Week 1 lessons learned: balancing strategy

I’ve been watching the KC and Alamo regionals streaming today and have seen many attempts to balance a bridge with two robots, and some successes. Many of those attempts end up with a flipped robot. I hope other teams are watching as well, and will think hard about their balancing strategy.

What works: Drive onto the bridge. Tip it towards the other robot. Allow the other robot to push you onto the bridge and do the backwards scoot to do the final balance.

How to flip over the other robot: Drive onto the bridge. Tip it towards the other robot. Allow the other robot to drive partially onto the bridge, and back away from it. Attempt to balance the bridge yourself.

This second method nearly always results in both robots fighting each other for control of the balancing. Sooner or later one of them ends up partially off the bridge when the other is on the far end, flipping the one on the downhill side.

DON’T be the team that flips anyone who tries to balance with them. Please.

Our problem at the moment is that we have questionable traction (we’re working to improve it). Pushing another robot up the bridge seems unlikely for the time being… We expect to be able to get on the bridge without help however.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that teams arent allowing enough time. The bridges seem to be last-second thoughts, and often dont turn out successfully.

On the cooportition bridge, it doesn’t appear that there is any logical plan for approaching it. Are alliances discussing it pre-match? It would seem as if some sort of pre-planned process would help balance (as you said, two robots trying to adjust for each other just makes it wobble back and forth)

Why are some robots spending the entire match trying to pick up balls or shoot and miss a hand full of times but then never have time for the bridge? They could spend the majority of the match focusing on the bridge. I think it is important to be realistic with the strengths and weaknesses of your robot. 20 points seems to be enough to win the majority of qualification matches…

P.S. I would love to see 1126 and 1511 on a cooportition bridge together next weekend.

Same! We are looking forward to FLR! You guys definitely have a cool robot! If this happens, i’m sure we will know what to do after reading this thread.

Right now I’m feeling really good about making our robot have a very high traction drive system. There seem to be a lot of teams who are slipping all around the bridge and are completely unable to pull off a balance. I would be surprised to see many of these teams in eliminations.

Speaking of low traction, that seems to be the death of 1 Co-op point. If both alliances are on the C-Bridge, but it isnt balanced, you still get one CP each, but it looks like right after the match ends, the bridge tips to one side and the one on top pushes the other one off accidentally when it slides down.

I’d be weary of doing this. It might get you flagged for unnecessary aggression. It’s also not in the nature of GP…do you want your team to be known as “that team who flips over other bots”?

I don’t think his statement was in regards to how to intentionally tip the opponent, but rather pointing out how many teams have repeated this same operation to tip their opponents today in the process of trying to legitimately cooperate.

Oh, I see. Silly me :stuck_out_tongue:

I expect this will be like mini bots last year. By week three there where 2 or 3 methods that made it look easy.

I was a little surprised how easy it is to flip a bot. Seeing it makes it kinda a DUH. Agreed that it does not seem to be intentional. But if you see the other robot backing away from you and you are more than half off it, you need to be on the gas following it.

Saw a few teams with 4wd that struggled getting the second pair of wheels on the bridge once it started to tip

At Kettering there seems to be a fairly consistent planned attempt for the cooperation bridge. (Whether is works is a different story however…)

And yes, the second robot pushing the first robot on the bridge works better than each team trying to balance individually. Warning: Less is more. Small baby steps will get you further than plowing straight through.

I was the driving mentor/instructor for 174 this year, and I can say we have practiced the art of balancing every chance we could. Mastering such a thing is always difficult for anyone as a slight movement alters everything. But the number one thing we discussed was allowing time to score on the bridge and being ready for a team that makes a last second mad dash. If we get on the bridge with 30 seconds, or even a whole minute left on the clock, as long as it will end up with +10, +20 or +40 to our score (or +2 qualifying points) it will be worth it.

Definitely discuss pre-match. I usually go out and find our alliance members 3 matches in advance to discuss these things.

My thoughts exactly. Our team was struggling but once I realized this, it was a good thing.

Which is better: Auto-balancing, or manual balancing? Also, for those in eliminations, does it matter if your partner’s robots can actuate the bridge, or can one or two of them be bridgeless, and have you actuate it for them.

The choo-choo train methodology seems to work well. The 2936-148-922 alliance at Alamo attempted the three balance and made it look easy the first time. Choo-choo up, easy over. Put the high traction high torque bot as the last one up. They made it seem as if 3-bot balances are as easy (perhaps easier) than 2-bot balances since there’s so much mass at the edges (the same effect that helps tight-rope walkers).

I think 148’s bridge leveler also played a factor in that.

Yea, premature post. I saw the balance in The Red Alliance’s 6-frame format so I didn’t see the details. My bad.

Mentor Mac here back from Philadelphia, William Grove. Team 341, Miss Daisey
kick but. 11-0-1 first place. Wins tournment. Scores 5 baskets in hybrid mode. Second game of finals. Blue Allinance shoots five balls at start. They all get stuck in the basket. Game is replayed; they loose.
Be Safe Thomas McCubbin