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dlavery
05-15-2008, 11:50 AM
Well, we are back and it is that time again. It has been a month since the FIRST Championships, and you have had some time to reflect on what worked about FIRST Overdrive, and what didn't. A few discussions have already started up with questions about what next year's competition might be like. Well, this is our annual request for your input, and your annual opportunity to influence the design of the game for next year.

The FIRST Game Design Committee is spinning up and working on design ideas for the 2009 game challenge. They are looking for good ideas, game concepts, rule suggestions, play field designs, etc - everything from a basic idea for a game to a set of detailed rules and parts drawings to a completely restructured tournament concept. With that thought in mind, we would like to once again ask for your help and open a thread to discuss ideas, concepts, and specific suggestions for the 2008 game.

We have read all the related CD threads posted to date discussing FIRST Overdrive. There is no need to re-hash the pros and cons of prior games, or get too deep into philosophical discussions about previous years. Please keep those comments going, and please provide feedback on the 2008 game at the Team Forums. But please keep them in the relevant threads. Here, we want to figure out how to go forward and help build an exciting, challenging, stimulating and engaging competition for next year.

As always, here is what we can guarantee: EVERYTHING that you suggest will be read, discussed, and considered. Nothing will be ignored.

Here is what is not guaranteed: There is no promise that anything that is suggested will actually get used. For any of a number of reasons, the suggestions may be impractical, incompatible, or impossible to implement, and would not be incorporated into future games.

So, here are the ground rules (in no particular order or assumed priority):

- The game should provide a sufficiently difficult challenge that it will stress the abilities of the students and engineers on the teams to design and build a solution.

- The game should allow active participation by teams with widely-varying levels of resources.

- The game should be interesting to play, involving some tactical and strategic depth, and without a single, predictable solution strategy that guarantees a win.

- The game should be audience friendly and presumably TV-friendly (i.e. you can explain the basics of game to a TV audience in 30 seconds or less, it is easy to follow and exciting for the audience, and visually interesting for the duration of the match).

- Any field elements must be able to be constructed from readily available materials (ask yourself this question "can I buy all the parts at Home Depot, Lowes or Builders Square?"). Field elements that can be disassembled into 48x96 inch (or smaller) units that stack against a wall for storage are encouraged; field elements that require seventeen people to move or a small house to store are discouraged.

- The game should embody the values represented by FIRST (i.e. brings out the best aspects of a competitive spirit, advances the concept of mentorship within the team during the build and competition phases, does not promote needless destruction or violence, celebrates creative and imaginative solutions).

- The game should be structured so that ingenuity of design is just as important (or even more so) than advanced fabrication.

- There are no assumptions about the need for three-team alliances, limiting each round to just six teams, play fields in a single plane, real-time radio communications, etc.

- There is a preference (but not a requirement) for robots to have both offensive and defensive roles in the game. There is a preference (but not a requirement) for a role for the human player.

Also, understand that we are soliciting ideas for more than just the game itself. We want to hear about different concepts for alternate technologies and capabilities that might be incorporated into (or removed from) the game, and the structure of the competitions themselves. In particular, we are looking for ideas that would take advantage of the capabilities of the new control system that was unveiled at the Championship in April. To help spark thinking and create a structure for focused discussion, two discussion threads are being created to start things off. These threads will include:

1. Game concepts - this thread is intended for fully developed game ideas. It is intended to collect complete game concepts, as well as be an opportunity to discuss and refine posted concepts. This thread can also be used to discuss possible themes to drive game design, ideas for unique game elements and subtasks, creative ideas for the role of the human player, and innovative ways to structure tournament play. Such discussion will take place in this thread (here).

2. New control system technologies - a thread to present ideas for utilizing the new capabilities that are offered by the new control system that will be introduced in 2009. If there is a control system capability that you always wanted to see highlighted in the game – different development environments, more processing power, alternative communications schemes, new sensor compatibility, enhanced I/O options, etc. and how they can be utilized - this is the place to discuss how those capabilities could be used in the 2009 game. Likewise, while autonomy need not be a part of a specific game, creative uses of autonomous components in any game are sought. Ideas about new drive technologies or inter-robot communications may be reviewed. This discussion will take place here (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=748348).

Understand that this will be a one-way valve for information (for a while at least). There will not be a formal response from FIRST regarding any of the ideas or concepts discussed here. If a suggestion is incorporated into the game, you will not receive any feedback or know about it until the game is revealed next year. If it is not incorporated, you may never hear why (because we will be saving any ideas not used in 2009 for possible use in future games).

If at any time during this year's competition you thought "if I had designed the game I would have done it like this..." then here is your chance! We know that if there is a single place to go for this sort of input, it will be this forum! Let us hear your thoughts.

- 2009 FIRST Game Design Committee

JesseK
05-15-2008, 01:05 PM
Incorporating all of these ideas into one game could become very complicated, so I will try to break them up so that they are modular. Note that I have only seen FRC games from 2005 through 2008.

Have two different sizes or two different shapes for game pieces. This will allow a 3-tiered offensive design strategy that teams may employ based upon their creativity, skill, and experience. Novice teams may chose to only pick up the "easiest" piece, intermediate teams the "harder" piece, and veteran (or ambitious) teams will pick up both. The use of two game pieces implies two different tasks, however one game piece may be used for the end game whereas the other may be rugged and intended for most of the gameplay.

There may be a part of the field that is either blocked from view of the drivers or at least very obstructed from view. When a robot enters that zone, the human player may (via IR remote control again) tell the robot to perform some function that will greatly aid the alliance in the end game. This not only forces teams to prepare for the end-game ahead of time but also re-incorporates an active human player during tele-operated mode.

Flying game pieces are exponentially more exciting than game pieces that are placed. This was particularly apparent this year when 4 trackballs were hurdled at the same time by 4 different teams. Philly got very LOUD during the two Final matches that this happened.

Finally, I would like to see two separate surfaces for the playing field. Regardless of elevation, I would like to see one solid ("slick") surface in addition to the normal carpeted surface. This allows for variations in design decisions about drive trains without there being one "best" drive train. If the surface were elevated 1 foot, accesible via non-carpeted inclines (~12 degrees over ~3 feet), defense-style bots could play "king of the mountain".

dtengineering
05-15-2008, 01:19 PM
Well, my first suggestion is "keep doing whatever it is you are doing", because we've had a great time playing the games over the past five years. But since this is a request for suggestions and ideas... kind of an online brainstorming session, let me pass along a few ideas that I have thought might make for good games:

Game Pieces: A number of ideas have come to mind, most prominently old car tires because I have to walk past a rack of them going from shop to shop here at school. Cheap, indestructible, readily available, lots of different ways to grip them and they are "about the right size". I believe "milk crates" (the plastic crates in which milk cartons are shipped) meet similar criteria.

The Field: The field can get a bit crowded at times with six robots on it, but I wouldn't want to have any fewer qualifying matches. I think opening up the playing field a bit would allow not only for some interesting field elements (like the platform and bar in 2004) but would allow for a more 'open' game. An additional benefit to a wider field would be that there might be room for a "goal" or other opening in the wall between the alliance stations. Varying the traction surface in different areas might also be interesting. Perhaps a "sandbox" filled with washed gravel or something like that in the middle of the field might be interesting.

Field Elements: "Bridging the Gap" would be a great name for a game... I would envision a couple of ramps... maybe only a couple feet high... but robots would have to assemble or place a bridge across the gap in order to gain some kind of advantage. Perhaps the elements to build the bridge would be present somewhere on the playing field and the robots would just have to put them in to place.

Human Players: I like seeing human players physically involved in the game. I thought the tetrahedron game had a good method to allow players to safely interact with the robots.

Video Control: During what is now "auto" mode, a curtain could fall between the drivers and the field so that the drivers could make use of the video capabilities of the new control system.

An off-the-wall idea: I'll just throw this out there... but what about playing "tag". The side bumpers could be hooked up to a switch. Whenever your side bumper got touched you would be "tagged". I'm not sure if it would be "freeze tag", or whether the "tag" would send information back to the field scoring system, or what, but it would be something a bit different from past games, but still really easy to explain. Maybe a form of "laser tag" would work better as you could track who was doing the tagging as well as who got tagged. Another option is from the world of radio control airplanes, where each airplane drags a streamer behind it, and the planes chase each other around the sky trying to chop up their opponent's streamer with their own propellor. Whoever has the longer streamer wins. That suggests something like flag football where a robot starts with a certain number of streamers (or other objects) velcroed to it and other robots try to get them.

One final suggestion is that whatever we do, the robot should appear "cool, useful and interesting" when demonstrated away from the playing field and other robots. Our "Aim High" robot has become our #1 demo robot simply because we can take it anywhere and fling nerf balls about with wild abandon!

Thanks for asking!

