For the past few years I’ve been writing up reports on Auckland Scrimmages to try make what happens here a little less secretive. In the past NZ, in general, has provided some of the strongest robots in the world and we hope that this year will be no different. This year I wasn’t going to post information because there seemed to be a lack of interest from the community and I’d rather not fill up the forum with posts that people don’t care about. However, at the same time, there is a lot of information I share about scrimmages early season to try help out other teams, volunteers and EP’s to try get their own events running more smoothly. So I will continue to post for the time being and if I feel there is a lack interest as the season progresses, I will stop.
To start with I’d like to look at a couple of the big changes to the season: Skills and APs.
Skills at this stage is still tricky. As the official manual isn’t due out for another few weeks, most of this will be speculatory, however it isn’t baseless. We’ve already seen the thread about how the awards appendix has been updated to show that programming and robot skills score will be combined to determine the winner. With this in mind plus what has been said over the past week at the EP Summit, this looks to be true. Whether this is our top individual score from multiple events or top combined score is still unknown. Both have their pros and cons, but I’m not going to talk about those. What this means is that completing both sets of skills is, all of a sudden, much more important. This is the kind of change that should create more balanced robots and I for one welcome the change.
The inclusion of APs are the other big change from previous seasons. Just like the combination of skills I feel it is an attempt to create a more balanced robotics program and puts more emphasis on the parts of the competition that REC feel has been lacking. Once again this is a change I personally welcome. I feel the old system of ranking off SPs was broken so a change is good. In terms of what this has changed at scrimmages I have already seen teams that usually don’t attempt autonomous at all have basic autonomous functions in an attempt to climb up the rankings ladder. Having all robots actually move during autonomous even at small early scrimmages is nice to see.
Moving on from these points I’ll try put our scrimmages into a bit of context. Early Auckland events are small events with 12-30 teams. This year all Auckland events prior to Nationals will be held at schools, last year we had use a of a University space, which allowed events up to 50 teams. Unfortunately, we could not get access this season. The big team names that I mention all the time have changed. We have a lot of new students coming up and trying to fill big shoes, so at the moment there hasn’t been any stand out teams. I don’t see this as a negative, I believe that the fact there are constantly new students coming through is positive and I’m sure they will challenge each other so that we will have World Champions again soon.
At this point in time we’ve had two scrimmages.
The first of which was held at Onehunga High School. This was a small event with 13 teams competing. On top of this we had an overseas visitor, Justin (ex1615 Worlds Finalist in Sack Attack and now VEXU BNS) so it was nice to catch up with him. The event came down to a third match final with the 4th seeded alliance of 2900 (Onehunga High School) and 2918E (Glenfield College) beating Second seed of 7682 (Wingus & Dingus) and 2915D (Lynfield College) 23-18. As I said this was a small scrimmage and there was a fair bit of prototyping going on. Congratulations to the winning alliance and thank you to Onehunga for hosting.
The latest Scrimmage was held at Kristin School today. 26 teams competed from 12 different organisations. There was a bit of a debacle at the end of the semi-finals with a DQ being given and then reconsidered and removed. George will touch base on this as he was head ref and feels there are some parts in the rules that should be examined carefully to avoid slip ups. Despite the mishap here The blue alliance (Third seed) of 2900A (Onehunga High School) and 2918F (Glenfield College) won in the third match of the finals 23-16. Finalists were 2918E (Glenfield College) and 2915D (Lynfield College). The majority of designs that made it through to the finals were back dumper robots (similar to those seen in Singapore). Thank you Kristin for hosting.
A few things I’ve noted from volunteering:
- Reset is quick this year.
- Scoring can be a bit complicated at first. I recommend splitting up groups of stars as they are much easier to count apart than in a group.
- Stars bunch up really quickly at the base of the fence.
- There are a lot of minor non-match affecting rule breaks. This includes crossing onto the other side of the field. Please design your robots accordingly.
Just a little note as well for competitors: all the people running the event are volunteers and are trying their best. As with today’s mishap, mistakes happen. We try to take it on the chin and do our best to fix any errors on our parts. Your patience is greatly appreciated, especially in the early season when we’re still learning ourselves.
Lastly, I’d like to thank our dedicated group of volunteers, who without these events would not be possible.
If there are any questions about the events or how we run things in NZ I’d be happy to answer. I will not post any footage recorded during events as that is a teams prerogative if they wish to share.