Programming Help for “Get Over It!”

programming-siteThis season’s FIRST Tech Challenge game, Get Over It!, presents a lot of challenges, not the least of which is the 40 second autonomous period.

40 seconds!

A programmers joy, or nightmare, depending on ability and experience. Create a strong autonomous program, though, and the rewards are considerable. From the Game Manual:

Batons scored during the Autonomous Period are eligible to be scored again at the end of the Match.

Additionally, the following scores are calculated at the end of the Autonomous Period:
1. Parking a robot on a Cliff is worth 3 points.
2. Parking a robot on the Mountain or any unbalanced Bridge is worth 5 points.
3. Parking a robot on any balanced Bridge is worth 15 points.
4. Having a robot on the Dispensing side of the field (over the Cliffs, Bridge, or Mountain) is worth 10 points. The robot must be completely on the Dispensing side of the field in order to count and may not be touching the Mountain, Cliffs, or Bridges.
5. Dispensing any Batons from an Alliance’s Baton Dispenser on their Dispenser Side of the Playing Field is worth 2 points per baton.

Part of the reason for the increased autonomous period is not just to challenge students, but to provide opportunties for learning (which, when you come down to it, is what any good challenge is anyway!). But with a long autonomous period, if there are no programs running during that time, it could be a really long 40 second game start!

To help move things along – both learning and the game – FIRST Tech Challenge director, Ken Johnson wrote on his blog today, “I’d like to see the FTC community (teams, mentors, coaches) reach out to work with novice teams in the area of programming. There is absolutely no reason we can’t have an exciting autonomous period at every event. Help those teams you are competing with and against. Get them started with some basic code and let them play with it, whatever you can do to help. ”

Team Duct Tape completely agrees! It’s great fun to see four robots start out the gate on their own, as a good robot should, maneuvering about completing (or at least trying to!) a series of tasks. So we’re answering Mr. Johnson’s call for programming help in the FTC community with the creation of a public Robot C templates site on Google Code.
We’ll be adding more information to it soon, and welcome others to share their basic templates and information on the site, as well. If you have an questions, email our lead programmer, Chris, at clwillingham@gmail.com  .

And check back regularly as the season progresses. We’ll Get Over It! together!

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