2015 Week Zero Lessons Learned

-The field is small - cluttered.
-The view from the driver stations become very limited quickly (especially if 3130 is on your alliance)
-Coopertition is key.
-Drivers will have to make those robots dance! Hope you get enough time to practice (or have a robot ballerina that can pirouette)!

*Plus many of the robots at CenturionKrawler (2472&2052) were the size of horses - ours included.

After practicing a while and making stacks, we realized quickly that it is very hard to see if you start making stacks in front of your driver station.
The field seems very small using just 1/2 of it.

Too bad we didnt get transparent totes!

One thing we noticed, where we made adjustments to our devices that grab the totes…Some of the totes have tabs on the sides that are smashed in. We got them like that when shipped to us.
It makes a difference if teams are inserting “tabs” to grab/lift bins.
We are now accounting for it not knowing what kind of totes will be on the playing field at various events.

The Corvallis (Oregon) High School Week 0 event went quite well for us!

Here are a couple things I noticed:

  • The field does get quite messy
  • There are some teams that specialize in one thing (e.g. just getting RC’s)
  • Getting totes from the feeder station is a lot easier than getting them from the Landfill (for our team)
  • We were able to make 2 stacks of 3 totes (with an RC and litter) within the Teleop time
  • Throwing the litter is pointless. It just gets on your side of the field and none of the robots we able to move it into the landfill
  • Looking at the point above, I hope nobody will try to throw the litter and waste it (when they could go into RC’s)
  • For feeder station bots (like ours), it’s hard to line up perfectly with the angle that the driver station is to the feeder

That’s all I can think of for now. I think we learned a lot about strategies (e.g. working with specialized alliance partners to save steps) as well. Very informative!

Can you elaborate on this? Do you have any pictures of what you’re talking about?

From MN’s Event today - I agree with some of your points, but have differing opinions on others.

  1. Yes - the field will be a mess.
  2. We had exactly ‘0’ RC grapplers work (although 3130 had the apparatus - just didn’t get to see it work). So if you are seeing success in your area, that means there is hope!
  3. In our Week Zero a few had success with HP Loading zone - most were field pick-up without a lot of success.
  4. Cycling (3-4 totes stacked) is difficult with most teams.
  5. throwing litter can be effective if you practice. We had a lot of litter at the end of the day in each match.
  6. Lining up with the HP Station is EXTREMELY difficult just using the perspective from the driver stations.

About 80% of the teams were Ri3d clones - many were Greenhorns. We did see a number with the Team Indiana forks.

Nice to see things working in the Pacific Northwest! Good Luck to your team this season!

It sounds like he’s talking about the misshapen tote flanges being discussed at the Warped Yellow Totes thread.

One more thought about Week Zero Events from the Suffield Shakedown:

With the new control system, we weren’t able to use even FMS Lite.

A decision was made to do 5:00 minute matches, we scrapped the schedule, and basically did a filler line approach. Some Robots were on the field every 15 minutes.
While a longer match time doesn’t prepare a drive team for the time constraints of an actual competition, this gave teams a substantial amount of practice throughout the day and every match had a full complement of 6 teams. Batteries were exhausted and mechanisms well tested in a match environment.

There was unanimous praise from the mentors and students for this approach.

This game is incredibly boring to watch… but I think most of us suspected that. Hopefully I’m proven wrong in the coming weeks.

Possible strategy for week one events: get your human player to grab all 10 noodles at the beginning of the match and either a) clutch them and curl into the fetal position or b) jump into the can holding the noodles (potential G16) just to make sure no overzealous partner starts chucking them 5 feet in front of your HP station and damaging your calm.

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Proven Wrong

I saw that right before I posted, actually. Yes that was a very cool design and I can’t wait to see it live in action.

So the top 25 will be fun to watch, as usual. But I prefer games in which the whole season was entertaining, and also very easy to explain to our non-FIRST spectators.

Things I hated most about Lunacy was the over-emphasized human players, the incredibly complex scoring to explain, and the themed game concept. This game has all of that going for it PLUS no defense/interaction, and no wins/losses. Not even close to being like a sport.

Again, hope I’m proven wrong admittedly I have before). But if the matches I see in two weeks are like the ones I watched today, I will be falling asleep.

The game is just not for me. I prefer the edge-of-your-seat intensity of some previous games. Others may not enjoy that as much. We’ll see.

I generally agree with everything you said. I joined FRC in 2013 and my first FIRST experiance was in 2012. I have been incredibly lucky in the sense that the last 3 games have been amongst the best 3 games IMO. I more or less posted that because I was simply that blown away by 148.

While I’m awake at 2:30 AM I don’t see why I can’t also recap my experience at the Centurion-KnightKrawler week 0 event:
-The field is way smaller than I anticipated (not actually but the totes and massive robots do a pretty good job of cluttering what little area we started with)

  • I misread the game in a sense that I assumed most teams would design their robots to play nice with the chute door, yes, chute door. At the event I attended it seemed as though the opposite was true. Most teams were built for the landfill and seemed to have difficulty with what I thought was the easier way to acquire totes.
  • The difference between active mechanisms and passive mechanisms for acquiring totes is night and day. Active mechanisms just worked so much more efficiently
  • Robots seemed to be a lot more “together” than they were at the same time last year. I don’t know if that’s a result of an easier challenge or some other factor that I don’t currently have the mental capacity to think about.
  • Big robots (they are almost all big) need to be careful in their maneuvers. Driver practice is always important, but I think it’s integral to the success of a team this year, more so than usual.

Other points that have already been covered: Coopertition is massive, liter is unexpectedly valuable (at least unexpected for me) etc.

This is like a sport, if you consider skiing, golf, or figure skating. In these sports, you cumulative performances increase or decrease your rankings.

There is also vying for a playoff position as a season or competition winds down based upon your remaining match performances. This happens in Hockey, Basketball, Baseball, Football (American & everyone else), the Olympics, and…need I go on?

Admittedly, this is not what we are used to in FIRST, but it adds a meta-game to our strategy and scouting sessions that will hurt our brains, but make them stronger.

Aerial Assist had similar responses last year in Week Zero.

You may want to try caffeine or dancing to forestall your soporific inclinations. :slight_smile:

After watching the scrimmage yesterday this has the potential to be the worst game in my 13 years of FIRST. Then I saw 148’s robot and gave my opinion a temporary restraining order from judgement.

You guys as well!

I think many early season matches will be “won” by alliances doing stacks of 1 or 2 totes while their opponents work on tall stacks they cannot cap with a rc bin efficiently. A stack of 6 high looks really impressive, but is worth the same amount of points as just pushing 6 totes an any platform.

  • Not much time to do a lot so cooperation will likely be key for max points.
  • Better to have a robot designed not to have to be perfectly precise with tote or bin grabbing
  • Watch that you don’t knock down stacks and waste time, be efficient.
  • You can fairly easily load a bin with a noodle from a human station.
  • A four stack with bin and noodle can be done in under 1 minute.
  • Noodle throwing is at best hard to score.

This sums up my feelings exactly.

By a select few teams.

I didn’t get to go to a week 0 event this year, so I have a question for people who did. What would you say the MCC* is this year? and, what do you think it will take to get in the top 8?

*MCC = minimum competitive concept, or the simplest design that could make eliminations at almost every regional.