Ramps are Fuel

The title is slightly misleading… but it got you here didn’t it :smiley:

What I mean is that last year, many teams seemed to focus on Fuel, and spent a lot of time during the build season on Fuel mechanisms. It turned out to be a lot of wasted time for most teams as they abandoned their mechanisms late in the build season, or just never really utilized them at their events.

I think it’s important for teams to consider how difficult it will be to build an effective Ramp Bot. I don’t think the challenge is trivial, and I think a lot of teams will commit a lot of time (possibly in vain) to a Ramp Bot without fully realizing the implications. I’ve already spoken to multiple teams that want to build a Ramp Bot, including a Rookie Team. I see the Ramp Bot position as one that is occupied successfully by the top tier of teams.

Ramps are this year’s shiny object that will distract teams from committing themselves to more manageable and important tasks like Switching and Scaling. I just want to see teams accurately assess their own abilities and commit themselves to important game objectives, not get distracted by the latest shiny object.

Obviously Ramps are very different than Fuel in that, if they are successful, they have a huge impact on the game at any level of play, whereas Fuel really only mattered at high levels of play. But that’s not what this thread is about…

Ryan, I have to disagree with you here in one respect: Ramps are not that difficult to pull off. Rookies can successfully build one. My team did our rookie year. But there hasn’t really been any need for ramp bots since then, so there’s relatively little experience around right now.

Granted, we only designed to lift a single robot, not two… but that’s because we went after the tubes as well. If we had just gone after the ramp, that arm in the front would have been a platform instead, and would have been very easy to build. Literally all you need are big sheets of aluminum supported by some square or angle, and some door hinges. Put some high-grip tape on it to help with traction. Have a cable holding it back that you release with a pneumatic piston, and the thing just flops down. Very simple design and build that could be effective as a ramp bot.

Now, the question of dedicated ramp bot versus something that can handle cubes is entirely different. Teams will have to come up with their own analysis of the game to determine that sort of strategy decision!

It’s a risk-reward question that can only be answered by the team trying it.

In 2007 1824 pulled it off well and won BAE as well as captained the 6th alliance on Archimedes.

That being said, we did limit what we could do to defense and lifts (was the easiest ramp bot around and could lift 2 with room to spare … was nicknamed the aircraft carrier by an alliance partner)).

I am of the same opinion as the OP. Though big, ugly, cumbersome ramps don’t hit me as being shiny in the same way as a ball shooter.

I don’t think building a ramp bot will be difficult at all. It seems like any team could build a foldable ramp for at least one other bot. The big point is Wednesday we will find out if it is legal or not. I think the ramp aspect is too easy. It was so easy that my team over looked the entire idea. But easy doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful, placing gears was something almost all teams could do last year, but it was needed. The trick with ramp bots will be how well they integrate other functions with it. Can they place on the scale as well? If so they will probably be a high ranked bot. Different from other bots? No, since it will be a fairly feasible task.

If I learned anything from 2007 it’s that building a ramp does not mean you are building a ramp that is easy for most robots to actually climb on. There were plenty of great rampbots in 2007, but let’s not forget all of the ramps that teams built that were either not used, or that the tall spindly robots just fell off of at the end of matches.

And this year robots will have to navigate two inclines, the one up to the platform and then the rampbot itself.

I think we’ll see plenty of good rampbots this year, but only from teams that dedicate a significant amount of their engineering time and weight budget to perfecting a ramp that is easy enough for a majority of robots to climb on.

Very true, I didn’t think about engineering it for ease of the other robots. There will probably be a few teams that won’t be able to make it up certain ramps.

Just remember in 2007 there were no bumpers to get in the way of the ramps deploying.

In 2007 339 built a ramp, took most of the build season, only got used once successfully. Very few robots were designed to climb a ramp!

Ummmm, yes there were.

it was the 1st year of bumpers, and my team broke ours almost every match (too wide of a gap between bumper and frame)

Bumpers weren’t mandatory however…

I can’t recall if we ever successfully got up a ramp that year.

Ramp and climbing ability will separate the haves from the have nots.

I remember vividly that 868 was a wide bot, and that most ramps only supported narrow bots. :frowning:

Bumpers were entirely optional in '07. (Ask me why that’s seared into my brain.) However, it’s pretty easy to build a ramp that’s deployable over them.

I’m going to agree with Ryan here that ramps and various other 3-climb enabling solutions shouldn’t be a priority for most teams. A good actually useful ramp is a moderately difficult engineering feat:

  • Quickly deployable
  • Reliably deployable
  • Easy for 80% of teams to drive up
  • Can be driven onto in parallel, not in series

The last two are the biggest. The worst ramps in 2007 were 28" wide and had 1 ramp and 2 parking locations. They were super simple to implement, and nearly impossible to use in practice because positioning and driving a robot that accurately over that distance in the last 30 seconds turns out to be hard. And you had to do it twice, one after the other. There’s tons of video of bad static ramps from '07.

A much much more useful task for most teams is going to be scaling, implementing a reliable switch auto, or climbing individually. Any one of those things is going to make you more useful than poorly implemented ramps.

Our (1824) ramp bot was deployable over the bumper.

I only saw 1 robot that could not climb our ramp (actually hit the piano hinge because it was so low).

We did forgo scoring on the rack in order to be the best/easiest rampbot there.

The ramp idea makes good sense from a mechanical perspective and will (probably) remain legal throughout the season, but I think there are some inherent strategic weaknesses that teams should consider. By building a ramp instead of a climber, you are guaranteed to be giving up 1 out of 3 possible climbs. What happens if any one of your three robots has a disconnect? What happens if there are two ramp bots on an alliance? An alliance is better served with at least two robots that can guarantee a climb (either on the rung or on an equivalent feature attached to an already suspended robot) than any number of ramp robots.

I kinda see ramp bots like the recycle bin bots in 2015; They are unique in that they only do one thing well, but that thing is very valuable. The entire strategy is to be picked for an alliance because you give them a capability they didn’t have without you.

Notice in 2015, overall the recycle bin bots didn’t do all that well

27 would probably beg to differ. They were the only team I actually saw go Recycle bin only (mostly) and were very successful. Most Recycle bin only bots in 2015 were relegated to that duty because their stacking wasn’t great and there were only 2 HP loading zones.

Note that a ramp bot will be able to go onto a ramp