Mid build season thoughts

Hey guys,

I am the head designer for 5161 and for our first 3 weeks we have been going for making a robot that is the most efficient and speedy at hatches and climbing the stage 2, maybe 3. We are not doing anything with cargo. I have completely designed the robot and we are now into the building stage. But I am wondering if we made the wrong decision by just doing hatches? What are your guys thoughts? Thanks!

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If you actually are one of the top Hatch Panel robots you won’t need a Cargo mechanism to play in the playoffs. Hopefully the simplification in your design allows you to get extra practice!

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It’s always a good strategy to do one or two things at a 10 instead of doing everything at a 5. Although it is unlikely to win you world’s, it could win regionals.


To answer what you really want to know, I wouldn’t change your design now, whether or not it was the the “wrong choice”. There are better ways to optimize a robot for points without choosing a do everything design, but the amount of time that would be spent redesigning your robot in order to do that isn’t worth it. Continue on, and keep looking for ways to make your hatch delivery faster and faster, which means reducing cycle times. Pay special attention to acquiring and scoring them, as many teams spend absobinate amounts of time on the field just trying to line up.
Read this post from 610 to learn more about faster cycles.

Stick with your initial game strategy and robot high-level design and do it extremely well, is what I recommend.

To be honest, I do think you missed something in your game analysis. I’m thinking doing just hatches, even really well, won’t be enough to carry an alliance in quals or eliminations. That’s not to say that you couldn’t be a vital and important part of a winning alliance, especially if you do have a good level 3 climb, but if your partners aren’t there scoring balls for you, you might have a hard time finding wins and/or RPs.
That having been said, it’s really hard changing horses mid-stream and I’d agree with the other posts, now that you’re fairly committed, unless you guys have a whole lot of resources and manpower to do a 180, I’d stick to your initial plans and see them through to the best of your ability.

I don’t think aiming to be a solid 3rd robot for elims is an invalid strategy. We’ve seen that done with success in prior games. But as everyone has said you have to execute well.

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Just like what everyone has said, if you stick with your design, you will have more time for driver practice. Simple robots with great, well practiced drivers will be better than complex robots with inexperienced drivers. I believe enough teams will be able to do cargo that you should be fine and do well. In 2008, FRC 148 won the world championship by driving in circles, ignoring the game pieces.

Can you execute really well then help out by playing defense or throwing picks for your other alliance partners to keep the opposing defense away. I think there is a lot of validity with building a robot to fill a position, practice that position and grow with it as the season progresses.

3rd bot? The top panel scoring robot at certain regional/district events will be 2nd bot material.

(Though I am curious, @Setthew2000 is your bot designed for low panels only or can you get second and third stage of the rockets all paneled up?)

I think your question is answered. You made the same error I so often do. Cheers!

After our team used the VR we regretted not building a mechanism to do the cargo ship cargo
We aren’t a very good team so we can’t fix that but maybe a better team could

As I understand that, he is referring to climbing the habitat to level 2, maybe 3.

Don’t disparage your team like that! Practice driving like crazy so even if you can’t do some of the tasks well, so you have a great driver who can help other teams be better. Also, at your first competition, look at the other teams’ mechanisms and see if you can make something similar for your second competition. Even if you don’t make it onto the elimination field, take pride in learning and improving.

See, like I said. I just did it. You’re so right. If they designed something that places higher, they will be a lot more useful to other teams who are fast at popping cargo into the rocket.

You made the right choice.

When your become an alliance captain I think I would choose a solid cargo bot as my second pick and a hatch/cargo bot as my third. Have the third bot start with hatches only and switch mid way to cargo.

Boom! World Champs!

Yeah it depends on who the alliance captains are and who the teams are at the event. I agree it’s fair to say some captains (who themselves can score cargo somewhat reliably) will be looking for a hatch panel robot as a 1st pick. Point being going for the carry the alliance strategy is not the only way to win.

Doing one thing very very well, is far more valuable than doing a number of things poorly. With the former you are a valuable member of certain alliances, with the later you are a 3rd round pick. This point tends to get overlooked in the rush/enthusiasm to design a do everything bot.

Design within your capabilities and ensure that you absolutely nail the tasks to decide to do.

@cclee I’m with @Mr_Tatorscout on this one. There’s still plenty of time. If you are looking for a simple way to score cargo I would probably try prototyping a dumping style scoring mechanism. Load up from the loading station and dump the CARGO into the ship. Might be as easy as bolting a pneumatic cylinder to a Rubbermaid(Plastic tub) and affixing that to your robot at the right height.

Our robot is designed to put hatches on all levels of the rocket. That is what I was hopping to make a robot for! Second or third pick. I don’t plan on leading any alliances.