Online Challenges 2014-2015

We are working on the Online Challenges for next season. You are a bright bunch, what would make a good challenge for the next season? Remember that Online Challenges should generate entries that encourage STEM and robotics competition, can generate a result that can be seen online, and can be judged in a few minutes.

Specifically, we will probably have the Game Animation Challenge again. What shapes would be interesting challenge objects?

Could you do a “design a new vex part” contest and the winners part would be created and sold by vex?

How about the most practical robot. Teams have to create a robot that can he most applicable to the real world. And the robot has to be made from legal vex parts.:slight_smile:

This is a fantastic idea, provided you don’t require VEX to design the part. Way too much obligation there.

I think a very challenging online challenge would be to have students create a playable VEX game next year, instead of (or in addition to) the animation. Similar to RobotC Virtual Worlds. Maybe have a really easy game, involving just pushing objects around the field?

Just an idea.

That would be really cool to see the designs, and make teams try and decide what actually needs to be added to the parts list we can already use. I don’t know if VEX would be able to manufacture the part easily, depending what it is, but maybe the design could be then worked with the VEX team and something similar could then be incorporated into a new team?

From off the top of my head.

Game objects…
-Plastic plates and bowls.
-Hula hoops.

Challenge ideas…

The bomb squad challenge:
Where teams create a robot and make a video describing how their robot can successfully remove a soda can from a building.

I second the make a new vex part challenge.

The robot reveal video challenge:
Where teams submit a robot reveal video of their competition robot.

Hmm…maybe a VEX Software Design Challenge? With some user created software and applications already available to the community like PROS and ConVEX, scouting databases, and virtual game simulation software, it might be interesting to see what other user created programs could appear as the result of this.

I would like that a lot. People only think of robots as mechanical, but there is another side to it also.

Exactly! One of the growing demands in modern robotics systems is sophisticated software engineering. You can have a beautifully built robot that is 100% mechanically sound, but without a good program behind it, you only have yourself a lovely paperweight.

But yeah, a software design challenge would be interesting and fun

Yes, I really like that idea!

And maybe take it a bit further, so teams need to develop a real product concept with things like production cost and distribution.

Although it would be nice, I doubt VEX would do a guaranteed production for the winning part. I do hope they would consider the ideas, and maybe even pledge to produce at least one of the entries.

I was just wondering what program do you guys use for your game animations?

I drew each frame by hand for my animation.

Could I see it?

I used blender. You could import models from inventor but I didn’t do that.

Game Object Suggestions:
-Coins: small, flat cylinders
-Cubes with different faces
-Portions of a sphere: hemisphere, wedges (like fruit), etc.
-Plastic Cards, with or without different faces, not necessarily rectangular
-Random compound objects: Chain links, balls with pegs (organic chemistry!), garden gnomes (plastic, ofc :D), limpets (“ribbed” cones with suction cups), rubber chickens/squids

Just for fun:
Challenge “Themes” based on challenge objects might add some sense of aesthetics to the task.
For example, Toss Up might have a “Beach Theme” attached to it, and animations of Toss Up may have the option to add scenery in the form of palm trees, sand-textured ground, and brighter-than-usual lights. Thus, students would have to look at and model scenery rather than making “blank rooms”.

575’s 2012-13 challenge entry, for example, used urchins, and had an “Ocean Theme”. We had to get crafty in an attempt to model water ^___^

I know that many teams in the animation challenges do this on their own already, but perhaps adding a challenge obstacle as to the list of challenge objects would make it interesting as well. Of course, there’d be constraints on the challenge obstacle as well, like the game objects.

As for challenge object ideas…

  • pipes
  • wireframe objects (balls, prisms, etc.)
  • dodecahedrons
  • birdies/shuttlecocks
  • hourglasses

Bringing back the clean sweep/swept away footballs would be pretty cool as well.

I use Autodesk 3ds Max, along with the mental ray renderer.

We would like another robot construction challenge like the trophy robot from this year. It’s fun to be able to build a non-competition robot that is designed to do something other than play that year’s game. Perhaps an animal-like robot challenge.

I like this idea a lot. Just another opportunity to solve a challenge with VEX would be pretty fun. Almost alternate Virtual Worlds challenges.

This would be great too. It would really open some people’s eyes as to just how much software goes into robotics. Software is one of those things that can separate the good teams from the great ones.


maybe a small challenge similar to the essay challenge for photographs ?