[Official 2005 Game Design] OK, so YOU design the 2005 game...


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:

  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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


I’ve never thought about game design before, but the other day I was stuck on it. Considering the past, I thought it can’t use balls again, to have a hump year. I kinda liked 2002. So here’s some of it, you can fill in the rest.
It uses the existing field. There are 3 objects, a plywood Triangle, Circle and Square hmmm. They’re large enough to fit your 30x36x60 robot inside of. They’re placed across the field like 2002’s (3) goals were. The game is called Crazy Crates :slight_smile:
The usual format 2 on 2. The goal being to get under (inside of) these crates like the shell game. Also getting them into a field position (it would be funny seeing these emblems shuffling around the field internally powered). I didn’t think of anything more than that sorry. I think adding another feature to take in there with you to up your score would be the bonus part. Maybe some Donuts? Being we have to extract the robot from the field after the match, this gives us incentive to hurry up. But I thought it (the first logo boxes) would be visually appealing…

Edit: Just thought maybe it could also be a 4 team effort to unshuffle the logo peices (which are randomly located) into there appropriate order and position, then the score bonus is what 3 of the 4 got inside the logo’s.

Another Edit: OK I did a little more home work and here’s the matches I envision.

First of all, simple is good!

  • So this is a cooperation game like 2001, using the timer for multipliers.
  • The logo pieces are randomly located “After” the robots are set on the field. This will help speed up reset, and eliminate the point and pray method.
    -The center of the field has outlines of the logo pieces for the robots to relocate the logo’s within the outlines
    -Autonomous 15 sec’ where the logo pieces have reflecitve tape in order to be located, near there handles. The logo pieces could also have I/R.
    -The four teams work together to get 3 inside the boxes, and get them repositioned inside the field outlines. The fourth climbs on top of the center round piece to double the over all score. They do this as fast as possible to get time multipliers.
    -The Boxes would be fairly heavy and hard to lift and get under without tipping them over. But they would have delrin skids so they could be pushed around easy.
    -You can get points for just getting them into position without anyone inside. So this helps the rookies.
    -Easy stuff to build, and a very asthetic match finally having a bot on top of and centered on the FIRST logo (makes for great photo ops)
    -Sorry no Human players

    2005 field-Model end.jpg
    2005 field-Model start.jpg

    2005 field-Model end.jpg
    2005 field-Model start.jpg


BILLFRED’S 2004 IDEA: Clean Out The Backyard!

(Yes, we played this in elementary school. Yes, it steals from a few years. No, I would not want to do field reset for this game.)

The field du jour is of the same dimensions as this year’s, perhaps a little shorter. Midfield are two sets of eight-inch steps per side–one step, then another–running about half of the length. The lower step would be lined with footballs. The remainder is a fence, kinda like 2k1. Paint or diamond plate to taste.

Autonomous mode would entail getting to a switch mounted on the fence on either side. Hit it before the other alliance does, and a slew of tennis balls dump onto their side of the field. (I imagine either a leaf blower on steroids or something like 33’s system this year stuck inside the steps to hold all this. Just something simple.)

For the remainder of the time, you’re trying to remove said tennis balls and footballs from your team’s side of the field. Footballs, given their shape, count more than tennis balls–although they’re far outnumbered. Assign the point value for a ball on their side, and then a bonus for being on the top step at the end.

Of course, if you really wanted to punish the programmers, you could always have one alliance member start on each side of the field.


2005 Game Submission

NOTE This was written off line in a word processing document, so sorry if anything is repeated. END

FIRST grows, FIRST is living, FIRST also to my intuition also loves to throw back at us what we least expect. All of these suggestions I’ve made should be déja vu for everyone, every element is based on a previous game, but there are a few new ideas and concepts to throw everyone off guard. Hopefully, my game is like fusion quisine, it uses common ideas in unconventional ways.

