As with what George did last year, I’ve decided to set up a thread to update everyone on what’s happening over here in New Zealand. Just to start off, things are being run slightly differently this year. For starters, all Auckland scrimmages can now be found on RobotEvents. This means that even if we’re a bit late on a thread update, you can find out how your favourite NZ teams have done. Another thing you might notice is that teams may not be competing as often. This is purely because we want to rank teams fairly for qualification for NZ Nationals. This means each team is only allocated 5 spots, however teams are allowed to compete more than this throughout the season.
If you have any questions I’m sure anyone of the NZ members on the forums would be happy to answer them for you.
Without further ado:
7th June 2014 Whangaparaoa College
This was the first ever VEX Skyrise scrimmage. It was run smoothly through a team of highly skilled volunteers, mostly from AURA (University of Auckland). We had 26 teams compete from around Auckland, there were a few new faces out there already starting to get noticed. The RobotEvents page can be found here.
The 5th seed alliance of 2919M and 2919A (K-Force) won the event in a couple of high scoring final matches for this early in the season. They defeated the top seeding alliance 2918A (Glenfield College) and their alliance partner 7757E (KiwiTech) in the semi-finals and went on to defeat another Glenfield College team, 2918D, and 2909B (ACG) in the finals.
Congratulations to both K-Force teams for winning the event.
Thanks to all the teams for showing up and big shout out to all of the volunteers, teachers and mentors. We really couldn’t run these events without you.
I really can’t stress enough how important the autonomous bonus is at this point in the season. As the blog post says, the number of matches in which the bonus determined the outcome was 79% - but when you look at only qualification matches, that jumps to 85%. The reason is that the margins are low - 95% of matches had a winning margin of 20 or less and 64% had a winning margin of 10 or less. You’re really disadvantaging yourself if you go to a Skyrise scrimmage without writing an autonomous routine.
edit: We don’t think it’s polite to share video unless the teams in the video have told us they’re ok with us sharing it. As such, AURA is unlikely to share any video of high school scrimmages this season. High school teams who want to share their robot designs with the rest of the world can do so themselves if they like; that’s up to them (and personally I think it’s a good thing to do) but in previous seasons it hasn’t happened much.
We may share pictures and video of some of our own Vex U robots during the season. We’ve done so in previous seasons, so it mainly depends how useful we think the designs would be to other Vex U teams.
If you can tell what kinds of designs worked well at the event(scissor lifts, claws, 8-bars, linear lift, top rollers, side rollers? Also I think what you really want hide is autonomous, because the amount of matches that were determined by it.
There were a combination of designs that did well in the end of the day. There wasn’t a single design which is obviously better than any other at this stage. One thing I will say is at this stage teams need to keep it simple. Both teams on the winning alliance started off trying to do everything, they could both reach 60". But, by the end of the day they had decided it was more adventurous for them to specialise in separate parts of the game.
One of the things I noticed from behind the scoring desk was that the teams that could reach the high goals seemed focused on them and always tried scoring high, even when there were no cubes on the lowers posts. This seemed to fix itself during the day though.
He’s right with the idea of keeping it simple at this stage. Our two robots can reach 60" and both could score cubes and skyrises although mine could do cubes better and my alliances could do skyrises better. We decided to take off our worst intakes and specialize from the quarter finals until the finals and it seemed like the best strategy.
If theres one tip I could make for teams this early into the season is, as Jamie said, keep it simple and don’t focus on your robot being able to score all game objects. We were successful and my robot could only score cubes while my alliance robot could only score skyrises.
I was commentating for the qualifiers, and it was obvious that a lot of the teams weren’t thinking broadly enough when it comes to maximising points scored. For example, there would be two equal-height posts, equal distance from the robot, one with a cube of the same alliance on it and one with no cubes on it. Instead of going for the extra ownerships points, teams would score on the post they already had a cube on, essentially throwing away points.
Coaching is a really important part of the game, teams need to realise the driver is the one who looks at the robot, the coach looks at the entire field. The driver doesn’t need to know to “go up, keep going up, left a bit, bit more…” etc. They need to know things like “Pop that cube you have on the sky-rise, that’s where the most points are” or “you’re about to get blocked from that high post, turn around and score at a lower post to save time”.
There was a lot of effort and innovation on display, the future scrims are going to be awesome.
Alright so today was Auckland Ladder Scrimmage #2.
5th July 2014 Kristin School
We saw quite a large improvement on the last scrimmage in terms of strategy and ability from the last scrimmage. Teams were thinking more about where they were putting what, and with this we saw a decrease in specialisation. RobotEvents page is here.
This scrimmage saw the return, and victory, of 7682 (Wingus and Dingus) with both their robots. Their fast scoring ability and reliable autonomous allowed them to out play 2919M (K-Force), the last scrimmage champions, and their alliance partner 2909B (ACG Parnell), the first seeded team, in the finals.
Well done to both Wingus and Dingus, we enjoy what you bring to the competition and eagerly await what you’ll bring next time.
I believe the high score of the day was Final-2 where the final score was 24-58. Drivers skills high was 18 by 7682E and Programming skills high was 15 by 7682.
Thank you to Kristin for providing the venue and of course to the volunteers from AURA and MESS. The events cannot be run without you.
Once again AURA will release a more technical review of the scrimmage in the near future, this will be available on their website.
Well it’s that time of the month again for us here in Auckland, Ladder Scrimmage #3
19 July 2014- Ormiston College
This was the first scrimmage for previous World Champion teams 2915A (Sack Attack) and 2915C (Toss up). They allianced together as first seed and eventually won the tournament. They played 2918A (Glenfield College) and new team 8757 (House of Science), from Tauranga, in a controversial best of three finals. Although all teams agreed with the call that was made in Final-2, the ruling will be Q+A’d to ensure the correct path was followed. New Zealand prides itself on strong refereeing so we are keen to make sure we get it right, as the rules are now, and if the issue were to come up again.
High score of the day was 74, to the red alliance, in Final-1. Skills were not run. Today a design was also awarded, this was given to 2906A (Long Bay College). All details can be found on RobotEvents
As for the overall event, design convergence doesn’t seem to be a problem. Although a few teams have had similar ideas, each robot is different in terms of how goals are achieved. The stronger robots were able to build the Skyrise and score cubes, which is slowly ending the specialisation we saw in the first scrimmage. Match turnover time has been reduced and we’re happy to see teams keep up with that.
Above all today I would like to thank Oliver (Vex Mundi) for his diligence of the rules and making things as fair as possible for teams in Auckland. We’re lucky to have someone like you keeping an eye on the games. AURA for all the work they do every scrimmage, the MESS boys that came out and Ormiston College for hosting the event.
In both of the last two scrimmages Oats highest ranked team have received 14th & 15th. Strange considering that they were so dominant at worlds. Anyway good luck to all New Zealand teams, especially Oats, Linfield and Wingus and Dingus. Loved them since I first started VEX.
Hey guys, so obviously I’m on Oats…
Not making excuses or anything – we haven’t been doing too well at scrimmages obviously – but we have around 12 junior students (that is, students in their first year of VEX) and only 2 senior students, myself included (both of whom are only second year). We don’t have mentors this year either, so obviously the senior students have a main job of teaching the junior students and helping them get their robots working. Oats has 4 teams (A, B, C & D), so getting 4 robots up and running is quite hard with only 2 people who know what they’re doing.
As well as this, the most recent scrimmage was at the end of our 2 week holidays. Our teacher was sick for most of the holidays, and so we only got into school for 2 days (4 hours each) to work on the robots – not much progress was made!
I’m not making excuses, we could be doing better, but this year our focus is getting the juniors up to date with what’s happening – I quote our teacher, “learning is our priority this year.”
Also - I don’t think it’s a very nice thing to do, to bring up the fact that a team’s not doing well. But idk, that’s just my opinion - some teams might see it as ‘constructive criticism’???
One thing to remember is that at these scrimmages Auckland teams are competing for the opportunity to compete at Nationals. Teams from outside of Auckland are still allowed to compete but they have to qualify for nationals through their own regional tournaments. How well Oats teams perform in Auckland shouldn’t be seen as indicative of how well they will perform at Nationals and at Worlds, since these are just practice events for them but have actual consequences for everyone else.
This is a change from previous seasons when all scrimmages were only practice events.