Effects of Removing/Adding Pre-Populated Gears

So after reading some of the 40kpa thread, I started thinking about what the effects would be if the GDC decided to add or remove pre-populated gears for district champs/championships.

My thoughts are that if they removed pre-populated gears(say two), good shooting bots would continue to rank at the top and though it might seem like a nerf to gear bots in eliminations, I’m starting to think it would actually help them. Third robots are likely going to be much more capable at district champs/championship events and thus, I think a pure gear bot alliance could still do four rotors fairly reasonably while shooting bots would have an even tougher time trying to get four rotors in addition to their shooting game. Of course defense is an idea as well but overall, I think it would be a buff to shooting bots in qualifying but a buff to gear bots in eliminations.

If they added pre-populated gears(say two) I think the opposite would be true in that gear bots would be stronger in qualifications but weaker in eliminations.

Personally, I’d like to see the amount of pre-populated gears stay the same as I think the increasing strength of the third robot will balance out the game. What are everyone else’s thoughts on the subject?

I think adding two would weaken gearbots in quals and elims, as it would become easier for fuel teams to get all 4 rp/120 bonus points by removing some of the gear burden.

I think removing pre-populated gears would certainly help gearbots. By making it harder to achieve 3 or 4 rotors the value of robots who could quickly cycle gears would definitely go up.

Obviously removing any pre-populated gears makes it more difficult to get 4 rotors. If the pre-populated gear is removed from rotor 3 it will help the best gear robots rank higher in qualifying than they would have otherwise as some matches that would have been ties/close will now be decided by 3 vs 2 rotors. It may lead to more defense being played in quals when one alliance wins the race to 3 rotors and will certainly lead to more defense in playoffs. In a mainly gear vs mainly fuel playoff match, I think it would help the gear alliance more than hurt but it depends on how fast the 3rd rotor is engaged relative to how fast the fuel alliance gets their kPa bonus and how good the defensive robots and strategies are on both sides.



I think that the more likely outcome, especially at World Championship Events, is that the third member of the alliance will be tasked with:

  1. Mobility Points
  2. Effective Defense of Gear Cycling
  3. Reliable Climbing

I expect this will be the case whether the number of pre-populated gears is changed or not.

With the current amount of pre-populated gears, I still don’t think that gearing alliances at DCMPs will be able to reliably hit 4 rotors. The current rate for eliminations is about 4% and I would be surprised if that rate surpassed 20% even by CMP.

In my opinion, 4-rotor is still hard enough where removing gears makes it more difficult for gearbots to win. With a few exceptions, fuel shooting alliances are not getting close to that 4 rotor. While removing pre-populated gears does make it harder for fuel alliances to 4-rotor, most are far enough away where 3-rotors is difficult and the 4th rotor isn’t attempted. I know that there have been a few cases already, but I would be very surprised if any eliminations series before Einsteins had more than 2 alliances who could reach 40 kPa and 4 rotors.

Not sure about this. DCMPs will be stacked with gearbots, and CMP divisions will have playoff alliances comprising the top third of robots. Most good teams try to improve their performance between events, and a lot of teams will focus all their energy on trying to improve their cycle time and reliability.

DCMPs are an especially different beast. You can win an event as the 1 alliance captain or first pick at a district event, then bring an improved robot to DCMP and be the last pick of the draft. This kind of thing happens all the time.

You gotta explain yourself. This strategy has been used by many event winning alliances, but these events did not have the depth of CMPs or DCMPs. Many last picks have been used effectively on offense. For example, 537 and 1991 were last picks at their regionals, and helped a lot with fuel. Many other winning alliances have used their third robot to cycle gears. With the last pick of a CMP division draft being of regional winner quality, I think some alliances will use their third robots on offense.

In years with more linear scoring, quals scores (and for the most part elims scores) typically double from week 3 to DCMP/CMP*. Is it fair to say that the rate alliances put 6 gears into the airship during week 3 will match the rate that alliances put 12 gears into the airship during DMP/CMP? Adding prepopulated gears may not be a necessary change for the later competitions.

However, removing them in elims will certainly make alliances spend a larger portion of their time scoring gears. Let’s use San Francisco as an example (with auto gears and hanging removed as those will probably not scale the same).

254/971/4990 were scoring ~60kPa and getting 2 rotors (160 pts).
604/3256/2035 were scoring ~3.5 rotors (120 pts).

If we double the performance of both alliances with current prepopulated gear rules…

254/971/4990 would score ~120kPa and get 3 rotors** (240 pts)**.
604/3256/2035 would score 4 rotors and have 40 extra seconds to play defense or shoot if capable (260 pts + 40s spare time).

