NOVA VRC Roundup Tournament - Dec 11, 2010

This is the Roundup season’s NOVA thread to complement the NOVA Robot Events listing.

Here is the RobotEvents URL:

The RobotEvents listing is up and ready for registration. This season we are going to beat the FRC crunch by holding the NOVA in December.

The date is Saturday Dec 11th. We will start early and play as long as we can stand it :slight_smile:

Our excellent host is once again Prince William County’s Osbourn Park High School in Manassas.

Our excellent main sponsor is once again Lockheed Martin’s Manassas site.

The cost this year (unless I do some more accurate budgeting and get nervous :)) is a low $50 per team.

Let’s see if we can get up to 32 teams this year! - I think it would be great (with the RECF’s permission) to maybe split up into two small 16-team divisions that each play a ton of intense Qual matches before having a king/queen-of-the-hill finale for the entire tournament. If we get enough teams signed up, I’ll poll the registered teams about doing that or something similar.

PS: The plan would be something like this:
16 teams playing 4 matches every 30 minutes over a 5 hour period (roughly 9:00-2:00) can get in 9 Qual matches (30 minute break for lunch). That is enough for the rankings within each group of 16 to start becoming fairly accurate.

You can configure the tournament manager for two 16-team divisions.

Thanks - I Understand, but… I might want to create an elmination round method different from the default Tournament Manager would set up for a 16-team division.


I laid out a schedule that starts Qual matches at 9:00, gives each of 32 teams 8 Qual matches apiece, and still ends at 4:30.

I plan to do it by running two pairs of fields simultaneously, and then also running the QuarterFinals on the same two pairs of fields simultaneously. Semi-finals will use a single set of fields.

The match pace for each pair of fields will be 4 matches at 6 minutes each, followed by a 6 minute break, then 4 more matches, 6 minute break, etc. Each team will average 1 match every 30 minutes and will fit judging and attempts on the skills field into the 20-30 minute gaps in their team’s schedule.

It will be a busy day and you will drive the wheels off your bots; but when you go home you should be happy that your $50 bought you plenty of time on the fields.

Last year we had 24 teams (See below) - This year let’s get everyone back, add 8 more to make a full 32 teams, and then make those batteries cry for mercy :slight_smile:

Jan 2010 NOVA Clean Sweep Regional Tournament Teams
7 x The Potomac School (Various Acmes)
3 x Carroll County 4H (Super Sonic Sparks)
3 x Gar-Field HS (Maverick, Everyday Epic, Nighthawks)
2 x Prince William Co 4H (Mostly Harmless & Mostly Water)
1 x Gloucester Home School (Twisted Bots)
2 x Marsteller Middle School
1 x Potomac Middle School
1 x Woodbridge HS
1 x Emerson Prep (Parlimentary Pellets)
3 x Osbourn Park HS (Metal Jackets)

If you plan to attend send me a PM or an email now, you can register officially later.



We have our first official team meeting tomorrow, so I can’t say for sure, but I plan for our team to attend.



ACME should be there too; the number of teams is still TBD. Should be fun!


some tips for large team competitions:
plan for the tournament to ACTUALLY end at around 5:00-6:00
and near the beginning, the opening ceremonies will always cut behind schedule for some reason and it would help the rest of the time schedule if you just give it some extra time
and for the first 5 quals, make the times a bit longer too
it takes a while for the management team and the volunteers some time to figure some small kinks out in the queing system, ect

Sincere thanks for the advice.

I’ll offer a couple of counterpoints

  1. Opening Ceremonies??? Sing the anthem, welcome the audience, tell the audience how to play the game, get started (However, last year %&*#!^ Windows did decide to activate its software firewall on a computer and threw us for a loop for a few minutes). Did you come to play or to listen to speeches? :wink:

  2. Queuing System? By the time you are old enough to compete in VRC, you (and your mentors) are old enough to be able to read a clock on the wall or a watch on your wrist. Show up on time or miss your match. :eek:

Come prepared to play! Be inspired by the actions of the adults and other volunteers, not by their words. Grow by truly being given responsibility. :cool:

If this is your cup of tea, I’ll shake your hand, and wish you good luck on the 11th of December.


That’s not going to happen in your area. As long as Vancouver and Seattle remain three hours apart, the Washington and BC tournaments are going to start and finish later than most other events. I don’t know about you, but we already leave for Vancouver events at 5:45am, and I don’t hear much enthusiasm for earlier start times from your side of the border, either. At the end of the day we manage to get the Canadian buses on the road by 6:30, and the cleanup finished by 7:00, which isn’t so bad.

