Well, this is not exactly how I'd expected to start kickoff day, but I suppose it makes up for the lack of a White Christmas. 

That's right, Merry FIRSTmas everyone, it's Kickoff Day once again and we are ready.

Today we were "blessed" (read: cursed) with 7 inches of snow, canceling all kickoff events across the state. We were all forced to watch the reveal video from our homes at 10:30AM this morning. The stream wrapped up by 11:30 and let me tell you, I've never seen a game quite like this! Check out the game animation below! Or, if you prefer, see the game information page here.

For the first time EVER, there are human players on the field during the match. Yes you heard me. PEOPLE! ON! THE! FIELD!!!!!! The field is every bit as intricate and beautiful as Stronghold last year and I couldn't be more excited. Now with one season under my belt and a game where strategy and knowing your competition is key, I'm ready to go!

Right after the stream ended, our entire team jumped on a conference call to discuss strategy for the robot and our build priorities. Given there was no virtual whiteboard for us to use, sometimes this got difficult, but after the call concluded I'm quite proud of the direction we're going. This year, I'm heading up our strategy and scouting development team, so we will be working on an app to record scouting information during matches so that we can take stock of what our competition is capable of. This information is crucial, especially this year, as once we reach eliminations we need to know what robots are too similar to us and which mesh well and round out our alliance. We're also keeping a close eye on resources like updates to the rules and the Robot In 3 Days builds going on, which inevitably shape many teams robots and strategies.

A lot of our fellow mentors also met up and cleaned up our build space after the snow melted today, and we purged a lot of junk that was still sitting around. Next team meeting is Monday, weather permitting. It's going to be a good build season!

Once again, ADI has made available several contributions to the Kit of Parts and options on AndyMark for robot guidance and debugging. You can check out all of our offerings and find more information for each on analog.com/first, but here's a sneak peek of some of them:

FRC GYRO BOARD

This is the board that was in the kit last year minus the accelerometer. These are available on FIRST Choice now and will be on AndyMark soon. Code is also available for teams in the official FIRST libraries to get started quickly. This will give robots an ability to maintain heading throughout the match.

iSENSOR BOARD

Again, same sensor as last year, and are available only through FIRST Choice. These will give you more accuracy than the raw gyroscope, so they are a great way to give your robot guidance system a leg-up during autonomous operation. Code for these is available on github here.

Last year we introduced you to many of our ADI sponsored teams during each week of build season. This year, we'll follow my team, 2655 Flying Platypi, through the season with weekly build season updates. I'll show you what build season is like through the eyes of the students and the mentors. Stay tuned for competition season updates from many of our ADI sponsored teams as they compete and take flight!

Until next Saturday, happy building!

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This blog post is part of a series about the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition season, FIRST Steamworks. We'll have weekly updates during build season from ADI FRC Team 2665 Flying Platypi, and updates from many of our ADI teams performances during the competition season. Stay tuned until the end for coverage of BOTH Championships in Houston, TX and St. Louis, MO in April!

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