This year, it seems like alliance communication will be an important thing to get right. For one thing, how bots move in autonomous will have to take their partners’ moves into consideration. A lot of teams I’ve talked to have said they have multiple auto plans, depending on who they’re paired with. For another thing, there are multiple strategies regarding the litter, and any miscommunication could really throw a wrench in the works.
Do you think it’s necessary to have a plan or other tools in place for alliance communication? If so, what?
Our team is toying with the idea of bringing a questionnaire to get a quick summary of where our partners stand, something we can keep and re-read.
Took a while for this post to come up.
It’s true, your alliance partners are literally your opponents this year. Most will eventually (once or twice) get in your way, accidentally delay you, get you stuck near the landfill, and knock over your own stacks.
I thought that a strategy booklet would be a viable concept this year. This book could include 10 or so strategies that your team could do. This doesn’t have to just be “getting totes” or “getting bins”. It would map all viable routes that your team could take during the game, and for each strategy, it would display where they should not place totes to ensure that you remain able to continue your planned strategy and not be obstructed.
Having 6 or so auto modes is also mandatory unless you’re doing something very unique completely out of everyone’s way.
Certainly you always need a plan. As far as tools, I like the dry erase field blueprints. Depending on the game, I print one two and put them in the clear protectors on the outside of a binder. There’s some scouting information, notes, and/or diagrams inside.
In terms of what you actually need for execution though, pre-match only goes so far. I don’t see this year being that different in terms of communication, just with fewer moving parts and more theoretical control. Allies have always had the opportunity to get in the way; autonomous adaptability is always preferable. This year there’s no need to sync up scoring cycles to run multi-robot moving blocks while playing offense. But it’s still about talking to coaches in real time, and having coaches that can translate to drivers.
We have a very similar board to that image, but its just a piece of wood with some colored pencil. We have 3d printed pieces, though. It’s mostly been used for strategy planning, I didn’t even think of using it for alliance communication!
Our team is considering using 2 drive teams this year, to disperse the pain. Because of this, I have tried to make a good use of them and make sure our strategy comes out close to flawless.
Initial scouting would have all the information of all the teams on it. During any match that we have, the non-active drive team will go to our next match’s partners and ask them if the information that was initially gathered is still accurate, and then they will report back to me with any new information.
In queue I’ll use this info to formulate strategy.
This is my current plan to figure out how to utilize alliance partner’s effectiveness.
Because last year, we did minimal scouting and it ended up being inaccurate anyways. We had a hard time formulating strategies with other teams, so I do think it’s important that we need to communicate.
What do you mean by this? To me, initial scouting means that which happens before the first seeding match, when clearly “all the information of all the teams” is based on claims rather than scouting. (Unless you scouted the practice fields, but that information would be spotty at best).
Why use two drive teams? You could just as easily choose one or two members of the drive team (the second probably being the coach) to go talk to partners between matches, and have other people in the pits to worry about the robot. There is plenty of time in qualifiers to do that to great effect.
In my experience, switching drive teams is a bad decision once you’ve found a combination that fits, and in fact switching drive teams every other match guarantees you that you aren’t putting your best foot forward for 1/2 of your qualifiers appearances, which could negatively affect your score and therefore your rank. Also, you take away valuable driving/competition time from your ‘A’ team every time you put someone else in.
Additionally, for many scouts (Read: Future Alliance Captain Picklist Authors), consistency is important in being able to make sure that they can work well with who they pick, and by switching drive teams you show off two different performances that could come off as unpredictable (or one of them flat-out terrible) and inconsistent.
tl;dr There’s a reason you only see one drive team per robot on Einstein.
Our team has a “lead Strategist” that coordinates scouts and analyses data, but is also technically part of the drive team. We created this position last year because we found that a scout able to wait in the queue with the drive teams as well as perform regular inter-team strategy meetings in the pits could help with last minute communication and strategy better than one stuck in the stands.