Wall Structures - Resting on Floor or Mat? - Take 2


In this question

The questioner mingles two separate questions. One is a question about how the fields used at the World Championship are likely to be constructed. the other is about what the rules have to say about walls (field perimeter walls) that might sit on top of mats (the foam tiles) vs walls that might sit on a floor along with the mats.

In your answer (quoted below) believe you only answered the first question (how RECF expects to construct them at the Worlds), and did not intend to imply any change in the legal field perimeter dimension or composition variations. I want to confirm that my belief is correct.

Here is the answer that was given.

I am asking this because I been known to set field walls on top of a 6x6, 7x7 or 8x8 grid of uncut foam tiles. I have also been known to construct walls out of materials (PVC pipe) that are thicker than the roughly 1" thick heavy steel walls that Vex sells in their field perimeter kit. In these cases the field walls rested on the tiles; but all field dimensions were accurate to within the tolerances allowed by the rules.

Having the freedom to do this (see the previous paragraph), and not being locked into buying several expensive, heavy and bulky field perimeters is one of the low barriers to entry that makes the VRC program very attractive to start-ups, and that made my local area able to afford participating in it for the first couple of years we were experimenting with the program.

So, just to be clear, if the Field perimeters at the VRC World Championship did sit on something/anything that raised them 1/4 to 1/2 inch higher than the platforms/floors supporting the fields, the result would still definitely be a legal field; and a team that did not anticipate variations in field dimensions would not be interpreting the rules correctly. Particularly this one



PS: Having last season’s Clean Sweep wall (that split the field into Red and Blue sides) so intimately tied into the nominal/typical field design and construction techniques created problems for anyone using different materials to create legal fields. Also, the goals in some previous games have assumed that all fields are made one and only one way.

Hopefully the RECF and GDC will avoid creating those sorts of problems in the future by taking into account the legal field construction variations that are possible and consequently attempting to decouple the game element details from any single assumed field construction technique.

It is important to preserve the option of building low-cost legal fields, and to not fall into the habit of implying that fields constructed from the kit sold by Vex are the only official/legal fields.

First, the question was asked about Worlds, and that’s how I answered.

Second is that some game components **will **fasten to the walls, and any non-VEX made alternate field needs to allow for that. I think it would unnecessarily restrict the range of possible games to never have anything that attaches to the walls, and, in fact, four of the five VEX games I’ve played have required a wall-attached element (and the fourth required the custom construction of movable goals, a much bigger project).

Third, as a VRC program mentor the long-term cost of ownership of our VEX-made field has been pretty low. It’s now nearly five years old, and it shows every sign of lasting forever. I think we paid $600 for it, and it has served over 150 Exothermic students in addition to being loaned out to tournaments in two states and a Canadian province. It breaks down into 4-foot lengths, and one minivan can carry the whole field plus a half-dozen robots at once. I know that an OSB or PVC field would be more difficult to move and setup, and probably would not have lasted this long. I’m not arguing that acquisition cost is not an important factor, only that it isn’t the only one. Anything that gets students engaged is great – including fields made of spaghetti strands if that is all that is available.

Good! I’m glad you can confirm that you were focused on the fields they can expect to see at the Worlds and not on a general interpretation of the rules.

One quibble - I’m not sure how you know a PVC field would be more difficult to move and setup. The PVC + Pegboard perimeter I created is far lighter, more compact, easier to transport and faster to set up or tear down (using nothing more than bare hands and a few zip ties). - Try one sometime, you might like it.