Saturday, January 6. 2018
When we arrived at Spencerport we rushed off the bus and into the warm cafeteria. The Spencerport robotics team 3015 Ranger Robotics has been hosting and organizing kickoff for several years, and they do a fantastic job! Once we were settled in the cafeteria, we were offered donuts, coffee and delicious hot cocoa. Shortly after, we took our seats in the auditorium to watch the live stream. As we entered we saw a slideshow of pictures of local FIRST teams. Every time an image of our team appeared we cheered as loud as we could. Before the game was revealed, we listened to multiple inspiring guest speakers talk about the importance of what we learn in FIRST. One was Dr. John Valvo, who uses robotics to perform surgery! Plus, there was an awesome raffle where 3015 generously gave away lots of cool prizes. One of our students, Rachel, won a FIRST backpack!
When the adventure came to an end, the game animation began. The moment we had all been waiting for was finally here, and we were not disappointed. This year’s retro video game themed game, FIRST POWER UP, is played by two alliances of three robots on a field called The Arcade. Each match is 2 minutes and 30 seconds long. Robots operate using pre-programmed instructions for the first 15 seconds, and drivers control the robot for the rest of the match. The ultimate goal is to defeat The Boss which alliances can do by controlling the Switches and the Scale by placing Power Cubes on them, earning Power Ups by bringing Cubes to the humans who then place it in the Vault, and climbing the Scale. There are three power ups which teams can use to gain a temporary advantage during the match. One Power Up is Force which gives the alliance ownership of the Switch, Scale or both, depending on the number of Cubes in the Vault, for ten seconds. Boost is a Power Up that doubles the rate of points earned for ten seconds, and Levitate gives a robot a free climb on the Scale. Check out the game animation here!
We then returned to our school and read the game manual to learn the rules while we ate lunch. Once we had all read it we made a list of ways to earn points and lose points, penalties, and questions we had. Next, we broke up into different groups to discuss multiple topics. For the next few days we will continue to discuss ideas to build the greatest robot we can, and make this year a great one!