Steamworks Logic

How many airships “took off” this weekend with no fuel in them?

How come climbing the airship is worth so much when you shouldn’t be “ready for flight” without fuel?

I’m mostly making a joke since I’ve come to realize how much time my team wasted on making a fuel focused robot. 1102s season is done, enjoy #SteamworksLogic

My favorite way to improve the game would be that you can climb/board your airship for points after you achieved a certain amount of pressure. Maybe, that gets rid of the excitement of end game, but at least it makes sense logically.

I agree. Seems the GDC was scared of giving too many points for fuel.

We’ll see how some robots who’ve posted insane reveals yet haven’t competed yet do in the next week. But we’re suffering from “it worked perfect before bag ‘n’ tag” syndrome. Lots of fuel streams hitting the front of the boiler and missing.

Week two or three should see more 40-50 ball auto scores.

Every year FLL says something like, “Don’t read any real world situations into the game. The rules are how the game is to be played.”

Maybe the GDC didn’t have a good vision of how teams would really play this game, especially in the early weeks. They could have thought that doing gears would be hard, and that some teams would forsake that for the easier task of slurping up fuel and spitting them into a low goal. Or that the end-game climb would be an elite-team gee whiz factor.

Whatever the reason, the game we have is the game we will be playing this year. You can’t say it would be unrealistic to prepare for takeoff without fuel, when the game rules give you that option.

Even if the steam tank **were **at pressure, have you bothered to calculate how much energy it would contain? 40kPa is just 5.8psi. The capacity of the steam tank (even assuming ultra thin walls) is less than 27,000 cubic inches. The airship pilots and robots typically weight about 600 lb total (150 lb per pilot, 100 lb per robot). Even if you could use this with approaching 100% efficiency (meaning a piston, not air screws), and assumed the airship itself was weightless, 40kPa in the tank would not raise the pilots and robots ten feet.


Pick one. You can’t have both.

Many of the non-FRC people I know that have watched the reveal had the same question, or something along the lines of “Doesn’t the airship need the propellers turning and fuel to take off?”

The act of cranking the gears (by hand) to activate the propellers seems to imply that the airship can be either fuel or human powered. That’s my justification for the GDC’s thought process.

Uh, no. The rotors are **started **by hand. The hand crank was a common way of starting engines on both automobiles and airplanes (and probably other applications) before the starter motor became ubiquitous. Some motorcycles are still started by foot, and small gas engines (lawn mowers, chain saws, weed eaters) are started with a pull string.

Frank also mentioned in a Q&A that this was the reason that there’s a free gear. The center rotor will basically be always spinning, unless you are really oblivious.

The 1st rotor and the airships in general are very reminiscent of da Vinci’s aerial screw.

I propose we change the name to Gearworks.

I saw the free gear as FIRST’s was of showing off their fancy new field. If for some reason no gears are delivered to the airship, there’s still something for the audience to look at.

The act of starting makes sense, but not all steam engines require outside input to start. In the right configuration or when in a proper starting position (in a single acting engine) they may start on their own as long is there is sufficient pressure. Of course, that brings everything back to the initial argument.

It wound be interesting to see a game that relies on human endurance (say, to constantly turn the rotors), but I see why that isn’t practical.

Logically, the high goal should be worth negative points since loading fuel into a smokestack would likely clog up a steam engine.

Maybe make the climbing score based on the fuel score? i.e. a successful climb doubles the value of scored fuel?

Regardless, that is a consideration for future games. The rules are (almost completely) set in stone at this point.

I have to admit I am a bit perplexed at parts of the game, and have wondered what the intent is.

Having a free gear just sitting there and allowing for full rotor points just for a human player putting it in place does not really make sense in a robotics or STEM game.

I also thought there should be some correlation for pressure being needed to accomplish at least something on the airship. Why have it be completely unrelated?

Lastly, why allow teams to bring their own rope. Why not make part of the game to climb the supplied rope? Has there been a game where a major game piece was allowed to be supplied by the teams?

If the overall goal was to get more teams involved, and to have success, I get that. Just a bit surprised by some of the decreased challenges of the game.

Not getting the First gear turning is a clear indication you didn’t read the rules. ::rtm::

Yes! Usually the game features make sense. Harder actions are rewarded to incentivize. Points are “balanced” among different tasks. There are no free points. All of these are out the window this year. To those prattling on about higher levels of game play and later weeks… most teams enjoy only 1 or 2 weeks of game play. We are not elites and will not be part of the “higher levels” of game play. This is not a great year for those kinds of teams. Similarly, Recycle Rush wasn’t a great game for any teams who struggled to do the one and only point scoring action. StrongHold and SteamWorks at least have the benefit of multiple ways for a robot to contribute to the alliance.

My sentiment exactly- you nailed all three of my criticisms. I thought this game had great potential, but after watching week 1, it feels like a missed connection- like something just doesn’t add up. That’s why I post this in the “logic” thread, not in a separate criticism thread. To people outside of FIRST, this game is a bit of a head-scratcher. Not to mention, it can be hard to watch with all of the game pieces on the field and inability to see around the airships.

I’m not calling the game a miss just yet, but it’s been a difficult game to explain to 3rd parties, and that’s not good for our program.