PROFILE


    NAME: Liz and Patty Thompson
    AKA: Pac-Man
    YEAR: 2015
    TAGLINE:"Lift, Stack, Repeat!"

  • Ranking and Awards:

    Los Angeles Regional:

    65 out of 66
    Average score 22.11

    San Diego Regional:

    45 out of 60
    Average score 42.60

    Championships:

    Rank 51 Curie Division
    Average score 111.80
  • Drivetrain:

    8 inch direct driven Mecanum Wheel Omni-Drive on 4 CIM motors
    1x1 inch extruded aluminum frame with custom corner brackets
  • Mechanism:

    Pneumatic powered can and box grabber, lifter, straightener
  • Software and Control

    Language: Java
    Driver interface: dual XBOX360 Controller
    Sensors: 4 encoders, NavX combo gyro, accelerometer, magnetometer
  • Autonomous function:

    Activatable option to roll forward into the scoring zone
    Result: points only awarded if all 3 robots get into the zone
    Reliability: cannot determine due to dependence on other robots to score
  • **Unused Autonomous Function**

    Grab the 3 yellow totes, dodging around the cans, and carrying them into the scoring zone
    Reason unused: The possibility of knocking down the cans during the sequence making them unscorable for most teams made this an unwanted option. Its reliability also decreased when performed with the competition robot on the actual field.

Game

  • RECYCLE RUSH

    is a recycling-themed game played by two Alliances of three robots each. Robots score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter. Each Alliance competes on their respective 26 ft. by 27 ft. side of the playing field. Each match begins with a 15-second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of their drivers. During this period, robots attempt to earn points by moving themselves, their yellow totes, and their recycling containers into the area between the scoring platforms. During the remaining two minutes and 15 seconds of the match, robots are controlled remotely. Teams on an Alliance work together to place as many totes on their white scoring platforms as possible. Alliances earn additional points for recycling containers placed on the scored totes, with containers at greater height earning more points. Alliances also earn points for disposing of their litter in their Landfill Zone near the center of the field, or placing litter in or on scored recycling containers. Alliances that leave litter unprocessed on their side of the field at the end of the match, not in scoring position, will add points to the score of the other Alliance. Coopertition points are awarded if, at some point in the match, there are at least four yellow totes on the step simultaneously. Coopertition points are doubled if the Alliances arrange at least four of those yellow totes in a single stack on the step.
  • Watch the Game Animation here.

Coach's Notes

    This was easily the most dull game in my entire experience with FIRST Robotics (at the time of this writing, that would be 10 years.) If you watched the animation, you might think that it must be better in real life. You would be mistaken. Really all there was to this game is in that video, stack boxes with a trash can on top. You might say that stacking boxes isn’t really a game. Well that depends on your definition of a game. If by game you mean something fun to do or watch, or where you compete against others, you would be right, this is definitely not a game. If by game you mean watching the same thing happen over and over again with the occasional mess up, you have been hanging around too many factory assembly lines. Except, in factory assembly lines, they would not manufacture products to stack that do not actually fit properly to make a stack. Nor would they require stacks to be higher than the machine designed to stack them could be. Also factories promote autonomous operations. This "game" trivialized it. Every other game since before I became a coach has had an autonomous component that awarded those robots that could do it with bonus points. This year, autonomous robots were awarded nothing unless the whole alliance could do the same thing. The result; rare to non existent autonomous modes because invariably one member of an alliance was either unable to do any or could only do one of the options that was different from the other members. There was also a complete lack of competition. The two alliances were forbidden to enter each other's half of the field, or even make contact with the opposing alliance robots. And scores were based on the average of all your matches, not on whether you did better than the other alliance. So in case you haven't got the picture yet, it was really just 2 fields with robots on each of them doing their own thing. So even though the announcers tried valiantly to make it sound like each side was going against the other, the truth was each side could have been playing in different buildings and it would not have mattered. And you know something is wrong with a game when 2 sides enter and arena and at the end both can come out a loser.

    As for the robot, Liz and Patty Thompson, characters from the anime “Soul Eater”, were 2 sisters who looked very similar but not identical. This drove their partner, who was obsessed with symmetry, nuts. So it only made sense that the first time that we built 2 robots that we named them for sisters who were not identical, because the practice bot is NEVER exactly the same as the competition one. However aside from having 2 robots for the first time in team history, this robot was really just as boring as the rest of this game. This team has always prided itself on finding its own way when designing a robot. Sometimes it works better than others but our ideas are usually pretty... unique. (and by unique I mean anything from strange to outright crazy.) However this game inspired... wait, inspired is far too good a word for this game. There was NOTHING inspiring about stacking boxes. Amazon has been doing this for years. and their videos are 10 times more entertaining than... Sorry, started ranting again... So instead I will say this game "allowed for" very little in creativity. How do you creatively stack a box? Stack from the top or stack from the bottom, that is what we could come up with. And after seeing all the other robots in 3 competitions, I would love to say that there were lots of creative ideas, but apparently that is all they could come up with too. We did miss some major problems in our design and strategy. The biggest one was the shortage of trash cans to stack with, a problem that many teams missed and caused a few to redesign between competitions. Since the majority of the points came from the height of the can at the end of the match, stacks of just totes are nearly worthless. SERIOUSLY, a tote was worth 2 points whether it was stacked or not! So it wasn't even a stacking game, it was a "put a trash can on top of a stack and hope it doesn't fall off" game, which was really easy since the can doesn't even FIT on top of the tote... did it again, sorry... So as the competition season continued, it became apparent that the 3 cans in the middle were actually the most valuable items. So teams modified their robots to grab and drag over the cans during autonomous mode. There were no points awarded for this act since autonomous was COMPLETELY NERFED this year and made to be impossible... sorry... breathe... breathe... As I was saying, teams changed their robots to grab the cans from the middle so that they have all 3 on their side doubling their scoring potential and almost guaranteeing a high score. Notice I didn't say win, since nobody actually won a match, they either increased or decreased their average score, which is why at the end of a match, if both alliances got low scores, they could both decrease in rank and therefore have two losers in the match. Although it could be said that the real losers are they ones forced to watch... breathe... breathe... The most excitement we saw was in the finals fo championships when 2 robots grabbed the same cans from the middle and had a tug of war resulting in one robot losing an arm.

    So what did we learn, other than some anger management? We learned the value of building 2 robots. It allows us to practice and modify even after build season ends. However it also created the season that wouldn't die. From kickoff until the conclusion of championships we continued one solid build season. It was brutal. We were all beyond exhausted. But despite the lousy game, the multitude of robot problems, the long hours, and the massive amounts of FRUSTRATION WITH THE GAME DESIGN... ... ... We all still managed to have fun, and learn a little something along with it. And honestly, isn't that why we do this in the first place?