Current Thoughts on 2020 MCC?

Scanning RI3D and posts here, and I’m curious about people’s thoughts about sets of capabilities that would be viable for Minimum Competitive Concept (MCC) robots this game.

In this post (Spectrum 3847 - Build Blog 2020), 3847 shared their current MCC list:

  • low goal, human feed and simple floor intake through a bumper gap (over bumper is harder)
  • hook flip out style climb that deploys and then you can winch up. Multiple robots in 2018 did this.
  • no color wheel manipulation, it takes too many balls scored before this becomes valuable.

Is there an MCC high-shooting robot opportunity? If so, what capabilities are included vs. not? And are there implementation options that help keep it simple?

What is the simplest possible power cell indexing approach for this game? Are there options to avoid? As has been discussed in the past, indexing (intaking, queuing, sustaining an onboard count, and transitioning to shooter) a >1 noninfinite number of game pieces is a pretty tough challenge. We’ve been looking a lot at 2012, as have many teams I’m sure.

Here’s an idea for an MCC high-shooting “cleanup” + defense bot

  • robot designed to opportunistically grab & score balls on the floor on the offensive side of the field
  • kitbot chassis or similar
  • fixed shooter capable of shooting from anywhere in a certain arc, including ability to make inner goal shots when in straight-on position
  • store just 1 ball at a time (avoid indexing altogether & borrow more directly ideas from 2016)
  • cycle: get loose ball - shoot ball - get ball - shoot ball…
  • copy an RI3D climber & get it tuned up to high reliability
  • skip the control panel
  • constant opportunistic defense


The phrase “MCC” means “minimum competitive concept”. Adding features to an MCC makes it, by definition, no longer an MCC. There are surely many simple and achievable robot concepts that incorporate high goal scoring, but it is more than the minimum required to be a competitive robot this year (at least, in 3847’s (and my) opinion).


The simplest solution is to not index them. Unless you determine the role of a MCC to include optimizing the points/ball scored (which doesn’t seem like a MCC to me), I’m not sure you need to be a highly accurate scoring machine. It may be more beneficial to focus on total quantity of balls scored, rather than the most points/ball or the accuracy of your shot. Whether you’re going for the low port or the outer port, it may be possible to build a high volume scoring mechanism without the need to index the balls into a single queue to be fed into your scoring mechanism.

I’m not sure your MCC criteria list is truly a MCC. It seems to focus on getting the most points/ball. Do you feel that’s what alliances will be looking for from their second members? Do you feel that is the optimal way for a low resource team to provide value in every qualification match? Or are there other criteria you think will be more important?

An interesting MCC concept might be a multi-ball low scorer that can do the control panel quickly. Pumping up the total ball count forces faster ball returns to the field and can rack up points (and a RP) via control panel stages…

This is the direction I’ve been going with this concept, but 49 balls even in the low goal is extremely ambitious. The robot would have to be forcing overflows repeatably to even have a shot - and once the 20 point bonus for position is out of the question, the 10 points for rotation isn’t really worth the additional mechanism. It’s seeming like hanging is just too heavily weighted to ignore, and buddy climbs are too hard to expect to see them from top captains everywhere like in 2018.


I don’t think the MCC needs anything more than what 3847 suggests.


How does under the bumper feed compare to a slot or over the bumper? Because when you drive into a Power Cell with a bumper, the bumper goes over the PC. And with a slot, you still have 18" of bumper.

I’ll take one Everybot 2018 with hang please.

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Just to be clear, I’m neither disagreeing nor even criticizing 3847’s MCC perspective. I agree with it, though I am skeptical about the viability of the self-perpetuating high-volume low scoring overload scenario in which the opposing human players must continuously dump excess power cells back to you. Priming that pump and sustaining it seems difficult.

In past years there have been various MCC-type bots produced. My main question was really just what do folks think we’ll see this year, and is there an MCC high goal shooter option? Shooting’s fun folks! MCC-candidate teams will want to do it.

Disagree on the control panel manipulation (or lack thereof). Since stages are based on power cells scored, not outright points (like the tower in 2016), I could see 3 MCC’s getting up there if they’re rapid-pumping the low goal. Even if the solution is just a manually controlled wheel spinner (and an indicator on the dashboard for stage 3 color, or just spin until you get a good result?).

I figured the easiest solution for getting the correct color was a control panel spinner and a Lifecam 3000 plugged in with USB, your drivers just look at the camera feed and go slow.

Anyway the control panel doesn’t fit well with an MCC because it hinders the ability to do trench runs. Building any kind of pop up mechanism is non-trivial, an MCC team is better off figuring out how to get the extra height for a climber than how to raise a control panel manipulator.

I think both the 2018 and 2019 Everybots would work just fine this year.

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What game objective would the 2019 Everybot accomplish?

Picking up power cells and either carrying them across the field or dropping in bottom port.

Oh, you’re saying modify it to be the size of the ball. I thought you meant as-is.

Oh no, it would have to modified but nothing major to turn it into a valid robot, for second year teams I think they could get away with that and a Control Panel mechanism.

Agree that this is the easiest way to do the control panel. If a team can make an encoder work though, it wouldn’t be hard to make it run for N rotations to achieve rotation control or advancing it 1/2/3 positions for position control.

I also agree this is verging on MCC+ territory.

Fine line between “MCC+” and “mistakes were made”


After some more game analysis, I think if you are discussing an MCC like we outline in our Guide to an FRC MCC

It’s not truly the minimum concept, it’s really the most efficient concept. Many of those robots were captains or first picks on alliances. I don’t think a robot that doesn’t shoot into the high goals is likely going to be able to be ranked or selected that high.

However I think there are ways to effectively avoid some of the tougher parts of this challenge such as using a wider ball path to avoid indexing/funneling and choosing to shoot from a set location(distance, etc) on the field. Two of the hardest challenges this year, indexing and adjusting your shot trajectory, are removed. You can tune everything in your shop to be consistent enough to make it into the outer high goal. Being taller than 28" helps package this robot and makes it very easy to climb with a simple elevator or a folding bar, etc.

An MCC should be looking for opportunities to avoid game challenges while maximizing points and contributions to their alliance.