Jason

Tom Bottiglieri
05-15-2008, 01:42 PM
End game
Have one goal for bonus points that CANNOT be accomplished by both alliances, or has limited potential to be shared. Swing points are always great strategy focal points, and a massive fight at the end of the match is very exciting to watch. Hanging from a bar is the closest thing we've seen to this in the past few years.


Autonomous/Hybrid Operation
Less than stellar autonomous operation at the end of the match will take away from the "big ending". Keep it in the beginning of the match.
Only 'bonus' points should be awarded in this period. Taking scoring opportunities away from the teams (04 ball release comes to mind) will destroy parity as the veteran advantage grows with the new control system and its learning curve.

Scoring Opportunities
It's tough to have multiple ways to score (game pieces) and keep the game simple to describe to spectators. Basketball has solved this "issue" with the 2 point and 3 point shot. Same game piece, same goal, different difficulty. Overdrive showed a bit of this with herding/hurdling the ball across the finish line, but the herding task was far too easy and the hurdling incentive was far too hefty to keep an even amount of teams trying each. Then again, making the "stretch" goal too hard could be the cause of a bunch of robots that cannot perform well as teams will push themselves to fill the "glory" shoes.

More to come...

EricH
05-15-2008, 02:28 PM
I've been chewing on one for a while now...

Think back to 1999. That's right, the first year of alliances, also the year of the "floppies" and the "puck". Initial field arrangement looks kind of like that and kind of like 2007...

Game object: Traffic cones. They're a challenge to handle, but there are multiple methods. Worse (or better) still, there are a few different types--I'm thinking of using two, namely, your standard "cone" shape and the "pillar" shape that has an octagonal base. Ideally, both have reflective strips (for sensors). The "tray" is described below.

Field layout: At the start of the game, a line of cones is at the midline of the field. Robots start with each in one of three (3) zones at their opponents' end of the field (just to spice things up a bit--it's been a few years). The zones are marked as follows: Colored border, white border, colored border, evenly sized. The colors are the same as the end they are at. In the middle of the field is a structure. It looks like a tray on wheels, and is about 6-8' high, and can be moved around the arena.

Game play: The object of the game is to put the cones either in the tray or in the zones of your color. The tray may be moved for more points (or a multiplier). At the end of the game, a bonus is awarded for robots that are in the "white" zone at their own end. Defense is expected. Descoring is only allowed in the floor goals; penalty for descoring from tray. Lines are counted as in, provided that anything touching the line is otherwise inside the zone. If any part is touching the ground outside the zone, no score.

Human Player: The Human Players may introduce cones into the game. Their robots will be disabled while they do so, however. Should loading zones be involved, a "no-contact" zone will also be declared to extend to about 2' outside the loading zone. Robots must be completely within the zone (within a reasonable judgment) to qualify for protection.

Autonomous: A given number of cones will have reflective tape. Seek and score. 2x normal score. (Noted by refs or by sensors that can detect the tape.)

Scoring: All scores will be assessed at the end of the match, when everything has come to rest. (typically <5 seconds)
-Cone
in tray, 15
in floor zone, upright, 5
in floor zone, knocked over, 7-"Pillar"
Must have base to count
in tray, 10
in floor zone, upright, 5
in floor zone, knocked over, 3-"Tray"
20 points for owning it (more cones total, all types)
x2 multiplier for having it in YOUR side of the field
Tipping it is an automatic Yellow Card for safety reasons and automatic ownership to the other alliance.-Robot in zone: 5, 10, 25 for 1, 2, 3 respectively
-Penalties, if assessed: -10, disable, Yellow card, DQ (Red card) may be applied for illegal contact or other violations. Point penalties are always -10 added to your total score.

Akash Rastogi
05-15-2008, 02:56 PM
Just one question Dave: Is the robocoach still going to be a position instead of a human player?

Joe G.
05-15-2008, 03:02 PM
I will post a full game in a few days, still have a bit of CAD work to do.

For now though...

Hybrid/Autonomous Mode: I think that hybrid mode was a good idea in theory. However, I think that this year, we should return to fully autonomous action. I believe that hybrid mode reduced the creative use of sensors, the CMUcam, etc in autonomous. I would like to see some new sensor that kind of "controls" autonomous, the way the CMUcam did from 05-07. Infared from robot to field would be great. In the game hint #1 thread, someone suggested as a theory that there would be multiple goals, one of which would give off infared, and be worth more. Something like this would be great. An autonomous like this year, with a very realistic chance of meeting other robots, not necissarily friendly,

Human Player: Bring it back. If we still have hybrid, the robocoach role could easily be filled by the main drivers. I'd like to see robot-human interaction again. I think that 05-06 had good levels of human role, but don't make humans a primary means of scoring, like 04. I really liked an idea in another game thread where, at some point during the match (between auto and teleoperated would probably work best) human players would come out and play the game for 10 seconds, with the focus on loading their robots.

Gamepieces: Have something completely new, per the "Pattern." I would love to see something that teams cutsom make cheaply, like the tetras. A few novel ideas:

-Traffic cones
-PVC batons
-pool noodles
-nunchucks
-sand (score is measured by the pound)
-Thousands of little balls, golf ball or smaller
-Inflatable Clowns

Goals/ways to score: Have multiple ways to score, which must be balanced to score well. Too often has there been a defined "easy" and "hard" way to score, with the "hard way" earning more points. For example, in overdrive, if you could hurdle, you would never herd. There should be two or more tasks that compliment eachother, such as an "easy" task that earns straight points, and a "hard" task that can be done over and over, unlike 2004 bonus balls, that multiplies the "easy" task. Or, there could be a system such as that in the game I suggested in last years thread, where you were allowed to score in one way during the first 3rd, both ways during the second 3rd, and only the second way in the final 3rd. Robots as goals would also be great

Endgame: I like having a somewhat different task, but as mentioned above, the points earned should be Dependant on points scored throughout the rest of the match. I would like unique tasks, such as in 04 and 07, rather than "put robot in spot x, and maybe knock a few others over on the way" style end games.

Miscellaneous: Have a field element that teams can customize. Like in FLL this year, where one of the game pieces was (with some restrictions) constructed by the team. Something like a gamepiece dispenser would work best. For example, in 2005, teams could have used the FIRST provided auto-load stations, or brought their own that better suited their robot designs.

Finally, a few miscellaneous elements of past games that I would like to see return

99: basically everything; robots as goals, the puck, floppies
2000: Hanging, open ended task, NOT descoring (I hate to see robots put another robot in the record book as having never accomplished what they did)
2001: the bridge
2002: eh...
2003: boxes
2004: hanging, multipliers, infared/powered field elements, open ended task
2005: the concept of "if you do x, you get points, if you do y, you get points, if you do z, you get points, but if you get x, y, and z, you get a bonus"
2006: shooting, large number of gamepieces
2007: ramps, dynamic scoring element
2008: Autonomous interaction, open ended task

Just one question Dave: Is the robocoach still going to be a position instead of a human player?

We can suggest either one. Do not expect any answer from Dave not in the form of animated fish eating bananas given to them by robots weighing 8 pounds built without metal fasteners. Although, I think it is perfectly practical to give the robocoach job to the main drivers, and also have a human player.

lineskier
05-15-2008, 05:00 PM
Capture The Can


The Field
Against the openents wall are 5 rollable garbage cans
one of which is a 2x
In the center of the field is a series of 6 fixed cans (2x3)
all of which are 2x
the 3 on the opponents side belong to the allience
each of these have a green light attatched to them
to denote the active goal
above the immovable goals are 2 bins of balls (see 2004)

The Robot
no mirrored objects can be used.
no cameras can relay video feeds.

The Game:

2 min teleoperated (no autonomous or hybrid period)

robots start in front of the opponents immovable goal

15 seconds into the match the balls are dumped to
either side of the immovable goal

teams try to fill their bins with balls,
balls in bins in the allience's home zone at the end
of the match get scored.
balls in the allience's active goal are scored.

at the beginning of the match the front of the active goal will be lit up,
the driver will not be able to see which goal is active, so this will require
the robot to autonomously determine which goal is active.

Scoring
5 points for each ball in a bin which is in a home zone at the end of the game
5 extra points for each ball in a 2x bin in the home zone at the end of the game
10 points for each ball in the active immovable goal
15 points for all-hybrid robots (only robocoach)
30 points for all autonomous robots (no drivers or robocoach)

rfolea
05-15-2008, 05:29 PM
GENERAL
-------------
Scoring should be based on RESULTS not ACTIONS. As we saw this year, scoring based on actions is too tough on the refs and too hard for the audience follow.

Penalties SHOULD be based on actions, however ...

Game suggestions:
--------------------
CANYON CROSSING:

4 to 6" high ramps facing each other about 4 feet apart, gradual incline leading up to Canyon in the middle of the field. Canyon is full field width - you have to cross it to get to the other side.

2-3 game pieces provided per team to help bridge gap using plastic pallets like these: http://www.uline.com/Browse_Listing_8204.asp?desc=Rackable+Structural+F oam+Pallets
They could be pushed or placed into the canyon. They could start on or off the robot.

