Robot Skills is now the sum of Driver Skills and Programming Skills

On the VRC threads, and listening to the event partner live stream, Driver Skills and Programming Skills will now be combined to make a single event award of Robot Skills for this season. The score used for the award, and the World skills rank, is the sum of your best Driver and Programming skills runs from a single tournament.
Interesting change.

I like this because it adds the judge’s award to the standard set of awards given out. I would have liked to give out the judge’s award at events that I’ve hosted but never had enough teams to offer awards beyond the standard set. I also like that this change encourages teams to focus more on programming.

However I do feel that the top skills scores, especially programming skills, deserve recognition. It would be nice if there was still an option to print an award certificate for the top skills scores (there may be for all I know, haven’t checked TM).

What we decided to do was start offering the Think Award at all of our events since it is also a programming centered award.

Does this mean that there would no longer be separate “Programming Skills” and “Robot Skills” world champions? Just 1 world champion, for “Skills”?

Assuming that there will be one combined skills award, does anyone know what the reasoning was behind this change?

At many competitions one of the Tournament Champions is also the Robot Skills winner. When that happens Robot Skills seems like a redundant award for ‘best robot’. Although the Robot Skills award is not shared, and unlike Tournament Champion can go to a robot that was not designed to work well with a partner. So that might justify reducing the prominence of Robot Skills, or removing it altogether.

However, what would the reasoning be for diminishing the stature of Programming Skills? Shouldn’t we be attempting to increase its importance? Perhaps there is another reason for combining the awards that I’m missing.

That is how I understood it at the EP Summit.

This was my initial reaction at the EP Summit as someone who already encourages strong programming but I was in the (vast) minority.

The intent seems to be to encourage more teams to participate in programming and participate sooner in the season. We discussed a possible weighting of programming/driver but I do not think it will be implemented this year (or possibly at all.) In VRC the addition of AP should encourage teams to have stronger programming as well.

Most people at the summit thought the changes will elevate the level of programming as a whole and were having problems convincing teams to participate in programming, especially in IQ.

The other thing this change does is add another judged award to the pool that will typically be given at events.

The intent seems to be to encourage more teams to participate in programming and participate sooner in the season. We discussed a possible weighting of programming/driver but I do not think it will be implemented this year (or possibly at all.)

It would be great if more teams got into programming as a result of this change. We’ll see how it plays out. Hopefully, the results will be monitored and measured with empirical data, like the percentage of teams that participated in programming year over year.

An event partner may buy trophies and give out any award they choose. The standard set is just that – a minimum set of trophies to make things easy for you. When I run a VRC tournament I always end up giving 4-6 extra awards. You can also create your own awards, including printing certificates. RECF primarily cares about the qualifying awards, everything else is up to you. Good luck this season.

I think it is equally likely that this will reduce overall participation in skills because teams that might have excelled at the old Robot Skills competition (now Driver Skills) but were not very good at programming might now not do either. I think it could go either way, and this is a pretty bold experiment. The data are out there – and the kids in VRC will have all the numbers crunched by the end of the season, at least for VRC. VEX IQ students are probably less-sophisticated at programming, but their mentors aren’t…

Is there a way to access the data for all events in one place (read only)? The only way I know of is to go to each event in RobotEvents and download the CSV files. Aggregating the data for an entire season would be quite cumbersome.

I think this is a good change overall. For VRC, AP is now used as the first tiebreaker as well. The REC Foundation is making a big push for programming. I think that the cost for ROBOT C is part of the problem at the elementary level, and perhaps a light version with just graphical IQ would be a good product.

There is already a high-end Python-based programming option for VEX IQ (and VEX EDR). Check out Robot Mesh Studio Blockly at This environment is unique in that the Blockly programming language generates and downloads Python code to the VEX IQ Brain. As students get more comfortable with programming, they can transition from Blockly to Python in the same environment. They can even start a project in Blockly and then copy-and-paste it into a Python project for further development. Give it a try, it’s free.