Scouting

Overview

  • An area that is often neglected by many teams
    • Offers a great opportunity to get a leg up on the competition
    • Excellent way to involve more students in the competition
  • Crucial for two main reasons
    • Predict your opponents strategy for future matches
    • Essential for alliance picking
      • Especially crucial in getting a good second-round pick

Advanced Scouting

  • Regional results from current and past seasons
    • Match scores, awards, seedings, draft positions, eliminations results
    • Can further analyze data to find patterns
      • Least-squares scoring estimation, other custom metrics
      • Gained popularity this year, known as "OPR"
    • High correlation between past success and future success

OPR

  • Calculated Contribution / OPR
    • How can I know how well a team has performed without watching their matches?
    • Could look at average score, but that only tells part of the story
    • Let each team's contribution be represented by a variable
    • For each alliance, let ti + tj + tk = s, where s is the amount of points scored by the alliance
    • Solve the matrix
    • Now you have calculated the average contribution of each team throughout the regional
    • How valuable is this data?
      • Depends on the game!!!

OPR in 2012

  • It's Awful
    • Using raw match scores
      • Includes penalty points incurred by opponents
      • Doesn't include the coop bridge
      • Because the coop bridge is so valuable, good teams spend less time scoring, more time achieving a goal with no score value
    • Adding in a factor based on coop %
      • A low factor hurts good teams, a high factor favours bad teams (good teams coop sooner)
    • Regional Variance
      • Defense is very hard in 2012, so effective D is only seen at stronger regionals, lowering OPR at those events
    • Ball shortages
      • With balls being in limited supply, alliance scores actually decrease when you reach a certain threshold of scoring on the alliance
      • Similarly, 3 scorers on one alliance can cause chaos and confusion
      • In both these cases, OPR decreases at high level regionals
  • Still useful
    • If you're not at event, it's a decent predictor, however, things like standings, teleop score and hybrid might be better
    • Why is there an OPR obsession?
      • Baaaaaaaa

Pit Scouting

  • Make sure you check out every team at the event
  • Start on Thursday
  • Take pictures of every robot
    • Three views (get the team number in the shot)
  • Things to look for
    • Functionalities
    • Type of Drivetrain
      • Number of wheels, Traction/Wheel Type, Gearing, Motors
    • Quality of Construction
  • Ask questions

Match Scouting

  • Watch every match
  • Things to keep track of:
    • Match score
    • Points scored by each team
    • Scoring attempts and failures
    • Penalties
    • Autonomous modes, starting position
    • General strategy and tendencies
    • Drivers and human players
      • How fast do they react after autonomous...
  • Make sure you capture this data for all teams in the match
  • 1 team of at least 3-6 people
  • Very tiring, some people have a hard time focusing for the entire day
    • Rotate team members, allow time for ample breaks
  • Forcing people to scout will result in unreliable data
  • Make it fun!
    • A team with a culture that respects scouting will result in better scouts
    • Sim Bucks!

Information Management

  • You need a way to keep track of all the information your team collects
  • Pen & Paper
    • Have standard forms for Team and Match reports
    • Fields for all the key information mentioned before
    • Easy for everyone to use
  • Database
    • Very efficient way of doing things
    • Very easy to generate statistics on each team, and rank teams by various criteria
    • Requires laptops & tablets
    • Can pose difficulties synchronizing

Alliance Selection

  • The entire process is dependent on scouting
  • Make a preliminary pick list on Friday night
    • Review scouting data
    • Discuss criteria of ideal partner based on elimination strategy
    • Rank teams from 1 through ~28 based on established criteria
      • Slightly more than 24 necessary for full eliminations tournament, to allow for robot breakdowns on Saturday
  • The "Do Not Pick List"
    • Should you have one or is it excessive?
  • Tweak the list through Saturday's matches
  • Make sure your alliance captain is levelheaded enough not to get flustered on the field
  • Remember that the second pick can be crucial to the success of your alliance
    • Excellent teams often (usually) get missed in the first round
  • To break up alliance or not to break up alliances? (Galileo 2011)
  • Strategies should be different based on selection point