Bottom line analysis from KSC

Posted by Mike Sklar at 03/03/2001 11:37 PM EST

Engineer on team #21, ComBBAT , from Astronaut H.S. and Titusville H.S. and Brevard Community College and Boeing Company and NASA-KSC.

The KSC results below are correct. But here is the inside scoop. Once again Heatwave #312 did it. For those of you in this game for a while you know thay come up at the top all the time.

There were only 2 teams at KSC (out of 44) that could really manage 2 goals properly. Properly meaning before 30s left. Heatwave and 342 a Bosch team from SC. Many think they can but live in a dream world. the biggest problem out there is people think 2 goals at 17s left (3x multiplier) is better than 1 goal at 1 minute left (5x multiplier).

For those of you confused by the scoring here are the major descriminators or break points:

2 goals > 30s left = 8x multiplier
1 goal > 60s left = 5x multiplier
1 goal > 30s left = 4x multiplier

The biggest problem out there is Mgmt/Leadership of the alliance. If you can do this you’ll go far.

Here was the difference in the 2 top teams/alliances at KSC today:

Team #342 Bosch can handle both goals (matter of fact due to traction problems they are weaker just handling 1 goal) and have an excellent machine. They were the #1 seed. However they do it alone carrying 1 full goal over the ramp to the other side, getting the second goal and balancing them.

Team #312 Heat wave uses a 2nd robot to cooperate and place the 2nd goal (full or empty) onto edge of ramp, they then drop of their goal and balance both while on the ground. The coperation makes it quicker. In the finals today they did this with 1:02 left (got high score of 490), 57s left and 44s left.

That’s the key. It takes cooperation to get both goals before a minute.

PS - My ComBBAT team slipped from #2 seed after 6 matches to 10 seed due to a few bad matches today. Reason each time: We could not manage/lead the alliances (even though we were the #2 seed). But we were drafted 1st (hey aren’t you supposed to get a $1M signing bonus for that). And in the tourney matched up with #342, #37 Cordzilla, #267 Motorola, and #147 Deep Thunder. We could not match the Heatwave alliance and came in 2nd, and got the Finalist trophy.

Good time had by all. Next stop for us Houston!

Posted by Kevin Sevcik at 03/04/2001 12:21 AM EST

Other on team #57, Leopards, from BT Washington and the High School for Engineering Professions and Exxon, Kellog Brown & Root, Powell Electrical.

In Reply to: Bottom line analysis from KSC
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/03/2001 11:37 PM EST:

Heatwave and 342 didn’t win KSC all by themselves, despite what this post would make it look like. the other two teams were kind of important here. More specifically, Team 57 (Yes, my team). the scores would have been a LOT lower without 3 robots in the end zone, and things would have taken a lot longer if our robot couldn’t limbo under the center divider. So try to remember that this game is about alliances of 4 teams, huh? Heatwave wouldn’t have had a shot without the other teams on its alliance.

Posted by Ken Leung at 03/04/2001 4:30 AM EST

Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M. Gunn Senior High School.

In Reply to: Contrary to popular belief…
Posted by Kevin Sevcik on 03/04/2001 12:21 AM EST:

I agree totally with this point. So far, these two regional competitions have been a perfect example of the fact the every robot works perfectly together will win the game.

You are right; Heat wave and 342 did not win by themselves. They only balanced the goals well. Everything that every robot did during the match is extremely important. Just the fact that they did not get in each other’s way is already a winning factor. There are also the robots that rushed toward the end zone that didn’t bump into the goals and messed up the order and the human players who filled up the near goal with small balls, plus many more…

All these shows that the robots just specialize in the few tasks they do well, and do it successfully every time. Team work is the most important!

Posted by aTm at 03/04/2001 11:43 AM EST

Student on team #111, Wildstang, from Wheeling High School and Motorola.

