[Official 2007 Game Design] Game Elements and Subtasks

This thread is a spin-off of this discussion, and has been started to focus on game elements and subtasks. This is a 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 or an idea about something that has never been done before, 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 funny pyramid-like PVC structures as an element, or that stacking stuff should be included as a challenging subtask, or that throwing objects would make for a great engineering challenge. Someone else may have a very creative idea for the role of the human player (while some may propose no human player at all). Others can use those ideas as a creativity springboard to develop a game concept.


The FRC games that have appealed most to me have been those that offered teams a wide variety of challenges (multiple tasks: hanging, capping, scoring balls).

These games encouraged teams to think creatively about strategy. As a result they produced a wide variety of diverse designs with some robots focusing on particular tasks while others attempted to do everything.

I think it would be really cool to have multiple game pieces. Like say buckets and tennis balls. Perhaps teams would receive extra points for putting the game pieces together: filling the buckets with tennis balls and pushing them back to base.

We still are lacking the “big finish” of 2003 and 2004. We need something big smack in the center of the field that every team “fights” for at the end of the match.

Also, I’d like to see a greater than 45 degree incline somewhere.

Last, I think it’d be neat if part of the field could be powered by a robot. Say there’s a platform a robot drives onto. It has a rope going from it up over a pulley and back down. A partner robot can grab ahold of this rope and start pulling raising the platform. Kind of like an elevator in a sense.

I would like too see a pressure pad or sensor on the field for the robots. An example would be, that the pad or sensor would light up a light, open a gate to another part of the field :wink: , or move a game piece onto the field for your team during the game. This would make for a good game element that requires teamwork.

The Human player needs to be involved like it has been the past couple of years. Stack Attack was not a good human player game, because they only had ten seconds to place the bins on the field and their effort could be wiped out in the first 5 seconds of autonomous. Triple Play and Aim High are good human player games.

I would like too see the return of a open “bonus” zone. Like the ramp in 2003 or the bar in 2004. The ramps at the other ends of the field make it easier for the teams to go to their own ramps, most of the time, and made some pretty exciting finishes to matches.

Here’s another idea. It seems that there are about fifteen threads that’ve floated around Delphi about how the game pieces have been triangles and circles and squares. How about just blowing all of 'em out of the water once and for all with three different game pieces on the field, one of each form (a four-sided pyramid, a cylinder, a cube) that must be assembled using reasonably strong magnets inside each piece. You then get the awesomeness of stacking without the ridiculous ease of knocking over.

I would also like to see a large structure in the middle of the fiel. My biggst thing that I would like to see a lot of diferent tasks like in 2004. I understand the arguement that it can make things difficult for rookies,. But there must be some way to integrate a lot of different tasks into a game that isn’t overwhelming for a rookie teams.
I would like something lik hav had in the past where you either have to climb on something or lift yourself up to get a large bonus.

I’d like to see stair climbing. I don’t mean just one step.

I mean a whole series. That’d be neat to see.

My only two years in FIRST have both featured fields with only limited 3D features. I want to see both a really tall scoring element (eight feet plus) and elevated structures that need to be driven over, around, or under.

The scoring things are all in the other Alliance’s end (or at least the key component that allows bonus points – like making 3-across patterns in '05), and there are three ways to get there: a 5-degree ramp leads to a bridge that turns left and goes across the arena to a right-hand turn down a 5-degree ramp on the other side. At both extreme sides of the arena is a 30-degree ramp that goes up to a 40-inch square platform and then down again on the other side. Under the bridge formed by the 10-degree ramp bridge is the “underpass” to the other side that is only 24 inches high.

Simple bots can climb the shallow ramp, turn across the bridge, and then go down the other side. It’s not hard, but it is slow. Better bots can take advantage of the 30-degree ramps to go over, but there are only two of them, they are all they way on the outside edges of the field, and they are steep. Really creative bots can zip straight through under the wide bridge in the center. This gives a real challenge to teams that want one, but doesn’t make the game impossible for BLTs.

We could also add some complexity by including scoring elements with a complex, hard-to-hold shape (see “tetras”) and another simple shape (like a squishy ball). The complex shape could be worth more points, but be more complex. Another interesting spin on game elements would be to introduce something genuinely heavy, but not particulary hard to grasp. We have some barbells (little one-hand units) covered with a non-skid rubber-like material that might be just the ticket. I know for sure that they come in 5- and 10-pound weights. What would a robot look like that could lift and carry several 10-pound barbells under a 24-inch bridge, but still be able to lift them onto an 8-foot-high scoring cage? The weights have obvious safety issues, but it would put a premium on stronger mechanisms than we had in '06.

Now, as for the actual game, I don’t have any idea except that it should involve either helicopters, boats, or bobsleds…

I like the idea of an automated feild element, where an action on one spot of the field activates an element on a different part of the field. That would be really cool to see.

