Thoughts on Overdrive

Now that the last official game of Overdrive has been played I want to hear what people think about the game.
I think that overdrive was very exciting. Every time a team hurdled the crowd would go crazy. The fast pace of the game made it exciting to watch without ever having a dull moment. The high amount of points that could be scored in hybrid modes gave teams that may not look so good in tele-op a chance to compete. Although Overdrive seemed to be dominated by hurdlers, speed bots had to play a crucial roll in a winning alliance because there were only two track balls. We saw many methods of pick-up, herding and hurdling.(as my teams scout) I found it very fun to analyze the different techniques teams used to accomplish the various tasks in the game. The race style of game called for the teams to design many interesting drive trains. Even though the game was, again, primarily skid steered bots. Pick-up seemed to be the aspect of the game that could make or break a hurdling robot, many teams underestimated the importance of pick-up and for most it was what separated them from the elite. The drivers came into play a lot in Overdrive, many teams had a lot of success due to the skill of their drivers.
Overall I think Overdrive was a great game that made teams work hard and come out with amazing machines. The game itself started slow but in the later weeks to the finals the game became very exciting and the quality of game play rose. The people at FIRST(as always) did an awesome job coming up with a game.

What are your Thoughts?

Overdrive was very bland when played in qualifications but it came to life during the elims. Then it was so electric it could light up Atlanta for weeks!
Too dominated by penalties though.

The fact that there was really only one objective in the game was a large turnoff to me. However, this simple game really did help non-FIRST spectators understand and enjoy the event.

Overdrive wasn’t as good as 07, 06, or 04.

Only one objective? I can count four completely different ways to score in Overdrive, as compared to '07 (one and a half), '06 (two and a half) or ‘05 (three and a half) *. The variation in robot design is far greater than last year’s game, and I would argue the drive trains/manipulators used in OD are the most elegant across the board, as compared to past years’ designs.

The pits seemed to be a much friendlier place - a horde of workers fixing a broken robot was not nearly as commonplace as it has been in the past. People could walk around, check out different designs, and ask questions without fear of getting in the way or impeding progress. I think this was due largely to the monodirectional and mostly offensive-minded flow of the game. While defense did play a large part in the game (moreso than most people realize), the damage inflicted was not nearly as destructive as in the past.

One thing I think could be improved was the Hybrid mode. While the concept was cool (controlling the robot with a TV remote), the physical size of the game and arena made it so the majority of spectators missed out on that feature. Also, depending on the robot’s orientation, sometimes the lap counters interfered with the IR receiver. I understand that’s all part of the game challenge and there are ways around it, but when trying to make the non-teleoperated period rookie-friendly, there’s no need to throw in extra difficulties.*

I liked overdrive,

It separated the field from a bot that was just there and didn’t fulfill it’s job compared to one which was really great. The “unsatisfactory” robots did not win. And if you look at teams that had success, 27, 1114, 217, and countless others, they had good robots.

Defense was less of a factor and it really depended on how good was your robot.

I’m not sure if it’s fair to draw comparisons between FIRST Frenzy and the games of the 3v3 era, given the differences in structure; that said, this season as a whole ranks #2 on my personal list of favorite 3v3 seasons behind Aim High and ahead of Triple Play and Rack ‘N’ Roll.

-The kit was more or less sound. There is nothing more frustrating than finding out that key elements of the kit of parts that we’re relying on are subpar. (The 6V Fisher-Price motors of 2005 and the BaneBots gearboxes of 2007 come to mind.) Not directly related to the game, mind you, but robust robots make for better matches. (Granted, the IR board gave up on a lot of teams, but you had options between Kevin Watson’s code and some other resources on the internet.)
-The overall objective of the game was crystal-clear. Make laps, throw a huge ball over the overpass. Good luck explaining any other game in that much space.
-Robots had something to do the entire match. When robots don’t have anything to do, they hit. This year, they could at least score points by getting around the track. Yes, you could still hit and play defense in this game, but you had to be more intelligent about it. I like that.
-There were no huge team updates over the season, and only minimal YMTCs here on CD. That’s a sign of a good game.* Edit: Aim High still holds the ultimate record–there are zero YMTCs in the subforum from that season.*
-There was a tremendous incentive to have a good hybrid routine. Entire matches could be decided in those opening seconds. It underscored the importance of good programming (especially to those of us that lacked it).
-The game was capable of sorting out the best from the good and the good from the rest. There was no “Who?!” this season on Einstein for me–the teams that made it there all had great accomplishments across the entire season.

