CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

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Hooray For Lexan
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CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Hooray For Lexan » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:42 am

This is a thread to post your own "event logs" for CBC4 - think the various builder blogs discussing their time at Battlebots. Talk about repairs, event parking, the silly RC car a YouTuber brought to the pits, and all the other "behind the scenes" stuff!

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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Hooray For Lexan » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:35 pm

Round 1 Report:

Cherry Bomb Classic is definitely the biggest and highest-production value event in robotic combat today, with a TV crew and… way too many arenas. I think there’s ten of the things this year, with filming spread out over multiple warehouses and old aircraft hangars. This makes transportation from the pits challenging at times, but this year they added a shuttle system and made sure the designated roboteer parking spots were actually blocked off, both of which really helped.

This year’s event had 21 robots per division in three groups of seven, which means that every round one robot has a bye. Each round takes a full day of filming, with matches alternating between the two arenas in use for that round – one for the larger weight classes, one for the smaller ones.

Registration was anticipated to fill up early this year, so teams could only enter “hard” in up to three weight classes, with the fourth as a soft reserve which essentially means you automatically go on the wait list regardless of when you registered. My soft reserve was in lightweight, and I didn’t expect for there to actually be any spots, so I didn’t put any real effort into getting a bot ready. This prediction turned out true, as lightweight was the one weight class that actually filled up. There’s often a couple of dropouts though, so a few builders were asked to bring a robot as an alternate, including me. Usually these are assbots built at the last minute like the famous Mimi-Chan and Box. I was too lazy to even do that, so Terpsichora came along as an alternate.

My actual entries were all veteran bots as well. In Featherweights I had Ori, my gas-spring four-bar flipper based on Ori from Ori and the Blind Forest. Hydraulic accumulators were legalized this year with prior approval, and I was experimenting with making one since they eliminate some of the major disadvantages of gas springs that make them a pain in the ass to maintain. However, I didn’t end up having time to finish this, so Ori returned pretty much unchanged from Reckoning: Evolution. In Heavyweights I had Defenestrator. This is a Snake-Style clampbot (i.e. the clamp and lifter run off a single motor using a system of gears, or in my case leaf chains, so that when the clamp closes on something solid the system “jams” and the arm raises) with an extra-long arm that lets it get opponents over some arena walls with a reverse suplex. I made the playoffs in ROBOT3 with this bot, but horizontal spinners and hammers were a major problem for it, so I also made a much lighter arm that only functions as a lifter, which gave me extra weight to put into an improved anti-spinner plow and mountable shock-mounted top armor for fighting hammerbots. Finally, in Middleweights I had Skoll. After Hati got a complete rebuild for ROBOT3 it was her brother’s turn! Skoll is now an undercutter instead of a mid-cutter, has brushless drive that makes him a bit faster, and some other improvements including springy molded compliant wheels. Oh, and the weapon’s a scythe-bar instead of a scythe-disc now, and it looks awesome!

After going through safety inspection and check-in, and filming some of the introductory stuff, I checked out my first-round matchups, and realized I had to fight… nobody. I’d gotten seeded high enough that my bye round was in the first round in all three weight classes.

However, that didn’t mean I didn’t have work to do, because I also drew some pretty nasty fight schedules. Featherweight didn’t have very many spinners enter, but the one big horizontal, Chinesium, ended up in my group and I drew it for the first actual fight. Defenestrator got lucky and had no spinners in its group at all, but its first fight was going to be in Woodshed, an arena which among other things has an extremely powerful vertical flywheel hazard called the Murdersaw, and I was facing Dreadnought, a very well-driven flipper. And Skoll? Well, he turned out to be one of THREE extremely dangerous-looking undercutters entered in middleweights. Not only did all three of us end up in the same group, but I had to fight them back-to-back for my first two matches.

So basically I spent the a big chunk first day pre-emptively rebuilding my robots. For Defenestrator a lot of the most at-risk parts were interchangeable wedgelets, lifting arm) or easy-ish to replace (outer frame rails, top cover) but I still laid out as much stuff as I could and tried to get things like screws organized since I could have to deal with multiple rapid turnarounds. For Ori the flipping arm is in the most danger against horizontals, but if I got my ablative armor blocks completely torn away it was possible for most of the frame to get trashed. However this design doesn’t really have an easy assembly order, so I wasn’t able to do much besides make sure I had assembled spares of the arm, the winch mechanism, and the release catch.

For Skoll… I don’t come to events with two copies of a robot, but I have enough parts to assemble into a second robot if necessary, and given the kind of damage either of the undercutters is capable of, I decided I didn’t really care if I looked like one of those builders, and put together a complete spare frame. This sounds a lot cheesier than it actually is, because Skoll’s frame only consists of four pieces of aluminum: the top plate, the bottom plate, the curved plate that serves as the sides and front, and the extruded tube at the back that the drivetrain fits inside. There are also five internal bulkheads that mount the weapon drivetrain and keep the batteries and electronics in place, but those all slide out to let me work on the weapon drivetrain. I also had a full set of those plates assembled with motors and gears, though, and blades and shafts ready for mounting, so… basically a second robot assembled in several large pieces.

That said, I didn’t spend all of the first round working on my bots. I also got a chance to watch a few of the first round fights, including shamelessly spying on my opponents’ driving tactics! More on that later.

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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Hooray For Lexan » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:50 pm

Round 2 Report:

Cherry Bomb Classic 4 started out with a bang on the first day – sometimes literally. There were already two LiPo fires shutting an arena down for 45 minutes, and not one, not two, but THREE robots got split in half! Meanwhile, I was sitting in the pits doing “preemptive repairs.”

My first actual fight was against Chinesium, an extremely dangerous undercutter from, you guessed it, Kentucky. I was worried about this bot from the start, and even more so after its first fight. Remember what I said about three bots getting split in half in the first round? Well, Chinesium was responsible for one of them, against a drumbot called Mass Destruction (no relation to the event). Even with Ori’s thick UHMW panels I knew I had to be at the top of my driving game against this bot.

The classic anti-horizontal-spinner strategy is usually to box rush them. In CBC4 some of the arenas have a design which prevents you from doing this in a straight line. The arena for the day was Gothiq, which would in theory allow for box rushes, but there’s just one problem: it’s big. The arena’s about fifty feet long and the bots start at opposite ends of it, which is a really long distance for a featherweight to cover. It’s also basically all wide open space, and is the only featherweight arena in CBC4 that doesn’t have either an OOTA area or a pit. Without a reliable way to KO Chinesium I pretty much just had to focus on survival: keeping him from spinning up, getting him stuck on my wedge, and running the clock down.

