Sunday, January 8, 2017

Day 1: STEAMworks has arrived

After months of anticipation the 2017 FRC game is finally here. Check out the video below.

Today we accomplished the most important task of the season. We read and understood the game manual. This is a critical task for anyone involved with FRC. If you haven't sat down and one this please do it, you will have a far better understanding of your next 4 weeks.

Things we noticed
- Bumpers are part of your robot volume. This is critical that all teams know this rule. Read G04 and R03 very carefully. Bumpers are not however part of your frame perimeter. You do have to start in frame perimeter but you don't have to stay that way. So extending over your bumpers is totally cool as long you don't break the total volume.

- Bumpers can be touching the ground this year. We assume this is show the balls aren't traveling under teams bumpers but just know your bumpers will be getting nice and low this year.

- The field is asymmetric when you are Red the boiler is on your right, when you are blue the boiler is on your left. This changes everything for your auton modes and for your driver practice. 

- You have to a score on the goals nearest your alliance station. This means you are shooting at the goals while your robot is practically facing your drivers. It will be much harder to align this way since you can't just use an aiming light and aim front across the field. Camera streams back to the driver station and vision processing will be much more important.

- There are big points available in auton. If you can get to a hopper and load your robot, it's possible for your to score 60+ kPa just in autonomous mode. This is enough for your to get the ranking point for building enough pressure. A simple gear hang in Autonomous is gives your alliance 20 more points then the same action if performed by the drivers in teleop.

- Speaking of Auton at the highest level of game play this game could be amazing. With only 5 hoppers on the field and 6 robots, if everyone wants to try to autonomously get a nice large load of 50+ fuel at least two teams will be racing towards the center hopper to see who can get away with the most fuel balls. Autonomous interaction in the neutral could become a very interesting part of the game at higher levels of play.

- The gears are a game of diminishing returns. Your first gear is 40 points, then 2 gears is 40 points, then 4 gear, and then finally it takes 6 gears. It pays to do a few gears a match but very quickly the rewards stop paying out if you aren't going to be able to get all 4 rotors spinning. You might want to focus on ball scores after the first few gears. Also the first one is freebie right after auto ends so it's really your first 2 gears scored that have the highest payoff. This gets a lot more complicated in the playoffs.

- There are two different games being played in Qualifications and Playoffs. In Qualifications it's far easier to score 40 kPa and get your additional ranking point then it is to secure 12 gears in the air ship. In the playoffs if you work with your alliance securing 12 gears is far more valuable to the end score then the 40kPa pressure goal you will covet in the qualification rounds.

- Event Finals no longer can end in a Tie. Any finals tie will be replayed up to three times before going to tie breakers.

- The 2nd sort for rankings after Ranking points is cumulative match points. This has been auton points in the past and a few other things but this year you want to score as many points as you can in every match to break the tie with anyone who has the same ranking points.

Rest of the Season
We are planning to still post nightly updates like we have in the past but they may be shorter except for our Tuesday night updates where we will combine a lot of our progress from the previous week, videos, tests, etc.

Also be sure to check to check us out on the new RSN show check_in every Tuesday at 6 PM CT.

This is the Year
Fantastic Chiefdelphi post from 2005 but still rings true today.

- Spectrum

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." - George Edward Woodberry

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