how long should the Aton mode to be next year?

although this is not up to us to decide, I think it would be interesting to know how long people think the Aton mode should be.

20-25 sec. VEX is not quite balanced out enough between hardware/software, I believe. By making the autonomous period longer, teams are more inclined to build an autonomous routine and gain more programming experience. I may be slightly biased, but programming is one of the most important parts of building a robot, perhaps next to having a pre-planned design. Most teams don’t realize this and the result is that most teams barely know how to program, if at all. I think this really defeats the purpose of being an all around STEM program, which robotics naturally is. In order to become a great team, you need to have great programming. There are great teams out there - but this isn’t something many teams consider until the last possible moment.

Now, on the other hand, keep it short! Keep those of us who know the importance of programming elite :cool: … kidding

I would like to have a 20-30 second autonomous or take away repositioning and keep it 15 seconds. Currently a repositioning autonomous can run the same as a hands off one. By making the period longer, the hands off routines would have more time to get a better score than the repositioned ones, and if repositioning was removed, it would make the better programmers win more often.

Definitely 20 seconds. Maybe even 25. This time frame should allow enough creativity for programmers to make a great autonomous, while making it short enough to be challenging to make one.

I think that vex is afraid of what happens when you force everyone to watch 30 seconds of nothing during lower level tourneys.

That being said, I believe that if someone from elementary school can write a code that works for an extended period of time, (FLL) than why not in high school?

It is therefore my opinion that 30 seconds it not too much to ask from the vex community.

Besides. you can’t call it a robot if it needs a human to function.

I think a 20 second Aton is ideal. When it was 20 seconds it was nice. You could acheive 2 “tasks” in 20 seconds, I find that 15 is JUST too short generally. Sure, the issue with it being longer is when the teams don’t have an autonomous at all (I would hate to wounder what a 30 second autonomous with no robots moving would be like).


P.S. Btw, I’m jk about the spelling :wink:

Sometimes when we host and are behind we ask the teams if they have autonomous and if no one did, we would go right to driver.

The Autonomous Bonus is the real issue at hand. This year, it’s a 20 point swing. Go back and look at the results from your tournaments. How many matches ended more than 20 points apart? From our last competition, over 60% of qualification matches were swung by the amount of the Autonomous bonus. By that I mean if Autonomous had gone the other way, the other alliance would have won. Autonomous is deciding over half of the matches played (at least in Arizona), which gives teams that learned to code a very reasonable advantage over their opponents.

Compare that to Sack Attack (especially at Worlds), and Autonomous was nearly worthless except for allowing wallbots to deploy and allowing teams to get a few (easily descored) points early in the game. It was (in my opinion) kind of a sad year to be a programmer, because it barely mattered in the end.

In Gateway there was no bonus, but you could get the objects (which couldn’t be descored, and had a bonus for being the first one) in goals. It was great. Scoring first in the opponent’s Isolation Zone was one of the most important things in the game. Followed by the middle cylinder. And the Doubler/Negator. I loved Gateway. Best game ever.

I like the weight of this year’s Autonomous period. The timing isn’t important. It’s a matter of making it significant to match outcome. That’s what the GDC should focus on. Heck, a 10 second Autonomous mode with a ton of difficult challenges is fine with me, as long as it has a measurable effect on match outcome. A thirty second Autonomous mode that would be rendered mostly irrelevant by Driver Control is (at least to me) boring.

I support 30 seconds. Granted part of it comes because I also did FTC where we had 30 second autonomous, but I believe HS and MS kids can accomplish it. I believe autonomous gets de-emphasized at the HS/MS level.

Something else to consider is that vex is trying to make the game have a higher sealing while still giving a lower floor to let less experienced/talented teams still play the game and have an effect on the outcome.

having a longer Aton mode aides in that endeavor. I would like to see a game where the best robot may not make it past the quarter-finals because it didn’t have an effective code.

We have seen over and over again that vex just cannot find a way to keep us building the entire year and I think they need to highlight a new factor next year.

And that’s where time comes into play. (longer is harder)

Toss Up says “Hello good sir, nice to meet you”.

Though we may not recognise it now, I am 100% sure that most eliminations games will be won or lost during autonomous at worlds.

In Gateway, autonomous was all about field positioning: Getting over the central contested goals (and maybe scoring them if the opponent isn’t going to block them). Presumably because of the huge positioning advantage that could be gained in autonomous, there was no bonus.

In Sack Attack, it was kind of the opposite. Very little permanent positioning bonus could be gained in autonomous (other than by wallbots), due to the easily descorable points, so the main focus of autonomous was securing the 10 pt bonus. Sadly, this bonus was too small to be relevant so autonomous wasn’t very important.

Toss up is a mixture of the two: Of course you can gain ridiculous positioning advantages due to the non-descorable (or at least very difficult to descore) stashes, but ALSO the ten point bonus is HUGE compared to the value of other points on the field.