How did that work out? Well, as predicted Chinesium had enough time to get the blade up to a dangerous speed before I could reach him, especially since he went straight off to the side of his starting square. This also ended up backing him into a corner though, and I was a bit hasty about trying to hit him back out of it. He was able to get a very solid hit on the right edge of my anti-spinner shield where it overhangs the side of the chassis, and immediately broke the overhang off. I later found the piece had torn through right at the holes for the mounting bolts. This is an important lesson: even when working with extremely ductile materials like this, any holes or notches are a weak point.

I couldn’t see the damage in that much detail because at this point my small robot painted the same bright white color as UHMW, with really bright white LEDs, was on the other side of the really big, dimly lit arena. So I was kinda of panicking, and even though I was also able to knock Chinesium into the wall and stop it spinning, and even get under it, I was a bit too aggressive with the throttle when trying to push him, and ended up making him slip off. Another lesson: UHMW has a very low coefficient of friction, and aside from ablative armor its big application in combat robotics is skids and bearing surfaces. He was able to spin back up, and after a couple more big hits on the right side the entire armor panel came flying off! I’d been trying to aim to intercept his blade with the right side of my wedge, because with him spinning counterclockwide the direction of the impact would be less likely to catch the outside corners of my wedge with the tooth moving inward, or to spin me around. With the chassis (regular aluminum and heavily pocketed out, not supposed to take direct spinner hits) totally exposed on that side I had to try to use the left side.

Fortunately this worked out, and turned out to be better at knocking him into the walls. I only took one big hit before I was able to stop his blade and actually execute my smothering strategy, and I pretty much locked him down until near the very end of the match, when he got away and got up to full speed again, and hit me in the already-damaged side with a really cool juke maneuver. Ouch. This hit really obviously went through the armor, and it nearly tore off the UHMW block on the flipper itself, which was completely crooked. To make matters worse, my drivetrain stopped on that side, leaving me unable to properly translate, and Chinesium still wanted more. All I could do was try to point the still-intact armor at his weapon, which sort of worked but he caught a corner like I was afraid of, and hit the plate forward so hard that all the bolt heads were just squeezed through the soft plastic.

Luckily the fight ended after this. The right drive motor ended up coming back on line, letting me drive around a little bit to show mobility, but it wasn’t giving me full power. The flipper, on the other hand, wasn’t firing. I was able to take a close decision despite this, but then…

Uh oh.

Most flippers in combat robotics are pneumatic, which means a closed and non-working flipper usually means gas isn’t going into the cylinder. The others are usually either electric – so they actively require power to fire – or have a flywheel which will eventually spin down if the clutch engagement mechanism breaks. Ori’s flipper uses a gas spring, which means it’s basically a pneumatic ram that’s always pressurized, and is held in place by a catch when retracted. The mechanism that removes the catch failing actually created a pretty scary situation because I now had no way of remotely releasing the pressure / letting the arm extend to a position where it can’t extend any further. And before someone asks about weapon locks: Ori’s weapon lock wedges the flipper open.

I now had to either find a way of getting the flipper to fire, or depressurizing the gas spring completely so that it was safe to work on the robot. It’s totally possible to do this by disconnecting the filling fitting on the back of the cylinder… which is only accessible with the flipper open. Long story short, the eventual solution, after “kick the robot from behind and hope that makes the flipper fire” didn’t work, was to very carefully pick the robot up and C-clamp the chassis to a scissor lift table, then take the entire back plate off to access the gas spring. All told, it ended up taking about twenty minutes to actually have the robot in a state where it could safely be removed from the arena, which isn’t that long compared to some of the times when a spinner has had a contactor weld closed so the weapon can’t be turned off until the batteries completely run down, but still not something to ever let happen twice.

Back in the pits, I discovered that the cause of the rest of the right side panel coming off was… all the mounting bolts on the bottom were sheared. The left section also had a couple missing. Chinesium has a tall, thick blade for an undercutter, with a kind of “hooked” shaped tip which was perfect for scooping big gouges out of soft plastic and punching in deep enough to hit the recessed bolt heads directly. I wanted to keep Chinesium upright because it was easier to high-center that way / let the floor get in the way of him spinning up, but in hindsight I’d probably have been better off flipping him upside-down so his tooth hit in the middle of the panel. These panels held up okay to another horizontal spinner, Goatinator, back in Reckoning last year, but they don’t seem to be a good solution against bar spinners, at least not with the front of the bot split up by the flipper like this.

My next fight was in the big arena of the day, Woodshed, with Defenestrator taking on Dreadnought. Dreadnought’s beaten me several times with me driving another flipper, and its shape is pretty much all either steeply angled or the flipper, which would have made grabbing onto him almost impossible. And while Woodshed does have an OOTA zone, it’s behind the raised track for the murdersaw hazard, which would have kept me from actually driving him to the edge. Because of this I elected to not use the clamp at all, and instead use the lighter lifting arm. This also had the advantage that the powerful arena hazards in the Woodshed were less likely to snap one of my leaf chains and potentially leave me unable to self-right. The basic strategy was basically the same, though: feed him to the hazards and house robots.

This worked out pretty well. My forks were getting under Dreadnought pretty consistently, which is NOT a sentence that gets said often. He was able to get away pretty often, but I still turned him on his back several times and got a really good hit on him with the Murdersaw, in addition to getting him stuck on the “log roller” hazards a couple times. I was feeling pretty good about just lasting the full three minutes without getting flipped out of the arena, dumped in the pit, or taking major damage from the hazards, but Defenestrator ended up taking the Judges’ Decision on all three categories! This was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, both in terms of defeating my personal robot combat demons, and for the bracket.

Skoll’s fight with Magnolia Grande was one of the last matches of the day. I think Outrage vs. Fork Bomb, Dragonfist vs. Pizza 2, and one other fight – possibly Glacier’s – were the only ones after us. You might notice a pattern there: all the big spinners got left till last! I think this was partly to get the live audience to stick around all evening, but it was also so as few people as possible had to fight after the bots that were likely to trash the arena.

