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About the FRC
The FIRST Robotics Competition, or FRC, is designed for 9th through 12th grade. Annually, FIRST creates a challenge for its teams in the form of a game. Many aspects of the game change year-to-year, but some features stay the same. The robots have the same size requirement, 20” deep by 24” wide by 60” high and the field is always 54' by 27'. There are always six teams on the game field at a time. These six are divided into two alliances, a red alliance and a blue one. Alliances are chosen randomly, so a team may work with one team in one round and against them in the next. Qualifying rounds are run throughout the day. Generally, a team will have 5 or 6 of these qualifying rounds spread throughout the day. At the end of the qualifying rounds, placement of teams is determined by awarding two points for a win, one for a tie, and none for a loss.
The format for the championships rounds is also the same each year. The top ranking 8 teams are made captains. They go in order, first to eighth, each picking a single team. They then do the same in reverse (The eighth team picks another team, then the seventh, and so on). This setup gives eight alliances, one for each captain. For the elimination rounds, three games are run for each match. In the quarterfinals, the first alliance plays against the last, the second alliance against the seventh, and so on. Four of the original eight alliances advance to the semifinal elimination round. The semifinal elimination round is run in the same way. After the semifinal elimination round, only two teams are left. The final elimination round is between the final two teams; this match determines the winner of the tournament.
Ultimate Ascent is modeled off of frisbee, with robots shooting discs into their goals in order to score points. Each team has five goals- one ground-level slot worth one point, two large upper slots worth two points, one thinner, higher slot worth three points, and one situated on top of a pyramid in the center of each alliance's side of the court. These pyramids can also be climbed up near the end of the game, for 10 bonus points per rung out of three climbed.
Rebound Rumble is based around basketball, and is played on a miniature court with foam basketballs. Each end has four hoops, arranged in a diamond shape on the back walls; the object of the game is to score as many points as possible into the hoops on your team's own side. Depending on the height of the hoop, the number of points gained changes; each basket is one point for the lowest hoop, two for each of the two middle hoops, and three for the top hoop. The first thirty seconds of the match is a hybrid period, in which the robot can either be autonomously preprogrammed or controlled using an Xbox Kinect. In addition, there are three balance ramps in the middle of the court; near the end of the match, balancing the ramp of your alliance's color with one or more robots provides extra points, and balancing the central ramp with a robot from the other alliance gives both alliances' teams extra qualification points.
2011 is FIRST's 20th birthday. The game that they designed is themed around the organization's endevors. Game pieces have the same three shapes as the FIRST logo (above, left). In an effort to foster cooperation between FIRST's branches, teams build a 'minibot' out of the same parts that FIRST Tech Challenge teams use. FIRST hopes that FRC teams will reach out to nearby FTC teams and create a unified FIRST community.
Breakaway is set up much like a soccer game. Between the two alliance stations, two large bumps divide the field. The field is further divided by a centerline made of white tape. Goals are positioned in the four corners, and each alliance tries to score into the goal on the alliance side (that is, the goals near the operators). The robots start on the right side of the field, as viewed from the alliance station. The robot closest to the station gets a single soccer ball, the robot in the middle gets 2, and the furthest gets three. One point is awarded for each ball scored. After being scored, balls are returned to the middle area by an overhead chute.
Lunacy was an entirely new sort of game for FIRST. There was a new control system, new electronics, and a smooth floor. The game was a variant on basketball. Each team had a human who started with balls. There were six shooting stations, four in corners, and two halfway down the field. Each robot carried a trailer, and the goal was to score the balls into opponents trailers. If the balls missed the trailer, robots could return them to a human, or shoot it themselves.