-The absence of an exact copy of the field ball for the better part of the season was frustrating.
-Some events had issues with the overpass sagging, which would then catch some robots designed to interact with an overpass within tolerance. Since you’re passing underneath the overpass dozens of times over a regional, that’s an issue.
-I’m still not sold on the photo-finish for robot movement but not ball movement. I imagine that many off-seasons will have their way with that rule. On the up side, that’s probably the only irritating rule of the season for me–compare that with the many grumbles about various parts of last season’s manual.

I saw plenty of matches where robots were carried to the top of the ranking this year.

Defense was definately a factor this year… not so much a straight pushing match like last year but there were many teams that incoprorated completely defensive strategies… Keeping the trackballs away from the good hurdling robots and blocking them from making their way around the track was a huge componet of this years game… And yes pushing was also very evident this year to from my observations…

I never once saw a robot politely bump another and then wait for 6 seconds in order to pass LOL :smiley:

I thought this years game was very fun for hurdling teams because every match was a battle not only to hurdle but also to aquire and to maneuver around the track. 6 robots + 4 track balls = very full track…

Aim High: “Robot basketball.”

*Overdrive *was, however, much easier to explain than Triple Play.

Just like every season, there are invariably some teams that work into an alliance captain slot with a decent (if unspectacular) robot that had a lot of luck in qualifying. Almost invariably, those teams are weeded out by the time all is said and done.


3-0 with the TechTigers in '07, 0-3 against the TechTigers in '07.

The worst thing that happened with our team is that we didn’t know that the trackball would have no “give.” Because of that, we threw away several good ideas.

I’m going to try to take a high level approach to this:

Things gone right:

  1. Hybrid was worth the correct amount of points to make it important
  2. It was nice to see the “balancing” of offense and defense. Last year was a very heavy defensive game. The year prior, and excellent shooter could somewhat negate a strong defense.
  3. Drivetrains. It was nice to see speed as a part of the game. It taught me some things about efficient drive trains that I didn’t know before - primarily because in the past you could gear a trans low enough and the fine points didn’t matter because of the amount of power (like battery life…).
  4. The weight of the ball. This pushed the systems to the limits. Many of the higher end bots were dieing in 2-3 minutes due to battery power.

Deltas, or things that could be improved for next year:

  1. It was extremely difficult to replicate field conditions to test hybrid remotes. We had a remote that would work from over 50 feet away every single time in practice and in the pits, but out on the field we missed signals from less that 10 feet away.

  2. Simple game, very complex rules set, and very difficult for referees to call. I’m not sure how it could have been improved, but the demand on the referees to fairly call matches was unfair to them, and resulted in many penalty-decided matches (and non-calls that also decided matches).

  3. Lack of tasks that were not complimentary. Last year had a very well seperated couple tasks. I would even look forward to tasks that require small detachable robots, etc. It’s time to de-homogonize the robot designs a bit. This year the goals complemented eachother (speed + hurdling). Perhaps this could have been made more interesting by having a 200 lb weight that had to be carried to gain lap points, but they were equal to the hurdle points if carried. Opposed goals (like the ramps and score) lead to more widely varied robot goals, and more interesting design solutions.

to me, overdrive wasnt all that bad. better than 07 and 05

but the best years in a top three form


these years had mutiple ways of scoring and a VERY exciting form of gameplay, always with some kind of struggle involved that made teams scream even more for their robot

what the games need is some form of struggle in them or something that robots have to fight over

in 06= you had to stop the opposing alliance from gaining balls or scoring

in 03= that ramp was soooooo hard to fight over, people would go crazy as the time ticked by and their robot was pushing to get on

in 04= robots who could hang on the bar always fought of who would get on. it was always a struggle to seee who would get up on it. so exciting to see that

again, this is just my opinion haha. =D

In Overdrive the better alliance almost always won. Obviously the better alliance will win most of the time in any game, but we defintitely didn’t see as many upsets in overdrive as we usually do.

