Consistency of Field Setup at local events

#1

One of the issues that my teams have dealt with during the last few competition seasons is the inconsistency of the table setup at local events. While everyone uses the same VEX IQ field with the same IQ challenge kit (that is set up correctly most of the time), our problems have been with the tables or other structures that they are placed on for the events. We’ve had un-level tables, tables that shake when we drive on them, and tables placed on the floor. It is a crap-shoot as to the conditions we’ve encountered at our events this year, and the only thing consistent is that every venue is set up differently.

This year, the inconsistency has affected our programming runs, which has affected our World Skills ranking. We have programs that work perfectly during one event, and then will be off at another. Our programs have rock solid, consistent performance in our classroom (with the field on a level floor), but not work in competition. The only variable we can’t control and adjust for is the fact is that there’s no consistency in event setup, and it’s hard to adjust for it during the event due to limited runs on the competition field, and the practice field (if there is one) is set up differently (i.e. on the floor or different kind of table) on the competition field. I have frustrated teams who have watched their programs work everywhere except for where it counts.

For a solution, I would like to recommend one of two things: A) Make the field setup used at State competitions or at Worlds available for purchase. I would buy 3 of them TODAY if I could make sure I have the exact same setup in my classroom that will be used at events. B) Publish “official” table specifications (or even build plans) so I can either build one myself, or have one build for me.

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#2

This is an issue, especially for programming. If you don’t have tables that can handle the fields, just have them on the floor so at least the field is level.

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#3

Exactly. Being a competitor myself it can get particularly frustrating as we encountered the problem at the VEX UK Nationals. Autonomous runs would work perfectly on the practice fields allocated on the floor, but as soon as you took them to the main competition fields, it would always be off by just a little, very annoying for a game like Ringmaster where precision was key.

I have found that this year, there hasn’t been so much of an issue as the hubs are a lot larger than rings meaning there isn’t as much chance for failure but the robot will always go slightly off route.

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