Center Stage Game Reveal and Ri2D Day 1

Tags: journal, innovate, design, and think
Personhours: 48
Center Stage Game Reveal and Ri2D Day 1 By Aarav, Anuhya, Georgia, Sol, Tanvi, and Alex

Task: Assess the Center Stage Game and begin Ri2D

Today, Iron Reign attended the season reveal for the new FTC season and began working on this year’s Robot in 2 Days, a tradition where we prototype a preliminary robot the weekend after the reveal to experiment with ideas and concepts. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of this year’s field, most of today was spent attending the reveal, tidying up the workshop, and assembling the Center Stage field. This post will be a distillation of our thoughts about the game, strategy interpretation, and commentary about the field setup and assembly.

This year’s game is quite a bit more complicated and convoluted than those of previous years. There are multiple scoring methods and multiple objectives during the game, and the field layout itself will test the communication of alliances and the referees. Here’s a list of some key things we noted during the reveal:

  • At first glance, a small, light, and fast robot seems to be the most effective tactic. There is very little strength required due to the hanging aspect and lightweight pixels.
  • Lightweight pixels mean the intake system/gripper can be quite weak.
  • The right of way on the stage door also limits the value of defensive play.
  • Short robots will probably be what is utilized by most teams this year to avoid using the stage door and robot traffic
  • It is 11” between the bottom of the closed stage door and the ground, so this effectively cuts maximum height by a third. The 14” truss will also be used in this same manner.
  • There will be a heavy emphasis on video pipelines and object recognition for the autonomous portions.
  • We also cannot use April Tags for recognition like we did last year; we will need to differentiate on other aspects.
  • Grippers need to be able to pick up 1-2 pixels at a time, potentially adding to an already captured pixel, and drop them off one at a time.
  • Turns and rotations can be reduced by building two separate subsystems of intake and deposit to reduce cycle time.
  • The less-than-ideal placement of the wing will lead to intense competition for the white pixel stacks.
  • The drone aspect leaves a lot of gray areas in the rules and what qualifies as a legal “drone.” There will need to be experimentation to determine the ideal shape.
  • It can be tough to score pixels in the background. They have a tendency to bounce off if placed with too much power or placed too high up.

After the reveal, we headed back to the dojo, tidied up, and began the grueling task of assembling the game field, which took multiple hours(around 5) to build. Certain aspects of the game, such as the assembly for the C channels and A-frames on the rigging posed significant challenges. Additionally, one of the rigging tubes had stoppers stuck in both ends, proving it difficult to be further used in the construction of the field. As a result, Sol had to cut down one of the tubes from last year’s field components as a substitute. Because of these issues, we were unable to start on Ri2D today, but we did have a fully assembled Center Stage field. A second blog post detailing our Ri2D efforts will be posted tomorrow, along with an overview of Ri2D.

For now, here are a couple of key questions we had about the game that could potentially influence design decisions:

  • What is the highest point where a pixel will need to be placed?
  • Can the drone be more like a dart?
  • Is a simple arm-based drone launcher enough?
  • Could we just pop the pixel up using a “spatula” like motion/object?
  • What is the smallest paper airplane that can be made with a single sheet of 20 lb paper?
  • Could you make a drone follow a U-shaped path?
  • What would be an effective team prop that could be easily identified?

Next Steps

Use the newly assembled field and our fresh ideas to create a preliminary Robot in 2 Days that can score points and complete a couple of basic tasks. Experiment with methods for hanging and drone design as well. Finally, we would like to capture footage and produce a video in order to share our work and findings with the FTC community.

Date | September 9, 2023