Virginia states problem

This is team 2145Z and we would like to address some problems found at the Virginia State Competition. Before we start with the problem, we would like to thank Nova Systemics for hosting such a great competition. The event is very well run but there is one issue. The fields are off by about 2 degrees on many of the goal zones. Although this sounds minor, it has made stacking more than 9 cube stacks almost impossible. This is such a big problem because teams that have high stacking robots cannot put stacks down. This has effected us and many other teams who have high cube capacity while benefiting teams with lower cube capacities. This makes the competition feel pointless as the best teams have a huge disadvantage, which in some ways defeats the point of hosting the competition in the first place, to find the best teams. Similar conditions were apparent at Night At the Museum, but not nearly as bad (as this was hosted by the same organization).
We aren’t complaining, as this states tournament has no effect on whether or not we go to worlds, but we hope that this issue can be fixed for the future (for other games) and that things change, especially by worlds. This is the purpose of writing this forum post.
Thanks for your time and I hope this issue can be resolved, we have no intentions of causing any conflicts.
This forum post is supported by teams:
(And likely many other Virginia teams not listed)


I completely agree you must have a very good programmer


Definitely support this post, sounds like a big issue. How are the goal zones off? Are they at an angle?


Yes they are at an angle meaning they aren’t parallel to the ground

Just as a general comment - the forum is not really the place to address event-specific problems. Those need to be brought up with your Event Partner (EP) and your Regional Support Manager (RSM), if your intent is to have this addressed by people in the RECF in a “fix it for the future” way. The forum is just the place you go to commiserate about it…

It is unfortunate that you encountered such issues at a major event! I wonder if they would consider this within field tolerance specifications? Regardless, I would have hoped that this would be brought to the EP’s attention at the beginning of the event and steps taken immediately to rectify.


The mats are at an angle.

i guess the goal was to more of not complain about this event (as we already told the ep) and try to ensure this doesn’t happen again, especially at worlds when it matters.

I will be blunt - what does “off by 2 degrees on many of the goal zones” mean with regards to the Game Manual? Please specify how this relates to field setup in a more precise manner.

As for flawed implementation of fields - in terms of precedence, QCC2 faced a similar situation in Skyrise - they had to adapt to field conditions that were outside what game manual stated at Worlds.

So my question - what do you mean off by two degrees? relative to what?

I am not advocating that EPs should be able to set up fields on an incline plane of their choosing… Hypothetically, if we were to host an event on a cruise ship - would it be unfair to have matches while the ship was pitching?

I would think that a team who anticipates varying conditions of events would have a competitive advantage to teams who only considered ideal conditions - e.g., no wind, no varying light sources, …


Well the fields were not parallel, they were at a 2 degrees angle from horizontal. (So imagine a horizontal plane on the x y axis and then a plane that intersects this plane at an angle of 2 degrees and this was what we were scoring on). I understand that adapting to field tolerances should be something teams take into consideration, but the field not being level has made it almost impossible in some case to score more than 9 cubes, as stacks simply fall down due to gravity pulling them down. This isn’t adaptable too, as high cube stacks simply fall down.

I measured it being 2 degrees off with my and other phones to confirm, using the measuring app.

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There is no specification for “degrees”. You must define tolerances in units defined by the Game Manual - that was the decision of GDC in Skyrise at Worlds … if the situation is thee same for all teams from start of competition, there is no remedy to rerun all matches…

I know this is not what you want to hear - but that is the situation you have been dealt. Adapt. Teams in Skyrise had to first identify what the problem was, and then adapt to the situation at Worlds.

So questions:

  • When did you figure out this problem? (match 1 or match 10?)
  • When did you make EP aware of situation? (match 1 or QM 200?)
  • Did you do anything to adapt?
  • Did anyone else adapt?
  • Were there teams that were not affected?
  • Who did better?

Lots of questions…

Maybe the approach of having ideal field assumption does not work…

Maybe a design that deals with errors better is the approach to take…

Did you model unideal situations?

Engineering has a lot of variables outside your control - better engineers handle such situations better …


I’m certain this was addressed and told to all of the involved parties by the head referee and division manager, as I was there to witness it.

The appropriate people were notified and rest assured, people were told it would be worked on.


do you mean that the goal zones were sort of floating above the tiles? you can fix this problem by sort of bending the goal zone mounting brackets up, then the field perimeter will press the goal zone into the tiles.

No i mean the actual field wasn’t level or parallel to the ground.

We didn’t make this post to change stuff at this event we just wanted to raise awareness for the future. Not just Virginia comps but in general, especially at worlds qualifying events.

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ok 2 degrees is significant for big stacks then. I’m assuming raised fields, is there any way the field riser can be leveled? adjustable legs?
best way to prevent this from happening is just to make sure you can adjust your field risers to keep the fields level.

which rule says there is a level or parallel to ground?

Game manual rule or field specification please.

I am not being difficult - but really there is no mention in field specification to parallel to ground either in Game Manual or Field Specification appendix.


you could argue that one corner of the field being higher than the other corner due to the tilt is out of the ± half inch(or one inch, I forget) tolerances.

but really you don’t need a rule to tell you that fields should be level, events should just try their best to make them level.


This isn’t an issue with the ±1 inch tolerance, rather we just believe that having the field at a slant is wrong and should be fixed. If it’s something so big that effects many of the best teams at the tournament negatively I think it should be fixed, regardless if it’s “legal” within the rules. Making it impossible (to score big stacks) in the only way possible to score for this game is simply unfair.
Once again this isn’t about trying to say this was illegal and that everything should be redone. My point is that this needs to be fixed, and problems like this need to be avoided or handled better in the future, especially for an event like worlds. I’m not trying to change our day as this has had no effect on whether we go to worlds or not. Rather, id just like to make a difference and prevent this from affecting future competitions.


As much as I would usually agree with making a design adaptable to outside variables, in a game like Tower Takeover where the main objective is to score stacks, if the scoring zone is unable to be scored in in the first place, then it’s near impossible to predict/avoid the issue using design. Stacks are scored with cubes on top of another; if the bottom cube isn’t level because of the floor (and it says in the rules that the bottom cube must be basically resting flat on the floor in order for the stack to count) then the rest of the stack wont be level, and it will fall. We can’t place anything under the stack, and adjusting each cube individually to balance the stack isn’t possible for a typical VEX robot, so I don’t really see how designing around it would even be possible.

which rule says there is a level or parallel to ground? Game manual rule or field specification please.

This argument I feel is invalid. Does this mean if the field was shaped like a parabola, it would technically be" “legal” and competitors should have no problem with it?


No, you stated the field was not level to the ground by two degrees. Absolutely no rules about that. All measurements in Field appendix are relative to the plane of the field.

If you have an issue with this - please post to Official Q&A.

If it is an emergency, then contact your RECF RSM for the event.

However, I would discourage making any changes now that many matches have been played. That would be unfair to teams that have already played and would be consistent with the decisions at Worlds during Skyrise when a similar situation arose.

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