KICK OFF NOTICE - Are you Charged Up? Using CD to help us help you

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you know the 2023 game CHARGED UP presented by Haas is moments away from being released. This is your guide to Chief Delphi across the day before Kickoff and for the 6 critical days after kickoff. The few points (10) listed here will make your and more importantly my life all of our lives here on CD much better.

The first week is hectic. Lots going on, lots of swirl, lots of activity. Chief Delphi can be a great resource. But like any power tool if you gum it up with swarf and debris it grinds to a stop and isn’t useful. Remember, you are not the only one using CD, many of us use CD. So here are some things to keep CD going:

  1. Right now, check this page Kit of Parts info . Make sure you have the latest National Instruments software in your robotRio and your programming laptops. There is more software available this year than any other, start reading the documentation now (Footnote 1) If you haven’t done it yet, get the First Energize content site, scroll to the bottom has lots of good logo / graphics and stuff for your team.

  2. Also right now you are seeing lots of reveal posts for last years robots. And you are thinking "pfft, what I want to see is reveals about THIS year’s robot.: It’s well worth taking a look at all these reveals. They are good designs, they may have a new mechanism / coding style that you may be able to use. They also serve as reminders since many of us haven’t built or coded since last year. But what it really does is get your brain into “Kickoff mode” lots of things swirling around so when you get to the brainstorming part of Kickoff day you are all set. It also is a good time for code teams to pull down the latest code base and get systems up to date. This will save you posting later about how to get going.

  3. About 3 days before kickoff, when it’s announced (watch for a @Hallry post) go to the FIRST FRC site and download the encrypted game manual. Make sure your team members also have downloaded the manual. In the past, FIRST has asked us to NOT rehost the manual on our own servers, so just pass around their links. Don’t post “Is it there yet?” kind of posts.

  4. The game reveal show starts at Noon (12 PM EDT) About 1 PM EDT Kickoff day after the reveal, FIRST will release the password to the game. There are two dozen people poised to be the first to post the password. Don’t be one of them, just wait a few seconds after you see it on the kickoff video. Like in most years someone will fumble the password entry. Don’t reply “Help it does not work for me!!” In the time it takes you to do that the poster has gone back to fix the post, the right password is now there. Deep breath, just wait, there are 60,000 minutes in build season, it’s OK to waste a few now.

  5. Unlock your copy and your team member’s copy of the rules and read them. Reading slowly, carefully, word by word, taking your time as if it was the last corndog of the summer. Read the rules front to back. And when you are done with the first pass read it again. Slowly. Maybe read it out loud as a group, with one person reading each rule and moving around the room. Or read it to the cat. Once you are done with the second full pass, think about what you have read. If you completed both reads in under 20 minutes, consider reading the rules in backwards order.

Remember the rules are “An overview of the game”, “How to score points”, “things you can use to build the robot” and “some of the things you can’t use on the robot”. It does not cover how you are going to play the game (aka strategy) and what the robot will look like (aka design). Karthik, Team 1114, Andy Baker and others have posted great strategy documents and design videos , this brief time before kickoff would be a great time to watch. Get your whole team to watch them/read them

At this point you have many questions. “Can we use sharks with lasers?” Time to break out your number one tool, that 64 oz can of “Common Sense”. So, NO, this is not the year of the water game, the sharks will die. If drinking the can of “Common Sense” didn’t get you that answer don’t post your question on CD, go ask a team mate that has read the manual. Have them use their can of “Common Sense” and their DEEP READING OF THE RULES. Did you come up with the answer? No? Try a 3rd team member.

  1. Wait for lots of questions about the Kit of Parts and what the small package is. Just wait a few minutes for it to be announced, there will be people posting what it looks like, you don’t need to ask over and over. There is always a small weird box with a strange part in it, just give someone a chance to post what it is.

