Okay, it has been three weeks since the FIRST Championships, and you have had some time to reflect on what worked about this year’s game, and what didn’t. And we know you are just sitting around thinking about next year’s competition. There are already several discussions about what it might be like. Well, how about an opportunity to possibly influence the design of the competition for next year (and perhaps several years into the future)?
Several groups are working with and within FIRST to address various aspects of the challenge for next year’s FRC competition. They are looking for good ideas, game concepts, rule suggestions, play field designs, etc - everything from a basic idea for a game to a set of detailed rules and parts drawings.
With that thought in mind, we would like to once again ask for your help and open a thread to discuss ideas, concepts, and specific suggestions for next year’s game. What we are looking for here are specific, detailed ideas or suggestions about the design of the game for next year.
We have been through all the related CD threads posted to date. There is no need to re-hash the pros and cons of prior games, or get too deep into philosophical discussions about prior years. Please keep those comments going, and please provide feedback on the 2004 game at the Team Forums later this year. But please keep them in the relevant threads. Here, we want to figure out how to go forward and help build an exciting, challenging, stimulating and engaging competition for next year.
Here is what we can guarantee: EVERYTHING that you suggest will be read, discussed, and considered. Nothing will be ignored.
Here is what is not guaranteed: There is no promise that anything that is suggested will actually get used. For any of a number of reasons, the suggestions may be impractical, incompatible, or unimplementable, and would not be incorporated into future games.
So, here are the ground rules:
- The game should provide a sufficiently difficult challenge that it will stress the abilities of the students and engineers on the teams to design and build a solution.
- The game should allow active participation by teams with widely-varying levels of resources.
- The game should be audience friendly and presumably TV-friendly (i.e. you can explain the basics of game to a TV audience in 30 seconds or less, it is easy to follow and exciting for the audience, and visually interesting for the duration of the match).
- Any field elements must be able to be constructed from readily availably materials (ask yourself this question “can I buy all the parts at Home Depot or Builders Square?”). Field elements that can be disassembled into 4x8-foot (or smaller) units that stack against a wall for storage are encouraged; field elements that require seventeen people to move or a small house to store are discouraged.
- The game should embody the values represented by FIRST (i.e. brings out the best aspects of a competitive spirit, does not promote needless destruction or violence, celebrates creative and imaginative solutions).
- The game should be structured so that ingenuity of design is just as important (or even more so) than advanced fabrication.
- There are no assumptions about the need for two-team alliances, limiting each round to just four teams, play fields in a single plane, etc.
- There is a preference (but not a requirement) for robots to have both offensive and defensive roles in the game. There is a preference (but not a requirement) for a role for the human player.
Also, understand that we are soliciting ideas for more than just the game itself. We want to hear about different concepts for alternate technologies and capabilities that might be incorporated into (or removed from) the game, and the structure of the competitions themselves. We want ideas for all elements of the 2005 FRC. To help spark thinking and create a structure for focused discussion, four discussion threads are being created to start things off. These threads will include:
Game concepts - this thread is intended for fully developed game ideas. It is intended to collect specific game concepts, as well as be an opportunity to discuss and refine posted concepts. This discussion will take place in this thread (here).
Autonomous suggestions - a thread to present new ideas for autonomous elements in the game. While autonomy need not be a part of a specific game, creative uses of autonomy components in any game are sought. For example, a discussion may be presented that proposes the autonomous portion of the game be ______ (and we look forward to the many variations of filling in the blank). This discussion will take place here.
Game elements and subtasks – discussion of ideas for unique game elements and subtasks. If you don’t have a fully developed game, but have a great idea about a piece of a game, then this is the place to talk about it. As examples from the past, someone could use this thread to post a suggestion to use inner tubes as an element, or that balance should be included as a challenging subtask. Others can use those ideas as a creativity springboard to develop a game concept. This discussion will take place here.
Radical tournament structure changes - this thread is intended to collect innovative ways to structure tournament play. Using previous years as an example, this might include ideas to add human players to a robot-only format, or to change the three robots playing at once to a two-team alliance format. Like the above thread, this thread is meant to collect creative ideas that can be applied to any game concept. This discussion will take place here.
Understand that this will be a one-way valve for information (for a while at least). There will not be a formal response from FIRST regarding any of the ideas or concepts discussed here. If a suggestion is incorporated into the game, you will not receive any feedback or know about it until the game is revealed next year. If it is not incorporated, you may never hear why (because we may save any ideas not used in 2005 for future games).
If at any time during this year’s competition you thought “if I had designed the game I would have done it like this…” then here is your chance! We know that if there is a single place to go for this sort of input, it will be this forum! Let us hear your thoughts.
- 2005 FIRST Game Design Committee
- FIRST Executive Advisory Board