Game Possibilities

I’m just going to through this out there, since I’m suitably convinced that Dave’s morse code hint is in fact “not a hint”.

Increasingly, FLL has made its competitions more and more socially relevant, and most importantly the challenges are indicative of real life needs and issues.

Though I’m not sure many discussed it, this past years FRC game was a radical change from previous games in that it was not some arbitrary set of playing objects and rules. Instead, it was a real-life engineering scenario, turned into a game. Namely, the creation of moon-vehicles. They went to great lengths (namely regolith) to presented us with similar challenges to challenges of building a moon-robot, and preserving the semblance to real-world applicability.

I believe that this years challenge will be similar. Whatever it may be, it will be presented and crafted in a manner that makes it applicable to the real world. It will be some sort of real-life engineering challenge turned into a game. Does anyone else think the same thing? I noticed that all the objects that Dave mentioned in that “Crackerjacks, Haagen-Dazs cups and Diet Coke can” blog post were recyclable materials, which means they require collection, transportation and processing. What other possibilities exist?

What might be some real-world engineering challenges that would make good candidates for an FRC challenge? And how would you go about making a game for them?

Let’s see… NASCAR is out (2008). The moon is out(2009). What about Ma–Oh, right, takes too long to get over there, besides already having robots out there.

FLL can do this because they have small, easy-to-build models, and the game theme governs the entire game, and the research presentation. The kids are literally fully into the theme. (And, a theme helps keep attention for longer…)

Actually, Dave’s Morse code might be a hint. The game theme is communication, if it is.

Hmmm… energy efficiency has to be a big social theme. What if each team got a limited number of fresh batteries to use each day?

Or what if rather than having electrical connections to the pit areas, teams had to generate all the power they used… for charging, computers, tools, etc. from “off the grid” zero emissions sources. Exercise bike-o-rama!

A recycling challenge could be good… various objects on the playing field that need to be sorted and returned to recycling bins.

Or, keeping with a space theme… what if there were various “space station modules” suspended over the playing field that needed to be manipulated in some way. (Okay, probably not that… but the chance to build a Canadarm would be too cool for teams north of the border.)

Or it could be a Mars Rover theme… the game would be scheduled to last for two minutes, but would acutally keep running for five years.


We get to do that for bonus points in NURC, for the batteries that power the ROV!

fortunately my brother has a solar panel and charge controller…

Why are there more threads about a year’s game before we know what it is than when we do?

Because right now there are an infinite number of things it could be.

After kickoff, the number drops significantly…to the number of game rule updates :slight_smile:

I think Dave “hint” is is a hint. Just because he kept saying “This is not a hint” doesn’t mean that is what the message means. Actually I think that he wants you to think that it says “this is not a hint”. However if you notice that the word “appear” is also given, which doesn’t really make any since. But if you reorganize the words you can get “this hint is not as it appears” with a few sparse letters after that. so i think that that is the clue…morse code!

But i could be wrong!

After kick-off, we no longer have time for idle wool-gathering. The mind needs come back to Earth and focus on the problem at hand. Or, as I like to think of it, less dreaming, more doing. (Constructive thinking is doing, right?)

I think in the not-too-distant-future, robots (teams in an alliance) will truly have to cooperate to score in the game.
The game consists of two separate and specific tasks; each robot may be assigned a task, and two robots on an alliance may have to perform different functions simultaneously/in a specific order to gain points. A single robot cannot perform two of the tasks simultaneously.
The build season strategy then becomes: Do we focus on one task and perfect it, do we make a “hybrid” robot that can do either task okay and can be strategically interchangeable, do we concentrate on not allowing the opposing alliance to complete the task, or do we make a “protector” robot that keeps the opposition from playing defense?

I just ran across this article, which is about a recurring theme in power generation. It’s very easy to see that our economy is very power/energy-oriented. Without it, the great majority of us would be without a job.

Thus I think an energy-storage, potential energy (etc) type theme could be a good candidate. You can make a wind turbine out of crackerjacks (tower), haagen-das (base), and a soda can (propellor blades). Well … you can sort of make a wind turbine out of them…

I was thinking with all the water ideas people keep talking about and the coke cans, there might be some sort of half filled container, which would include transporting and processing it.

You know how when you slide a half empty can of coke across a table and as it slows down, the momentum of the liquid causes it to wobble as it slows. This could create an interesting game.

I can’t believe it someone is talking about next years game rationally!

I really don’t think this would change anything at all. Think about the pickup mechanisms used in previous years they all involve the robot having, not needing, complete control on the object in question. Having a half filled object would be a waste of a game year.

I don’t think you are looking at the right scale …

… Consider a 1/2 filled trackball :wink:

Running wild with the recycling idea …
The field is covered with hundreds of recyclable objects (say, Crackerjacks, Haagen-Dazs cups and Diet Coke cans), scattered all over. The robots have to pick up as many as possible and deposit them into appropriate containers (plastic, cardboard, and metal). Two of each trash type bin, one for red team, one for blue. Scores are easy to calculate: +2 points per object in the right bin, -1 per object in the wrong bin. (Double the points during the 15 seconds of autonomous mode.)

Strategies could include:

  • Dumping objects in the wrong bin of the other alliance (to cost them points):mad:
  • Blocking the bins of the other alliance
  • Strong alliance partners would have the ability to accurately discern one particular type of object; “dream teams” would consist of three 'bots, one of each type.:cool:
  • The objects could be as simple as different colored balls (nerf, poof, kick, etc.), or as complex as spheres, cubes, and cones (each shape different colors, have to be sorted by shape? :ahh: )
  • Objects could start above the player stations (a la FIRST Frenzy, 2004), to encourage randomness

Okay, that’s 2 minutes of thought.

We can’t count on a dream team. It seems to me that the best bet for a bot would be one that could do 2 or maybe all three. It would be our luck to get on a team that all three bots would be able to do the same thing. The exact opposite of the dream team. Its just our luck. :o

Oh wow. You just explained my theory almost exactly the way I had imagined it.

One of our mentors, after seeing my activity in the “game hint” threads a few months ago, suggested that I work with our strategy team to make a mock game to practice before kickoff. Myself and the strategy group leader spent the entirety of a meeting sitting out in the hall creating a game. The actual idea never really took off, but our game was pretty much the exact same as the one you just described.

We had two game pieces - boxes and cans (representing cardboard/CrackerJack boxes and aluminum cans - the game pieces could be as simple as foam cubes and spheres), both in red and blue. The red alliance would try to sort the cubes into a red bin designated for cubes, and the spheres into a red bin for spheres, and the blue alliance would be doing the same with their game pieces. You would get points based on the content of your bins at the end of the match. Penalties would be taken if you placed a red sphere in the red cube bin, etc, but not if you had a blue sphere in one of your bins. Bonus points if your cube bin contains ONLY your alliance’s cubes, or if your sphere bin contains ONLY your alliance’s spheres.

The roadblock we ran into was field size :confused: Room for the bins, game pieces, AND robots? (unless the bins were stored overhead, or stacked creatively)

I think this years game wont have any “pieces” at all. No pieces means much less to reset between matches easing the 10 qualifying matches per team dilemma. Maybe we are manipulating the field itself? Or a maze? Or king of the hill?

That sounds better because the whisperings I had heard people were talking about having 1/2 filled containers about the size of a 2 liter bottle. Although In my opinion it should (at least I hope) be a game in which other robots have to depend on one another to score. For instance a couple years ago if you could have on robot go on top of another you could score points and I think it would be very interesting to see something to this nature. Like if you had to use a robot as a ramp in order to get the other up ontop of a raised platform to drop gamepieces into a scoring area.

That’s very similar to what I was thinking. I made a simulation before I read this…

The scoring system doesn’t quite work yet. (122 KB) (122 KB)