New Programming/Robot Skills Idea

I know that this may not be the right section for this thread but I thought this was the best fit. If it needs to be moved feel free.

So one of my team mates and I were thinking. What if instead of having 1 minute to score as many objects as possible, vex made another challenge, sort of like a time trial, which was something like this:

You are timed and you have to score X points. Once you score X points the time stops and the fastest time wins.

It would be an interesting twist to the skills challenges that I thought I would share with the vex community.

Let me know what you guys think about this idea.

Well, the thing is, what if your robot breaks down after scoring all but 1 sack. Do you count that as nothing?
Then, all the teams would go for the troughs instead of the high goals.
And the list of problems goes on.

We had the idea during Gateway when we were practicing. We practice more on how fast we are not how much we score

(10 Char.)

I like the idea of this time trial sort of challenge!

I don’t want to be demotivational to the idea but I doubt it will happen. VEX has had the same challenges (pro skills, driver skills, elimination rounds) since they started and I do not think they would be willing to change that and add another challenge.

I love the idea because it sounds awesome but I doubt it will happen.

I too doubt this would happen but I truely feel like it is a great idea and it would be awesome if VEX created a “Time trial” challenge. This is a suggestion.

This would mean the scorers have to be adding up the score as the match is running, which would be difficult for un-experienced volunteers at events. The current setup allows the computer to do all the timing and the scorers have all the time they need. It’s more definitive who is better because they have exactly the same time and the only things that vary between teams would be the scores, as opposed to worrying about whether the clock was stopped at 40 seconds or 41 seconds (it’s almost subjective).

It helps for practice to see how well you’re doing, but in terms of scoring it would be a nightmare.

This is true. You have a good point.

Just as in an engineering challenge, there are more aspects to this than what you first think of. Starting on Wednesday and using three fields we ran 700 Skills matches at World Champs. If each Skills run took an average of two minutes instead of one, we would have to cut the number of runs available. And how would you handle teams that take 15 minutes to score the number of points you set? Or the ones than never do? Or Programming Skills robots that can’t?

At least at World Champs, you could argue that we should make the time shorter instead of indeterminate. If we cut down the time to 50 seconds we would have nearly an extra two hours of match time.

You are free to have a local scrimmage/contest additional side prize.
Actually running some contests would work out the kinks.
How much in advance of contest is value of X determined?
Is the desired scoring exactly ==X, or just >= X?
Rather than real-time scoring, Teams can call “DONE” when they think they are done,
and stop the clock and count the score. Failure to have the correct score get time of 1minute.
Goal should be to have a faster cycle time, not a slower one.

I love this idea!!!, i just think it needs to be more devoloped a little.

I think this could work really well for a game like Gateway, which has a clear-cut maximum, as only one object in each goal can touch the floor for the 2 points, and all other objects get one point. If multiple teams are reaching the maximum, it could be used as a tie-breaker.

For example, the skills challenge could be to score as many points (perhaps fewer objects than the previous challenge) as possible in 1 minute. If you reach the maximum possible in less than 1 minute, add 1 point bonus for every second under 1 minute. This would prevent teams from taking an indefinite amount of time and increase the incentive to take less time. But the score keeper would have more work, as both score keeper and time keeper. At the end of the match, you would be scored, and if you hadn’t reached the maximum (but thought you did), you could at least get points for the objects you scored, but no bonus points for going undertime.

But for Sack Attack, there’s theoretically no limit to how many sacks you can put on the platform (though there is a practical limit). It would be hard to say when “maximum” is achieved.

Another robot competition uses a time based model - the Trinity Firefighting Robot competition. (Or are we not allowed to mention other robot competitions here?)

Our Vexmen kids that did not go to Vex Worlds this past week in CA had the opportunity to do a local firefighting event at Penn State Abington campus. They did real well there too. We’ll have something up soon on the Vexmen website for them as well as our Vex worlds endeavors.

This Firefighting competition is 100% autonomous robot put out a candle in a maze competition. It is also 12" max size (with no wall bots) and no limit on the parts you can use. A Vex cortex with Robot C is the primary means we use but Arduino is getting popular too.

Vexmen site (to be updated soon, just need the jet lag to wear off and get pictures from everyone):

PSU Abington Page:

Trinity College Firefighting page:

The Trinity firefighting rules use a base time score and gives percentage cuts (like a coupon off the final price) for certain activities. They cap the run of the time so it’s not endless time to find the candle. You can have aspects of a robot’s activity affect the overall score in this manner of time reduction (or increase for making it easier on yourself like saying “I want the candle placed here please”). Tie breakers can be added however you want but they use your run time as the primary one.

Anyway, the point is, other places do a time based scoring as their primary method. Since Vex competitons are mainly multi-item based and multi-robot competing based, the points for activites seems to work well here.

Go hog wild and make a side bet/mano e mano timed run rules for your local area! See if it spreads virally. Even write a tournament manager for it! Then an Anroid/iphone app!