Innuendo - Raymond Ma
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Seeding Recap

1st seeding round: I went for the balls in the top bin first, and the food balls in my barrier carrier inexplicably fell out as I went up the ramp. Even though I managed to get the door open, the balls spewed out everywhere and got in the way of my bot as I tried to go for the noodles. Basically, it was the worst possible scenario. Total score of 8.

2nd seeding round: My food balls fell out again (I later figured out that I need another spring on my door mechanism), but I managed to extract 4 noodles and get 3 in the river, for a total score of 70.

3rd seeding round: With the changes to the food ball carrier, I only lost one while trying score, mainly due to a bumpy collision with the wall. I then managed to extract 4 noodles from the forest before doing a faceplant into the river w/ 3 of the noodles. Total score of 350.

Contest Recap

1st round: My rounds steadily went downhill as I progressed through the competition. I had a good run in my first round, as I scored 5 food balls, extracted 3 noodles, and placed 3 in the river. Total score of 300. I decided that going for the food bin was just too risky. This mindset would screw me later on down the line.

2nd round: This is where I started beating myself. In order to make my bot fit in the box, I have to fold my food ball-door opening mechanism within my MCM. This is only a problem if I forget to pull it back up, which I forgot to do in this round. After scoring the 5 food balls, I could only get the 2 lower tier noodles, as my door-opening arm got in the way. Luckily, I managed to get both in the river for a final score of 126.

3rd round: Didn't forget to raise the arm this time! Ended up scoring 5 food balls, extracting 4 noodles, and placing 1 in the river for a final score of 168.

4th round: Still managed to remember to raise the arm, but my bot was misaligned with the wall, so I could only get out the 2 lower tier noodles and put 1 in the river, though I still managed to score my 5 food balls. Final score of 144.

5th round: Last round for me, in the quarterfinals. This was against a defensive bot that could score the majority of the upper bin food ball points from within the box before disengaging a blocker-bot that prevented the other side from winning. This was the one bot that I absolutely had no strategy for. Since my scoring depends on getting a little of each area, movement was key, but this robot's sole purpose was to limit movement.

In the end, I decided that I had the best chance at going for the noodles. If I could extract all 4 somehow and get at least 1 in the river, I had a chance. Luckily, I have a shovel-plow that I could lower in the back of my robot. I had implemented it to push river balls onto my opponent's side, but I hadn't gotten the chance to use it yet. For this round, I planned to lower it and use it as a barrier between me and the blocker-bot, so that when I lifted it, I could give myself some breathing room to pull out the noodles.

But in the end, just goes to show you, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Both of our bots ended up getting stuck. My opponent's robot got stuck on his own tether and on the river balls, and the door trapped me somehow. I got myself free with ~20 seconds left and went directly for the noodles. And guess what? I forgot to lift my freaking door-opening arm. This again limited me to only getting out the 2 lower tier noodles, and even though I managed to get both in the river, the final score was a paltry 21 points. My opponent? 23 points. Ouch.

In all his rounds (my opponent, Greg Tao, would eventually win), he only got stuck once, and when he did, I couldn't close the deal, because of a mechanism that I never ended up using during the competition. Sucks.

 
Final result: 7th place overall out of class of 120+

© Raymond Ma 2008