Day 0 – Jan 9th , 2016

About 45 eager members of the DiscoBots FRC Team met at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University to watch the Kickoff Broadcast. OEDK provides provides a space for interdisciplinary undergraduate technology students to design, prototype and deploy solutions to real-world engineering challenges.

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Panorama of the kickoff

Two team members went to the Katy ISD’s Shaw Center for STEAM to watch the Kickoff Broadcast and to pick up the Kit of Parts.These two team members were very impressed by the facilities (a full sized field, shop space for 8 teams and shared meeting rooms and shared machine shop) built mainly for supporting the current and future robotics teams and other STEAM activities in the Katy school district. Our friends at Cryptonite (Team 624) worked for many years to make this facility a reality.

There were many puzzled faces as the Kickoff Broadcast began and Dean and Woody were seen making their way across a field on Segways followed by people clapping WiFi routers together. There were many more puzzled giggles as Frank Merrick appeared in a chainmail hood. Some of the older members of the audience, mostly mentors, started whispering to each other speculating on the possibility that swallows might be discussed or if there would be taunting. Eventually, word that the video was a parody of the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” spread and some audience members suggested that watching it on the bus to St. Louis would be a fun idea. This was probably the best introductory video in the history of FRC. There was something for audience members of all ages.

The moment everyone had been waiting for arrived and the Game Reveal Video began. The Medieval theme was no big surprise given the teaser video released several weeks ago. Many cheers could be heard when it became obvious that shooting of game pieces was going to be an important part of the new game. There were more cheers when it was announced that defence would be allowed again. Team members watched intently through the Field Tour Videos.

The team members quickly decrypted the new Game Manual to study it. Head Mentor, Andy Lynch led the discussion regarding the roles that a DiscoBot robot could play when allied with different types of robots. Various team members described how they thought the game play would likely proceed and how the scoring was likely to happen. The value of being able to defeat some of the more difficult Defenses and of Scaling were debated vigorously while sharing kolaches and donuts.


Andy Lynch leading a discussion about the new competition

Lunch arrived and the team members to socialize.

After lunch, the team broke into the various sub teams:
-drive train
-upper body
They discussed what needed to be done before the season officially starts.

The team reconvened to continue discussing what game strategies DiscoBots should pursue. After some more lively discussion, the team determined that it would be best to focus on defeating on the Defenses and picking up Boulders to score in the Low Goals. The mechanisms for scoring in the High Goals and for Scaling would be added once they were perfected.

Drawings of defenses and potential strategies

At the end of the meeting, the team members were asked to study the Game Manual further and to think of ways to play the new game before the next meeting.