NAME: The Troll
    AKA: Roy
    YEAR: 2014
    TAGLINE:"Troll in the Dungeon!... Thought you ought to know"

  • Ranking and Awards:

    Central Valley Regional:

    13 out of 45
    Mentor Alfredo won the Woodie Flowers Award at this regional

    Los Angeles Regional:

    40 out of 66
  • Drivetrain:

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

    6 CIM/Elastic assist powered Catapult
    Spring deployed overhead ball collector/ball cradle
  • **REMOVED**

    Dual independent arm ball loader "hugs"
  • Software and Control

    Language: Windriver C++
    Driver interface: dual XBOX360 Controller
    Sensors: none
  • Autonomous function:

    roll forward pushing the ball into the 1 point goal
    Result: 11 or 16 points depending on the hot goal status
    Reliability: 75%


  • Field:

    a flat 25' x 54' foot field, straddled by a lighting truss suspended just over five feet above the floor. 2 6 foot high 10 pt goals span the entire width of the field. One floor 1pt goal in each corner
    The match begins with one 10-second Autonomous Period in which robots operate independently of driver. Each robot may begin with a ball and attempt to score it in a goal. Alliances earn bonus points for scoring balls in this mode and for any of their robots that move in to their zones. Additionally, each high/low pair of goals will be designated "hot" for five seconds, but the order of which side is first is randomized. For each ball scored in a "hot" goal, the Alliance earns additional bonus points. For the rest of the match, drivers remotely control robots from behind a protective wall.

    Primary Scoring:

    The objective is to score as many balls in goals as possible during a 2 minute and 30 second match. The more Alliances score their ball in their goals, and the more they work together to do it, the more points their alliance receives. Only one ball is entered in to play for each alliance at a time, and the Alliances must cycle a single ball as many times as possible for the remainder of the match. With the single ball, they try to maximize their points earned by throwing balls over the truss for 10pts, catching balls launched over the truss for 10pts, and scoring in the high for 10 and low for 1 goals on the far side of the field. Alliances receive 10pt bonuses for "assists," which are earned for each robot that has possession of the ball in a zone as the ball moves down the field.

    Bonus Endgame:

    None. Unusually there was no bonus at the end. All bonuses are earned from passing the ball for assists.

    Autonomous Scoring

    5 point bonus for each goal scored. An additional 5 point bonus for moving the robot from the center starting zone into the zone in front of it.


    There were so many ways to earn a foul that it would take way too long to explain. I might add that it took a really long time for the referees to assess the fouls at the end of the match too. I will say this, being as a foul was 20 points and a technical foul was 50 points, and there were so many ways to earn a foul, that the fouls became a major factor in almost every match. It was not that there was more teams playing especially dirty, (although some teams were) but mostly accidental fouls. So in the end, each match was usually decided on the fouls rather than the scoring.
  • Watch the Game Animation here.

Coach's Notes

    Our first "uberbot"! Ok, maybe that isn't a real word, but it is a term used around our team very frequently although never about us. Uberbot is our term for a robot that is capable ot doing every aspect of the competition game consistently, and most of them are very successful. Up until this year, we always looked for a niche in the game and focused on that to do it better than anyone. It was a sound strategy, but limiting. However it was all we could ever manage, until this year. We had already decided that at least one week would be devoted to ONLY design and CAD. To some it might sound like we were wasting a week, (in the past that would have been me as well) but but it was time well spent. After last year's multiple redesign sessions (that's code for "None of our ideas worked") and robot adjustments (that's code for "We rebuilt the robot about 20 times"), we decided to spend time really refining the design before starting construction (that's code for "I'm tired of screwing up 50 times, lets do it right the first time this year"). We tried several catapults and slingshots until we found a good system that used 6 CIM motors (you heard me right, we used SIX drive motors to power the catapult. Not two, not four, six! Got to love brute force. Could we have used more? No, the rules only allowed us 6). Our mechanum drive train was something we were very familiar with and this time planned so that it would fit into the smaller footprint. And we tested and refined the "hug" collector system. Overall even with the week and a half of design, the robot was done by the middle of week 4. That is when it started... (That's code for "Oh $@&#* something went really wrong).

