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Retro agenda 2018-04-27

On-the day retro (

Let's review how to fix the below things:

Carpet tile alignment

  • Rolls might work?
    • Action Point We need to buy these.
    • Small creases in rolls are worse than the ridges from carpet tiles.
    • Carpet tiles take up loads of space.
    • They arrived on time.
    • Possible Action Point cool idea - make our own carpets, printed :D
  • Place boards underneath tiles
  • Double sided tape?
  • Tiles actually aren't square (need to be placed in alignment of pile)

Seat Slats

  • Remember to do them next time
  • Looks bad
  • Risk of people climbing them
  • Lots of hand-squishy mechanisms behind it.
  • shouldn't have been left our after the event
    • Action Point ask SUSU to fix it
    • Action Point tiles took a long time to arrive make this quicker?

Arena Network Cables

  • make a plan, forgot to install several cables around the arena
    • action point make a plan for cables and layout
  • We found the reel in Mountbatten


  • Action Point We need more fluorescent tape. Keep a larger backlog
    • Action Point have at least 4 of each fluorescent tape

Kit storage

  • No plan of getting in / moving kit around / what to do with empty things, etc..
  • Wood Cages would be useful to move things.
  • Action Point Confirm with Mike Bartlett (Zepler institute guy) about scheduled maintenance
  • Ask them to put physical signs out!
  • Actually make sure we've got Lvl4 mountbatten booked for the whole time

Mountbatten Lift Broke

  • There is a second lift!
  • Ask Security for access

Team pits / fire exits

  • Action Point Spend a bit more time designing the Floorplan such that it isn't changed during the day.
  • Don't block fire exits.
  • There's a regulation for people per exits, which we were probably far from.

Measuring from sides is inaccurate

  • Measure from absolutes
  • Use chalk line like method for straight lines

Trolley Return

  • Remember to do this!
  • This turned out okay, but we should make sure we do it.

PXE boot

  • Action Point We should network-boot the pis. (possible with pi3s without SD)
  • Makes testing kits easier, boot from wherever you need to

Table for cutting wood

  • Action Point Get a 'workmate' bench
  • We got in trouble.
  • shouldn't be cutting wood on wood tables (so we don't damage tables, and wood doesn't slip)

Wood fell down staircase and got smashed

  • Action Point Brief Volunteers on health and safety.

Wood on Trolleys

  • Trolleys used not adequate to move wood.
  • Action Point Get the red trolley for the weekend from the engineering faculty

Mountbatten closure

  • Discussed earlier ^^

Pizza on signage

  • Be more careful
  • Better organisation
  • Pizza was good though, but a waste of paper

Shepherds struggled to find teams

  • action point Give Shepherds a Floorplan.

Columns falling over

  • Better measurements would mean velcro made more contact with carpet than tape
  • Construct the pedestals better
  • Measure from the pedestals
  • Action Point Draw an actual square from the centre of the arena to get exact measurements (absolute measurement needed)

Volunteer Scheduling

  • Better specification of volunteers
  • after finals plan
  • Scheduling: Generate ical files.
  • People should stick in their roles for longer, staggered switch-over

Hot mornings

  • Fans worked well
  • Action Point Turns fans on earlier
  • Open door on balcony sooner to let air escape
  • More fans

Communicated well

  • Did ok without radios
  • We should still get radios. (See below)

Livestream was cool!

  • Action Point Lie about the start time so SUSU does it earlier
  • Integration with their kit wasn't tested
  • Should be running for the whole event in some form.

Cable through door

  • Network cable to bar 2 screen was running through door, and got worn down
  • Needs replacing now.
  • Kajusz ran it through the door :(
  • Wireless??
  • Flat network cables?
    • (they're terrible)

Team given red taped arduino

  • Quality control
  • Seemed to work fine for a while, was the tape right?
  • They should have been purple taped or something.

Timelapse obstructed

- Action Point Put it on the balcony next time


  • For station or for persons
  • We could try for one radio per person. (but it's hard)

Network went down

  • Run DHCP/DNS/etc ourselves, as we've done before.
  • We should bring a pre-configured router
  • There was a miscommunication on how the router was set up.

