Your tall opaque robot is now illegal

Apologies for the inflammatory title, but I predict that this Q&A response is likely to cause some enforcement issues at upcoming events.

Is it now illegal to play defense on an opponent whose camera is mounted low enough such that your robot blocks its view of the goals? Where is the line drawn between blocking the camera vs. blocking actual shots? If you mount a vertical flap of polycarb to your robot and say that it’s just there to block flying boulders, does that make it okay?

Add sponsor stickers and say that is your sponsor plate; now it’s main function isnt for blocking anything.

This is going to turn into a material war. They specifically locked out plastic, but what if a team uses bumper fabric?

Why would they think this is right?

we cant shoot in the high goal but we will just put a camera pointing up on the robot for memes now

1 Like

Slippery slopes are slippery.

I don’t agree with this ruling at all. Camera oriented robots have to get used to dealing with defense, and have a plan against it. My question is: how often will it actually be enforced? It seems that it would have to be a call made by the lead robot inspector, and as long as you tell him its main purpose is to block boulders, it’s technically not illegal anyway.

The clickbait is real with this title…

On a real note, I think that making this illegal would be completely ruining a strategy and style of play that has no inherent issues to it; defense is a legitimate strat, and should be allowed.

This is just getting crazy. Has common sense gone out the window. The Q948 answer isn’t any better about suction cups on the field and attaching to the driver station shelf.

How is anyone expected to know if a team is intending to block vision instead of just blocking shots? Also wasn’t that part of the design challenge did any low camera mounted teams not expect to have robots in front of them blocking their vision?

Part of the difficulty here is the way the question itself was worded. The answer itself isn’t as bad as an overly broad interpretation of the answer. The question and the answer specifically deal with “a piece of plastic *installed to prevent a camera from seeing the reflective tape on the goals *”, not all tall pieces of plastic or tall robots. My primary concern is if this Q&A is interpreted so broadly as to say blocking views of cameras is illegal.

Keep in mind this is an inspection issue, not a game match issue, so it’s not actually illegal to play defense on a robot with a camera regardless of your design…

So… goodbye noodle blockers?

I find this to be a strange decision by the GDC. However, to be safe we’ll be adding a camera on each side of our robot a̶s̶ ̶d̶e̶f̶e̶n̶s̶e̶ ̶d̶e̶t̶e̶r̶r̶e̶n̶t̶ for target tracking.


The person asking the question asked if it was legal to have a device intended to interfere with sensors. The GDC responded to the question asked. People here are interpreting that to mean a much broader answer, that no devices capable of blocking cameras are allowed.

People are inferring a broad interpretation from past GDC responses.

You can still manually aim your robot to the castle high goal, with your camera blocked. Just takes a little longer…:slightly_smiling_face:
But if it’s true, it will definitely change the dynamics of the game in the upcoming weeks.

Let me get this straight, if my opponents have no vision targeting capability that uses a camera, but instead rely upon a photon cannon to confirm goal alignment, my screen that blocks the photon cannon beam is legal? Next match, my robot is illegal if one of the opponents does have a camera-based targeting system in place.

Clear as mud…

I don’t understand your point. You can’t play the defense if you don’t pass inspection. Could you clarify?

Bottom line, no matter how the question was worded the answer does not make sense.


well thats just dumb why even have a defense element to the game if you might not even be able to use it. Just cross your fingers that all the good shooters switch to photon cannons

That does happen often, but what happens if a team complains about it, shows them the blocking robot and a printout of the Q/A response? I’m sure all referees won’t see it the same way.

No. Per this Q&A response, if the Lead Robot Inspector determines that a component on your robot is intended to interfere with any robot’s ability to sense the high goal, then you will not pass inspection. It has no impact on in match calls.

That’ll then go on how the LRI or Head Ref interprets the response by the GDC.