Both of us showed up in the arena with our thickest, chunkiest bars to have the best chance of survival in big weapon-to-weapon hits, and then proceeded to not use them for that purpose because Alex started Grande upside-down. Hooray for inverted fuel sumps. I thought about flipping Skoll over as well to “save the floor,” and hopefully hit his blade, but opted against it because Grande has an extremely long blade, but isn’t the flattest robot around. If he flipped back over I’d be screwed, but going right-side-up I thought I might be able to sneak under his bar. Alex didn’t let me anywhere near his bot with a tape measure, but I was cautiously optimistic.

This optimism turned out to be totally misplaced. We came in for the hit, and Magnolia Grande immediately decked me and sent both bots flying into the wall with a piece missing off the front of Skoll. My bar ground to a halt, and was noticably crooked, but I was still moving. I figured the damage was already done at this point, and tried to hit the pit and see if I could bounce him in, but Skoll proceeded to get the skid at the end of his weapon shaft stuck in the log rollers, letting Magnolia tee off on me again. I had no drive power left after that, and was counted out less than a minute into the fight. Argh! Not a good start to the tournament run!
Overall, a 2-1 start to an event is nothing to sneeze at, but this was definitely one of the ones I was hoping to not lose. And losing as a spinner without even touching your opponent with your weapon is never fun.

As predicted, I had my work cut out for me repair-wise. I'm going to leave the full post-mortem and repair work for the next post even though a large portion of the work was actually done on the second day (or after midnight and only technically the third day) for brevity. On to the third round!

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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Superbomb122 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:23 pm

Week 0: Introduction

So this is it. My first Cherry Bomb Classic. About a year ago I was a mere spectator, taking inspiration from the most outlandish ideas on display (most of them Argentinian) for a video game. Now, I write this about to enter the arena for the first time.

For this event I brought a 3-bot roster, in FW, LW, and HW. They are as follows:

- Chinesium (FW) - A 2WD horizontal undercutter first built as a joke on cheaply made metal. I couldn’t be more happy with its improvements since Thunderground. The bar nearly scrapes the floor at the front and serves as thick enough to attack most types of bot directly. The motors inside have got the weapon clocking almost 250 miles per hour at top speed. This. Thing. Is. Death. The field being so light on heavily-armored bots also plays into my favor this time around. Seems everyone’s finally forgone armor for speed to try to beat bricks. The only issue is that I still drew almost every brick in the class. Not the first time I’ve faced an uphill battle in heats.

- National Security (LW) - It’s so stupid and I love it. 5WD, melty-brain technology, shaped like a government facility, there’s so much to love about this stupid little bot. Also packs a hell of a punch in testing, which I’m absolutely ecstatic about. Unfortunately, it’s the slowest bot in the entire field. Yikes. The draw’s not the best for me, but I’m not looking to win too many fights with it; I’m looking to destroy at least one thing. Making playoffs will be miraculous.

- Icebreaker (HW) - As always, my most technical build is in heavyweights. This time, it’s a fast, 4WD, ice-themed, pneumatic flipper. The flipper’s got a good kick to it no doubt, but I’m more excited to see how it fares against spinners, especially if I get the chance to fight the illustrious Glacier. Just imagine it: a spinner-killing flipper named Icebreaker vs the tournament’s biggest spinner, themed after ice. Ooh I can’t wait! Unfortunately, I must. I didn’t even draw a spinner in my group. Proving myself in a field of 5 other control bots will not be an easy task.

Neither would be traveling to the event, apparently. Getting my bots shipped out wasn’t hard: Louisville and Nashville both handle international cargo, and both have direct cargo flights to Sydney, specifically. Getting myself out there, however, was a different story. Louisville has this weird quirk of having an international cargo terminal, but not an international passenger terminal. Instead, I’d have to choose from a variety of equally long, depressing, multi-connection flights just to get to the event. My bots were sent off the week before I left for Australia. A delayed landing in LAX causing me to miss my connection ensured that my bots got there before I did. American, man. What can I say? Hopefully we have the budget for charters from here on out.

When I finally got down here, I did some final tweaks (especially ensuring Chinesium didn’t get rattled too badly mid flight) and pushed my bots through tech checks before retiring to my hotel for the night. I’m exhausted, I’m annoyed at American Airlines, I don’t know what day it is, but by God I’m here.

Fight day comes up, and my first matches are doozies, but I’ll have to save the details for later. It’s almost time for Team ETHER to shine.
Team ETHER 7-5
REDDIT: 3-2
CBC: 4-3

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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Billy5545 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:45 pm

Round 1 Report

So before we applied for CBC4, our team had been inactive for months when it comes to robot building, even as we think of designs. Our usual tools and program were broken, and we were unable to get them replaced with new ones until few days after the event started.

We also stopped applying for a special brand of robot combat that utilized AI during that time, though we did enter few of them, like the small Discord Wars where our bot, Eagle's Hawk (which was in its original heavyweight version), somehow won after shredding through two flippers, and a drum in the final to win it. Anyway, we entered Thunder Underground during that time and it was a shame that it went into inactivity like REDDIT after the qualifying rounds. We hope both can pick up one day so we can return and fight back in them.

Anyway back to the main point. Since Nature's Defender, Dardanera, HexaVortex Gen II, Darwinian Predator Gen II, and Mecha Shapeshifter were still entered in those two events, and we didn't rebuild our previous CBC entries yet, we decided to go with two new bots that we hadn't entered to this type of Robot combat events yet. They were Angry Bird: Seed Killer Gen II and the aforementioned Eagle's Hawk. We didn't enter the middleweight and heavyweight classes as we thought they would be filled so that we couldn't enter as soft reserves.

As the two were originally heavyweights, we had to construct scaled replicas of them, with Seed Killer being a featherweight while Eagle's Hawk was a lightweight. We managed to finish them as the signup was about to close and come with the bots already assembled. Then came our fights once we arrived to America with our bots shipped from Indonesia.

For Seed Killer, it had to fight I Can't Believe It's Not Tanto, which was a weaponless, well-armored speed wedge. Eagle's Hawk meanwhile had to fight another vertical spinner, Apeirogon. Both fights happened near the end of the first week, and for the latter three days after footage from Discord Wars came out and we discovered that we won. Both fights also happened in the Razor's Edge, which we remembered as the Arena where Darwinian Predator got defeated by Momma Bear in Reckoning.

We first stepped in for our featherweight fight, followed by our opponent. After some preparations, the lights were on. Our strategy for this fight was to disable their wheels and attack even when wedged, hoping to stop them before they could pit us with how they were double of our speed. Needless to say, this failed as they quickly got under us and made our attempts at hammering ineffective. We eventually got one hit in as intended, but it was ineffective and they eventually pushed Seed Killer out of the whole arena. Fortunately the bot didn't suffer much damage from the fall, but it was a bit demoralizing.

