Was the Low Bar worth it?

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,

-JoaquinC, H.P.

Terminology: low = low bar capable; tall = not low bar capable

No, it wasn’t worth it. I would have much preferred to have an extra 6" of height.

C’est la vie.

Not worth. We overestimated our knowledge and design capability. If I were to redo this season, I’d have us go tall.

If you asked me this week 5 or 6 I would have said no, but I’m glad we went under the low bar for a few reasons:

  • Forced a low CG; it would have been very easy to build a tall and flippable robot without the low bar forcing us down to a certain height

  • Forced design compromise; trying to shoot high and hang from the beginning would have resulted in our team overshooting and failing to complete either objective well. The low bar basically took hanging off the table for us.

  • Provided an alternate path to the courtyard if something on the drive was starting to break and we didn’t want to risk getting stuck.

Ultimately, the low bar was a great addition to the game, even for teams that didn’t successfully go under it. I think it saved the game from being like 2010, with lots of bad robots that flipped a lot.

If I had known how many low bots would be around this season, I most definitely would have opted to be a tall bot. IMO, the only true advantage of having a low bot was being able to do the low bar. It made the shots super easy to block, and it was hard to keep track of where your robot was on the field, especially if there was a sally port/drawbridge on the field. It seems like the teams that did a fantastic job of pulling it off(1241, 2471) were able to do every other defense on the field, while having the advantage of shooting from a higher point. The only disadvantage was the higher COG, but it seems like most tall bots handled it well.

It’s a tough call, but overall I would say no.

On the one hand, we did cycles through the low bar since it was easy to pick up boulders from the secret passage/human player.

On the other hand, the size constraints and our bot design limited us to the point that we would have had to give up our low bar capabilities to climb. Like I said before though we were a low bar bot, so the tradeoff of climbing vs changing our entire strategy up before CMP wasn’t worth it.

Totally worth it in more ways than just one.

Things learned from designing for the LB:

  • Subsystem Lay-out Packaging
  • How to design smaller and more compact in general
  • Low CG made tipping virtually a non-issue

Things gained from designing for the LB:

  • Ability to guarantee a Breach when paired with a good drive(huge for Elims)
  • Fast cycle times from SP to Courtyard via the Low Bar
  • Autonomous mode that didn’t have to compensate for the other defenses

It might have been tough at first, but there are huge benefits considering blocked shots only became an issue later on into an event or in eliminations (where we still weren’t worried about it because our alliance partners at OC were tall).

Overall, I would still have an LB-Bot if I were to do Stronghold all over again.

No, the low bar wasn’t worth all of the broken arm gearboxes. :eek:

The low bar was kinda worth it for us and ill explain.

At first glance we chose the low bar for the quick cycle times and easy crossing. It forced our designs to be cheaper (less material usage) and made a low cog and light robot easier to obtain.

My favorite advantage however is not competitive at all.

My favorite thing is that our robot fit inside normal sized cars. Allowing our team to go all over practicing and now doing demos without having to ask for the school truck. As we transition to trying to become a chairmans team having a small robot that is extremely easy to transport is going to help a lot.


And I wish my team listened to me.:frowning:

Yes. We had fast climber, averaged about 6 high goals at champs, (partly because we could fly under the low bar to get more). And we were 5 points away from Einstein. I can’t think of much we would have done different.

So much truth. Probably the first and last robot that will easily fit in my hatchback. Traveling 6 miles to play practice matches was a no-brainer.

See also this thread.

To summarize: IMO, yes.

Nothing really related to your comment, but what does your Avatar picture say?

Being one of the teams that originally decided against the low bar, I still feel the same way. One of the biggest advantages we felt was that we didn’t have to limit ourselves in the designing processes due to small packing constraints. We did have some issues over the course of the season with our high CG, but the difficulty in blocking our shots and ease of attaching our climber made it well worth it.

We ultimately decided that it was possible for us to accomplish all of our goals while still designing a robot that was under 14" tall. I think going high would’ve made a lot of the design easier, but one of our goals was to be able to solo-breach, so we would’ve been forced to design a sally port/drawbridge mechanism. Looking back, I think that going low may not have been worth it, but there are some distinct advantages, like having low CG that Chris mentioned, that made it better.

Transformer bot was the way to go this year, it is not an easy task to package and make successful this design. We only built how we did because of the last 2 years of offseason robot projects. In 2015 preseason we built our first ever elevator using proper methods, and then we built our 2015 robot with an elevator using what we learned. In 2016 preseason we built an articulated arm bot, a knockoff Mammoth from 971 to play Aerial Assist at MadTown Throwback, this year we built an articulated elevator arm using what we learned. Teams that successfully implement swerve drives do so by making it work in the offseason first. Build what you know, learn before you build as much as you can.

From a design standpoint, it was worth it. I feel we learned how to build within a set of constraints based on preference to go under the low bar, rather than build the same high robot as usual. It was certainly a challenge that we will be more prepared for in the future.

From a performance standpoint, it was not worth it. We could have certainly done better with a taller robot. We could already clear all the defenses with little effort (minus the Drawbridge and Sally Port). There’s also a lot less room to tinker under 16 inches.

I feel like it really depends on how you play.
Initially we wanted to be a bot that could literally do everything, and the low bar was included.
However, after our first competition, we realized that we could be alot more effective as a shooter bot, (if we got it working) than as a defense bot.

As it turns out, during eliminations at almost all of our competitions it helped to simply go back and forth under the low bar while popping in high goals.

I may be wrong, but I feel like having to cross a different defense would have been a secondish shorter.

I completely agree, and this was one of the main deciding factors for our team to go tall. Two members of our design team, myself included, were on the team back in 2012 and this year we essentially designed and built a Rebound Rumble robot for 10" balls that could also climb. This helped us to see what to do and what not to do based off of successes and failures of that past design.