FIRST Tech Challenge
Competition outline: All FTC games have a similar outline to how they are played, but the tasks change yearly. Competitions are played in rounds that last 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Each round has a red and blue alliance playing at the same time. Each alliance is made up of two robots. The round starts with a 30 second autonomous period where the robot runs a program without human control. Following the autonomous period there is a tele-operated period lasting 2 minutes where a drive team uses radio controls to move the robot. Often the last 20 seconds includes a special end-game task that can earn extra points. Each game usually has penalties for moves that interfere with other robots completing the tasks or damaging field parts.
In 2012, the FTC competition model changed to a league system. Teams are assigned to a local league. They meet at three league competitions and earn points for performance on the field. Between events, teams can work on their robot to improve performance. After these events, several leagues meet for a competition. Winners at these competitions, go to the state competition and winners at state go to the Championship event in St. Louis, MO.
At the competitions, ranking rounds are played, and teams are scored by points earned, minus any penalty points. Teams with the highest points earn the right to enter the final elimination rounds as Alliance leaders. They then choose their alliance partners, which means a team with a lower score still might get chosen to be part of the final competition. All teams are also required to do a presentation to the judges which includes their engineering notebook, which shows the process they went through to design, build and program their robot.
- See our vocabulary page for more details on unfamiliar words.
- See the USFIRST.org website for complete game manuals.
Games we’ve participated in:
2014 Cascade Effect: This game uses 160 white plastic balls, 40 large ones, and 120 small ones. The robots job is to pick them up and place them in tubes of various heights (30 cm, 60 cm, 90 cm). Points are awarded by cm according to how tall the balls are in the tubes. Points can be earned in autonomous mode by having a robot drive off the ramp, or move one of the tubes to a parking spot. In the endgame points can be awarded by moving the filled tubes to the parking zone or the top of the ramp.
Link to FTC Game Information
2013 Block Party: This game uses 2 inch plastic blocks. The robots have to pick them up and move them to crates mounted to a teeter-totter type board. Teams get points for where the blocks are placed and whether the arm is balanced. Points can be earned in autonomous by finding the IR sensor marked crate and in the end-game by raising a flag or by hanging your robot.
2012 Ring It Up: This game uses little plastic donut-shaped rings that are hung on racks to get points. Some of the rings are heavier. If your robot can sort these out and place them on the corner rack, your team earns a point bonus. There is a randomly placed IR tag that can be used by the robot to place a ring during autonomous.
2011 Bowled Over: The game starts with robots up on a ramp. There are two 6 pound bowling balls and 6 stacks of two crates (bottoms up) each. Four of these stacks have tubes on top filled with 25 racquet balls for a total of 100 balls. Twelve of the balls have magnets inside. You earn points by putting the balls in specific places, for instance the magnet balls need to go into a special tube in the corner of the field, the normal balls can either be pushed into an area on the floor or put into the crates. You also earn points by turning the crates with your alliance color over and stacking them. During autonomous you can get points by parking your robot or the bowling ball in special zones.
2008 Face Off: The game starts with one robot on the floor and one up on a platform with a spring-loaded ramp. there were eight racks holding hockey pucks, two to each wall. There was a tiered scoring goal in the center of the field, to put the pucks inside. The higher the pucks were placed, the more points the team received. There were areas on the floor that had rollers, which meant robots either had to travel around or be designed to handle this surface. During the end period, teams earned points by getting their robot off the floor, either by returning up the ramp to the platform or hanging from the wall. During autonomous teams received points for dumping out a rack of their alliance color.