Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges



Totally Generic Name
Entry ID #: 557
Created: Mon, Jan 9, 2012 8:29 PM

The aim of Hightower is to score by placing prisms into one of the 45 degree chutes or the tower, which is opened in the last 30s of the match. Red/blue prisms are worth 2pts, having the highest prism in a chute gains ownership for 1pt, white prisms are worth 2pts for the owners of that chute and all values in the tower are doubled. Mechanically, the game is intended to be challenging. Picking up prisms is not easy, and then teams have to rotate them to 45 degrees to score them. Teams also have the option of scoring from the top of the chute; although it is harder, having to raise prisms to 30" (24" on the ramp) to score, it is also a quick way to gain ownership of a chute and all of the white prisms inside. Teams need to design around traversing the ramp if they want to be able to cross between the upper and lower halves of the field. Strategically, the field is raised on one half, using ramps as a soft divider between zones. This keeps team separate unless they take the time investment to cross it. That promotes teamwork because it makes it much more difficult to win without coordinating which team is scoring what prisms where. The top and bottom halves of the field are worth different values: The tower is a sort of bonus in the last 30s, but the high half of the field has access to the tops of the middle four chutes for quickly acquiring ownership of a goal. Descoring keeps the game dynamic, possibly making short work of an opponent's score and swinging the game in your favor. Prism management is important on the field because white prisms can be used to modify the score of a chute in your favor, but only coloured prisms actually ensure that you possess the chute and get the points. If you aren't smart and put your prisms in the wrong chute, you could stand to lose points from the white prisms. Link in case that one below doesn't work:


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Links / Videos


   Totally Generic Name on 01/13/2012

This is all very welcome, and seen as a challenge, so hey, battle of essays. As long as I can do the same. -The clip of the robots falling on the ramps is meant to warn teams about that, and is clearly a big concern. In this case, the blue robot is at fault, so it would be disqualified. Teams aren't really supposed to spend much of their time on the ramps. The red robot is even going really slowly and carefully. -Having the top edge on the triangular chutes cut off actually increases the cross section of the goal that fits a prism by a lot, and they are designed that way. When I was modelling it, it seemed to score pretty easily. -Scoring for beginners is going to be a little bit of a learning curve, but I figured it was hard in Round Up too. Then, we had to lift a tube up 12 inches and keep it parallel to the the ground. Here, we've got to lift a prism 6 inches and rotate it around 45 degrees (actually less, because you can score at ~30 degrees). It's doable with the simple robot on the red aliance, and it might work with a modified protobot because the end of the arm pivots as it raises. I'm not honestly sure how rookie teams would approach it, but I do know that even beginners tend to step up to the challenge when the game is hard. -The only resistance to scoring would be a slight spring to ensure the tabs on the tower fold down and the weight of the objects above. -I'm not really referring to your video with the driver animations, but I thought it would come out kind of weird if I tried to do it. -We've only got 3 minutes, so some of my rules description squishes into the match. If the time limit were longer, I might be able to afford to keep it more separate. But a major note is that the way I set my script (read: animation storyboard) up, the field builds up from the mats and walls, to objects, to drivers and robots. I don't know if I should've shown the robots with preloads at around 0:45 because it breaks that flow. Adding in rules description outside of the match adds in more scenes that the robots are driving but the match hasn't started yet. I don't feel that clips of match play should be shown before the match is actually begun. -The only part of the animation that is dictated by the sound effects is the ending with our team logo, synchronized to look cooler. The rest of it just magically fit except for a few cuts and fade-ins.

   Totally Generic Name on 01/12/2012

All right, let's see... - So yes, having a field like this is, in fact, impractical. However, the slope of the ramp is 1 in 2, or 6" up and 12" long. If you picture that in front of you, it's not too hard to climb. -The physics of the chutes is not too bad either; the tab sticks out maybe 3/4" or something normal to the 45 degree chute, so prisms should catch on it. The opening 6 inches of the chutes are metal frames, so if you want to descore, you could poke a prism until it comes up over the tab. The next one would then slide down the incline until it hits the bottom tab. The open top corner of the triangular chutes and specific angle of the bottom faces also make it a lot more forgiving to score prisms than it might look like. -Mechanically, this game is meant to be difficult. Then again, we all thought that when we saw Round Up and couldn't believe how anyone could possibly score on those goal posts (in autonomous at least) with such small tolerances. I've always wanted precision to be a major part of the game because it requires teams to think about precision engineering and actually building robots that are not just robust but exact as well. Games have always been about putting objects into specific positions to score, so the rotational element is just one more thing for teams to design around. -I was hoping it would be clear about how the prisms made it into the tower and stayed there with 2 close up shots of prisms being scored. The tabs expand when the prism approaches from the bottom, the angle forcing them open. Then, when the prism passes all the way through, they pop back into place underneath. It's a sort of 1 way latch system. - Visual style was the biggest focus during conception; I wanted something that looked and felt really high-tech, distinct, and... cool. It's what I was hoping would set it really apart from other animations. One element of that was the high contrasts between the background, field walls, field tiles and game elements/robots. Lots of white-ish's and black-ish's. -I was never really going to animate the drivers, although thinking back on it, I might have looped some stock motion in the background. I would rather have stationary models that are there to represent drivers than unnatural animations or figuring out how people are supposed to act. -I realized that the rules description was running into the match, but by the time I figured it out, I had most of the first half done. I couldn't restructure my entire video, so I had to make do. Looking back at it right now, it actually doesn't seem too bad, but I'm probably the worst person to ask anyways. Thanks for your criticism, it's always appreciated. After all, I already think it's awesome so what's the point in telling me again? By the way, would you believe that all of my sounds and effects (except the buzzer) were part of the music? Even the rewinding bit!