What's with Null Hatch Panels?


Has someone figured out the logic behind the use of Null Hatch Panels?
Why would a team decide to fit one of them on a Compartment for no points whatsoever versus loading a cargo that will be worth 3 points if it is secured before the end of the game, plus the 2 points for the Hatch Panel that will secure the Compartment.
Also, because the Null Hatch Panels are mechanically secured to the Cargo Vessel, they cannot be recovered by the team during the game to move elsewhere (e.g. the Rocket).
Is there a twisted plot I have yet to figure out here???


While there’s no official reasoning, I assume it’s to ensure teams that can only score cargo (or, more specifically, a worst-case scenario where the entire alliance can only score cargo) aren’t entirely dead in the water. They still kinda are, but at least they can do something. It could also help in situations where two teams are focused on a single rocket are paired with a low-cargo-only team.


If your alliance’s capacity for scoring balls is greater than your capacity for scoring discs then null hatch panels allow your ball teams to score to their maximum capacity


How many hatch panels do you anticipate your team will score on the cargo ship in the sandstorm period? How many hatch panels will a typical alliance score on the cargo ship in the sandstorm period? What happens to pre-loaded cargo at the end of the sandstorm period?


I get what you’re saying, but in some cases that may still be better than making use of null hatch panels. I’ll take a slightly more cluttered floor if it means I have closer access to game pieces to cut down on cycle times.

Speaking of which, did they show about how far the cargo rolls off at the end of the sandstorm? I suppose it would be problematic if they ended up in front of the rockets. I didn’t see a good view of that from the field tour (though I imagine it won’t be very consistent).


If you use all your null hatch panels, your first 6 cycles in the match will effectively be worth 3 points each. Especially for early events where alliances won’t get anywhere close to running out of scoring areas, this can be very advantageous.


I doubt any team would place themselves in a position to totally depend on their Alliance partners to attach Hatch Panels for them.


ill keep track at the events I go to, and report back. Early estimates is at least 5 teams that are cargo only.


having been at the official kickoff, I did get to see the ball roll out the electromagnetic drop hatches, they did it with 2 different balls, and there seemed to be no real consistency but they rolled pretty far, one made it 1/2 -2/3 of the way to the out side wall, and the other actually settled right against the outside wall.


Not very many would intentionally.

But the panels are harder imo, and with the out of null panels, I can see some lower resource teams ending up in that situation; either because their hatch panel mechanism fails or because they decided being a really fast cargo bot was worth the occasional meh alliance in quals (which, in some cases, could be true; I foresee that niche being very valuable on some alliances). I could also see some mid-level teams try to do everything (as many inevitably do) and overstretch, resulting in some portions of the bot not working well - such as the hatch panel manipulator. What I said applies to teams significantly faster at scoring cargo than panels, not just those who can’t score panels at all.

That seems about right. IMO, being able to turn around after scoring a hatch panel and immediately pick up a cargo could be quite valuable. If you can’t score the two front hatch panels and all six sets of panels/cargo (4.67 cycles per team), which isn’t exactly trivial, then yes, you might want some null hatch panels. But exactly how many will be less than what can’t be scored in the sandstorm for most alliances.


Those Alliances will be in a world of hurt. One can only hope for them that robots in those Alliances will be able to fetch the Sandstorm bonuses for starting from Level 2 and endgame HAB Climb bonuses for climbing back to Levels 2 or 3, because a possible max score of 36 points (Starting from Level 1, filling all 6 Cargo Vehicle compartments secured by Null Hatch Panels and Climbing back to Level 1 in the endgame) is not likely to lead them to many victories.


Yeah, I tried to say they still wouldn’t be in a good spot. It would be awful if robots designed to play the game couldn’t do so for several minutes of the match, though; even if I’m 99% sure I’m going to lose a match, I’d still like to be able to participate in it outside of the endgame.

I could still see an alliance with two rocket-capable bots and a bot than can only score cargo low make heavy use of null hatch panels and win a match, however.


My theory has been that you will be congested for the first minute setting hatch panels. There may not be enough time to get 20 hatch panels and 20 cargo in about 120 seconds after the sandstorm and before you worry about returning to the HAB. These two concerns might encourage a few null hatch panels. One alliance team can collect scattered cargo and load it behind null hatch panels while the other two teams focus on putting hatch panels on a rocket ship (s).


This right here. We specifically discussed this in our strategy session yesterday because we know our event won’t be extremely competitive. The odds of a quals alliance scoring all low cargo bays (24 game pieces) are very low, as such it will make sense to get as many 3 point cycles in as possible to build a slight lead over alliances opting to score hatches before cargo everywhere they can. If we score equal amounts of game pieces I win.