Aid to match setup versus programming skills

Has anyone assessed the impact of the pins that help a field reset and what that does to programming skills?

I recall a thread that was critical of the pins because of the impact on taking a field apart for transportation, but I don’t recall any negative comments with respect to the pins on an autonomous robot.

I’m sure the GDC did not have a brain fade when it agreed to include the field pins. It would be helpful if the GDC publicly acknowledged its understanding of the impact of the pins on programming.

I’m sure this topic is NOT one for the Q&A because the pins are a game design choice. Nonetheless, we have to help our students find a robust path for their autonomous robot and the pins are not helpful.

Can you explain your position on how they are bad and how not having them would make the game better or more interesting for programming? I feel like your post assumes we all agree on an exact problem.

The pins in the field will impact programming skills, either by having robots avoid the pins or by requiring routines that correct for the change in direction that occurs when a robot hits an obstacle i.e. a pin(s).

The pins will impact driving because they present obstacles that the robot and driver will have to adjust for.

The pins are “not bad”. At first look, they appear unnecessary … but the GDC has included them, which implies that the pins are designed to impact design choices, such as skimming the field surface with a “thin plastic sheet”.

Depending on the skill level of the team, being able to be successfully navigate this field will be a challenge in the time allotted.

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Ref: Squared Away

The pins are part of the field. Deal with them accordingly.


As someone who played squared away, and won virtual worlds for it, I can confirm that this complaint has the same basis as “taking away” a field element to make the game easier. Programming is part of the Vex IQ Challenge which is the entire point of the competition. Program to account for it, or build a solution for it.
Furthermore, even though there is no real issue, the GDC is not meant to have an opinion on the game. They already have adressed every complexity, adversity, and game aspect in the Game Manual.
Here is the link, if you dont have it already.


I think the concern would be that some fields have the pins and some fields don’t. There are also a selection of four holes that someone could put the pin in and whether or not that will be consistent.

However, as the pins are flush with the field I just don’t see how this will be an issue at all. Teams should simply be aware that the pins may or may not be there, or may not be exactly how it is on their field that they play on. I don’t see any combination of pins or no pins having any effect on the performance of the robot.


I am not 100% sure what the “chief complaint” is here, so if I am completely off tell me how so as a group we can understand what is being asked.

Possible Question: Are the pins going to affect my drivetrain?

If we are talking about the 0x1s / 0x2s, they should not. If your drivetrain is affected significantly by these pins there are bigger design issues than the pins.

If we are talking about what the red cubes are sitting on. Yes, yes they will get in the way if you are scraping the field with a plastic sheet, or your robot is not designed to go over them, and your routing should affect this. Just as in Slapshot, you had to route around the dispensers.

Possible Question #2: Are the pins going to affect my intake?

This is a bigger question, and here comes the Try for yourself and see… Just like in every game, there are some challenges, and you have to overcome them. However, if these pins are affecting your intake, the seams of where the field tiles stick up will also get your intake caught.

Closing Statement

As someone who has been in robotics for quite some time, I believe that the pins will have a minimal effect on gameplay.

However, I have yet to come across an instance where these pins would affect only auto, and not driver runs as well, all scenarios in this post will affect driver runs as well, so it’s hard to say how these pins would affect autonomous robots and not robots in general.




Please delete this thread.

I just assembled my field elements and the pins in question are 086 pins, i.e. they do not protrude above the field and will not impact autonomous activities.

In defense of this thread, I was not able to get the assembly instructions to fully animate on my computer. In the section on installation of the pins, I could not see or identify the pins, and guessed that the pin was a “normal” connector pin (-060), whereas the pin is actually an -086,

Note, the Legal Parts List nomenclature for the -086 is, “0x2 Connector Pin” and for the -060 is “1x1 Connector Pin”. Perhaps an improvement in verbal identity is to have the -086 family of pins be termed “Capped Connector Pin”, similar to the capped shafts.

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