And then we went for our second fight with Eagle's Hawk against Apeirogon. The team was already there first. Then we fought again. We tried to take advantage of Apeirogon's lesser torque due to its drive and managed to keep up with them, getting under at one occasion. We then tried to push them into the X-saws without being able to push them up on our disc when they strafed away from it. They soon angled on us and got a good hit in, which sealed the whole fight. We tried to right ourself after being inverted, only to take more damage that put us at even more disadvantage. This continued until they managed to get us out of the arena too.

Discouraged, we returned to our section of the pit after retrieving our bot. Aside from the bent forks, we also saw that chunks were taken out of sections in the chassis, as well as a small crack in the weapon support from the fall. We then opened the internals and saw that the brushless motors driving the disc got damaged from the shock, as well as one of the drive motors and few wirings. We eventually spent the free second week fixing Eagle's Hawk for its eventual fight against Scrapper, while being somewhat relieved that Seed Killer got a bye.

In another note, we managed to bring the heavyweight versions of both Seed Killer and Eagle's Hawk into the pit for display. The latter still sported battle scars from its fight against the drum that we mentioned before, Maximum Toxicity, which included chipped up forks, a hole with damaged drive motors on one side of the chassis, and some broken parts of the support. As for the heavyweight version of Seed Killer, it had been fixed completely since it got torn apart by Highschool Ex, a mean vertical spinner, in another of those AI tourneys.

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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by The_Angry_Goat » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:50 am

The Seattle Times
Elon Musk and the Blackmailer: a Master of Monetary Coercion is a Participant in the Tech Mogul's Reality TV Show
Cherry Bomb Classic is a TV series with a massive budget and a grand plan: Fighting Robots in exotic locations. they travel to Brazil, Dubai, abandoned soviet military bases, and other exotic locations, create fantastical arenas safe enough to contain powerful destructive contraptions, and then have them fight to the death. The show has a flair for the fantastical: many of the participants are trained stuntmen, animal wranglers, or just general madmen, and they are let loose on the surrounding areas and followed with cameras. The cost of the show is extreme, and some of the participants help to fund the show.

Enter Gabriel Hurley, an eccentric art collector who lives in an upscale home in Capitol Hill, Seattle. Hurley is a relatively well known community figure: he is big on investing in arts, especially in the underground music scene. He also held an interest in Robotic Combat and a mysterious fortune: 1/4 of the show's funding in its first season came directly from Hurley. While his contributions have waned over the years as the show's mastermind, Alex Gabriel, secured more significant funding from public figures, Hurley still contributes a chunk of the show's running costs: and covers all his own transportation and robot related costs.

His fortune was a mystery until today at 1:00PM, When the Seattle Police Department put out a Warrant for the arrest of Mr. Hurley on charges of racketeering, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, public littering, blackmail, and wire fraud. Portland Police Bureau have raided his now abandoned offices in Portland, and issued their own warrant for tax fraud and extreme overuse of carrier pigeons. Hurley is apparently directly responsible for a number of high profile incidents over the part few months, including the death of the Heiress to the Hot Pocket Fortune, the disappearance of Orville Redenbacher's grandniece, and a number of other complex and heretofore unknown blackmail schemes throughout the snack food mogul community.

Hurley never returned from the show's trip to Germany last week. We contacted the airport from which his private jet departed, but they declined to give us any information on radar and radio communications with him, as the investigation is still ongoing. Hurley lives in Seattle, but owns multiple properties in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and France; but may also have houses owned through offshore accounts and false names. We will keep this story updated as more information becomes available, and invite anyone with more information on Hurley, especially those who he has blackmailed, to come forward.

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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Superbomb122 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:01 pm

Week 1: Sydney, Australia/Manaus, Brazil

The first week is in the books. It’s been an incredible success. The crowds in Australia and Brazil were great, I had some quality BBQ, and watched some Brit fight off a hundred piranhas while LARPing a Bond film (according to some of the others on tour, he just sorta does that.). We even got a charter plane! But let’s face it: you didn’t come to a robotics blog for a tour guide, you came to see whether I kicked ass. Well:

The arena in Sydney was pretty standard aside from the blinding lights and razor to one side. The layout itself was kind of boring: some killsaws in the corners, drums on one wall, OOTA on the other. Good, I thought. Game-wrecking hazards aren’t great for HS, and the arena was too small for Icebreaker.

In Australia I had 2 fights: Chinesium’s was first, against a promising newcomer named Mass Destruction. His drum looked powerful enough, but I figured that his sides would be just exposed enough for me to land a knockout hit. After the first hit flipped me (a scary moment to be had against a drum), I came back with the classic bait in an attempt to catch him being overly aggressive. By the end of the fight, his drum was in a corner, and his bot, split in two, in the other. Nothing like a bisection to start off your tournament!

Luckily for me, there was a good amount of time between the FW and LW match. I guess they really wanted to make the audience wait for National Security’s destructive power. In the meantime, I buffed out the dent Mass Destruction put in my supports and went out for a bite to eat. The Aussies really know their steak, I tell you. Came back to a match card on my table: National Security vs Mastodonosaurus. Oh no.

Mastodonosaurus is a fellow massive spinner, like Chinesium. However, its bar was much bigger (almost too big), and its builder was much more experienced. Still, there wasn’t much strategy to be had. Just spin the damn melty and hope he stops spinning first. Match comes and the plan has a new layer: back up as he gets to me to ensure I hit him before he hits me. Unfortunately, this backfires and I send myself across the arena instead thanks to the existence of walls. I get a solid hit on Mastodonosaurus on attempt #2. Both of us go flying, but his bot’s left side is starting to break down. I get spun back up, and the impact that follows is hard to describe using the vast English language. It’s just that big of a hit. National Security is now wobbling intensely and Mastodonosaurus’s blade is in very, very bad shape. It looks like it’s just hanging on. I’m wary, but the opportunity to stop the blade is too good to pass up. Then I hear something break: not metal, but lexan. The fight is stopped, and the culprit is Mastodonosaurus’s blade breaking the arena wall. Bingo. After the restart, I take care of business and National Security is dead. Oh no.