Lots of large diameter PVC cylinders (8" or 12" by 1 or 2 feet), possibly of varying lengths and diameters? Red and Blue. Red starts stacked on Blue side of field, Blue on Red.

OBJECTIVE: Robots must get across canyon (they don't have to use the pallets - we might finally see a walker?), retrieve Cylinders and mount them on varying sized and height racks in their own zone.

If one rack was above drivers field of view, they would have to use the vision capabilities to mount the game pieces.

Autonomous could awards points for the number of robots that make it to the other side of the field.

There would be no rule preventing an opposing alliance from removing a bridge stranding a robot on one side of the field. There would also be no rule preventing robots from passing game pieces across canyon or becoming canyon bridges themselves.

Human Players could enter elements like the tetras ...

ON TARGET

I would love for us to fashion giant lawn darts out of pool noodles and be able to collect and shoot them at some large targets, probably above the Driver stations?

Maybe 1/2 a pool noodle with a pvc pipe shoved down the middle to help make it straight and more rigid...

If we have vision, the targets could be above YOUR OWN station, so you have to use the vision to line up the shot.

Target could be a velcro affair or recessed cylinders.

We could have an overpass like this years with giant "quills" full of darts that open up and drop the darts at random times onto the field or could be triggered by events - possibly even in autonomous to get darts dispensed early.

Human operators could also dispense darts.

A final ringer could be made out of two pool noodles. If a team is able to place that ringer around darts on the target, it doubles or triples the value of the darts - making accuracy and placement of the darts very important....

EricVanWyk
05-15-2008, 05:37 PM
One idea I've been toying with is the ability for the drivers can voluntarily give up control to their autonomous routines. Perhaps we have something similar to the pressure switches used for the human players back in the days of the tetras?

When operating under optional autonomous, goals/points/etc are worth more. Or, points could be accumulated for the number of seconds running in voluntary autonomous.

This allows the advanced teams to place a greater value on their autonomous routines, without forcing the younger teams to simply wait for autonomous mode to end.

EricH
05-15-2008, 06:35 PM
One idea I've been toying with is the ability for the drivers can voluntarily give up control to their autonomous routines. Perhaps we have something similar to the pressure switches used for the human players back in the days of the tetras?

When operating under optional autonomous, goals/points/etc are worth more. Or, points could be accumulated for the number of seconds running in voluntary autonomous.

This allows the advanced teams to place a greater value on their autonomous routines, without forcing the younger teams to simply wait for autonomous mode to end. This has been legal (and possible) for years. In fact, teams doing it was what triggered the adoption of an auto mode, I think. Now, determining when a robot is running in automode if it's self-triggered--that's the hard part. If you can do it, then you might have something there...

EricVanWyk
05-15-2008, 06:44 PM
This has been legal (and possible) for years. In fact, teams doing it was what triggered the adoption of an auto mode, I think. Now, determining when a robot is running in automode if it's self-triggered--that's the hard part. If you can do it, then you might have something there...

Simplest way I've thought of to determine if it is in auto mode is to have both drivers stand on pressure pads. If they are too far away to touch the controls, they aren't driving ;)

Tom Bottiglieri
05-16-2008, 02:14 PM
Simplest way I've thought of to determine if it is in auto mode is to have both drivers stand on pressure pads. If they are too far away to touch the controls, they aren't driving ;)
Or throw a switch which sets the robot into "autonomous" mode via software and tells the field controller.

Tottanka
05-16-2008, 04:03 PM
Or throw a switch which sets the robot into "autonomous" mode via software and tells the field controller.
Maybe a game where there are certain actions you are supposed to do, but you get 2 times more points if you do that action autonomously, or you get 10 extra points for every period of the game u spend in auto mode.
That sounds really cool, and gives a nice challenge to the veterans, while making it easy on the rookies to score less points with tele operated mode.

I'm a big fan of auto mode, and think it should play a much bigger role then it has been playing so far in FRC.

Leav
05-17-2008, 06:31 PM
Ok here are my Ideas.
I'll keep them simple.
Look at the attachement!!! :ahh:


Pool Noodles as game elements
4-way Teeter Totter ramp robots need to climb (during game or at the end)
New starting layout (similar to 2006) geared for more action around the entire field.
Pool Noodles as game elements


The Pool noodles:
They always seemed like a good game element to me. they are cheap and tricky to handle.

If there is a species of straight (as in a ruler [as in the one you use with a pencil, not the one a person might be]) pool noodles they would probably fly straight if thrown in a 2006-like mechanism that would also give them some spin (along the long axis).

They could be:

shot at a target (like 2006)
shot at a target (like a dunk game at the carnival)
stacked inside something (if you gather them up first you'll be able to fit more inside)
pushed under the teeter totter to disable it
placed on a couple of brackets horizontally (two pieces of half a PVC pipe attached to the wall - a noodle is placed on them for points)


make sure there is a supplier for pool noodles during the winter for ALL (ahem Israel and Brazil) teams.
[Note: since it would be summer in New-Zealand I'm not too worried about the Kiwis getting pool noodles :) ]

The Teeter Totter:
Fun power focus for the game, could have more than one.

The Starting Layout:
This is a by-product of my desire for a more score oriented game where both ends of the field take an active part (so the robots are more spread across the field).
perhaps it could result in a game paced like 2006, but without the whole backbot problem (If that was a problem... I understand that was a real pain Reffing).

That's it take a look at the Image.

-Leav

acdcfan259
05-17-2008, 06:36 PM
FIRST games are (almost)always hard to ref, there's really nothing you can do, that's how they are.

skimoose
05-17-2008, 09:48 PM
I think the Robocoach was a great addition to the game. However, under the constraints that the four commands had to always be the same, it pretty much limited the Robocoach's input to the hybrid period. There weren't many Robocoaches doing anything during the driver control period. At least the human player had the same two minutes as the drivers, not just fifteen seconds.

One solution is to have two different sets of commands one for hybrid and one for driver control periods.

Another solution would be to resurrect the human player by making the Robocoach perform the human player role during the driver control portion of the game.

Scoring Objects: I don't have anything in mind, but something that isn't inflatable would be nice for a change. I know that inflatables are easy to pack and ship for FIRST, but they are not enjoyable to get ready at competitions. Volunteers inflating these objects are in for some hearing loss doing this job year after year. :p

Goals: I like multiple goals spread around the field. This tends to spread out scorers and defenders, limiting over-aggressive defense. The concept of owning a goal in Triple Play was great. That year's game leveled the playing field because a match played with strategy could overcome a scoring frenzy. An alliance that played smartly could knock off a scoring powerhouse by owning more rows at the end of the game. This game also was exciting because the lead kept swinging back and forth during the match.

Mobile goals should make a return. FIRST Frenzy was also great. Several different robot tasks. The human player was really important to scoring, and by requiring a decent level of athleticism we had our best year ever for recruiting student athletes to our team. Those athletes had so much fun that they stayed on as team members in later years. Dean has always said he modeled FIRST after the sports playbook, so lets keep some sport in the game. We haven't changed the country yet.

Just a few random thoughts.

Billfred
05-17-2008, 10:32 PM
Here's what I've thought up:

The field is approximately the same size as before, with the same ol' 3v3. The robots are within a couple of inches of their present size, though not 28x38 just to mess with the heads of folks.

Around the field are several trash cans filled with a mix of 8.5" and 13" playground balls. (For those who aren't familiar, 8.5" balls are your standard four-square balls; 13" balls were last seen in FIRST Frenzy.) Teams score points by placing the 8.5" balls in their cage at the end of the field; the cage is roughly the height of the aluminum on the player station walls with a shakeable top (think spiders from Rack 'N' Roll) with appropriately-sized holes to allow teams to dump a can's contents onto it and shake the smaller balls down below.

Along the side of the field are several robot-sized protrusions from the wall to form human player zones, one per team. Anything within these zones, save for robots (which start from them), may be manipulated by the human players as they see fit. (I figure this might offer a degree of protection relative to the last time we saw human players this close to robots.)

To provide an appropriate incentive for an autonomous routine, some of those trash cans will be colored red and blue with enough markings (or lighting, if you want to get something that works with the CMUcam as a safety) that a robot can distinguish them. Teams will receive points for each of their bins that have not tipped at the end of the autonomous period, and more points for those that have not tipped at the end of the match. (I imagine sensors can tell you when these bins have tipped.) If you want to be a softy, offer lesser points for bins that are merely upright at the end of each period. For the real carrot, offer teams a single point for leaving the human player zone under their own command. Once they've opened up the programming software to get their freebie point, hopefully they'll continue fiddling around with it.

In the middle of the field is a bar, approximately 30" off the ground. Teams receive points from hanging from this bar at the end of the match; in addition, the bar serves as a nice irritation for teams trying to transport trash cans without tipping them.

