We had a practice event in Milwaukee today with our Team 537 practice course. We had 15 teams attend. We were able to do several practices matches in the morning, and about 15 matches in the afternoon. Some things we learned that we'd like to pass on.
1. Paul talked on the call tonight about where to put the balls before the teams come out onto the field. We put them in the lane between the baskets and the colored top of the key. They are out of the way there, and then when the team doesn't load them, we picked them up and put them on the bridge. We started out putting them on the top of the key, but they got in the way there as players tried to set their robots.
2. In all those events, we only damaged 3 balls, and that was from teams running them over and getting stuck under the robot. The damage was not from the shooter.
3. I would not recommend using blocks under the bridges. What for? Half the time a robot is on one end of the bridge and causing the other end to be up in the air. That is the hazard, and we just made sure the gate guards went and held that end of the bridge up until the robot was pushed clear, and then we carefully lowered it to neutral position so no one would get "slapped" by the bridge coming up. If we had 1-2 robots on a bridge balancing, we waiting until the teams arrived, then raised one end of the bridge so the robots rolled down towards the end that they exited the field. I do not think you will need supports, or you will be forcing the teams to lift their robot off the bridge and carry it down. It was better to roll the robot down the bridge and off it, and then they can lift from the normal floor position.
4. Lots of balls went over the top nets, so you need to have someone positioned there to chase those balls, often in the public seating areas. You can not let the alliance on that end of the field have the ball, they only get the ball if it was shot into a basket.
5. And not one team used the Kinnex station...they all said it took more code to figure it out then using autonomous, and there wasn't time to do anything requiring non-automated actions.
Thanks. George and Dave