December Design Competition 2014: Tubular Touchdown

SECOND Robotics is back! Kickoff is just around the corner, and before you get busy and stressed with robotics, take some time to get busy and stressed a whole month earlier! That’s right, the December Design Competition is back for its second installment with a brand new game!

For those of you unfamiliar with the design competition, the basic idea is a group of friends and I have created our own FRC game in order to provide a challenge to the FIRST community to better prepare people for the strategic design and game analysis required at the beginning of the FRC season in hopes that participants will utilize what they have learned from the competition to make their 2015 FRC team perform at a higher level of play. Individuals (or groups of people) design their own complete robot to participate in this year’s game, Tubular Touchdown.

The manual for Tubular Touchdown may be found here, and the game documents and CAD models may be found here.

Each team of contestants must turn in a CAD design for their robot as well as written documentation detailing their robot, their strategies for the game, their strategic design and thought process. Basically anything in the normal season that cannot be portrayed simply via the CAD model would be helpful having in writing. It will help your score to have more documentation about your processes.

This is a relaxed competition. We know this is a busy time of year for many people, so when it comes to CAD models, thorough completeness will not be a factor judged upon. This doesn’t mean you can leave out entire subsystems, but if you don’t have nuts/bolts or shafts, it won’t hurt you. As long as your general design gets across and you can explain it in words, you will be able to be less attentive to minor details on design. That being said it’s always cool to look at well designed and detailed robots, so if you have the time, we’d love to see what you come up with in full detail.

The competition begins today and ends at noon Pacific time on January 1st, and our goal is to have a winner chosen before kickoff. Last year the winner wished to stay anonymous, and while we will fulfill those wishes if our winners prefer, we would like to say that many people were interested in knowing which robot won last year and were disappointed that they missed out on viewing what was truly a beautiful design.

For submission, if you use Solidworks, Pack and Go your assembly and put the zipped folder in a folder with your documentation. Otherwise simply send a STEP file along with your documentation. Submissions should be sent to [email protected].

Myself, wasayanwer97, Jay O’Donnell, and mahnyi worked on this project over our Thanksgiving breaks, and we hope you all enjoy it. If you have any questions feel free to post them in this thread and we will get back to you asap (like hella quickly).

Good luck everyone, and happy holidays!

This is hilarious. I’ve been telling another mentor on our team for the past couple of years that footballs are going to be the game piece the next year.

Grr I wish we had a heads up so we could have planned to integrate this as a team wide offseason CAD project.

Some people have PM’d me their questions, so I will post the official responses here:

Are GAME BALLS scored in the mobile goal counted like normal balls?

No they are not.

Can you score tubes on your opponents rack

Yes, but they will not count as points.

Is there a limit to the amount of footballs you can score in auto? It says preload 5, but can you line up like 15?

You may not place extra footballs on the ground at the start of the match.

Can the human players throw tubes onto the field like 2011?

There is no rule specifying how game pieces may be entered onto the field.

Is there a limit to how many game pieces of either type that a robot can hold?
Can the human players throw the footballs through the goal posts for points?
What are the exact positions of the rolling goals at the beginning of the match?

No limit on the amount of game pieces a robot can hold.

Yes, a human player could throw a football through the inner tube slot.

Thank you so much for this! I was just wondering whether or not it would return.

Also, is there any chance we could get the CAD files in .stl format? :smiley:

I’ll see if I can get .stl versions up soon. (I’ll edit this post when I do)

A .stl file of the entire field can be found via the following link:

Feel free to message/reply with any questions or issues.

I quickly read through the rules like I would a real FRC manual and took notes. Some of my questions are useful to this exercise, and some of them clearly aren’t (there won’t be FTAs on this field). Some of the questions I ask in the notes, get answered later on the manual as I kept reading.

Here are my notes. I like game rules in general so take my notes with a grain of salt, I get that a lot of the questions don’t need answers for this CAD challenge.

Overall I like this game. The two end games is a neat idea it gives something for a plowie to do during the end game.

We’ll have a football game one day and I wouldn’t be mad if we got some variation of this game at some kickoff in the future. Nice work.

