Following RECF’s Live Remote Competition on 11/07/2020, quite a few teams noticed that those on the same alliance were unable to communicate with one another during the match. Communication is a key aspect of the competition, and currently being unable to do so effectively through virtual competitions has impacted game play and outcomes - having asked teams who competed at the mentioned competition, they seem to agree.
Hence, we would like to propose a potential solution using an unofficial application, such as Discord, for teams to communicate using voice-chat during matches and implement a more structured strategy like an in-person match.
Currently, there is no rule that we have come across that denies this, however, we do understand that this could be considered unfair and clash with communication to referees over the Live Remote software, and that overall this new form of competition is in its early stages with many hurdles to still overcome.
I’m happy to clarify how the communication during a live remote competition match currently functions and how it will be modified to function in the coming weeks. During our first live remote scrimmage (ever), teams were able to mute themselves, their partner, and their opponents. They weren’t able to mute the event organizers. With 4 teams in different places, using different microphones (of different qualities), it was difficult to communicate as directly/effectively as they would normally have communicated during a tournament. After evaluating how we can continue improving this, we are adding a match chat (in addition to a general event chat) function so that teams can quickly message their partners, their opponents, as well as event organizers. We believe that this change will allow audio to focus on game/match sounds and the announcer, while also allowing teams to directly communicate.
The REC Foundation is committed to continuing to develop this promising system to allow teams anywhere to compete with and against each other. We are learning how to recreate the amazing VEX IQ Challenge and VEX Robotics Competition experiences via a live remote competition system and we are attempting to launch this system in mere months. Please stay tuned for more information from our programs team on how teams and event partners can get ready for live remote competitions. In the meantime, we will continue to build a system to allow all participants to build, program, and compete in a live remote format. Thanks for your continued patience and support!
We absolutely intend to use this technology moving forward. At one of the town halls, we specifically shared our plan to use this to help more rural teams compete, support leagues for specific demographics such as our Native American teams and support organizations in Africa that have VEX kits but never been able to compete in actual competitions. While we don’t think Live Remote will replace the experience of competing at “in person competitions”, we do believe that Live Remote will allow even more students to increase their interest in STEM and develop critical work force skills through our robotics programs.