Please note: While we try to always keep the English blog up-to date, there might be some delay regarding when a German blog post gets translated. Also, articles prior to RoboCup 2022 do not have English translations. To see those articles in German, please switch to the German blog.
As the tournament at the Bundesgartenshow (BuGa) is now coming to an end and we have secured an excellent second place, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on our journey.
Compared to the RoboCup 2023 in Bordeaux, we were able to significantly improve our performance with the new robots: The radio communication issues have been completely resolved, and our robots executed their driving commands as precisely as they haven’t in years. This clearly demonstrates the advantage of robust industrial solutions like the HBC radio system compared to our previous custom solutions.
The motor board problems have also nearly disappeared as a result. The theory here is as follows: When our robots don’t receive radio signals, they shut down all wheel modules as a safety measure to avoid being a hazard to people and themselves. However, this also results in an abrupt shutdown of all wheel motors, and the remaining current circulating through them, due to the electrical principle of inductance, which dictates that current through electric motors cannot cease instantaneously, can lead to defects in the Motor Controller Boards.
So, when we have radio communication issues, the modules are regularly and unexpectedly shut down. When everything works smoothly, the activation and deactivation maneuvers are carefully controlled at the beginning and end of a game: The motors are brought to a halt by the AI, and then the modules are shut down.
Aside from these two issues, the new robots required very little maintenance—compared to their predecessor generation as well. Only some motor connectors showed problems on the board side: It seems that the through-hole connections of the pads are breaking, causing the power lines on the Power Distribution Board to detach from the motor. We were able to prove this through resistance measurements.
Since we also had problems with our shooting board (same PCB manufacturer)—back then, the solder mask had peeled off from almost all traces at certain spots—we seriously need to consider switching to a different PCB manufacturer.
Nevertheless, it was an excellent tournament that reinvigorated not only our robots but also the spirits of many team members. The enthusiasm is clearly noticeable among all the present members. The positive developments of the other teams since the RoboCup—especially RoboTeam Twente, whose performance improved drastically over the last month—have further fueled our members’ motivation. And so, after the final match, we actively joined the other teams in dismantling the tournament.
We are already looking forward to competing against all the amazing teams at the next European event. It was a pleasure playing against them this weekend. And so, we bid you a heartfelt farewell from the BuGa!
Group Stage (Saturday, 12.08.2023)
|10:00 AM||ER-Force vs. TIGERs Mannheim||Article||00:01|
|11:30 AM||Immortals vs. TIGERs Mannheim||Article||00:10|
|01:00 PM||ER-Force vs. RoboTeam Twente||Article||03:00|
|02:30 PM||ER-Force vs. Immortals||Article||10:00|
|04:00 PM||TIGERs Mannheim vs. RoboTeam Twente||Article||10:00|
|05:30 PM||RoboTeam Twente vs. Immortals||Article||00:03|
Knockout Stage (Sunday, 07.07.2023)
|11:00 AM||TIGERs Mannheim vs. RoboTeam Twente||Article||10:00|
|12:30 PM||ER-Force vs. Immortals||Article||01:00|
|14:30 Uhr||TIGERs Mannheim vs. ER-Force||Article||Livestream||03:00|
It feels like it was just yesterday when we played the first game of this tournament. Well, it was actually just yesterday. But still, time has passed very quickly, and now we’re just about to start the final game.
As expected, TIGERs delivered a very confident and dominant performance, much like during the RoboCup in Bordeaux. They mostly managed to dominate their opponents. However, they couldn’t score against us; we only lost due to an own goal.
|05:00||The game starts with less than 5 minutes delay, the arena is full. TIGERs play in yellow, ER-Force in blue.|
|04:43||And a shot on goal right away by TIGERs Mannheim, but initially, we can defend. However, as the attacks persisted, it eventually happened: Goal for TIGERs.|
|TIGERs Mannheim 1 : 0 ER-Force|
|04:05||After several more attempts on our goal, two of our robots get stuck near our penalty area. Getting stuck here is very understated; they got along very well. As a result, there are ball placements for ER-Force, but both teams fail to place the ball.|
|03:06||More attacks on our goal follow, but our team can hold up magnificently.|
|02:30||Now we strengthen, putting pressure on TIGERs’ defenders with many attacks. However, the attack is eventually stopped, and our robot is mobbed by 5 Mannheim bots as punishment, gathering around and practically squeezing it.|
|01:47||Now the attack is again primarily in our half, and unfortunately, it ends successfully again: Goal by Mannheim with a shot from an acute angle past our goalkeeper!|
|TIGERs Mannheim 2 : 0 ER-Force|
|01:16||Another attack by us on Mannheim’s goal, but unfortunately, the ball narrowly misses the target. That could have been something; the goalkeeper wasn’t quite there yet!|
|00:28||Currently, the game is somewhat stuck in one of our corners. Both teams fail at ball placement; our robot even has its back to the ball while trying to place it, which is an interesting ball placement strategy.|
|00:17||And the ball is kicked out of the field again, but this time by us.|
|-00:17||After a cheeky move where instead of passing to our own robot, we pass to a Mannheim robot, the first half ends rather uneventfully.|
|00:00||Although we’re two goals behind, we don’t need to hide at the moment. After all, Mannheim still manages to sweep away weaker and even strong teams 10:0 in the first half. Additionally, our defense has been very solid, making it very difficult for TIGERs to find the gap. We’ve seen some interesting attacks from us, so we’re really hoping to catch up in the second half!|
|05:00||The second half kicks off; TIGERs has ER-Force.|
|04:07||After crashing into a TIGERs bot for the second time and previously shooting the ball over the boards, we now receive a yellow card and can only play with 5 robots for the next two minutes.|
