How Would You Improve Elevation?

I just wanted to start off by saying that I am NOT criticizing the game design committee. Honest! If you’ve attended a tournament and watched 60 or more matches, you know a lot more about the game than the GDC did when they wrote the rules.

I’ll start: The bonus points might be adjusted to give more value to the bonus cube, autonomous and “king of the hill” and less to goal capping. At Vancouver, the platform was mostly ignored and the cube rarely got flipped.

I might try:

Autonomous: require robots to start in their colored tiles. “No robot shall touch any non-colored part of the field at the start of the match.” It’s too easy to put one wheel on the colored matt while positioning a scoring tool aimed at the 15" goal. All autonomous meant in a lot of cases was “turning on a motor to score.”

While making autonomous more difficult, increase the autonomous bonus to 10 or even 15 points. It should be hard, and have big rewards.


1 point per cube in the high and low goals.
3 point bonus for being the highest cube in a high goal
5 point bonus for the bonus cube
15 point bonus for being “king of the hill”

My favorite thing about Elevation is that it rewards driving skill, mobility, speed and programming. Building a big steel box with a grabber doesn’t win this event. “Quad Quandry” was largely a blocking and tackling game, this is one for soccer players." I think it’s a lot of fun to watch.

My least favorite thing: The endless parade of double-tank-tread-cube lifters. Is this true everywhere or just in Vancouver?


Not true for all events and keep in my mind this is a good strategy. There are a limited number of cubes on the field and if only 1 robot, suppose on the blue team, is able to go knock down the big cube and the red team runs out of cubes because the blue team took one of them than blue automatically wins.

Yes I see what you are saying and I agree with you. Autonomous scoring should be restricted to the colored tile as the starting position.

10 points maybe, but 15 is a bit too much.

I believe the scoring in the goals and ramps should be left as is…

I agree with you

Well this seems to be a good scoring robot design therefore many teams are using this design but that doesn’t mean that they are all going to succeed. For example, programming, driving, and strategy are also all important aspects of the game.


I agree with the idea that it is annoying to see so many similar designs, especially this early in the season. However I’ve seen a lot of those designs that didn’t work very well. The idea was good but the implementation was poor. Since there are so many of those designs teams need to think about what sets there design apart from others because when it comes time for alliance picking even if you have the same design as the top ranked alliance if you haven’t worked out the kinks you might be left standing on the field.

One thing to remember is it is easier to be noticed for being different. Also it is easier to be noticed if your robot looks good.

A few additional points… also in the spirit of constructive feedback.

In addition to being easy, this strategy is also difficult to defend against. The opposing alliance needs to ram the aligned robot out of position (and probably give up their own scoring opportunity in the process). That said, the approach IS limited to a 6 point score and therefore can be beaten by a reliable two goal strategy (12 points). On balance, I agree with Rick and would suggest that no points be given for cubes placed in the 15" goals adjacent to the start position during autonomous period.

Cube retrieval is not dissimilar to ring retrieval from last year. I think a lot of veteran teams are starting from the same base-point with their design. Also, here in Vancouver, the proximity of some teams to each other makes what might be called ‘design synergy’ particularly likely. Lastly, it is early in the season. Design ideas are likely to evolve… we should wait until later in the season to pronounce final judgement on this.

Point systems are a clear and unequivocal way to communicate values. The fact that an owned goal is worth 6 pts and both the cube and the platform are only worth 5pts is probably also contributing to design uniformity. Everyone is designing to score goals and not to flip cubes or climb platforms.
From a spectator perspective, this is too bad. One of the best parts of “Hangin-a-Round” was the end of game melee to get off the ground. I too would support adjusting the point count for both the bonus cube and the platform to make it more worthwhile for teams to design to those objectives.

My 2 cents (currently 1.65 cents in US currency)

I just wanted to make sure that everyone understood that I know Elevation is the game we are playing, and it’s a good one. Musing, reflection, and “having ideas” are – in my opinion – ways to better inform the future. This thread is a sandbox for talking things over, not a criticism or manifesto.

i like elevation but some things do need to change like this new programing they used still had too many bugs in it, plus i think that they need to start the autonomous in ur own color,scoring should be left the same though…and seeing the same design is kinda annoying but it really matters how you drive and up too your strategy

If it is easy for all four teams to earn 6 points apiece in their nearby goals, this is already like awarding zero points to each alliance, so no change forcing them to try for the other goals is necessary…

On the other hand, you could look at it this way. Teams who aren’t doing well in autonomous yet will earn 0 or 5 points. Average teams should score 6 points in auto. Better than average teams should rack up 10, 15 or maybe 20 points. There are spare cubes available and there are lines and walls to follow. There is a platform to climb. Putting cubes into goals (instead of climbing the platform) has the obvious advantage of creating semi-persistent points and of deciding how much room to leave in the goal for subsequent scoring.

So, There seems to be plenty of room for the autonomous period’s excitement and strategy to evolve. It also seems nice that a rookie team has a fairly simple autonomous objective they can put into their initial designs.

I agree. Watching the PP Championship webcast, in the finals I was starting to see teams run out of easily acquired cubes. In part because the goals were being filled up and in part because teams would horde or eject opposing cubes. So, I’m guessing that by the time we get to the World championship, needing to quickly retrieve the autoloader cubes and needing to be able to pluck cubes out of goals will both start to cause some of the tank tread designs to get relegated to the dustbin.

