Sometimes when we have a live show for a FIRST event, we get so caught up in setting up the studio and lining up our interviews that we don't really get a chance to truly enjoy everything that is going on around us. This year, we arranged for a little extra time before the interviews began. This gave Scott and Daniele an opportunity to discuss this years game as well as look back to previous years. We got the opportunity to speak with some of the student ambassadors about the game and exactly how it worked.
The game maintains many of the elements that we know and love about FIRST Robotics Competition. The driving stations are located where we expect on the short ends of the field. There are the same number of robots on the field, with three robots working together on each of the two teams. There are consistent stages of play, with autonomous, tele-op and the end game. We even see some familiar game elements, like a balance element in autonomous and climbing in the end game.
While the game plays similar to previous games in theory, there are some distinct differences. The biggest difference is the introduction of passive scoring. By controlling the angle of a few large scales around the board, teams can score points every second, while continuing to move around the board. Usually, once you perform an action, you receive points and move on, but not in this game. The scoring mechanisms allow for much higher scoring, but doesn't guarantee it.
Another difference is giving the human players a choice in how they interact. Usually, the players have a particular task to perform, like placing gears in the airships during Steamworks. This year, the players have a choice when receiving the blocks: they can either pass them back into play, or place them into a stack to try and score power ups later in the game. Again, this adds a fascinating dynamic, by creating additional variables for gameplay.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Daniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.
Although Michele has worked in the banking industry full time for many years, she originally went to school with a concentration in communications, advertising and marketing. She began her career in sales and retail management, selling electronics and computers. Her love of all things tech eventually brought her back into the electronics arena three years ago when she started with PLuGHiTz Corporation to help with special events as a Production Assistant. Soon she began to dabble with the audio and video and is loving her role as Producer. She's also one of our content writers and assists with product reviews. Looking forward, she is excited to expand her skill set into editing and helping the company continue to grow.