# Why the low Gear love

I’m seeing a lot of discussions on fuel delivery and scoring.
Some discussion on climbing
Very little on delivering gears quickly.

More worryingly, I keep seeing a misconception on the VALUE of gears.
Given that one gear is given to you, in teleop only, the wrong values are:
1st rotor = 40pts/gear
2nd rotor = 20pts/gear
3rd rotor = 10pts/gear
4th rotor = 6.7pts/gear

Many people are forgetting that the 4th rotor is actually:
6.7pts + 1/6 RP in qualifying, also remember that in the high goal 6.7pts take 20fuel
In playoffs these gears are 23.3pts each. 40+100pt bonus. That’s 70 fuel in the high goal for each gear or 420 fuel just for the 4th rotor.

Time in two minutes:
worst case (one robot) = 10s/gear
best case (three robots) = 40s/gear

For all the emphasis everyone puts on fuel as the tiebreaker, not many alliances will get 4 rotors going, even in playoffs.

These are also not correct point values for gears. You are stating the average value of gears for each rotor assuming the gear set is completed. The following are the exact values for each gear:

• First gear: 40 points
• Second gear: 0 points
• Third gear: 40 points
• Fourth, fifth, and sixth gears: 0 points
• Seventh gear: 40 points
• Eighth through twelfth gears: 0 points
• Thirteenth gear: (40 points + 1 RP) or 140 points

I think fuel will become a particularly attractive scoring option if an alliance can score more than seven gears but fewer than thirteen gears (or who can accomplish the feat of scoring all 13 of their gears). It doesn’t make sense to sink time into a scoring objective that won’t yield any points*.

*edit: assuming that the primary objective is to win the match

I doubt we can do 5 or 6 or 7 gears on our own (and in qualifying, on our own is how we figure matches will go). So, the first three gears are worth 80 points in teleop.

Fuel…high goal…that’s equivalent to 240 fuel, eh?

I love the gears.

One thing I think a lot of people overlook is how much the first rotor doesn’t matter unless it is done in autonomous. If everyone gets the first rotor free, that means no one really got it free. It artificially raises everyone’s score by 40 points. That being said, getting all four rotors will be critical in playoffs because of the huge point swing bonus. If at least two alliances can do that though, it’s going to come down to everything else.

If you’re talking about teleop, reduce those by one, to account for the reserve gear.

We’ve known that about you for years.

I agree with what you said but I was using the comparison a lot of other people were using to keep the perspective the same when giving points to those last gears. If you’re running low on time, you shouldn’t go for them. If you can make it then the average for each of those 6 gears is quite high.

Overall this does not negate the original post.

Even the first 6 gears won’t be achieved each time, but I feel mostly because of the low priority given to them in the robot design. Most teams so far seem content with just the mail slot approach, and leave the lining up to the driver.

Given some focus, gears can be gathered and placed faster than people expect.

I think the lack of Gear love comes from the fact that you can literally build a static box and score the Gear. Many teams believe that this box (I like to say Gearage) will be suitably effective when compared with an active mechanism.

I think I might agree… if you build a Gearage and you have 4 plus weeks to practice with it, aren’t you going to be better off than a team with a complex active mechanism when they get less time to practice with it? There are techniques and drive maneuvers that we’ve already experimented with that makes a Gearage much more effective.

While I agree that Gears are crazy important, and they’re being overlooked by pretty much every low to mid tier team that’s attempting Fuel, I disagree that you need an active mechanism to score Gears. I think a simple mechanism plus drive practice trumps a complicated mechanism with less drive practice. That goes for pretty much any aspect of FRC.

The 3rd and 4th rotor have pre-populated gears, at least until DCMP and CMP events. So you only need 1 gear for the 1st rotor, 2 gears for the second rotor, 3 for 3rd and 4 for 4th. Since there is the reserve gear that means that you only need to place 9 gears to start all of the rotors spinning and earn the ranking point.

If you assume that at least one gear is placed in auto, and the reserve is used as soon as teleop begins the points are as follows.

1st 60
reserve 0
2nd 40
3rd & 4th 0
5th 40
6th-8th 0
9th 40 plus 1 RP

Place 2 in auto and it becomes

1st 60
2nd 0
reserve 40
and then it follows the above schedule

Place 3 in auto and it becomes

1st 60
2nd 0
3rd 60
reserve 0
4th 0
5th 40
and then it follows the 1st schedule.

Which does point out why the gear conumdrum and why placing the 6th may be a waste of time if it is not done early enough to allow for 7th-9th to be placed and rotated before t=1

To clarify, fuel doesn’t become more meaningful (a “tiebreaker” if you wish) after you finish all 4 rotors. Fuel becomes more meaningful after you’ve finished as many rotors as you’re going to finish. The 4th rotor doesn’t get you 6.667 points every gear; it gets you zero points every gear until the last one. Most elim alliances at most events are not going to finish 4 rotors, and–far more importantly–most prevailing ones are not even going to try.

Separately, I think Ginger is right. It’s not often we have a direct scoring facet that is critically important but minimally mechanized. It’s not that people won’t be running gears. I expect to spend most of my time most matches running gears, but the investment is in practice rather than complexity unless you’re at the level when you want one of the best gear pickups in the world (we’re not).

