Day 1 Week 1

The loop side is the fuzzy side, right? The hooks are the plastic side.

I think we’ll be making a modification to the back of our control board on Thursday in Detroit.

We’re just planning on bringing the roll of velcro and javing the drive team take a piece or two with them for the first practice match, and make sure to put it on in the right places.

While I think this is a great idea I don’t understand what everyone is velcroing their controls to? Is the shelf somehow different from previous years? In the past it was just an aluminum shelf and to my knowledge velcro (hook/loop part) doesn’t stick to aluminum very well. If you are meaning teams are actually sticking the sticky side of the hook or loop half to the aluminum is FIRST allowing this? Whatever they are doing per the combination of <R13> (the operator controls are part of the robot except for weight) and <G34> (robots may not grab, grasp, grapple, or attach to any arena structure.) I didn’t think we are allowed to attach the controls to the shelf.

Yes the shelf is different. Squirrel already quoted the description from the manual in this thread.

Thanks! I can’t believe I missed that! Now I get it.

What I want to know, since we’re missing a webcast of BAE, is how 1519’s speed demon of a robot is keeping up with decent hurdlers.

I don’t know from 1519’s robot, but my first idea seeing the game announcement was, “I wonder if someone will build a mini-bot racer with Ackerman steering, high-grip wheels, and rear-wheel drive, just ignoring the ball completely.” Sort of like a scale model Nascar racer, complete with stagger and the inability to turn right. Anyone build something like that?

My team (Team 1678) built pretty much the exact robot you just described: Ackermann steering, high traction back powered wheel, an optional ball herding device.

Wish I saw this sooner… Our IR is right next to the beacon!! Quick fix tomorrow morning, and I hope our auto will work again…

Do the balls at NJ seem overfilled?

Those robots with forks… plan on getting them caught in the fencing…

I don’t know from 1519’s robot, but my first idea seeing the game announcement was, “I wonder if someone will build a mini-bot racer with Ackerman steering, high-grip wheels, and rear-wheel drive, just ignoring the ball completely.” Sort of like a scale model Nascar racer, complete with stagger and the inability to turn right. Anyone build something like that?

That’s basically 1519’s speed racer (except that it can turn right). You can find video of it at
However, 1519 has another robot configuration which is a hurdler. They built both configurations to meet the robot requirements together, so they could place either one on the field, depending on what other teams were playing.
Unfortunately, they have not been allowed to use this strategy, and have only used their hurdler in competition.

Hmmm, here at the St. Louis Regional, we broke our claw mecanism. It was held by hinges/bolts. We have slammed the robot into the wall multiple times, once breaking our welded aluminum joint. After this happened, we scrapped the claw and used just the arm to go up and knock balls. There are times when robots create traffic jams, but overall, there seems to be many teams that can only knock balls off. And yes, it is a slower paced game, although a couple teams built for speed (148: have been zooming around.

Today, we were paired with a team that had one or two hurdlers, and our whole alliance was of hurders that can hit the ball off. There are actually REALLY good strategies for teams like these. We won two in a row like this… one was 56-42 and the next was 52-18.

ALSO - IMPORTANT RULES! For the teams that ‘skimmed’ the rules, there is a very important rule many teams seemed to be penalized for. Once your whole robot passes one of the white lines, your robot cannot pass the same white line even one inch. Our first match, we had 2 - 10 point penaltys for this and one 10 point penalty for ‘illegal bumpers’. Our bolts broke and they were zip tied, no one said anything during Thursday. Because of this, we couldn’t make our second match. So… remember these rules… it cost us 2 losses. First, our penalties were too high, and the second, we lost by 6 points, something we could have easily made up.

And something that goes with the above. During that first match, this happened a lot when i hit the center wall and backed up to correct. The center wall at some angles has a huge glare, you cannot see through it really at all. I had so much trouble knowing how far down I was. Maybe have your robo-coach have some signals, or be able to swap driver and arm side controlers easy to adjust for the glare.

Long post, but these were all the things going through my head. Just venting. GL. If you need more details, jsus ask.

Notes from Portland, OR based on my experiences today. We had a frustrating day, but are doing well.

