Will climbing systems become the ramps of 2007?

In 2007 many team had ramps and lifting systems that they removed from their robots. There were many reasons for this; size problems, weight problems, ineffectiveness, an even strategy changes.

Will climbing systems suffer the same fate this year?

As competition at the FIRST Championship is typically different from that during the competition season, FIRST may alter the value of CLIMBING at the FIRST Championship by up to ten (10) points per Level.

I think this could be a big factor, if climbing becomes more or less desirable.

My personal opinion is no.

A team who has a 10 point climber that will climb in 1 second (like some of the robots that just drive into the pyramid). A ten point climb is equivalent to 5 frisbees scored in the 2 point goal.

If a robot shoots from about 10 feet away…

Perhaps 5 seconds to shoot those four frisbees (and aim)? If they make all of them, +8 points.

Driving to feeder station: let’s say their robot can travel @ 10 fps. They were already 10 feet down the field, so a little more than 4 seconds to get to the feeder station.

Feeding? Perhaps 4 seconds.

Another 4 seconds to drive back to their shooting position, and 5 more seconds to shoot.

We are at approximately 22 seconds to make up for that climb (and 6 extra points).

22 seconds for 16 points, or 1 second for 10? That is the question.

In my personal opinion, this isn’t worth getting rid of a climber over.

I can definitely see how that will happen with some teams, but for others I see the opposite: Climbing mechanisms being added through the season after seeing everyone else using them.

I’m really not talking about 10 point hangers but real climbers.

The difference is it’s VERY hard, judging based off most robots here, to effectively add a QUICK 30 point climber to a robot designed around being primarily a shooter/intake. Any robot can easily put a ten point climber on.

I think what we’ll end up seeing is teams with articulated ten point climbers that take >3 seconds to line up and climb replacing them with modifications to the “passive” style climb.

Well given that we already took off our 30 point climber due to weight and size constrictions, yes. I doubt we will see many teams take them off during competition. If there was a climber to be taken off, it probably has already been taken off.

Our entire hanger consists of only 2 hooks that attaches to our previously-existing mechanism, so we probably won’t be taking it off unless something comes up and makes it completely unusable.

One of the ideas currently floating around our team is to develop a 30 point climber after we come back for palmetto in time for peachtree. In any matches where other teams want to do the 7 disc autonomous, we’ll remove our floor intake and put our climber on. We don’t envision us using our floor pickup very much outside of autonomous… if a team has a better autonomous, might as well let them do it and we’ll stick our climber on.

I agree that hangers and climbers are completely different animals. Hangers won’t go away. By the end of the season, they will probably all look and function alike - kind of like the way minibots developed in 2011.

As for the “true” climbers, I think their fate depends on how the full court shooting game develops. If shooters work out effective counterdefense, then the 30 point climbers won’t be so valuable and some may be removed and replaced by better shooters. If shooting is mostly done from near the pyramid area, then climbers will remain more valuable.

A 30 point climb without a 20 point dump - especially if it takes half the match - is probably not worth the effort and risk (especially compared to quick scoring bot with a quick 10 point hanger). Even with the dump, it may not be a game changer.

Now, if there are enough full court shooters that they effectively cancel each other out, then a climber may provide just the margin needed to decide the match. Especially if the climber can play clean-up to the full court shooter for the first half of the match.

I hope that climbers remain valuable. Partly because we built one, and partly because a series of attrition matches between undefendable full court shooters could get rather boring.

The difference between this year and 2007 is that a climbing robot can’t provide bonus points for the other two bots on its alliance. In 2007 you needed one good double ramp bot and you got a bazillion points, effectively. More than one rampbot was superfluous. That’s not quite the case this year. More than one 30-pt center climber is superfluous, but corner climbers always have the chance to score. And you’re not depending on an alliance mate to score for you.

So I think it’ll come down to gameplay and strategy for the individual team. If their climber is slow enough that they can score as many frisbees as they’d score climbing, they’ll probably dump it or atleast ignore it. If they have a poor shooter or fast climber, then they’ll keep the climbing system .

A huge difference between 2013 and 2007 is that a 20 or 30 point climbing mechanism that is not 100% effective and repeatable jeopardizes your entire event/season if you try to use it and it fails.

A lot of teams (including my own) will show up with 20/30 point climbers in various states of readiness, but will be VERY hesitant to use them until they need to, or until they have more time to tweak on practice/unbagging days or on the practice bot.

Food for though, many teams in 2007 weren’t big on climbing other people’s ramps. There were quite a few robots (including ours!) with ramps that were difficult to climb successfully, and a 12" fall the wrong way could definitely be season ending.

At least the first 60" fall will be the team in question will definitely get their 15 minutes of internet robot fame…

This is an interesting question.

Ramps in 2007 were something needed on a ‘per alliance’ basis whereas a climbing mechanism is needed on a ‘per machine’ basis to score the maximum allowable points. In theory, in 2007 a team could have built a robot that never moved and just dropped a ramp on either side and still have allowed their alliance to get the max end game score - and it only required their partners to be able to move in a controlled fashion and be able to get onto the ramp mechanism. (Or if you’re Raul, robots don’t need to move to get end game points.)

This year, because climbing is on a per machine basis, I think you’re going to see a lot of teams chasing a 30pt ascent all the way until the CMP. If anything, developing a climber throughout the competition season is actually more advantageous than doing so during build. By week two or week three, once the better portion of the community has played at at least one event, we will have a better feel for what a ‘good’ climb will be. From there, a standard of sorts can be established where machines can be grouped into classes based on capabilities. Odds are, there will be a few teams that can climb and shoot well, but will lack in another department like disc acquisition, whereas a team with an awesome pickup and shooter may not have a good climber. If you run the numbers out from there in regards to your machine, you’d then be able to get a better feel for what exactly you’d need to add to stay competitive. Odds are, if you’ve got a really strong autonomous or teleop game, you can get away with a slightly slower climb and still come out on top when playing a team with a standard teleop game or auton but a faster climber. From what I’ve gone through in the past 8 weeks or so, it seems like having a ‘fast’ climber is easy, if you’re willing to compromise your shooter or disc acquisition, whereas if you’re willing to accept having a slow or no climber then it opens up your machine for a better shooter and disc system.

All of that being said, I guess to answer the original question, I think that climbing mechanisms will be similar to ramp systems in 2007 in that teams will be continually tweaking/abandoning/adding them throughout the season, but I don’t think we’ll see the swings that we saw in 2007 where it seemed like every team had a ramp and then ditched it for weight or some other reason once they realized that there were other/better ramp bots in the field. If anything, climbers will be 2013’s minibot or stinger, a mechanism/system that is constantly in a state of flux as the bar continues to be raised throughout the season. But with that being said, a climber has more strategic complexity than a minibot or stinger so that could make things interesting…

There’s part of me that thinks that we’ll be more likely to see a team make a significant change to their disc system in order to do a ‘fast’ 30pt climb then see a team ditch a 30pt climber to improve there shooting… Which would be a deviation from standard FIRST thinking, but might pay off by the time the CMP rolls around.

Just be sure that you meet weight with BOTH mechanisms.