The Vexmen of Brandywine Robotics

Blog Post

The Vex Game For This Year Gateway!

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This year’s Vex competition will play a game called Gateway. It is different from round up in a few ways. We’ll show the game and then start talking about some key special items for this year’s game.

Here’s the video explaining it.

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So let’s take a look at what’s a bit different this year in this game:
1 ) The Gates and isolation zones
2 ) 30″ High Goals
3 ) Two kinds of objects – balls and cylinders
4 ) Field loads
5 ) No autonomous bonus, but a first in the goal bonus
6 ) No de-scoring, so just score fast
7 ) Doubler and Negation barrels
8 ) You can fix your robot (within reason apparently)

1 ) The Gates and isolation zones

This year, the field is in three parts. Two parts of isolation zones where you can score in your own area without harassment, and an area covering half the field with a big pile of scoring objects. Since your opponent can not disturb you in your isolation zone, one strategy may be to hoard as many scoring objects in there.

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If the other color robot touches the tile in your isolation zone, they are disqualified. However, they can reach over the wall or gate and score in your goals. So don’t get too comfy in there – they can score in your goals.

The tranquility and isolation does last the entire match though. At 30 seconds left in the match you must lift the gate. The isolation zone player’s coach is the most likely person to do this. Apparently coaches touching the controls is forbidden as well. So read the rules!

If you are in the isolation zone, you can score all your objects fast and then lift the gate since you may not have anything more to do in there (unless your partner is feeding you pieces that is). So helping your partner out is the logical course of action.

If you are in the interactive zone, you can not touch the other color start tile in the autonomous period. So no direct-line ramming this year for your autonomous.

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2 ) 30″ High Goals

Looking at the field map, you can see the goals are all over the field. There are goals on the field, at wall height, 20″ high, and ones 30″ high. Getting the items to all four levels is going to require some up and down movement. But 30″ high is really high. You can start up to 18″, so you will need some tricky mechanics to get up to 30″.
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3 ) Two kinds of objects – balls and cylinders

Rolling balls and cylinders with a dent on the ends are this year’s game pieces. The balls are the same width as the cylinders but the height of the cylinder is a bit taller. Your robot will need to deal with these three configurations in how it grabs and deposits the game objects in the goals. The ball and the cylinder on its rolling side is rolling chaos. Have fun grabbing them!
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4 ) Field loads

You have a set of regular (red or blue) balls and cylinders off the field that can be added at any time – autonomous, normal play, or last 30 second time frame. Each team has 8 extra game pieces they can introduce to the field during play. Two can be pre-loaded and the rest introduced in the match. There are 4 balls and 4 cylinders of each color for each team to load during the match from the sidelines.This does not count the special black and white pieces. We’ll get to that.

5 ) No autonomous bonus, but there’s a first in the goal bonus

The first 30 seconds are dedicated to autonomous again. But this year there is not any autonomous bonus per se. The advantage you’ll get in autonomous is scoring first in a goal. So the first one in the goal is the bonus, not a winner take all autonomous bonus.

6) No de-scoring, so just score fast

Unlike roundup you can not remove scoring objects from the tall goals. You can remove them from the corners, but not the ring goals. So try and be the first in a goal for the bonus and score like crazy.

7 ) Doubler and Negation barrels

These are the newest and biggest twists this year. There are two special pieces this year – a doubler barrel and a negation barrel. Each team gets one. These can be introduced as match loads during the last 30 seconds of the match. The white doubler barrel doubles the score of all the barrels in that column including the bonus points. The negation barrel negates the points in that column. Put both in a column and they negate each other.

8 ) You can fix your robot (within reason apparently)

So if you forget to turn on your robot or forget to plug in a battery, you’re in luck this year. Now you can adjust your robot during the autonomous period to do exactly this kind of fix. There have been some clarifications since the initial video and you can not do things like manually move an arm or extend your robot. So this is a rule still being clarified.