We get back to the pits National Security looks beyond salvage. Three teeth are gone. Every motor has fried, with the source being a wire that got cut by shrapnel and short-circuited the robot. And, of course, the fact that I found this electrical fault via the hole Mastodonosaurus left in my side instead of the intended method of taking the top cover off reveals all that must be known. The rest of my time in Australia (and most of the time in Brazil) is spent trying to get National Security to run again. A pyrrhic victory mars the experience, but I leave Australia 2-0 with a healthy featherweight to one side, and a comatose lightweight on the other.

The next stop on this Amazing Race from Heaven/Hell is Manaus, known for… uhh… jungle? I don’t know why Papa Elon decided to fund an arena in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. The arena itself was… interesting, to say the least. The whole gimmick of the place was the little roots in the ground that you gained control of for every big hit, flip, or lift, which seemed overly gimmicky to me. This was not going to a fun arena to fight in, unless…

... my opponent couldn’t make use of the roots. Long Arm of the Law is this lumbering, tank-driven lifter one of the lesser-known guys on the circuit made. Better for me is that I fought him before, in my first ever tourney, and won. The big issue with a lifter in the Black Sun is this: they can’t control roots. In order for a lift to count for roots, it has to last a few seconds with all 4 of the opponent’s wheels off the ground. There was no way I was ever not going to be touching the ground. The strategy became simple: Get under, flip him on a root, use the root to get under him, flip again, repeat. This is exactly what happened. I’m almost certain I heard snoring just before the buzzer sounded, and I was awarded a convincing win.

The repairs in Brazil were, predictably, not intensive for Icebreaker. However, a still-dead National Security was receiving care throughout the week. After acquiring a new shipment of electronics from our sponsors, I was able to get permission to use the test box in Manaus under the condition that National Security ‘didn’t blow up.’ Luckily, it didn’t (except for that one time it did), and I was able to get it fully operational before we flew out to France for the next lightweight round. With what little time I had left, I went to the river to take some pics of the jungle landscape just to see some weird Brit (apparently one of us) fighting a shitload of piranhas in the middle of the river while cracking really, really bad jokes. I was assured that this was completely normal behavior for him, and that he was not in danger. Sure enough, about 90% of him showed up in the pits an hour later. I heard I fight him at some point in this tourney. That’d be fun.
Team ETHER 7-5
REDDIT: 3-2
CBC: 4-3

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Tcrrr
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Team: Code Pink Robotics

Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Tcrrr » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:51 am

Going into the event, we were fairly confident as in the pre-tournament discussion most had put us in the low top/high middle of the rankings. We felt that we were going to do pretty well this time around, as over the past year we've improved miles from where we started.

Our 4 Bots we brought along were mostly brand new. We had brought along: a sawbot--Puffy Cloud, a Wedge--BGW, a Horizontal Spinner--Pizza 2, and a Rear Hinged flipper-Swamp Thing.

Once we took a look around the pits, we didn't film anything but we mainly just looked around, and saw what we're facing. The competition this year seemed to be stiff, and most everyone was going all out, ourselves included.

In the first round, our dustpan/saw bot named Puffy cloud was drawn against Team Cardboard Pony's thwackbot-hammer-thing? Gabrial. Our main plan was to bully him around the arena, which worked fantastically, and gave us our first win of the event.

In the pits, we checked Puffy Cloud for damages heading into the next round, and most of it was simple stuff like small dents in the saw arm, and some paint scratches.

Shortly after, I was given the news that our new pusher, Boring Gray Wedge, would fight Team Worst Swordsman's wedgebot, Trilobite! Our strategy was to ride up over it, and take advantage of it's low ground clearance, but they pulled a rabbit out of their hat, and used the arena to their advantage, flipping me over, and making my wedge rather useless. It went to the judges, and unfortunately they were given the win, but we agreed with the decision and went back into the pits. We inspected the robot for damage, which wasn't all that plentiful, just a few scratches and chips.

Heading into next week's session, we were informed on who we were going against. Our heavyweight flipper, Swamp Thing, was going to fight against the other rear hinge flipper of Killer Queen. We suspected that the bot wasn't going to work properly, and so we were going to take it easy, flip them over, and win. That didn't work out too well, because apparently it works much better than it looks it would, and right after the match I was a little embarrassed.

While in the pits checking on our robot, Swamp thing had basically no problems whatsoever, which was quite good to hear. Late in the night, we were informed about Pizza's next opponent, which was Team 57's tracked eggbeater, Remi. Our plan was to snipe the supports and disable the weapon. It worked fantastically, making us now 2-2.

After these first couple weeks, we took a short break and just admired the outside, but a couple days after we did that, we were ordered to get to the airport and go to France.
What happened there? Find out next time
Team Code Pink Robotics: are we good yet?

Record of failures and successes
Spoiler
Show
CBC: TT 2-4
Pizza 2-4
Shadow 0-6
ROBOT3: OWO 1-6
Star Spangled 1-6
Hurricane 0-7
Shadow 2-5
REDDIT
WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDGE 1-4
TU:
Pizza: 2-1
TT: 0-0
Convict: 1-1
8wot: 2-0
NFL: Mr John: 1-0
CBC4:
Puffy Cloud: 1-1
BGW: 1-2
Pizza 2: 2-1
Swamp Thing: 1-2
ROBOT4:
Erratic: 0-0
Shadow Mk 7: 0-0
Overall record: 18-49, 27% chance of winning, better than 12% by far!
could be better

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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Hooray For Lexan » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:57 am

Round 3 Report:

The second round of the competition saw a bit less in terms of spectacular KO’s, but still plenty of very good fights. Unfortunately a couple of teams were already out of the competition at this stage. Team Goober, a newcomer with Diamond Head and Mass Destruction, was unlucky enough to get both of their bots utterly destroyed in the first round and weren’t able to repair the structural damage. Voltaic also ended up going out after a short but spectacular life against Golden Madd. Hopp had a bye this round, and was trying to get his bot back together with the help of about three or four other people at any one time. I’m not totally sure what happened, but at the end of the day he’d cleared out of the pit area.

So, time for the full post-mortem on Ori vs. Chinesium. I won the fight, but took a LOT of damage in the process. The most obvious, aside from the ablative armor panels failing at life, was the gaping hole in the front caused by the ablative armor panels failing at life. Chinesium was upside-down when this hit happened, and his tooth hit right in the middle of the pocketed-out front panel and basically imploded it. The only thing directly behind this piece was the flipper catch actuator, which had the motor destroyed. So, uhh, mystery solved, right?

