2019 Deep Space - Feeder Bot

This year, achieving the Rocket RP will require a team to perform very short cycle times and reach high delivery precision and reliabililty.

Do you think that some teams will position themselves as possible “Feeder Bot” teams, working to effictively and efficiently feed an alliance buddy that wants to load up a Rocket Ship to achieve a Rocket RP for that Alliance?

I think there is a serious challenge to be met by a team that wants to be able to pick-up the closest required game piece, either on the ground or from a Loading Station, and meet the Rocket Ship bot so as to cut its cycle time as much as possible.


i think that would be slower than going and grabbing from the feeder or the HAB

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This has only even been viable when there is a larger distance between the loading stations and when accuracy determined if the game element was scored. 2016 it was run very rarely with mediocre success. One problem is that it creates downtime on robots because of congestion and with this year having such short cycles it would just slow both robots down.

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The 1 or 2 seconds it could potentially save if executed perfectly are not worth it compared to playing defense on your opponents and increasing their cycle time by >5 seconds


I agree that any but the slowest scoring robots would likely be more effective than feeders in this game, as there is no need for cross-court runs in scoring cycles, and the limitations on the other side of the field mostly preclude cross-court feeding/game piece starvation.

I suggested doing something like this, but nobody wanted to do it because it was not cool enough.

But 1 or 2 seconds per cycle over 10 cycles may be what a team needs to complete loading a Rocket Ship for the RP. This game is going to be about speed and precision and if a Feeder Bot can demonstrate speed and ability to cut those precious seconds out of the loading cycle, they may become quite an attractive member in some alliances.

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Having done the math, an alliance needs 7-second cycle times to fill an entire rocket

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If that robot spends the entire game scoring only 2-3 game pieces on the low level instead it would save way more than the 1-2 seconds per cycle, just my 2 cents

How did you arrive at this answer? 12 game pieces to fill a rocket means about 12 seconds per game piece for a 150-second match, maybe less if you’re climbing.

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Sorry. The 7 second number was from our discussions on what we call “efficient”. You are right about the 10 seconds.

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How does this style of robot make sense for the playoffs? My thought is that it wouldn’t provide enough value as a feeder bot to justify selecting it over an effective scoring robot with a 1st pick… which means it would be a 2nd pick. All my 2nd picks will prioritize defense. There’s no way a feeder bot can provide more value than a defender in the playoffs.

I haven’t played with an actual field yet, but I’d be willing to bet that a Human Player could use that nice slope on the Cargo feed chute to get some forward momentum going. The way those things bounce it might be at your Rocket within a couple seconds.

My thinking exactly.

For hatch covers, the only real way to do a “handoff” would be to put the hatch cover down then have the scoring robot pick it up. From what I’ve seen so far, even the best robots barely save any time lining up and using their floor hatch cover pickup over going back to the HP station and getting a new one. And chances are, the type of robot that will need that extra help to fill a rocket will either have a less-than-perfect floor pickup or none at all.

Overall, you’re much more valuable to your alliance as a defender or scoring in the cargo ship than ferrying game pieces across the ~1/4 field from the HP station to the rocket.

Feeding hatches probably won’t make sense, for reasons already outlined here.

Feeding cargo to be stowed on upper rocket levels might be a good strategy, if the 'bot being fed can score them without needing to re-position itself, and has a fast elevator. Likely such a robot will be able to load itself faster than your robot can feed it, so at most it will be worthwhile to feed them cargo twice per rocket. That is, feed them your cargo after they’ve stowed their own, thereby saving alignment time.

In any case, I don’t expect that feeder-bot capability is going to get your team moved up on pick lists.

I’ve experimented with loading cargo on the practice field. The cargo isn’t perfectly balanced. Depending on how you drop the cargo it could roll to the outside wall, to the front of the cargo ship, close to the loading station or even all the way to the other side of the field past the opposite rocket.

I don’t think that there’s too many bots/drivers that can catch a bouncing cargo.

But with practice from a human player and driver, it is possible to have the cargo be in an area where it will lower cargo cycle times. While it would be something to watch there is something called defense allowed and I don’t really think we’ll see much of it this year.

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There will be a very surprising amount of defense being played on you by later weeks. Maybe not so much in week 1 or 2, but by week 3 and over defense will most likely be very heavy, and it will reduce cycle times. However this idea of sending another cargo ball out as your robot is putting the other one in is pretty risky but it is worth the risk in my opinion. There’s a chance of it rolling towards your rocket, and there’s also a chance that it won’t roll towards your robot. However there is still going to be a lot of defense so this might be a useful strategy to employ against heavy defense, due to defenders not being able to go into your hab zones

I expect defense to start being played on day 2 of week 1 events by non-chassis bots, as teams evaluate their day 1 performance and decide whether it’s better to start to show off some defense ability or try to get better on offense.

Plus some higher ranking teams will run the numbers for their next match and realize they can’t win in a no-defense matchup and will ask their lowest scoring alliance member go play some defense.

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Very true, that is a very possible outcome. At regionals, this might be happening the end of day 1. But at districts it will probably start after lunch of week one events.

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