RoboCup 2014 is now over – and what a whirlwind experience it was!
The two set-up days were hectic between routers and goals still needing work to be set up, leading a referee meeting, leading team leader meetings, and challenges and drop-in games starting on the second set up day.
The RoboCup bus situation was not great. We tried to take a RoboCup bus to the venue Sunday morning, but the bus had only a couple seats when it got to our stop (the 2nd stop). So, we resorted to taking taxis to the venue each day. The buses leaving the venue were generally more reliable. But, we got stuck at the venue until 12:15a Sunday night – along with over 100 others – when the last buses at 11p filled-up and left the rest of us behind. Taxis got word about us being stranded there and eventually enough came to pick everyone up.
Katie finally sat down and tuned her parts of the code base on Monday morning, which was the first competition day. Our first game was at 12:40pm against MRL. We ended up losing 3-1 after we scored two goals on our own goal. In our game against Cerberus at 3:40pm we managed to win 2-0. In general, we were just not well tuned both in terms of localization and behavior. We took many poor approaches to the ball, and would stop following the ball at seemingly random times.
On Tuesday we played NTU RoboPAL at 12:40pm. This was essentially a must-win game if we wanted to advance, and we lost 4-1. We played Nao Devils at 3:40pm, then needing to beat a really good team by 7 to advanced… and we lost 7-0. Not a good year for Austin Villa!
At least with Austin Villa being eliminated early (this is the first time since Katie’s been on Austin Villa that the team did not reach the quarter-finals), this left time to work on compiling drop-in player competition scores and referee ratings, as well as opportunities to referee games.
Going into the semi-finals, Katie and JT were one of the highest rated Head Referee / Game Controller pairs, and hence we refereed the loud and stressful semifinal between rUNSWift and B-Human. This game probably should have been the final! rUNSWift won 5-0, making them they only team besides Austin Villa to ever beat B-Human – and the first to shut them out! JT and Katie thought Katie did a good job head refereeing the game, but apparently B-Human disagreed as they gave her a -1 rating (on a scale of -2 to 2).
With this bad rating, Katie’s head referee rating dropped too low to continue being one of the best ranked referees, and hence she did not referee any of the games on the finals day. However, this was somewhat nice since finals day ended up being much more relaxing. This was particularly good since Katie was starting to feel sick with a terrible sore throat and headache.
JT was still the highest-rated Game Controller, so he was selected to be Game Controller for the rUNSWift vs. drop-in all-stars team game. It was a stressful game due to a not-great Head Referee and Assistant Referees. There is a reason we keep Head Referee-Game Controller pairs together! Thankfully this game did not matter for much.
Katie had applied for the inaugural “The Silvia Coradeschi RoboCup Award”, which is a new award for a young female RoboCup graduate student with distinguishing research, and she found out on finals day that she would be receiving the award at the awards ceremony! It was the first award handed out at the ceremony.
After the awards ceremony, we went to the banquet where they provided appetizers, alcohol (very strong caipirinhas, champagne, wine), and dinner. It was a bit crowded and there was not enough appetizers for the ravenously-hungry participants, but otherwise nice. After the banquet we went to a SPL party at a bar and then the party moved to the beach. There were lots of people at the party from various teams including Northern Bites, HTWK, HULKs, and Dutch Nao Team. It was especially fun to hang out with all of these people we know from the competition here in a laid back setting.
On symposium day, Jake, Katie, Ryan, and Sanmit all slept until around noon, as we were all pretty sick. We eventually made it to the symposium around 4:30pm. Peter was not happy that we missed much of the symposium but Katie arrived to see the talks she wanted to see in the 5:10pm session, and it was good for all the sick team members to get some needed sleep.
After the symposium, we went to the team dinner with CMU at Basto’s Gold churrascaria, which is a Brazilian meat buffet restaurant. The restaurant had a buffet with salads, sushi, breads, and various dishes, and then employees would bring around other dishes and meat on spits. Overall, Katie was expecting the meat to be much better than it was since Peter said it was a great churrascaria and Brazilian meat is known to be great. Apparently the meals are R$33, but desserts and drinks are extra (and CMU had many of both) so we ended up paying about R$68 per person. We did not think the meal was worth this price.
After dinner we walked back to the condo to clean it up. We ran into HULKs and Northern Bites on the way, as well as a volunteer JT had met at the competition. A couple of people from Northern Bites came back with us to pick up a suitcase we had taken back from the venue for them. They were very impressed with our apartment and especially the pool and views from the top! Once they left, Katie and Ryan did dishes while Sanmit swept and Jake unclogged the sink. Meanwhile, JT started packing our room.
Overall, renting the condo through TripAdvisor worked out well. It really only comfortably sleeps 7 if people do not want to share beds, use the pullout bed, or sleep on the day bed in the living room. Only 2/3 bedrooms had air conditioning, and one of the showers became clogged during our stay and flooded the apartment. Although the condo had a doorman, communication (besides ordering a taxi) was difficult. However, the view from the condo was absolutely amazing and it was certainly nicer than the much more expensive hotel Katie stayed at the first night.