Now that the 2016 season is over, I’d like to ask the Chief Delphi community the question:
Knowing what you now know of this year’s game and how it plays out, on a qualification level, elimination level, regional/district level, and championship level, would you still have chosen to design your robot either to the constraints of the low bar or ignoring the low bar entirely?
Looking back to these threads towards the beginning of the season: Low Bar and Terrifying Karthik, we saw what was to some a surprisingly high ratio of low to tall robots, almost 9:1. Now looking at Einstein, seven of the thirty-two robots were not low bar capable, a rough ratio of 4:1 low to tall. The same ratio holds true for the champion alliance. We also saw a couple alliances like Newton’s winning alliance where only one bot on the field was low bar capable. For that alliance in particular, both the captain and first pick (217 and 3476) were tall. Our alliance in the Newton elims also had only one low bot (67) on the field at a time. For most alliances, only one robot would actually be cycling through the low bar in a match.
In the thread: First seed alliance captain: Low Bar or not? We saw that there were rarely any tall bots seeding first at the end of the qualification matches. At champs three of the eight first seed alliance captains were not low bar capable: 1241, 1501, and 973. 3481 came close in Bayou, seeding second by the difference of one RP. Though we saw many advantages to going tall: easier to design for the batter shot, easier for three students to CAD without access to a CNC or mechanical engineering mentors, and visibility of robot over defenses at all times, we were also confronted with its disadvantage. At Hub City we were not paired with an alliance partner that was low bar capable until our last qualification match of the first day. This lead to a lower accumulation of RP and therefor a lower seed. We learned that the advantages of being tall don’t really come into play until regional elims or champs.
Many low robots were also faced with the challenge, as largely discussed in the thread: Your tall opaque robot is now illegal, of having their cameras blocked by taller bots. For some, this was a serious issue and for others like 1986 this was just another problem that needed to be solved. Though I’m not sure if they eventually implemented this at champs.
IMO teams that approached the low bar correctly were teams like 16, 67, 971, 1678, and 330 who have, as our coaches like to call, transformer bots, changing from a low bot to a tall bot once inside the coutyard. I feel as though my team, with its limitations, made the correct decision in designing a tall bot this year. But that’s just my two cents. What do you all think? Would you hop in a time machine and stop your team from going with a low design or a tall design?
TL;DR read above.
Thank you for your time,
Terminology: low = low bar capable; tall = not low bar capable