Fair enough, I guess, if you read this far 🙂
Well, we achieved what we wanted: we didn’t come last. In fact, we did a darn sight better than we would have, and would have done even better if we hadn’t bombed out spectacularly on the maze!
So let’s start with a gallery:
Yes, I know there were more challenges than that. No, I don’t have photos of all of them. 😟 I was so caught up in the excitement of it all (particularly yelling at the robot for the autonomous challenges) that I often forgot to take photos. So on to the verbal descriptions.
We started with the maze, which I was quite happy about, because this was the challenge that I was most confident about. But as indicated above, things didn’t work out as planned. In fact our robot wouldn’t even start because we couldn’t get the controller to pair with it. Why? Well, right next to that challenge were a bunch of robot soccer robots, all controlled by Rock Candy controllers, and just across the way was micro pi noon (more Rock Candy controllers). Well, our controller was pairing with those robots, or those controllers were pairing with our robot, or something, but we couldn’t even get it started 😭 We tried and tried, but eventually ran out of time and didn’t get a single run. So no points there.
Next up was duck shoot. We were worried about that, because the targets looked considerably heavier than what we’d been practising against. Still, Angus gave it his best shot, and managed to knock some targets over (and hit a few more that didn’t topple). And he managed this despite forgetting a critical piece of Lego which meant that his laser range finder was askew!
This was shortly followed by our first go at Pi Noon, and yay! Angus triumphed.
From here we went off for the artistic merit, HAL 9000 award and technical merit judging. We were near the front of a very long queue, and I really don’t envy the job of those judges – technical merit took three and a half hours to judge everyone!
The obstacle course was similar to last year’s course, but the main new bit was a section where you had to move blocks around to create a bridge. When Angus first saw this, he was worried, because our tracks were more likely to climb up the sides of the blocks than push them. But he very cleverly designed a pusher, that connected in the same place as our Pi Noon attachment, that stuck out just in front of the tracks for pushing – and it worked a treat. He got a nice clean run, although did get stuck on the turntable for a couple of turns, slowing down his time. (The photo above shows Erin driving the course: she tried it out after the event was finished.)
Next was straight line speed test. Having had the controller issue earlier on the maze, I took my laptop with me, but also paired the controller before we left the pit room. The controller worked for us this time, but for some reason the driver wheels weren’t turning freely and so the motors stalled at low speed 😦 So we aborted our first run, I boosted the minimum speed by 10%, and then we got two clean runs. YAY! Not fast, but clean, so good points there.
Another round of Pi Noon arrived, and we thought we might make it through by default, because our competitor wasn’t there. But eventually she came running to say that they were stuck at the previous event and could we wait? We could, but were worried that our batteries might go flat in the process. As it turned out, they didn’t, and again Angus triumphed with his driving. This put us through to the quarter finals 😲.
Before we got there though we had to golf to complete, which Angus managed with one clear round, and two with penalties. Again, great driving!
Angus was worried that we’d be up against Brian Corteil in the Pi Noon quarter finals, but was nearly as worried when he realised it would be the Pi Top team. Then was amused to discover that their driver was another Angus. Sadly here we didn’t do so well, but were happy to lose to such worthy opponents.
So just one more challenge to go: Over the Rainbow. This was the one I really didn’t expect to do well on. But we thought we’d give it a go anyway. It started well, finding the first colour (red) fine. But next up was blue… and blue had been problematic at home. Sadly it was there too – until the judge suggested turning off the lighting. So we tried a third run with no lights. And it found both the red and the blue… but missed the next colour, finding the final one instead. Still, some points were won, when I wasn’t sure that we’d get any, so I was happy with this.
So all that was left were the Pi Noon semis and finals (as spectators) and prize giving. In the prize session, they went through every event, at each of the three levels, giving first second and third place. And we didn’t get a mention anywhere, except for a special mention of the Lego-based firing mechanism in the technical merit section. So when they finally got to the rankings, starting from last place, we held our breath while the first (i.e. last place) intermediate team was read out. And breathed a huge sigh of relief when it wasn’t us. And then the next one wasn’t us either. We beamed at each other. And our eyes got wider and wider as the places got smaller and smaller and our name didn’t get mentioned. “Did they judge us in the wrong category??” I started thinking. And then, at number 5, Glitterator II!
I really didn’t expect to do so well.
So as you can guess, we’re very happy.