Our team participates in FIRST Robotics Competition, an international competition for high school students which releases a new game every year. Our team has participated for the past four years. Every year, a new game is released and teams around the world have just six weeks to build and program their robots from scratch.
FIRST STEAMWORKS was the FIRST Robotics Competition game for the 2017 season. As in past games, two alliances of three individual teams and their robots compete on a field to score “match” point to win the game and ranking points to advance to playoff rounds. The game has a steampunk theme and teams are required to shoot wiffleballs which represent fuel into a simulated boiler which transfers the generated steam into an airship in the middle of the field. Each alliance has one airship, which they pressurize with steam from the boiler and load with plastic gears from the field. At the end of the match, robots can climb and hang on ropes attached to the airship for additional points.
In FIRST STRONGHOLD 2016, two Alliances of three robots each went on a Quest to breach their opponents’ fortifications, weaken their tower with boulders, and capture the opposing tower. Robots scored points by breaching opponents’ defenses and scoring boulders through goals in the opposing tower. During the final 20 seconds of the Quest, robots were able to surround and scale the opposing tower to capture it.
Our robot Kyle competed for us in Stronghold. Kyle achieved 2nd place in the qualifying round!
Recycle Rush was the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition game. It involved picking up and stacking totes on scoring platforms, putting pool noodles (“litter”) inside recycling containers, and putting the containers on top of scoring stacks of totes. There was also a cooperation aspect of the game where both alliances of teams can pool their totes and stack them on a step dividing the field to each gain twenty points. Along with these robot actions, human players could attempt to throw the pool noodles across the field to gain four points for each noodle left in the opposing alliance’s work zone.
Identity Crisis competed for us in Recycle Rush. It didn’t do as well as we hoped it would, but we wouldn’t have been able to create Kyle without Identity Crisis!
In Aerial Assist, the alliances win via getting the scoring elements (2′-diameter exercise balls) into the scoring areas located on the far end of the field. The game starts with each robots in either the White Zone (center field) or the goalie zones. They can be pre-loaded with 1 game ball prior to the start. The match begins with a 10-second autonomous period, where robots use the pre-programmed instructions to score points.
Our robot Jerry competed for us in the first competition that Team Steam attended, winning 10th place. We also were awarded the rookie all-star award.