  2. OK, so maybe a legit question. Next step is to check CD. Look at the top of the screen. See the orange bar? See the spyglass? Click it and you’ll see the box to put key words in. Try 2020 Sharks Lasers. No hits? Reword: 2020 R23 Lasers (Footnote 4). No hits? (There is one, I just tried it. Did you spell shark correctly?) R23 Lasers won’t be enough, since this question got asked in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019; the rules change year to year, make sure you have the right year.

It could be that it’s a really weird question. Next scan the recent posts list to see if someone has posted something that may be about your question. Look at the posts and see. If there is a thread, consider replying to it, if not maybe a new thread.

  1. Think about what you are about to write. Think about four things:
    – How can I ask my question so it’s clear what I’m looking for
    – What part of the rules triggered my question, get that rule number and maybe the exact words ready
    – Where did I look for the answer and did I find something close
    – Did I really read all the rules carefully? Is now a good time to go back one more time?

  2. Posting time!
    Write your post. Be complete with your question, what rule, what other answers you found that may be close, etc. Use Capital Letters when needed. All sentences need nouns and verbs. You are a high school roboteer you should be able to write four to six sentences without dropping into leet speek.

Remember your post will be seen my thousands, best foot forward. We all want to help you, so as much detail as you can give helps us help you.

Pick a good subject line. -“Help Stuck” very poor. “Stuck on R23 Help” poor. “Sharks and Lasers in R23” better. “R23 - Are sharks with lasers allowed to be attached outside the Frame?”, much better.

And you’ll have much better responses if you word your question like, “Rule R47 says … does that mean we have to use a blobbermasher on our robot this year?”

Don’t ask, “I haven’t had time to look, but someone on our team says a blobbermasher is required. Anyone know?”

Remember, the rules are searchable too! (Footnote 2)

  1. Check spelling, grammar, etc. Submit. Now go do something else. Do not sit and refresh CD over and over. Do not post after an hour a reply “Hey, need help here!”. Other people are busy, they may be researching the question, looking at CAD drawings of the Arcade Frame to see how big of a shark can be attached, etc. Give them some time. Maybe go back and read the rules again?

  2. If this is truly blocking you from progress, the look at answering other threads while you wait. Do you KNOW the answer? Can you cite something that will make your answer better. YAY! Then read all the posts in the thread. Do the current set of posts cover the answer? Will you adding your post really add value? If so, post your answer. Be complete, be detailed, cite why you think this is the answer. "If you check R26 you will see that the Arcade Frame is 8 feet tall, there is no water, the shark will die. And if you check R123 about the additional two human players, you’ll see that sharks would not be included in the criteria. " Remember to check Capitalization, use of nouns and verbs, etc. Questions that look like they came from a smart person get answered quickly.

I used a rule question as my example. Rules questions are normally the first few days. Remember “The Posts On CD are Opinions Only”. If you have a real rules question, ask in the official FIRST forums. (And ask yourself what the reason the GDC does NOT take questions in the first days of build?" Did you read the manual?!?)

(Footnote 1 - There is a ton of materials that are released every year before kickoff including up to date releases of things like the WPILib base, other things like support for Python coming soon beta info, and the existing robotpyetc. Looking at all of these before kickoff will be a huge help)

(Footnote 2 - Search is your friend - see the spyglass on the upper left, use that to search prior topics. You can limit the search to things posted after kickoff so you don’t run into last seasons responses)

This looks to be a very exciting game and season after years of weird Covid robotics, I’m looking forward to the events this year!



Ryan, I want you to know that I was fully prepared to post this one ahead of you (albeit by about a minute), but I’m not a monster.


The prophecy has been fulfilled.


Adding to/expanding on this…

IF you’re going to ask questions, PLEASE make sure you’re asking SMART questions How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


Thanks, I’ll update next years version to have that link in it. Prior years had it and there was a point that had an issue so it got pulled.

Good luck on your season!!

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Read The FRC Manual


CD Rule Question

Good luck with your season!


Posted here for late comers to Saturdays event.

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