    So the second part of the story begins with the Talon Speed Controllers (the ones that may end up in the same rotting pile as every Jaguar they give us...). For some reason they just would not calibrate. Following all the directions they still would not do it. Even by the time competition rolled around there was still one that we had to cheat on and use a programming hack to force it to go neutral. Then the catapult didnt fire, or didn't fire right when we went to the practice field. (Thank you to the "Beach Bots" for letting us use it). That one was caused by a coding error that only ran half the motors and not at full power (See it WAS programming's fault this time!). And at scrimmage it just kept shutting itself down. We sorted all those out but it left us with no time for practice (again...) so once again we went into competition cold. But it didn't end there either... (that's code for "yes, it got worse")

    Our first competition was Central Valley. This was a new venue for us, very different from what we were used to (That's code for "It's in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by cows, and cow byproduct"). But it seemed like a nice place and we had a lot of matches scheduled due to the lower number of teams present. However, to describe our time there isn't so much Murphys law, but Murphy's Judge, Jury, Executioner, baseball bat, flame thrower, and big bag of slime poured all over everything. (That's code for everything messed up) Coming out of the bag, our easy to install electronics board replacing the one that didn't fit refused to work. We barely got it working by our lunchtime practice match. Unfortunately that was the nicest and easiest problem he had. 2 wheels fell off, not at the same time thankfully but in two seperate matches. One motor just fell out of its transmission and managed to destroy some of the electronics. Oh and my personal favorite: an aluminum hub stripped a steel shaft. (No thats not a typo, the steel stripped, the aluminum didn't. This is the equivalent of a 6 year old child boxing with the world heavyweight champion and the 6 year old winning with a knockout). Oh and half the robot would just periodically shut down for no apparent reason. (That's code for it only would do it in a match and you could almost hear it laughing at us).

    Despite all that bad luck our drivers, Aly "Fluffy Headed Fiend" and Amaris "Noodles", managed to not only drive a robot that was only half working part of the time but make it useful. Harrassing the other alliance was their primary goal when the robot started failing. And amazingly even with mechannum drive it worked. Our robot even managed to do some scoring on the truss when that system decided to work. This led to the name change to The Troll and the robot's new tagline.

    By the LA Regional we had fixed most of the problems. The electronics were completely rebuilt (again...), this time changing the talons with the old but reliable victors (Did I mention consigning them to the rotting pile of Jag... I'm sure I did, forget I mentioned it). The hug collectors were way too unstable when they did work (That's code for the flopped around like a limp snake) so they were replaced with an over the top collector that was spring loaded and held a fixed position. Our catapult became a problem though. It seemed to handle truss shots fine, but the actual goals never worked on the field. Even though we tested it off the field multiple times it just would not go. This was fine, we were happy with the truss shot and by the end of the first day we ranked 10th out of 66 teams. (Hahahaha... you think it sounds like everything is fine now. You're funny. That would be code for something went horribly wrong on the second day).

    The second day of competition began with an announcement that we had to replay a match from the previous day, one we barely won I might add. No explanation was given, in fact no one even notfied us besides the match number being announced on the PA. When we asked, no one could give us a straight answer as to why this was being replayed. This seemed odd, and suspicious. As you might imagine we lost the match on a foul on one of our alliance that took 5 minutes for the refs to call. In any sport or competition, momentum is very much a factor in winning and this questionable match with the questionable call knocked all the momentum out of us. Add to that our alliances during the entire second day were either barely functional machines (code for dead on the field) or good machines that broke down during the match (code for died on the field). The bad luck had returned and we finished at a low 40 out of 66. What's more our catapult was damaged by another robot, a foul missed by the refs, and it became unreliable for even truss shots.

    So in the end this robot was not a successful as the past 3 years of robots. However there is no regret among any of the team. The design was sound, when it performed it did so just as we expected. It was capable of throwing in the 10 point goal, over the truss, passing, collecting off the floor, catching, and defense. It had a scoring autonomous, albeit in the 1 point goal and it drove decently, although we discovered that 8 inch mechanum wheels have vastly superior handling. It was an uberbot in every sense of the word. The only problem was reliability and consistency. But as with all first attempts, we learn what we need to so that the next one will have those problems solved. (That's code for "Just wait 'til you see what we do next year")