What did everyone learn from this weekend's scrimmages?

All who attended scrimmages or watched webcasts/videos of them this past weekend:

What did you learn about this year’s game?

Please share.


Fans can be very effective for propulsion. When trying to evade a potential scorer, being able to kick on your fan can be a great advantage. It is also very helpful for pinning.

Shorting outyour cRIO right before competing is bad. :mad:

From hte bit I saw before we left, dumpers and human players seemed to be scoring more than shooter robots.

If you don’t move from the get go you are good as dead.
Super Cells are important and a good Payload Specialist is vital. If they can’t hit the broad side of the Regolith it might be a good idea to have them take a seat and get someone in there who can shoot straight.

It took a couple of hours for the officials to actually get the game up and running. They had a problem with the field not “talking” back to them. Whenever they would try to start they would get no response. This new electronics system is causing a lot of problems.

we HAD a shooter robot when we went to our scrimmage on saturday. today, we do not. that’s what we learned from the scrimmage :smiley:

six robots and trailers on the field equal traffic jam most of the time. No robot is going to set the robot land speed record this year. With all the congestion long range shooting is not very effective or even practical. Dumpers are a threat, but some dumper are a lot better than others. The payload specialist shooting are more effective than robots shooting. A super cell in the hands of the ‘right person’ at the end of the match is a game changer. Getting empty cells to airlocks takes a strategy and the right robot. I was amazed how many robots had trouble just driving around pulling the trailer. Some just sat spining their wheels. Like others have said ‘no autonomous’ equal ‘dead duck’. I have some video of the Colorado scrimmage I’ll post later today with our robot in action.

from the couple of practice hours with other teams its looking like there will be quite a few traffic jams and struggles to either pin or avoid getting pinned. Im not sure if shooting or dumping is better but both have their flaws that came into play.

I just hope everyone has good traction control systems and a strong drive team because this year is tough to get your robot into postion while simultaneously trying to hurt the other robots position.

It takes patience and tactical driving (and maybe a bit of luck) to score many rocks from your robot. There’s one jackknifed configuration where you push on the side of your opponent with your shooter/dumper positioned on their trailer that seemed to work, but any other attempts to score while moving were rather dodgy (meaning they usually dumped on the floor). Better to try to pin your opponent’s trailer first and then score, but watch out for your opponent’s partner that’s trying to do the same thing to you! In the elimination rounds I expect to see the best robots dancing for position until the right opportunity presents itself.

Just my personal opinion, but it looked like a FIRST robotics competition, only played at half-speed…very slow-going. Also, six robots plus six trailers made for a VERY congested field, making things worse.

I’m curious to hear from those at the event as to watching a day’s worth of matches staring at that highly-reflective white surface. It seems like it could be hard on the eyes–kind of like getting “snow blindness” on a sunny winter day.

In about 4 out of 5 matches I saw, there was a big mosh pit in the middle of the field where the dumpers seemed to do better. I realized one important thing, and that was to keep moving at all times and if you’re tryingto pin somebody, watch out because someone is probably doing the same to you. Feild awareness is very important.

Oh whats the big plans? I saw some troubles with your shooter but I thought the nimbleness of the drive was fantastic.

For us we learned a little on how to control the bot, pinning tactics, I got some real driving experience, and we got to optomize our dumper so balls don’t get stuck…and rs545’s don’t spontaneously combust giving off monstrous amounts of blue smoke.

I can’t wait to see your plans at palmetto MiM

yeah, from two feet down, the robot worked beautifully… but two feet up, it honestly stunk. so our engineers toiled this weekend, and it is done now. the final producted will be posted up by yours truly tonight :smiley:

We discovered that our 8 wheel drive system gives us an advantage over 4 wheel drive robots in that in a pushing war, we generally bullied them around. Also, a robot pushing at our side had little luck moving us, whereas we could push the 4 wheelers around like a bulldozer. Our design is a collector/ejector with a large hopper on top. The initial thought was to feed the human players at the corners, but the short shooting/dumping robots can catch you there and fill your trailer if you’re not watching closely. We were partnered with a shooter/dumper and found we could collect and fill them up in the center of the court while moving along “face to face”. That worked pretty well…

Just as a heads up for everyone, this is in reference to the Scrimmage in CT with the official FIRST field in use.

The problem was something that FIRST had planned for, but not tested fully previous to the event.
We were the guinea pigs for this test in CT so to speak.
The issue was that when a robot did not show up, in hopes of still running a full field at the scrimmage, other robots were put in the missing robot’s places.

Come to find out, the system had BIG issues in dealing with robot’s not originally assigned to the team numbers/IP Adresses & other electronics connection issues I didn’t completely understand. lol

The reason was explained, the 1st match was scrapped, & the subsequent matches were played with either all the robots that were in the Scoring Software present for that particular match, or if they were not there, the rover wheel attached to the missing teams’ trailers were used.

End of problems.

There were some typical field breakdowns near the end of the event that would require a restart, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary for all those familiar with the IFI field conrol systems of days gone by.

All in all, the 2 hours the field wasn’t working “wasted” in CT this weekend was in fact not a waste after all, & proved to be very valuable to the field operators & I don’t expect this same problem to be an issue in the future. (knock on wood)

Our shooter had some success this weekend, and with the control loop finally added to it, it would be a deadly combination.

In general though, some things learned:

if you stay still you lose
autonomous is the human player’s dream when a robot gets caught in front of them
watch those super-cell penalties
dont throw the empty cell over the wall! (one team threw all 4 over)
the carpet doesnt help much in getting away from the wall; likewise it also makes getting balls right up against the wall very difficult
g14 is a killer.
typically only 1-2 super cells were scored per match, but i guess this will change after a couple weeks of regionals
empty cells get lost on the field
the middle of the field is where you want to be to avoid super cells and robot scoring. placing moon rocks in the center is insanely difficult
its very hard to keep track of the score, especially in those close-scoring matches
the super cell makes the difference (we went from 14 pts down to 1 pt up in the last second of the match)

those are my observations. I wouldnt give up on the shooter bots just yet, especially considering that if they are done right they have near 100% accuracy in those awkward situations.
(then again wouldnt anything done right have 100% accuracy?)

The watchdog is BAD. We got there at 7:30, and didn’t have a robot that would run on the field until 5 that afternoon, during the last run of the day before the field was torn down.

Thanks for sharing everyone!!! Great learings we all will use. :slight_smile:

We learned that KISS is IN this year! (well it was Valentine’s day after all…)

Some means of maximizing your manuverability is also a good thing, it not only helps you comlete your tasks but makes it harder for opponents to score in your trailer.

Even if all you do is pick up balls and deliver them to the human player you can be a very effective machine this year.

Good luck everyone!

I did notice that trying to keep score was very difficult unless one alliance is completely blowing out another. The one thing that I did find, as most of you did, was that dumpers play a big role in this game. That’s not to say that shooters can’t do the same, they just will have to shoot while moving, which makes it difficult. Anyhow, you will find a video of the Crenshaw Scrimmage below for your enjoyment: