FTC 2015 Challenge "Cascade Effect"

FTC deserves more love.

Here is the game for this season:

Game video at 2:45
Echoes of FIRST Frenzy, 2004.

This is the one FIRST program that is accessible to most students.
Interesting to note that when searching for FTC events in your area, they cannot be found. :ahh:
Hopefully, they will appear soon. Consider volunteering.

There is cross-fertilization of game concepts between FTC and FRC.

Shall we start a discussion on the strategies of this game?

The game is AWESOME this year, at least initially looking at it. The field Andymark put together looks really nice as well. Looking forward to seeing the game played this year!

I love this game. I kinda wish that we did FTC this year. Looking forward to volunteering!

Awesome and Nasty. Trying to fill the goals, especially the valuable high goals, while maintaining a reasonable Center of Gravity will be a challenge. I predict that here will be many tipped robots and fallen goals.

I wonder how the game rules address when you topple your own goals. I’m assuming that losing the points is penalty enough.

It’s Finally time that we have a field with good construction methods. Our team has a full field on the way and were really excited.

I was fortunate enough to encounter an actual field today at a kickoff event in Elkhart, and I must say I wish I did FTC this year. As for likely team/robot strategies, here are my initial thoughts:


There are two combinations of events that teams could potentially do in order to score a lot of points in auto - (1) Drive down the ramp, knock over kickstand, score in center goal, or (2) Drive down the ramp, score in a moveable goal, move the goal into the parking zone. #1 would score 110 points, #2 would score 70, 90, or even 120 points based on if the robot pushed 1 or 2 goals. I personally would prefer method #1 since it scores more points if you do it right, and sets up the field for an effective teleop.


Teleop is interesting this year because during the 1:30 before the endgame, scoring balls in moveable goals is the only way to earn points. Therefore, EVERY COMPETITIVE TEAM WILL SCORE IN THE GOALS, most of which will likely be the 90 cm goal. If a team can make a way for the robot to collect and score balls from the floor without continuously using a lift of some sort will be able to score 5 balls every few seconds, making an effective teleop. Note that a team may not collect balls from the center “cascade” dropper and score them, i.e. the balls must contact the floor prior to scoring for the score to count (GS2). The wiffle balls will be crucial to scoring the most points the fastest, but since 80% of the balls are golf balls, all of the competitive teams will probably aim to collect them as well. I also noticed that there are little holes in the moveable goals, perfect for a robot to latch onto and drag around the field as it picks up balls to score.


Endgame provides many options. For the moveable goals, you can either have them in the parking zone or lifted off the ground, but not both. Since lifting provides 30 points, while parking is only 10, I think it is safe to say that teams that CAN lift WILL lift instead of parking. Robots themselves will most likely be parked, and many teams will build a robot that can lift other robots. If an alliance has one robot that lifts a goal and the other robot, who is also holding a goal, then the total score I believe is 110 points. Finally, most teams I think will attempt to score at least one ball in the center (if they did not in autonomous) since that first ball will score 180 points. (Can someone tell me I’m wrong? This seems awfully high :confused: )

So, the “optimal” robot will be capable of knocking away the kickstand and scoring balls in the middle goal during autonomous, scoring balls in the 30cm goal without continuously using a lift up and down, and lift a goal and/or robot during endgame. A single robot that does this could easily score over 300 points alone, I feel, so I imagine an alliance that is 1 offense/1 defense could actually be very strong this year.

Not to mention Diabolical Dynamics :slight_smile:

  1. The ramp is “off the Floor”, so teams will simply park rolling goals and their robots on the ramp.
  2. From the game manual:

Ball Height – The measurement from the bottom of the Ball Tube to the top of the uppermost Ball in the Ball Tube, i.e. the height of the stack of Balls in the Ball Tube. This is used when calculating the Score for a Goal.

6 points for each cm of Ball Height for Balls Scored In the Center Goal.

Therefore, the 1st ball is only worth 6pts time its height. The game animation was poorly worded regarding the scoring. (90 cm is 100% irrelevant except for the difficulties it presents in placing balls, leading to a higher scoring multiplier.)

This seems like a nightmare to make sure points are awarded accurately. Not to mention time consuming.

Other than that, this seems like a fun and challenging game. Hope this foreshadows an equally diverse FRC game later this year.

Though I have never been a part of FTC, here is what I see being a really competitive robot

On the back of the robot is a latch for grabbing onto the 90cm goal, never letting go, so the goal becomes a trailer being rigidly towed for the remainder of the match.

The robot has a continuous intake/lifting system that reaches up to the 90cm goal. Of course it will have to start 18cm and unfold/telescope to that height. This lifting system is similar to a conveyor belt (perhaps with brushes?) that takes balls from the floor, and straight up dumps them into the goal it has possession of.

If said mechanism is fast enough, you will be incapable of acquiring more than 5 balls at a time, because they will be spit out the top too fast.

I don’t think it’s that bad, as long as points are scored at the end of the match. Although close ties could be hotly contested. And even touching the tube to measure might cause the level to go down.

I was thinking about a robot like that too! It would also score in the middle goal during auto.

It’s funny they called it Cascade, since that usually refers to water. Haha. Water game joke.

You can’t grab on to the ball tube (major penalty), and grabbing onto the bottom would risk toppling the tube over, especially the 90cm one since it’s not wheels on the bottom but little metal ball things.

It all depends on how you grab the bottom, look at the Robot in 1 Weekend machine, it will prevent it from tipping over if you are dragging it behind the robot.

Ah, my bad. I haven’t caught up on their robot.

I wonder if teams will try to move their own goal tubes in front of the opponents for max points.

We pulled a full 90cm goal up the ramp without it tipping, but know that the 90cm ones when they roll down the ramp (even empty) will usually topple over when they hit the matt. Sometimes the 60 cm one will tip as well.

It also says in the scoring table listed on Page 7 of game Manual 2 “Balls Scored In (from floor) Center Goal”.

Therefore the first ball would count for 120cm (top of center goal) - ~27.5cm height of center goal + height of ball (~7 cm big) = 100cm x 6 = 600pts.

I agree that this seems like a game breaking amount of points but I think the challenge of getting a ball scored at 120CM will be difficult. I am wondering why it is referenced both in the video and where I quoted above if counting from the floor is not the intention.

Someone please correct me if I have misinterpreted something.

The (from floor) reference is to remind teams that balls must first contact the floor before they are legal scoring elements for the rolling goals or the center goal. It has nothing to do with where the measuring begins.

See page 9, section 1.4.3 Driver-Controlled Period “Balls are legally able to be Scored once they have made contact with the Playing Field Floor.” The end game is part of the driver controlled period so this rule still applies.

Several places within the rules, it quite clearly states, “points for each cm of Ball Height” or “Points per cm of Ball Height”. This clearly indicates that measurements should be from the bottom of the lowest ball to the top of the highest ball. Limits are shown in the table for the rolling goals. Since the 30cm goal uses the same 27.5cm tape as the center goal, that would indicate a 27cm limit for the center goal. Expect clarification from the GDC on September 15th.

There is no way the GDC will allow for one ball to be 600 points. The GDC has learned over the years to expect the un-expected… (i.e. Bowled Over, when robots were lifting 18 ft in the air, when they thought a 5 ft stick would be enough)…meaning teams will find easy ways to score in the center goal…

The center goal, like the other rolling goals, have measuring gauges on them that start at 1 and go up from there. The measurement for height (and therefore scoring) is not done from the floor, but rather according to those gauges.