Also, as goals fill, and as 3" cubes become scarce, the bonus cube, the autonomous bonus, and the platform will become a bit more attractive. I can envision matches in which each alliance has staked out “their” 4 goals that they control and defend up until the last seconds when they sprint for the platform. In a match like that, having the bonus cube on your own turf would be handy.

Don’t declare Elevation boring yet (I almost did but the PP matches changed my mind). :slight_smile:


I’m just going to throw this out here, but one thing i really like about elevation (i’m alloud to complement it right?) is the fact that all the points are either in multiples of 1 or 5. Unlike the 3s and 7s from Quad Quandary last year, i find that it’s much easear for the spectator or coach to judge the overall outcome of a match before the reffs show the official score.

I think that Elevation is a great game - easily the best game that “small robots” (FVC, FTC, VRC) have done.

Like Bridge Battle, it is easy for the audience to get a good idea who is winning (count goal ownership).

Better than Bridge Battle, it is easy for the lead to change - scores go back and forth as a match progresses.

I think point values are just about right - including the autonomous bonus - make that too big and the match is over before drivers grab the sticks. You want a more challenging autonomous? Get 2, 3 or 4 goals - that should keep you busy…

Just about the only thing I’d change is that I’d make the goal’s tape white (or perhaps yellow) so that spectators can see them easier.

Thank you Vex game design!

-Mr. Van
Coach, Robodox

I think the platform scoring is appropriate, but I’d like to see more points given for turning the bonus cube, because for most teams, a separate mechanism (apart from ordinary driving or scoring small cubes) must be designed. In general, a task that requires a separate mechanism (or cleverly designed 2-function mechanism) ought to be scored much more highly than one that can be done easily by a robot that simply drives forward (like driving to get on the platform).

In previous games, it seems that there is a task that requires high-volume collection & delivery (softballs, rings, cubes), and sometimes another task that requires a completely separate mechanism (turning the bonus cube, hanging on the bar). IMHO, points given to this separate single action have been too low. Five points for turning the bonus cube when 40+ points can be scored by delivering massive number of cubes demotivates teams to turn the bonus cube. We had a bonus cube turner, but removed it when it was found that it decreased the speed and efficiency of small cube intake. As long as a disproportionate number of points can be scored by the multiple item task and insufficient points by the single action task, we are going to continue to see large numbers of the ubiquitous tank-tread robots, especially at lower level regional events.

What I would like to see is a game with a number of single actions where alliance partners are rewarded for working together. For example, in the Hangin’ Around game, have chinning up be worth 20 points instead of 15 points (really, only 10 extra points for chinning rather than sitting on the platform doesn’t justify the effort). Instead of having the Atlas ball double the values of softballs in the goals, have the Atlas ball double the values of platform and/or chin-up points. That way, a team is required to have one robot on the platform/or chin-up bar and one on the Atlas ball. In this scenario, a better balance between fast-delivery bots and reliable chinning bots would be achieved, and you would see more variety. And the high level bots would be able to do both the high-volume delivery and the single-action task reliably.

What makes FLL robots varied and interesting is that there are a large number of very different tasks. The values of the tasks are similar enough that there is no “obvious” best task. In general, more difficult tasks are assigned higher point values. Although the 10-15 tasks of FLL is impractical for VRC, even 2 or 3 well-balanced (in terms of points) tasks would make for a more varied game and more variety of robots. BTW, I consider delivering to the 15-inch goal the same task as delivering to the 9 & 3-inch goals.

Make autonomous not ridiculously easy. At my last competition, teams would place their arm resting on the goal with blocks preloaded, then their autonomous would simply turn the motors. BOOM, ten points for them. Real Challenging…>.>

This isn’t a knock on the creators though, it was not foreseeable, I just believe it should be altered before the WC.

This was not unintentional. There is a low hurdle that teams of all types can take advantage of… but…

If you think that will be a WINNING autonomous mode at the World Championship you will likely be surprised.

I just came from a match where teams tried to do that. The opposing teams had “streaker bots” that they would aim at the “dunker”. In most cases the “streaker” was able to get there and knock the “dunker” off enough to block the score.

I’d like to see the rest of the white lines to the goals. We are doing a line track, but we also can get snagged since it goes in front of the other team. It would be nice to be able to follow the lines on the off side.

I would make the playing field bigger than 12ft. by 12ft. There just isn’t enough space for 4 robots, the platform, bonus cube and all the other cubes laying around. Possibly 16ft. by 16ft?

By using 4 extra perimeter panels you can certainly create a 16x16’ field, but you can create quite a few other interesting shapes too.

I hope the GDC is listening.


Hmm, what about a U shaped field, or a zig zag. Maybe a hexagon or octagon. Oh the possibilities. It would be nice to see a new shape. There’s only so much you can do with a square.

There would be a lot to be said for a 12x16 field with the teams on opposing ends, officials on one long side, and the spectators on the other long side. Just saying…

But think about the teams that already purchased a 12 x 12 square field and are hoping to re-use it year after year, the cost of purchasing a new field in a different shape would give those teams some major physical/financial headaches… rectangle maybe but crazy curved shapes like U i dont know…


Good point, Technic. Adding one more 4-foot section shouldn’t be that expensive, though.

Yes i agree, 1 or 2 more sections is reasonable but new field shape is where we might have issues…