[MCC] Minimum Competive Concept 2016

Previous years are located:
It contains the links to even other previous years.

Here we go:

Each year I am amazed by what teams come up with to compete in FRC. Teams have a ton of wonderful ideas and some even see good execution of those ideas.

I would like this thread to focus on the “Minimum Competitive Concept” for a robot for 2016. It is often easy to identify all the possible tasks you could have a robot do. Prioritizing those tasks, and realizing it in the form of a competitive robot is in my opinion much more impressive.

If you haven’t watched the Simbotics Strategy Presentation, please do before responding to this thread. Especially review the “Golden Rules 1&2”.

Assumptions are that one of the primary goals of the MCC is to play in elims (not necessarily win on Einstein), and your team has mid-pack to lower fabrication resources.

Please list your assumptions, strategy to seed high, estimate of a winning score, and what robot design elements would achieve this score.

I personally usually assume for this thread that the goal is to seed high enough to be either a Alliance Captain or a pretty early pick. I would appreciate this year if we kept towards that philosophy.

I request you do this exercise first, and then you may want to see what the excellent folks from WCP & Vexprobrought to the table.

For this year, I would say that the goals for an MCC robot would be as follows:
Can do Low Bar, Portcullis, both Category B, both Category D defenses, and assistance for Category C defenses.
Scoring in the Low Goal.
Cross in Auto for most Defenses, reach for other Defenses.
Park on batter for contributing to the Capture.

Robot requirements:
Some sort of “active” boulder intake (Similar to 2010 ones)
WCD or 8 wheel drop with 6" pneumatic wheels
Low static wedges to force Portcullis up

Match strategy:
Auto: Cross defense with ball for 10pt Auto
Teleop: Focus on quick breach of the defenses, while also scoring occasional low goal to help assist in weakening of tower. If paired with two high goal shooters, while breaching defenses also help by ferrying boulders across defense and giving the scoring robots an ample supply or boulders.
End game: Quick score of any left over boulders in the courtyard in Low Goal if there is still 1 health on tower, then park on Batter for Capture.
The strategy during Elims would be that the two other robots are the main scoring robots, while our MCC robot breaches defenses and helps feed balls to the slower 2nd pick shooter. Ideally the 1st draft will be able to assist in the breaching but focus on boulder cycles.

During Alliance selections, the priority is to pick up a high goal scoring robot that can also help damage other defenses. Then, the second pick would be a slower shooter who hopefully has a scaling mechanism.
Obviously this robot is built more to play the RP system than it is to play the Game itself. Which I think is perfectly okay for a team to set out to do. I would say that it is a reasonable assumption that each robot on an alliance during Qualifications can score ~3 boulders (40 second cycles), and with this robot focusing on breaching defenses, it would be able to get 3-4 RP each match and seed high.

While a bit more advanced than the MCC, I believe that [1296's Mittens](http://www.rockwallrobotics.com/robot.html) designed a good example of an MCC robot for this year, and that the high goal scoring capability would be something that a robot could reasonably add over time during the season (And a must have for Championships), even if it isn't exactly the pneumatic cannon that Full Metal ran.

Assume: RPs from breaching and capturing are important (they’ll get ya 20 and 25 points later)
Assume: Early-season event (there’s a slightly different assumption for a later-season event)
Assume: Everybody (else) goin’ low bar

–A/B/D obstacles
–Visibility from far end of field
–C obstacles from Courtyard
–Boulder Handling (Low Goal)

Nice to Have:
–Activate C obstacles from Neutral Zone
–Low Bar capability

The plan: Drive over defenses B/D (25 points if one is done in auto), execute the spin move on the Sally Port (or the equivalent on the drawbridge–10 points), pick off any remaining low bars (10 points), possibly tackle the A defense if there isn’t anything left (10 points) and go park on the batter (5 points). If possible, take a boulder each trip to feed others or shove in low goal (2 or 5 points per trip, 5-6 trips easily). I figure that’s 1 RP and up to about 60 points/match solo, which would give a high chance of a match win when combined with partners’ scoring.