Thank you for the compliments, and thank you for the notes you’ve taken. We agree that there are some very valid concerns in there that will affect the majority of teams, and we’d like to get them cleared up as soon as possible.

How do the balls get out of the field during the auton shooting, there seems to be space behind the goals, do they only count if they clear the driver station?

If balls do not clear the field then there is no need to clear or re-enter them. They will simply just sit in the place where they’ve fallen. The only requirement for the balls to be scored is to make it through the Goal Post.

How do you determine in a different zone, completely or just touching it?

We did not clarify because we believed that out of the many ways of interpreting the location of each zone and which you are in, any possible method you can think of will be a valid one that will not give one advantage over the other.

What is the mobile goal base made out of? Is it perfectly round? Weight?

The mobile goals are made out of Lawrencium and are as round as we can get them. The weight was an oversight, but they should weigh in at around 50 lbs.

Will hanging intertubes interfere with the ones above and below since there is only 18” between each peg.

The CAD says no so I say no.

24 pegs on each goal for tubes, and 33 tubes per team

The pegs are long enough to hold two tubes.

Rules about pinning goals? Field barricade / flow of the game rule?

Teams will need to consider goal control as an active part of the game alongside scoring.

Like you said, many of your comments were greater related to if this were a real game, and since it is mainly a design a strategical analysis exercise I’ve skipped some of the notes in an effort to not make an extremely long post or to crowd the thread with information that may confuse teams. That being said your analysis was so thorough that if the chance comes I would love to see you be a member of the FRC GDC.

Please define “grasp”.

Really though, the word is what it is. You know what we intended as creators of the game. Please don’t lawyer each and every word.

How would a FOOTBALL entered into a MOBILE GOAL by a human player be scored?

With 2 points and a high five from the nearest ref. Personally, I wouldn’t count on it as a reliable strategy since the goals are always subject to motion.

Please clarify starting locations of the MOBILE GOALS.

Are strategies aimed at preventing the opposing alliance from scoring (without damaging the opponent, causing them to foul, or descoring scored elements) an encouraged and intended part of this game?

So…defense? Yeah…defense is allowed.

If a mobile goal is knocked over (I know it would be hard to do since the base is pretty large but…) and the football/tubes fall out, are they not counted in the final score of the match? Is there a penalty for that?

Any alliance that knocks over a mobile goal will incur a penalty of over 9000 points as per G4.

The mobile goals can’t both be in th center of the field at the same time.
Unless you’ve got some trick up your sleeve! :wink:

With 100 footballs at their disposal, it seems very feasible that someone could make a team 71 in 2002 type bot, just pull a goal (or both) up to the feeder station, lock in place, and for the entire time before fourth down just funnel/chuck in balls.

That just seems like way too easy a way to do well in the game. Maybe less footballs should be available?

What made 71 so deadly wasn’t just the design, but the execution. These days with the added robots and the more powerful drive systems I don’t think a 71 style robot would be effective in this game. It was something we all discussed before choosing it. I am in no way saying that it is better to go with a safer design, but a risky design like 71’s requires proof of perfect execution to be successful, and that’s proof that is hard to conjure in a design competition such as this one.

It looks like about 190 footballs will fit in the rolling goal. I have simulated it and got 184 to fit. Anyone willing to verify that?

Can multiple HEPTAGONAL INNER TUBES be scored per PEG? IE, even though there are only 24 tubes, can all 33 of your starting tubes be put on your own Mobile Goal?

This seems like an odd answer. Can they be thrown around the side wall of the driver station? Can the human players walk to the sides of the field and throw them in? Can they be entered through the goal post? To the extreme can a human player bring a quad copter to the driver station and fly the game pieces to the center of the field (clearly illegal, I’m just saying this rule can dramatically effect robot design and game play)


The intent was that all humans be behind the alliance walls at all times. G19 has been added to clarify this intention.

Regarding the quad copter…that would be pretty cool. You are right though that like many things you have pointed out - these limitations were an oversight that were not included due to the intended nature of the design competition. We figured that if it became important in the eyes of someone else, someone would ask, and we would provide an official answer. We wanted to make the manual small and simple in exchange for rules and clauses that we decided were either too situational to require an immediate rule or too unlikely/irrelevant to affect how teams approach their design.