So, do we rely on our payload specialist?

Our team was just wondering if anyone was using payload specialists as part of strategy. Our menors and head builders are wary but I think with practice human hands can be more accurate than they believe. What do you think?

It’s too early in the season to write off the Human Player (Payload Specialist) as a bad option.

That being said, you never want to rely on any one thing too much because then you risk leaving yourself open once something happens. If you are going to have a Human Player Based Strategy then remember that they are Human and have human limitations, and also they’re going to be trying to shoot into a goal that is moving between 5-10fps at most times.

Yeah you’re right…it’s only our second year so our robot might be influenced a little too much by human limitations…I know I sound pesimistic but we’re still fighting over designs.

Back in 2004, there was a rule that only the human players could score in the goals. One team in particular had a human player that made almost every shot from roughly 15’ from the goal. That team specialized in ball collection and delivery. The team was 33, the Killer Bees.

My point? Humans can be very accurate. You’ll want to try to have them practice sitting down as well as standing, though.

I think that relying on one thing in particular isn’t the best idea. Also, remember that if you train one human player to be the best, they can still get sick or injured (or just have an off-day), and they may not preform as intended. On the team I used to be part of we would usually have a human player, and a back-up human player in case something did happen and the original human player couldn’t compete.

With everything being said, I think it is alright to rely on a human player you can count on, but also have a back-up plan or another way to do things if it doesn’t work out.

I’m sure teams will end up using their payload specialists, but it probably not in lieu of all robot scoring. Because offensive ability is critical in this game, I think most (close to all) robots will have a mechanism that can be used to score. Teams will use their PS to score when they have a good opportunity, and to load their bots (either in conjunction with a self-loading bot, or just completely human-loaded). There is no reason why teams can’t or shouldn’t use humans as part of their strategy. I think the most successful teams will have a mixture of human and robot scoring- this partnership is the most flexible, and thus these teams will have the best chance at scoring most often. (Think about how close the opposing teams’ trailers will be at the beginning of autonomous, and of course the robots are bound to drive by at some point again in the match.)

I think another important factor to remember is that re-filling the moon rocks to the human player in the outpost is going to be hard to do. After that person is out of moon rocks, they are effectivly out of the game. You can pick back up moon rocks from the field and roll them into the fueling station, but controlling the rocks into that small hole that the outpost has is going to be hard.

Yes, You do rely on your payload specialists.

You relay on them to play the game to the best of their abilities and not kill the alliance with penalties. That is all that you can ask of them.:yikes:

Well, I expect a lot of people attempting full offense. But I don’t see a lot of them pulling it off. At least not by having the robot throwing balls in. Aren’t there other ways the robot can play offense? I think the best offense on this game is going to be whoever can pin the other for the longest. If I can pin you next to a player station, the human player can score a good chunk while your working yourself loose. Also, if your pinned, my bot is between your bot and my trailer making it harder for you to score. Meanwhile my bot will be outside of your human players range. Make sense? If you just go for shooting with the bot you get into the other teams range much more then if you set picks for the human player. Not sure this is how it will play out, its just the way I foresee it happening.

We have been practicing with a person walking/running around with a garbage can attached to them and having people throw the orbit balls in them, while it is hard because the person with the garbage can can pay attention and move really fast from the incoming balls, our kids were making about 65%-70% of their shots when the “driver” of the garbage can couldn’t see the balls coming. Also at the competitions the drivers will be very distracted with their own strategies and won’t be able to react as fast. Now i know the real competition is way different then just chucking balls in your workshop, but with a little practice i don’t think it will be that big of a difference. Just like anything people do to be good at it you need to practice.

It’s getting pretty late in the design phase of the schedule…maybe you should see if you can just pick whatever design you think you can build in the remaining time? Having some type of robot scoring is a lot better than none, even if it’s not the best one possible.

Anyone wary of what a human player might be able to do should take a long look at video from 2002. While a mechanism that can “shoot” or dump lots of balls can score more than one human can in a given period of time, there were more than a few instances in 02 where a well trained human player (now known as payload specialist) could sway the outcome of a match. Now take into consideration that your alliance has three such folks (in 2002 there were only two) AND they are positioned at both ends and one side of the field (where the two were at one end in 2002).

