STEAMworks Game Design Fantasy Draft

2017-teaser-hero-image

Instead of wish listing about what we wanted to see in  STEAMworks, myself and some other TBA Blog Contributors decided we’d turn it into a bit of a game. Here are the rules:

  • Just like fantasy sports, each person picks one attribute they think will be in the game in a draft. There’s no list to pick from, so be creative!
  • Each person picks three attributes
  • Draft follows a serpentine order (1-4, 4-1, then 1-4)
  • You must defend your pick!

This year’s contestants, in draft order:

  1. Allen Gregory – Spectrum – FRC 3847
  2. Matt Starke – The Arctic Warriors – FRC 174
  3. Andrew Schreiber – Most recently from FRC 125
  4. Ty Tremblay – Big Bad BOB – FRC 319

Note that this draft was conducted on the TBA Blog Slack team, so it may read like a chat room conversation at times. Moderating the discussion is TBA Blog administrator, Eugene Fang.

Allen Gregory

1st Pick: Low Goal
Or some kind of low goal equivalent. 2014 and 2016 had excellent low goals. Hopefully that trend continues. 2015 didn’t have any real equivalent scoring option. The low goal gives every team a chance to contribute to the game in a meaningful way. 2014 was saved by the low goal for a lot of teams. Having multiple scoring options also makes design decisions more interesting.

Andrew Schreiber
Do you mean some sort of physical low goal or some sort of low difficulty scoring option?

Allen Gregory
Physically low goal, you don’t have to intake a game piece to score. And the scoring of it actually helps your alliance, not like 2015. It’s always helpful, broken intakes, etc. Plus, we do love running low goals when needed.

Eugene Fang
“2010 has low goals, don’t need an intake to score” < if only that were true

Ty Tremblay
319 rode the low goal train all the way to two blue banners. I’m with Allen.

Matt Starke

1st Pick: Minibots
There have been two significant references to small mechanical machines in the game hints. The first is the small contraption to the left of the robot in the STEAMworks picture. The second is the animated logo itself has a blimp that is moving around the hat.
For the game, teams will either be required to build a minibot to complete a game challenge or manipulate a minibot that is located on the field.

Ty Tremblay
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Allen Gregory
I sure hope not, 2011 was the worst end game ever

Ty Tremblay
Well, except for the end game that 254 and 973 made for themselves in 2015….

Matt Starke
You can’t deny that the references (in the DLC) are strong

Andrew Schreiber
I can deny whatever I want until 10 on saturday

Ty Tremblay
Too soon?

Allen Gregory
I still wake up haunted by the smell of burning FTC motors..

Ty Tremblay
FTC motor best fuse

Andrew Schreiber

1st pick – flat field
We’ve had a pair of really busy fields now. I think it’s time FIRST let folks be open and hit each other hard again. Plus, I want to scream “SWERVE!” at people again this year.

Ty Tremblay

1st pick – A Small game object
Steam works > Steam engines > Coal > Shoveling coal. I’d like to see FIRST take another swing at scoring via weight, but not like 2013. Maybe a tippable scale that you have to fill the side faster than the other or something

Andrew Schreiber
Does this count as “Automated scoring that will never work” or “Reffing that will screw up Einstein?”

Ty Tremblay
Savage

Allen Gregory
FTC volume type scoring could sort of work

Ty Tremblay

2nd pick (serpentine draft baby!)- Unlimited game object carrying capacity.
We haven’t seen this since 2009, it hasn’t been good since 2006, and its about time to buck the trend of every team gunning for the fastest “cycle time”

Andrew Schreiber
You’re really banking on the small object theory aren’t you? Reduced robot sizes + unlimited carry?

Ty Tremblay
Want. Want bad I wanna make some sort of expandable abomination that spends all match pac-manning

Andrew Schreiber
95?

Matt Starke
95 was so deadly in 2006, and sneaky for a big box robot.

Eugene Fang
Pac manning is so boring

Ty Tremblay
My dream:8mx6l_f-thumbnail-100-0

Allen Gregory
I would like to see some Tube shaped robots like ’09, instead of big boxes

Andrew Schreiber

2nd pick – Ramps on robots

We haven’t seen this since 2007 in the end game (179 doesn’t count from ’12). The last time HQ tried to to do some sort of robot on robot end game ended with a whopping, what, 2 suspensions all season?

Plus, I think that’s what they meant when they said “take flight” And it fits in there with “Coopertition”

Eugene Fang
Zip line?

Andrew Schreiber
yes, zip line

Ty Tremblay
Zip line

Matt Starke
Minibot on a zip line!

Ty Tremblay
Draft complete folks, lets go home.

Matt Starke

2nd Pick – Air Inflated Game Pieces
I’m in agree with Ty that I think the game pieces are going to be small. But I think the challenges of Floppies and Tubes are coming back this year. The game has many air references with STEAM and we will see game objects that are filled with air.
I am going to through something crazy out there – I think there will be something on the field that is air inflated and stationary.

Allen Gregory
Like a Halloween decoration?

Eugene Fang
Minibots climbing up the air inflated guy

Allen Gregory
I’m not sure how 150 lbs. of robot running into that will pan out

Andrew Schreiber
Allen, does that mean you’re going to take “field element that will repeatedly break”?

Matt Starke
hqdefault

Ty Tremblay
I’ll take the Sally Port for $400, Alex

Allen Gregory
Not currently on my list but it’s possible. I thought the GDC did a pretty good job with the defenses last year, after the early CDF issues.