Well… not quite. The same hit also carried through and hit the inner frame rail, taking a chunk out of that and bending it into the arm, which also had the side caved in and a gouge out of the front. The ablative plate on the end of the arm was also knocked loose and only hanging on by one crooked bolt. I’m not totally sure how this happened with the geometry of the impact: the plate may have gotten clipped by one end of Chinesium’s bar, without transferring enough momentum to separate the bots, and then the other end came around and tore the front open, but there’s enough deep gouges in it that it’s hard to tell.

The drive motor issue turned out to be the classic “P60 shaft gets rounded off” failure. This falls squarely into “I’m a moron” territory: I bought the improved P61 gearboxes specifically to avoid this exact failure mode, then proceeded to not actually replace the gearboxes I had installed because they were “working fine.” To the old shaft / carrier plate’s credit, it was still “sticky” enough to let me slowly drive approximately straight at the end of the match, which may well have saved me on the judges’ decision.

The process of fixing all this ended up being very involved. The inner frame rails on Ori are the designated obnoxious “take the entire robot apart to replace this” components, although the serious damage was basically all confined to the right side where everything already had to come apart anyway. In theory the actual repairs consisted: take all the frame rails off the baseplate on the right side, swap out both drive motors, replace the flipper arm assembly, (salvageable but I didn’t want to risk hidden cracks revealing themselves unless I was out of spares anyway), replace the catch actuator, put the new side rails on, then the new front rail, then put the back plate back on.

That’s already a lot, but the real catch turned out to be… the catch. After some discussion with the safety officials, I was told that I would have to either add a weapon lock that could hold the flipper in place in the retracted position, or add a way of bleeding the pressure from the gas spring, to fight again. Either of these was going to be an awkward proposition. There wasn’t anywhere convenient to install a locking bar through the entire flipper and both sides of the frame without having internal components or structure I’d prefer not to mess with in the way. Accessing the vent valve on the gas spring would also be very difficult. A hole in the top of the flipper would mean the rear bar would hit whatever tool I used to vent it if the flipper fired. A hole in the underside would require flipping the bot over to access it, which isn’t usually a dealbreaker on a featherweight, but the flipper can literally catapult the bot back over. Cutting too much out of the back plate would be a bad idea structurally since that would leave the left and right sides of the frame held together just by the baseplate and flipper mounting pins.

What I ended up coming up with takes advantage of the fact that at the very start of its stroke the flipper barely rotates at all: the motion at the back is almost completely up at an angle. A simple L-shaped bracket that fits snugly onto the back of the robot with a couple of pegs keeping it from moving relative to the back plate and a pair of neodymium disc magnets keeping it from pulling back out accidentally completely locks the flipper in place. This also prevents the back plate being removed, but a much beefier U-shaped bracket can then be installed over the top of the bot and bolted to both of the outer side rails, without it being flung in someone’s face / across the pit area if the catch suddenly comes loose. Weapon locks aren’t usually supposed to have two steps like this, but the officials gave me the go-ahead because it’s only for emergency use.

I wasn’t actually able to get in the test box to demonstrate that both the locks actually worked until early the next morning, though, and then had to made a mad dash back to the pit table to bolt on fork wedges for my next fight against Wasp.
Defenestrator luckily took very little damage against Dreadnought. I took a few hits from the axes and the house robots, but I was able to avoid the infamous Murdersaw all match. One of my back wheels had a bit of tread damage and my lifting arm had some twisting and bending, but the only things I had to replace were the parts that were getting switched out anyway to run the clamp against my next opponent, Swamp Thing.

This was lucky, because Skoll had also taken a serious beating. Magnolia Grande’s bar was at an inconvenient height where it hit Skoll’s top frame rail directly, and because I was gunning it into him hoping to get enough bite to tear through his grille and get to the meat of his weapon drivetrain, he also got a ton of bite. The hit broke off a big chunk of aluminum ahead of the weapon shaft, and was so violently that the top of the weapon shaft got pushed at least a quarter-inch to the left, TWISTING the entire assembly several degrees off-horizontal, to gruesome effect. Both bushings instantly seized, and the inertia of the bar (still at full speed because it never even touched Magnolia Grande) broke them free of the frame rails, shredding the holes they were press-fit into. The top one’s bore was basically melted, and the bottom one was badly scraped and gouged. The bulkhead the intermediate weapon driveshaft mounts to was also bent by the frame shifting and one of the bearings for that broke in half. The bevel gears, surprisingly enough, actually survived the ordeal, and the friction clutch did its job and saved the spur gears and motors.

One thing that was damaged that I didn’t expect to be was the spline that transmits torque from the bar to the weapon shaft! The spline teeth suffered some plastic deformation from the huge bearing stresses experienced! This is most likely because the unusual loading conditions actually put MORE torque on the spline than it would experience when hitting an opponent. In a normal impact the bar gets dramatically slowed by the opponent but it’s most of the system’s weight and MOI, and the spline just has to handle slowing down the fairly light shaft assembly to match. But here, the weapon was yanked to a halt by the shaft, and the bar was acting as a flywheel transmitting torque through the spline.

The tilted bar also took a nice gouge out of the underside of the frame. It was tilted enough to hit the ground as well, but I can’t say with any certainty whether Skoll was responsible for any of the gouges in the floor. There were marks with red paint on them at the end of the day, but I’m still blaming Dragonfist for those because she fought right after me and DF likes to scrape the floor with the teeth on the shell.

The overall damage report? Electronically Skoll was mostly fine, with a wire coming loose from the power switch and one of the weapon ESCs having surface-mount components break loose from the shock loads. The bar itself was okay. The weapon shaft was bent / welded to its own bushings. It was eventually cut in half with an angle grinder to remove the bevel gear and given to Alex as a trophy. Unfortunately both the top and bottom frame rails were no longer usable because I could no longer mount a new bearing, and the front one had some warping. That’s some serious ouch in terms of cost and machining time for only two hits.

This shit right here is why I hate using live shafts on combat robot weapons. Bushings are inherently prone to not failing gracefully, but on a dead shaft design generally they’d only damage the weapon shaft (manufacturable on a lathe, or even an off-the-shelf shoulder bolt on some bots) and hub. Integrating them into the frame like this is asking for trouble! For Skoll there’s not really a good way to avoid a live shaft that doesn’t involve major compromises on the weapon design, but the next version will most likely have bolt-in bearing blocks to avoid a cascading failure trashing the whole frame rail. The bottom one is actually probably still usable: machining it out to accommodate whatever the new bearing solution is will get rid of the torn-up bore.