– The number of penalties called per match seems to have fallen throughout the day, but not because behaviors changed.
– Protection for hurdlers under <G42> (I think) is a joke.
– If I can hear a midfield collision behind the player station, you might want to consider that it could’ve been “high-speed” and penalize the behavior.
– Had some trouble with IR stuff early on, but it’s working now. Probably an issue with our machine.
– High score is 70 so far; not as high-scoring as other events, but that’s not unexpected.
– I was given the hard copy of our Bill of Materials back after inspection and told it was no longer needed; today they asked for it again from all teams and I hadn’t brought it along. Frustrating.
– Few teams knocking ball down in hybrid; we’re pretty reliable. 1540 can get two balls in hybrid if unimpeded. They’re 1st seed. Lots of drive straight stuff; a handful more with left/right control. Very few running more than two lines.
– No idea what to look for from refs. regarding “signals to pass”. I didn’t see any impeding penalties, though.
– Track is a mess. Teams designed to have small footprints and no items projecting outside their bumpers are best at running laps. Ball manipulators get caught up in things like crazy.
– The track divider is very reflective and it’s hard to see to the opposite corner of the field.
– Driver’s meeting this morning said that trackballs couldn’t be used to “signal to pass,” as I recall.
– Be able to turn off your autonomous mode. I’ve spent a lot of time today coordinating autonomous modes and trying to figure out how to get the robots to avoid colliding with one another. Being able to turn off your hybrid mode so that another machine can run its own is a good thing to have.
– You can place your robot against the fence. Honestly, I’m not making this up. Nobody seems to know this.
– Fast lap running robots cannot draw any penalties if they want to be at all effective. If your control of the machine isn’t perfect, slow down and do everyone a favor.

The game is playing out pretty well like I expected – it’s a mess on the field and the stuff people demonstrate in their practice field is almost meaningless. We’ve had one match today that let us really open up and score, but most of the time, all of the hurdlers are getting neutered by robots blocking the way – sometimes their partners, sometimes not. Still, so far, they can’t be beat by anything else.

Also, for the record – arms are beating catapults. :slight_smile:

Drat! I have a feeling this will end up shifting as the catapult/launcher/shooter teams get more practiced.

There are not very many here. Only a couple, but even if the launchers are too close, they hit rack, bounce back, hit robot, and roll across… it has been working out for them.

I am surprised on the comment on the arm vs. catapult.
We built an arm, but thought for sure, catapults would perform much better.
However, after watching regional play, I saw a lot of missed hurdling from shooter/catapult bots and saw more arms hurdling.
I am also very surprised that majority of teams are NOT hurdling for one reason or another.
Could it be that robustness, though discussed, has been underestimated and underplayed during the past several weeks? The pits must be like crazy with teams trying to fix manipulators that broke during matches.
Maybe the arm bots, though slower than a shooter, are more effective and accurate in drivers trying to hurdle.

I think this is specific to your regional–launchers are cleaning house at MWR.

33 seemed to utilize the main advantage being mentioned about arms to take down 1114 in match 44 (placing). Wildstang hasn’t looked to shabby with their elevator either (seemed to get better and better as the day went on).

I’ll agree with you that the shooters at MWR have looked more impressive so far, but IMO the verdict is still definitely out on this debate.

While 33 has a great elevator and is quick for an arm bot due to their grabber rotating back, and Wildstang has looked better as the day went on, it was quite clear to me the top 3 teams at the event are 1114, 71, and 1625 (all shooters).

And here I thought this was just an affliction experienced by Midwest. It’s kind of ridiculous watching every alliance try to cram all three robots against the player station wall. Seriously, guys… use the fence.

Yes Velcro is hook and loop, loop is the fuzzy side. Put the hook on your controller.

A few words of advice:

Hybrid mode is very important. Get your robots moving. Even if it just moves a little and gets in the way of an opposing bot its a plus.

When discussing strategy with your alliance, determine which robot gets ball priority. When you have three robots going for two balls your best shooter will get robbed of chances to hurdle.

It can be difficult to see your home stretch from the #1 player station because of the glare. Slightly tinted or yellow safety glasses will help if your regional will allow them. I think after fields get lots of play it may get even worse for the later regionals.