Picking up balls or not

so a big debate in my team is whether or not to pick up a ball. i agrgue that it is what sets apart the men from the boys, and will be a crucial part of winning. One of our members, and our coach says that picking up the ball will happen twice in the game at most and will be a space waster.
Let me know what you think, i need better arguments for why we should pick up a ball.

Josh “Froggy” Dennison
1525 Warbots

go on the blue alliance site and watch the Finals in Atlanta from Aim High. Most of the finalist used human loading. I’m not saying you can’t build a successful collector though.

The most successful teams in 2006 were those that could both human-load and vacuum-load, though the human-loaded ones tended to be more common.

With that said, I think that human-loading will be far less effective this year than in 2006 because the human players are forbidden from leaving their little zones. One thing that stands out in my mind from 2006 was all 3 human players reloading one of the triplets in about 10 seconds in a hail of balls. In 2006, human-reloading effectiveness was very high because you were allowed getting all 3 of your alliance’s HPs about 4 feet away from your robot simultaneously. With the rules for Lunacy, you can only get 1 human player close to your robot at a time because they are spread all over the field.

Also, you are extremely vulnerable while stopped for loading because:
A) Your opponents will have a dead-stopped trailer to aim at (and they’ll have 2 HPs close to you). Your opponents might fire a ball or two in your hopper, but balls in your hopper aren’t scored yet, so that doesn’t matter much.
B) Your own human players might mis-chuck and fire a ball into your trailer by accident.

In review, why this year is not like 2006 and why I think vacuum-loaders will be more effective:
-Stopping to reload in 2006 did not expose you to getting scored on
-In 2006, you could reload at essentially triple the pace of this year, which made human reloading that much more attractive.

I think being able to pickup up balls will be helpful, but it will also be difficult due to the slippery driving situation.

We’re going to try for both human and robot loading

Perhaps he was speaking of a seperate device for the grabbing and moving of empty cells so they would not mix in with moonrocks.

The crux of this game is different - in 2006 the human players couldn’t score points directly. Human players - espcially the outpost players, have a great opportunity to contribute and to score.

So your question is more complex - should your human players be shooting them at your robot or the other robot?

  1. What’s the risk, if they miss, that the ball ends up in the trailer?
  2. Can they score in the trailers of opposing teams accurately?
  3. Is it worth the time it will take to move back to be reloaded? Holy - slow -motion Batman!

The correct balance of human scoring and robot scoring will win this - but It will probably take 3 weeks of regionals before we begin to see winning patterns emerge.

… and in 2006 your robot could EXPAND after the start of the game to collect more balls and you didn’t have to stay within the starting volume.

These are excellent points.

Some other thoughts:
-If you can human load, it may make it easier to both collect empty cells and score super cells with the robot (drop the balls in the bot and score).
-If you have a big hopper for HP loading you may catch some of the other alliances missed shots :yikes:

I still believe that HP loading will be faster than pickup b/c you won’t have to chase down balls on the slippery surface. Chasing down 10 balls will take a fair amount of time…

One possible strategy is for the HP to toss them all in the same place so your robot can just zoom by and suck them up all at once. Kind of the best of both strategies eh?

Human players could score in 2006.

Other than that, I agree with what you say.

One more thing to keep in mind, in 2006 the human players had a constant stream of balls at their disposal; any ball that was scored by the opposing alliiance was in the hands of the human players.

This year it’s different. Each human player starts with 20 balls (or 13, depending on whether or not you want your robot to start with any. If you plan on putting balls in your robot anyway, then you will probably pre-load and start with 13). Considering how easy the shots will be right after autonomous starts, some of that ammo will likely be used up to score. If your at one of the outposts, this leaves you very few balls to last you the rest of the game.

If you are at on of the refueling stations, your stash of balls can be increased only if robots herd balls into the corner. If you need to be able to herd balls into a corner in order to get balls loaded into your machine, then why not just pick up off the floor?

I think choosing not to have a collector would be a bad decision. What do you have to loose:

-Weight: no, with this field you want to be as close to the weight limit as possible
-Space: no, if you can’t collect balls you will not be able to do much else with the space
-Power consumption: no, again without a collector you will just be driving anyways

…did I miss any thing?

Honestly with this particular competition, you have almost nothing to loose. Go for it!

A key difference between 2006 and 2009 is that the scoring pieces were recycled in 2006. score, put the ball back into play.

For 2009, once scored, the balls are out of play. to get them back into play, youneed to be able to quickly herd them to the payload specialists or pick them up into your robot.

That there is definitely a point to consider, especially if your team is considering herding balls to human player.

Whether a ball vacuum “sets apart the men from the boys” isn’t really the most important question in whether you should design one into your robot. I thinkit’s obvious that a robot with an effective vacuum is more attractive than an identical robot without that vacuum, but that’s not the the only question that determines whether you should go with one or not. The benefits of a vacuum are obvious, but you do need to look at the potential costs associated with one.

It’s highly unlikely that an effective vacuum would be the only difference between the two robots. A ball vacuum is going to take addtional time, space, weight, and materials on your robot. If adding a vacuum to your robot’s design pushes your completion date back a week or more, then you need to consider if your robot would be better off with a vacuum, or an extra week of practice time for the drivers. If it pushes you over weight, or reduces the effectiveness of your other systems, you need to consider that. Most importantly, if it would be a serious technical stretch for your team to complete it successfully, then you should be having serious second thoughts. A non-working vacuum on which you’ve spent significant time space and weight is a much, much larger detriment to your robot than not having one in the first place.

So, if your team is fully capable of designing, building, and integrating a ball vacuum in the next 3.5 weeks, then yes it would be beneficial. But if it’s realistically going to take longer than 4 weeks from now… It’s probably not the best idea for your team.

I think you guys are missing a point here. if you aim not to pick up and score balls, you become a defender. As a defender you want to do whatever possible to prevent the opposing alliance from scoring. there is two ways of doing this. One you move so fast they can’t get balls in your trailer, and two covering your trailer. the latter is illegal as of team update two, so you’d have to put all your effort into speed. which for this game isn’t really important, or very easy for that matter. and it would be close to impossible to control.

so it wouldn’t be worth the saved space to not have some kind of manipulator, because it doesn’t help you out much without one.

this is just my take on the situation though. if you disagree, say how you feel about it

If you’re a defender, you can try to control the position of yours opponents. Keep them near your payload specialists, keep them away from their empty cells, etc.
It’s not just defending your own trailer.

I think being able to collect the balls is important. I believe herding will be difficult since we are unable to expand. I find it highly likely your lose balls when herding.

Also things like to end up at the point of lowest potential so there will probably be a decent amount of cells on the floor.

Hmm… how about not really collecting the balls from the floor and not really getting them from human player? Have a mechanism in front that’s spinning at 5,000 rpm and has little forks. I am sure you will be throwing lots of balls into the audience. You will be the crowd’s favorite. :slight_smile:

i only read the first few posts and im not sure if anyone said this, but just remember that the hp’s accuracy isnt going to be as good as 06. this is because of the wall in front oh him/her that he/she has to ark the ball over

edit – whoops, s_forbes beat me to it! See <G05> from the 2006 rules.

If a team chooses not to pick up off the floor simply because it’s too complex for the capabilities of the build team, that’s a great strategy move; if they do it well they will complement their alliance greatly. Otherwise, picking up from the floor is, in my opinion, a MUST DO for the last 30 seconds of the game for at least 1 bot on every alliance.