I like the Courtenay, BC, tournament and the way they plan their event around ferry schedules. Their event starts Friday night and finishes mid-afternoon on Saturday. I’m looking forward to it again this year, if for no other reason than that the BC ferries were remodeled for the Olympics are genuinely snazzy.

well everyone shows up on time, but it takes time for the tech guys to figure out the vexnet system and which field is counting down correctly ect
and some of the new volunteers doesn’t know to load up the other field while field1 is playing…

just some thoughts

two pairs of fields = 4 fields?
plus additional fields for driver skills and programmer skills?
6 minute scheduled rounds with an extra “catchup” slack after every 4.
(Does that mean you don’t use queue runners? )
Do you have a “synchronize your watches to official time … now” announcement?
Wow Sounds great. With the rapid growth of the Vex competition program, it seems many of our local (Dallas area) competitions in past two years were by “first time organizers”, for which Murdomeek’s observations seem more typical. It sounds like you’ve lots more experience running tournaments than that.
I look forward to hearing your post-mortem on tournament org mechanics.

Yes - That is what I would like to do. The idea is that there is only one MC and that the MC either floats across all four fields, or they hang out on one pair while the other pair runs in their own little quiet world. Every match will not be “announced”; but we will take care to ensure that (for the audience’s benefit and for the team’s pride) every team does get to be in at least one match that is announced.

A crucial part of my plan is being able to exercise full control over the Qual match schedule - I have my own match scheduling software. However, I’m not sure I will be able to convince Tournament Manager to do what I want to do. Wish me luck with that…

We will almost certainly have 2-4 people nipping at the heels of the teams and helping the teams stay synchronized with the actual times of the matches; but I’m not a fan of having pipelines of teams waiting in queues - Show up on time and ready to play.

This was a problem (printed schedule didn’t match actual times) during the Clean Sweep NOVA tournament. Two thoughts: 1) I asked Brad to submit Tournament Manager upgrade that would let us modify the Pit display video to show an “actual next matches times” and to let the tournament staff control the offset between original schedule times and the current desired times. 2) I think we might mount a whiteboard in the pit area and write down the time offset info on the board. Updating it every 15-30 minutes or so might be a simple way to keep things synchronized.

Yeah - This isn’t our first rodeo; but good advice helps keep us thinking straight.

Yep - Me too :slight_smile:


Are you aware that the “Upcoming Match” times displayed on the Pit Display are automatically adjusted by the Tournament Manager as the day progresses? Every time a match is started, the delay between when the match started versus when it was scheduled is calculated and the remaining matches are automatically offset by that amount of time on the pit display (until a break in the schedule is found - which will be used to catch up the matches if possible, which is what most events seem to do). This also works if you happen to be running ahead of schedule.

This feature has been part of the TM for a couple years now.

OK - So I appear to be recalling our conversation fuzzily. In that conversation I and some other event partners were being told that a new feature pertaining to offsets between actual and planned match times was being added to TM. What I recall is that the feature that was described was going to force folks to do arithmetic (combining the original schedule with the displayed offset) to compute the likely start times. If they don’t have to do the arithmetic, that will be good.

Now if we can get TM’s use of wireless networks to become bulletproof so that I can put several Pit displays up using wireless without worrying about the LAN bogging down, this part of the topic might become a done deal.

Thanks for the tip!

Congratulations to the 4 Metal Jackets teams that have signed up. 4 out of our target of 32 = 12.5%.

Let’s keep those registrations rolling in.

PS: Virginia is up to 34 registered team so far. Who can top that? Hawaii? All of NZ?

Our upper north island regional alone should have more than that, let alone our nationals. I don’t recall if any of our scrimmages have surpassed 34 yet this season. Somebody will know

The March tournament in Vancouver will have 55-60 teams – does that count, or are you just asking about fall events?

what about the one at cambie on dec the 4th?
our mentor said there would be 50+ teams :open_mouth:
we’d need A LOT of volenteers

From memory our scrimmages seem to have about 20 each time. Definately haven’t had 34 yet… However, bring on regionals! :smiley:

Guys - Notice that I said VIRGINIA is up to 34 registered teams, not the NOVA tournament.

I’m curious which regions/states are hot-spots for having lots of already-registered VRC teams, not which tournaments are the largest (although that is interesting too).