The human player (payload specialist) in the chair at the center area (fueling station) is extremely effective. At the Sussex Mini-Regional on Sunday (thanks 537), I saw the human player from 1268 score at least 30 points without breaking a sweat just by tossing them up over the wall and into trailers.
Perhaps a driving strategy might incorporate avoiding the area nearby the fueling station?
I think this belongs in the rules/Stratagies section.
Now then. I’m not sure if this is the best place to post all of what I have to say, but it does involve driving.
From what I saw at Sussex, dumpers are the most effective scoring method. So, you could try to immobilize them. Pinning them or jack knifing their trailers so they can’t dump into a trailer could be effective. Then shooting/dumping into their trailers to score. IMO, this is the most effective way for a shooter without a terrific program to score. Also, an alliance member can pin the target robot while another shooter/dumper gets the super cells and scores you a quick thirty points.
I see some problems with this strategy. If your robot is not moving, it makes you an easy target for the other alliance’s robots and human players. It would obviously be important to pin them as far away from the other alliance’s human players as possible. Against a robot, you are out of luck, unless one of your alliance mates comes to help block people from scoring on you, your unmoving trailer will be easy prey. Though I think this could be a fair trade off if you can manage to keep them pinned and get the two super cells into their trailer.
The second problem I see is the robot will, in most cases, not be able to get more balls to score on the pinned trailer. Once your robot is out of balls, you must decide whether to keep them pinned for your other alliance partners to score, or let them go to get more balls for yourself.
We’re a shooter, and from a few practice matches if we avoided the power dumpers and took a few shots at opportune moments, we could score well. We also made sure to avoid the traffic jams, that gives dumpers way too much of an easy shot.
Also, If you’re going up against a wide-based powered dumper or dumper, there’s a magical angle where you can put your trailer against the airlock and angle your robot slightly and the dumpers can’t get get within a foot of you trailer. This only works well for a few seconds but it’s a nifty trick if you’re getting loaded by your HP.
I see a lot of great bots with large holding capacities on “robot showcase”. On the practice fields and at the scrimmages, the “payload specialists” littered the field with missed shots on trailers.
What would happen if the payload specialists learned some constraint and didn’t provide a ready supply of balls for these rolling dump trucks?
How would it work if two alliance partners teamed up against an opponent and simply shoved the poor bot over to their nearest payload specialist for a quick fill? Especially at the end of the match for a pair of supercells…
I said it in 2006 and I’ll say it again - don’t be careless with the ammo until the end of the match when it can’t easily be used against you. Deny the opposition free scoring opportunities. That’s all I have to say about THAT.
And a tag team approach is something I’m looking forward to seeing in matches. Lone wolves will not be as effective as bots who hunt their prey in packs…
Well, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the championship finals will bear no resemblance at all to Friday of the first weekend regionals.
In qualifying at early season regionals, I expect dumpers and quality payload specialists will have the edge. Towards the end of the season, however, the top tier shooters will start to get things figured out and will begin to hit “from downtown” on a pretty regular basis, shooting a much higher percentage than even the best humans.
I also expect that teams will realize that most opponents can’t score if they can’t get behind you, and will figure out ways to drive “in formation” so that they cover each other’s flanks. A good dumper may become “wingman” (er… wingbot?) for a good shooter. We may be looking at a zero-altitude “dogfight” for many matches. If one alliance member gets their trailer mostly filled up, they may become an effective blocker to keep other bots away from empty trailers.
Or all the orbit balls will break and we’ll just get together and sing happy songs. :o
I agree with you on that. I did some strategy testing at the scrimmage hosted by 254, I sat in the center outpost and took some shots from there. Then in the one actual practice match we had I threw balls in from the corner fueling stations. I did pretty well at the center outpost, and I could throw the balls pretty much anywhere on the field, while in the practice match there was a large part of the match where I couldn’t get a good shot from the corner fueling station because the trailers were on the other side of the field. I was fortunate just to be able to score one ball when that happened.
I was thinking that just the opposite may happen. A bomber needs fighter escorts. A shooter may still be able to get shots off while following an allied dumper and may be able to deter opponents from trying to dump while your dumper is dumping. If your cannon doesn’t quite do the job of deterring, a well placed ram should accomplish the task.
A full dump from a loaded robot like 100, 148 or 254 will only take a few seconds, but will go along way towards deciding a match if it can be pulled off. If a shooter can perfect the art of scoring rocks while aiding one of these power dumpers it may make quite the formidable alliance.
Here are a few things I think may be helpful, but of course I haven’t driven the robot much except testing out the drive train early on.
Always move. This is just obvious because of how easy it is to score on a stationary trailer.
You generally want to be spinning. A target moving in two dimensions is harder to hit than a target moving in one dimension.
Turn, don’t spin. From what little driving I did I noticed spinning in place is a particularly slow thing to do. Unlike past years you won’t be able to get around much by stopping, turning in place, and taking off again. Reserve spinning as a defensive maneuver, and instead try to make looping curves and use you’re momentum to keep you moving.
Stay away from the walls and other robots, unless scoring or interacting with you’re human player. I say this because if you wedge up against a wall or hit a bot you could be dead in the water, and be scored on very rapidly.
2 robots = more power than 1 robot. If a robot hits you from certain directions or in certain ways you could use the energy they just imparted into you to begin a movement in that direction, and thus keep you moving instead of slowing you down.
Edit: Also, a thought on alliance selection. There will be no carrying of alliances this year. The best bot and two bad bots will EASILY be outscored by three ok bots. Think very long and very hard about your alliance partners if you want to take the gold this year. They are going to be even more important than in the past. I also suggest everyone help out anyone having any kind of problems with movement or auton especially. If we have a bunch of bots sitting out there with no auton the matches are going to be very lopsided as their trailers get stuffed with balls.