During week one, the team went to kickoff the 2016 FRC season at McKinley High school to watch the game reveal. This year’s game is Stronghold, a medieval themed game that includes seizing opponent alliance’s castles and maneuvering defenses such as drawbridges and moats. On the first day, the team separated into groups of three to read through the game rules and divide them into sections. We used different organizational techniques like tree maps and scoring matrixes to better understand the game. We were sent home with homework to come up with the best scoring strategy.

Q: Did you enjoy your group?

Yes! They were a lot of fun to work with! I’ve never participated in any kind of robotics event before this, so it was nice to see familiar faces and be introduced to new ones, all while taking in a new experience. I really enjoyed the fact that all of my team members were on the same page and shared the same sense of humor. It was easy to talk, share,  and discuss ideas, and I really appreciated it when my team members would take time to explain some of the rules and terms to me, as again,  I was new to all of this. Their perspective was extremely valuable to me, and overall I think we worked well as a team.

Jessica Jones, Business/PR

The next day we came back, and split up into alliances and began the simulation game. Most groups had two or one person show up that day.Though some may have forgotten their numbers, they figured it out in the end. The simulation, had many people doing many different strategies, including Chris and his low bar, scaling robot. We can’t forget the defense that caused Orion pain. So though the simulation wasn’t the best, we all seemed to get rather competitive. We left halfway through the game and decided to pick up where we left off on the third day.

Q: Could you realistically make a scaling low bar robot?

I think it is possible, but extremely difficult to design. With the proper mindset, anything is possible.

Cindy Tsou, Electrical

On the third day, we reset the game instead of picking up where we left off. After playing three rounds non-stop of simulations, and figured out strategies that worked well, we all sat down and discussed what didn’t work, and what did. After much discussion, and back and forth arguments, we settled on defense categories A,B, D, and NOT Low Bar. The idea of hanging was still to be determined, but many people were on the fence.

Q: What strategy worked best for you?

We always had one person go into the low bar, and the other two robots would breach the defenses and carry boulders over to the low robot or to the other side. The low bar robot would shoot boulders into the high goal. We would have liked for our low bar robot to hang. In the end, we didn’t always win, but we had a pretty consistent score.

Chris Kaneshiro, Mechanical

On Tuesday we began reading the robot rules, and then made tree maps that had to be finished by 7:00, man the robot rules were long, and the testing questions after. After the final group finished their oral test, we discussed hanging once again. Many people had their ideas of hanging, and though not many spoke, the discussion of hanging lasted quite a while before we decided to put it on the back burner.

Q: Did you finish the map on time?

We did finish the map on time. However, since AP Night was on the same night, we had less time to do it, so the concept map wasn’t as good as we expected it to be. It still helped us internalize the rules of the robot.

Michael Abagon, Mechanical

The fifth day of the week crept up on us, and it was time to brainstorm! Robot dimensions. How to pick up the ball? Should we store it? Maybe we should do a vertical or horizontal intake. Ramp? What would be the best? Is this too many motors? How do I minimize motion? While all of these questions went on in our heads, each group still settled on an idea. If you drew it to scale you probably used the 2.04” to 10” ratio.

Q: What ideas did you share?

Well, I came up with the name for the Cheese Wedge design. I thought that Michael’s Arm was an interesting design (which I also named, inspired by Susan’s Arm). That’s about it.

Ian Eshelman, Electrical

The sixth day came in the blink of an eye, and after a bit more brainstorming the prototype build began. Most people started on their presentations, and many in general continued the build modification after modification. The mentors that walked around had amazing input, and seemed to be genuinely intrigued by everything we did. Most people had similar ideas, however in the end of the day we were modifying till the very end.

Q: What design did you use?

We went with a forklift design because it was simple and effective. It was something that we were familiar with as we could reference an actual forklift used in stores. We began with a generic ‘forklift’ and designed it to fit the game better. The mentors helped a lot in improving our idea to be effective and efficient for our designated team game strategy.

Rachel Yasunaga, Business/PR

The final day of the week, and we had a good turn out. The robot prototyping persisted, and I’m sure by the end many of us we’re seriously tired, though most people probably thought they were done, the mentors still had much information to share. May be if you create this sturdier? Have you tried to do a vertical intake? Yes, we all thought at that time, It was perfect , but we all know we needed their help in many aspects. We all went home, and finished up our presentations to kick off next week.

Q: What advice did you receive?

Throughout the week, I was told to keep the design simple and efficient, and to think ahead.

Tyler Yoshioka, Mechanical