The FIRST® Global RoboCo Challenge RECAP

Hello, humans!

We’ve got an entire two-month-long competition to recap this week, so we’ll keep the intro brief!

For starters, the devblog will take a short hiatus as our team celebrates the holidays. This means you likely won’t see us until next year (Is it 2022 already?). Our socials will keep up their regular posting schedule, though, so if you feel like you’re not getting enough RoboCo in your life, make sure to follow us at the accounts linked below! We’re so grateful for all the time you’ve spent reading our dev blog this last year, and we can’t wait to bring new, never-before-seen content to you in 2022!

Now, on to the 2021 FIRST® Global RoboCo Challenge (FGRC21)! 

How Scoring Works 

Before we get into the competition, we should clarify how scoring works. As readers of the dev blog may know, RoboCo recently updated its scoring system. This means that players are scored on budget and time in addition to completing objectives. The faster you complete a challenge, the higher your time score is; the more expensive your robot, the lower your budget score is. 

In addition to objectives, times, and budget, FCRC21 also provides scores for secrets. You earn 500 points for every completed secret. Since there are five secrets per challenge, a team can add potentially 2500 points to their total score! However, it comes at a price. FGCR21 requires you to solve secrets in the same run as the run where you solve the main objectives, meaning that your overall time score will suffer if you take too long. Likewise, solving for secrets may also require adding additional parts, thus making your robot more expensive and decreasing your budget score. This makes RoboCo much more high-risk, high-reward!

Additionally, teams are scored on mechanics, innovation, and aesthetics. You may wonder how, since RoboCo itself doesn’t have numerical values for these conditions. Well, that’s where the judges come in. After the runs are submitted, three professional judges from FIRST Global go through and award teams a score in each category. The maximum amount of points a team can earn per category is 2500. Multiply 2500 by three, and you could potentially earn another 7500 points if your score is perfect! That’s a lot of points, and it has made a BIG difference in some cases, as you’ll see in the videos. 

FGRC21 – Qualifier RECAP!

The first challenge that participants had to overcome during FGRC21 was the Sandwich Challenge! 37 countries competed to build the best sandwich-serving robot- you can see the full list here. Team Algeria was the one to rule them all though, with their well-dressed waiter earning a whopping 16,327 points! This score allowed them and 19 other teams to progress to the playoffs. 

To see Team Algeria’s historic run as well as some other amazing builds, make sure to check out the YouTube video below! 

FGRC21 – Playoff RECAP!

RoboCoffee was the second challenge of the competition. A little different from the challenge you know, RoboCoffee now requires you to deliver a coffee (with cream!) to the construction worker upstairs. Players have to figure out how to reach the construction worker without breaking the caution tape or smashing any statutes, which led to something we’ve never seen before…robots stretching like Mr. Fantastic!

Truly, a towering accomplishment. This turned out to be a massive time-saver for Team Hope! To see their robot in action, along with many other brilliant creations, watch the YouTube video below. 

Team Hope’s innovative approach did come at a substantial budgetary cost, which made the final results a lot closer than you might think! Eventually, Team Algeria came away with another win, clocking in an impressive 15,031 points, with Team Burkina Faso and Team Indonesia trailing close behind. These teams, along with seven others, will compete for the chance to become the ultimate RoboCo Champion during the finals! 

FGRC21 – Finals Winner Announced Tomorrow!

Speaking of the finals, the broadcast comes out tomorrow!!! Will Team Algeria continue their winning streak, or will a newcomer sweep them off their (robotic) feet? Find out tomorrow starting at 8 AM CST when we stream the results LIVE on RoboCo’s YouTube and Twitch channel. 

And that’s it for this week’s dev blog! Thank you to all our FIRST Global RoboCo Challenge competitors for an exciting last couple of months. We’re so happy you enjoyed our game, and we hope to see more teams participate in the future! 

From all of us here at RoboCo HQ, happy holidays, and we’ll see you in 2022! 🎅🤖🎄

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