FRC Video/Virtual Game Idea

Hello everyone! I’m sure this topic has been brought up and I’ve looked through threads but I wanted to seriously gauge if other teams or orgs have thought of this. I’m working with the i.am.angel Foundation, which is a foundation started by will.i.am here in Los Angeles. We are trying to come up with viable ways to engage students and through our brainstorming we thought about the possibility of a FRC Virtual game where teams could make their way through some cool missions.

If anyone one else has thought of that let us know or link to some threads would be cool. It could be a real possibility in the future!

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This sounds like a neat idea.

Is this project to simulate the whole robotics season (build+competition) or just partial?

What kind of missions were you thinking?

From a video game perspective, I really enjoyed the robot customization options in the Catalyst 2012 game that was made for the Rebound Rumble Competition. Something like that combined with the enhanced features of the xRC Sim would be pretty cool.

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We were thinking basically recreating the game for this season but in video game form. Like someone could build a platform where the kids could design their own robots in CAD still or Unity, and also do the coding to control it within the game, so they are learning both CAD and code. And then there’s some video game environment with certain rules that are already built into it that is a simulation of this season’s game!

It seems like you are talking about something very similar to this: https://synthesis.autodesk.com. I haven’t used it much but it looks like what you are talking about. Although I’m not sure how useful it actually is since I haven’t used it much myself as I said before. It would be really cool to see something similar because I’ve heard Autodesk Synthesis is fairly hard to set up. If you could have a multiplayer option, like in xRC Sim that would be really neat!

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Oh wow! That is very cool and it is basically what we’re looking to do. If the setup is fairly hard, we’d be interested in finding ways to make something similar where teams aren’t bogged down with even more considering the circumstances. We really want it to be a smooth and easy way for teams to engage with FRC this year since virtual is already stressful as is. I’d be interested in knowing how many teams across the network would be interested in this in place of competing virtually on a physical robot and challenge.

A few things to note about Synthesis from the version I tested last summer:

  • It got really laggy with complex models
  • All degrees of motion had to be defined manually, which wasn’t particularly easy
  • It was just generally kinda hard to use without significant effort and time committed
    That version at least was better suited as a code and geometry testing ground (e.g. can our drivetrain get high-centered on the HAB platform), rather than a more traditional game. Also, afaik there was no multiplayer option, which is rather limiting for a 6-robot game. However, the more streamlined and game-like it is, the less technicality there is and the less FRC-like it becomes (IMO)
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Those are some great points, I definitely appreciate it. I guess a follow up would be, if it’s less FRC-like, do you think it would be more beneficial because students are still able to interact with robotics for the season, albeit via a video game, and not have to worry logistically about competing via virtual? They can just focus on practicing skills. I’m thinking of areas of the US where there is no possible way for teams to meet up safely also, where virtual may be really stressful. Interested to know what people think!

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Oh I think an easily accessible, streamlined FRC video game would be a great idea, I just think it would be difficult to implement a lot of creativity into that. A game like that could definitely promote interest and engagement with FRC, but it might have to have preset robots (or at least preset components) in order to make it easily accessible.

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That’s definitely true. It’s sacrificing the elements of FRC that give students more autonomy over the challenge and what their robots can do. I think a good medium may be having that as an option for areas where students can’t meet. They wouldn’t be able to compete but they would still be able to practice and engage so they aren’t losing any knowledge while unable to participate in FRC. I truly appreciate the dialogue, this is extremely helpful!

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Oh I’m a big fan of the idea, and I’d love to see it happen. Thanks for having the idea and the ability to maybe make it a reality! I’d look at the FRC Simulator for reference, although that leans more heavily into the streamlined video game aspect than I think you’d want.

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For reference this is now called xRC which is listed above.

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Making a virtual robotics competition sounds like a wonderful idea and to make a birtual competition as real as possible we should use virtual reality to get the closes look and feel of what a robotics competition looks like.

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