Nobody looked into socket issue in robotd

  • No one knew the correct place to log these issues
  • Action Point Review issue tracking software

Wristbands tightening throughout the day

  • Action Point Use crimped ones
  • Remind teams the wristband is required for entry (i.e. "If you cut them off, bring them anyway")
  • Ordered far too few (need 200+ish)

Sharp cable ties

  • Point them downwards
  • Cut closer to the edge
    • Snips
  • Action Point Better instructions on this
  • HS inspect stuff after built
  • (Arena-building plan on docs?)

No Linesman score entry training

  • Train linesmen on how to enter the score.
  • May be solved by staggered role switching (keep linesman A on for changeover of Linesman B)

Score Entry role unknown to most

  • People didn't know what to do
  • Peter was doing score entry.
  • There should be a laptop running the score entry software for entering scores.

Overhead view

  • Overhead view looked great
  • Means those on balcony could see better
  • Need to add to kit/tech plan
  • Non fisheye camera would be better
    • Only half was, not high enough quality, lots of artifacts
  • Action Point Find some way of Recording it for posterity.

Teams seemed happy

  • Besides some kit issues, teams looked to have fun
  • Action Point Create a questionnaire and get some feedback from them.

Game balance

  • Missing teams and unbalanced games.
  • Less incentive to go through the middle.
  • Action Point Simulate the game in the simulator (Possible hack day?)

Bar 2 / Cube flow

  • Cube wasn't crowded
  • No rush moving between pits and arena
  • People were running, which is bad.
  • Action Point Mention they don't run in the safety brief.
  • Music flow worked well.

Issue handling

  • Action Point Favour fast workarounds over teams missing matches.
  • Get a possible fix for an issue rather than trying to find the correct solution

Zone USB sticks

  • Zone USB sticks should be mandatory in arena matches
  • Investigate issues correctly, and announce to put teams minds at ease
  • Possible timing issue with the pis.

Hoover issue

  • Don't dismantle 4 ways...
  • Don't break hoovers
  • Store things better overnight.

Rematch necessity

  • Better efficiency
  • Identify issues with linesman earlier. Scheduling person should care more about the matches themselves.

Handling of a rematch

  • Don't go into a state of panic
  • Calm teams as required
  • Judges decision should be sought sooner.
  • Action point Judge should not be too busy to make decisions on this.
  • Action Point Add to comp controller so it appears correctly, as it look odd in the match list.

Volunteer parking

  • Team parking was documented, volunteer was not.
  • Action Point send an email about parking.
  • Friday parking is hard to find

Volunteer Accommodation

  • Action Point: If we have budget, get someone to sort out accommodation.
  • Inform people about lack of accommodation.

Match points vs league points

  • Action Point: Teams should be given a briefing, ideally separate from the intro briefing.
  • Action Point Scoring should be in the rules.

Packdown plan

  • Action Point We need to plan this.

Road closure

  • Should have known and warned teams.
  • We were aware but we didn't inform teams
  • We didn't check the emails weren't sent.
  • We should delegate emails.


  • Test using actual kits
  • Think more about possible lighting issues
  • Additional scaff lights as part of standard setup.
  • Test cameras before competition on realistic setups. (thresholding)
  • Unreliable once we have changed, change them sooner

Practice carpet

  • Give teams a carpeted test area.
  • Make sure we have spare carpet to make the test area
  • Practice arena (chairs with markers on them).

Pi system clock

  • Teams claimed issues with times on pis (match timeout)
  • Research into
  • Log times in logs?
  • Network Pis, serve NTP (wont work)?
    • NTP won't work because it's not designed for it
  • Idea: Use a special radio to signal starts and ends.
    • Only need 4, use them as Zone sticks

We forgot to measure the RF noise in the Arena

  • This is bad.

Account for collisions

  • Game mode was designed for all teams to get to other side of arena as quickly as possible
  • 4 way collisions very likely
  • Already discussed

Cloth wrapping of scaff looked bad

  • Action Point Better Training
  • Cloth wrapping was done incorrectly, leaving large lumps and exposed scaff
  • Installed by crew.
  • Meant to be looped around, rather than cable tied around.

