Why did the GDC change the auton bonus?


In the recent 2.0 game manual update, the GDC changed the autonomous bonus from 20 to 6 points. In a game where score can reach into the 100s easily, an extra 6 points seems trivial. If anything, I thought they would raise the point value. I am wondering what prompted the GDC to make this change. I haven’t seen anyone on the forums even hint that they thought the auton bonus was too many points. Now the bonus is practically worthless. Could you give us some insight @Grant_Cox @Jon_Jack ?


It did seem a bit odd to make such a drastic reduction when point spreads can be so high. Intended or not, it seems such a change will likely shift the focus even more strongly to the AWP and then neutral goal snagging. For 6 points… meh.


Just putting this here so it’s documented in a proper thread


I disagree. With the autonomous bonus being absolutely worthless (2 rings, cmon), I think it’s going to become even more critical to gain a majority of goals, leading to maybe more rushing of the middle than before.

Really makes me think that the original intent when it came to autonomous scoring was for it to solely being rings that counted, and now that they’ve reversed course and made goals eligible for points as well, they’re backpedaling on the autonomous bonus as well.

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I generally disagree with both shifts in focus. With a 20 point bonus, it was critical to grab neutral goals to get the extra points, and gain an advantage in the match. With a 6 point bonus, it’s critical to grab neutral goals but only to gain an advantage in the match…

The start of this reply was a little misleading but technically accurate to how I see it. Being, has anyone’s strategies actually changed? Which raises a second question, if no strategies change with this, what was the reason for changing the bonus? Balance? Who knows? Not me lol.


I personally think the AWP is extremely important; last season, I saw a team win every single qual match through #6… and still be placed around 10/11 due to issues with getting the AWP. That could critically impact a team’s standings for alliance selection and for potential Excellence Award, even with winning every match played…

I do think getting those neutral goals will be important as well, and definitely more important than winning the autonomous bonus. I just don’t think teams should discount the benefit of the AWP.


The big difference between last season and this season is that you weren’t really going out of your way to get the AWP last season; it just happened to be along one of the more beneficial autonomous routes anyways, you didn’t have to really “give anything up” to complete it.

This season, it’s a massive difference, with you basically needing to choose between taking the center goals, or completing the AWP and crossing your fingers that the middle goal your routine will attempt to take is still there. The AWP is a good safety net for if you want at least 1WP guaranteed, and there will be some scenarios where you will get the AWP and still win, but the AWP is a much bigger sacrifice this season than it was last, and may make the difference between 1WP and 2.


as we saw in Harvard west lakes 2 robot reveals and marches against each other that the auton of 20 points could make ring focused scoring very viable on a lower level of competition. These “matches” did prove how powerful the auton points could be. A key point is that these where just a 1v1 and not a accurate representation of what matches are and what they could be.

I think while this doesn’t change the auton strategies for high end teams I do think it discourages scoring rings

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I think the reason they reduced the bonus was so that teams that successfully rush neutral goals have less of an overwhelming advantage. Previously, if an alliance grabs 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 3 neutral goals during auton, they will gain that huge advantage, and they will also likely gain the significant 20 point auton bonus. By making the auton bonus near-worthless, it will partially reduce the advantage rushing center has.

But I agree that 6 points is pretty ridiculous in a game where you can easily earn upwards of 200 points.

I think AWP is possibly the most important thing during qualifications matches, with or without the auton bonus being considered. The main goal of qual matches is to rank high, and getting an extra win point goes a long way in doing that.

I would argue this change makes rings more competitive during auton, because you gain less of an advantage by grabbing goals. Sure, you’ll probably lose auton if you don’t go for the neutral goals, but then you can win the AWP and score a bunch of rings on alliance goals instead. This might be a good thing if your opponents aren’t the type of robots that grab goals and then cling to them all match (because then the neutral goals are lost to you forever), but if they’re the type of bots to just drop goals on their side and leave them, going for AWP and rings is probably a good idea.

That 6 point deficit is nothing, 2 rings. But auton hasn’t been made any less important, just a little bit more of a balanced decision I think. It feels weird that the bonus itself is so insignificant, but that’s just because we’re used to it being such a large portion of the available points. But the difference this year is that the advantage you can gain in auton outside of the bonus is staggeringly high, much more so than any other game I’d argue.


That would make sense.

Maybe excluding neutral mogo from the Auton score, instead of reducing the the overall impact of Auton would be better for teams who don’t want to rush the centre but instead collect rings or their alliance mogo. To keep the multiple ways of earning points for the different strategies.


I think I’d agree that this would be the better method of balancing auton objectives, but I think it’s unlikely that the gdc will change their decision at this point, and honestly it’s not really a problem that the auton bonus is so low.


I do think the sequence is impt (and btw I agree with what @TeamTX said).
eg. it makes a big difference of whether you are going for the neutral goals 1st or to bring the alliance goal back 1st.
Maybe this might not be so critical early season, but for high level tournaments, I can imagine many teams will be out to control the neutral goals right from the start. So if the team chose to perform the AWP tasks 1st, before going for neutral goals, it might end up giving the neutral goals to the opponents. But if you wanna make a dash for the neutral goals 1st, then the chances of being misaligned (due to clashes with opponents’ robots) is very high, and you might missed taking in the alliance goal after that.

So you are in a way choosing between going for your AWP or the neutral goals.


this is actually so bad

assume a match with 4 identical kit bots that can only lift 1 mogo. blue has an amazing auton performance and they get 2 of the neutral goals to their side, the red robots stay still. at the end of the match they all park on the platform and red was lucky enough to be able to push one of the neutral goals to their side. they win this match

blue should be rewarded for having the auton prowess that red was lacking. why on earth is this bonus weighted the same as last year, where the max score one could possibly get was 70? (the opponent needing to get 0)

literally, figuratively, and actually trolling

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I don’t know why you guys are complaining. I think vex might be ahead of the curve on this one. the last 2 games have both been decided by auto bonus at high-level competition. I for one am not opposed to that coming to an end.


This is a matter of taste. You think that Blue was better because they had an auton. Red, in the end, controls more game elements at the end of the match. Perhaps Blue would have been better off writing an auton that captured the AWP to mitigate against this outcome. Perhaps Red focused all their time on driver strategy and practice.

There are many trade-offs in this game. I think reducing the points in auton is a good change in this particular game, though I think there were other scoring changes available that would have been good to consider.


This. We were primarily concerned about double or triple rewarding teams that won the goal race. The decision was a side effect of the clarification that mobile goals count in auto. We realized that the original 20pt bonus (equal to an extra mobile goal in your zone) was pretty steep to overcome if you lost the goal race in the beginning. With goals explicitly being allowed, winning the goal race would now mean you:

  • Have a majority of the neutral goals, which means you have a majority of all goals, which means you have more ring scoring potential
  • More mobile goals means you have extra potential for points by having those goals balanced on your platform
  • You’d get a bonus equal to another mobile goal in your home zone. This bonus was equal to nearly 7 rings, which was a significant portion of your ring scoring potential if you lost this race.

These stacked up seemed like a pretty steep hill to climb at the start of teleop. To help reduce this, we lowered the auton bonus down to a value we felt was easier to overcome with smart, strategic game play during teleop and end game.

The auton bonus works best when it’s a tiebreaker in a close match instead of being the reason an alliance won.