|04:07||Again, the corner poses a problem, none of the robots can reach the ball. It seems the 45° ramps, usually placed in the corners, were forgotten. Getting the ball out of 90° corners is practically impossible given the size of SSL robots.|
|02:06||The robots of both teams often get stuck in a duel, leading to many situations ending with Lack of Progress. At least our penalty time has expired without danger.|
|01:35||TIGERs had to change a robot, probably because the battery is empty. A characteristic here is the constant clicking of the plunger when the robot discharges from shooting.|
|01:27||And this time, TIGERs Mannheim shoots the ball out of the field, but luckily I could collect it right away, and the game continues quickly.|
|01:08||Strong attack by us, but our back pass to one of our colleagues goes wide. The ensuing counter-attack by TIGERs becomes quite dangerous, but one of our robots solves the problem, risking a foul (touching the ball in the penalty area). Unfortunately, this results in a penalty kick for TIGERs!|
|01:03||Unfortunately, the Mannheim robot scores the penalty, so there’s a goal for TIGERs following the penalty kick!|
|TIGERs Mannheim 3 : 0 ER-Force|
|-00:16||A very intense situation against us! Mannheim’s robots are in our half and even shoot at the goal, but the ball misses the target by a few centimeters.|
|00:00||Overall, this was a very exciting final game, even though the second half was rather quiet. Our play was very enjoyable to watch, and we defended very solidly. The progress of the last 4 weeks was clearly visible, and the trend for the next weeks and months is clearly set!|
Now, let’s continue with our semifinal match against Immortals. Since Immortals arrived very late yesterday, this is also the first game we can play against this team. We expect an exciting match here because Immortals is one of the best teams in the league and has had several hours to calibrate their robots and adapt to the game situation in Mannheim.
Overall, we believe that statistically speaking, we will win, but the uncertainty is significant enough that victory cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, we are very curious to see how the next 10 minutes of the game will unfold!
|05:00||The game starts on time; we’re playing in blue, Immortals in yellow.|
|04:20||Short break: Immortals receives a yellow card after causing multiple crashes.|
|03:45||Currently, there is more pressure on ER-Force’s goal; the ball is in our half more often than in the opponent’s half.|
|03:18||Oh, indeed, Immortals is driving aggressively: Not only are they causing crashes; one of their robots almost tipped over. Immortals now also takes a short timeout.|
|02:49||Apparently, there are also issues with camera detection in one of the field corners. It’s typical for SSL tournaments that the camera system regularly encounters problems, even if most issues occur on the first day.|
|02:46||Immortals has accumulated three fouls due to two crashes and one tip-over, which means they can now only play with 4 robots and therefore have to take their fifth robot off the field.|
|02:27||After a successful ball placement, we botched the kickoff, but the ball rolls almost randomly near the opponent’s goal. However, we elegantly make up for the mistakes from before by sinking the ball into the goal following beautiful passing. Goal for ER-Force! Immortals can now play with 5 robots again.|
|ER-Force 1 : 0 Immortals|
|01:00||After the ball has been permanently in the opponent’s half for some time, there was a somewhat dangerous shot on our goal that missed. Overall, our defense is as strong as usual, with most situations being handled confidently by our defenders.|
|00:34||Very tense situation in Immortals’ penalty area! After winning the ball and pushing toward the opponent’s goal, the shot almost goes in but bounces off at the last moment. However, the keeper almost kicked the ball into their own goal, but unfortunately, only almost!|
|-00:07||That concludes the first half. While the Iranians initially dominated, we were able to increasingly turn the tide throughout the first half and shift the focus of the game towards the opponent’s goal.|
|00:00||Something smells burnt… No one knows where the smell is coming from; both teams check their robots, but everything seems fine.|
|00:00||Apparently, the burnt smell is coming from an Immortals robot, which brings relief to our team. While we’re not used to our robots “going up in smoke,” it does get the pulse racing a bit.|
|05:00||Immortals would like to switch sides for the second half. Generally, teams play both halves on the same side, but teams can also switch sides during halftime.|
|05:00||ER-Force takes a timeout, probably to test the robots.|
|03:40||Again, the game starts in our half, and there are some attacks on our goal. However, our defense can defuse a dangerous attack. Finally, the game is whistled for Lack of Progress between two robots.|
|03:14||Another stuck situation in front of ER-Force’s goal, Immortals now only with 5 robots and executing a substitution maneuver.|
|03:03||Extremely dangerous situation in our half after one of our robots passes confidently to the opponent. Naturally, Immortals takes advantage of the situation to launch a strong attack on our goal. But our goalkeeper is there and defuses the situation.|
|02:14||Apparently, our goalkeeper can’t shoot high properly. Instead of making clearance shots, we’re seeing more droplets. Perhaps there are mechanical issues preventing the plunger from functioning smoothly.|
|00:17||The pressure on our goal is definitely there! The second half is strongly dominated by Immortals, but our defense stands strong. Of course, Immortals is buying their attack through aggressive play and thus risking some fouls.|
|00:17||Quick bot change by us, but after a brief inspection, the robot is immediately put back on the field.|
|-00:20||Many duels that fizzle out into nothingness, ending with Lack of Progress, have dominated the second half, which has mostly taken place in our half. It ends with a beautiful attack on Immortals’ goal, which unfortunately doesn’t succeed, but the attacking intent of the opposing team was clearly felt, and we’re glad that our defense could hold the goal until the end.|
|00:00||After winning this game, we will now play in the final against TIGERs Mannheim at 2:30 PM.|
After the group stage concludes with the last game between Immortals and RoboTeam Twente on Saturday evening, today’s day begins with the first semifinal match between the first and fourth-placed teams: TIGERs Mannheim vs. RoboTeam Twente.
