Hi, Alex from Full Moon Robotics here. There’s quite a few sections of this question, so I’ll do my best to answer each part.
For your first point about climbing, it was our intention to climb during the match. From our strategy, we believe that to be a competitive robot you must be able to manipulate power cells well and either climb or spin the control panel. We attempted to do both of these, and as a result of our time constraints and resource constraints we were unable to finish a fully functional climber on our robot before the end of the three days. We prototyped our climber mechanism starting on day one, focused a good bit on it on day two, but ran into issues on day three. Our original intention was to deploy a hook onto the generator switch and climb using a winch mechanism. However, with little time left, we decided to not attempt a climber we were unsure of and having difficult with. For your second point regarding 5 power cells, we should be able to hold them all whiten our robot (though, due to only securing one game piece, couldn’t test it). The tube in the middle is large enough to hold three power cells, leaving two to be near the base of our robot.
As mentioned above, our robot design is not quite up to what we would recommend a rookie team to do. With this said though, I believe every team should strategize and design based on the resources (time, material, experience, manpower, etc) available to them. If a team has a similar or less level of resources available than we did, then this would be a reasonable robot to be constructed. However, we do hope that teams also improve upon our design in the following three ways:
- Improved/Redesign of intake
- We believe that an important part of this years game (and most games) is the speed and reliability that you can intake and control game pieces. An unreliable intake can greatly slow down your cycle time, and in this game where reaching capacity is important, this is no exception. Our current design struggles with getting the balls from the roller to the main body of the robot. We considered adding in curved poly-carbonate to help direct the ball as it enters the bot. The intake itself also likely should be compressing the ball a bit more, perhaps moved back about 1/2."
- Reliable climber
- Through our strategy discussion, we realized the importance of having a climber, specifically a reliable one. A consistent solo climb with keeping the generator switch level will yield 40 points, which is a huge incentive to go for. We believe that the best climbers (and the ones teams should target to build) will be the most consistent climbers at 40 points. This holds especially true in eliminations, where the extra ranking point doesn’t matter. There is a fair risk to double climbing; robots could fail to climb, hit opponents in the rendezvous zone or unlevel the switch. Since two robots climbing with an unlevel switch would only yield 50 points, there is a large emphasis on consistency.
- High goal shooting
- We passed over high goal shooting from the beginning, preferring to go for (hopefully) quicker low goals to reach capacity quicker. Since the inner high goal shot appears to be difficult, the reward for shooting towards the high goal is ~2x (or reasonably close). When you account for the occasional miss, the extra time shooting, and possibility of defense, the extra points earned by shooting high may not outweigh the faster capacity. We do believe that shooting high can yield you extra points at the highest levels of competition where the capacity will be reached quickly, but low goal robots can be just as effective at low to mid-tier competitions.