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RoboCup 2016

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Below is my attempt to encapsulate the awesome event that is the RoboCup - being held in Leipzig, Germany.

Morning of Travel

So, it is the morning I go away. Time to pack? Sure, now seems as good a time as any. What does a Robo-Cupper pack?

A special thanks to my friend Paul who will be giving myself and some other team members a lift to the station in the morning. Certainly beats a taxi or walking! Hopefully everything goes smoothly and there are no issues in the morning, especially given the events of recent days with tubes being closed and the UK voting to leave the EU...

EDIT: Now fully packed.

First Day on the Field

First day on the field and I have the following observations:

Problems we currently have:

On the plus side we are able to get up - something that was not easy to us in China.

Second Day on the Field

So today is the second day and last day of practice before the matches begin. We learned the previous day that we would be playing to good teams, the Nubots (Australia) and Fumanoids (Germany) - both teams are generally quite impressive. It is just the roll of the dice when it comes to these things. Hopefully we will be making it to the next round, it would be a shame to have come out here and not make it at least a day.

Progress made:

Some other good news, one of our team members who wrote a lot of the foundation code is now going to be joining us after having taken some time out to start a family - I for one hope he remembers the code hacked years ago! I would love to see the statistics on how much of our code is written in the competitions!

A far way to go today before we can start feeling comfortable to play...

Competition Time

So, the day of the first two matches and things are looking mostly up. It won't be a complete shambles at this rate and we should place half decently if our work has paid off. Currently we are looking to get through the first two matches only as we are against two very strong teams to play first - Fumanoids and Nubots.

Currently we are preparing before our matches and doing final checks before merging the code and testing again. Wish us luck that our efforts over the last two days have paid off for us. It going to be interesting over the course of today!

NOTE: I will update later with the results.

First Match

BoldHearts vs Fumanoids

This match was not as eventful as it could have been, with our bots crashing and the Fumanoids not playing as strongly as they did in Iran Open - I guess we had this in common. Our bots kept crashing repeatedly and missed an opportunity towards the end of the game to score a goal.

The problems as I see them currently:

Other than these things, there's a good chance of us getting some high level in.

Second Match

Second match went better than the previous against Nubots, although not being able to see the goal posts didn't help the team very well. Other than the bug fix, there wasn't too much time left for any more serious programming. As expected, the match went down to 0:0 with us almost scoring in our own goal.

Penalty Shoot-Out

The penalty shoot-out is knock out, with as many rounds played for the penalties until somebody scores and some order is produced, with each iteration getting easier. This is a bit of a farce and basically relies on a team being able to hack a solution faster than another given their current state of their code. No high level is required in order to do well at these.

In the end, our team got the ball into the penalty area more often and almost scored a goal, but ran out of time. We finished first out of three in our group.

Third Match

The third match was against Robo-Erectus Junior which was interesting... No goals scored although both teams got close a few times. Seems like falling over and standing back up confused to localisation of the other team which really helped us not get scored against. We can hope our opponents help us too - but we certainly can't rely on this.

At this point, our main concern is in making sure the things we do are done well.

Inter-Match Talk

As the other teams in our group, Robo-Erectus and ZJUDancer, didn't score against one another, our match is potentially deciding in our group. If we score higher, we short cut straight into the quarter finals. On the other hand, if we're beaten we go straight to the bottom and out of the competition. If we draw, which looking most likely at this moment, we'll go to penalty shoot-out where both teams seem to be more confident with larger kicks, faster movement and better localisation. For our team, ultimately we're currently hoping for a lucky break with a goal in order to score better in our round in order to carry on. Things are really intense!

Fourth Match

The fourth match was extremely close, the other team seemed to have won through some well timed robot handling and placing the robots back in the field. Our bots almost scored an own goal and ultimately performed as good as we could reasonably expect from what we have programmed.

Conclusion

All in all we are very happy to have got this far and realise even more that we need to get larger bots in order to still be competitive in this environment. We look forward to the next competition and hope to be better next time.