For early-season events, that strategy can rack up some serious points. Can’t really argue with a full breach done quickly and a ferry-bot. FRC2637 is a prime example (they’re the small red-bot)–this was after their finalist run in San Diego (and resulting Wild Card). They had a couple of specialist mechanisms for A and C defenses (though in the match shown, they didn’t use 'em on C).

When everybody’s breaching in later-season events, the focus will need to be more towards delivering boulders to the tower. But that’s something to tune in.

If I was with a relatively new team with limited resources, I would make a robot that only goes under the low bar and score up close high goals with a pneumatic catapult. May not rank the highest but would be a solid pick by a lot of alliances.

I’d like to offer up Team 5811, BONDS Robotics from Ohio as this year’s MCC.

5811 had an intake and a decent drivetrain. They could score up to 6 low goals in a match, and could cross most of the defenses that mattered.

They were the 7th alliance captain at their first event, upsetting the 2 seed and winning Rookie All-Star. They were the second selection of the 8th alliance captain at their second event, almost upsetting the #1 seed in three close matches.

They competed in the Hopper Division, and were very high on our picklist for third and fourth robots.

Requirements (rough priority order):

  1. Durable design that survives matches (minimal radio reboots, brownouts, thrown chains, stripped gears, tipping, etc).

  2. Can challenge tower

  3. Capable of crossing terrain defenses in tele-op

  4. Capable of acquiring and spitting out boulders

  5. Capable of crossing terrain defenses in autonomous

  6. Capable of crossing low bar in tele-op

  7. Capable of crossing low bar in autonomous

  8. Capable of crossing category A defenses in tele-op

Differentiating factors (how to stand out compared to other similar bots):

  1. Low goal autonomous

  2. Category A autonomous

  3. Robot visibility past category C defenses

  4. Shot blocking device

  5. Predictable/controllable positioning after autonomous crossings

  6. Autonomous routines with delays

There are several different robot designs this year that meet this criteria, I think.

Ultimately, the robot needs to do the following:

  • Cross two defenses a match regardless of the configuration on the field (both defenses of one category + the low bar should do it)
  • Pick up balls and score them in the low goal
  • Stay on the batter
  • Push

I do think you need a pickup to be consistently competitive. You can win events without one but you won’t consistently seed well. This robot can seed #1 with some luck (or the ability to cross more than 3 of the 9 defenses).

Being a on a rookie team with only freshmen and sophomores, we really had to find the most simple robot that we would be able to build in 6 weeks. We decided to go with a low goal/ resupply robot. The chassis is an AMU14 with the 8 in. pneumatic upgrade kit. The intake and shooter was a spinning pool noodle. And that’s pretty much it for functionality.

We seeded 15th at SVR, and won rookie all-star, then seeded 68th in Curie and was chosen by the 4th alliance as backup. (shout out to 5803, 3310 and 2168). I don’t our robot could be competitive on Einstein but it was probably one of, if not the simplest robot that I saw at CMP.

5940’s TBA page: http://www.thebluealliance.com/team/5940

I think 1257’s 2016 robot exemplifies the minimum competitive concept for this year. To quote one of the other mentors, “we do all the easy things really well”:

  • Fast, robust drivetrain
  • Quick intake to enable up to 7-8 low goals a match
  • Able to breach all non-C defenses from the neutral zone
  • Able to breach Sally Port starting from the courtyard
  • Able to reliably challenge
  • Drivers practiced prior to competition

This robot was:

  • Winner at Mount Olive as the 7th Alliance Captain
  • Finalist #1 seed at Bridgewater-Raritan
  • Winner at MAR Championship as the second pick of the first alliance
  • Division semifinalist as the third pick of the second alliance, playing in all of our alliance’s matches in place of the second pick

As I tell students on both of my teams, a good robot with great strategy beats a great robot with good strategy. In playoffs, we beat many sophisticated robots with our simple low-goal cycler thanks to smart driving and well-executed strategy.

Team 836, the RoboBees, did the MCC this year.

  • Ridiculously fast and agile drive train
  • Durable, reliable over-bumper intake
  • Intake also served as a Class A manipulator
  • Robot was extra short to facilitate going under the low bar at speed
  • Low Goal autonomous was very consistent for an extra 5 points

Primary Roles

  • District Events: Breach, Low Goal
  • District Champs: Breach, and Low Goal better than anyone else
  • World Champs: Breach, sometimes Low Goal, sometime Feed. Easily the best feeder bot I saw. They did 9 low goals in their first Qual match.

This year especially, build something that won’t break. And If it breaks, easy to fix between matches.

Add a quick ball intake/discharge for low goals, at most events you can seed in the top 8.

Last is driver practice. Practice practice practice. Two teams with identical drive trains but differing drive experience preform drastically different. Lack of robot features can be compensated with lots of practice.

Fixed that for you :wink: .

At champs we had one match where we scored 6 low goals while being disconnected for 40 seconds of the match, and still another where we scored 7 low goals while carrying the breach for our alliance (I think 5 or 6 out of the 8 crosses). I’m convinced we could have scored more than 7 if the right situation presented itself.

But seriously, thank you for the mention, but I think we slightly exceeded the criteria for an MCC. We kinda set out to build an MCC this season with our goal of making playoffs at both our regional events. We ended up over-shooting the MCC by a bit with surprise ability to cross the portcullis and auto routines for crossing 3 unique classes of defenses rather consistently. But overall I’d say we’re a fairly close example.

I’d like to also show off my team’s robot (Team 5150) as an example of the MCC for this year. Simple, cheap, and robust were our objectives for the season. Total cost was a little over $1,000 which allowed us to have a practice bot and a competition bot. We had a drivetrain that went through many iterations to find the best option as well as an accessory arm that acted as a ball intake, anti-tortuga arm, and the class A defense manipulator. We were able to cycle fast low goals. (8 a match.) As well as act as a defender at MSC eliminations and Newton eliminations. We were 1st alliance captain at Kettering #1, 4th alliance captain at MSC, and 5th alliance captain at CMP in the Newton division.

Check out the event details here: http://www.thebluealliance.com/team/5150

Check out more of the robot and get in touch with us here: http://hybridhornets.weebly.com/robots.html

This was basically the goal for 3005 as well.

Our robot was a chain in tube, 8WD pneumatic drivetrain, with a dual roller intake on one side and a single roller intake on the other. We could easily breach all the defenses (including a sally port spin and drawbridge if we had to drive over, tap, drive back).

By champs, we could cycle 6-8 low goal boulders per match.

We were #2 seed of ~60 at Alamo, and the #2 AC and regional finalists. We were #2 seed at Dallas of ~45, but ended up out in SF due to a couple alliance issues. At champs, we were #7 seed in Curie, and ended up leading that alliance to the Curie finals, missing out on Einstein by 2 points in one match, and 1 point in another.

The keys were recognizing the opportunity early in our season, getting a second bot built for the first time to get a huge amount of driver practice, and a focus on absolute reliability and scouting. We never missed a match, lost comms, or had a major component failure that wasn’t fixed in 10 minutes or less.

Link to Youtube video of robot

So we are looking for minimum competitive concept. 4 wheel 8 or 10 inch pneumatic tires. 4 cim drive geared around 8 ft/s. (With MCC you get agile or fast, but not both). A fast intake capable of squirting the ball in the low goal. Intake could be a combination of wheels and pneumatics. A simple arm actuator for the category A defenses. This could almost be assembled with KOP and first choice parts. especially for a second year team.

With this you could breach by yourself if you had to. Score a low goal autonomous fairly consistently. Break the tower with a little help (and pick up the extra RP). This would you get picking at most districts & regionals. To win in eliminations you would need the help of a high goal capable robot on your alliance. (Add good scouting to the list)

Reading through this thread, I would say that our robot perfectly fits this bill. We made the trade off of crossing defenses and quick low goals for shooting and hanging, but sacrificed high goal shooting. Although it was effective (we qualified and advanced through michigan state finals, and finished as an 8th alliance captain at worlds), we are hoping to have a high goal shooter operational by our first offseason competition.

Although clearly effective, it does show that we need to push ourselves. I feel like that as a team as old as ours, we should be able to accomplish more than the minimum level of competitiveness, consistently, no matter how many seniors we lose, or any other circumstances that fall on us

Our robot was basically an MCC. We kept it simple, super robust (it never broke down!), and practiced as much as we could.

