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  • Writer's pictureKevin

Final Thoughts of 2022

Welp, that about wraps things up. The crops are fed, the cows are harvested, and the wolves have been milked. I wonder what wolf milk tastes like. I'll bet it's expensive, because of how much you'd have to pay someone to milk a wolf for you.


On that note, final thoughts from the team below. Thanks Pi Wars!


Kilian:

I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the pocket universe of Pi Wars and its altered laws such that nothing drives in straight lines and refuses as a matter of principle to do the same thing twice. This is my first year doing Pi Wars so I have never done the live event in Cambridge but I’m told it’s even better than the current format, so I am very exited to do it again next year when that aspect is supposedly back on.


It's been great having the meetups so locally because it makes it very convenient for me and my parents as I can just skate down and get to robot-ing as quickly as possible.


Pi Wars shares many common traits with things that are cool, in fact they overlap so thoroughly that I might even say they are synonymous with one another. Rather than make and exhaustive list I have decided to create a Venn diagram to illustrate this point.



Eoin:

This competition was quite different to last year. Despite still being set online, the focus was entirely different. The challenges all seemed much harder on our robot, and with the focus being placed on consistency, it seemed almost impossible to automate the challenges.


Another tiny minor detail that prevented us from performing just as well as last year is the fact everyone had the small matter of GCSEs to worry about.


These factors made it more suitable for us to focus on controller than automated challenges. We were focused on specific elegant techniques for each challenge. We found that we were able to e̶x̶p̶l̶o̶i̶t̶ take advantage of the new trailers, as they could be of any length, width, and height.


This proved highly useful, and we had different motorised trailers for each challenge. All in all, it was interesting to see how the rules were adapted this year in order to place emphasis on consistency (just cuz we scored too many points last year), and it was a very enjoyable competition.




Cormac:

This year was a very busy one for STEV3 with school exam years and other happenings in general. As well as exams happening I went to France during the final few weeks. How the team coped without me I will never know. It must not have been an easy feat.


We didn’t have time to optimise as much as we did last time due to our limited meet ups and new rules. Last year we could film something 100 times and only need to get it right once. This year doing everything three times made consistency very important. We understand why but it was still annoying.


We did remote control instead of autonomous to help with our time constraints, sacrificing the potential points we could have gained for simply having a completed challenge (that's a good strategy).


I learned so much doing these challenges about how robots work and more about coding. It was a fun experience and I made some new friends. At the end of the day I enjoyed doing these challenges and I’m sure the others did too. I can’t wait for the next Pi Wars. I heard it might be a live event.



Colm:

After sitting in the background running chores and taxi service for these pesky kids for the past few years we finally became a team of kids AND adults and I had my chance to shine! They let me touch the robot and look at the code and even explained how some of how it worked to me. I got a sore head the first few times this happened but gradually that started to fade and I even started to understand some things like gears and trigonometry - trigonometry I now know is some sort of magic maths about angles summoned with the magic Chinese words "soh cah toa" - how cool is that!


Turns out there's a huge amount of work that goes in to making a half decent effort at competing in Pi Wars. First you have to come up with loads of cool ideas about how it's all going to work but then you need to try and actually get that stuff to work - it's really good not to get too hooked up on a particular idea 'cause a lot of them turn out to be crazy difficult to make real and some of them were really just poo poo in the first place. But there's gold hidden in that poo poo - the more ideas there are the more of those turn out to be useful.


I have to admit there's something very satisfying about seeing an idea made real - even if they weren't ALL mine.


OK, I'll begrudgingly admit that working with Eoin, Cormac, Charlie, Kevin & Kilian was a lot of fun. Although I'm not sure they're as smart as I thought they were after finding out I needed to explain some of my dad jokes!


A huge thank you to the organisers for this awesome competition and best of luck to all the teams - if you've enjoyed the ride half as much as we have, I know it's been time well spent. Looking forward to seeing the completed videos on 10th July!



Charlie:

It was neat.

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