Think of gear scoring more like drivetrains. Everyone (almost) needs them, they’re critically important, but we don’t talk about them much. We could make the same arguments about endgames basically every year: “one climb is 50 points, and yet everyone keeps talking about fuel”. Or, “climbing is only a couple dozen seconds, and yet everyone talks about it as much as gears”.

Importance =/= Match Time =/= Mechanization =/= Scoring Potential

Please reread Table 3-1 in the manual. EDIT: Or rearticulate–it is 9 gears, but only after subtracting the 3 preloads. Total is 12; the 9 is: (1+2+4+6) - 3 preloads - 1 reserve = 9 from the retrieval station after the preloads.

As for value, it’s all about how people envision the competition season will play out. Here is what I imagine are going through the minds of do-it-all teams based upon what I’ve read and heard*:

• Running gears will be like breaching was last year, where every team can do it.
• Due to the large leap of effort between rotors 3 & 4, a robot that gets more points per cycle, and fewer cycles, is likely to contribute more points than a gears specialist.
• We’ll prioritize climbing over the 4th rotor.
• What do you mean there may be more gears to place at the highest levels of play?
• Gears that fall on the floor aren’t worth the SWAP or time effort to anyone on the field in a match.
• We’ll definitely participate in at least one match where getting the 4th rotor is a guarantee.
• Points for fuel matters more than defense against gears. We don’t like playing defense anyways.
• This is a pivotal year for us, and we believe we can make it work for the first time in our history.
• I really wish my team didn’t prioritize gears, shooter and THEN climb.
• Kids will LOVE this bot as a demo bot!

*I don’t mean to imply any team who thinks these things is right, wrong and/or will have a bad season. Every team has to decide what’s best for their team based upon the info they have and their team vision. These are simply a collection of what I’ve read & heard. I know that no matter what, my team will likely make a shooter for demos. These balls are really fun for kids.

Given that the reserve gear means every team gets that first 40 point free, if your alliance can’t score 6 or more gears in a match, you’re spending the ENTIRE MATCH to score +40 points. +60 if you auto the first gear. If you don’t have a fuel mechanism and you’re figuring you’re on your own and can’t hit 6 gears, your effective contribution is 2 gears for an entire match.

Which means a fuel bot with the the simplest gear mechanism that scores 2 gears and 9 low fuel beats you. Auto gear gives you a +20 cushion so a fuelbot has to score 2 gears and 63 high fuel to beat you, but still.

A robot with a passive gear mechanism, a successful “drive straight into the lift in front of you” auto and a fuel dumper is probably going to win a surprising amount of quals matches. Even more with a climber, which is looking rather easy.

Unless you expect to be a quite efficient gear bot, you ignore fuel at your peril.

There does seem to be a lot of peril in this game.

The pre populated gears are in addition to the 13 required. See the image above the table in the manual.

I am not too worried about scoring more points in matches where all four rotors are spinning, but shooting high is going to be a differentiator often.

If your two alliance partners can score a single gear each, then you have to score 4 gears to contribute at all, and 10 gears to contribute more than 40 points.

If your alliance partners score 3 gears each (on average) then you need to be able to score 6 gears to contribute at all.

I believe that on average, the other two robots on our alliance will be capable of contributing between 1 and 5 gears combined. In matches where they can score no gears, a loss is likely anyway, if they can score 6 or more gears then a win is likely anyway.

If we score a single gear in Autonomous, assuming the above is true (1-5 gears from others) then scoring anywhere from 0-7 gears is worth 0 or 40 points.

if you can score 7 gears in Teleop then there is a decent chance you are only adding 40 points to your alliance score. If you could add those same points via the high goal then you would have the same odds of winning, but win or lose you would add a ranking point.

This is the most interesting game since 2004 when it comes to specializing and team strategy.

Well we’re dealing with unguarded open gearing operating right next to pilots and pressure vessels constructed out of HPDE. Peril is probably to be expected.

One way to attempt to overcome the point values that Kevin rightly pointed out is to design a very efficient gears-only bot. A team that can consistently cycle rapidly and get three rotors turning on their own would do alright. This would require a ton of automation and driver practice, but I don’t think that the only top-level bots we see will be ball shooters. Someone, somewhere is going to break gears.

If your alliance partners average even 1 gear each, then 6 gears (enough for 3 rotors) is worth 40 points in qualifications regardless of how many gears the team scores in total. It becomes more valuable in eliminations, if your partners can combine for 6 gears between them.

I think that teams that can average 6 gears a match are probably used to winning competitions. 6 gears seems feasible to me in the drivers station nearest the loading stations as you have a clean view of the loading stations and the peg. In the center and Boiler side drivers stations, you have an obstructed, or partially obstructed view of the loading station. Averaging 6 gears per match will be extremely difficult.

Anyone consider a three-gear auto? That would be fun

Averaging 6 gears per match would make you one of the top 5-10 robots in the world. Top robots in 2011 were hanging ~6 tubes on average in teleop. topping out at probably 8. And that was with a more open field, a protected scoring zone, and the ability to sit in the protected zone and grab tubes that were thrown cross field to you.

Unless you are being scouted by a powerhouse team during your match to prove how fast you can cycle during the entire match.

Unfortunately, this is not possible solely on one robot. Only the gears robots start with are on the field.

Would be cool if they allowed human player to still feed a robot though.