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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 unique challenges set forth by FIRST include robots racing in circles, throwing Frisbees, and scoring points. 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 2017 is called Steamworks. Teams compete on a three-team alliance against another three-team alliance. The objective is to score points by scoring fuel in boilers to build air pressure and giving rotors to pilots to complete gear trains.

Steamworks is a steampunk-themed game played by two Alliances of three robots each. Robots score points by scoring fuel in boilers (shooting into high or low goals), collecting rotors and giving them to pilots, and preparing for flight. Each alliance starts on their side of the field and for the most part have no interaction with the other alliance. Each match begins with a 15 second Autonomous Period. During this period of time the robot is controlled by pre-written code in order to score points. During the other two minutes and 15 seconds of the game, called the Teleop Period, robots are controlled remotely by student drivers located behind the walls at the ends of the field. Teams on an alliance work together to score as much fuel and complete as many gear trains as possible. Alliances also score more points for scoring in high goals. Lastly each alliance also has the chance to gain additional points by preparing for flight. During the last 20 seconds of the match robots can climb ropes attached their airships to prepare for flight. To find out more information click here.