Year: 2013

Game: ULTIMATE ASCENT

Source code

Build Season

Kickoff

The 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition build season kicked off to an explosive start. The design challenge was announced live at Dorton Arena, where swarms of excited students crowded the stands for the reveal. For the next six weeks, the students would be tasked with the creation of a robot capable of competing in the high-speed sport of Ultimate Frisbee. Though a slightly altered version of the game, the main objective remained the same: collect discs and shoot them into the goals. As we would be competing with multiple targets and two pyramids, which robots could climb at the end of every match for bonus points, the season was bound to be a challenge.

Design

A large part of our build process this year was design. This included completely modeling our robot in CAD software so we could know exactly what our finished product would look like. Through this process, we were better prepared for any issues that arose and we were able to get a better idea of how our final design would work.

Assembly

We managed to assemble our robot from there by using our model as a reference, and adding to it through the year. It was a process of prototyping and creating physical models of designs that we thought would work, and then recreating them and implementing them in the actual body of the robot. Through our six week build season, we went through many iterations of certain designs, and troubleshooted and improved until we had a robot that was as effective as we could make it. After perfecting our design, we took our robot to compete at regionals in Palmetto.

Competition

Palmetto

Friday began our first qualification rounds for 2013. In our first match, we were off to a great start, scoring a few Frisbees into the 3-point goal and earning 10 points by climbing up to the first bar. Despite missing during autonomous, our alliance ended up winning the match. By improving our robot throughout the day, we ended Saturday by scoring 128 points, the second highest score of the qualification rounds.

Eventually, we were selected to be on one of the alliances in the elimination matches with M’Aiken Magic (Team 1102) and Team Spork (Team 3196). Although our robot played two very strong rounds, our alliance was eliminated in the quarterfinals to the teams that would ultimately win the tournament. Though we didn’t win, it was still an essential experience for our team and we had a lot of fun doing it.

North Carolina

With the knowledge we gained from an entire regional full of practice at Palmetto, we had what it would take to succeed in North Carolina. Trillian was performing outstandingly and would often score more than fifty points a match.

By the end of qualification matches, we were placed within the top eight. Because of this, we were guaranteed a place in the elimination rounds. In the end, we were in an alliance with teams Blue Eagle Robotics and The Flying Platypi.

In the quarterfinals, we faced G.R.E.A.T., Team Spork, and the Pitt Pirates, all of whom had performed outstandingly in the qualification rounds. After winning the first round 61-48, we barely edged out our opponents on a tie-breaker, advancing to the semi-finals with a score of 88-87.

Next, we found ourselves in a close contest in the semifinals against the Hedgehogs, Gorillas, and Aluminum Assault. Losing the first match, we bounced back and won the remaining sudden-death matches to make it into the finals. It was exciting to hear the crowd chant the team cheer, “Don’t Panic,” as the drive team steered the robot off the field to prepare for the finals.

Against the top-seeded alliance of the Robodogs, Mechanical Mayhem, and the Robo Eagles, we arranged a strategy where the other alliance members would play defense while Trillian scored as many points as possible. That strategy almost worked; our alliance got within four points of upsetting the top alliance in the second round. Eventually, however, we lost both matches.

Though we may not have won the regional, we still won the Regional Finalist Award and take pride in how we performed despite their challenging match schedule and other difficulties. We are looking forward to another great year. Thanks to all the volunteers and fellow teams who made this all possible!