Getting the scaff baseplate orientations correct (parallel to arena sides)

  • Causes problems later if we don't
  • Action Point can be solved by training, and documenting it beforehand (so the trainer knows)

Kit owner

  • Didn't keep separate kit which was personal, SB, Personal, and other kit SUSU.
  • Action Point Label personal items!
  • Action Point Sensible pack-up plan.
  • Lead to confusion when packing down

Better scaff tools

  • Only had 1 Socket wrench, which went missing during takedown
    • was Kajusz's tool Action Point Buy socket wrench
  • Need more scaff tools to be more efficient
    • Scaff team should be four people
    • More scaff gloves just for moving wood

No music to motivate during takedown

  • Audio kit was packed away early
  • Keep an audio jack around so we're not working in silence
  • Mysterious Sound-web issue should have worked

Smallpeice 2017 Retro (Compare them)

(Grabbed from )



  • WE DID THIS, it worked! Two minute matches resulted in better, snappier games
  • Particularly when teams so easily get stuck against the walls of the arena
  • Allows us run more matches
  • Two robot format kept the games easier to organise and to commentate on by building a narrative
  • Not clear that this would always be the best for other games


  • Balance problems
  • Movement point
  • 2 points for first crossing
  • ACTION POINT Can be fixed by running it in the simulator (as mentioned above)
  • No plan for the wall in the centre of the arena until during the week

Arena and presentation


  • WE DID THIS, it worked! Confetti didn’t get good arena coverage
  • This made the clean-up considerably easier
  • We didn’t use to prohibited floor tape
    • We didn't do this :( Need training
  • Get-out timings
  • Timelapse/photos was good
  • WE DID THIS, it worked! Gopro on truss was good for arena views


    • WE DID THIS, it worked! Confetti didn’t get good arena coverage
  • Solution: Get more confetti cannons
  • Confetti is still a ballache to clear up.
  • We didn't do this :( Carpet laying issues
  • We didn't do this :( Excess, unnecessary enormous fibreboard was brought to the Cube, then not given to the porters, even though it was the most difficult to transport to Mountbatten.
  • We didn't do this :) Prize giving started without the prizes and the certificates
  • Because the certificates weren’t ready
  • Because those preparing them were heavily involved in running the finals
  • Because of lack of planning/communication around what the post-finals looks like
  • Because you started without the certificates => Don’t start the presentation until the certificates are ready.
  • Have correct lens on camera and correct camera mode
  • No judge's display
    • we sort of fixed this
  • WE FIXED THIS, it worked! Lack of power on drills
  • Battery problems? For next year
  • WE DID THIS, it worked! Rig cannons to arena corners
  • Decide some of the
  • We sort of did this :| Rehearse the proceedings more thoroughly
  • Final match specifically
  • We didn't do this :( Get a printer
  • Which can print the certificates
  • And find a way to fund it (as the Uni will not)
  • (very minor) We played the intro music when there were only 2 teams in the arena at some point.

For next year

  • WE FIXED THIS, it worked! More drills, better drills (contention and power problems)
  • We still could do with more.

Kit Transport


  • WE DIDN'T DO THIS MUCH BETTER The transport team weren’t able to transport all the wood in the manner we wanted
  • We’re not sure that the timings of when they were around were great, though it did force us to prioritise things on the Friday.

Tear Down


  • WE FIXED THIS BY BORROWING BETTER DRILLS (AND LOSING PARTS OF THEM) Drill seemed to run out of power very quickly
  • Have more screwdrivers.
  • Maybe get a new one.
  • Maybe get a mains power one.

(good) lack of bee swarms Sarcasm

  • no sawms of bees
  • SUSU should not have a swarm of bees nearby
  • Actions point SUSU to not buy bee hives
    • So they are doing so
    • Is this not already happening?
      • it is hence the problem
        • ...?
          • increased bee chance next year
          • ¯_(ツ)_/¯
            • "This is good" - AOFB
              • how far can we indent? - more

AOFB disagrees with this identation, Thanks