct ... I missed that

#6




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
I'm worried this will create a real yawner on Einstein.
How long will it take an alliance of the best robots to score 30 cubes (+ or  6, depending on who grabs the "neutral" cubes on the floor)? I think some robots will average 5 seconds per cube. A middle tier robot will get 10 seconds per cube. Let's say an average of 7 seconds. The game puts a premium on fast scoring. If you hold back cubes, your opponent is scoring points while you delay, so you have to score fast. 70 seconds into the game, there's nothing left to do but watch the score tick up, and there's a good chance that one alliance has an insurmountable lead. I hope my analysis is incorrect. That would be a very boring game to watch. I am liking the strategic elements of this game, but I'm really questioning its spectator value. 
#7




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
Is there a poll about this already? Has Vegas released the betting lines? I'd be willing to bet the over, especially considering the driving paths required to get those last few cubes to their meaningful scoring locations (for instance, getting a cube from the portal on your opponent's side of the switch to anywhere useful).

#8




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
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Agreed; the best analysis of this game (especially before CMPs) is almost certainly going to be Monte Carlo simulation and watching videos. 
#9




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
However, the guardrails around the edges of the switch seem to prevent some spillover, whereas the scale only has a short lip on 3 sides. Wouldn't be surprised if it takes fewer cubes for the scale to start spilling.

#10




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
This is one interesting element that shows how useful the HP station above the exchange is. If and when this becomes an issue, teams can put a ton of cubes in the exchange ASAP, then put them back into the field to reclaim switch/scale if they arent needed for powerups. A simple HP robot with a good driver and convenient bumpers can push a cube from the ground into the exchange, then the HP can put the cube back into the robot so it can control it.
Interesting stuff to think about... 
#11




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
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One thing to consider when strategizing is that cubes are worth less on the switches as the match goes on. At 1020 seconds left, they're probably worth more in a vault for 5 points plus boosting or forcing or something. Elim play is going to be wildly different from quals, just because once your alliance is set, you finally have a chance to put a single person in charge of the overall match tactics. I can't see 3 teams in quals coordinating nearly as well as they will in elims. 
#12




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
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I hope I'm wrong here. Being optimistic, it may be that this will drive the need for defense. To take control of a contested element, maybe you need a simultaneous scoring push, plus a defender to slow down the opponents' efforts. I don't know. People controlling strategies for their teams are going to have to do some thinking and/or simulating to see what is the best way to go, and maybe there will be a better strategy than to grab as many cubes as you can, and score them as quickly as you can. Thinking about the cube shortage, the "return" starts to make some sense. I was really having trouble figuring it out on kickoff day. If you control two elements, you can only have three cubes ready to respond to an opponent's counterattack, but you can keep some back at the return. I hope all that strategizing works. It seems to me that if everyone just goes all out to score the cubes as quickly as possible, we'll have a lot of idle time on our hands, and the winners will be determined early. I would predict that we will see cube shortages and idle time by the late season finals, if not sooner. 
#13




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
Corollary to this: alliances with rampbots waste 3 cubes (and the time delivering them) every match earning the Levitate PowerUp compared to an alliance with 3 climbers.
If you can climb, you can put some nice, low bars on your robot, and your partners can use something like a 2013 passive hanger to come along for the ride. I expect Playoff alliances to make the modifications to do this, but you can't reasonably expect to use this strategy in Qualifications to earn the extra RP like the rampbot would. That will make Championships interesting. 
#14




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I don't think I agree with cubes being that much easier to score than gears if at all. Guess we will see. 
#15




Re: Power Cubes as a finite resource
This game is going to be fun. Better make sure you own a cube when you grab it. The flashiness of the Power Ups could distract from the big point game of switches and scales, I don't remember the last time FIRST had a single game element worth as many points (150+ per switch/scale).

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