BuGa 2023: Conclusion

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!

BuGa 2023: Game Schedule

Group Stage (Saturday, 12.08.2023)

Points Table

Platz Team Spiele Punkte Torverhältnis
1 TIGERs Mannheim 3 9 21:0 21
2 ER-Force 3 6 13:1 12
3 Immortals 3 3 3:20 -17
4 RoboTeam Twente 3 0 0:16 -16


Time Match Article Stream Final Score
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)

Time Match Article Stream Final Score
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

BuGa 2023: ER-Force vs. Immortals

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.

Second Half

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.

RoboCup 2023: RoboTeam Twente vs. Immortals

And now the last game begins: RoboTeam Twente vs. Immortals. Yes, you heard it right: Immortals made it to the tournament!

About an hour after their arrival, Immortals now have the chance to show what they’re capable of. If Immortals win the game, they will face us in the semifinals tomorrow at 12:30 PM; otherwise, we won’t have an official match against them during the tournament.

First Half

05:00 The game starts with a delay of about 10 minutes. Twente plays as the blue team in a purple and white kit, while Immortals is the yellow team in their classic black kit.
04:21 Immortals has already received a yellow card for three consecutive fouls, reducing them to play with only 5 robots. Currently, there are only 4 robots on the field for Immortals. The ball moves from one half to the other, but it’s mostly in Twente’s half.
04:00 After the Immortals robot pushed the ball into Twente’s penalty area and touched it there (which, as we know from Twente, is a foul), one of the Twente bots loses its topping: blind and without a color pattern, it stands on the field, and the game is stopped.
04:00 Immortals takes a timeout. They don’t seem as strong as in the RoboCup, but it’s worth noting that the Iranian exiled team hasn’t had much time to adapt their robots to the BuGa playing environment.
04:00 By now, Immortals has received two yellow cards, so they’re left with a maximum of 4 robots on the field. Both yellow cards still have nearly their full 2 minutes on the clock, mostly due to crashes.
03:54 Now a yellow card for Twente as well. Surprisingly, this also affects the Dutch since they previously had all 6 robots on the field.
03:18 Lack of Progress between a Twente and Immortals bot. Well, the Twente bot didn’t even move and was consequently taken out of the game.
03:14 Presumed goal for Immortals, but the ball is moving at a noteworthy speed of 7.1 m/s, which is significantly above the allowed 6.5 m/s.
03:14 So far, this game has been the toughest of all, as there’s no flow due to the many fouls, despite the absence of an out rule. Admittedly, this was also the most challenging team pairing during the RoboCup.
02:12 Two more fouls by Immortals, as the ball’s speed was again too high at 7.2 m/s and 7.1 m/s. It’s a shame because the second shot was on target. It must be mentioned in their defense that Immortals hasn’t had time to calibrate their robots for this playing environment.
01:39 After a short Cola-kisses-Orange session (Immortals’ version of ball placement), the game continues, with both teams officially back to 6 robots. However, currently, there are only 3 Twente bots and 4 Immortals on the field.
-01:00 The last two and a half minutes were quite watchable, with the ball moving consistently across the field. However, attacks were primarily directed at the Dutch goal, but the goalkeeper managed to keep it solid until the end. He’s the standout robot for Twente in this game, as most others are just motionless on the field.
00:00 The first half ends with a game interruption, tied, and we’ll see you in five minutes for the second half.

Second Half

05:00 The second half starts right away. Twente now has 5 robots, just like Immortals.
04:47 Immortals immediately with a hot attack on the goal. The ball ends up in the net, but it exceeded the maximum allowed height of 15 cm before entering the goal, so the goal doesn’t count. Balls are not allowed to exceed a certain height when entering the goal, as otherwise, the opposing goalkeeper wouldn’t have a chance to defend it.
04:08 A missed chance for Immortals. Even though their robot had the ball right in front of them and at the edge of the Dutch penalty area, it didn’t take a shot. Instead, it gave the goalkeeper and a defender enough time to defuse the situation.
03:56 Another successful shot by Immortals on the second attempt: after the first shot didn’t work, a second robot takes another shot and scores. However, there’s a debate about this goal as well: if the goalkeeper touches the ball and successfully shoots it back forward, attackers are allowed to take a new shot. However, if the ball continues moving towards the goal despite hitting the goalkeeper, meaning it only rebounds off the goalkeeper, a second shot is not allowed. Whether the relevant angle of 90°, which separates these two cases, has been reached or not, is currently being discussed. Decision: No goal, the angle was greater than 90°.
03:23 However, this time, Immortals finally manages to score the deserved goal. Relatively unspectacularly, one of their robots drives towards the goal while the Dutch defense stands still!
RoboTeam Twente 0 : 1 Immortals
03:18 Twente still can’t seem to manage proper kick-offs. Instead of kicking the ball, the robot pushes it a lot. According to the rules, the player is not allowed to touch the ball more than once consecutively after the kick-off. As a result, there’s now a yellow card for Twente, leaving them with 5 robots, while Immortals still has 5 as well.
01:48 By now, there are already two yellow cards for Twente and one for Immortals. However, this only truly affects Twente since Immortals already has no more than 5 robots.
01:26 Finally, something interesting is happening again, as most of the past hour wasn’t very exciting: Goal for Immortals.
RoboTeam Twente 0 : 2 Immortals
01:08 Actually, the pace is picking up a bit, another valid goal by Immortals!
RoboTeam Twente 0 : 3 Immortals
-00:08 The game ends with a robot melee in Immortals’ half, but nothing comes of it, and the game ends 3:0 for Immortals.
00:00 This game certainly wasn’t pleasant to watch, and it was definitely the most challenging of the entire tournament so far. While the sidelines generally significantly enhance the entertainment value of the games, it wasn’t enough to make this match enjoyable. However, thanks to the victory, we now have the opportunity to play against Immortals tomorrow.

BuGa 2023: ER-Force vs. Immortals

And once again, a game was supposed to take place, this time ER-Force vs. Immortals, but once again the game ends 10:0, this time in our favor, as Immortals is still absent.

Adding to the travel issues via airplane, it seems there’s now a traffic jam on the highway, which means the team will arrive even later. Luckily for them, the next game at 4:00 PM is between TIGERs Mannheim and RoboTeam Twente, giving Immortals until 5:30 PM to arrive and at least partially prepare their robots.

Due to our “victory,” we currently place ourselves in the first position in the table with 6 points and a goal difference of 12, directly followed by TIGERs Mannheim with 6 points and a goal difference of 11. However, we strongly anticipate that TIGERs will change the order at 4:00 PM, as the probability of them losing the game is overwhelming.

Accordingly, it seems we’ll finish the group phase in the second position on the table, setting us up for the second semifinal game tomorrow at 12:30 PM, while TIGERs already have to play at 11:00 AM.

Let’s hope Immortals arrives on time to prepare for their 5:30 PM game and can adequately prepare for their match against RoboTeam Twente. If they manage to win that one, we’ll still have the opportunity to face them in the tournament tomorrow.