Ok so I’m sure many teams have figured this out already, but I’m starting a topic on it because I haven’t seen it discussed here on the forums yet. This post is going to be very very long so I’ve organized it sort of.
The current robot designs that teams are using for in person tournaments are objectively not the best type of robot for a live remote tournament.
The best robots we’re seeing at in person tournaments right now are optimized for drive speed, cycle speed, descoring speed, and light weight.
none of these matter nearly as much in a LRT match.
in an in person match of change up, rows are the best way to score lots of points. this is why robots need to be so fast, they need to be able to control many goals across the whole field while they are constantly being descored. But in LRT matches, row bonuses are no longer the best source of points. Let me explain.
The better way to score points than rows
The key feature of the strategy I’m discussing here lays in three very important things.
firstly, that any scored ball contacted by robots will count as scored. (this is only for live remote tournaments)
secondly, due to the definition of a scored ball, balls do not have to be fully contained in the goal to count as scored. they only have to be partially within the horizontal edge of the goal (they do have to be fully under the top of the goal but that doesn’t matter here). This, combined with the first point means that any balls pinned to a goal by a robot at the end of a match do in fact count as scored.
And thirdly, live remote tournaments have a goal doubling/quadrupling feature where any goals touched by one robot at the end of the match have their points doubled, and any goal touched by both robots (of the same alliance) have their points quadrupled.
I think you can see where I’m going with this.
if you can design a robot that can hold large amounts of balls (I’m talking 12 balls at least, at the highest level all 15 available balls of that alliance’s color) to a goal (center goal is preferred for it’s large capacity for pinned balls as well as it’s strategic row-blocking position), as well as contact the goal along with your alliance partner, you can achieve a massive amount of points, while taking away half the rows from your opponent.
lets say that we have an alliance of 2 of these robots, and that they can both hold 15 balls of their color to the center goal, while also quadrupling the center goal through the contacting bonus.
That’s 30 balls of the alliance’s color, that’s 60 points, now quadruple that.
That goal alone is now worth 240 points.
there are of course other balls on the field for both teams in this alliance that are worth points as well, but those don’t even matter.
for the sake of this discussion, we assume both opponents can do everything in a match that a standard hoodbot can do.
the opponents will not be able to own the center goal, therefore they are limited to only the 4 edge rows. even if they own all 4 of these rows (that’s 52 points), as well as score every ball except 5 of their own color(we’re using those extra 5 later. 10 balls of your color, 14 balls of other color for each team, that’s 20 + 14 points, 34 points for each alliance, 68 points total), and that both robots on this alliance cram one of the edge goals with their remaining 5 balls of their color each (a standard hoodbot should be able to do this with the right technique and minor modifications) and quadruple that goal. (20*4, 80 points), and we throw in auton, that brings this alliance’s grand total to 206 points.
in this scenario, these goal cramming robots would beat the very best standard hoodbots.
Now it’s all good to theorize about the maximum points from one goal, but is it possible to build a robot that can cram 15 balls into one goal? I say it is.
it will be a very daunting challenge though. your robot needs to be able to field, descore (many balls are tied up in goals around the field), score 3 balls into the center goal, as well as pin 12 balls to the outside of the center goal, 3 on each side.
But, I think it is definitely possible to design a robot that can do this in 2 minutes.
drive speed doesn’t matter as much, nor does drive torque, so 4m drive isn’t necessary. Side rollers are still pretty important because you need to descore a lot of balls that are tied up in goals. You do need to score 3 balls inside the center goal. And you’re going to need some way to hold 3 balls against the center goal on all 4 sides, that’s going to necessitate some crazy expansion there.
One possible robot I can think of is actually a tetherbot. if you make 2 tetherbots then each bot only has to hold 6 balls against the goal on two sides. that way no mechanisms have to wrap around the goal. and one of these tetherbots needs to be able to score in the center goal, but not both.
But of course there are other ideas, and I’m really looking forward to seeing if anyone actually pulls this off during worlds.
And as an afternote to recf and gdc, please do not change the rules to outlaw this strategy. I’d be willing to bet many teams have already invested a ton of work into robots that function around this powerful, albeit unintentional, feature. Changing it now would be negating all this hard work on these team’s parts. And besides, it’s a good feature because it actually rewards teams for taking on a daunting engineering challenge.