Our team is still working on manipulator designs for scoring in trailers, but we’re taking our payload specialist’s role very seriously. We quickly identified one specialist very early who will be with us at our first event and she’s been charged with shooting (I refuse to use the word “throwing” because that implies way too much luck and not enough skill) at least 100 balls per day between now and the week one regional. We’re also having several other students work on shooting as well and we’ll identify one or two more students who will help fulfill the role for our team.

As others have said here, you also need to seriously weigh the time you have left a prioritize what you can get done. Playing only part of the game is fine, you have two alliance partners every match. In fact, playing “part” of the game very, very well can sometimes be more effective than trying to “do it all” and coming up mediocre. Our team has experienced this first hand in several ways during our brief history. Everyone’s time and resources are different and maximizing that time and those resources by “fitting” them with a design that meets your team’s individual makeup to me, is essential. I will always, always marvel at what the 111’s and 71’s and even my old team 103, can do. I use their info and people as resources often and they continue to inspire me. However, I’m also under no illusion that we can do what they do the way they do it.

Food for thought - the humans (during build AND at competition) should never be overlooked. They, their time, and their skills and abilities need to be foremost in your mind when making design decisions IMHO.

Good luck and have fun!

In 2004 we won an offseason championship in the final seconds of game 3 because our human player “nailed” eight shots in row with the purple balls. She was just an amazing shot.

In 2006 the human player was a definite part of our strategy and we were in the top 8 all season.

Despite the fact that FIRST teams all build incredible robots, human beings are just still so much more capable. They have much more refined “feedback systems”, which can adjust to an infinite number of situations.

Do not underestimate the human players. Especially given this year’s game format.

We’re using the human player as a main part of our strategy. We’re not completely relying on the human player, but we plan to train players and take advantage of human accuracy/ability.

I don’t see anywhere in the rules that permits passing rocks through the outpost port TO the payload specialist.

So once they deliver their rocks/cells they are done.

If an alliance has a robot that cannot score, then their specialist will start out with the full 20 rocks. Best to put them in the outpost?

Read your team updates.

I believe that you put the HP with the best accuracy not in the Outpost, but you also have to talk to your alliance partners to see what strategy you want to go with. I also don’t believe you should “penalize” a team who can’t score by putting their HP at the outpost. Just because their robot can’t score doesn’t mean that their HP can’t score faster and or better than your robot.

But like i said before it will all come down to alliance strategy and what the alliance agrees on. Unlike other years this is going to take alot of talking to make sure everyone is ok with where their HP goes.

One thing that stuck out to me from 2006 and 2007 that I don’t think teams pay enough attention to is properly training the human player. Just letting them chuck balls (and in 2007’s case tubes) indiscriminately they would either waste balls (by chucking the ball when it wasn’t your scoring period) or get rings caught on robots in 2007 thus neutralizing a robots ability to score (can’t possess two rings at once).
How many times this year are we going to witness Payload Specialists scoring on their own robot or alliance because they can’t aim straight, aren’t looking where they’re throwing or have no clue what color their alliance is or what teams are on it. It’s not as far fetched as it seems. I swear at least 25% of the teams out there act like every day of the competition is Thursday and are just doing their own thing with no plan whatsoever of what their going to do and taking their alliance partners down with them. That’s why it is very important that ALL team members read and understand the rules of the game… Not just the drivers.

I agree. In fact, once the robot has passed inspection, it’s really hard for it to get penalties this year (not like Overdrive). Most of the likely penanties are received by the human players:

eg: Leaving their allocated zone, touching the balls in the airlock, throwing empty cells over the outpost wall, throwing the rocks around the side of the field, using Super-Cells before the 20 sec period.

Plus, miss-thrown balls can score against you just as easily as for you.

Human players can REALLY bring down the team score if you are not carfull.

Usually this is a “desirable” team function. I recommend creating a Payload Specialist “Quiz” that needs to be answered 100% correctly before even being considered for this position.

I’m not a Nube that doesn’t read the rules or updates. But I can miss things.

If you want to take pleasure in “outing” me, please have the courtesy to be specific. Update?.. Section?..

Phil.