Next Season's Game

So, how is IFI going to develop the follow-on to Bridge Battle? The new school year is coming soon, and I’m assuming there will be a new game next year.

It’s never too soon to start designing!

Not that anyone has asked me, but there are some things I’d like to share about game design observations I’ve come up with after watching robotics competitions:

  1. Make sure there is an easy way to score so that really marginal robots can still succeed at something.

  2. Have multiple scoring options. The harder it is to score, the more points it should be worth. I might, for example, have had additional scoring opportunities in Bridge Battle – maybe a narrow chute or hole the balls have to fall through, or a higher bridge above the current one. Movable goals add challenge, as do multiple playing levels.

  3. Keep the field something that can be built from Home Depot materials for practice.

  4. Since VEX motors are pretty power-limited, defense works pretty well. In the current (2007-8) FTC game, robots have shoved all four movable goals against a wall and then sat for 90 seconds – completely unmovable by other robots. It was an effective strategy, but really boring. I would suggest games that reward mobility and scoring, and make push-and-shove defense either unnecessary or ineffective.

  5. Change the objects every year. Playing “how does the ball score this year” gets boring.

  6. Experiment with team sizes. Maybe the robots are restricted to a 12-inch square, but an alliance has three robots?

  7. I would really like a larger arena – something like 16x12, with the teams positioned on the ends. I can see why it might be hard to change, but it would open up the game and put more premium on speed than pushing, which would, in my opinion, make the game more exciting.

  8. Keep a scoring advantage for autonomous behavior – but keep the human teleoperated phase. Let’s be honest, the teleop period is the more exciting part.

  9. Make it easy to explain to spectators.

  10. When you think out how teams will play the game, make sure there is more than one good way to win.

Good ideas. On field size 16x16 might be nice depending on the game. Last year 16x16 would have been nice. This year with both QQ and BB 16x16 would be too big.

On robot size I think 18x18x18 is the ideal size. It allows for larger more complex robots but at the same time keeps them small enough to be carried by one person.

I disagree that 16x16 would be to large for Quad Quandry. With 4 robots 4 goals,of which to are linked, and 50 rings, I felt the field was so congested that it made defense too easy and stifled the ability of high scoring bots to score effectively. However, I like the field size for Bridge Battle.

a weight limit!!

lol, that would kill some teams. With each competition, my club builds a heavier bot

Go big or go home! We would be spending alot of time at home if there were a weight limit…

.>… what my friend’s did: armoured their bot because weight = unmovability = ability to trap stuff which pretty much means they weigh a lot and they’re unpushable

I like the idea of a weight limit. The Vex motors are power-limited and building a 30-pound robot makes it an immovable object. In QuadQuandry, I was wondering why someone didn’t build a 50-pound cube that clamped onto the crossbar and then retracted its wheels.

How do you make a 50 pound bot out of vex?

Ahaha, we’re totally guilty of that. Got to the point where the referee took us aside and told us to give him special signals if we became disabled because he could never tell if we were working or not…

(Although in QQ you still had to move the posts around a bit if there was a scoring robot on the opposite alliance. Not much, but enough. More if they could grab the post.)

No more circles! We’ve seen 5 VEX based games based on circles. Squares (rubix cubes, wooden boxes, containers) and/or triangles (via 2005 game).

Resurrecting an old thread –

I’m sure the game designers at IFI didn’t need this advice, but it’s pretty cool how similar *Elevation * was to the suggestions in this thread (except for the weight limit).

I can’t wait to see what Clean Sweep tournaments look like about March or so.

Why wait until March? The PRHS VEX Robotics Qualifier in November.

The planning committees are hot and set, and the robots are coming along nicely.