After Monday night's session, I realized due to school and other obligations there was only one more hacking session left. My robot could barely make it into the first room, let alone navigate anywhere else.
On Tuesday I just about gave up. I contacted my friends and told them it wasn't worth driving to Ft. Collins to watch me fail. I'd still go up there, of course. Maybe I could hack on some code to make the robot find and drive to the candle and do a demo run. I didn't mind being unable to compete. What was really demoralizing was busting my tail for 2 months and having virtually nothing to show for it.
I went to the Wednesday session for no other reason than to deliver flame detection components to one of the guys in the club. But, figuring why not, I sat down and reluctantly opened some source code... played around a little... things started to come together. Fast. By 9:30pm I left the scene after video taping this:
Funny how quickly things can change from almost gave up to almost got it...
I'm still unlikely to have a competitive robot but now there's a tangible result from all the hard work.