We left Denver at around 10:00 AM on Monday morning. We arrived in San Francsico after an uneventful drive at around 3:00AM Tuesday morning.

Ready to go!


Upon arriving at Treasure Island, we proceeded to check in. The lines were fairly huge, but moved at a decent pace. Since DarkMatter was in a fairly unassembled state when we arrived, we started putting the pieces together in the parking lot. We ended up getting pretty good and sunburned.

Building 180

Working in the parking lot

View from the Porta-Potties

More work in the lot

Nearly complete

Unbeknownst to most competitors, our 3rd team member Mike Morrissey was working on our secret weapon: WeinerBot! Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were never able to make use of this fiendish weapon. Note the look of pure terror on Mike's face...


After getting DarkMatter 80% assembled, we moved into the Pit Area, and continued work. Toward the end of Tuesday, with a fully assembled bot, we decided to weigh DarkMatter before attempting the safety inspection. We ended up weight 54.5 pounds. Since we were a little lite, we replaced the aluminum "fenders" with steel fenders. We then re-weighed at 56.5 pounds.

The Pits

More Pits

Nightmare & Backlash



Wednesday afternoon, after some additional work, we went through inspection without a hitch. Afterwards, we decided that our battery setup was going to make switching batteries nearly impossible. We decided to re-wire them, and we also re-wired our radio box, trying to remove some interference issues. We quite working around 3:00AM Thursday morning. The generateors that powered the overhead lighting ran out of gas around 2:30, so we did a bit of work via flashlight.

Thursday, after re-assembling the rest of DarkMatter, we found we could not check out our transmitter from the impound! Due to a huge number of people wanting their receiver, and long periods of keeping them checked out, the staff decided it was best not to allow any to be checked out other then for competition. This enraged quite a few people, due to the fact that, like us, they had made some small changes after the safety inspection, and then could not re-test their bots.

Luckily, they allowed a 10 minute checkout during the first intermession. We grabbed our radio, quickly tested everything, then awaited our first match...

We had a buy the first round, and faced Wedge Of Doom in the second round. We quickly learned from talking to others that we had our work cut out for us. Wedge of Doom was a rookie bot, but had a very non-rookie driver. Unfortunately, we were outrunned and outgunned, and lost by a judges decision of 6-39. At least we didn't get knocked out, Wedge Of Doom knocked most if not all other competitors out on his way to the #3 finish.


Tony & Godtilla

The "Talent"

Battle Damage

Battle Damage

What we liked:
Well organized event.
Very friendly bot community.
Meeting a lot of people behind the bots
Getting up close views of the famous bots
What we didn't like:
The Food. It was bad.
Lack of anything useful on Treasure Island.
Restriction of filming of prelims
Un-announced radio impound rule changes.

What we learned:
Finishing up the bot at the competition sucks. Too stressful.
If your opponent has more traction and more speed, you're screwed.
Easily swapping batteries or recharging in place is critical.
Ease of access to components is a beautiful thing (too bad we didn't have it.)
Driving skill can make the difference between and loosing a match. Practice as much as you can.
San Fran is a pretty damn sweet city!