Here’s my fictitious Kick-Off idea scenario…

Dean: “Lets waste no more time, let’s reveal this year’s game.”
Woodie: “I agree Dean. When we designed this game, we intended for this game to be played by the most dedicated veterans, yet also the newest of under equipped rookies. So, for the third year, we have locked Dave up during the winter holiday…”
Dave: “Yeah, you still have to give me my car keys back you guys…”
Dean: “You’re not free yet Dave…”
Laughs from audience
Woodie: “Well, lets roll it!”

movie plays, Dave narrates

Welcome to the 2005 FIRST Robotics Competition Game, FIRST Frenzy: Ramp Rampage. The game features a giant 10 by 6 ramp with 20 bins, a large bin of 30 balls above it, and two 8 foot goals on the sides of the ramp. The game starts when robots on two alliances start with their back to the wall, and head to the ramp. The robots must head towards the ramp and either push it down (it starts balanced) or push it up. The bins will fall onto either the red or blue side, while the balls will fall onto the other side. Robots them must stack bins (bins that count for the score must be in a stack at least 2 bins stacked tall) bins, or herd balls to their human players. Robots will travel up and over the ramps to steal other team’s stacks, bins, or balls, and then put them onto their side. While there isn’t a minimum count for the goals to count, there will be a net that will automatically lowered or raised ontop of the goal. If the ramp allows for the red team to cross by having it leaning towards their side, the goal for their team will be uncovered. Same for the blue team, but if the ramp is balanced, then both goals will be uncovered. Then after 1:45, the teams have the option of either entering autonomous mode, or stay in human control mode. If the team chooses auton, their score will be doubled by 2. If they choose human control, the final score for that team will be lowered 10 points. In the last 15 seconds, all the goals will be uncapped, and the robots will fight to gain control of the tilting ramp. If a robot lasts till the end while balanced on the ramp, that team will be awarded 25 points per robot. After the match ends, each team will be awarded one point per ball, and one point per bin stacked in stacks bigger than two.

movie ends


D: “Now, lets unveil the field!”

music plays

Game is unvailed…

Anyway, that’s my idea for the game. Here’s some ways this will work…

*For teams to enter auton, both new auton buttons must be pressed by the human player on a pole behind the drivers. Only the human player can flip the case (imagine those war movies where you have to flip the cover, then press the button) and press the button and hold it in until auton activates. Now, one robot can be activated for auton, and the other can be still in human control, but the total will not be multiplied by 2, but instead nothing will be added or subtracted to the score.

*The net will be raised and lowered by an automatic sensor that detects the ramp’s position, only if it is completely touching the ground will it be raised, and only if it is balanced will they both be raised. The net will be be raised with a motor.

*The balls will fall via a trap door onto the appropriate side. The trap door will fall down allowing the balls to spill onto the right side. The door can either tilt left or right, allowing for a gap between the side panels and the door for balls to fall through.

*The bins will be stacked in 4 rows of 5 in the middle of the platform. They will be the same bins as 2003.

*The ball container on top will be 10 feet off the ground, right above the ramp.

*The ball container’s bottom will have an infrared bottom, so the robots can use infrared to get on the ramp. Gyros will also be added to the kit to keep the platform balanced by robots.

*A large lexan barrier will be placed next to the ball dump area to prevent the balls from escapeing.

*Balls will be herded to the human players like the 2004 game.

*Balls cannot be scored by robots, and bins will not be placed by human players.

Field diagram will be added in the attachment. Hope you enjoyed my game, FIRST Frenzy: Ramp Rampage!


OK here is my idea with a very hastily made attachment that hopefully will explain what I had in mind.

Crazy Eight.doc (63 KB)

Crazy Eight.doc (63 KB)


I’d like to see another game like the 2003 game where FIRST moves away from the ball/goal concept, which has dominated most FIRST games. 2003 was a great departure from that formula, and pretty much put everybody on a level playing field in terms of design. In my opinion, the problem with using balls and goals over and over again is that it allows veteran teams to re-use old designs and puts many newer teams at a disadvantage.

If FIRST could use something other than balls, boxes, and goals to win points in 2005, I think it would be a challenge for almost every team.


Just thinking of something I’d be interested in trying to work out – With a purpose similar to that of the bar in this year’s competition, have one or more (but not enough for all teams) raised platforms for the robot to be sitting on at the end of the competition. Something table-like that the team would not be able to simply roll up like a ramp or even climb like stairs. Maybe at a height of 4 feet, with a footprint not much larger than the 30 x 36. One disadvantage I see though is the amount of carnage if the competition is as physical as some of the matches I saw this year-- 130lb bot falling 4 feet would definitely require some durable construction.


