Thursday, September 29, 2016

Super Belated Motorama 2016 Event Report

Hi there, it's certainly been a while. In fact, over a year has passed since I last wrote in this blog. But I've decided to finally come back to this thing and write about this year's Motorama which went well despite basically nothing going right for my robots. I was still happy to go out and compete despite everything.

As usual, the antweights happened on Friday, the day before the main competition, so FireArrow was up first.

Fight 1: FireArrow vs. Scooper

My first battle of the weekend was vs. Scooper, a Canadian Viper kit owned by a newcomer to the sport (as a matter of fact, Moto was his first ever event). Due to how uncontrollable the 11.1:1 sparks in the previous version were, I decided to swap them out for the slower 22.2:1 sparks in order to improve control for Motorama. However, what I didn't know is that these made FireArrow too slow. In fact, it was so slow that I couldn't take control of the fight, get under Scooper's flipper, or really do anything. To make things worse, something was wrong with the screws in one of the bearing blocks and it came loose after about a minute of flipping, reducing FireArrow to 1-wheel drive. I held on to the judge decision but unsurprisingly was given the loss. All in all this was probably my most embarrassing loss ever, and it put me in a poor mood for most of the rest of the day.

Fight 2: FireArrow vs. Cornerstone

Into the loser's bracket I went, where I ended up against Adam's very solid wedgebot Cornerstone. It was solidly built and solidly driven, but it had taken some serious damage from an undercutter in its first match (I think against Vile Ant?) and as such had a few spots where its wedge didn't lie flush with the ground. I knew in order to win, I would need to target these spots and get under him as much as possible. In preparation for this fight I replaced the FingerTech sumo wheels with the 2-inch Lite Flites from the old FireArrow, which I had repurposed as my "anti-wedge" wheels after Bot Blast. FireArrow v2 had sort of intermittent drive when running inverted, and I figured that the improved angle provided by the larger tires plus the assistence when running inverted would help out immensely. This proved to be correct, as I was able to get under Cornerstone fairly consistently, and with the help of the re-replaced 11.1:1 sparks was able to deck Cornerstone into the wall with a lot of speed quite a few times. That isn't to say it wasn't a close battle though, as there were times when Cornerstone got under FireArrow as well and took it to his advantage. However, the judges rules the victory to me, and I couldn't help but feel relieved after that one. It's always good to win a match after something goes embarrassingly wrong.

Fight 3: FireArrow vs. Klazo

Up next in the loser's bracket was my first battle against a Near Chaos Robotics bot, this being Klazo the (heavily modified) Saifu kit. I decided to keep the larger wheels on for this match because it would help me get under Klazo's anti-wedge forks. I put up a pretty good fight in this match despite taking some pretty hard hits, but that screwed up motor mount struck again early into the match leaving me with 1WD once again. However with about 15 seconds left, FireArrow's other wheel came off after a big hit and I was counted out with seconds on the clock. It was disappointing, but at this point I had realized the flaws with this version of FireArrow and was ready to re-design it again for its next competition.

Fight 4: Antweight Rumble

To send off Friday's fighting and FireArrow v2 I participated in the rumble at the end of the day's fighting. In the rumble alongside FireArrow were Klazo, Cornerstone, Ferocious and The Ophidian (which was without its spinner weapon due to damage from an earlier fight). I rammed people around for a while until getting flipped over by Ferocious, at which point I was forced to resort to driving into people in the hopes that I would get tipped back over. This happened about a minute later when Klazo knocked me right-side up, though the wedge had gotten tweaked a bit. Everything went smoothly from there up until I drove under a seam at the edge of the arena and couldn't drive out due to the lack of traction on the steel floor. Klazo freed me again, and then knocked one of my wheelguards loose, stranding me off of my wheels. To add insult to inury, I was then propped up on the arena wall with my wedge stuck in the seam, unable to move and held perfectly perpendicular to the floor. This is where I stayed for the last 30 seconds of the rumble.

All in all, FireArrow had a subpar showing at Motorama, but it was fun and I know where I went wrong with version 2. It's been re-designed since.

Nocturne's run of the weekend got off on the wrong foot. Nocturne passed safety, but I noticed its drive was super twitchy. I traced this back to the Fingertech Tinymixer, which was reacting to the Kitbots motors poorly. After discovering this, I removed the mixer, but in the process accidentally smoked one of my drive motors. Unfortunately, I was without spares, and had to borrow one from Nate (thanks again!) in order to get Nocturne running for the competition.

Fight 1: Nocturne vs. Trilobite

Oh geez. All that work and I get put up against the premier brick in the beetleweight class. Due to the new weapon setup, the spinner worked perfectly, but since the robot was driving sans mixer I was still getting used to the dual stick plus weapon setup. I got a couple of decent hits off before Nocturne's weapon belt threw itself. Since I had zero chance without a weapon and didn't want to subject the audience to 2 minutes of ramming, I decided to tap out there. Nocturne got a belt replacement and was ready to go for its losers bracket match.

Fight 2: Nocturne vs. MowBot

MowBot was a neat overhead spinner from Georgia who was battling spinup issues all weekend. Nocturne's spinner gremlins returned in full force from here on out, with the belt not throwing itself, but somehow sucking itself into the gap between the brushless motor can and the top panel of the robot. This happened after the first hit of the match, and it became pushing for the next minute or two before MowBot's weapon finally spun up. I decided to simply turn around and use Nocturne's back end to absorb the blows, which it did fairly well. This was a pretty lame fight in all honesty. Fortunately the judges ruled the match in Nocturne's favor and I was able to fight again.

Fight 3: Nocturne vs. Scrambles the Death Dealer

Scrambles is Tim's horizontal bar spinner which has had luck almost as bad as Nocturne. However, Tim really got Scrambles dialed in this time around and it showed throughout the weekend. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to win this match and so went into it with a "F it" mentality, basically whatever happened happened and I wouldn't be upset about it. The belt thing happened again and I basically rammed into Scrambles until either time ran out or I got knocked out, I don't remember which one happened first. I lost either way.

Well that's it for Motorama this year. It was fun to attend, even though just like last year the robots didn't turn out with the results I wanted them to.