Speculation/Ideas for 2013-2014 game

Big game object paired with a small & medium sized game object would be an interesting challenge.

A thought just occurred to me. I know it would be very expensive, but it would be cool to see a game with multiple levels/stories. There would be a 12’x12’ playing surface, and then a ramp leading up to another level (made out of a clear material, like polycarbonate) standing above the playing surface. Teams would have to deal with climbing up a ramp, and the polycarb surface would make teams have to adapt to driving on multiple terrains. It would also give the field more area without expanding beyond 12’x12’.

It would also be interesting to see a game without alliances (perhaps named “VEX Free-For-All”).

Atlas ball anyone?

For those who haven’t researched games of long ago, he’s referring to this:

Woah, throwback! This game was awesome and I want hanging to come back to smaller scale robots. I wish i competed in Round up for this reason only.

  • Andrew

The season isn’t longer by too much. The VRC game is released in May while the FTC game is released in September. That’s 3-4 months, most of which is summer time. And let’s be honest, it’s not like teams are taking advantage of all the extra time. So the say the season is ‘longer’ is true, but I don’t think that’s neither here nor there.

Once again, both of the seasons are so long, I doubt they’re profit is that much greater for releasing the game a little earlier. The same number of teams need to buy new parts, new game pieces, upgrades, etc.

Additionally, while I’m sure profit ranks high on the list of things “VEX” considers while making a decision, I believe that if there was a legitmate reason to make the season shorter, we would see it happen. Right now, there’s absolutely no reason to do it.

  • Sunny G.

I second this. It would be an awesome to see this.

I might have to take this idea and apply it in Roborally.

Personally I would love those 3-4 months to take a mental break and not have to think about the game.

There are many reasons to make it shorter, but I doubt those reasons out weigh the reasons to keep it long. At least to VEX.

You’re mixing up your organizations.

The VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) is run by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, which is a 501©(3) non-profit organization. The VRC rules specify primarily the use of components from VEX Robotics, Inc.

FTC is run by FIRST, which is also a 501©(3) non-profit organization. FTC rules specify primarily the use of components from Pitsco, Inc. and Matrix Robotics, Intl. (both of which are for-profit companies).

Thus, as you can see, both competitions are structured the same way, so I believe your statement above is incorrect.

My assumption is that a big part of the reason VRC releases its game in the Spring is because VRC has a large number of international teams, and other parts of the world attend school during the time of year that the USA has “summer break”. Thus releasing the game in the Spring allows those parts of the world to work on VRC during their school year. I believe FTC is much smaller than VRC internationally so maybe they don’t pay as much attention to regions outside of North America.

You don’t HAVE to keep thinking about the game. You have chosen, however, to do so.

That is because I like to win. I do not want to enter into competition unprepared.

Lets go a little bit further back in history.

VRC is created by VEX (IFI), not the RECF. The RECF has only recently gotten involved in the management (2010). VEX has partnered with RECF with the management and organization of VRC. VEX just wasn’t designed to run a competition that was growing at a huge huge rate. If you remember when VEX and FIRST split, FTC was a huge price tag just to play (still does). VEX on the other hand put a very small price tag on competitions, stating that they make all their money from the products they sell, and didn’t seek to make big money off competitions.


I am sure that is a one of the many reasons to goes into the release at Worlds. They started this tradition of releasing games at Worlds with the release of Clean Sweep. I am sure this tradition will continue, as it is kind of expected now.

This conversation really belongs in another thread, and I didn’t intend for this thread to be hijacked by one little comment 20 some posts ago. I will not reply to this specific subject again.

Lets get back to speculation/ideas

I said this before, but I don’t think it was noticed. What if there was a game that featured the removal of alliances? It could be titled “VEX Free-For-All.”

I find that really interesting…
There wouldn’t be anymore good teams brought down in the rankings because their partner fell over or they were paired with the protobot, or a team that gets a series of really good partners and doesn’t deserve to be in the top eight.

How would elimination rounds work?

Maybe Qualification rounds are solo, and Eliminations are a modified version of the game with some crazy variable and Alliances…
I repeat, Atlas ball anyone?:D:D

Yeah, I think alliances would have to come back again for the eliminations, unless the teams with the top 2 scores in the match were considered the winners.

Might as well have coopertition:)

This isn’t the case for everyone - mentors have to be around if their team meets in the early season, and if there are early competitions then the usual volunteers have to be available to run them. For people who volunteer a lot of time to the teams they help out, I can see how a holiday for a couple of months each year would be nice.

I don’t know whether you missed my point or not. My point wasn’t that a 16’ x 8’ field is inherently any less able to fit in a room than a 12’ x 12’ one. It was that because it is different, teams that have made arrangements based around the need for 12’ x 12’ of floor space will need to make new arrangements based around a different space requirement. It’s already difficult for a lot of teams to get space for a field without changing its dimensions every year.