In terms of actual repairs, though, I pretty much just gutted the entire robot and put everything into the spare frame I’d preemptively partially assembled, with the drivetrain mounting tube and all the bulkheads except the one that got bent getting transferred, and the entire front half of the weapon drivetrain swapped out. My general philosophy for repairing bots at an event is that if a part requires dissassembly beyond just removing it from the bot to get it in usable condition, then it becomes a backup, and is used if either (a) I run out of spares, or (b) I have a matchup where it’s likely to get trashed so it’s better to sacrifice the “used” component, and either way leave any work until later. Running multiple bots as a one-man team, repair time has to be used as efficiently as possible, and saving time-consuming tasks for rounds when there’s less vital stuff to do is a good way of doing that.

This time Defenestrator was my first fight of the day, going up against Swamp Thing, a powerful pneumatic flipper. The arena for this round was The Noir, which has fairly low OOTA walls by the entry gates, which was kind of good for both of us. Swamp Thing’s not the easiest shape to grab onto, but less of a nightmare than Dreadnought, so I went with the regular clamp setup.
This worked out reasonably well. Neither of us ended up getting the OOTA, but both bots had some really close calls, and we were both going at each other all match, and with the combination of flipping me and self-righting I made Swamp Thing use his flipper so much that it was running at really low pressure by the end of the match, and at a couple points stopped working entirely. Most likely the system got so cold from the pressure decreasing that CO2 ice formed at some point in the system and blocked it. I also got him into the arena hazards a couple times, and won the Judges’ Decision 9-6.

Ori was next, fighting against Wasp, a VERY fast six-wheel-drive bot with a Sewer Snake style lifter. The arena was Ironworks, an octagonal arena with floor pistons and a central pit that has “breakable” doors, but no OOTA zones. This had me pretty nervous, because the pit is styled after a furnace and has a roof over it. Flipping a bot in is possible, but way more difficult than pushing.
I used my side forks for this one, because I knew with two really fast bots it would be hard to keep perfectly straight-on and he could easily just drive around the spatula.

The fight turned out surprisingly well for me. Wasp tried to just reverse over me and wedge me from behind at first. This certainly caught me off guard, but most of the times he tried it he ended up either on top of me or knocked himself way off balance from hitting my wedge and gave me time to react. Wasp was also having a lot of trouble using his lifter effectively because it was geared pretty low and with what’s basically a front-hinged lifter you need a lot of “bite” to actually turn a bot over instead of pushing them away. It works pretty well when you pin someone against the wall or have them basically on top of your bot, but this didn’t happen that often. On the other hand I was able to get quite a few flips in and strand him on the ram rods a couple times. Neither of us got the other down the pit, and I ended up taking the Judges’ Decision 10-5.

Finally, Skoll was fighting late in the evening again, in another undercutter vs. undercutter battle against The Act of Being Polite. This time I wanted to make absolutely sure I started the same way up as him so I didn’t get outreached again. Meanwhile Ethan wanted the opposite, and we both got a good working flipping our 120 lb robots over multiple times prior to Power-On before the refs told us to cut it out. We both ended up starting inverted, which I was kind of hoping for before load-in because I thought he would try to cover both of my options by having his spinner at an angle. However, instead he was using a top standoff to put his blade closer to horizontal. With both our blades sitting at a slight angle, but his slightly higher than mine, he was hitting my bar about six inches in from the tooth, which isn’t where I wanted to be hitting him since that’s where the bar is at its thinnest and weakest and it doesn’t transfer my energy effectively. At least, on the “tooth” side.

My asymmetric blade helped me out in a kind of odd way, though. After a couple of big hits, we came at each other again and his blade just glanced off of mine, popping him up into the air and making him scrape the floor and start gyro-dancing. Post-fight inspection of the bots found a nice gouge in the top of the counterweight side of the bar; his tooth most likely came through right as it was in the way and instead of striking edge to edge, Skoll basically parried with the flat of his blade. At this point Being Polite was tipped up on its rear and having trouble coming back down, and I decided to just go for it and rush at him. This resulted in a spectacular hit where I actually for real low-profiled his bar and hit the front of his frame at high speed, completely tearing off the front armor piece and breaking his weapon pulley in half. BP was still fighting after this, but the bar was dead weight, and his attempt to use it as a shield and knock me into the Fatales resulted in him being knocked offline and Skoll basically hitting his wheelguard so violently it snapped off and the wheel got exploded.

This left me at 3-0 for the day, which was a pleasant surprise as all three of my opponents were good bots that I was really worried about facing. But I didn’t come out of the fights unscathed: the next installment will cover the damage I took, as well as the next round of battles.

NWOWWE
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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by NWOWWE » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:00 pm

The Elizabethtown Advocate

Surprise Fill-in Looks To Make Surprise Playoff Run

In a move few would have expected, longtime ARC veteran Josh a.k.a. NWOWWE, captain of Team Blood Gulch, became a midseason replacement for two vacancies created in the FW and LW categories in CBC4 putting an end to his recent leave of absence and presumed retirement. Filling in these positions he selected the familiar, and highly successful, LW Dr. Robotnik with an updated look that had been completed previous to Josh's sabbatical from ARC. The new version of the 2 time former champion was a combined project between Josh and CBC tournament head Alex a.k.a. Monsterworks. The collaboration extended further to Josh commissioning Alex to design his FW entrant The Grand Vizier, a sleek looking drumbot.

In his first week back in active competition Team Blood Gulch showed little rust with Grand Vizier overcoming an early aggressive assault from the tough Untitled Goose Robot Grand Vizier was able to exploit weaknesses in Goose Robot's control and some very effective use of the drum to pull off a hard fought split decision win. Dr. Robotnik would make his return against a very familiar face in more ways than one. The Servant's Assistant was an old adversary from years past, but under new management of longtime rival Alex V. As expected, the fight was a hard hitting affair with Robotnik giving Servant's Assistant all he could handle. The two teams high level of familiarity with each other was in full display as both had an answer for nearly every tactic the other pulled out. Ultimately Servant's Assistant proved durable enough to take the split decision win, spoiling Dr. Robotnik's return.