Any team can rattle the cage, knock over trash cans, and move trash cans into the human player zones for them to cherry-pick the small balls for scoring. Better teams will be able to hang, move the balls directly over to the cage, and will have some way of rejecting the 13" balls to keep their cage's top clear. Beatty and Simbotics will hang, have ways of extracting the balls from bins without tipping them, sorting balls onboard the robot, depositing the large balls onto the opposing cage, and clearing out space atop their own to guarantee a hole to deposit theirs.

You'll notice I haven't made mention about penalties; the only ones you'd want to call would involve interfering with human players. I'm trying to figure out a best practice that would allow human players to manipulate things left inside the human player zone without having to disable their robot as in 2005. A pressure pad that creates a no-robot's land when unoccupied would be a valid approach. (Human player steps off, lights turn on to signal the refs to watch. Or if FIRST has a bunch of money in its budget for field construction, a gate that pops up to block robots would do as well.)

You couldn't play this tomorrow, but I think the concept is on track.

Joe G.
05-17-2008, 10:42 PM
Here's my game this year:

http://img181.imageshack.us/img181/7273/fieldoverviewus4.jpg

http://img185.imageshack.us/img185/3002/wallkk7.jpg

Note: I am aware how structurally unsound the drawings are, they are mostly for visual representation purposes.

The Field: Same size field as past years, without the angled corners of overdrive. Carpet surface, with the bridge in the middle being structured similarly to the ramp in stack attack. (screen over a wood framework) The bridge is constructed as lightly as possible, and is weighted in the middle so it favors a balanced position, as the bridge in 2001 did. The bars extending off the sides can be used to manipulate the bridge's position. Robots start in either their colored squares, or behind their colored line. (alliances must have at least one square occupied, but can use two if they wish) Height-weight classes from 2007 are brought back. The bins on each of the player station walls are made of lexan and are supported so that they swing back and forth, and a persistent robot can tip them. Infared beacons are embedded in all four of these. Due to the close proximity of these to the driver stations, the lexan "ceiling" of 2005 returns.

Gamepieces:

http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/84/gamepiecevn9.jpg

The gamepieces, known as nun chucks, are constructed from pool noodles, 1/2 inch PVC pipe, and thin nylon rope. Two segments of PVC 9 inches long are attached together by roughly 18 inches of nylon rope, which is threaded through holes in a endcap. 11 inch pool noodle segments are then glued to each piece of PVC, with an inch of overhang on each end. They are colored red and blue, and belong to that alliance. These start in 4 places:

-Each robot starts the match with up to five in their possession. These are marked by a white stripe.
-Ten are hung, with one end in and one end out of the bin, from each seven foot bin. These do not count as scored unless they are tipped such that both tubes are within the bin. Red nun chucks start above the blue driver station (where the blue tape is) and reds start above blue.
-25 start in each autoloader (not pictured, but go on the lexan "flaps" on the sidewalls) Teams can either use the FIRST provided loader, which is essentially a ramp with a lip on the end, which the pieces roll down, being pulled or lifted into play by robots, or replace one or both of the loaders opposite their driver station with one of their own design. They may have no powered components, weigh a maximum of 25 pounds, and fit within a 3'x3'x3' cube, and are subject to the same material, cost, etc requirements as robots. The loaders containing blue nun chucks are on red's side of the field, and vice versa. This matches with the real world in that engineers can, to some extent, alter their challenge. For example, in manufacturing, a handle can be temporarily molded onto a plastic part, and when building a mars rover landing system, engineers were able to choose less dangerous territory to land in.
-An indefinite amount of both colors are stored by the referees.

Gameplay: The match begins with 15 seconds of autonomous. Robots play the game as normal, with no alteration of scoring, other than the bridge. The autonomous score of the alliance whose driver station the bridge's "down" side is facing is doubled, with five extra points given only if their is an autonomous tie otherwise. However, the teams that start in squares are not allowed to touch the bridge autonomously, and the teams who start behind the line cannot touch the two bins behind them in auto. During autonomous, the 72"/80"/whatever it will be next year rule is lifted, to allow for robots to expand greatly in order to quickly hit their side of the bridge. Because of the great possibility of robots interfering with each other during autonomous, as shown in this picture, teams must develop avoidance code to be successful.


A typical autonomous mode, showing how the robots are likely to meet.
http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/1448/autogw9.jpg

Each point scored in autonomous gives one nun chuck to the alliance's human players, from the ref's pile.

During teleoperated mode, robots score in any of the four bins, and multiply their score by creating rows on the structure on the bridge. Human players function identically to 2007's human players, either scoring directly in nearby bins, or putting gamepieces into play for more strategic use by the robots. At the start of teleoperated mode, the infrared beacons within one randomly chosen bin turn on. The scoring potential for this goal is doubled for all nun chucks that were not preloaded. The base scores for the bins are 2 points for the lower bin, and 3 for the upper bin. These scores are multiplied by the creation of rows on the upper three bars of the tower on the bridge. They are multiplied by 1.25 for a row of 2, 1.5 for a row of 3, etc. The bottom 2 bars give a straight 3 points. To score on the bars, the nun chucks must be hung by the cord. These may not be directly descored, but opposing robots can shift the position of scored nun chucks side to side, and separate them with their own. The positioning of adjacent nun chucks will be determined by a half inch strip on top of each bar. If the strings are not crossed in this strip, then they are scored per the string position. If they are crossed, they cancel each other out. A camera could be suspended above this structure to view these positions. This discourages grabbing 30 by the strings and hanging them all in one spot, as it applies to nun chucks of the same color as well.

http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/6509/bridgefg2.jpg

During the endgame, robots on both sides try to balance the bridge. All red multipliers provided by the central tower are multiplied by 1+number of red robots on a balanced bridge, with the same applying for blue. During the final 10 seconds, once a team is fully supported by the bridge, they cannot exit it, to disallow teams jumping off at the last second to screw up a large bonus for their opponents. To count as on the bridge, robots must be entirely in contact with the surface of the bridge. However, robots not satisfying this requirement can be actively helping to support it while it is balanced, by manipulating the four bars, and the bridge itself. Bi-alliance balances are ideal for both the winning and losing team, due to ranking points.


Game specific rules:

-No forcing robots onto/off of the bridge
-Tipping penalties apply to any manipulation of the bridge that interferes with a team's efforts to enter/exit it. ex pulling the bridge up as they are halfway off of it.
-No descoring of the bins through reaching in, descoring through rotation of the bin is allowed however.
-5 second grace period for teams that extended beyond maximum playing configuration in auto to return to normal playing size.
-Same bumper rules as Overdrive, auto and the bridge would be rough.
-No trapping of teams by tipping the bridge or bars onto them.



Variations:
-Remove the bridge, make the tower wider, have fixed limbo bars. Endgame becomes hanging from tower, with more points awarded for lower bars.
-Add a third tier of bins.
-get rid of multipliers, and provide straight points for the tower and bridge.


I'd appreciate any feedback on this game from others. (not necessarily dave) It can use the new control system's abilities in a few ways, such as using the camera to precisely position manipulators over small gamepieces, or having robots tell each other which goal is doubled, but is not completely dependant on it.

Leav
05-18-2008, 11:38 AM
I love the nun-chucks! you could throw them at the bridge from far away and they would catch!

Ericgehrken
05-18-2008, 07:59 PM
One element that recent games have been missing was variety in strategy in alliances. The games over the past few seasons have been very straightforward. This season with teams hurdling trackballs and racing. Last season with scoring on the rack and ramping. And 06 with just shooting/dumping balls into goals. What FIRST needs is a game where there are a variety of strategies that prevail. There needs to be simplicity and complexity for a wide variety of teams. A 2004 style game is the change we need.

In Play Pin Brawl there are many objectives. A box on wheels team can score by ramping while a veteran may want to build a hybrid shooter and try to lift themselves on the pole. A variety of strategies will prevail.

Play Pin Brawl
The Field
Play Pin Brawl is played on a 54’x27’ Carpeted Playing Field. The field contains a center game piece structure known as the ball pin. On both player station sides of the field there is a high goal (30” diameter and 12’ high) and two low goals (on ground level). The field also contains a bonus pole and a ramp.