In Reply to: Contrary to popular belief…
Posted by Kevin Sevcik on 03/04/2001 12:21 AM EST:

I agree with you wholeheartedly Kevin. At any given competition, there is simply no possible way that one good team can carry the rest to victory. Whether a robot only has to go to the end zone, if it does that reliably, quickly, and consistently, the alliance would be absolutely nowhere without them. As far as I can see it now, there are 3 essential robots to a team: A ball handler, a bridge-tender, and a limbo-bot. I might be forgetting one class of robot but thats what i see. The alliance won, and although I have no doubt that Heatwave is a terrific machine, there’s no way that they did it by themselves. btw Mike, 2 goals w/17 secs left (2x2x1.5=6) IS better than 1 goal w/61 secs left (2x2.5=5).

aTm

Posted by Raul at 03/04/2001 6:34 PM EST

Engineer on team #111, Wildstang, from Rolling Meadows & Wheeling HS and Motorola.

In Reply to: Lets hear it for the Alliances
Posted by aTm on 03/04/2001 11:43 AM EST:

I assume you meant that the 4th robot would be able to push/pull goals onto the bridge.

Raul

: As far as I can see it now, there are 3 essential robots to a team: A ball handler, a bridge-tender, and a limbo-bot. I might be forgetting one class of robot but thats what i see.

: aTm

Posted by Alan Federman at 03/04/2001 10:41 AM EST

Engineer on team #255, Odyssey, from Foothill HS, San Jose and NASA.

In Reply to: Bottom line analysis from KSC
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/03/2001 11:37 PM EST:

I saw about 20-30 matches of the KSC regional, including a couple of semi-final elimination matches.

General - most machines were under-powered and had extreme difficulty maintaining position on the bridge when it was at an angle. Teams would send 2 robots at a time over the bridge and it was a struggle to get them both over without one getting tangled up or falling over. The bridge was often blocked by a robot falling over on or near the bridge and blocking it.

I saw the bridge getting blocked by balls a couple of times, but only once, was a team able to clear a ball from under the bridge - this too so long however, that there was no time to balance the bridge or
even for the ball clearing robot to cross the field into scoring position.

Several teams could score the big ball - but usually this took so long they lost the bridge or time multipliers.

I heard or saw of 3 300 point plus games. In general these were two goals balanced in a short amount of time and no big balls - but ther may have been one two goals 2 big ball game.

Teams had trouble balancing even one goal by a single robot. If one robot helped stabilize the bridge,
it was a lot easier and FASTER to balance the goal - It often was better to have two robots out of scoring position and 1 or two goals balanced then trying to balance until the time ran out and losing all
the multipliers.

I saw one attempt to use the stretcher which was unsuccessful.

Several robots were designed to be bridge tenders but most were not able to flip the bridge. One’s that worked drove under the level or up bridge and held up or level while balancing or helping another team to balance. Almost all the teams I saw went over the bridge. In the 20 or 30 some matches I saw - only one team, 538, went through the barrier and then scored a big ball(I think).

Most alliances managed time poorly, stopping at
59, 29, and 14 and losing time multipliers.

So the key to success is to know your capabilities and help each other!

Posted by Jason Rudolph at 03/04/2001 4:34 PM EST

Other on team #459, Rampage, from University of Florida/Eastside High School and .

In Reply to: Bottom line analysis from KSC
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/03/2001 11:37 PM EST:

Mike, I agree with you here. The biggest problem with this year’s game, is communication. Teams were consistently telling us they could do things, and then when it came time to do them, they didn’t. Another big problem was that teams just would not listen, and in the short amount of time you have to devise a working strategy, things would just get out of hand sometimes.
Another problem arises when people forget to push that red button, in at least 2 of our matches, we lost a multiplier because a team forgot to push it, and when they finally did, we missed the multiplier by one or two seconds. So basically, Communication is the key. DON’T tell someone you can do something unless you have in the competiton, practice is a much different ball game then the real thing.

Also, I would like to sincerely thank team 343 for picking us for the finals, our alliance was absolutely amazing, and I would like to also thank 312, 57, and 538 for being an amazing alliance to be a part of.

Jason

Posted by Mike Carron at 03/04/2001 6:45 PM EST

Engineer on team #343, Metal In Motion, from Hamilton Career Center and Square D Company.

In Reply to: Communication, and Thanks
Posted by Jason Rudolph on 03/04/2001 4:34 PM EST:

Jason,
You are perfectly welcome!! We really enjoyed playing with you guys. The five teams in our alliance were just perfect for each other. It sure is a lot of fun when you are in the finals and have the opportunity to execute a stratefy and score like we did. The qualification matches really don’t do this year’s game justice. I hope to see you guys at the nationals.
Thanks,
Mike Carron

Posted by Scott Strickland at 03/04/2001 5:46 PM EST

Engineer on team #21, ComBBAT, from Astronaut & Titusville High School and Boeing/NASA.

In Reply to: Bottom line analysis from KSC
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/03/2001 11:37 PM EST:

Here is a link to the KSC robot pictures… Lot of rookies at KSC. This may explain the small amount of limbo-bots and good ball handlers.

Hope you got to see the regional on TV. It should provide an advantage for your first regional. We learned a lot!

-not all teams know the rules
-game is a two robot game with four robots on the field
-some teams have 3 human players with no coaches
-you only need two human players
-much harder to balance two goals (one full, one empty)
-much harder to get 4 teams to agree on a strategy than 2.
-all it takes is one robot to get stuck on the ramp and you get a low score
-stretcher is a sucker bet!!! don’t take it!

Good luck to all!

Posted by Mike Carron at 03/04/2001 6:38 PM EST

Engineer on team #343, Metal In Motion, from Hamilton Career Center and Square D Company.

In Reply to: Bottom line analysis from KSC
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/03/2001 11:37 PM EST:

It was NOT team 342 paired with Heatwave, rather team 343!!! We were the 3rd seed and Heatwave the 7th seed. We made a fantastic alliance with the three other teams picked. We picked those teams specifically for the scoring possibility that you guys witnessed. We couldn’t have done it without all five partners. I really don’t mean to sound rude here but we worked our butt’s off to get to this point. So at least give us the common courtesy of the right team name “Metal In Motion” and team number “343”!
Thanks,
Mike Carron

Posted by Raul at 03/04/2001 8:16 PM EST

Engineer on team #111, Wildstang, from Rolling Meadows & Wheeling HS and Motorola.

In Reply to: Let’s get one thing straight on these posts!!!
Posted by Mike Carron on 03/04/2001 6:38 PM EST:

Hey Mike Carron,

You guys obviously deserve a lot of credit for all that you accomplished.

Read Mike Sklar’s post carefully. He did not say that 342 was paired with 312. He just said that those teams, in HIS OPINION, were the only two that could handle 2 goals well. Good luck to you in future competitions.

Raul

: It was NOT team 342 paired with Heatwave, rather team 343!!!

Posted by Mike Carron at 03/04/2001 11:51 PM EST

Engineer on team #343, Metal In Motion, from Hamilton Career Center and Square D Company.

In Reply to: Re: Let’s get one thing straight on these posts!!!
Posted by Raul on 03/04/2001 8:16 PM EST:

Raul,
OK, so maybe I jumped the gun a little bit. That happens after driving 9 hours home from KSC. If anybody is interested in a really cool shot of Heatwave and Metal in Motion doing the two goal’s for the 490 points, go to our website. It is on the front page at www.metalinmotion.com. The other two robots are in the end zone and hence not in the shot. They were also instrumental in the scoring, just not in the picture. I’m not trying to brag here, It’s just a cool looking shot of two goals, a big ball and two robots completing the teams strategy.

Posted by Raul at 03/05/2001 8:48 AM EST

Engineer on team #111, Wildstang, from Rolling Meadows & Wheeling HS and Motorola.

In Reply to: Re: Let’s get one thing straight on these posts!!!
Posted by Mike Carron on 03/04/2001 11:51 PM EST:

I hear you Mike.

That is a cool picture. One question: It looks like there are more than 9 small balls in the goal; so why did you get 49 x 10 instead of more like 51 or 52 x 10?

Raul

Posted by Mike Carron at 03/05/2001 2:52 PM EST

Engineer on team #343, Metal In Motion, from Hamilton Career Center and Square D Company.

