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Build Philosophy

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:20 am
by DeVos
The recent intel about SDC caping Malice mk. IV and CIA caping a forward trike (thanks Jerry) got me thinking about build strategies.

An org that starts a new build cycle generally seems to need a couple of tries to fully realize a design (at least from what I've seen). The question I have is what other people think about where to draw the line between refining a design and trying something new.

SDC's buggies for the past couple of years (Malice, Avarice, Bane, [Ambition, Brutality, Corruption...or whatever the new one will be]) all seem to be carbon copies of each other. On the other hand, CIA had a string of forward trikes, tried the reverse trike for a couple buggies, and now seems to be switching back. I can certainly understand repeating a really good design to try to fix minor flaws and to insure against a catastrophic crash with the original. The problem is that, unless an org thinks the current design is as good as a buggy design can be, a fleet of copies just makes sure your D-team has as fast a buggy as your A-team.

My question is how many copies do you need to make? (SDC may be doing some experimenting that isn't visible from the outside so this isn't specifically addressed at them.) On the flip side, does it make sense to try radically different designs instead of incremental improvements?

Personally, I like to see an experimental build every couple of years to provide a little diversity and get teams to try something new. Anyone want to try rear wheel steering? Suspension? Bicycle size wheels?

Re: Build Philosophy

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:00 am
by Ben
I've always been of the opinion that teams should try something just off the wall bizarrely awesome every 3 or 4 builds. e.g. two or 3 focused refined builds then one with something just completely weird that might have potential for a faster roll, but that no one's every tried before or in a long long time.

I've had tons of off the wall ideas while in Buggy and some of them failed flat on their face, but others really made things awesome and much much easier or better overall.

Right now, SDC and Fringe seem to be sticking to their guns and making the same thing with minor changes/refinements (Fringe more than SDC from what little I hear). The question for them might be why would they change? I'd say it'd be more fun to make something completely crazy, but they're both battling for the win and there are few people that are even close to them. So if they're just battling each other, and they just need that slight edge to push out the other, why go for something crazy? I would argue that they could potentially find something that works better, with the risk of losing that year, but if they have the pusher strength, a small change to the wheels or shape or geometry at their level won't show as an enormous gain compared to what they already have.

PiKA and CIA seem to be the next guys that build year to year, but they seem to be a little more open in choosing what/how they build. PiKA most recently with their Chimnemisis builds to Raptor to who knows what this year. CIA is a little more obvious specially since they only just started building monocoques 5 or so years ago. SigEp could also fit in this group, but I haven't seen any common trends in shape that really define the org (unlike SDC or Fringe)... I also just don't as much about them.

Everyone else hasn't really come out with a new build in a few years or just don't yet have the recent history behind them to go for something different. I imagine that groups like Spirit or even Apex would go for something standard, known, working for the first couple builds (Zuke/Phoenix) then maybe go for something totally out there and really try and make a splash. The difference between the two is that spirit already has the pusher strength to get anything going quick, but they have to get over their eager habit of elegant spins (or exploding wheels). I could see Apex going for something utterly insane since they don't have the institutional history or alumni to tell them it's a dumb idea....