Yes teams would manage, but it would be annoying. In a lot of cases it would involve teams not getting as much use out of their equipment as they expected to get when they paid for it. That 's always going to be frustrating for a team on a limited budget.

Like I said, I think there’s plenty of room left to innovate within the standard parameters of the VEX game. Yes, it limits the set of potential VEX games that can be made, but I don’t think that’s a problem because with only six games made so far there are still hundreds of new and exciting ones waiting to be created that would fit within 12’ x 12’.

I like this idea. It introduces an entirely new constraint that teams haven’t been forced to design to before, without adding any barriers to competition that didn’t previously exist.

This would be interesting in its own right, but I like the fact that it is possible to see emerging trends in tournaments leading up to Worlds and adapt to them in preparation for Worlds itself. Changing the game at the last minute would probably increase diversity but would come at the cost of metagaming. Personally I think I like it the way it is.

I’m not sure that there is that much of a need to separate the designers from the copy cats, as you put it. At Worlds AURA played two thirds of our matches, including all the most difficult ones, against a single design (the “NZ bot”, although most of the ones we played were from Mexico). I don’t think the credit for that design belongs exclusively to any one team, because the components of it were added separately and at different times by different people. AURA’s contribution was being the first team in VEX and the only team in Round Up to use the six-bar linkage lift that became ubiquitous during the Gateway season. (Unfortunately I think we probably robbed a lot of high school teams of the opportunity to solve the 30" challenge for themselves. We found it a tricky problem for quite a while and we had fun solving it in various ways).

At this year’s Worlds I don’t think anyone from AURA really resented the fact that other teams were using one of “our” innovations against us, or that we had played a part in designing the robot we were using while other teams hadn’t. The way VEX works currently is you win by building a winning robot design very well, putting a lot of time into programming and practice, and putting a lot of thought into strategy. Unless you choose to be very secretive about your designs, inventing new things gets you some recognition and a slight head start but won’t by any means take you all the way. I’m happy with that. The system you’re talking about would weight invention higher and things like strategy and driver practice lower. That’s also valid and would lead to a competition that was interesting in different ways, but I quite enjoy the on-field strategy element and the increased robot performance that the current regime enables.

As for which one achieves the goals of VEX and RECF better, I might have to concede the point. Your suggestion would decrease the emphasis on craftsmanship and increase the emphasis on design, which I think is more important in inspiring the right sorts of future STEM professionals.

I am a mentor, volunteer, event partner, and teacher. I never can stop working. =]

I will say not as many people are the pioneers to ideas like your team, and I don’t think anyone can deny that. I took a bunch of pictures of your robot at Worlds this year, loved it. Your design really was what I think is being achieved in VEX right now. Pretty much everyone had a similar design this year, it really came down to the slight variations and tweaks that showed the winning design that came through.

It is very easy to build a design if you don’t have to engineer it yourself, just follow a couple of pictures online. Example, that planetary that was big on the forums a couple of weeks ago, really easy to build following the pictures. But a lot of the engineering process and learning is lost. I am not at all saying this applies to your team, as your team is pretty much the pioneer of all the major winning designs.

And maybe this year really was just a extreme case of this, as I don’t remember them all being quite so homogeneous in round up.

I know a lot of people like seeing the design process and community like you do, and that wouldn’t go away. The idea I posted would be a slight change, nothing game breaking. With gateway, making the middle goal 36" inches tall. This wouldn’t have broken the game, but added just one extra challenge to the game for anyone who wished to risk making changes 1-2 months out from the competition.

I guess coming from the FRC background, I am so used to the surprise of going to a competition and seeing 40-60 different designs all at once. And many times saying to myself, why didn’t we think of that.

This year I am very hopeful though, as there are so many different options in how to play this game that I suspect there will be way more than 1 major design.

I doubt VEX would ever implement this idea anyway, but that is the point of this thread, speculations and ideas.

How about an idea steal from FRC. The minibot. While I don’t think you could do an actual minibot that detached from your robot, you could do something similar to the objective, climbing a pole. Have a pole on the wall that you could attach to, and send part of your robot up to the top before end of game for extra points.

Could have rules like
*]Only 2 motors
*]Must run a single bundle of cords up to motors
*]Must be able to go down pole when unpowered

Minibots were a very terrible aspect of that game… However I have seen very well implimented minibots for the FTC game this year. It allowed for multitasking of the robot and if it had a lift would have been quite a robot to recon with. The idea of a race for minibots is annoying, however the idea of multitasking minibots well that idea intrigues me in many ways.

  • Andrew