In Reply to: Re: Let’s get one thing straight on these posts!!!
Posted by Raul on 03/05/2001 8:48 AM EST:

Raul,
We only had nine balls in the goal. We were loading 11-12 usually but to get under a minute we were pushing it to get nine. At the UTC regional they basically did the same strategy but got the 12 balls needed to get the 520 points. We could do the same with a little practice but time is so crucial. If you guys haven’t played yet, try to take advantage of the time multipliers. I think we all realize how important they are but you really start getting a feel for it in competition. Especially in the early rounds when the students aren’t quite familar with the stop buttons yet. I can’t wait to see your robot at the nationals. The ramp design should prove to be most helpful to teams. Good Luck!!
Mike Carron

Posted by Mike Sklar at 03/06/2001 12:42 PM EST

Engineer on team #21, ComBBAT , from Astronaut H.S. and Titusville H.S. and Brevard Community College and Boeing Company and NASA-KSC.

In Reply to: Let’s get one thing straight on these posts!!!
Posted by Mike Carron on 03/04/2001 6:38 PM EST:

My apologies to “Metal in Motion”. It was very late when I posted the KSC results and comments. I should have known because our Boeing ComBBAT team was paired with Team 342. It’s just I have always had a hard time keeping the 2 awesome South Carolina teams straight. Your number is almost the same, you both have the incredible, all Bosch frame pit set up, you all have deep SC accents, all your coaches usually wear sport shirts instead of T-shirts. This year your bases looked nearly identical. I’ll try to get it straight.

Metal in Motion is 343!
Metal in Motion is 343!
Metal in Motion is 343!
: Thanks,
: Mike Carron

Posted by Mike Carron at 03/06/2001 5:25 PM EST

Engineer on team #343, Metal In Motion, from Hamilton Career Center and Square D Company.

In Reply to: My apologies. Team 343 Was truly awesome!
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/06/2001 12:42 PM EST:

No problem Mike. It was late…long ride home…etc. I feel much better now though! I really hope to see you guys at the Nationals. You were on top of our picking list should the opportunity had been available. Heatwave and ourselves were looking for a few good limbo bots to help us with our strategy. You guys had the machine that our strategy team leader was ranting and raving about on practice day. Just remember team 343 “metal in motion”. Good luck.

Mike Carron

Posted by Ed Sparks at 03/04/2001 6:51 PM EST

Engineer on team #34, The Rockets, from Bob Jones High / New Century High and DaimlerChrysler.

In Reply to: Bottom line analysis from KSC
Posted by Mike Sklar on 03/03/2001 11:37 PM EST:

First of all, I congratulate all of the teams at KSC. I had the best time I’ve ever had in my 5 years of FIRST at this regional even though we had some bad luck.

Some things I observed that might help:

Take a small white board & markers with you to discuss the plan with your partners. A picture says it quicker. We were one of only a few that I saw with this and everyone we went on stage with seemed to like it.

Be sure to discuss the path that each robot will take after the colors are assigned. There were a lot of robots tied up in knots trying to cross paths.

I was amazed & disappointed to be involved in a match where the student operator on another team did not know how to operate the E-Stop. The student was twisting the knob just like the button indicates and as you hopefully know, that releases the E-Stop.

Nearly every one of our matches involved one or more robots not being able to perform as expected. Several were essentially DOA. In one round, we left our “Air Dump Valve” wide open after relieving our tanks to remove a ball from our ball gripper in the previous round (We now have a check list).

There were many robots that didn’t have the ability to cross the bridge by themselves.

I observed a lot of trouble with bridge management. Most took too long.

Our next stop is in Houston where I know we will “have it together”. See ‘ya there.

Posted by Gary Bonner at 03/05/2001 4:02 PM EST

Other on team #433, Firebirds, from Mount Saint Joseph Academy and SCT Corp., FMC Corp…

In Reply to: Re: Bottom line analysis from KSC
Posted by Ed Sparks on 03/04/2001 6:51 PM EST:

All these observations are great for those of us who haven’t competed yet. It will be interesting to see if in subsequent events there is a shorter learning curve. Although, there are probably plenty of teams, like us, that didn’t get much practice time before the robot went in the box.

Using the manual override button on the pneumatic valves is a good way to release grippers after a match without completely draining the air from your system.