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/img/fdc/fdcbf2f62831fb72a2b21b46256ed665_l.jpg







The Game Piece
The game pieces are 3” diameter hard plastic play pin style balls.
The Object
The object of Play Pin Brawl is to gather balls from the Play Pin and shoot them into the goals.
Match Play
Teams compete in alliances of three. They each must position their robots so they are touching their alliance station wall. The ball pit begins each match with 50 balls in it.
Each match is 2:15 seconds in length. 15 Seconds for Hybrid Mode and 2 Minutes of driver control.
Hybrid Mode
Robots start the match with up to 10 balls.
Robots use preprogrammed commands and commands from their robocoach to attempt to score the 10 balls for regular points in either the high or low goals. They can also earn 5 bonus points for crossing the half field line in hybrid. Alliances also score bonus points for touching the outer wall of the ball pit at the end of hybrid. They score bonus points in the following manner, 4 points for having one robot, 10 for two, and 20 for all three alliance robots touching the ball pit wall.
Tele-operation
Robots are now under student driven control and earn points by scoring balls in the goals. 3 points for each ball in the high goal and 1 point for each ball in the low goal.
End Game Bonuses
Play Pin Brawl features many end game bonuses that only one of the two alliances can receive bonus for each. A robot that uses the bonus pole that is 10 feet high to elevate itself at least 1 foot clear of the ground will receive a 50 point bonus for their alliance. A robot that uses the ramp and is fully on top of the ramp will receive a 20 point bonus for their alliance.
In the final 30 seconds of the match the ball pit will become moveable. If an alliance is able to have the entire ball pit in their home zone (within 12 feet of their alliance station wall) then they will receive a 30 point bonus plus 1 point for each ball that is inside of the ball pit.

Lil' Lavery
05-18-2008, 10:13 PM
End game
Have one goal for bonus points that CANNOT be accomplished by both alliances, or has limited potential to be shared. Swing points are always great strategy focal points, and a massive fight at the end of the match is very exciting to watch. Hanging from a bar is the closest thing we've seen to this in the past few years.

What about the rows in '05? They were definitely swing points that were hard for both alliance's to have. I'd also classify them as "end game", but obviously not "king of the hill"/"position" points.

evanisthat!
05-20-2008, 05:29 PM
This game looks a lot like the 2006 Mission Mayhem version of Aim High... :yikes:
That was an exciting version of Aim High, nothing like seeing those big robots fall of the 2 sided ramp. Also it was in a cafeteria with a low ceiling so that added to the fun as well. Hope it goes well.

SamC
05-20-2008, 05:48 PM
I think it would be cool if there were multiple objectives in the autonomous/hybrid period with scoring bonuses if multiple objectives are completed.

Heres the idea,

Task A - "Score High"
Task B - "Score Low"
Task C - "Score Mid"
(Would allow for each robot to do something different)

Each individual objective is worth points on its own (all objectives are of equal value to keep teams from focusing on any one task in their auto programs). But if multiple are completed you earn bonus points.

Task A is completed for +10 points
Task C is completed for +10 points
Bonus of +15 points is awarded for completing 2 tasks for a total of 35 points.
If all 3 had been completed the bonus would be +30 for a total of 60 points in the auto period.

Multiple tasks should not be completed by any one team, but instead alliance partners should work together each focusing on one objective.

=Martin=Taylor=
05-20-2008, 06:38 PM
Penalties.

I don't see why these are necessary.

The GDC should design games that rely on RULES not PENALTIES. If the GDC wants teams to play a game a specific way they should just say so in the rules. If teams violate the rules they should be DQ'ed or not allowed to pass inspection.

What I don't like are games where the GDC uses penalties to restrict the game play. In my mind this is like saying "Okay, we don't want you to do this, but we'll make it possible for you to get away with it." As a result, teams wind up scoring "negative points" for their alliances...



What I'm trying to say is this: the GDC should never design a game that relies on penalties. They aren't fun, they never seem fair, they make the refs jobs harder, and they make the game more confusing.

Just my 100 cents ;)

Team 1708 Dave
05-20-2008, 07:21 PM
Hi From Pittsburgh PA,

This is very exciting to read how thought out the "Games of the Future" could be. If any of these ideas or combination of ideas are used we are in for a very challenging season. I'm a newbie to the whole FIRST competition, and truly enjoyed the experience, 08 season Pgh regional.

Here's a thought that isn't game related but maybe appreciated by the teams. A dedicated team photo spot, fitted with the current years graphics and of course FIRST regional banners and game pieces as props, for the teams to take those all to important team photos.

I understand that some venues are very tight during competition. But during the finals a quick connect rack with a back drop could be assembled. Then the teams that are interested could use the area in a orderly fashion. Our team along with every other team, at the same time it seemed, tried to take team photos with mixed results.

Team photos are more than souvenirs. They are used for marketing, recruiting and fundraising. The FIRST organization could also benefit from this simple addition. There's no way, once the teams leave the event, to recreate that moment in time or even gather everyone evolved at one time. Every emotion is experienced during the events, what better way to capture the future engineers before there famous feats.

Dave

Go Pens!!!

CraigHickman
05-20-2008, 10:35 PM
I've been doing a bit of design work for something along these lines: Take the Stack Attack ramp, but instead of having an upper flat area, drop that level down to the floor, in order to create a "trench" of sorts in the center of the field. Near the center of the trench would be two heavy duty steel pipes linking the two sides of the trench. Scoring would be similar to Aim High, except there would be two goals on each side, slightly lower than AIM High, and the scoring object would be foam cubes, rather than balls. Each block fired into the goals would be different values of points, based on the size of the block. In order to aid auto-scoring, a cheap RFID chip would be placed in each block, with a small directional reader in each goal. Small blocks would be worth less points, large blocks more.

For the endgame, whichever team was fully supported on the pipes, and nothing else, would gain a 50ish point bonus, enough to swing the game heavily in either direction.

EDIT: Here's a render of what I mean: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2220/2510509904_6060b72ee6_o.jpg

AndyB
05-21-2008, 05:19 PM
I've been doing a bit of design work for something along these lines: Take the Stack Attack ramp, but instead of having an upper flat area, drop that level down to the floor, in order to create a "trench" of sorts in the center of the field. Near the center of the trench would be two heavy duty steel pipes linking the two sides of the trench. Scoring would be similar to Aim High, except there would be two goals on each side, slightly lower than AIM High, and the scoring object would be foam cubes, rather than balls. Each block fired into the goals would be different values of points, based on the size of the block. In order to aid auto-scoring, a cheap RFID chip would be placed in each block, with a small directional reader in each goal. Small blocks would be worth less points, large blocks more.

For the endgame, whichever team was fully supported on the pipes, and nothing else, would gain a 50ish point bonus, enough to swing the game heavily in either direction.

Good lord. So it's like king of the hill at the end, except the loser ends up upside down in pieces...

lingomaniac88
05-21-2008, 06:45 PM
I might as well take a crack at this. I know the diagram could be clearer, but things are described better below.

What I particularly like about this game is that there are so many strategies. It is quite a challenge to build a robot that can do everything, but less experienced teams can still contribute to the scoring effort, like in this year's game. (Yay, lapbots!) In addition, the human players have an important role because they may be able to access a scoring location that their robots cannot.

Hold 'Em High

Field:
- The game is played on a 27' x 54' carpeted playing field. The field is split into three zones: a red zone, a blue zone, and a neutral zone. The red and blue zones make up the 12' of the field in front of the red and blue alliance stations, respectively. The 30' in the middle makes up the neutral zone.
- Two of the four corners contain 7-foot "posts" in the shape of isosceles right triangles, and are fenced along the edges of the field. The other two corners contain "chutes" through which game pieces can be delivered to the human players. Neither the robots nor the human players may break the plane of the chute.
- The center of the field contains the "orb roller." The orb roller is an hollow, open-top 5' cube which holds the game pieces during the autonomous period and releases them at the beginning of the teleoperated period by releasing Plexiglas panels. The inside of the orb roller is sloped in the shape of an inverted V, allowing the game pieces to roll onto the field when the panels are released.
- The field also contains two "pedestals," or 7-foot square carts on wheels that are 2.5 feet high. Each one has a small "lip" to keep the game pieces in the cart when it is stationary, but can cause them to fall off if the pedestal is pushed too hard.
- In addition, a 10-foot high "bridge," made up of two lengths of pipe spaced 6 inches apart, goes across the long end of the field. Since game pieces can be scored on the bridge, it has stoppers to prevent the game pieces from leaving the zones.

Game Pieces:
- The game pieces are 60 standard air-filled playground 8.5-inch diameter kickballs known as "orbs." They come in five colors: white, red, blue, green, and yellow. White orbs are standard, red and blue orbs only score for their corresponding alliance, green orbs are covered with reflective tape and used during the autonomous period, and the yellow orbs are the rarest and therefore the most valuable.
- There are 35 white orbs, 8 red orbs, 8 blue orbs, 3 yellow orbs, and 6 green orbs.

Autonomous:
- After the robots are placed on the field, the pedestals are positioned as shown in the attached picture. The six green orbs are placed within the neutral zone, three on each side of the pedestals, and the other 54 orbs are placed into the orb roller.
- During the 15-second autonomous period, robots must find and grab the green orbs. If a robot is in possession of a green orb, it earns 5 points per green orb for its alliance. If a robot is holding three green orbs, it earns a 10-point bonus for its alliance (including the 15 from the orbs).

Teleoperated:
- The teleoperated period is, as usual, 2 minutes long. At the start, the orb roller releases the orbs, allowing the orbs to roll off the slopes in the orb roller. During this time, orbs may be scored by robots placing them or by the human players tossing them.

