BuGa 2023: ER-Force vs. TIGERs Mannheim

Now it’s finally time: The tournament at the Bundesgartenshow 2023 officially begins with the first match of the group stage: ER-Force vs. TIGERs Mannheim.

We’re incredibly excited about the game, as we were able to achieve very positive results with our robots during the course of yesterday and this morning: While our new radio system had significant issues at RoboCup, the tests looked extremely promising yesterday evening. Together with the HBC team, the manufacturer of our radio system, and with the support of Gerhard Schubert, we made significant progress in the last two weeks. Everyone involved has put in many hours to push the radio system to the level of perfection we were used to from INTERPACK 2023 in May. The HBC radio worked perfectly there, completely unaffected by the numerous trade show Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices.

Important note: Unlike RoboCup, all games at Bundesgartenshow are played with walls (bande), which means there are no out-of-bounds. This is an experiment by the organizers to see how well it works. We can expect very fluid games since out-of-bounds is the most frequent game interruption.

Since there’s unfortunately no livestream, the game will be provided as a video later.

First Half

05:00 The game starts with over 10 minutes delay, which is usually the case for the first game of the day and the tournament.
05:00 Unfortunately, a larger part of the first half could not be ticked due to personnel reasons. We’re currently limited in staff. As far as possible, the ticker will be updated. Unlike RoboCup, we have only 7 people for this tournament, which is definitely too few. Still a good experience: We estimate that we could fill all personnel gaps with 10 – 11 people, which is valuable for future tournaments. However, it doesn’t reduce the stress of this tournament.
02:30 So far, a very fluid game. A positive point to note is that our HBC radio can finally unleash the potential that it has. The robots are moving very smoothly, following their commands! We are currently playing with 4 new and 2 old robots.
01:00 Own goal by us! That’s unfortunate, it could have been avoided and must definitely be considered as part of our strategy, but there’s nothing we can do about it now.
ER-Force 0 : 1 TIGERs Mannheim
00:26 Very dangerous situation in our half. But in the end, our goalkeeper clears it to the right side, defusing the situation.
00:06 So far, a very fast and fluid game, which is, of course, due to the walls (bande) being used, resulting in no out-of-bounds.
-01:27 The game was quite balanced towards the end. Since the game is no longer interrupted due to out-of-bounds, it’s running for a long time, and now it’s stopped only because of a crash and the first half is whistled. Overall, it’s nice to watch; the decision against out-of-bounds adds a lot to the entertainment value for the spectators.

Second Half

05:00 Kick-off for the second half.
04:24 Yellow card for TIGERs, as they have accumulated three minor fouls during the game (they held the ball with the dribbler for too long twice and caused a crash at the end of the first half). Meanwhile, we’re replacing a robot.
04:24 Currently, there seem to be some minor issues with the network, causing the game to pause. During matches in our league, a central computer continuously receives camera data, processes it, and sends the resulting robot positions and velocities, along with referee commands and other information, via the local network to the team PCs, which then derive their game decisions from it and send them to the robots via radio. Therefore, a faulty network is a major problem for the game.
04:24 Apparently, the RefBox has also been successfully destroyed: The RefBox is a piece of software into which the human referee can input decisions, and where all decisions of the AI referee come together and are more or less clearly displayed. It seems that an attempt is being made to roll out a very old version of the RefBox, in which the “Game Controller” (the person supporting the referee who sits in front of the RefBox) has to manually input all commands, something that has been banned for years. Long-time members still have muscle memory for operating the old RefBox via the number pad, but the younger ones groan about the “Stone Age technology”.
04:24 Other than that, a brief update: Nothing has been broken so far; our hardware is running flawlessly, especially the new robots. So, in this area too, we’ve made significant progress compared to RoboCup. The one robot that was replaced was an old one and even it was driving a bit crooked, but didn’t show any serious issues.
04:24 The game continues, but ER-Force immediately takes a timeout. Apparently, our software doesn’t have the new radio system perfectly integrated yet, causing the software to occasionally lose the connection. Had to restart briefly, now everything is running smoothly again.
05:00 Apparently, they restarted the time after changing the RefBox.
03:48 Dangerous duel near our goal with a TIGERs bot, but we can clear the ball again.
03:35 Interruption of the game after TIGERs kick the ball out of the field towards the audience! Good thing they’re already one and a half meters above the field behind a railing.
03:05 After some good passes by TIGERs, one of their robots messes up the reception, much to our delight!
03:00 TIGERs’ yellow card has expired, so we’re back to playing 6 vs. 6.
02:22 Good situation for us in Mannheim’s penalty area, but their goalkeeper can clear it.
02:06 Another nice situation in TIGERs’ goal.
01:35 And right away, the attack in front of our goal, but our defense stands strong!
00:45 This time the ball goes out of the field through us. Playing with walls is new for both teams, not everything is smooth yet, especially in connection with the edges of the field.
-00:14 And the game ends 1:0 for TIGERs Mannheim with an own goal from us. As usual, TIGERs Mannheim ends their game with a victory dance, this time including the Cantina Band and a little dance.

In retrospect, it was a very nice game and much more to our liking! Everything went smoothly, the radio worked brilliantly, the hardware functioned perfectly. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and that must also be the aspiration, but still, we can be very satisfied with the game. This will definitely be an exciting tournament!