Specialist Skills Robots/Greater Presence?

It seems like each year for the past couple of years to be great in the robot skills portion of the game, a robot can devalue itself during the tournament portion of the game. A few examples that come to mind of this were robots with no lift and a stellar short shot in NBN and of course the amazing skills style robot that 2188A had last year. I believe that this year might in fact have an even greater disparity between skills and the tournament because of the tremendous value of the mobile goals compared to the cones along with the quantity of each. The basic math on this is easy enough to see as you can score 12.5 points per goal vs. 2 points per cone along with goals being much easier to score for ITZ as far as skills goes(especially autonomous), but during regular game play you can get a max score of 50 points in goals vs. a max score of 136 in cones plus the difference in cones will more than likely determine the outcome in most matches. I guess I have four questions about this from a community perspective.

  1. Do you think we will see a major rise in Skills Specialty robots by teams this year?
  2. Do you think teams will “try”(because it’s really hard) to pull a 2188A and have a separate skills set up off of their main bot?
  3. Do you think it would be a decent play for younger/inexperienced/lees off teams to go for the skills only mobile goal route and play for a hopeful third round selection?
  4. Do you think I’m over/under estimating the value of a mobile goal only bot either skills or the tournament?

While I do agree that mobile goal scoring will be a huge part of skills, you can only reach 100 points with Mobile Goals. Clearly, this is not enough. 8068E has already got 92 points in drivers alone this early in the season, 100+++ points will be absolutely necessary to qualify for worlds. Therefore, scoring mobile goals alone won’t get you a skills score in the Top 50, and cone stacking will become prevalent in robot skills very soon.

However, Programming Skills is another story. I suspect one can easily top Programming Skills Rankings with just 100 points (with Mobile Goals alone), just because of how hard it is to score cones in programming skills this year.

My early-season analysis tells me that people will build skills-optimised robots (maybe a 4-bar) but as the season progresses, people will be forced to build taller robots (RD4B). By then, there will be no distinction in match and skills robots.

Personally, I don’t feel so. In fact, there might be even less than previous years.

Teams will definitely try, that’s for sure. But I doubt such a robot will reach any kind of success 2188A has achieved in Starstruck.

From Singapore VEX alone, I can say that it is safe to do so, at least till States. The first thing new teams should do is NOT to aim to be able to score cones, but rather be able to score Mobile Goals, simply because of how many points it holds.

Mobile Goals are of upmost importance, but this is still early in the season. In Worlds when everyone can score mobile goals, the thing that will set teams apart is their ability to score cones.

TL;DR: No, I do not feel Skills Robots will be a thing this year.

Hmmmm… Well, match robots will be optimized more for cones because that is what most of the time will be spent doing. Skills robots will be mostly mobile goals, so that will be their focus. They may have very efficient mobile goal intakes and a fast drive. That way, they can create more time to score cones. Also, Skills robots will not need to score stacks of cones very high. There is not much extra time for cones, and there is no competition for highest stack bonuses.

Again, I disagree. While mobile-goal-only robots are probably better for qualification matches, cone-only robots would make a better partner in eliminations. Filling a niche role well is always a valid strategy. If I am a top robot that can handle cones and mobile goals well, it’s assumed that I can take care of the mobile goal. I would rather have someone help me with cones than save me 25 seconds of driving mobile goals back to place in the zones.

I personally think there will be specialized skills robots. Thinking about mobile goal scoring, what robot will do it better, a robot with a 8-10 motor drive and maybe a small arm or a robot that has a 6 motor drive and is optimized to do cones. Of course skills will not be all mobile goals but I don’t see their being stacks of 15 cones. Which is why I can see a skills robot with an 8 motor drive, 2 motor cone manipulator to add points and pneumatics or an additional motor to pick up the mobile goal and score it. The last motor if using all motors can go back to the manipulator to help it score cones more efficiently

That will be true only for the time being. In Mid- to Late-Season, I would expect stacks to get very high even in Drivers Skills.

It really depends on a case-by-case basis. Some robots would prefer if their partner did the mobile goals for them, while they do the harder task of scoring cones. Some would prefer the opposite. It really depends on what kind your alliance captain is.

I’m doubtful. There is no need to claim stack bonuses, and I expect scoring 8 mobile goals to take around 30-40 seconds. 20-30 seconds and 10 goals to choose from… There is no need for a high lift. There will probably only be time to score 10 cones or so and no shortage of separate goals.

