Northern Bites 1 – Nao Devils 1

Our first game was against longtime friends and rivals Nao Devils from Dortmund, Germany. We have had a lot of great battles over the years (e.g. the semifinals in 2009 that were decided on PKs) and we count them as great friends. Unfortunately for both teams the league is experiencing major wifi issues. In a way, it is worse than if there was no wifi at all, as robots are getting “packets” about a minute or so after they were sent. So all of the information they get is old and therefore wrong. We actually have strategies in place for no wifi, but not so much for this situation.

We had a great start, scoring a goal after a nice long kick early in the first half. At this point things sort of fell apart for both teams as neither realized the goal had occurred and therefore spent the rest of the half fairly confused. The story was similar in the second half. We completely dominated play, but several of our robots were “flipped” and didn’t know which side they were on (the field is symmetric). Normally we deal with this using wifi (e.g. the goalie tells the other players the ball is near it) but with the wifi situation that wasn’t possible. So we ended up scoring an own goal. The Nao Devils felt terrible about this and all actually apologized for tie-ing us.

Our next game is in just over an hour and a half and we are busily scrambling to come up with a strategy to deal with the wifi situation. Sadly (or not), this is the essence of RoboCup – you spend a year getting ready for something and you encounter something completely different.