Driver Practice vs. Added Functionality

Hello cd community! My team is in kind of a tough situation, so allow me to explain.

We are about 2 weeks behind schedule and our robot so far has an elevator, hatch mechanism and a level 2 climber. Our goal is to be a fast hatch cycler on all levels of the rocket. We also have an (incomplete) level 3 climber, but no cargo mechanism. Our robot is ready for testing tomorrow/the day after.

However, others on our team have raised the concern that our robot as is does not have enough functionality in order to be competitive in our 2 district events. We therefore are at a crossroads, with multiple options:

Option 1:
We stick to what we have currently and focus on driver practice to become an ultra-fast hatch cycler on all levels with level 2 climb capability.

Option 2:
We finish our level 3 climb mechanism and mount it, giving us less drive practice but added functionality with the added bonus of an RP if another alliance member gets to level 1.

Option 3:
We mount a cargo intake that can only accept cargo from the loading station (and cannot pick up cargo off the floor). This would be intended only for the cargo ship.

Given our current progress and design, these seem to be our 3 best bets. Our team wants to be competitive, but we don’t know what is the best way forward.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

I highly suggest drive practice. New mechanisms can be designed and tested in the 30 lb withholding allowance after build season ends, but you can’t drive practice.

Teams highly underestimate how much driving can do to increase their performance. Your driver is like a complicated sensor on your robot. They are extremely well coded, and simply practicing an hour a day for 5 days could dramatically improve teams. Without practice, your robot is not going to work as well as it should.

Aim for practice to be realistic. This means having the drivers, loading station, and scoring areas in the relative areas located on the field. This will help you the most.

Also, 90% sure something will break while drive testing. Much better to break it now than at competition.


This sounds more than reasonable for a district team, and a competitive one at that.

Stick to option 1, but have some people working on a cargo intake. Worst case, nothing good enough for the bot comes from it and you learn some lessons to take into next year. More importantly, your drivers should have practice. The top teams arent the best just because their bot is good. Great drivers can even make mediocre bots look good.

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I see your point. The only problem is that we are a very small team with only 15 people, only a handful of which are specialized in mechanical/build. However, we could have multiple people work on the design together to make things more efficient.

I couldn’t agree with this more. Especially in districts, having a good drive team is crucial.

We had the exact same problem last year, when our intake broke multiple times during matches and rendered us essentially useless for the rest of the match. I definitely see what you’re saying; having drive practice allows for these “oops” moments to happen before competitions. :slight_smile:

Definitely look into the 30lb withholding allowance, it should help because then you can focus on driving (and fixing) the robot during the remaining 6 days, then focus on a mechanism in the coming weeks afterwards.

Definitely. Our team has not really made the best use of the 30 lb withholding allowance over the past few years (one year we bagged a robot without an intake!), so using that time usefully to make additional mechanisms and test them seems like a much better plan. Thanks! :slight_smile:

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