KOP chassis upgraded to 6 8" pneumatic wheels.
Built narrow to go over half the ramparts without catching on the other half (this turned out to be a key design decision)!
Low bar capable.
“Roll cage” and Lexan cover to protect innards and drive under portcullis.
Capable of going over rock wall, rough terrain, and moat.
Single arm wheeled shooter to intake/shoot balls. Designed for low goal (theoretically could have done high goal with some refinement, but we didn’t get this reliable enough to use - only 50% successful)
Arm mechanism also capable of handling the cheval de frise and the portcullis.
Cameras for vision tracking in auto and for driver station display.
Multiple autonomous modes (low bar low goal with and without vision, reach any defense, cross ground defense quickly, cross ground defense slowly, cross cheval de frise, cross portcullis, do nothing)

No climber. No mechanisms for sally port or drawbridge.

We practiced, practiced, practiced variations on cycles including quickly breaching, quickly grabbing boulders to deposit into the courtyard, and doing full cycles of low goals.

This was good enough to make 6th and 5th alliance captain at GTRC and North Bay, which I call a great success for our first year!


Our goal at the beginning of the season was to qualify for MSC and we felt we could do that with our team resources (mentors, students, time, money) by building a very competitive MCC robot and were not disappointed [Team 1114 presentation makes this point about carefully evaluating your resources]

FRC3548, RoboRavens2, built a MCC robot that successfully became 3 captain at SOuthfield and then selected by 1 captain, 3604, to win the event with our sister team, FRC1188, who also built a MCC robot.

At our second FiM event at Livonia, after a few rounds of alliance captain picking each other, we found ourselves as captain of alliance#8. Our sister team, 1188, chose us as their first pick.

From this perspective I think the students considered our season very successful especially after we qualified for MSC and the World Championship at St. Louis.

One of the major things different this year was how much the KOP chassi had to change in order to be an effective MCC robot (our view). What normally takes us only two weeks to complete took us four weeks this year. Modifications to the KOP chassis included the pneumatic upgrade kit from AM, the AM front wedge plate, VEX Pro 13t CIM gear, 50 tooth trans gear swap, and new belts to go with the VEX 60T belt pulleys. We needed to resize our KOP by reducing it by one inch in order to accommodate the belt and pulleys.

As an experienced coach I know that our 10 student member team will peak at about 500 hours in the six week build period. As such, not having a shooter to reuse “off the shelf” or a climber “off the shelf” made those two items very low on the wish list. We are considering those off season projects at the present time.

One the great things about successfully competing and successfully completing a MCC robot is that the team is not stretched to its absolute limits the whole season long. This allows the coaches, students and mentors to smile and enjoy the entire season a whole lot more. This is an important element in retaining and attracting students, mentors and coaches for the next year.

Going for those non-zero-sum ranking points was essential.

Essential items:

  • Durable drive train, capable of repeatedly driving over category B & D (terrain) at a reasonable (or insanely fast) speed, reasonably low CoG (preferably within bumper zone), and park on batter
  • Fast boulder pickup and reasonably short cycle time (20s), with reliable low goal scoring (or feed to a high goal shooter)
  • Plenty of driver practice (10 hours minimum)

Plus three or more of these:

  • reasonably reliable autonomous crossing
  • Ability to drive under low bar
  • Ability to cross additional category of defenses (most likely category A, portcullis/CDF)
  • High goal, reasonably fast (3-5 sec extra), preferably from batter or outer works.
  • Good defensive ability, with enough height to block many high-goal shooters

Above MCC, but great for WINNING regionals:

  • Scaling
  • Auto goal score
  • Double auto goal score.

There were a number of drive systems that were workable (tank tread, pneumatic wheels, and many solid wheels). The best all-around manipulator concept was the popular intake wheels at the end of a long arm that could extend over the bumpers, hold the boulder, and feed it back out. With a little careful design, this same arm could operate the CDF and portcullis. Some sort of side rails or other system (e.g. built into the pickup arm) to make going under the portcullis a clean run is also needed.

I think this missed the point of “minimum” as it gets into the realm of “do a little bit of everything”. I would say one and only one of those (but remove HG from it completely). Agree with your essentials though.