Re-positioning in the high school game

I was curious what everyone thinks about re-positioning still being legal in the high school game. Vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and post your thoughts.

Honestly, it just defeats the purpose of “AUTONOMOUS” mode.

I agree with this. The idea of being able to re-positioning just eliminates the skill required for teams to be able to create interesting and creative autonomous modes.

I agree. When I go and explain what a “match” is to a sponsor, and I tell them we have an autonomous mode where we program our robots to score, then I show him/her a video of a match and he/she sees us touching our robot and moving it around.

It totally defeats the purpose of “Autonomous”.

Here is the definition of autonomous (found on

au·ton·o·mous [aw-ton-uh-muhs]
self-governing; independent; subject to its own laws only.

I’m not going to vote on this but I do have a few thoughts I would like to share.

Everyone knows the following but I think it worth a recap of last year and the year before. The way the gateway field was setup allowed repositioning to be a significant part of gameplay. In the isolation zone there was a 30" goal next the the alliance starting tile and two other goals within 5 feet of the starting position. In the interaction zone there was again two goals close to the alliance starting tile and many teams had an autonomous routine that went forwards and back to a goal followed repositioning and scoring in a second goal. I saw almost no use of the more advanced sensors such as ultrasonic or line following to do this.

For roundup teams did attempt some real autonomous code as repositioning was not allowed, however, there were a couple of factors which made this difficult. First, was that both game pieces and some of the goals could move. Second, alliance starting tiles were close to each other making the ram autonomous significant. Finally, the rule of entering the opponents starting tile was not in place.

So this year is different.

The two teams start on opposite sides of the field, a much further distance to travel to implement a disruptive autonomous strategy. There is an obstacle in between the alliances, the robot has to fit under the troughs whilst driving over sacks to reach the other side of the field, a trough support is directly between the alliance starting tiles making a simple drive forward autonomous ineffective.

The goals are in fixed a fixed position, unlike roundup, and will IMO be easier to detect with sensors than the gateways goals.

The sacks will also I believe be easier to detect than either the roundup rings or gateways objects, they will not be rolling around as unpredictably. Objects are near the walls making the use of wall tracking and/or line tracking more useful this year.

The goals are not near the alliance starting tiles, a small readjustment of the robot to score will not work this year. At best I could see a robot perhaps repositioned once after having collected some sacks to aim it at the goals.

There are only 15 seconds vs the 20 seconds of other years.

So I think that repositioning has much less impact on the outcome of autonomous for sack attack than it did for gateway. I also think (for the high school game) that the ram autonomous will be ineffective as the distance to travel is too great.

What I’m trying to say is that for the high school game I don’t think repositioning has much impact on the autonomous period one way or the other and that teams who drive back to the starting tile for repositioning may actually be at a disadvantage.

Bingo. With the time you spend repositioning by hand you could be collecting sacks, especially gold sacks, and scoring them. 20 seconds felt like an eternity sometimes, 15 seconds is going to be a perfect amount of time to do one or two big things.

That may be true, however, last time I checked there was still a PROGRAMMING SKILLS challenge. Make a ban on repositioning during programming skills. However, I am tired of reading comments, especially with respect to the college division, where people are saying it “makes kids less inspired.” If you wanted to inspire kids, add a college programming skills challenge where the two robots work together on the opposite sides of the field to score as many points as possible, and during this period repositioning would not be allowed. The key point of an autonomous is not to look cool but to win autonomous mode.There’s time for inspiration and coolness during programming skills. An autonomous that scores while repositioning is just as successful as an autonomous without repositioning. If you truely want to see cool autonomouses, then you should simply take out the autonomous bonus. Then teams might go for the awesome option that might be successful rather than the conservative option that always scores 5 points.

Agreed, Ryan. During our game of “stubots” the other night we observed that it’s likely that a team will only be able to return “home” for “new instructions” once in the 15 second period - see our blog post here for more:

On the general topic, I REALLY like the idea of being able to return to the tile for repositioning because I think you see more teams overall with autonomous period routines - which means fewer totally still robots during autonomous - which means less boring downtime. More moving robots=good for the events! That being said, I’d like to see a way to encourage “non-touching” routines - maybe through a higher value bonus for “non-touching routines” or by assessing a point deduction (-1 would probably work this year) for each time a robot is handled. This would enable all teams to still play in that portion of the game, but also encourage higher achieving teams to shoot for the higher point value.

That’s what I was thinking. That repositioning does have its merits for younger/newer teams. But that having some sort of bonus for never doing it would encourage more experienced teams to actually program. Though I do completely agree with jpearman that repositioning probably won’t have that much of an impact on this year’s game because of the field set up.