Autonomous is EXTREMELY important in Toss Up, though not particularly difficult to make. This is mainly due to repositioning in my opinion. The fact that encoders on the drive are no longer necessary in the high school competition makes me really sad. I would be really happy to see repositioning removed next year. I would also like to see the return of a 20 second autonomous, but I don’t think 15 seconds is really “too short”, depending on the game. 15 seconds is actually a great length in Toss Up, because it is a challenging amount of time to perform a certain number of useful actions on the field in, meaning effective programming (or well practised repositioning :rolleyes:) are rewarded above average programming. That being said, I think any autonomous duration up to maybe 30 seconds would be fine for High School Toss Up.

Here is a similar post from last year.

At our team’s tournament, ~30% of the quals were within 20 points, and ~60% of the elims were within 20 points.
But the losing alliance on some of these might have been the bonus winners…

In Sack Attack, the autonomous was basically a decent head start (the sacks in the trough, not so much the bonus).

In Toss Up, I see a good head start as:
15 locked in points (excluding descoring; 1 stashed+bonus)
10-?? points, not locked in. (2 large in goal zone, plus whatever the hanging zone bot scores.)

Since the middle zone autos seem to be 15 points, give or take; I think the hanging zone autos are extremely important. It is uncommon to see hanging zone autos over 10 points.

With 15 seconds, it is hard to get very far ahead in autonomous. Especially in Toss Up, with the lack of scoring objects.

In general I think how long autonomous is all depends on the game. I don’t really think 15 seconds is too short in toss up, because there isn’t much more you can do. If you’re in the middle zone, once you’ve scored the two big balls and your preload you’re done. There are no more objects in the middle zone. However there are situations I would like to see a 20 second autonomous. There are more things you could do in a 20 second autonomous in toss up. Such as the robot in the hanging zone stashed its bucky balls. So I would say 15-20 depending upon the game.

As a programmer myself, I would adore seeing the autonomous extended to 20 or 25 seconds, and re-positioning perhaps eliminated from the game. I see how some people like it being a part of the game and some don’t. It makes effective autonomous routines possible for those teams without sensors, but also seems like cheating to other teams who feel like their completely re-positioning free autonomous gains no bonus.

A possible compromise would be that in the event of a tie in autonomous, the points would be awarded to the alliance that did not re-position, if such was the case.

In regards to the length of the autonomous period, I agree no contest that a longer autonomous period would be beneficial to the game.

I would say thirty seconds, but that would mean there would have to be quite a few objects and options on the field (like in clean sweep or sack attack). But, as previously stated, having so many objects and the ability to descore make the autonomous period worth next to nothing. I’d like a decent amount of options available in autonomous and a moderate amount of time to explore them, without the work done in autonomous done for nothing.

Thus, I’m going to have to support a 20 second autonomous. It’s always been what I liked from a competitor’s viewpoint: decent amount of time for a decent amount of actions. Elevation was a great example of this and the best game ever, in my opinion, closely followed by gateway and clean sweep.

I think that the key here is that the autonomous duration and scoring fits well within the game. As a Software Engineer, part of me says the autonomous period should be longer and have no repositioning. The long time robotics mentor part of me says not to discourage new teams or those that struggle just to field a workable robot.

I think there is a middle ground, however it is up to the GDC to make it work. Come up with easier low-value to mid-value options that less experienced teams can go for with repositioning and more difficult high-value options that would require use of multiple sensors or take too long to complete with repositioning. Maybe even something that has to be done in autonomous that unlocks more scoring potential during the remainder of the match. I don’t envy the job of the GDC to try to balance so many competing objectives.

For those high school programmers out there wanting more, just wait until you get to VEX U and have a 1 minute autonomous to work with. My observation from VEX U Worlds last year is that there were some great engineered robots, but that the programming in general was disappointing. Sharpen your skills and prepare to make your team shine when you move up.


I agree, I love autonomous programming and wish it was longer. I get REALLY disappointed when I see a team with years of experience and a reputation for being so good re-position during autonomous and tie my score. I am not allowed (by my mentor) to re-position during autonomous or programming skills. I think if there were 2 different bonus scores based on robot interaction it would be fair and still encourage new teams to participate. Robot interaction at the middle school level is fine, but in high school it should be stopped or modified.

An extended autonomous period would be great. This will allow teams to be able to show off their skills. As previously noted, I too have seen FTC events where they use a 30 second autonomous period. It’s really neat to see what teams come up for that extended period. What I would propose would be:

  1. Have the ability to end the autonomous period at the head ref’s discretion, if all teams have stopped moving before the 30 second time expires. Thereby, eliminating any ‘dead’ period before driver’s control.

  2. Have the teams awarded the points achieved during the period as the bonus to be added after the end of the match, not just a 10 point bonus. This would provide a bigger incentive for teams to master autonomous programming.

  3. Return to a full 2:00 minute driver’s control period.

I believe that shouldn’t be a problem. If the autonomous time is extended to like, 30secs, there should be a rule saying that if both alliances agree to skip the autonomous, the referees will not hold an autonomous section for this match.