Overall, it was an entertaining, fast-paced, enjoyable game. But, IMHO, there were still some issue:

  • As one who likes a good blend of offense and defense, I thought this game had great potential for both…in the beginning. However, as defensive-minded teams became more innovative and developed creative defensive stratagies, high-powered offense-minded lobbyists definitely got their way as rule “clarifications” as the season went on were definitely skewed towards the offense.
  • Penalties decided way too many matches.
  • During a brainstorming session in January, I recall someone (I think it was me…) saying, “Catapulting a giant 10-pound ball 7-10 feet into the air from one end of the field to the other and having it land wherever can’t be safe–FIRST will never allow that!”…Well, we know for next year that FIRST has reset the bar on limits.
  • Qualification match pairings will not be completely impartial until the list of compeditors is randomized BEFORE entering the list into the algorithm.

This game turned out much better than I thought it would at kickoff. Parts of my perception may be because my daughter’s team had a better robot than in the past 3 years, and that I’ve already spent more time reffing than I did last year and we’re not to the off-seasons yet.

Overdrive didn’t have the “something special never done before” aspect that we’ve had for the prior 3 years:

  • Triple Play was the first time we were 3v3, and had a unique shape that no one had ever worked with before. (I still have a certain affinity for that game, even though I had little to do with the team or robot build; perhaps because I enjoyed strategizing from the stands where the next tetra should go.)
  • Aim High - we were encouraged to fling objects about!
  • Rack-n-Roll - climbing up on your partner to score the bonus.

I wasn’t keen on the “drive by remote” part of hybrid this year. Especially since it didn’t work so well. The good part about hybrid was that all robots on the team could do something, and do it pretty much simultaneously, without conflicting with their teammate’s efforts. Triple Play you had to decide who was going to go for the vision tetra, if anyone. Aim High sometimes two bots from the same team would fire balls into the same place, resulting in them scattering rather than scoring. Rack-n-Roll had very few multiple keepers scored, sometimes because the robots interfered with each other. Yes, we had a few robot collisions that stopped one of the teammates from crossing a line or getting a ball. But pretty much teams could all get going to score at least one or two lines. Also the points given for hybrid were well-balanced with the rest of the game. In Triple Play and Rack-n-Roll the auto points weren’t enough; in Aim High if you won auto you pretty much had won the game.

Penalties were severe and easy to earn this year - I should know, I called enough of 'em. Still, I really enjoyed reffing this game. Maybe because you had to pay attention so closely, and it made even a less-than-stellar match to view exciting for a referee.

I was also pleased to see how many variations there were in robots. After kickoff, the general sentiment was that we’d have a bunch of grippers on elevators. I was glad to see shooters, flingers, arms, elevators, suckers - and lots of variety of end effectors too.

My personal rank for the last for years is

  1. Triple Play
  2. Overdrive
  3. Rack-n-Roll
  4. Aim High

I didn’t like it. I feel that rules were too far open to interpretation by referees, that too many matches were decided by penalties, and that the game was boring to design for, to coach and to play.

I wasn’t really a fan of this year’s game. The concept of it was very cool, but the penalties ruined it for a lot of teams. I guess in a year where you get points for just driving, there has to be penalties assessed, but when is FIRST ever going to get the penalty values correct? You get 2 points for making a lap, yet a 10 point penalty for messing up while trying to complete that lap. It seems like regardless of the point values in each year’s games, the penalties are always 10 points. I don’t like that. There were a ton of matches decided by penalties and, to me, that’s a sign of a flawed game.

Was the penalties section on the rankings in the pits ever there before this year’s game? I don’t really remember it.

Being a rookie team we found overdrive an easy game to be played and we had so much fun working on the robot. although i think the hardest part was working on our scissor lift to knock the ball off the overpass. we also had a very…interesting first try at our autonomous mode when we played our first match. we learned alot from this game and hope that the game next year is a bit more challenging.

TEAM 2495