Scoring:
- Orbs have the following point values:
White: 2 points
Red: 3 points for red alliance, 0 points for blue alliance
Blue: 3 points for blue alliance, 0 points for red alliance
Green: 5 points during autonomous, 0 points during teleoperated
Yellow: 10 points
Orbs are scored if they are completely or partially within an alliance's zone. Orbs may be on the floor, on a pedestal, on a post, on the bridge, or possessed by a robot.
- The following multipliers exist depending on the height of the CENTER of the ball:
x1: less than 2'
x2: at least 2', less than 5' (pedestal)
x3: at least 5', less than 10' (post)
x5: at least 10' (bridge)
A robot on top of a pedestal (yes, I'm serious - think 2004 or 2007) at the end of a match earns 20 bonus points for its alliance.
- Note: The scoring may seem complicated, but it is feasible using some benchmarks on the field, say, the pedestals, posts, alliance station walls, etc.

EricH
05-21-2008, 09:22 PM
The one thing I am going to say (well, a few things) about the above are:

1: That's a lot of multipliers!
2: Which size playground ball?
3: The bridge is actually spanning the long side of the field, in the middle.
4: More room would be nice.

pitzoid
05-21-2008, 09:30 PM
Interactive Arenas.... Its designed/built for it.... use it :D

Your buddy BOB

Dmentor
05-23-2008, 04:53 PM
My idea is to have robots play a variant of dodge ball. I spent some time thinking about how this might play as an FRC game and I think it matches Dave's criteria nicely. Anyways my thoughts are documented in the attachment in order to avoid a very long post but I would be happy to discuss it.

AndyB
05-23-2008, 05:16 PM
My idea is to have robots play a variant of dodge ball. I spent some time thinking about how this might play as an FRC game and I think it matches Dave's criteria nicely. Anyways my thoughts are documented in the attachment in order to avoid a very long post but I would be happy to discuss it.

I understand your logic for having 5 robots on the field at a time, but I think 5 is a little unrealistic. Maybe 4. But 5 seems a little crazy.

DMetalKong
05-25-2008, 11:08 PM
Okay, here is my shot at a game design. No idea yet what it would be called.

Duration
20 sec. autonomous
120 sec. teleop

Pieces
12" diameter balls of 4 colors -red, white, blue, and green
There are - 28 green balls, 28 red balls, 28 white balls, and 28 blue balls.

In addition, there is 1 (one) 40" diameter ball that is black.

Field
Field is 27' wide by 54' long. A 10' long area extending from the driver stations is dedicated as the alliance's "home zone"; opposing robots CAN enter this zone. In the middle "no man's land", there are four pez-dispenser-like towers. Every five seconds during the match, a ball is rolled onto the field from each of the towers. The balls that each of the towers contains is randomized prior to the match.

There are two goals on either end of the field, they are colored to belong to the alliance that starts on that side. One is a high trough that is placed 7' off of the ground. The other is placed 3' off the ground, but can be raised up to 5' by one of the robots staying on a pressure sensitive pad that is against their alliance wall. The goal will fall back to its 3' rest state if a robot does not stay on the pad. The pad is a ramp inclinced at a small angle so that balls cannot rest on it. The scoring troughs separate the alliance zones from the no man's land.

The 40" ball starts in the middle of the field on top of a 4' high stand.

Allianances/Starting Positions
There are three robots on each side. Robots must be against their alliance wall to start.

Scoring
Knocking the 40" ball off of the stand during autonomous mode is worth 30 points. Each 12" ball in the alliance's high trough at the end of autonomous is worth 5 points. Each 12" ball in the alliance's low trough at the end of autonomous is worth 3 points.

At the end of the match, each 12" ball in the alliance's high trough at the end of the match is worth 5 points. Each 12" ball in the alliance's low trough at the end of the match is worth 2 points. (Note: balls that were scored in the trough during autonoumous are included again in the end-of-the-match scoring)

At the end of the match, having all 28 of the balls of one color in an alliance's combined troughs is worth 20 bonus points.

At the end of the match, having the 40" ball in an alliance's home zone is worth 10 points.

Balls can be removed from the troughs by an opposing alliance.

=Martin=Taylor=
07-24-2008, 10:20 PM
Just an idea I had today:

http://www.comrecycling.net/IMG_8760.JPG

Maybe the game could be some variation of Donkey Kong? :)

Akash Rastogi
07-24-2008, 10:31 PM
Just an idea I had today:

http://www.comrecycling.net/IMG_8760.JPG

Maybe the game could be some variation of Donkey Kong? :)

DK + a game of king of the hill? XD Epic

Elgin Clock
07-25-2008, 12:42 PM
I like the idea of a pit in this post:

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=749416&postcount=27

Adding to that, what if the "end game" feature was not to get up high as in previous games (2000, 2004) but to get low (aka: an area where a robot could park & hit a button in the driver's station & lower an elevator device of some kind to basically put the robot into a pit but also have that area of the pit now not be able to be used as a flat portion of the ramp.
(Think 2003 with the surface of the top of the ramp now half the size because a robot decided to get points by lowering the robot scoring portion of the ramp to score, thus leaving less room to drive for the rest of the teams.)
With self and/or alliance scoring, comes some sacrifice for everyone else, including same alliance members.
(Wow, typing that last sentence gives me horrible, but also odd ddeja-vu of 2001 with the large ball multipliers & individual score advantage) LOL




http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=749559&postcount=29

I like the idea of another overpass (as shown above), but what if one was used for the human players?? Basically we would have set positions for an object, but on a rack above the playing field.
The object of that part would be once the object pice is placed randomly, the human players could roll a ball in the direction of that to see who could get closest to the spot or on it.
Think of a grid of tubing & one designated as the scoring square. When the human players roll a ball over the grid, the alliances color ball which lands on the spot gets a lot of points (or a higher bonus multiplier) where as the farther away you are from it you get less points.
You could even have a grid of about say 10 x 10 spots, & a rail like in the post linked above from each corner of the field & from the middle letting human players feed team color balls into that grid so that all 4 or 6 teams can get in on the action.
Ok, so this doesn't require skill that much, but if this was treated as a multipler or bonus, this could add a lot of excitement & unpredictibility to the scoring at the end.
Think "crazy ball board game" from a carnival.
http://www.jacksgames.com/images/kbb4.jpg

TigerDrive09
07-29-2008, 06:25 PM
I think next year's game should simply incorporate a more balanced defense/offense objective. Overdrive, to me, was a more offensive game and not much defense as previous more exciting games. By adding the defensive role it will give veteran teams the chance to play complex offensive and or defensive strategies, however it will give rookie teams the chance to stick to an easy defensive strategy, if wanted. This will add up to a more "equal opportunity" for all different types of teams.

Tetraman
08-26-2008, 09:46 AM
One word - Pinball

bobwrit
10-10-2008, 08:16 PM
Throw the trash over the barrier style game:

Game Peices: 2 sets of diffrent colored 6" balls and foam cylinders or something simelar
Game Play: The robots pick up the balls, and have to hurl them over the barrier to gain points, If you knock the cylinders off of a barrier that seperates the two sides, then you get extra points. the teams can offensively play by throwing your colored balls onto the oppisite team/allience side or the teams can defensively play by throwing the oppisite teams balls back to their side.
Playing feild: A ring with a 6-7 ft. barrier in the middle
scoring:You get points for each one of your teams balls that are on the other teams side or you can get extra points for each foam cylander that your team knocked down.

Danny McC
10-11-2008, 06:30 PM
How about a water game? ^_^. But, yeah I cant wait to see the new game this year. Always start off not thinking they are so cool but than when we actually get on the field its like omg this game is awesome. How about a floating playing field? =)

Elgin Clock
10-13-2008, 02:43 AM
Scoring Objects: I don't have anything in mind, but something that isn't inflatable would be nice for a change. I know that inflatables are easy to pack and ship for FIRST, but they are not enjoyable to get ready at competitions. Volunteers inflating these objects are in for some hearing loss doing this job year after year. :p



Game Pieces: ....I believe "milk crates" (the plastic crates in which milk cartons are shipped) meet similar criteria.

Oh man! Brilliant combination of suggestions!
They make these portable enough to actually be considered for a game piece because they are (semi)lightweight, durable, non-inflatable, inexpensive, & also easy & small enough when folded to ship many at a time with the field!

http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/folding-milk-crates-2

ShotgunNinja
10-29-2008, 12:54 PM
(Just a suggestion, not a full game plan)

Involve the new Camera Object/Motion Detection system in the game design.

Robert Cawthon
01-13-2009, 02:34 PM
How about something on the order of Skee-ball where you have a ramp to roll the ball up and a target to hit after the ball leaves the ramp?

Another thought for a game piece, how about 1 Gallon plastic milk jugs? Complete with handle.

davidfv
03-04-2009, 12:11 AM
That's it take a look at the Image.

