Team Copioli has been working diligently on creating our priority list – which in fact is completed well in advance of our anticipated schedule. We’re working well together and have finally hit a groove. Although Aerial Assist has thrown some interesting challenges our way when you consider our abbreviated build season, the brainstorming went relatively smoothly and we’re ready to get cranking on the prototyping work ahead of us.
We set our priorities as follows:
1. Drive! – Our team feels strongly that this always needs to be number one. If you cannot move, you cannot play this game offensively or defensively. (There is an option for a stationary passer, but it’s really too restrictive for our liking.) There’s a lot of opportunities for strategic movement around the field, and so we want to ensure our drive system is robust.
2. EJECT! EJECT! EJECT! – If a ball gets stuck in your robot, your entire alliance ceases to be able to score any points. This is very bad. Every team in FIRST needs to be able to release the ball if they plan on carrying it… otherwise they’re taking a pretty severe risk that they could be hindering their alliance partners. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when the stakes are high.
3. Human Players – Receive & Possess – We decided that receiving and possessing a ball from a human player is a basic functionality all teams need to have. Most teams will overlook how difficult this task can be, so we want to put particular focus on the human player role. You can’t do anything with a ball if you can’t possess it, and we believe this is the easiest way to acquire it. We thought about last year and how difficult it was for teams to slot-load frisbees from the human player station.
4. Score Low – We sat down and figured out that the low goal, with one pass and a truss, equals an easy 21 points. The high goal, with one pass and a truss, equals 30 points. The math doesn’t lie – low goal scoring is 70% of high goal scoring. However, it’s important to factor in that scoring low is much easier than scoring high. We think a robot that gives up the option of scoring high can still end up a top tier robot in this game. This was an interesting discovery.
5. Ground Pick-Up – If a ball ends up on the ground and no one can pick it up, your alliance comes to a grinding halt. We also thought it was valued more highly than attempting to truss, because it certainly gives you more options on the field. There’s going to be many more opportunities to pick up from the ground, so we felt it was an important capability.
6. Trussing! – …that being said, obviously we’d like the capability to truss. Big points, and we think it will be easier to do than scoring high – it requires less accuracy, for one. The goal has a 36″ opening and the balls are 24″ themselves – that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for the robot to shoot. Also the points aren’t reliant upon a goal being scored – it’s just 10 points on the board no matter what.
7. Catching the Ball – Trussing isn’t reliant upon a partner, but the scoring is the same. So we placed “catching the ball” lower on the priority list than trussing for that reason: it’s a more difficult task. Not to mention the accuracy that is involved… that could also be difficult to dial in.
8. Score High – To be honest, this is low on the list given the difficulty. It’s not easy to be a very high-scoring robot in this game, and the value of those high-scoring options seems lower once you consider the ease of the other options. It’s notable enough to be on the list, but very low.
Now we’re set to start our prototyping, and our CAD team is going to crowd into Paul’s office to get to work. More coming soon!