If we double the performance of both alliances and remove the three prepopulated gears…

254/971/4990 would score ~120kPa and get 3 rotors (240 pts).
604/3256/2035 would score 4 rotors and have 20 extra seconds to play defense or shoot if capable (260 pts + 20s spare time).

Obviously at higher levels of play where four rotors is more accessible, alliance selection may have gone differently (maybe 254/604 and 971/3256). That being said, whether the prepopulated gears are present or not, the winning alliance will be scoring 4 rotors. Keeping the prepopulated gears in place means that alliances will have more time to score fuel and play defense, removing the three prepopulated gears means that alliances will have less time to score fuel and play defense.

*This year’s half-CMP scores may be a different story because divisions will typically be much more diluted than DCMP.

The difference in our thinking is our different expectations of the depth at the World Championships. I believe that the capability distribution curve for each division will be such that 4 rotor matches in the playoffs (especially if the number of pre-populated gears are reduced) will be similar to what is being demonstrated at Regional Events.

Therefore, I would expect to see 3rd partners equipped with highly reliable climbing mechanisms and chosen based on their ability to play effective defense in slowing down gear cycles.

An important consideration: defense against gears is much easier than against fuel. In addition, an alliance can monitor how close the opposing alliance is to getting 4 rotors and can turn their defensive attention to stopping the alliance at the most opportune moment–perhaps with one gear left so all of the previous effort is wasted.

I expect that the Einstein matches will be defensive battles and 4 rotors may not happen at all.

Getting to 4 rotors currently requires the equivalent of three robots that can each place 4 gears in a match. At most regional events, it appears the top 20% or so of gear scoring teams pull this off at least once*. At an event of 40-60 teams, it is hard to assemble a 12-gear alliance except on the bottom of the bracket; even 6 gear teams have had a tough time finding enough gear scoring help when they seed near the top (especially because climbing performance is usually the first constraint on who you want on your alliance).

I suspect that for World Championships, the distribution will be closer to 40% 4 gear capable robots. Even with dilution and wait lists, the bottom half of the field drops out - primarily thanks to the district system - and the top half is better practiced, has ironed out kinks with their robots, and (hopefully) no longer has to deal with droopy springs. In a 66 team subdivision, this means that all 8 seeds could conceivably form a “12 gears on a defense-free, blue sky day” alliance.

  • = I looked at 254’s scouting data from San Francisco plus a few other teams’ data from other events to come up with 20%, so this is by no means exhaustive. It’s tricky to estimate since teams often stop placing gears once it is obvious that they aren’t going to get to 4 rotors, hence why my threshold is “they did it at least once”.

I share your perspective. The one caveat I would consider is the application of G10. At what point does heavy defense get interpreted as shutting down major parts of the game?

I understand (although, I wonder about the impact of going from 8 divisions to 12) Jared’s analysis; however, I think the defensive capability will win over the offensive capability in the case of gear cycling.

You appear to be forgetting one major factor: the amount of spare time 254 and 971 had after getting 40kpa. It took them next to no time during teleop to get it (assuming they didn’t get it in auto), which means they could’ve spent the rest of the match having all 3 robots defending the other alliance. Direct 1 on 1 defense would absolutely cripple a gear-only alliance, or even a mixed alliance.

The intent was to show how both strategies scale to higher levels of play based on how scores have historically scaled from week 3 events to DCMP/CMP. In no world do I think 254/971/4490 would spend their match time trying to reach an arbitrary goal of 120 kPa before they tried to score 4 rotors of their own or defended their opponent’s 4 rotor strategy.

Their strategy was absolutely correct for San Francisco but, if alliance ability scales similarly to how it scaled in previous years, it will not be the winning strategy after ~week 6. Winning alliances of those weeks will have to spend a smaller portion of their teleoperated time scoring fuel than 254/971 did - and almost no time if the prepopulated gears are removed.

EDIT: For reference, the 2013 World Champion alliance was one of several CMP alliances capable of clearing the feeder station of discs. Counting their autonomous discs as a cycle, this means the alliance was capable of 16 cycles. In Galileo Finals 1, the opposing alliance tries direct, one-on-one defense, scoring almost no teleop points of their own. 1241/1477/610 were still able to score 11 cycles of discs including autonomous mode.

I think that the winning alliances at CMP and DCMP will be able to load 12 gears into the airship under all but the toughest defense.

2013 had protected areas to shoot from (touching the pyramid), which is what the championship alliance appeared to prefer. It is much different this year, as there are no protected areas when placing gears. This means one-on-one defense can happen directly at the “scoring area” (the airships), making it waaay more effective.