Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bot Blast 2013 Event Report

Holy crap I never updated this with the build report :P

So this is the finished build of FireArrow, Ready for Bot Blast.

Bot Blast definitely went well, even better than I had thought it would be.

After a 5 hour drive we arrived at the event and picked out a spot in the pits. We were one of the last ones to get there, so there were few spots available. I parked between Nate from Team Mutually Assured Destruction and Team Omega (didn't catch the builder's name). After getting through safety checks and the driver's meeting, the first round draws were made, and I was up against one of my most-feared robots: Guildenstern. Its vertical bar won it a tournament earlier in 2013 and its driver was definitely experienced. While I put up a good fight, especially for my first ever robot battle, I came up short and FireArrow lost a wheel late in the match. Then a big hit tore a chunk out of FireArrow's rear end, knocking out a drive motor in the process. I couldn't move and was counted out.

After the fight I wasn't too disappointed about my loss, I mean it was my first fight, and I had done a lot better than I thought I had. My one problem was that that motor was toast and we had no spares. Fortunately, Guildenstern's driver let me borrow one of his spares, and we couldn't have been more grateful. We got FireArrow reassembled before lunch and awaited our first loser's bracket fight.

A Glorified Doorstop turned out to be my next opponent, and while it was really well engineered, it lost its first match after its tires came loose from its hubs. It also turned out to be really slow, and after a brief scare in which I found myself flipped and unable to self-right, I got it back under control. The judges handed me an easy win.

Next up in the loser's bracket was Weed Wacker. It managed to win its first fight by knockout but broke its own weapon in the process, and it lost its second battle easily. Its builder was also having issues getting it to work, and he used his 20 minute postponement to get it ready. Once the match began it was all me, getting under him and slamming him into walls like no tomorrow. Another easy victory.

TTI Wedge, a new robot kit built by the same team as Guildenstern, was next for me, and I wanted revenge for my earlier loss. I definitely got some. We didn't know who was going to have the better wedge, and it turned out to be FireArrow. I got in more slams than he did, and he wasn't really able to keep me on his wedge. The judges gave me my third win of the competition.

After another break I was up against Dust Pandemonium, a Robogames veteran with a vicious "blender" weapon. It had had some technical difficulties after its last match, but he was able to get them fixed in time for the fight. I got in a lot of rams early on, but Dust Pandemonium was able to get under me and in the corner for some grinding late in the fight, and I was worried that I'd lost. Not the case, as I was given the decision. It must have been a really close call.

Next up in the brackets was a rematch with Guildenstern. I was scared, especially after last time. However, I was almost handed an easy win when his transmitter wasn't communicating with his reciever. However, he got it running just in time to stay in the fight. Despite some huge gouges taken out of FireArrow's front wedge, it sustained no damage during the fight, and I was able to get some good slams in and win on a judge's decision.

At this point I was one of the three robots left in the antweight bracket. Honestly I hadn't expected to get this far, and I was excited. I had a legit chance at the finals at this point. After assessing the minor damage done by Guildenstern and using some duct tape to cover a chunk taken out, we were ready for the loser's bracket final against Ripto, a well-built vertical spinner with an excellent driver. Its beetleweight counterpart won the championship at Bot Blast last year, so I knew it could dish out damage. I did a great job avoiding his weapon early and managed to flip him onto his back three times, but his first hit bent the axle on one of my motors, meaning I only had one wheel drive. From there I was tossed around the arena by Ripto's disc and eventually onto my back. Ripto then tore off the rear panel, exposing the electronics. I tapped out at that point, wanting to lose as few parts as possible.

I really wanted to toss FireArrow into the rumble, but with the bent motor we really couldn't. Thinking back I could have swapped out gearboxes (we had fixed the broken gearbox in between fights) and probably would have been fine...

After the three championship battles it was time for the awards ceremony. I took home third place in the antweights, and also the other builders voted me as the Best Driver. I was shocked, I had no idea I was that good. But apparently I was. After the awards ceremony we went out for dinner and drove home. I had a great time and am definitely looking forward to my next event.

Pictures I took from the event are here: