What do you guys suggest for teams that have little to no idea on anything

My team needs the help if ya’ll don’t mind.

Start by deciding what you want to be able to do. Do you want to cross defenses? Do you want to score boulders?
A good resources for a rookie team is Robot in 3 Days. Search Chief Delphi for Robot in 3 Days or check out their youtube videos- the do a good job of demonstrating basic robot functions for this game.

Keep your robot very simple. Decide on a couple of basic objectives. For example, a low profile kit-bot that can drive under the bar, pickup a ball and score it in the low goal.

Seek out a team in your area that is willing to help you get on track.

If you have bare minimum resources and no idea what to do, eliminate the non-mandatory parts of the game. If you can cross a few defenses, that’s useful. Retain the ability to go under the low bar and cross a few others and you’ll be able to contribute to most matches even without the ability to handle balls. If you have spare resources and want to handle balls, just being able to pick up a ball and spit it out back in front of you onto the ground is still valuable - this will let you move balls around the field, pass them to partners, or score in the low goal. You can still be competitive and have a robot worth playing with even only accomplishing these few tasks.

First thing you want to do is contact your FIRST Senior Mentor there are several in Texas but they are listed by the main city in their area so you should be able to figure out who to contact. http://archive.usfirst.org/community/volunteers/first-senior-mentor-program They will have some tips and can connect you with a good team to serve as your mentor team.

Next is to spend some time looking at the Robot in 3 Days robots. Most of us specifically gear our robots to rookie teams to help them put a robot on the field that can play at least some aspects of the game.

You do want to follow the KISS principle for your first season. Perfect doing one or a few things well and don’t over extend your resources trying to do everything. It is far better to do one thing well, consistently, than almost do a bunch of things or be inconsistent in your on field performance.

This isn’t an exact quote but basically what Karthik (leader of 1114 which is a very successful team) says is it is better to be great at a couple of things rather then mediocre at most things. So find the couple of aspects of the game that you think you team can do well. That can be as simple as just being really really good at feeding balls to other robots or being really really good at category C defenses. Just start somewhere.

Lots of good advice here.

First thing to do: watch the game animation again (and again and again if you need to) and read the manual over and over. Become intimately familiar with the rules of this game.

What are all the ways you can score points? Brainstorm ALL of them with your team. List every single action separately. For example, “cross a defense” can be broken down into “cross the low bar”, “cross the portcullis”, etc. Each of them has a different difficulty level and probability of being on the field. Evaluate the difficulty level of each item on your list.

What are all the ways you can deny your opponent from scoring points on you? Brainstorm ALL of them with your team. Evaluate the difficulty level of each item on your list.

Make sure you cross reference the manual to make sure all your ideas are legal. At kickoff my team came up with all kinds of wacky ideas including “squat on your own batter to prevent the other team from capturing” and “squat in the opponent secret passage to get boulders faster”. Turns out some of them aren’t allowed, but it’s always good to be trying to think of loopholes or “outside the box” strategies.

Find 1114 (Karthik’s) strategic design video series on YouTube. There are a few versions floating around. Watch them with the whole team. Watching a webcast of one guy talking for an hour doesn’t sound exciting but trust me, you want to watch this all the way through.

Build your kit of parts robot exactly as it came in the box. (Don’t cut the frame yet if you’re not sure what you want to do with it next. Just build the big square frame.) Wire up all the motors, motor controllers, and the RoboRio control system. Learn to write a short program to use the joystick to drive it around.

Get the plans for the team versions of the field elements and build at least a couple of pieces. Build the ramps and the low bar defense at a minimum, because (hint!) this is a very easy one to be able to cross and breach. Build the batter ramp. Consider building a low goal and/or high goal on the tower, because I think you could easily build a robot to work with at least one of those.

If you’ve done all this, then you should be able to evaluate all the possible strategies (offensive and defensive) and decide which of these things you can try to do. Some of them will require virtually no effort from a “designing the robot” point of view, such as playing defense, crossing the low bar, challenging the tower. Some of them will require a little bit of design effort. How will you modify your basic kit of parts chassis to be field-legal, for example? (Hint: cut the frame down a bit, add some bumpers). Can you figure out how to move a ball around the field?

Don’t forget you are part of the greater FRC and FIRST community. You’ve already found these forums. Ask questions. Check out what other teams are doing on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, etc. It might give you ideas.

Don’t try to do more than you are able. Showing up at a competition with an ambitious plan, but a half completed robot, is much, MUCH worse than showing up at a competition with a finished robot that maybe doesn’t do that much. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)

Thanks a lot for all the great information you guys I think we get the idea.