Ok here it goes. The field will the same size as this year for obvious reasons. It will be kind of like 2002’s game where there are different zones, but the middle zone will have 3 bar like this year running the width of the field. About 6 feet of the middle will be higher then the sides maybe going a little higher like 10 ft. the other ones coulb be 8 ft. the middle will be 4 ft. wide. under the middle bar the platform will have a small passage about 40 inches wide. just enough for a robot. Ok thats just he middle. The rest of the field will be regular carpe and on each side of the field there are 2 goal type things but they will basically poles on a wheeled platfrom. One of the poles will be 8 ft. high and the other one will be 6 ft. So a total of 4 goals. the goals will be colored for each alliance. it will the regular 2 team alliance thing. your alliance’s goal will be on the other side of the field. The goals will be circle with a diameter of 35 in. Ok in the four corners of the field there will be a stack of 8 semi-inflated inner tubes. these will be worth points in the goals. If you det it in the 8 ft. goal it will be worth 10 pts. and in the 6 ft. goal it will be 5 pts. For the bars in the middle you will obviously be hanging from them, but hanging will only count if at least one of your goals is one your side with at least 2 tubes in it. If one goal is on your side, that being the side closer to the player station, the hand counts for 50 pts. and if its 2 goals then its 100 pts. There will also be 4 tubes in the player station for the human players to put in the goals. Now for an overview. So there are 4 goals on the field, 2 are yours and 2 are the opponents. there are four stacks of 8 semi-inflated inner tubes in the four corners of the field. in the middle, running the width of the field there is a 4 ft. wide, 6 inch high platfrom with a 40 inch break in the middle. on that platform are 3 bars. The middle 6 ft. of the bar is 10 ft. tall and the rest is 8 ft. tall. the game will run for 2 min. with a 30 second auton in the begining. So there is my design that i cameup with while typing this.


A very important item in Dave’s ground rules is that:

“The game should be audience friendly and presumably TV-friendly”

IMHO, it’s the thing that stands in the way of FIRST reaching it’s full potential of having a team in every high school. No way could any of the y2k+ games have been explained in 30 seconds to the general public; and, even to those of us who know what’s what, they just didn’t come across on TV.

The reason why is that, with so many objectives, there’s something going on all over the place – a kind of inexplicable mayhem that mono-vision can’t capture.

So, I suggest a single object for manipulation (E.G. a puck) and a single purpose (E.G. the goal). To control to the degree of difficulty and to add some eye-candy, there could be moguls, tunnels, ramps, and/or etc.


i’ve already posted many elements of this on other threads but here is the whole thing:

it is called “Cylinder Squares”

the field has red and blue scoring zones against the opposite stations which are lowered 2 inches from the floor level. on each side of the field (the long way) are platforms similar to last year’s; 2 6-inch steps. going down the middle of the field would be a 3-foot transparent wall with a gap in the center big enough for one robot. there will be a bar adjoining the two wall sections at the tops.

at the foot-high sections of each of the side platforms will be 6 cylinders (12 in total). these will moved into the scoring zones by the robots, and the score for them will be the number of cylinders squared (1 gets 1 point, 9 get 81 points, etc) as i’ve said in 2 other posts, this will make the game very exciting and hectic. so the cylinders can be picked up more easily, they will have two holes going all the way through (the short ways) forming an X in the center.

for robot placement scoring, 25 points will be given to robots on the platforms, and 50 points will be given to robots only touching the bar and/or a small designated area of carpet below the bar.

if you want to give your opinion, send me a private message :slight_smile:


I give you: Trough Tribulations, or The Heavy Ball Follies

The field is the same size to which we’ve become accustomed. There is a wooden (ok, diamond plate) trough in the middle of the field, about as wide as last year’s ramp or this year’s center platform, and 3-5 feet long. It can be anywhere from 4" to 2’ high, depending on the balance between task difficulty and spectatorworthyness.

