Last Saturday was our first qualifier of the season!
At the driver's meeting before the matches, the head referee told us about a rule in the game manual that we hadn't noticed before--at the start of a match, in order to get the 30 points for hanging from the handle on the lander, the robot has to be four inches off the ground, not just off the ground like we had thought. Fortunately, though, the robot didn't have to be hanging at the beginning in order to gain 50 points for hanging at the end, like it had been. The end-game hanging didn't have to be hanging four inches like the start of the match, just off the ground.
The second match we were in was our best. Even though our alliance partner's robot malfunctioned and got stuck on the field, we only lost that match by 3 points (13 if you count a minor penalty for not stopping the TeleOp program right away)--which means that we were a match for the other two teams in the opposing alliance on our own. The Autonomous code worked, the controls were responsive, we were able to hang and snag those 50 points at the end. Things were looking really good--we figured that if our alliance partner was helpful in the rest of our matches, then we would do very well indeed.
Our overall match performance was less than great, though--for whatever reason, our strafing was not working well, which hurt our maneuverability on the playing field. For one match, we thought we put in a fresh battery, but it turned out that it was actually a nearly dead battery, causing our Autonomous code to malfunction and our TeleOp code to stop working for that match. For the last two matches, the phone connections basically died, which prevented our TeleOp code from working again. We also got yellow-carded for accidentally uprooting the tiles around the lander while trying to hang in one match, but thankfully that didn't happen again.
However! Things are not as bad as they may sound--we know what went wrong, and we've come up with a way to fix it. We've already ordered new phones, and they're on their way to us. The Autonomous code could use a bit of improvement, too, but that also is doable. Benedict figured out a new arm design to give us the height we need, and according to his calculations, it should lift us up in little more than a single second. That's way faster than the fifteen or so seconds we had before.
Things are looking pretty good--the robot is built, the judges' presentation parts are being written, the notebooks are sort of ready, and we have a functioning Autonomous code! Our robot can now unhang itself from the lander, drop off our marker in our alliance's square after a cool spin, then turn around and park partially into the crater.
Once Jane finishes polishing up the code, we can properly begin drive practice on our handy dandy practice field. We also need to run through the judge's presentation a few times to make sure we know it well. Another thing on our to-do list is making the presentation board for our table in the pits for curious people to come and learn about our team.
We are the Droids, and we'll be keeping you updated on our progress.