Allen Gregory

2nd Pick – “Just Move” Autonomous Points
I think the GDC learned their lesson from the boring 2015 auton for the majority of teams. Moving is a big step for a lot of teams and giving just a few points helps give teams the motivation to get started. Reach points weren’t the end goal for most teams but they helped those that would fail a cross every now and then. Motivating teams to at least move during auton makes the game more interesting for spectators as well.

Andrew Schreiber
Didn’t 2015 have a just move bonus? Same as 2014?

Allen Gregory
2015 needed all three robots to move

Andrew Schreiber
Ah

Allen Gregory
Most people didn’t even bother

3rd Pick – Field Side Interaction
We haven’t seen much interaction with the side of field. 2005, 2009, & 2014 all had some but we have never scored on the side of the field. I think this year we see more robot interaction with the sides of the fields, possibly goals on the side of the field. There are a number of reasons to avoid this in game design (volunteer safety, etc) but when done well this can add a new element that we don’t see in most FRC games.

Ty Tremblay
Oooh. I like it. The game was too easy to get on camera anyway.

Andrew Schreiber
Won’t that exacerbate MN’s volunteer problem when a half dozen of em get run through by some team’s auton?

Allen Gregory
2014 style human player safety zones?

Ty Tremblay
Nah. MN only allows elite volunteers. Their agility is off the charts.

Andrew Schreiber
Robot arm comes whipping over field barrier, roll for save

Matt Starke

3rd Pick – Divided Field
We have seen divided fields in different ways recently in 2016 and 2015 and I believe that they will appear again in STEAMworks. However, the division will occur in a way that we have not seen in a while. The field will be separate with some sort of large object over the field like the 2008 wall down the middle or the 2005 Pyramids. If I were to venture a guess, I would go with some sort of zip-line like element going across the top of the field.

Ty Tremblay
Matt’s all in on the zip line

Eugene Fang
Does a zip line down the middle count as “divided field”?

Allen Gregory
Maybe it’s a moving wall or shower curtain?

Matt Starke
That’s what I’m thinking Allen

Andrew Schreiber
No way it counts as divided unless it acts as an impediment to a robot that is solely a box of the starting volume

Ty Tremblay
I can’t even keep the shower curtain up in my own shower, never mind when robots drive through it

Allen Gregory
Hopefully this zipline is over 6’6″ I don’t want to get decapitated.

Andrew Schreiber

3rd pick Retroreflective Targets

Let’s all be honest – FIRST has been pushing vision for the last decade that’s not going anywhere. Over that time they’ve tried colored targets (05, complete mess) lighted targets (06-07, mild success but pain to calibrate), back to colored targets (08, 09 – again mess), shapes (10 – mess), and finally settled on retroreflective targets (12,13, 15, 16 – with pretty decent success)

We’re going to see vision and it’s going to be that 3M retroreflective tape in a rectangular shape.

Allen Gregory
Maybe not a rectangle. I’m in for Triangle targets this year. Triangles are the best

Ty Tremblay
Safest pick ever. The friangles go with the friangles!

Andrew Schreiber
Hey, I gotta make sure I at least get on the board with the imaginary points here

Ty Tremblay

Pick, the Third – The Death of the Coopertition Bonus
They nailed it the in-game ranking bonus last year after toying with the concept for years. 2010, you got more points if your opponents scored (or something) and we all know that played out. 2012, you got a free win for balancing a bridge with your opponent. 2015 caused teams that could only do coopertition to rank way too high and then had no point in the elims. 2016 was perfect.

Andrew Schreiber
That’s why I assumed they’d botch that up (actually that was my next pick anyway, I just have to be snarky about your pick)

Allen Gregory
Agreed, more ways to do breach/capture type bonuses, get your whole alliance involved but don’t require your opponents to help too much

Ty Tremblay
I think coopertition should be about helping your opponents in the pits, than going head-to-head on the field


Andrew Schreiber
I guess that wraps this up, we’ll know how we all did on Saturday since nobody picked anything ridiculous like “Karthik banned as MC for kickjumping off field” or “student faceplants walking onto field due to field division.”


Bonus picks from Allen Gregory

Auton Interaction

This is a long shot; probably more of a dream really. I love autonomous interaction and defense. This is probably because I started my FRC career programming defensive autons in 2003. I’ll even take the ability to load your partners like in 2012, etc. if we can’t have full out autonomous defense like 2003 and 2006. 2014 was a very good balance in this concept and 1114’s use in the Einstein finals is something everyone remembers.

Adjusted Ranks – not just W/L/T

They have been playing with various ranking systems for as long as I can remember and last year’s was one of the best. Hopefully they build off the breach/capture idea and make a ranking adjustment that adds to the game and doesn’t make for a strange meta game.

New Creative End Game

Something we haven’t seen before. So no ramps, minibots, hanging, etc. Maybe balancing, or swinging.

Skilled Human Player

The human player wasn’t a very skilled position the past couple years. You needed to be trained well but unless you were like 195, bowling dozens of boulders to your alliance, or a “noodle wizard” in 2015 it didn’t necessarily take a lot of skill. I think that changes this year. Probably not the level of 2004 or 2009 but something more than just passing in a game object. 2014 was the right amount of Human Player skill where it didn’t hurt you if they weren’t great but it could be amazing if they were like 254 at IRI.urydo5s

One comment

  1. I would love to see autonomous interaction again. The challenge is that it’s very easy to design a game where autonomous defense is orders of magnitude less difficult than autonomous offense, which in turn completely disincentivizes autonomous offense. Defending has to be the “elite level” action, demanding something more than just driving to where you think your opponent would like to be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s