The Mock Game is a pre-season event that helps new members understand the workings of build season. During the Mock Game, the Cougars Gone Wired team pretends like the real game has begun. It lasts three days, in which all normal build season hours are put into place. To begin, the mentors pick a game from a previous year and present it to the team.
Over the course of the three days, the team creates a strategy and final robot design for the game. First, each business sub-team comes up with a play strategy for the game. After much discussion, they present to the rest of the team. Once every presentation has been seen, everybody chooses a play style that one team created, or everybody comes up with a new strategy that combines the best of what was presented. Then each technical sub-team brainstorms a robot design to best fit the chosen play style. This is also presented. After this, the Mock Game ends, but new team members get to experience the process, and old members get a refresher.
The beginning of the season! Just like all other FRC teams, 2996 kicks off the new year with the kickoff video, shown in the Coronado auditorium. We invite parents, mentors, and sponsors, and we supply food and conversation to everyone in attendance.
Directly after the kickoff video has been shown, the whole team takes up computers in our Head Coach's room, and we all read the rulebook thoroughly. The team's philosophy concerning the initial design phase is to create a strategy first, then build a robot to play that strategy. So, team first breaks into Business sub-teams to brainstorm our strategy, then each strategy is presented to the team. After much discussion, the strategy is finalized, then technical sub-teams come together to design the robot peices we'll need. The teams make use of design matrices to compare different ideas, then decide on the best course of action. Once the robot parts are fully designed, actual building begins.
We build a total of three robots every year. The first robot, mostly used as a prototype, is made of wood, nicknamed Woody, and assembled using the prototype parts each sub-team creates. The prototype stage lasts the longest as we have to deliberate on changes that need to be made and continue designing and re-designing until the prototype can consistently perform the tasks we set. After the design is finalized, we construct the competition bot, colored red and yellow, and practice bot. Both of these bots are built with metal pieces created by Vertec, one of our largest sponsors. After these two bots are constructed, we practice with them as much as possible with whatever small amount of time is left in build season. At the end of build season, we hold our parent-sponsor dinner and seal the competition bot in bag, not to be touched until competitions begin, which is why we have the extra practice bot that can be used between competitions.