Given that we are new to using the VEX robots, we are not planning on competing this year, but to practice as if we were. My question is this; are the objects used in the game field the same from year to year? This year for Starstruck, there are starts and cubes. Will these be used next year? Trying to decide on whether to commit to buying these items or not.
From year to year the items change, last year they had a series of green and orange balls, the year before that being blue and red cubes, as well as pegs. Honestly your best chance is to start being active and go to competitions, compete, and learn. You really do learn a lot from personal experience through your first few years.
For maximum benefit, change your plans, register your team and go to at least one event. You will learn more in the week before and the one day at a tournament than you will in a year of messing with robots. Seriously, jump in, you will have a lot of fun.
I also would suggest registering and competing, regardless of how good your robot is at the time. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will get you and your students fired up like going and competing. You will also learn MUCH more than you will by just practicing for a year. My teams have been competing for many years and I have seen at least one local school who started with 30 interested students in November, but chose not to compete until late February. By then his 30 had dwindled down to 8, as all of the others got bored and left. So register and compete. practicing for this year’s game for a year, in my opinion, is not going to be very helpful as next year’s game is likely to be VERY different. Do YouTube searches for the following: VEX Round Up, VEX Gateway, VEX Sack Attack, VEX Toss Up, VEX Skyrise, VEX Nothing but Net and VEX Starstruck to get an idea how the games are different from year to year. Compete in several events spaced out throughout the season. That way you can bring a simple push-bot to your first event (which can score by pushing the stars under the fence) and then redesign for your next competition and again for your next. VEX Robotics is a continuous improvement model. Get better and better as the season progresses, don’t wait until you have what you believe is the perfect robot. Also, the VEX community is VERY helpful. There are many teams that will be more than happy to help you out at an event. Go Compete! Have Fun! Learn!
I would also advise that you go to at least one competition. Going to competitions gives you a giant motivation to actually try hard. I have doing VEX for 4 years now and I would really advise to register based on experience in the clubs that I have seen. Also, depending on the size of your club and the number of students, I would buy the entire field because the field stays the same every year. I would also say get a few of the game objects.
No. The game changes completely every year, and so do the scoring objects, so drastically that whatever world-class robots appear at VEX Worlds for one season will be potato for the next season. By the time you start competing again, stars and cubes will by then be things past.