Without wanting to speculate too much, we already assume that TIGERs Mannheim will easily win against RoboTeam Twente. Yesterday, the Mannheim team pretty much dominated our friends from the Netherlands, so everyone expects a very one-sided game.
|05:00||The game will be kicked off soon.|
|05:00||As has become usual, this game is also starting with a delay. The time is being filled for the spectators by explaining the robots and the rules.|
|05:00||With an 8-minute delay, it’s finally underway. TIGERs in blue, RoboTeam Twente in yellow.|
|04:44||First shot on goal by TIGERs, but it doesn’t hit the target yet.|
|04:14||Well defended by the Twente goalkeeper! That could have been the first goal of the day, but the Dutch goalkeeper shines once again. However, there are problems with Twente outfield players touching the robot in their penalty area.|
|04:08||Now, however: TIGERs takes a shot, and it’s a goal! The score is now 1:0!|
|TIGERs Mannheim 1 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|03:35||Beautiful passing by TIGERs in Twente’s half. You can tell that they have excellent ball control and precision in their passes. Eventually, TIGERs is rewarded: 2:0 for Mannheim!|
|TIGERs Mannheim 2 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|03:00||After some discussions about a penalty for TIGERs and a ball placement by RoboTeam Twente, unfortunately, the Dutch player messes up the shot, and TIGERs gains the upper hand. Naturally, Mannheim doesn’t waste time and increases the lead to 3:0!|
|TIGERs Mannheim 3 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|02:33||And another goal by Mannheim right away! The game is primarily taking place in the Dutch half, but it’s good to watch.|
|TIGERs Mannheim 4 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|02:16||With full commitment, the players from RoboTeam Twente are doing everything to keep the ball away from the goal, even if they have to commit a foul to do so. This makes the game quite watchable, as it’s not a complete blowout.|
|01:56||The Dutch can defend well for a long time, with several attempts on their goal. But in the end, the Mannheim team manages to get past the goalkeeper and convert a shot into a goal! Twente is now also replacing a robot.|
|TIGERs Mannheim 5 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|01:31||It might sound like a massacre here, considering that TIGERs now extends the lead to 6 goals. Nevertheless, the Dutch are doing very well. While they can’t break through in attack against TIGERs, they’re doing their human—or rather, robot—best to keep the goal safe. Definitely the best game from RoboTeam Twente this year!|
|TIGERs Mannheim 6 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|01:14||Still, it’s as it is: a game against the world champions. And so, TIGERs directly increases the lead to 7 goals!|
|TIGERs Mannheim 7 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|01:05||Correction: 8-goal lead.|
|TIGERs Mannheim 8 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|00:40||The Twente robots position themselves well in the shooting lanes of the Mannheim team, making it not so easy for them to get a good shooting angle. Sometimes, they even lose the ball, but eventually, another goal for Mannheim! Now they’re only one away from ending the game early in this half.|
|TIGERs Mannheim 9 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|00:20||Ghost goal for Twente! Although the ball, along with the entire RoboTeam Twente, is actually in the half of TIGERs Mannheim and even in front of the goal, there was definitely no shot on it, just a small skirmish with a few crashes. Nevertheless, a goal in Mannheim’s goal was briefly recognized, and as a result, the AI referee briefly decided it was a goal for Twente! But of course, only briefly.|
|00:14||Indeed! 14 seconds before the end, TIGERs finally manages to score the tenth goal of the game and thus end it early.|
|TIGERs Mannheim 10 : 0 RoboTeam Twente|
|00:00||With that, TIGERs advances to the final as expected, and unfortunately, Twente is eliminated from the tournament. Nevertheless, there’s no reason to be sad: The improvement of the Dutch undoubtedly culminated in this game, which was also very short, lasting only 20 minutes!|