Deep Space is going to be ruined by Defence



I have watched plenty of robot reveal videos and I would say about 80%-90% of the rocket bots are very tipsy. All it will take is one small nudge on an already unsteady bot and wham!!! There goes a very expensive and well built mechanism. The saddest part of defense this year is that the robot won’t (maybe) try to be destructive, but the field design and just the nature of tall robots is what is causing the issues this year. Either FIRST is going to reign in defense after Week 1 or this is going to get bad.


I think that lots of robots will fall over this year, but the ratio of quality robots tipping and sketchy robots tipping will not be 1:1

Teams that spend time creating magnificent robots will guaranteed have solution in place to prevent their robot from tipping.

Spending time on developing programming solutions, but also building a bot with a low COG is well worth it, and the teams that spent the time doing just that will be far better off. Equally as much, teams with a quality drive team will likely not see their robot tip all season. Knowing your bot and how to handle dangerous situations goes a long way.

If a robot tips during the season and ruins the whole season doing so, it’s not on FIRST and the defense rules, but instead the build team, drive team, and the robot as a whole.


Since defense is limited to just one robot, the probability of this type of damage occurring due to contact between two robots on the same alliance might be higher. The teams playing defense will (hopefully) be aware of potential penalties and would be careful about what actions they take. Robots on the same alliance won’t get a penalty for their interactions and and in the absence of a defender would tend to focus on cycling as fast as possible. Inevitably, there would end up being two in the same quadrant of the field, sharing the same Loading Station, Depot, Cargo Ship and Rocket.


What is your opinion on a robot without an effective camera for the drivers playing defense? It seems that they can only cover one quadrant of the field if they are at Driver Station 1 or 3. This would cause the targets for defense to focus on scoring in the other quadrant first leaving the defender to hassle the least “productive” robot(s). Depending on the event, it seems likely that the higher ranked alliances may be left with teams without an effective driving camera system.


I think this depends on the robot and the elevator. Our elevator (and the mechanism it lifts) is very light and our robot fairly heavy with a well-distributed wheelbase. We really don’t tip even when driving with the elevator extended. We’ll be relatively difficult to disrupt in placing hatches, even if hit by a defensive robot (we’ve tested this) given the limited space they’ll have to strike/push us. We were a bit top-heavy last year and learned our lesson about having too much weight aloft.


It’s actually fairly easy to get around the camera issue with a little practice.

If your robot’s not at 4ft already, put two different color flags on the front and back so you always know your location and orientation. (in fact, even with a camera do this if you’re planning defense)

You’re not trying to do precision aiming. Just hit something greater than 2ft wide that’s driving in your general vicinity. Just go slow until you’re next to them. You won’t see where the cargo mines are, so if the front flag starts to go up, back up before you get stuck,


This doesn’t completely solve the problem if you are looking to play optimal defense.

As a former driver…I always targeted certain segments of an opposing teams drivetrain where I had the most leverage to push them the way I wanted to. Maybe I’m odd… but it certainly was a key to winning several matches where I needed to play defense.


There should be plenty of tactics on both sides for defense and counter defense. Elims should be fairly interesting in that regard. Less so in Quals when teams are less working together then trying to be the front runner for scouts. I’m going to be going over potential strategies in the next coming weeks depending on how the Weeks play out on stream.

I think its going to be interesting watching the game evolve.


That’s the fear. Good defense this year is location denial, not drive train whacking in the blind. Most teams, mine included, don’t spend a great deal of time practicing defense.



The cargo ship with the fin on it is 5 feet tall (I think that fin is there for a reason).
Also if you extend a flag up, make sure it’s rigid because it can’t bounce/wave out of frame perimeter.

Edit to add:
There is going to be someone this year that commits a bunch of G10 fouls because of a wire, cable, flag, etc that goes in and out of frame perimeter repeatedly while on defense.


I personally believe that defense makes FIRST games better, not ruin it. In 2014 defense was super impactful and because of that the game was super exciting to watch as a spectator. You didn’t ever see teams running the same routes over and over again because they had to react to where other robots were.

Defense also helps to even out the difference between two robots. A team with just a chassis can hinder or even shutdown the best teams if they play smart.

Defense may be annoying to play against, but it makes the game more than just 6 robots running the same cycles repeatedly.


I would also be concerned about being called for pinning. The Cargo Ship would make it difficult to see the Referee’s who would be making the call so there is the possibility of it escalating into a RED CARD without the driver realizing it.

It is quite likely that the GDC chose to make the height of the Cargo Ship the same as the maximum height of the robot. If my robot had a camera for the driver, I would ensure that my robot stays under the maximum height to make it easier for my robot to evade those defenders without a camera.


Only in the playoffs.


I didn’t think that was the case this year. Did I miss something?


For Districts/Regionals Per Section 12.7.2:

The Playoff MATCHES take place following the completion of the Qualification MATCHES and the ALLIANCE selection process. Playoff MATCHES are played in a bracket format as shown in Figure 12-3. ALLIANCE Leads are assigned to PLAYER STATION 2, the first picks are assigned to their left in PLAYER STATION 1, and second picks are assigned to the ALLIANCE Lead’s right in PLAYER STATION 3. If a BACKUP TEAM is in play, they will be assigned to the PLAYER STATION that was assigned to the DRIVE TEAM they’re replacing. Teams cannot change assignments.

This changes at Worlds per 12.10.1:

ALLIANCES may start with any three (3) of the four (4) ROBOTS on their ALLIANCE during Subdivision Playoff MATCHES and during the Championship Playoffs. The list of three (3) teams participating in the MATCH and their selected PLAYER STATIONS is called the LINEUP. One representative from the team not on the LINEUP is allowed as a sixteenth ALLIANCE member. This additional representative may only serve in an advisory role and will be considered a COACH (e.g. can’t be a HUMAN PLAYER).


This… With light game pieces there is no need to build a heavy elevator. I suspect than many (most?) elevator solutions will be lighter than last year, plus there will be more arm solutions. While not entirely complete our robot went into the bag under 90 pounds and that is with a third level reaching elevator and mechanisms for both hatches and balls… The only thing left to add at any height is a camera. Most of the rest is going to be COG modifying ballast once we see exactly how the practice bot performs coming off L2.

While I expect to see defense having a big impact on third and even second level placement I don’t expect to see carnage on the field with tipped robots everywhere.


Well I think that all the debate over how impactful defense will be has kind of been put to rest. Looking at OCR which imo is the best event this week defense is undeniably extremely strong.


May have to rename the thread “Deep Space is going to be saved by Defense”.
Those 5012 vs 973 battles were easily the best matches of the weekend. Too bad they couldn’t go to the tiebreaker.


This game has definitely been growing on me after OCR SF 1-1 and 1-2. If there had been no defense each match would be the same and we would have 2015 all over again. This isn’t exactly 2014 levels of contact but I’m really starting to like it. My only problem is how many bots have almost tipped over from defense. I would like for there to be a foul for tipping a robot over when you contact them even if you didn’t mean to tip them over.


Again, I am loving the defense this year.
Points denied are equal to points scored.

Ask team 94, who got their first Blue Banner ever in 22 years at the Southfield District Event by playing effective defense for the Killer Bees and RoboJackets.

Yeah, I know, I wish every team could become 11825419511111142332056171746921769,
No I don’t.

Watching teams with modest Robots seeding low and finding their role in a winning alliance and playing their role well to gain a Once in a Blue Moon Banner… The sheer joy of winning when you are used to going home disappointed is possibly beyond the feeling of expected success that highly regarded teams (who deserve their victories) may feel.