[Poll] How much should the GDC change IR for 2021

How drastic should the changes be between 2020 Infinite Recharge and 2021 Game Changers?

  • Very small changes – just changing theme stuff and small rule fixes
  • Minor changes – e.g. scoring changes, different auto layout, etc.
  • Significant changes – e.g. new game piece, different field layout with same elements, etc
  • Major changes – playing a very different game just reusing some field elements
  • I’m a student - Very small changes
  • I’m a student - Minor changes
  • I’m a student - Significant changes
  • I’m a student - Major changes
  • I’m a mentor - Very small changes
  • I’m a mentor - Minor changes
  • I’m a mentor - Significant changes
  • I’m a mentor - Major changes

0 voters

There’s already a thread for suggested changes, so let’s keep that discussion there. I’m just looking to get a sense of how drastic the CD community wants to see the changes. Feel free to provide your rationale for the level of change you want to see as a reply though

Edit: I changed the poll to make it more readable but it cleared the first few votes, so please vote again

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I’ll start with why I’m in favor of significant changes. I think the GDC’s main goals for the new game should be three things:

  • teams that can’t spend much time/money developing a new robot can still be competitive
  • teams that do have the resources to develop a new robot will still be challenged
  • save costs for FIRST HQ in field construction

Medium level changes like switching the ball for a different type of the same size or reorganizing the field with the same field elements achieves all of those things. Teams that can’t spend much time/money on a new robot can modify their old robot to play the new game. Teams that do have the resources can spend them optimizing the best way to play the modified game. And HQ at least saves money on building field elements, if not also sourcing new game pieces.


Lots of people voted, but I’m interested in hearing why you voted the way you did. Especially for the majority of people who voted for “minor” changes.

I picked significant changes. It would be cool to see the same field but a different sized ball. Just like you stated, this would could not only help with balls ripping, but it would also be interesting to see how teams adapt. Lower resource teams could try to make their 2020 robot work with these new balls while higher level teams would could use their findings with the previous robot to create an entirely new robot optimized for these new balls.


It would probably be good to also include “No changes” as an option, just to cover all the bases and not make assumptions about people’s opinions…

That being said, I feel like something that should be done is lowering the amont of power cells per stage for the color wheel, at least for regular-season events. Maybe add an option in the rules to potentially increase it for DCMPs/Championships. I would also guess we’ll stick with the same theme, since it would cost a good bit and be a logistical nightmare for FIRST to change the field element laminations.

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Changing the size of the ball would change most of the dimensions on the robot, from intake height, to hopper widths, to shooter gap/radius. Since there are so many teams that built a IR robot but didn’t get to compete with it yet, I’d rather give them the opportunity to at least use their 2020 robot if they want to. There are many other reasons why reusing a robot could be beneficial to many teams, as mentioned in many threads (finances, continuous improvement opportunities, etc.). Something that not a lot of teams get very deep into is several quick iterations of mechanisms to truly optimize their robots. With this additional time to work on the same robot, it’d be nice to see more teams improve their mechanisms, maybe add a climber, or program more complex auton routines. This is a chance to raise the “floor” of FRC.

Plus, all of the teams and events already have power cells - replacing them with a different ball would just cause another sold-out fiasco like we saw this year.


Don’t you think getting to work on the same robot for 10 months would be too much? If teams are told there will be significant changes to the game, teams could spend the months before the build season CADing up potential improvements for their existing robots. That why robots won’t be finished months in advance and there would still be that build season excitement.

I’m thinking they will not change the game piece. Maybe different material, but same size.
They already said that robot cost is a factor, so I could see minor adjustment to the scoring locations or the pizza wheel.

Changing something that moves through the entire robot seems counter productive to what they said. A lot of teams would be able to reuse their drive base but then have to scrap everything else.


I think @Fields described it perfectly.

Keep in mind, we still don’t even know if schools will be back in session in the Fall or even at the start of 2021. Teams won’t be working on the same robot for that long, because they aren’t able to go into the shop or school to work on the robot.

Now, making the assumption that school does start back up for the 2020-2021 school year as expected, teams will have 2 options: get back to work on their IR robot, or build a new robot for 2021.

I’m not sure what your team normally does during the Fall, but many teams use the Fall semester to train new team members. There are also teams that hardly meet at all prior to kickoff. But if they already know what the game is going to be and they have robots built for that game already, the usual ‘inactive off-season teams’ have something more concrete to work on, and the training that everyone gets is more directly applicable to a typical FRC season since they’re iterating, improving, and optimizing their machines - a step often not achieved during the rush of build season.