The next round of FW and LW fights, Team Blood Gulch looked to build on the solid results of the previous round with a pair of fights against the indefatigable captain of Team British Robotics. The Grand Vizier found itself in another slug-fest against Irritant who more than lived up to its name. At one point Irritant was nearly able to toss Grand Vizier from the arena, but the drumbot managed to hang in tough and keep up a strong enough defensive gameplan to secure a split decision win. In LW, Dr. Robotnik was looking to make up for its previous loss and made a statement in a rather big way. The veteran undercutter got on the offensive early and got to work tearing bits and pieces off Fork Factor. There was a scary moment for Team Blood Gulch during the fight where it looked like Dr. Robotnik might have gotten high centered, but effective use of the weapon got it back in the fight. While Fork Factor's tough armor kept it from sustaining any significant damage until the end of the fight, it simply wasn't able to get much offense going against one of Team Blood Gulch's most prolific competitors and Dr. Robotnik walked away with a very convincing 11-4 win.

The pair of victories have put Grand Vizier in serious contention for a playoff berth, and even Dr. Robotnik is keeping within shouting distance of the postseason. It appears that not even having to absorb the losses from the bots they were replacing will have Team Blood Gulch waiving the white flag on this tournament.
Area51Escapee,Jan 30 2011 wrote:
Spatula,Jan 29 2011 wrote: I should go 3-1 this week but it'll probably be something like 0-4 or 0-5.
It sucks going 0-5. You lose all 4 of your bot fights for the week and you also lose at life.

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Re: CBC4: Behind The Scenes (The Event Reports Thread)

Post by Superbomb122 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:28 pm

Week 2: Caen, France/Yellowknife, Canada

Before I start this, I would like to make an apology. I have made a severe lapse in judgement. I did not know, at the time of the event, that baguettes were so sacred to the nation and people of France. I now know how culturally insensitive, disgraceful, and ‘just plain wrong’ having a baguette duel with a man in a cloak is. To all of those offended, some of which so severely that they have ended up in wards from the trauma they experienced, I am truly and absolutely sorry. Now, on to robots!

Chinesium’s fight this time around was against a true legend in the sport, HFL, and his flipper, Ori (get the new game I heard it’s really good). I figured that, since his armor wasn’t infallible (even ablative armor has its breaking point) and the arena was so long that he couldn’t rush me on spin up, the fight was very much possible. Possible it was, but a win, it was not. You see, he also knew he couldn’t box rush me, so he didn’t. He just played the positioning game and did so much better than me. The big takeaway here is the importance of having multiple blades. While the blade on Chinesium is really good at delivering the big, meaty hits I want to dish out, but it can’t cut through UHMW very well. As a result, we only got into the frame itself in the last few hits. It’s a shame, too. Those last few hits disabled one side of his drive and rendered his flipper not only inoperable, but unsafe. All of his UHMW was gone, and it was merely limping toward me at the end of the fight. As these things tend to go, 15 more seconds of fighting would’ve been enough. Unfortunately, the bar I had brought didn’t allow those crucial seconds to materialize.

Now for the damage I suffered, because there was an unexpected amount of it. The weapon motor I’d been using since Chinesium first hit the scene half a year ago was toast. Sure, it was functioning at the end, but the thing was so cooked you’d wonder how it managed to do so. Half the thing was blackened and the shaft itself was bent awkwardly. This at least accounts for the obvious loss of power over the second half of the fight. The bar also had a slight, 2.5 degree twist in it, presumably from being fed into the wall at an angle at 4500 RPM. The damn thing took a vice and 2 hours to straighten fully, but at least it avoided the trash bin.

Then, National Security took its turn against possibly the oldest bot in the field, The Servant’s Assistant. It was another tanky flipper, so I wasn’t really looking forward to this fight. Aside from minor jukes, there was little else I could do. Apparently the commentator made a 9/11 joke about my bot. And y’all’re still mad about BREAD. I digress. This fight was a really unremarkable (and one-sided) loss for me.His wedge was worse for wear, after the fight, but he dominated even before the… let’s say odd drive failure occurred. Speaking of which:

No, the failure was not due to tire wear. National Security burns a lot of rubber, but still not enough to high-center it in 3 minutes, as was confirmed by later testing. What happened was a fault in the melty-brain system. You see, to make driving it a bit easier, the system is meant to recalibrate (and effectively flip) its X and Y coordinates whenever it inverts. Think of this is a similar vein to a gyroscope. No matter how the bot is oriented the direction, in theory, should stay the same. This was automatically carried out mid-fight by the electronics themselves. After the last flip, the coordinates reset at the wrong time, leading to the bot thinking it was almost directly on top of the X-axis (moving toward the opposing square would entail going down, not forward). The system had to be reset manually, but the time it took to do so let TSA beach me against the wall with ease. The system was changed to only work in 180 degree increments after this fight.

Aside from that and new tires, there wasn’t much work required for National Security. TSA, predictably, couldn’t put my bot in hazards or otherwise damage it. After a grueling day of losses (including the loss of all dignity when some French guy threw at least 5 eggs at me near the airport), it was off to the barren land of snow and maple syrup, Canada! I was actually looking forward to this leg. I couldn’t wait to go to Toronto, or Montreal, or, or Vancouver, or-

It wasn’t Toronto. It wasn’t Montreal. It wasn’t even Vancouver. It was Yellowknife. Five points if you know what province Yellowknife is in before you Google it. Another five if you remembered it’s not actually in a province. I had a bye in middleweights this time around, so I took to my favorite pastime: racing. A few of the other guys also had the need for speed, so we joined a dogsled race to a tiny town called Dettah across the Great Slave Lake. I got the next-closest guy by a few lengths and won handily. With that fun over and other guys’ matches coming up, the crew gave us snowmobiles to get back. Of course, that also turned into a race, which I lost. Bady. Damn near put myself through the ice partway through.

I get back and I find out the arena is pure hell. By my count, there were at least 20 hazards packed into it. Can’t have a good arena to fight bigger bots in, I guess. My next match was looking to be a cakewalk, though. Some weeb that couldn’t even get his mecanums on right had entered a bot named Killer Queen. A fellow, but, in my mind, worse-designed flipper. How could he possibly stand a chance, right? Right?

Turns out being a cocky ass only ends in getting your cocky ass beat. Yep. I lost to the box. It really wasn’t as close as the judges’ scores would suggest. Luckily, I at least didn’t take much damage from the hazards. This meant no rebuild! Instead, I just kind of sat there for the rest of the matches, occasionally talking to other builders, getting the latest update on who the Brit tried to fight (a damn POLAR BEAR), and kicking myself for losing to Killer Queen.

After an objectively terrible week by any standards, it was time to pack up, shape up, and ship out to Germany, where the Müllbrenner awaited...
Team ETHER 7-5
REDDIT: 3-2
CBC: 4-3

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