-Leav[/QUOTE]

Nice, it looks like they took your advice in this year's game!

AlexD744
03-04-2009, 10:17 PM
Okay I have some ideas, however, they aren't for the 2009 year (obviously). Anyway:

There will be three poles. The poles are about the height of volleyball poles. At the start of the game, 2 poles (one per alliance) will be knocked down, at random angles at positions as long as it faces correspnding alliances robots. There will be a sensor strrip along the pole. During autonomous the robots get points for setting the pole straight. When straight it will lock into place. If this is done during teleoperated there is no point bonus. The center (third) pole will have a ball on it like a tether ball.

The game peices will be some sort of disk that can be placed around the poles, preferably small. There would be some disks that would be like frisbees. These would start with the human player and they (or a robot) could attempt too shoot these at a goal (like 2006). These goals would be across the wide side of the field, however, I think the wide side should be slightly wider. However, the 2 alliance poles, during teleoperated would be used to activate the ball on the middle pole. Whichever alliance has more disks on their pole is able to use the ball to hit the other robots. When a robot, that does not have possesion of the ball, is hit the human players fall through a trapdoor into a padded pit. (Not very big, unless FIRST would allow that). This would give the most points. There should be some sort of procedure to re-activate a human player. Similarly if a robot hits the ball when they are not in control they activate the trapdoor and points are awarded to the other team. The frisbees would be able to be herded/passed back to the human player, if they are still active. Bonus points at the end would be awarded to a team that could place the ball on top of the middle pole (it would have a small area to hold). This would be difficult strategy wise, because only the alliance in control of the ball can touch it. And if while they are placing the other alliance gained possesion that alliance would receive the points. Maybe new game peices could be introduced by a robot going to to a elevated area with a strange feild surface and activating a sensor. (A little irony because the robot would activate the sensor, instead of the sensor being activated by a feild element.

I think the matches should be extended to a 25 second autonomous and a 2 minute 20 second teleoperated. I beleive this would open up autonomous options. Maybe some robots could fix the pole. Other could start placing game peices (if given the oppurtunity to start with them. Some could herd frisbees, some could do many of these. Maybe really good alliance could plan on moving the ball a lot if they have robots which can score game peices. There are a world of oppurtunities.

Just my $0.02 :D

EricH
03-04-2009, 11:05 PM
Folks, if you have a game design idea, you may wish to wait until May or so, when the 2010 threads open up. Refine the ideas in the meantime.

dlavery
03-05-2009, 01:24 AM
Or if you have a good idea and just can't wait, just go ahead and post them in here. They will get read, one way or the other.



.

Elgin Clock
03-05-2009, 10:26 AM
More water next year!!! :D
(And no, not just spray bottles!!!) ;)

kapolavery
04-19-2009, 04:27 AM
i think an interesting game would be like dodgeball..use poofballs as game pieces,
shooters to hit other robots or a target on the robot, or you can make a manipulator to catch the ball when its thrown..
and for the game to be more exciting, add 2 more teams to each alliance.. a game of 5v5
so
i think crab drives would be the essential drivetrain to succeed..
and you can use a targeting system to track and shoot other robots..\

idk.. it would be like a game of tanks!


but besides this fact.
has anyone noticed the pattern to the games..
like one year you need an arm mechanism, the next is a shooter, the next is sort of like an arm but you can make any type of manipulator.. and so on.

EricH
04-19-2009, 03:16 PM
i think an interesting game would be like dodgeball..use poofballs as game pieces,
shooters to hit other robots or a target on the robot, or you can make a manipulator to catch the ball when its thrown..
and for the game to be more exciting, add 2 more teams to each alliance.. a game of 5v5
so
i think crab drives would be the essential drivetrain to succeed..
and you can use a targeting system to track and shoot other robots..\

idk.. it would be like a game of tanks!


but besides this fact.
has anyone noticed the pattern to the games..
like one year you need an arm mechanism, the next is a shooter, the next is sort of like an arm but you can make any type of manipulator.. and so on.

Well, we did play a lot of dodgeball in 2006...with poofballs...just that the robots didn't play.

5v5? Ouch. The field can't get much bigger, but it would almost have to to add 2 robots per side.

As for pattern, there's not a pattern...
1998, arm/lift
1999, lift
2000, lift and/or shooter (mainly lifts)
2001, arm/lift, drivebase, goal latches
2002, planting device, ball channel
2003, who cares? The stacks fall anyway due to a B.O.W.
2004, lift/arm, depending on objective.
2005, arm/lift
2006, shooter/dumper
2007, arm/lift or ramps
2008, arm/lift or forget about the game object
2009, shooter/dumper

Robert Cawthon
05-06-2009, 09:07 AM
5v5? Ouch. The field can't get much bigger, but it would almost have to to add 2 robots per side.

You are making a basic assumption (not unreasonable, but not necessarily true, either) that the robots are going to be the same size as before. There is nothing that says the bots can't be smaller, or at least have a smaller foot print. That would just be another design challenge. The issue would be the size of the control boards in that the drivers would have less room on the end. (Unless, of course, there were two levels of drivers, the ones behind higher so they could look over the ones in front.) :)

oddjob
06-18-2009, 12:43 PM
No firm ideas, but totally against complicated fields (too expensive to build) and against more reliance on "autonomous" modes. To make this a more popular competition with the general public, the robots need to be driven by people, not black boxes.

For scoring objects, use standard 1L soda bottles, filled with small styrofoam balls and with top cap sealed. Cheap, sturdy, not too heavy, interesting shape to handle, everyone can get them. Use different colored styrofoam for each alliance, say blue and red. Both bottles are in the same fueling location so the robot has to differentiate between them when fueling or hope to get lucky.

Keep a short autonomous period at the beginning of the match. Like 2008, some bottles can be preloaded, others must be captured. Same scoring rules as the human controlled period in every way - why add more rules?

There is only one scoring location in the field center, possibly an octagonal column (thick plexi, so it's clear) with larger holes near the bottom, smaller holes nearer the top. All teams score to the same location. Defense (blocking) is allowed. Robots have bumpers and must remain in their vertical column dimension.

Bottles scored are easy to count, immediately. Penalties on robots, if there are any in the rules, are assessed and scored immediately. Games where the final score is not the final score are unacceptable.

End of game bonus - allow scoring in the most difficult and highest point scoring hole, and maybe there are only 1 or 2 holes of that type. Earlier scores there do not count, but no penalty either. Excessive penalties complicate the rules and add nothing to the game.

Bottles can be loaded similar to how the 2008 game robots got their payloads, but don't allow direct human loading. So get them at the fueling station or scoop missed shots off the floor. Robots can load 1 or more bottles, as many as they can fit in their dimension.

Simple game, fast paced. Easy to score immediately. The score when the horn sounds is the final score. Possible to play offense or defense strategy, or combination. Penalties should be rare and for exceptional circumstances, not assessed many times per match.

Keep it simple. Easy to score. Fast pace.

Bob Steele
06-18-2009, 02:16 PM
I like this game... although it might be better with 2 liter bottles... which are more the standard around here...
We might find these bottles not as robust as you might want. I had sketched out a game in which we used tubes of 4" diameter PVC pipe as game pieces.... more robust... cheap... a number of different ways to handle them...

Or even capped 4" PVC ....

I think autonomous scoring can be very simple....

Whatever you score in autonomous you get to count.... and then at the end of the game those scores are still there (assuming no ability to descore..) they count again... if you have de-scoring then you have to protect them somehow...

So in effect you get a double score for those items scored in autonomous.

Simple, easy to see ....

I like the use of a standard item...and carpet...
I am not sure whether I like the idea of the robot having to stay in its vertical dimension... this would really limit the height of the goals and make it harder to see the scoring... I think building mechanisms that lift and place (arms, lifts, etc) can be fun to build and give a number of interesting problems mechanically...

Contact should remain at the bumper level... as you mentioned.

You might also adapt this to be more scoring opportunities in the corners also.. and perhaps add a way for robots to be loaded manually (similar to the slot in rack and roll..)
Otherwise this resembles Rack and Roll too much...

I also like having some sort of end game... either a place for robots to end up.. or a special last 20-30 second task that only scores then...

interesting ideas!!

EricH
06-18-2009, 02:40 PM
Just don't fill the bottles with styrofoam balls. Use water instead, in varying amounts.

:D:ahh::yikes::p

Akash Rastogi
06-19-2009, 12:27 AM
Something cool: multi field interactions. Two hexagonal fields in which there is a mountain in the center of the two connecting them. The center holds two bots who must wrestle down to their alliances field. On the top they "wrestle" for some type of puck or game piece. Said game pieces are used to score in some type of stacking goal on the opponent's side of the field.

I'm picturing 03+05

oddjob
06-19-2009, 12:03 PM
PVC pipe works too.