For a simple bot, I would:

  1. drive under the low bar
  2. pick up and score a boulder in the low goal
  3. strong and fast drive train
  4. fit onto the batter for the end game

In autonomous, you would drive straight under the low goal.

During teleport, your function would be to:

  1. shuttle boulders from the secret passage to the courtyard for another bot To shoot, or score it yourself
  2. defend your secret passage, and push around other bots trying to shot
  3. grab loose boulders and feed them to your alliance

Not climbing allows you a wider robot for Boulder pickup/bumper constraints
You may also bad able to drive over some of the easier defenses, and go through the gate/drawbridge if some holds it open for you

Can you make a drive base?

Whatever you end up doing, and there are a number of great suggestions here, among them is building the kit base and seeing if you can make it work better.

Whatever you end up with, acknowledge your limitiations and have a good plan when you go onto the field. If you are a low robot that can scoot under the bar and put low goals in… work hard at doing that.

No matter what you do, be consistent in your approach to game play, work with the other robots and have fun. If you can’t do something tell the others.

This is going to be a game of Alliances working together. Listen to your alliance partners and do what you can to help the Alliance.

Most of all, have fun, you are going to look back on this experience with pride. Most high school kids never do what you are about to. Work hard, accept failure as part of the learning, be proud of what you accomplish and keep learning from others. Try and concentrate on finding ways to solve problems and failures and don’t ever dwell on who is at fault. Just pitch in and fix the problem.

Congratulations to the hardest fun you will ever have!!
We all look forward to seeing you on the field!!

One great point that has been highlighted by the last couple of posters: you do NOT have to do everything yourself.

There will always be teams who can build robots capable of single-handedly doing everything the game offers.

If that’s not you - that’s OK. Focus on doing one part of it really well, practice like crazy, and sell yourself at competition – we’re not designed to do X, but if someone else can focus on that, leave Y to us and we’ll make sure it gets done.

Scouts from other teams will value consistency over anything else. If you can be counted on to do a task, then you’re worth something to a potential alliance that can pick and choose 3 reliable and consistent robots that together cover off all the tasks. If you claim you can “DO ALL THE THINGS!!!” but it’s hit and miss, then alliances will pass you by for teams that are more reliable.

Ask me anything…

I’m going to give you a jewel of wisdom I shared in our rookie workshop at Kickoff: you may not be able to win a regional just off drivetrain alone, but you can certainly lose a regional just off drivetrain alone. Get the AM14U3 driving, and shake it down. (Maybe not that violently, but drive it over things and make sure nothing rattles loose mechanically or electrically.) If nothing else, you don’t want to be pegged as the team that blew a tower capture. :slight_smile:

This could get you started http://team1389.com/knowledge/strategy-selection/

And if you want to chat via the phone private message me and we can get a conversation started.

I’m always amazed by the number of rookie teams who don’t know about some of the best suppliers for robot parts, so I’ve included a bunch of them below, in addition to other resources you may find helpful.

  • Read the manual. The whole thing, cover to cover.
  • Now read it again.
  • Buy metal, wheels, sprockets, etc at andymark, vexpro, CRP, and REV.
  • Read the manual again.
  • Good places to get bolts, screws and other hardware are mcmaster and boltdepot. There’s many other good places for hardware, but these are the two I use the most.
  • FRC Designs is a blog dedicated to sharing designs of great robots from previous games, as well as a good place to find posts about robot design, and tips for a successful team.
  • Understand that the jack of all trades is the master of none. If you have limited resources, ask yourself- “what task can we complete consistently with what resources we have?”
  • DON’T take apart the electrical components. If they aren’t working, then odds are something is connected wrong. Before powering up the robot, triple check that everything is EXACTLY as it should be, cause if the right thing is in the wrong place, you could permanently damage a component.
  • Whenever you’re drilling a hole or cutting something near electrical parts, cover the electrical parts with a towel to prevent metal or wood bits from getting inside of them.
  • Read the section of the manual listing all of the “G-00” rules. Alliance captains are much more likely to pick teams who consistently go penalty-free.
  • Robot in 3 days is an awesome source of inspiration. If you ever are struggling to come up with ideas, Ri3D can often be the inspiration that you need.
  • Know what scouting is. You’re a rookie team, so you probably don’t have the time to really make your own scouting system. Regardless, know that teams are watching your performance constantly, and cooperating with alliance partners and their drive teams will often earn you brownie points.

Make a drive base doesn’t have to be complex just make a drive base, that gives you everything you need to advance as a team. It is a platform for super structures, a way to test code, getting good at making drive bases is pretty important.

If you can do both of these things well, you will be not just contributing, but being one of the better robots at most competitions. Fast cycles of scoring in the low goal can get you the the magic number of 8 boulders and crossing the defenses can be a major source of points. Dont discount a box bot this year.