And I forgot to respond to this…

My point is that one robot can have more than enough time to handle mobile goals on their own, plus do cones. Therefore, a robot that only did mobile goals would be wasting the majority of a competitive match (mobile goals should take around 30 seconds, at most). On the other hand, a robot that did only cones would be useful for the whole match, and having the better robot take care of the mobile goals in addition to doing lots of cones is only a problem if the cone-only robot is a lot slower at doing cones.

It’s like 2131C in Skyrise Finals. They did only cubes, because that is what determined who won. They were paired with 2915A, who did both cubes and skyrise sections very well. If 2131C had built a robot to only do skyrise sections, they would have been wasting a lot of time (unless they took forever to do skyrise sections, but that’s still a pretty bad scenario for them).

Or, in Nothing But Net, if you have a robot that only does field scoring with a robot that does field scoring and full-court matchloads (we will ignore elevation, it’s not relevant). That is preferable to a robot that only does matchloads with a robot that does both matchloads and field scoring. Why? Well, with the first alliance, both robots go out to score in the field at the beginning of the match, like normal. Then, the robot that can do matchloads does matchloads while the field scorer does rebounds. In the second alliance, the matchload robot does matchloads from the beginning of the match, then does nothing. Meanwhile, their partner is in the field, fighting for balls with a 2v1 disadvantage. Yikes. Since only one robot did matchloads in most high-level NbN matches, having a robot that only shot from the field was not even a disadvantage as long as you had a robot that did matchloads (a virtual guarantee in eliminations).

Basically, with an alliance of cone-only robot and a robot capable of handling cones and mobile goals, you get both robots being at full efficiency for the whole match. If you have a robot that only does mobile goals and a robot that does both, the robot doing mobile goals either takes a ridiculously long amount of time to do the mobile goals and is wasting time that way, or does mobile goals well and does nothing the rest of the match… except maybe defense, so I guess there may be an argument for that… But for pure offense, definitely a cone only robot is better.

This is really good discussion about my thoughts on this topic and I appreciate @siam’s opinion since he has seen both the game and the skills challenge at probably the highest level competitively so far this year. My thoughts initially and probably still seeing how many of my kids would go for a strategy for skills over the tournament on one of our teams. Initially I was thinking a mobile goal intake mounted slightly at an angle that it wouldn’t need lifted over the scoring bar capable of holding at a minimum of three mobile goals at a time. I would want them to add a simple elevator or chain type lift to add cones up to around 5 or so for each mobile goal as you intake it. Our combined skills goal this year is to get over 250 and this way seems to be the best to reach that number, if we could get the elevator fast enough to score 24 cones in driver. I think this bot could work decent with a quality internal stacker as it could go around the field and load up three mobile goals with 5 cones each. this would essentially allow the internal to go and get one large stack, and then take and pocket the other cones at the best stack spot. We have some fairly experienced drivers coming back this year so I expect they could also play smart defense as well. Early on the focus would be of course to have the best mobile goal robot possible, but we would have all year to iterate cones to get better and better. Honestly for a qualifying for World’s perspective autonomous skills has been something that has hurt my teams now for the past few years. This year I think teams that want to make it in skills will almost have to hit triple digits in both programming and drive, but you never know until March.

Time can be spent doing things like blocking opponents. Defence does make a huge difference to the match outcome.

It is true that a cone robot will be scoring for the entirety of the match, however the score difference between the mobile goals and cones is really huge. Running around an entire match to score cones might not even mean scoring higher than a Mobile Goal robot.

I do agree with this point though. It makes sense this combination gives the best scoring efficiency (but this is not taking into consideration the element of defence). However, it depends on which point in the season you’re talking about. With varying time periods, robots of varying efficiency can win:
Early Season → Mobile Goals alone can Win Match
Mid Season → Mobile Goal Robot + Cone Robot can Win Match
Late Season → Mobile Goals and Cones are basic requirements for all robots

Well to be frank, no one can predict the skills score. I respect your prediction but both of us will have to wait and see to know what it’ll be like at the end of the season.

Thank you :slight_smile:

This sounds like a really good early season (even Mid Season) Robot. It’s already better than our first robots in Singapore :smiley: