Clarification on Power Port Challenge Scoring Rules

There are no explicit rules against creating a feedback loop, the rule says, “Teams should not use this allowance to attempt to create a “loop” with minimal ROBOT movement.” Two things are important there, “should not” and “this allowance”. “Should not” does not mean cannot, this rule is pretty weak. A team that is shooting from the far edge of the shooting zone and getting balls from the reintroduction zone is creating the shortest loop possible, but they are still within the rules, and have to move 15ft, which is a decent sprint on a field this size. The second important part is “This allowance” meaning the section right before that quote in the blue box after PPC6 which says “Use of a LOADING BAY (or LOADING BAY mockup) is recommended to minimize risk of human injury by a POWER CELL receiving ROBOT.” The no feedback loop rule (suggestion) is meant specifically for a robot getting balls from the reintroduction zone, it has no impact on the power port or any custom ball return system. Though I would agree its probably a good question for the Q&A, I expect they want to make a custom return system illegal. I think the best way FIRST could prevent a custom ball return system would be to make a rule that says the power port you use must exactly fit the specifications of the homemade power port from the 2020 season, or a competition power port.

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I agree.

Of course if you use the 2D goal and have a consistent shooter, the balls would tend to land in a very consistent area of the field allowing you to quickly intake them and shoot again. If you found the spot where the balls would rebound to the location where you were shooting, you would have pretty close to this loop as well…

I’m having flashbacks to the Q&A for the FTC “Velocity Vortex Game” where the obvious strategy of deploying a net to gather the balls as they dropped out of the bottom of the goal was explicitly disallowed by the GDC in the Q&A about 5 weeks into the season.

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Ha, if you honestly think kids are going to just casually walk balls back to their loading zone, you didn’t see the hours of athletics training kids put into figuring out how to throw pool noodles 40+ feet.

I expect to see full field throws, possible into a net of some sort if not specifically disallowed.

I only see this being a thing if teams can get the balls to land into a corner of the field. Otherwise, I don’t see the consistence being there. Even if the consistence is perfect, you have to worry about the balls hitting themselves on the ground. I don’t see that being very viable.

Even if you can build a shooter that is super consistent, you have to shoot slow enough on a 2d goal that balls don’t hit each other in mid air. Maybe not a huge thing, but something to consider.

I see the 3d goal being a better option for those who have it. Creating a consistent cycle out of a loading goal makes a lot more sense than the time it will take to try to perfect a shooter. Someone will figure out how to create the cycle in the 2d goal, but it will be 2 or 3 teams, not hundreds.

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Have you ever tried juggling? It’s all about proper timing.

The perfect loop could pretty easily be had with no fancy controls other than tuning the timing since you can start from anywhere.
Ball 1 falls directly into the hopper basket
Ball 2 is starting through the launcher
Ball 3 with backspin is hitting the 2D goal and about to fall into the basket to replace ball 1

The way (exciting) teams worked last year was to line up then unload 5 balls as quickly as possible. That won’t work here since they’ll hit each other once they score. But since you’re limited to 3 anyways, you can space them out appropriately. The limiting factor would be air time from the launcher to the goal to the rebound catch.

Heck, try it out with a human player and two balls. Watch them “juggle” against a wall. It’s not hard to consistently hit the same spot and keep a good rhythm with a only a little practice.


This sounds exactly like what they’re telling you not to do in the blue box under PPC6 that says “Teams should not use this allowance to attempt to create a “loop” with minimal ROBOT movement.”

And for those that have forgotten, they outline exactly what blue boxes are for in this manual.

Warnings, cautions and notes appear in blue boxes. Pay close attention to their
contents as they’re intended to provide insight into the reasoning behind a rule,
helpful information on understanding or interpreting a rule, and/or possible “best
practices” for use when implementing systems affected by a rule.

It expressly says later that rules supersede boxes incase they conflict each other, but that does not seem to apply to this case. So they will be interpreting PPC6 to rule feedback loops with human players involved that causes the robot to basically stand still illegal.

Unless you are talking about bouncing them off the goal, back into your robot over and over again. Which… if you do that hats off to you I guess.

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That’s where my confusion lies. Is the blue box a generalization, or does it exist within the bounds of PPC6, which deals exclusively with human interactions?

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Boom, nailed it. Our hopper could already accept from the feeder station previously. Just need to practice to find the sweet spot in front of a 2D goal to go the same thing.

I mentioned in another thread, that unless the GDC lays out what minimum movement is (and we talked examples of how to do so further down in the same thread) we could just stay in one spot and then take a jitter step right at the end to “comply” with minimal movement.

We’ll take it, but in the end I’m hoping the GDC makes it so it’s not a viable option.


Latest team update had this bit in the beginning from Frank.

More than in any other year, we are asking you to do your best to follow the spirit of the rules. If you compete in the INFINITE RECHARGE at Home skills competition, no referees will be watching. While we won’t be defining every possible situation that is outside the spirit of the rules, the best advice we can give is for you to, as Woodie used to say, “behave in a way that would make your grandmother proud.”

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Until I read your post, I was planning on shooting the 2d to get the bounce back. I did not consider that they would bounce back into each other. THANK YOU!

Was there ever any clarification of why a one minute timed event is limited to 15 powercells? Not saying we could drop in 20 cells 3 at a time, but its nice to dream:)

Presumably because the ball return is an inescapable constraint for teams with only 3, so they made that the standard.

People keep getting this wrong.

You are NOT limited to 15 power cells!
You are limited to 3 power cells

15 SHOTS is the limit for the Accuracy challenge.

Not directed at you BB, but the number of times people have been called out on this forum so far is alarming to the point that I know teams are going to get called out AFTER submitting their scores for using too many power cells.


Are you referring to the mistake they fixed in update 1?

Section Scoring
The raw score is the total number of points scored with the fifteen (15) POWER CELLS within the 1-minute period.


You’re right, I did mean shooting 15 power cells but I was referring to the Power port challenge. Christopher 149 pointed out the solution for me. Thank you for the clarification

I am absolutely, apologies for missing it(insert embarassed emoji)

I think this is part of why so many people (myself included) get this confused.

I am less worried about this one than I am about the disappointment teams will feel when the clever loopholes they worked so hard to open are ruled to violate the spirit of the competition. It’s all well and good to probe the rules for unique strategies, but c’mon… Are teams really going to risk their season on a gimmick?

do you have to shoot in all 4 zones?

From Team Update 05: