We've been to four FTC competitions now. This one will stand out for the amount of dancing and excitement in between matches. There didn't seem to be any technical difficulty that wasn't worthy of a line dance, train or just in your seat dancing and waving. It was pretty neat.
The game starts with a 30 second autonomous mode where the robots gain points by placing a block in one of the baskets and by parking on the ramp. The robots moves are pre-programmed for these movements and move "autonomously" relying only on their own sensors for input.
If the block is placed in a basket which has an Infrared Beacon hanging beneath it, the team scores 40 points. 20 points for being in a basket other than the IR basket. 5 points if the block goes under the baskets in the floor goal. 20 points for parking fully on the ramp and 10 points for being partially on the ramp.
A lot of attention is paid to looking at the wheels of the robot to determine if the robot is fully or partially on the ramp. If a piece of paper can pass under the wheel above the floor, the robot is considered on the ramp.
The middle of the game is called "teleop" and is where you see the Team members pick up their controllers. They maneuver the robots wirelessly using game pad controllers. Typically, one controller is dedicated to moving the base of the robot and the other is programmed for control of the game piece manipulator that is used to pick up the blocks. This requires the two team members and their coach to communicate to each other to coordinate their movements and strategy.
Blocking is permitted, so if you see the opposing robot just moving back and forth in front of the blocks, they are trying to prevent scoring by the opposing team. There are penalties and bonus points awarded or won as well.
At the very end of the game, the teams can gain more points by raising the flags and hanging the robot from the bar above the ramp. Flag raising earns 35 points for fully raising the flag, 20 points for partially raising the flag to the low position and 50 points for hanging. The entire match is 2 minutes 30 seconds long.