FRC Robowarriors – Build Blog Day 1 (Kickoff)

Week 1

Authored by Ishan Deshpande

The kickoff unveiling was this Saturday. While the Robowarriors arrived at 9:30 AM to view the livestream on our lead mentor’s (Craig Wilmot) projector, Mr. Wilmot drove to Dripping Springs in his pickup truck to grab the Kit Of Parts. Meanwhile, the students started to read the game manual and watch the game animation, at which point they started to create a general idea of a strategy for the robot game.

Goal: The main goal of our kickoff meeting was to fully understand the game manual from back to front and develop a strategy or main focus around which to base our robot. It was specified that no prototyping or building should be conducted during this meeting, as sticking to an idea too quickly has backfired upon us in the past.

Description: The speculation surrounding the challenge this year was immense, with different theories being passed around based on the game teaser revealed earlier this school year. The challenge video itself revealed that the robot game this year is a shooting game, as opposed to the past two years’ challenges where most teams operated an elevator as their primary attachment.

The Robowarriors broke down into separate groups after the video to discuss the challenge and strategies surrounding it. From what most understood, there are three main components to the robot game: the “color wheel” (CONTROL PANEL), the “climbing thingy” (GENERATOR SWITCH) and the lower, outer, and inner ports for POWER CELLS. 

An interesting design choice of the game this year was the apparent focus on making none of the ranking point earning strategies solely based on an individual team’s merit. All of the systems to earn ranking points are too complicated for any one team to earn a ranking point on their own, and seem to force teams on an alliance to work together. This is possibly a reaction to last year’s problem of high ranking teams being able to climb the ranks much faster due to being able to consistently score 1 RP per round.

Another interesting design choice was the layout of the field. The center climbing area is bulky and takes up most of the main space of the field, with 6-inch pillars and a 1-inch tall boundary surrounding the region. Because the scoring target is placed on the opposite side of the field, it’s very simple for the other alliance’s robots to defend the target unless you use your TRENCH (as opponents are not allowed to touch you in the TRENCH). Using the trench provides its own problems, however, as the CONTROL PANEL is about 2ft 4in high and can prohibit large mechanisms from passing. Our team’s consensus was that climbing was more valuable than the possibility of getting from one end of the field to the other without defense.

One group of students drew out a chalk field in the area in front of our garage (shown below). This allowed us to simulate gameplay with people acting as “robots”.

At the end of the day, we decided that our most viable option was to focus on climbing (and as a second priority, shooting), as it would be easier to allow us a ranking point on solely our team’s efforts. Our second priority is shooting balls through the ports.

We also inventoried our kit of parts.

At the end of the day, the meeting was successful and we will continue to brainstorm ideas in the future. Here is a gantt chart showing our proposed season schedule:

Watch the game animation below:

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