In the trough are ten 20 pound medicine balls. There are five black medicine balls, and five white ones, with alternating colors. The object of the game is to have as many of the white ones on your side of the field, and as many of the black ones on your opponent’s side of the field at the end of the match. Each white ball on your field is +10 points, each black one is -10 points.

In addition, there are 5 red and 5 blue balls on each end. Each of the colored balls that ends up in the trough at the end is worth 5 points.

Finally, the human player.

Each of the four human players has a “spoiler ball”, which will have to be either a playground ball or something similarly lightweight, so it can be thrown. If an even number of spoiler balls ends up in the trough at the end of the game, each blue ball in the trough is doubled. If an odd number ends up there, each red ball is doubled.

Some key points:

  1. Medicine balls are heavy. No one will be able to roll around picking them up without that being the only thing they do.
  2. Autonomous mode is not special. There are no points or parts of the field that are only available during autonomous.
  3. There is no dissimilar way to score points. I’d like for there to be one, but I can’t think of one that will fit. Perhaps a KOTH on top of the trough, or in the middle of it, or something.
  4. The spoiler ball makes the game uneven, but adds some interesting strategy to it. Human players will decide close games at the end with their shooting.


Alright, i have already shared my idea in a different thread, so this is my idea. it is not a full idea, just an idea for something that could be part of the game, kind of like hanging, its not the entire game, its a part of it.

It is basically a pseudo-capture-the-flag in which there is one item that starts of on the top of a pole and it is worth an extra X points, this object is symmetrical, one half of it is one alliance’s color, the other half is the other color (basically if you were to lay a pillow flat, the top half would be red and the bottom half would be blue). To get those points at the end of the match you must fullfill two requirements: your robot must be on the opponent’s half of the field (or maybe up on top of some stairs or something as well) and the item must be laying on your robot somewhere: laying is defined as (this definition is made to make as few loopholes as possible): touching only your robot(not other robots or the ground) and only touching your robot where your color is on the object.

It seems like a good idea, the only problem with it that i can see is another robot can just touch it at the last second. However this could also be seen as an advantage, because it adds a LOT of excitement into the end of the game.


Here is a 2 minute explanation of the Toxic Teamwork game.

*****Editor’s note: Bobby is back at the Lone Star Regional after serving this great country for a year overseas. Bobby’s words are in {brackets}. As always, this should be read veeeeeeeery slowwwwwwly in a deep Southern accent.

Bobby, welcome back to the FIRST Lone Star Regional. Thank you for everything that you do for our country and I’m sorry that you did not get to see the 2004 competition. {Thanks again for inviting me and I caught some of the 2004 competition on the Internet and it was incredible. There was so much action; I did not know what robot to watch on the field. I think it was even better than the Stack Attack game.} I agree! FIRST did a great job with the game in 2004. This year’s game is called Toxic Teamwork because the robots have to clean up all of the “barrels.” {Wow! You must mean all of the buckets. The field setup looks much different. What is the object of the game?} Right, there are over 50 buckets in play. If you look at … Look, a round is about to start.

(Baaaaaaaaat da baaaaat baaaaaat … da bat … CHARGE! “THEY’RE OFF!”) Bobby, do you … {The robots are moving but they’re not moving!} Yea, for the first 10 seconds, the human players drive the robot platforms that we call rovers because they go about as fast as the Mars rovers. {Oh, those blue and red platforms under the robots are NOT part of the robot. That seems silly because wouldn’t the human players drive it to the same place every round?} Take a closer look Bobby. The red robots are on the blue rovers and the blue bots are on the red rovers. {Ohhhhhhhhhhh! I get it. So the other team gets to position the opposing bots before they start. That’s a great idea!} Exactly, FIRST started implementing a random factor the year of Stack Attack and continued it with the random balls in Raising the Bar now they’ve raised the bar by randomly positioning the bots before the bots wakeup. {All I can think is goodbye dead reckoning. What will that team 118 do now? :rolleyes:} I don’t know about 118, but everyone scrambled this year to learn how to use the gyros and IR sensors.