Another thing that I could see happening is a feild element that is continuously moving, like a platform on wheels or a crane arm moving a gamepiece around in the air for a robot to catch. A moving feild would add a lot of excitement to the game.

Medicine balls would be perfect.

Another cool game element would be a marry-go-round, or spinning platform.

(imagine this without handle bars)

Robots would have to cross this powered hazard to score or to reach the other side of the field. This would be particularly spectacular if next year’s game involved balls. Imagine the chaos of balls being spun off of the field! :smiley:

Pool Noodles
I’ve seen footballs as a different ball design
A HEAVY ball…like a bowling ball.
Boxes that arn’t bins.
Large Puzzle Peices

And something I would like to score with: Small robots you build that eject from your “mother-bot”

I would also like to see something like a marry-go-round on the field. It could be powered and could not, the only problem with it being powered is, how do you get power to it? It either has to be large enough where there is no room on the sides or needs some walls or “speed bumps” covering the power cables. You could also put some gold rings around the marry-go-round to grab, bonus points for grabbing the rings, or a free ride. :smiley:

I think the game needs a movable field element, like movable goals in First Frenzy or a movable platform. In the Autonomous thread like this one, someone mentioned a “house robot” that would just keep moving around the field and sometimes play defense. This can also be done with a part of the field. Have something that moves, like two gates that open for a set number of seconds at different times in the match.

I would love to see goals that drive themselves around the field using a kop tranny and cim. Maybe they could line follow a pattern to make scoring more challenging.

What about a moveable object that teams try to get on their side? Like instead of trying to get your robots up a ramp at the end there is one large object that you have to pull, push and/or lift onto your side or onto your platform, and stop the other team from getting it to theirs.

How about a “hoverpuck”, which becomes active for the final 30 seconds of the match. The robots could not grasp or push it, but could only hit it with a flat bumper/plate on the side of the robot. Something that will have the robots applying vectors and aiming ricochets toward a goal. (Maybe have a big “Easy” button on the bumper/plate that disables the robot for 5 seconds after it applies a force to the object.)

I think the game this year was good except for one thing. In 2005, you had to have all three robots on the alliance work together to win. If you only had one robot that could score tetras, you would almost never win. But this year, in most of the elimination matches if you had just one good shooting robot, that is more or less all you needed to win. The other two robots would more or less do nothing on the field, why the one main offensive robot scored.

I think in a way this actually set the bar lower for many teams, as they figured that they did not need to do much during the match except stay out of the way of the main offensive robot. Another game similar to 2005, where all of the robots on an alliance need to work together and score in order to win would be nice again.

As for a game concept, I think a game similar to one of the ones in the middle of the 1990s would be fun. Many of them had a big structure in the middle of the field, which could keep the audience looking at one area instead of constantly having to scan back and forth from one end of the field to the other.

What about a giant game of air hockey. The surface would be hard to get traction on and there would be a lot of action. If the field were designed just right, you could have multiple alliances with goals for each one. You could also have the big "hoverpuck’ for bonus points. The down side is trying to have enough “air” moving on the field, and the noise might get a little loud from whatever’s powering the “air.”

It would most likely be to expansive for FIRST to make a huge air hockey table and to hard to transport from place to place. Not to mention a team version of something like that. But it would be awesome if they could make it work.

How about the ramp/platform you need to be on at the end of a match is on some kinda wheels, and you can push it around during the match. Maybe even try to use it to block a goal or just push it to the other side so you don’t have so far to go at the end.

How about having big street hockey pucks instead of air hockey. Pucks are fun to manipulate, and you could give bonuses for having them stacked at the end of the game or scoring stacked pucks (makes for some cool manipulators).
One thing I loved this year is the wide-open field. I enjoyed the lack of bottlenecks at the middle of the field. I’m not against large field elements, but I like them where they don’t impede travel too much (like the ramps this year). I wouldn’t mind something like the see-saw in 2001, because a short robot could go around it easily. Speed bumps or something in the middle would be fine too. The thing I didn’t like about 2004 is that a strong robot could often trap a robot that wasn’t meant to go on the ramp on the other side of the field, eliminating them for most of the match from scoring. You could also stop people under the bar as well. Instead of allowing you to move around and escape the defense, it just gave them other places to bottleneck you.
I <3 Real time scoring. It made the strategy so much more intense because every point you scored, they could score right back on you. So this year, more than any other, it mattered alot WHEN you scored, not just THAT you scored. It also allowed for great late game come-backs and finishes without involving any sort of “king of the hill” points (which I do like though). Real-time also made the game more audience-friendly and sports-like, which tends to be better for publicity and generating excitement. I even remembering hearing a spectator sitting behind me saying during the VCU finals “this is better than the basketball here!” (or something along those lines).