As soon as you allow robots outside their vertical dimension, then you are going to be adding penalty rules for harsh contact, deliberately toppling over, etc.. I'd like to have a simple set of rules where there are no penalty rules except for exceptional actions, and no penalties for things that are likely to happen in every game - that's a sign of poor game design and confuses the spectators.

Scoring from inside the vertical dimension makes it quite challenging and the robot will have to launch the pipe or get real close and drop it through the lower holes. There's plenty of opportunity there for teams to be creative in pipe capture, handling, aiming and shooting.


Or even capped 4" PVC ....

I am not sure whether I like the idea of the robot having to stay in its vertical dimension...

whytheheckme
06-19-2009, 12:34 PM
For scoring objects, use standard 1L soda bottles, filled with small styrofoam balls and with top cap sealed. Cheap, sturdy, not too heavy, interesting shape to handle, everyone can get them.

FIRST has had a tendency lately to use scoring objects that are NOT easy to get, so that FIRST can sell them to you at very high markup. I don't think FIRST would go for something like this (imho of course)


EDIT: It appears that I was pretty uninformed about pricing of the orbit balls. I guess my point was more to the availablility of items, which this year was quite a problem, as well as in 06 it posed somewhat of a problem, and in 08, while, they were pretty expensive per item, I guess you only really needed one or two of them.

Joe Matt
06-19-2009, 02:01 PM
FIRST has had a tendency lately to use scoring objects that are NOT easy to get, so that FIRST can sell them to you at very high markup. I don't think FIRST would go for something like this (imho of course)

You're $@#$@#$@#$@#ing kidding me, right?

I'm one of the first to put FIRST to task for BS they pull at times and call people out, but that's just wrong. FIRST had every intention this past year to have the game objects easy to get, not their fault Orbit Balls were discontinued a month before the game was announced (FIRST not knowing this and making changes is a different topic.)

Every year FIRST has made concessions to make playing objects, field components, etc easy and cheap to get from any hardware, toy, or super store. Do we forget the standard soccer balls from 2002? How about the bins that every Target* carried?






*Of course this doesn't help our friends across the pond any. 'ello everyone!

AndyB
06-19-2009, 02:34 PM
2002 - Soccer balls (Standard soccer ball...)
2003 - Bins (As Joe said, available at any Target)
2004 - Playground Balls (Standard playground balls I think, could be wrong though)
2005 - PVC Tetras (Pretty easy to build yourself and you only needed a few)
2006 - Poof Balls (Like $4 or $5 a piece if I remember right, though a bit hard to find in some places)
2007 - Inner Tubes (Dirt Cheap, only needed the ones in the kit)
2008 - Trackballs (Only needed the one supplied assuming you didn't pop it)

I think 2009 marked the first game where aquiring the game piece was a signifigant problem. And it wasnt really FIRST's fault.

I don't know what your talking about when you say "very high markups" either. Mind elaborating? I'm pretty sure the Orbits were the same cost from FIRST as they were from Walmart... at least after shipping and handling. The cost per ball was only $3 from FIRST.

whytheheckme
06-19-2009, 02:43 PM
2002 - Soccer balls (Standard soccer ball...)
2003 - Bins (As Joe said, available at any Target)
2004 - Playground Balls (Standard playground balls I think, could be wrong though)
2005 - PVC Tetras (Pretty easy to build yourself and you only needed a few)
2006 - Poof Balls (Like $4 or $5 a piece if I remember right, though a bit hard to find in some places)
2007 - Inner Tubes (Dirt Cheap, only needed the ones in the kit)
2008 - Trackballs (Only needed the one supplied assuming you didn't pop it)

I think 2009 marked the first game where aquiring the game piece was a signifigant problem. And it wasnt really FIRST's fault.

I don't know what your talking about when you say "very high markups" either. Mind elaborating? I'm pretty sure the Orbits were the same cost from FIRST as they were from Walmart... at least after shipping and handling. The cost per ball was only $3 from FIRST.

I s'pose I was mostly referring to 06, 08 and 09. If you wanted a trackball, the only place that I can remember our team being able to find it was through FIRST, and the price seemed a bit much for an exercise ball... This year the orbit balls were pretty difficult to find (due to the discontinuation), and if you wanted any number of them, it was almost impossible to get (especially early on in the season (even through FIRST)).

I guess I just wish FIRST went with more generic item that can be purchased at local retailers reliably, like in 03 and 04. Lately FIRST has been moving to very specific items in which supply can be a major problem (especially in a game where 120 of the game piece can be on the field at any one time, and getting a dozen of such said piece can be nearly impossible.)

Also, I could be wrong, but I remember FIRST marking up the trackball to almost double the price found on *very* similar items from other online retailers.

Joe Matt
06-19-2009, 02:51 PM
Every item you can get from a local store for "cheap". They might not be exactly the same, but general size and grip usually remained the same. Plus FIRST provides example balls when they can in the kits.

Chris is me
06-21-2009, 01:45 AM
and no penalties for things that are likely to happen in every game - that's a sign of poor game design and confuses the spectators.

I disagree. This is more a sign of poor game play from people that refuse to accept the penalties at hand rather than poor design. See: my opinion on <G22>.

2005 - PVC Tetras (Pretty easy to build yourself and you only needed a few)

I was pretty sure they were metal, heavy, and very hard to build.

In FIRST's defense, the game piece was supposed to be very easy to obtain. You can't blame FIRST for the company folding.

Akash Rastogi
06-21-2009, 10:55 AM
I was pretty sure they were metal, heavy, and very hard to build.


Nope. PVC and not really hard to build.

EricH
06-22-2009, 09:30 PM
I was pretty sure they were metal, heavy, and very hard to build.

In FIRST's defense, the game piece was supposed to be very easy to obtain. You can't blame FIRST for the company folding.
I'm with Akash--they were conduit PVC, and not terribly hard to build or store flat. The official goals were metal, but practice ones were often the same as the tetras.

And the company didn't fold; the company that was supposed to sell them decided not to sell them anymore at the last minute. The company that made them is still going.

bobwrit
06-22-2009, 11:01 PM
When does the 2010 suggestion thread start?

oddjob
06-23-2009, 12:05 PM
I disagree. This is more a sign of poor game play from people that refuse to accept the penalties at hand rather than poor design. See: my opinion on <G22>.


Those involved with FIRST will learn all the rules and more or less understand every penalty flag. The team sponsors and other spectators who come for the competition but didn't bone up on the rule book will not. This years game was frustrating for me because the posted score when the final horn sounded was never the final score, sometimes off by many tens of points and possibly changing who won or lost. At times, it seemed like a random number generator was involved.....

A game that can remove that confusion is way ahead. I'm not sure if has been a FIRST objective in the past to have a game with scoring clarity. Did they publish a game design rubric? That's the starting point.

Chris is me
06-24-2009, 01:09 PM
I almost want to go through TBA and figure out how off the real time scoring was. I mean, it was never accurate, but if it showed more than a 15 point differential it seemed to pick the winner.

I think I'm alone in liking the suspense, though. I think the minute you have to wait for the referees to count every moon rock makes the moment they reveal the final score that much better. And "imperfect score keeping suspense" is way better than "too many penalty suspense", right? So I take it the next game the GDC makes will probably be one where you can know the exact score very easily.

CORE 2062
07-08-2009, 05:21 PM
Incorporating all of these ideas into one game could become very complicated, so I will try to break them up so that they are modular. Note that I have only seen FRC games from 2005 through 2008.

Have two different sizes or two different shapes for game pieces. This will allow a 3-tiered offensive design strategy that teams may employ based upon their creativity, skill, and experience. Novice teams may chose to only pick up the "easiest" piece, intermediate teams the "harder" piece, and veteran (or ambitious) teams will pick up both. The use of two game pieces implies two different tasks, however one game piece may be used for the end game whereas the other may be rugged and intended for most of the gameplay.

There may be a part of the field that is either blocked from view of the drivers or at least very obstructed from view. When a robot enters that zone, the human player may (via IR remote control again) tell the robot to perform some function that will greatly aid the alliance in the end game. This not only forces teams to prepare for the end-game ahead of time but also re-incorporates an active human player during tele-operated mode.

Flying game pieces are exponentially more exciting than game pieces that are placed. This was particularly apparent this year when 4 trackballs were hurdled at the same time by 4 different teams. Philly got very LOUD during the two Final matches that this happened.

Finally, I would like to see two separate surfaces for the playing field. Regardless of elevation, I would like to see one solid ("slick") surface in addition to the normal carpeted surface. This allows for variations in design decisions about drive trains without there being one "best" drive train. If the surface were elevated 1 foot, accesible via non-carpeted inclines (~12 degrees over ~3 feet), defense-style bots could play "king of the mountain".

you got your wish

Koko Ed
08-23-2009, 07:54 PM
Here's my idea (http://kokoed.deviantart.com/art/Hot-Potatoe-134503734) since I didn't get one up last year.