*****Editor’s note: The Rovers are 30 x 36 x about 9" tall made of wood with 2 wheels driven (probably directly) with globe motors and have 2 casters. The “control” is a simple 2-channel radio control. The human player has two joysticks that drive the rover with tank drive. The rovers move very, very slow and can not reach midfield in the first 10 seconds. There would be a penalty if the two blue rovers or two red rovers touched before the first 10 seconds. The rovers are very weak and would be pushed around very easily by the typical FIRST robot. For those who think motorized platforms are a little aggressive, read on and you’ll discover a way not to have them motorized. The other side of the argument is that this may be a great way to implement robot starting position randomness for years to come.

{Hey, that rover knocked over that stack of buckets.} Yea, some more randomness before things get started. {Did those buckets fall in that bot?} No, each team gets 5 buckets to start the game. They can choose to keep them in their player station which scores 2 points each or put them in their bot and potentially score a bunch of points in the toxic dump area or on the rover.

*****Editor’s note: The buckets are 5-gallon buckets that you can get at Home Depot. Please remember that Home Depot’s headquarters and the Championships are in the same city; can you say major DONATIONS of 5-gallon buckets!!! The buckets do not have tops and there is a piece of “foam” glued to the inside bottom of each bucket (about 6 to 12 inches thick) so they do not nest all of the way together therefore it is easy for the audience to tell that they are stacked along with the fact that they will not get stuck inside of one another. One reason that they do not have tops is because it makes them stack easier. Second reason is that tops are not readily available without ordering them. The buckets also have their handle.

There they go! {Wow! They are all crawling off of the platform. I think that I’d just lose the autonomous time and crawl off when I got control.} Bobby, ohhhh no; FIRST thought about that too. If your robot is not off of the platform after the 15 second autonomous period, then your robot does not “wakeup” for an additional 40 seconds and you only have 1 minute to run your bot. {Ohhhhhh, I’d definitely use the autonomous period to drive off of the rover. They seem to all be going to the black bucket.} Yep, the black bucket is worth 10 times that of the orange buckets so everyone tries to get it or at least get close during the autonomous period. {It seems that the rovers have quit moving.} You’re right. The human players can not operate the rovers during the autonomous period but as soon as it is over, they have control again.

*****Editor’s note: The Rovers do not need to be motorized for the first 10 seconds. The mats could be used from Stack Attack and the humans could just move the rovers manually. BUT this means that the human players could not move them for the remainder of the match so if they are motorized, then even a team that does not have an operational 'bot still is driving something around and effecting the game.

You’re about to see why some call this game “Bucket Bashing.” Team 456 is picking up a lot of orange buckets while their partner, team 118, fights team 364 for the black bucket. 364’s partner 701 is already putting buckets in the toxic dump. Each bucket in the dump is worth 5 points and if they are stacked upright then they are worth 10 points each because you are saving space in the dump. {What is 118 doing now?} They are stacking the buckets on the rover which is worth 10 points a piece because they will be transported to another more environmentally friendly toxic dump. {Do they get 20 points if they are stacked and on top of the rover?} Exactly! {Why is 364 trying to hang that bucket on the hook?} If they get it on the hook, it is worth 20 points. If you look over there, team 456 is herding buckets and giving them to the human player and they get 2 points per bucket that is left in the player station. {Hey, the rovers keep moving around.} Yep, the human players are positioning them so their team can place the buckets on them. {This game shouldn’t be called Toxic Teamwork, it should just be called Crazy! Hey, 364 is going after the red rover. Ohhhhhhhh, what a hit by 118. I guess that’s what they get for trying to empty the toxic transporter.

Bobby, you haven’t seen anything yet. The robots are about to … {GO FOR THE PLATFORM! They are fighting like crazy to get on and under the platform.} Yep, if you get on the platform, you get 50 points and if you are under the platform, you get 25 points. {How high is the platform?} Just 24 inches high. (Mahhhhhhhhhhhhhh … that’s the buzzer) {Wow, that was crazy … just crazy}

If you’re still interested, here is a quick list of thoughts for the game.

-The toxic dumps could be mobile goals just like in the past.
-Toxic dumps could be a community dump with red and blue buckets or they could be red and blue dumps.
-The toxic dumps need to be big. Maybe near the center platform.
-There needs to be some better “candy” for the autonomous mode other than just the black bucket … i.e. the robots need to have an incentive to do something after they get off of the rover. Maybe have the “candy” disappear (not worth anything) after the autonomous period.
-Rovers could be bigger than 36 x 30
-Buckets could have reflective tape on them like in Stack Attack.

