First day of RoboCup

Today was our first day officially in the venue. After getting to bed at around 2:30, we got up at 6:30 for breakfast through the hotel at a local restaurant (owned by the same people?) at 7. Afterwards, we loaded up the 7 robot bags into two taxis and headed to the facility.

Interesting note: it would have cost us €21 ($30) for the six of us to take the bus one-way – but only cost us €29 for the two taxis… They are such a socially-focused society that you think that they would want to encourage bus usage. Instead we are getting up early tomorrow to seek out a bike rental place. Word is they cost €3-6/day/person. So they would be cheaper than both the bus and taxi – and beats walking 2.25 miles each way, as we have done the past two nights.

We got to the facility right before 8 – along with over half of our league and very few of any other leagues. While there is a lot of waiting around done by our league’s participants in the beginning, we have such a social league that everyone is excited to get together and see each other ASAP.

In past RoboCups, your name badge is your entrance into the team area. However, these are easily shareable to get non-participants into the team area. In order to get around this, this year they issued cloth bracelets, which they clamped permanently in place with a metal band. We have to leave these on the entire competition!

After a day of debugging and set-up, we set-up a scrimmage tonight vs. Nao Devils – a friendly and typically good German team. This annual scrimmage matchup has become somewhat of a tradition. Well, we “won” the first part of the game 0-0 when they called it off to fix some issues. When we reconvened a bit later, we played most of a half up until they scored and then we called the game to start tackling our issues. This scrimmage (our first since we won RoboCup last year) was great for trying to get our code “game ready” and to discover the bugs we need to work out in the next two days before the real competition starts.

We have continued building our friendship with Duncan of the Dutch Nao Team. He is the local chair for our league; the guy we worked with all yesterday and this morning to get the fields and tables ready. We had lunch with him in the facility – I had a good, large and well-priced pizza as well as a kroket – a Dutch food of meat “pudding” deep fried. Although gross sounding, it was quite delicious, especially with their favorite condiment: mayo! We also ordered dinner with the Dutch team (who we share a table with). Katie and I each had a doner kebob.

Off to bed. Another short night of rest.

Broodje Smits, the local breakfast place that we ate breakfast at while staying at Budgethotel de Zwaan.  Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs or a ham and cheese omelet, along with a choice of yogurt, coffee, tea, orange juice, and toast.
Austin Villa moving the robots into the venue
JT’s Name Badge and Wristband
View of the fields
Katie leading her first team leaders’ meeting

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