FIRST Competition

The crowd is much like any other crowd at a packed game competition − buzzing with nervous excitement and cheering profusely for their favorite alliance. Like most games, this one involves focusing on scoring the most points. The players are just as competitive, weaving around each other in aggressive fervor. When things get intense, throat−clenching silence sweeps over the audience. This year, the game will be even more zealous, involving passing a ball, scoring goals, and utilizing strategy to clear the path to a victorious triumph. This is a FIRST competition.

At a FIRST FRC competition, teams take part in whatever competition the FIRST committee developed and announced in early January of each season. These games involve robots racing in circles, throwing Frisbees, scoring points, and other tasks set forth by FIRST. Drivers control the robots during Teleop from the sidelines after the Autonomous period.

The pits are opposite to the field of play, divided by a curtain. Here, teams maintain their robots, duct-taping cracked welds and mourning snapped shafts. Judges walk about the pits, speaking to teams about their designs. Occasionally, VIPs, including politicians and high-ranking corporate representatives, will browse the pits, observing and fawning over the robots.

The competition concludes with an elaborate award ceremony. Awards are given to the winning robot alliance, as well as several other teams for various awards, such as Design Excellence and Gracious Professionalism. The ceremony concludes with the Engineering Inspiration and Chairman's awards, the highest awards attainable in FRC Competition.

The Game

The game for 2014 is called Aerial Assist. Teams compete on a three-team alliance against another three-team alliance. The objective is to score points by passing a ball to other robots and getting them into the goals on either end of the field.

Aerial Assist field

At the beginning of the game, the Robots go through the Autonomous period. This is when the robots perform tasks without a driver and is controlled by pre-programmed code. This period lasts 10 seconds in which the robot can score points by moving into another zone and by scoring the ball into one of the goals. After the Autonomous period, the drivers take over and work together with the other members of that alliance. For each additional pass that the alliance makes between members (up to 3), the alliance can score more points. If the robot throws the ball over the truss, 10 points are added, and if the robot on the other side of the truss catches it, another 10 points are added. After the ball is passed, the teams can shoot it into one of the goals. There is a small goal located on the ground, which is worth 1 point without any passes. Also there is a high goal located 11' 6" off the ground, which is worth 10 points. The points that are earned by passing and by scoring in the goal are added together to get the number of points that cycle (when the ball is first added into play until the ball crosses the goal line). The table below shows the point totals that an alliance can earn per cycle. After 2 minutes and 30 seconds of play, the game ends and the final number of points are tallied.

Aerial Assist Points Chart