Open Letter to the GDC About the Recent Game Manual Updates

I have voted and I hope that everyone else votes as well. Great job @Coffee for doing this.

I have voted and I hope that everyone else votes as well. Great job @Coffee for doing this.

Nothing could have ruined this game more than massive hoarding.

17 of the 18 were clawbots, but they had a lot of differences between them.

I’m fine with no hoarding. 36 inch size limit is annoying, but I can work with that. Absolutley ZERO defense is a game breaker. First thing I thought when I saw the game was , “Wow the defense is going to be really interesting. Offence will also be interesting” The GDC has eliminated the very idea of defense from the game, and as far as I can see, narrowed all designs down to only one specific design. Skyrise had multiple viable metas that changed throughout the year, NBN took a half year to reach meta, Starstruck took a quarter year to reach meta, this year the meta is spelled out in the rules. The game looks more and more like an FTC game as time progresses.

Tbf, all defense isn’t dead, just defense with 2 robots, alot of it is poorly written and unclear about whats actually illegal so until we get more updated q&a’s we’ll just have to wait it out. And i agree, screwing over the Singapore teams like this is not ok

I would say that the rule changes are not necessarily all that bad. It was easy in the 48" rules to completely shut out the other alliance from a massive amount of points. I always think the GDC will move toward a more offensive rule set simply because it encourages more object manipulation, which is a major part of industrial robotics. I was sad that the tilted mobile goal was not allowed as it would have been nicer for the lower funded “steel” teams to not have to build a heavy life to get a large stack. I’m not really sure why they went away from this rule, but I’m sure the GDC thought hard about both positive and negative impacts for this design. I think the Hoarding rule change makes it much more simple to referee this game. I can tell teams at the beginning of the day, “You can’t run into a large group of cones to push them anywhere.” Before it was so subjective on convex vs. concave and hoarding vs pushing. This game is already going to be a nightmare for referees and field reset, let’s not get mad when these volunteers get a little break.

As for large scale convergence, unless teams decide not help others (won’t happen because most VEX students and coaches are amazing), or unless YouTube goes bankrupt (haha!) there will always be major convergence in VEX. It’s a long season, so most designs will be tested and perfected by next April. If I was on a young/inexperienced team and I saw an elite force like 62, 8059, or 80110 machine build something that looks like I could build it then there is no way I wouldn’t go that route. Most people already know that the RD4B with a claw and fast drive is probably going to be the main design. Why? Because it will be effective at playing the game, and if students learn by building “semi-clones” of a 62 machine ,8059 machine, or an 80110 machine then I have no problem with it. Both @meng and @Cameron Schiller both have been extremely willing to share in the past just like @antichamber has been doing this year. Just wait, as bots will be copied from these great teams. Personally this is the ultimate compliment someone can give those teams as it says we can’t build better than what you have.

Remember that VEX isn’t a democracy and that only a boycott or negative publicity are the only things that might change their minds. I don’t really like some of the changes, but if they want to screw up their own game, they should take advice from Valve.

lmao the roast


I want to be clear that all of us on the GDC read these boards. You can consider this the open letter. The GDC is looking at all of the current questions in the official Q&A thread as well.

The competitors in VRC are quite diverse and have a diverse set of opinions. Less than 10% of competitors in VRC are on this forum and even less are active on this forum. We get feedback of all forms and we listen to all of your concerns. We may not agree with all of your concerns, but we do listen.

I believe you will be pleased with some of the clarifications we make in the Q&A. The clarifications we post this week and next will, hopefully, get you through the Summer. We will make rule updates based on these clarifications in the August 15th manual release. And remember, the Aug 15th manual release is considered the final release. We do this for the very reason you have all posted this thread.

Regarding Singapore; all I can say is that I have personally pleaded with our partner in Singapore to move the National Championship much later in the year as their school year can support a later event. However, our EPs have the freedom to set their season schedule. Our manual will be final in August of every year because most Countries’ school year happen similarly enough to the US school calendar.

Now, I am speaking to you as a fellow competitor so please take the text below as that and not as official GDC communication:

Design convergence - This happens for one major reason: a full length season with teams competing at multiple events and subsequently allowed to change their robot. In almost all competitive robotics games (not just VRC) there is one, maybe two, “best design concepts”. Once teams see this concept, they copy the idea and make a “clone”. If our season was 6 weeks of build, then compete, this design convergence would almost be all but eliminated. Also, when you post things like Ri3D and other robot reveals, then more and more people will copy the concept. This is just a fact of competitive robotics life. And this is not a bad thing! The amount of learning and inspiration that happens when teams share ideas is awe inspiring. Design convergence is also a result.

Defense - If you think the rules prevent any real defense, then you have not read the same manual I have.

When talking about design convergence and identical robots I always like to use the example of cars. Just because 2 cars have the same amount of wheels, doors and run on the same fuel doesn’t mean they perform the same. There are still hundreds of innovations a year in the world of cars, some of which turn out not to be worth the effort. Everyone agreeing on basic concepts of car design doesn’t mean all cars are the same. Any half informed person can see the vast differences between 2 cars.

My point is just because everyone agrees that a robot should have a claw DOESN’T mean robots are indistinguishable. Unless of course you often find yourself having trouble figuring out which are is yours among several 4 wheel, 5 seat cars.

And just on a personal note: Tesla is the best car company

Hi @Paul Copioli
It is not exactly true that our school year can support a later event.

Late June/ early July - That’s the period when most of the HS in Singapore will be having our exam. We risk having no HS teams participating if we have it at this period.

Aug to early Sept - It is the season for our National Robotics Competition, which is still the biggest robotics competition in Singapore.
We risk forcing the teams to choose between one of the competitions.

After Sept to Nov - It is the period of our high-stake national exams, etc. No school will want to send their students for any competitions.

Dec - That’s when Asia Pacific is normally held.

So I am really not sure if our school year can support a later date.

I totally agree with you on this though.
There was too a lot of contact and defense going on during the just concluded Singvex.

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@meng do you happen to have any videos? I honestly though this year would be pretty clear of defence and id love to know what to expect

I do have some footages. Not the best quality .
But as usual, I will need to get clearance from the teams involved before posting videos.

Anyway, let’s keep singvex discussions out of this thread.

Except for those 4 skills events in February aye? If your schools and EP can manage skills events late season there really isn’t any valid reason to run a national championship in June.

Maybe there should be a rule that says skills events after a championship don’t count towards worlds qualifications slots?

My understanding is the skills events are hosted locally for a small amount of teams. It seems like a rule change like that would just be singleing out Singapore for no reason.

Why though? What benefit would this change have?

Provide a dis-incentive for EPs to schedule their championships in June maybe? The argument has always been the students are unable to compete unless it’s June but they all seem to be available in February which is when many other regions hold their final events. Doesn’t add up.

If, after holding their events this way for some period of time, they now switch to a spring final, it seems an entire class of students (those graduating from MS to HS or from HS) would be prevented from competing as their peers had. It seems to me we might reasonably assume they can rightly say “we’ve been doing it this way, and changing it would be very disruptive.”

Or we could go with “something is fishy here, and somebody’s getting something they shouldn’t.”

Somehow, I doubt that one is true.

So you think those students get everything they can out of the program in a matter of weeks?

And when the boss man says

you do have to wonder