BuGa 2023: Immortals vs. TIGERs Mannheim

Actually, the second game of the day between Immortals and TIGERs Mannheim is scheduled for 11:30 AM. However, unfortunately, Immortals are not even in Germany yet due to a delayed flight, and as a result, they automatically forfeit their match with a score of 10:0.

Very unfortunate, as Immortals are an extremely strong team, formerly Iranian and now German, which showcased a very impressive performance at RoboCup. Together with TIGERs Mannheim and us, they form a quite evenly matched group at this tournament, and predicting the outcome of the games between these teams is not trivial.

Let’s hope that Immortals can make it to their next game and can build on their successes from RoboCup!

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!

Test Tournament in Mannheim

And once again, our team is continuing at high speed this year! Hardly have our guests from Uruguay returned to their home country, and we’re already moving forward in with a test tournament hosted by the world champion TIGERs Mannheim and their Dual University Baden-Württemberg as part of the Bundesgartenshow 2023 in Mannheim.

And so it’s already 07:54 AM for us at Erlangen Central Station, as we’re off to Baden-Württemberg, this time only using regional trains and the Germany Ticket for cost reasons. Surprisingly, there are no train delays, and by 1:00 PM, we can enter the sacred halls of the BuGa.

As with all our other trips, the first order of business in Mannheim is: Arrive, unpack, and start. It doesn’t take half an hour before the entire space provided to us is occupied with various equipment, chargers, and soldering irons.

Soon, the field for testing should be available, allowing us to make our robots operational. But first, it’s about being patient and settling in: Welcome to BuGa 2023 Mannheim!

PS: A fun fact on the side: We’re accommodated on the BuGa premises in the hall for “Beneficial Organisms and Pests.” No, we’re not pests; instead, they’re referring to the wall’s artwork. There simply wasn’t space for us in other halls.

RoboCup: Final Report

Now that the RoboCup is already a few days behind us, we’d like to take the opportunity to review the tournament.

Overall, our team was very well prepared, having all the electronic and mechanical components with us, allowing us to respond adequately to every situation with our equipment.

While it’s unfortunate that we ultimately lost due to our radio communication, everyone is already looking forward: Our sponsors Gerhard Schubert and HBC-radiomatic are already offering to address the existing issues with the radio system, so we can soon showcase our full potential.

We’re also looking ahead: Not only are we preparing for the arrival of a team from Uruguay at FAU at the end of July for a joint workshop, but we’re also planning improvements. While nothing works without radio communication, our motor boards have also posed problems. A robust solution needs to be in place by Christmas.

There was a small moment of joy at the end of the tournament: We quickly had the opportunity to take a photo with our friends from TIGERs Mannheim to compensate for the missing match against them.

In the end, we’re happy that the vacation, apart from the unfortunate theft of personal belongings, went very well, and everyone enjoyed it. The wine museum in Bordeaux, the beach holiday on the Atlantic Ocean, or the French National Day in Paris: Many beautiful moments will remain in our team’s memory, making our time together truly unforgettable.

So, there’s only one thing left to say: See you all in Eindhoven 2024!

RoboCup: TIGERs Mannheim vs. ZJUNlict

And thus, the grand finale is upon us: TIGERs Mannheim and ZJUNlict face each other in the final match!

You can find the link to the live ticker as always on Twente’s YouTube platform or at this link.

First Half

05:00 And thus, the game starts almost punctually. TIGERs is playing in yellow this time, ZJUNlict in blue.
04:17 First observation: The game between these two teams yesterday was better. However, there’s live commentary in French for the spectators on-site this time, which is a big gain and a result of the Open OC/TC Meetings held yesterday. On that day, the commentary and the tournament in Crailsheim were explicitly praised as a prime example of spectator-friendly tournaments.
03:15 Very good shot opportunity for ZJUNlict! The keeper made the save, though. Nevertheless, ZJUNlict managed to break through the defense, which is worrying.
02:10 The game doesn’t look as nice as yesterday: The ball is frequently out of bounds, causing unnecessary interruptions.
01:12 Two consecutive attacks on ZJUNlict’s goal, but both times it’s defused or the ball rolls past the goal.
00:51 Another hot shot on ZJUNlict’s goal. If this continues, TIGERs will eventually score a goal.
00:51 ZJUNlict seems to have realized this, hence they called a timeout.
00:51 During the timeout, both TIGERs and ZJUNlict form shapes: TIGERs’ bots in the shape of a “T,” ZJUNlict’s bots in the shape of a “Z.”
00:32 Indeed, TIGERs seems to have a problem with one of their robots, so they have to take one off the field.
00:27 And the ball goes out of bounds again, free-kick for ZJUNlict.
-00:04 With one final attack on ZJUNlict’s goal, the first half comes to an end. Overall, the game is quite balanced. TIGERs is more dominant, but it’s possible that both teams will score a goal.

Second Half

05:00 And thus, the second half begins. Neither team color nor sides are swapped. ZJUNlict has the kickoff.
04:56 The game continues with the fast pace it ended: TIGERs with a quick shot, unfortunately out of bounds.
04:32 After a few ball exchanges, the ball unintentionally rolls towards ZJUNlict’s goal, but one of their defenders can clear it towards the sidelines. Overall, TIGERs is playing significantly worse than yesterday. Additionally, ZJUNlict is substituting one of their players.
03:53 Another very intense attack by TIGERs Mannheim on ZJUNlict’s goal. Still the stronger team.
03:16 OK, that was close: Intense battle in TIGERs’ half, the goalkeeper seems unable to shoot, nerves are frayed. The situation is cleared towards the corner, but that could have been the deciding goal! The hottest situation so far!
03:16 Another robot change for ZJUNlict.
03:16 Apparently, there’s a discussion about whether the yellow card that ZJUNlict should receive is legitimate. The tension is high; after all, two evenly matched opponents are playing for the title.
02:43 Another very intense situation in front of Mannheim’s goal. A long battle involving dozens of robots, but in the end, TIGERs manages to clear the ball.
02:23 Almost a goal against TIGERs! We’re getting really anxious here that our favorite might lose!
02:23 More discussions in front of the screens, no idea what it could be about this time.
02:07 Another ball goes out of bounds; being a commentator during such games is truly risky business.
01:28 TIGERs is wasting far too many opportunities. They’re too slow in turning in the opponent’s half, allowing the opponent to catch up.
00:00 The second half ends with very nerve-wracking battles across the field, and the game goes into overtime for the first and only time in this tournament!

Overtime: First Half

02:30 Thus begins the first half of the second overtime.
01:50 The ball is in both halves at times, and it’s hotly contested.
01:00 The game offers no respite: One moment follows the next, a goal could happen anytime.
01:00 Timeout for ZJUNlict.
00:50 GOAL for TIGERs, everyone’s celebrating, but: No goal, because it was too high.
00:19 Directly the next thrilling moment: Battle in front of TIGERs’ goal, the ball remains there

for a long time, but the TIGERs’ keeper manages a clearance.

00:00 And thus, the next nerve-wracking half ends. It’s a pity the goal didn’t count; I screamed “yes” at the top of my lungs for no reason. Of course, we’re completely neutral here.

Overtime: Second Half

02:30 Thus begins the second half of the overtime. If this one ends without goals as well, it will go into a penalty shootout, which virtually no team has properly implemented.
02:10 Again, TIGERs in front of ZJUNlict’s goal, but they’re just too slow when it really counts, and so, unfortunately, there’s no goal again.
01:54 A robot from TIGERs is being substituted.
00:52 The ball is currently bouncing around a bit; one has to be careful as a commentator during such games.
00:25 Only 25 seconds left; will there be another goal?
00:09 Again, an attack on ZJUNlict’s goal, but unfortunately, again wide. Probably the last attack.
00:00 And thus, the second half of the overtime ends as well. Penalty shootout time!

Penalty Shootout

Since we’ve never had to tick a penalty shootout, there’s no format for it yet. However, I can say this much: No team has really implemented the Penalty Shootout, at least not ours, so one can assume that both TIGERs and ZJUNlict won’t shine too much. It just doesn’t happen frequently enough to invest a lot of time into it.
TIGERs TIGERs approaches the ball slowly and deliberately, but they actually score a goal!
TIGERs Mannheim 1 : 0 ZJUNlict
ZJUNlict ZJUNlict approaches slowly, but messes up the shot, their robot just stops. No goal.
TIGERs Another goal for TIGERs, also not very spectacular.
TIGERs Mannheim 2 : 0 ZJUNlict
ZJUNlict Again messed up by ZJUNlict, which puts TIGERs two ahead.
TIGERs Another goal by TIGERs, making it 3-0. TIGERs has just implemented the basic shootout strategy, so they don’t commit any fouls, but that’s about it. However, it seems to be enough. If ZJUNlict doesn’t score now, TIGERs has won and becomes world champion for the third time!
TIGERs Mannheim 3 : 0 ZJUNlict
ZJUNlict And ZJUNlict messes up again. It’s official now: TIGERs is the world champion for the third time in a row!!! Congratulations to the entire TIGERs team for this outstanding performance and the excellent games in the past days! It’s safe to say that this year, no team deserves to be world champion more than TIGERs Mannheim. And it’s officially the Hattrick!