I’d like to see more climbers, faster & more accurate shooters, more practiced drivers, and higher-scoring autonomous modes next year. Look at how much some of the best teams were scoring during auton already - with all this extra time to develop code, we may be able to see matches where every ball on the field is used during autonomous (that’s only 6.33 balls per team - seems doable)!

New not-problematic ball (inflatable rubber ball like 2019?)
Delete wheel of fortune, or change it so it doesn’t look ugly and actually does something (maybe get rid of the multiple control modes too, just one control mode you can do every 10 balls)
That’s all

I didn’t put a “no changes” option because HQ seems to want to keep the new theme they announced, which means in all likelihood they’ll at a minimum change the names of game elements or field decals*. And there are small rule changes as the season progresses anyway as team updates, so it makes sense for them to include some in the “new” game manual.

If you really want the announcement on Kickoff to be “there are zero changes to the last update of the 2020 manual” then you can choose “minor changes” which is pretty close, and post a reply with your reasoning for not changing anything at all.

* The field decals are all just thin polycarb with graphics printed on that are zip-tied to the field elements. It wouldn’t cost a ton or take a lot of effort to have them redone with a different theme, wouldn’t change anything for the teams or volunteers, and it would be one of the easiest ways for the GDC to sell the idea of “same game, different theme”.

I definitely think they will change something with the balls, everyone knows how much of a problem they are. I would very much love if they could find some way to “wrap” the balls they already have to help prevent them getting destroyed so quickly. I can’t think of how they would do this, maybe some coating, but some way to use the balls they already have (and teams already have) that makes them more durable would be a big plus. But if they go the route of a new ball, just please one that doesn’t get destroyed easily. 2017 fuel or 2019 cargo would be a likely candidate


Part of the answer may be what I consider a minor change vs a major change. To me reorganizing the field is a minor change. Changing the balls is a minor change.

IMO, there has to be a source for a 4th RP. Deleting the wheel of fortune would lead to wholesale change to get the 4th RP back in. I think that will be avoided. But surely some change not for pretty sake but to make it relevant.

I voted for minor changes. I would have liked to see a new game for 2021, but given that we’re replaying the old, minor changes seem best.

Why would you keep the same game?

  • Keep costs down for FIRST by reusing field elements
  • Keep costs down for teams by reusing robot parts/mechanisms/subsystems/everything
  • Make it so the work on the 2020 robot is not “wasted”, especially in terms of seeing that robot compete
  • Possibly give teams a chance to compete in Mar/Apr even if build season is disrupted in a minor to major way due to restrictions

The more changes that are made to the game, the more you get away from the key reasons for replaying the game. If you are going to make big changes, it would have been better to go with a new game.

I’d really like to see scoring/RP around the control panel changed. Make it an integral part of gameplay rather than an afterthought in all but the most elite matches. It’s a pretty neat idea. Make it relevant.

It would be great if we had a more durable power cell, but changing that up would likely require robot changes that choosing to replay is almost certainly designed to avoid. Given that FIRST will have far lower field expenses, plow some of that savings into a very significant stock of power cells such that damaged/worn ones can be replaced liberally during competition. Having power cells in decent condition brings the long shot squarely into the mix, which increases strategic diversity as well as excitement for spectators.


Changing the ball is a major change, almost every manipulator probably would need to be scrapped


I put down minor changes but I attribute this as a function of currently not knowing if/when we could meet and not knowing what kind of costs we’re looking at.

If things improve I’ll be more open to more changes.


I voted for major changes because I’d rather build a new robot than reusing an old one. Only having to change a few little details totally removes the kickoff and build season thrill and freshmen won’t learn nearly as much. I totally get why teams would want to play with their 2020 robot though. Luckily, we got to play both our regionals(we went to turkey instead of america this year), so I can’t really say anything about that.

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Small changes like different auto layouts will not affect game play in a manner than severely disadvantages teams that don’t have as many financial resources this season as a rebuild wouldn’t be required. It will however, give some changes that could potentially make for more interesting game play.

Anything that is a new game piece, new field elements, etc will likely require redesigns, or at least incentivise them, which defeats the purpose of replaying if we’re trying to let teams save money without being severely disadvantaged.