If you’re still reading, here are some good & bad points.

The good:
-Buckets are readily available and not easily destroyed
-There is only one scoring object
-The toxic dumps and platforms are easily constructed out of building materials
-Score can change quickly (some may view this as a bad thing)
-There is lots of offense (stacking and moving buckets)
-There is lots of defense (removing buckets and defending the buckets)
-Game is analogous to industrial automation
-Buckets are challenging to manipulate
-Home Depot might pitch in a few thousand 5-gallon buckets
-Small bots might make it on the scene with the under-the-platform-score

The bad:
-Buckets are difficult to throw … this may be good
-The rovers are motorized … don’t absolutely have to be motorized
-Robots scoring under the platform might not be audience friendly
-Frequencies for rovers may not be available (8 frequencies per field x 4 fields at the Championships). Might have to integrate into the team controller and change the rover brain for each team; not a very good idea.
-Don’t know if the rovers will be reliable

Thanks for reading about the Toxic Teamwork game.

Take care,


ok, i’ve been thinkin’ about this for awhile, and i figured i might as well throw an idea out there… i personally think that the games should be simpler, make teamwork more critical, and be very fast paced.

FIRSTball (ok, maybe the name needs work…)

****the field is almost a square with 2 ball corrales on each side of the field, and one 4’x 8’ goal at each end of the field. the robot starting zones are in the middle of the feild (the colored squares). except for the robot starting zones and the goals, the carpet is solid grey. rules for the ball corrale are similar to this years. the goals are made of a frame that is 10" high going around the section of colored carpet (see pic)

there are two basic game objects: basketballs and obstacles.
at any given time there are only two balls in play (def: in contact with the feild, a robot, or a HP) when the balls come into contact with the colored carpet inside of the goals, they are considered out of play. any alliance that brings an out of play ball back into play will be penalized. the balls are colored so that when they become out of play, the alliance that they “belonged” to can throw another ball in. the color of the balls doesn’t effect scoring. an team can only be in contact with one ball at a time, and can’t be in contact for more than 15 secs. at the start of the game, there is a ball in front of each goal.
there are two obstacles made of 2.375"OD EMT. there is no point value assigned to them in any way. they are 8’ wide and 14" tall. the obstacles start out between robot startin positions. (see pic)

the human players may only interact with the balls while they are in their alliance ball corrales. the HP can only move around in their alliance’s half of the field (i.e., they can’t go past midfield). the HP players can throw the ball to anywere on the feild, and to other human players and robots.

****an alliance gets 1 point for putting a ball in the opponents goal, and 3 points for not being in contact with the grey carpet.

i’m sure that i left stuff out, so feel free to point out problems, ask questions, etc.

field copy.jpg

field copy.jpg


note: this game was created by myself and my girlfriend Melissa Fitta (also registered on CD). This is the 1st of 4 or more games we have created (but the only one we have finished so far)

Troublesome Trash

**Basic summary: ** get the footballs into the trash barrels, then get the trash barrels in your end zone or in one of your 3 barrel holding bins, then get your bot into one of the end zones.

Field: see attached thumbnail. The Alliance Stations are the same as they are this year, as is the field size. The human player stations are where they were this year as well, no there isnt a ball corral. Each human player starts with 5 footballs. 15 footballs are placed along the wall in each end zone. There is an IR beacon in each end zone, and lines along the floor leading from the stairs to the end zones (they arent in the drawing though).

Match Setup: 1:45 of remote controlled play, followed by 15 seconds of autonomous

5 points per football in a trash barrel that is in either your end zone or one of your barrel holding bins
25 points per trash barrel in a barrel holding bin of your color
20 points for each robot of your color that moves itself into your end zone during autonomous*
40 points for each robot of your color that moves itself into your opponents end zone during autonomous*

optional game add on: putting the lid on the trash barrel (and locking the lid clamps) doubles the value of the balls inside.

*= robots must not be in an end zone at the start of autonomous or they will be worth no points (moving out of then back into the same end zone doesnt count). The only exception to this is when a robot starts in one end zone, then moves to the other during autonomous, that is OK.

Note on the midfield barrier: there are 3 ways across, through the pipes (2ft tall, 1.5ft between them), under the platform (12in clearance), or up the stairs and over the platform (6in tall 2ft deep 3ft wide step, 1ft tall 4ft deep 9ft wide platform)

Good things:
-pretty simple
-trash barrels are not designated, so stealing trash barrels is a cool aspect of the game
-autonomous at the end could be interesting
-footballs are harder to pick up (for robots at least)
-think of the robot drive types designed to handle that midfield barrie
-variety of tasks
-think of all the fun things you could do with the robot after competition

Bad things:
-autonomous at end mght be easier or harder, depend on where your bot is when it starts
-trash barrels might break, so it could be 2003 bins all over again
-decreased HP role


Overall, I feel this idea.

Just two things I noticed in the rules…first, I’m not too sure about that HP job. I think we’d do well in the South, since football is king down here. But some of those schools up north may have trouble. Perhaps something more Stack Attack-y?

My other thing is with the pipes in midfield. A foot and a half is pretty skinny, leading me to think that most teams would make their robot N by 18" by 12". That’s pretty petite…and if there’s one thing we need to keep the “civilian” (for lack of a better word) crowd interested, it’s big things with lots of action (hence why I loved FIRST Frenzy). The same thing applies to the field–in 2k3, it was the stack. In 2k4, it was the bar. Every field has to have that THING. I’m not exactly sure what it could be here, though.

But overall, it’s a good idea. We need more footballs in FIRST.


Just a few things

-No balls, no boxes, but a mixture of the two would be something. (example: boulders.)
-Instead of a flat playing surface with an obstacle in the middle (such as this year: a flat playing surface surrounding a platform with a hanging bar), why not a bumpy playing field that would require careful manuevering and construction of a robot’s drive train.
-An autonomous mode that has many options other than one. (you can do this and this will happen or you can do this and this will happen. Not just one thing.)


Here’s a few ideas for someone, somewhere to mull over.

  1. Instead of 2x2 competition why not have 3-4 robots working in tandem to complete a number of increasingly complex tasks. If a group, selected randomly, can effectively complete a task another one comes up. Sort of similar to a game where teams have to move or place objects on a pressure sensitive switch instead of knocking it off. In this way another area would become available (via a wall or similar barrier becoming flat or a series of hanging bars placed equal distance apart for teams to grasp alternately) for another challenge. It would be a Mars Rover experience without the 7 minute delay for signals and the resultant feedback.
  2. The tasks could become increasingly complex and difficult to attain and the points would then be greater. Cooperation not competition among the alliance but competition among all to get as many points as possible from each trial.
  3. I like the idea that even with the auton mode that human players still have a place to participate. I’d still like to see that as a part of any new game.


I have one very simple suggestion for trial.

Currently, the top 8 are allowed to pick within themselves for the finals. Now, while you do want to reward the top teams for their performances in the qualifying rounds I suggest that, to mix it up:

The top 8 are “frozen”–that is, they cannot pick from within themselves.

Team 8 picks first, and then so on through 7, 6, 5…

The biggest flaw with this idea is that it leaves it so that teams that do deserve to qualify for nationals might not. But if that is the issue, than why do we even have finals, and not just go with who did the best during the qualifying matches.

Just something to mull over…



We could also have 1, 9, 17 alliance 1
2, 10, 18 alliance 2 etc

This would ensure that the top(debatable) 24 teams are in the elimination rounds. It might also make it harder to win as you robot might not be as compatable with the team that you are alliance partners with.

I like the choosing because of strategy. I also liked the idea of after alliance captain 8 makes his pick then he picks again . thus reversing the choosing teams. Great idea, thanks to whomever origionally thought of it.

Autonomous mode to last a max time but also a minimum time with a point reward that desends after the minimum time. Must be a great enough point allowance to make teams want to try and do. Also will make teams consider when to give up and continue the game.

Hardest thing to do is come up with ideas when they could be useless depending on the main game.