Happy new decade! I have never been the type of person to be excited for a new year, but robotics has been able to change that. Along with a new blank slate in life experiences, comes a new game. This year is especially special. In addition to the new game being announced around the Star Wars franchise, it will be the year that I learn a lot about myself and what I might want to do in the future. It will be my first year as my team’s Control Systems Director. A lot for a second year on the team but I’m pushing myself to do my best. Surrounding the game, theories have been created and from what I’ve read, it certainly will contain some sort of energy flow. It would be really cool if the game ended up being similar to the 2017 game, STEAMWORKS.
To start this season with a bang, my team plans to use our kickoff guide. Our team was able to map out a plan to start off with a good idea of where to start, which many teams and students have trouble figuring out, especially when the game initially looks difficult and impossible.
Attend a local kickoff. we’re able to socialize with other teams and hear what they think about the new game, as well learn more about the game. You could achieve this just as much if it were streamed in your location if no local kickoffs are available.
Read game rules/rewatch game animation. Our mission at the end of the day is to have an idea of what our robot needs to accomplish and what the best strategy is based on experience. This can be done by re-watching the game animation and paying attention to what is presented. Another way to look at the released game is through the manual itself. The manual contains rules and details on the game, whether it be restrictions or the dimensions of the game pieces. Collect questions and look through these resources to answer them. If you’re having trouble understanding the rules or have questions that your team can’t answer, Chief Delphi, a forum created by students and mentors of various robotics teams, is a good place to ask or sift through for information.
Create a strategy decision matrix. Have everyone come up with a list of actions that the robot is able to do in the game. What is priority? Is the action helpful to alliances? Is the mechanism easy or hard to build based on previous knowledge? From this, the team will be able to create a robot that meets or exceeds these requirements. Depending on what type of strategy the team goes with, decision matrices will vary.
The final step is to get to build and design!
By following these steps, our team will be well off to advancing through the harsh weeks of build season.Of course, each team handles kickoff differently. Create a kickoff plan for your team if you don’t have one. It is a great piece of documentation to refer to if you ever feel lost during the excitement of things. If you would like to reference our teams official guide, check it out. Good luck with kickoff and see you on the field later this year!