What if...

Frank’s post could be referring to a major change that we have never seen before: what if we will be REPLAYING Aerial Assist? It was a game with potential to be a sport, if only the bugs had a chance to get worked out. There were numerous threads last spring commenting on how FIRST has been moving in the direction of sport (as opposed to “game”) for a while, and that sports generally work out their kinks over years and decades of high-level play. What if there were some rules changes, and a few new twists to make it impossible to re-use last year’s bot and strategy, but the game remained essentially intact? Now THAT would be unprecedented.

So reuse the fields, reuse the majority of rules, yet somehow prevent the use of old strategies? I’m intrigued, but I’m not sure if it’s possible. I’d love to be wrong, though.


More than 1 ball in teleoperated, add the secret hanging endgame…

Edit: Since the goals are colored, we need neutral colored balls as well.

What if…

… we get a water game.


But a replay of an older game with some changes, or some kind of mashup of older games (shoot the tetra into the high goal…) is absolutely possible.

ultimate ascent but with only one game piece played in the fashion of aerial assist

Back in 2006 there was a rumor going around that the game would be “Triple Replay”, a near-identical version of the 2005 game “Triple Play”. Sounds like you think this year could be something like that.

FIRST, as you all know, is designed to inspire students to enter stem careers. The challenge of designing a unique robot is a very important part of this inspiring. Without the uniqueness year to year, the challenge quickly no longer becomes challenging (repetition and all that.) Removing the uniqueness removes creativity which removes inspiration. I know I certainly wouldn’t have fallen for the program quite the same way if my team was only improving on the previous year’s robot during my time as a student.

Basically, I hope FIRST never reuses a game 1 for 1. If it became a trend I think it would subtract a lot from what the program has to offer.

Cheers, Bryan

I’m not thinking one-for-one. I just wouldn’t be surprised by an improved version of a game. And I can think of numerous ways they could redo AA without teams being able to reuse last year’s robot design:

-add the end game
-smaller or larger balls
-shoot non-ball objects (spun inner tubes?)
-play on a field with 1/20 rise/run slope to the center of the field
-change frame perimeter

et cetera.

I like the mashup idea, or a replay of a game >4 years old, so current students wouldn’t have any experience.

While I certainly agree that this would be an unprecedented move for FIRST, it would also be likely to put rookie teams at a significant disadvantage, as they would be faced with an entirely new problem to solve whereas more established teams would only have to tweak certain ideas, and have an existing knowledge of which methods don’t work.

If they did so happen to play AA again…I think some of the districts who own their own fields would be quite upset seeing how most of the game specific field pieces are scrapped or sent back to the owner(truss).

That’s the case every year. Witness the number of teams this year looking at 2008. 2012 had teams reaching for their 2006 and 2009 designs. 2011 sent 'em to 2007. 2010 and 2013 were anomalies in that it was difficult to draw a parallel–but 2010 had some teams going for their catapult from '08, and others going from scratch, while 2013 had teams adapting 2006 and 2009 and 2012 ideas to frisbees.

And just to keep going…
2008->2004 (the last time previously there had been a large ball on the field)
2007->2005 to some extent, also 1997
2006 was actually pretty new. That was the first time there had been significant launch velocities allowed.
2004->2000, 2001, 2002
2003->no real comparisons here.

I think y’all get the picture. It’s almost always possible to go back to a previous game and pick up SOMETHING that can be adapted. This is an advantage that all the veteran teams that were around in that year share, and the rest of the veterans who know something about that year have a slightly smaller advantage because they know where to borrow ideas from. A rookie team who sees the discussion may have an idea what to look at… but the “how did they do that?” is still a huge problem.

Well the PNW still has all of our game specific field elements since there are 3 off season events still coming. Now of course we are likely going to recycle them before kickoff. I did hear from a FTA that he was told that we should keep the human player barrier for potential reuse in future years. Of course they aren’t really that game specific since it is more or less a guard rail and we’ve always had restrictions on the human player’s body parts not breaking the plain of the field perimeter. They may not reuse the portion at the center of the field but I could see the portion at the driver’s station being used from time to time.

On the other hand I bet FIRST has already sent most or all of this year’s game specific elements to be recycled since the reality is that they just don’t have that much storage area that they could stock pile elements from multiple seasons.

The trusses were rentals and are industry standard parts so it wouldn’t be a big deal to rent them again.

2004 on ice.

The idea of a 3 year cycle has been discussed within the game design committee, according to the Popular Mechanics supplement a few years ago and former FRC director Bill Miller’s FRC Blog. The idea, I believe, was that the game would be slightly modified in years 2 and 3 to keep things fresh and only create a completely new game every three years. One of the advantages is that spectators would be able to figure out the games more easily from year to year.

Aerial Assist would make a decent candidate for a carry-over game design. It’s reasonably spectator friendly, and it’s simple enough that they could add something to the game without making it a huge sprawling mess of unrelated game pieces and field elements.

2 year cycles wouldn’t bother me as long as the games were good. That probably gives us a simpler game and a more complex game in alternate years, which I think is ok. Any student that participates for at least 3 years would see at least two different games.

Continuing to refine a concept from the previous year would be an interesting spin. I’d be willing to try it and see how it goes.

Aerial Assist, with the 2010 bumps!

But seriously I think whatever game is next year will require that we throw last year’s drivetrain out the window. There will be some difficult obstacles to drive over, that our superflat robots won’t be able to handle

Perhaps the transition will be to a competition more like many Olympic events; where alliances are competing against the clock versus directly against one another. Before my time, but I understand there was such a game in the past.

Perhaps an improved version or alternate format of such a game as used in the past. The game could be structured to require alliances to cooperate on the completion of tasks, independent of the activity of another alliance. It could be that time remaining becomes a bonus and the first alliance to complete the tasks may assist the other alliance in completing the task, earning additional bonus points.

Perhaps the field will become 50% bigger at the championship event and there will be four team alliances throughout the competition.

Perhaps, at championships, the field will double in size and there will be four three-team alliances per match. Eliminations would be wild.

Reuse fields: For the most part, they currently reuse fields, with the addition of game-specific field pieces.

Reuse majority of rules: The Robot Rules are, for the most part, reused from one year to the next. There might be a couple game-specific rules, and rules are updated as needed, but it’s very recognizable as the same rules. Even in the game rules, you’ll see very similar/identical rules reoccurring over the years. Pinning, for example, or grappling with field elements, or hitting someone inside their frame perimeter.

Prevent the reuse of strategy: That’s what a whole new game is for!

Anyways, I could see them reuse old games with small tweaks. I heard that their “backup game” for Rebound Rumble was basically Aim High. The point of doing a repeat would be to make sure that the year’s being repeated have enough differences (control system, allowed motors, etc) to make it a truly new engineering challenge. Imagine playing a game from the mid 90’s now - the control systems are much, much more advanced, we have orders of magnitude more motors available, COTS gearboxes that weren’t even in people’s dream’s back then… I think you would see the robots and the games play out very differently!

254 copies… 254 copies everywhere