As this year’s team has struggled with various and sundry lifts over the past 3 months, it occurred to me that this year’s game is the first game that does not have any scoring option for robots that can only drive (and plow), but not lift. In previous years, the no-lift scoring options were:
2006 Hangin’ Around – score in triangular low goal
2007 Quad Quadary – score in square low goal and own bases by pushing into quadrant
2008 Elevation – score in triangular low goal and drive onto the platform
2009 Clean Sweep – push small balls under the wall
It is not that easy to build a lift, and of the 40 or so Vex students that I have coached/taught over the years, only 3 have been capable of independently building a reliable lift and adapting it to the game of the year. Some are able to build a lift as a “concept piece” that they copy from a previous design or instructions, but as soon as they have to modify the size/gear ratio/other significant parameter, they lose all sense of geometry and how the parts of the design fit together. Many of my students can’t even screw-for-screw copy a robot from a photograph.
While a robot that can’t lift isn’t going to be impressive, it would be nice if low-level teams that have no lifting ability could at least participate and feel that they can accomplish SOMETHING.
The high-level teams will always find innovative ways to make game scoring interesting, but when prospective or lower-level teams feel that the lowest rung (figuratively) is out of reach, they won’t participate. Something to think about when trying to appeal to the masses.
P.S. How about a separate subforum for new game design suggestions and ideas, similar to the new product ideas subforum?