I agree with everything you said, but since repositioning won’t make a huge impact on how the game is played why not just get rid of it altogether? This would eliminate the subject completely, and as someone mentioned, eliminate it from programming skills as well. What i fear of programming skills is just a robot that goes from tile to tile without using any sensors whatsoever. Overall, I think that repositioning is just an unnecessary aspect of the game which defeats the purpose of “autonomous.”

I think repositioning should be allowed. It encourages teams to make an autonomous program, and it makes the task easier for less experienced teams.

It also allows teams to easily counteract purely defensive autonomous-es, and gives them a second chance if something were to go wrong with a run.

Our team usually doesn’t have very much time to donate for writing a complex autonomous and programming/mounting sensors. We like to be able to have a simple, effective autonomous run.

VEX should be careful about how it views the results of this thread and poll. This forum mostly represents the most experienced and advanced teams, which is a minority in the VRC (800 out of 5000 total teams). The majority of teams are not going to have the experience or the motivation to add ten sensors and write a hundred lines of code.

Hmm… Well then I would say re-name it the ‘re-positioning’ period. The name ‘autonomous’ implies that the robot is moving on its own.

To everyone saying that it gives new teams a better chance I say this:
How are they learning ANYTHING from this program then? If they can’t learn how to do one of the very things that VEX is trying to teach them? (programming by the way)

I know I am personally going to never use re-positioning this year. Ever.
To me it just seems like I shouldn’t be in this program if I’m not goimg to (quote murdomeek) “do it right”.

I am not trying to bash anyone this is just how I feel. I just really, really encourage teams to refrain from taking the easy path. That being said, O don’t think repositioning will help at all with placement of the objects and goals and time constraints.

PM me if you take offense at anything I said but thats Just how I feel.

The thing is, with the college challenge rules revision, they’re thinking about how the college challenge is supposed to be, well, challenging. College teams are expected to be technically advanced enough to use their coding prowess and advanced sensors to succeed autonomously.

High school, though, has to have a much lower barrier to entry. Once the teams are capable of actually programming a bot to run autonomously, the debate is open for whether they should be allowed or not and what they would learn. However, the many new teams would be at a loss for how to even begin using EasyC/RobotC, let alone doing well in a competition without human input. Teams would be discouraged in a completely autonomous mode where theirs is the only robot that doesn’t run at least something because they’re scared of failing, and that’s something we really don’t want as a growing community. Once they’re up and running though, a bonus for an actually autonomous routine might work.

Guys, don’t argue for an autonomous period because that’s not how you define autonomous. The dictionary definition doesn’t account for the fact that we’re doing a middle/high school/college robotics competition. Argue for the reasons that make it actually worthwhile to be doing it autonomously or not.

LOL my program for gateway was 1400 lines, and would have been much longer if i hadn’t created a function for literally every conceivable thing. :D:D

I also agree that we shouldnt be able to reposition. It definitely takes away from actual “autonomous” mode. But secondly, 15 seconds is not a time period you would want to spend realigning. In the college division since there is a minute of time, i think they could be allowed 1 reposition, but 15 seconds shouldnt require any repositioning after the robot left the square

I think thats the unofficial reason autonomous got cut down to 15 seconds.

For Autonomous, re-positioning will take away from your short/valuable time. It would just be better if you really programmed your robot to score (like in RoundUp).

This year, robots must start completely within their starting tile. This negates teams’ ability to align their autonomous in the direction they may want it before the match, so the only way to do it now is with repositioning, or a turn, which new teams will definitely find intimidating. Even as we are entering our 3rd season, we don’t trust autonomous turns.

Teams that used many sensors in their autonomous for Gateway won awards at Worlds. It’s been said that teams with sensors are likely to be at an advantage over teams that use repositioning. Perhaps repositioning should be allowed as a trap instead of a major advantage, like the new 393 rule. Great programers will just have to find new, innovative ways to stand above the teams that are more tempted to reposition.

I think we should be able to re-position our robot. if we cant it leaves the younger teams in a large pit with spikes in the bottom. think about if you were in there shooes, how would you feal if you knew that the older teams were going to kick your but in auton. especialy since at worlds they anounced that they wanated to get more teams in michigan (correct me if i am wrong) and they will be hung out to dry. so personaly i think that it should be allowed in the high school division.

I know that they changed the rule for college, but i think for high school itshould stay the same.

I feal that vex should close this thread beacuse if they allow people to change one rule, then they will want to change every rule.:slight_smile:

Actually back in my first year, in cleansweep, we created an autonomous that scored 20 points, this was as a sixth grader. Another sixth grader made one that scored about 30 points, he was on my school’s other team.** You are only in that theoretical hole with spikes at the bottom if you don’t try. **

As for closing this thread: Not once in this thread has anyone mentioned changing a rule. It is simply a discussion on the detrimental effects of a rule.
If you close one thread ‘just cause’ then you will close every single healthy debate.
This forum is meant for discussion my friend.