hurdler or herder?

First definations:
Hurdler; bot who’s primary purpose is to move the track ball over the over pass for points
herder; bot who’s primary purpose is to move it self and a ball around the course for points

pro’s and con’s
hurdler; can score many points in tele
can score only 8 in hybird
is risky if oppent prevents you from gaining ball
top heavy (?)
very complicated programing for hybrid
herder: can score a theorical 16 points in hybrid
can score a theorical 12 points in tele
is a defensive bot
considered low tech
must steer around oppents slowing it down
less complicated hybrid

basically our team a comprehensive designs of both, but I’m trying to get a few other pro’s and con’s on that i’ve missed. please post them, because I would like to see if their is a clear cut edge to either.

As far as i can see is risk is reward, a hurdler is risky, but has a high payoff.
Herder is simple but has a fairly steady pay off.

I think my team’s basic consensus is to go for the hurdle, but if that doesn’t work out, it is easy to go to Home Depot and pick-up some PVC to make a herding mechanism.

hurdle for the win, any robot with a flat front can herd to some extent

Herder, speed is key. In my opinion, with lots of people going for the hurdlers, a smallish maneuverable and quick robot should be able to get around. And if all else fails, being maneuverable means being able to knock away balls from hurdlers.

my personal opinion is that the best robots out there,will be both herders and hurdlers, that are built sturdy.a ten lb ball falling from more than 6 feet in the air could potentially do some damage. it doesnt matter how well your robot can score if it gets beat up by the ball. a hurdler will be harder to build sturdy, but if you can do it, it will be a rare and valuble robot, alliance wise. a herder would be easy to make fast and stable.

2.5T(herd) < T(hurdle)


2.5T(herd) > T(hurdle)


I think herding will prove to be more of a hassle than its worth. All but the best herders will likely spend more time trying to herd and control a ball than to just run around the track a second time. Consider the time wasted by having to track down a ball that rolls around the side of a bot making a turn. Best case you back up and 4-5 seconds later have recovered the ball. Worst case you can’t even back up because you’ve crossed a line and have to go around again anyways. A quick robot might make a lap in 10 seconds, lose the ball twice or badly once and you might as well go around again.

A hurdeler should have a good mechanism for grabbing and storing a ball already. It will definitely be more complicated but the payoff actually exists there. With a good storing mechanism or a strong grip, the team is less likely to lose the ball after it acquires it unlike herding. I doubt running around the track 5 times will be faster than getting the ball over the overpass once with a decent machine.

Just some food for thought. I’m sure there will be robots which herd nearly perfectly granting them effectively 2 bonus points each time they zip around the loop and all but a small number of hurdelers will be able to quickly acquire and store a ball for quick transport around the track.

How about either? To me it appears the best alliance must have at least one of each robot; a hurdler to potentially go for 12 point bonuses at the end and more effectively remove the balls, but also a quick herder robot that is capable of scoring effectively without a ball (remember, only two balls, but 3 robots).

Whether the “optimal” alliance is two hurdlers and one herder, or two herders one hurdler, I’m not sure of yet. It will probably depend on how good the available herders are vs. the available hurdlers at each regional.

I think that if you put your resources into hurdling, you’d better make it work, because throwing on two sticks and saying “we’re a herder now” because you couldn’t get your arm working is not going to cut it. Look at video from 2004 of robots that just try to herd using little sticks that poke off the robot and you’ll see numerous robots riding up over the balls, having the balls just roll around them, etc. (at least that’s what happened at AZ), and I see this year’s balls way more difficult to control around corners.

Personally, I say herder. If you can develop a device that lifts the ball up the ground and over the COG of the unladen robot, you can create a very stable platform.
Now, some teams may be thinking: “5 other robots? How can you even think that running laps is a viable strategy?! There’ll be more traffic on that track than JFK at Christmas!” But, with some hefty shifters, you can actually push the opposition aside. As long as there is a gap large enough for your robot to squeeze through, any (low-speed) pushing and shoving that you may inflict on another will be incidental, and it will be the other robot that will be penalized for impeding if they try to stop you.
So, let’s think numbers. A herder that can run the track in the Hybrid period scores a total of at least 16 points. Then, it gets its hands on a ball. That means it will start adding a reliable 4 points for every lap, with the ability to deny the opponent a trackball. Assuming the robot will average 2-3 laps every match, that is a nigh-guaranteed 28 points! I’m sure a robot that is very effective at hurdling can pull higher scores, but considering the amount of robot traffic, they may have trouble scoring.
There you have it. Herding robots, while scores are lower, are still a very viable option.

Would a hurdler necessarily be able to put the Trackball back on the rack? Our team was wondering if the twelve point bonus was worth it or would it be easier to just knock off the other alliance’s trackball?

Just a thought to put out there.

If you go with a herder, perhaps a possessing/herding robot would be a good idea…because the opposing alliance can “steal” the ball you’re herding, and take it back almost to your finish line. Might be harder for them to steal it if you have a good grip on it, even if you don’t plan on shooting it (you’d have to drop the ball before you cross to get points, of course)

Everyone make herders please. That will make us very happy. Or am I using reverse psychology ? Hmmmmm

Keep in mind that the rules won’t allow you to possess an opponents ball. You can of course herd it. The line between the two may get blurred until the actual competition. for example could you surround an opponents ball with a large hula hoop that only makes intermittent contact yet more fully controls a rolling ball?

Yes, I was thinking that the opponent would herd your ball in their direction, not possess it. If you possess it yourself it would be more difficult for them to do that.

Once again were going with the same base as last year and 2005. But weve come up with some controls that will hopefully make getting around those corners simple. My only problem is that ball. All my our new members say to use a forklift and use gravity to hurdle it but im not feeling that. Some of our experienced members believe we should use the claw from our 2004 robot Mammoth and then build a elevator mechanism.

Some of the members on my team have thought about making a small r/c car seeing as it would be fast and light. the simple design would allow us to focus on increasing the speed of the robot and not so much on making a complex mechanism to hurdle the ball. another pro to this design would be that we could score many points in hybrid mode without having to worry about a bulky arm getting in the way.

I don’t expect that to be a problem with the Overdrive trackballs.

Maybe not riding over, but getting wedged on it may be an issue. If a robot DOES manage to drive all the way over a trackball, that’s a match I want to watch.