FTC 2021 Season Kickoff and Workshop (Plano)

September 18 @ 9:30am - 12:30pm, Marcus High School

Please pre-register to attend this event

Teams 7172 Technical Difficulties and the Marcus Robotics Institute will be holding a Kickoff and Workshop event on September 18th from 9:30am to 12:30pm at Marcus High School in Flower Mound.  The purpose of the kickoff is meet other teams and provide an overview of the FTC 2021-2022 “Freight Frenzy” season for North Texas.  The kickoff event is free of charge, but we ask teams and attendees to pre-register for the event so we can make appropriate space arrangements and notify people of potential changes to the event.

Overview: Doors will open at 9:15am.  The kickoff will begin at 9:30am with a review and overview of the upcoming FTC season, including tournament structure, league play, and robot tips. At 11:00 CDT (12:00 EDT) we will watch the official game reveal video and unveil a full, official field setup complete with game elements. This will give teams an opportunity to see, feel, and touch the game to get a head start on the season. After the field reveal we will then provide an review of the rules in Game Manual Part II and answer any initial questions teams have about the upcoming challenge and how to get started.

Location and Parking: TBD.  Maps and directions to follow.

Agenda/Topics:  Qualifying tournament details; common robot building systems; Android and REV Robotics control platform overview; updates, upgrades, and changes from previous seasons; resources for new teams; grants; game reveal; review of game scoring and rules; practice fields and scrimmages; questions and answers.

Again, please pre-register for the event so we can keep track of space requirements.

If you have any further questions, please contact Patrick Michaud at <pmichaud@pobox.com>.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at the kickoff and throughout the upcoming season!

Texas Cup information for FTC Teams

The Texas Cup is an “umbrella” event this June that will house four separate competitions:
– FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) offseason and UIL Championship
– FIRST Tech Challenge Texas State Championship
– UIL FTC Championship
– FIRST Access competition

As you can see, for FTC this year the Texas Cup contains both the FTC state championship and the UIL championship, and they are two separate competitions. The UIL championship will take place on June 15, and the FTC state championship will take place on June 16-17. Matches for both competitions will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, with judging sessions conducted remotely.

The Texas State FTC Championship is now on the normal path to the FTC World Championship — teams advance from their regional championships to the Texas State FTC Championship and then to the FTC World Championship. Since FIRST has cancelled the 2021 World Championships, the Texas FTC Championship will be the highest-level competition for FTC teams in Texas this season. Advancements to this championship follow the normal guidelines for FTC advancement — based on teams’ performance at their regional championships.

The UIL FTC Championship is a separate competition for UIL school teams only, taking place the day before the Texas State FTC Championship. UIL will have separate divisions for 1A-4A and 5A-6A schools, as in the past few years. Schools receive an invitation to send a team to the UIL Championship based on their teams’ performance at their regional championship (or in some cases, in events leading up to the regional championship).

The only way to attend either FTC competition is by invitation, which is based on teams’ performance at their regional championship. And yes, it is possible (but not guaranteed) for some UIL school teams to end up with spots at both competitions.

The number of teams that each region can advance to the two competitions is based on the composition of teams/schools in the region relative to the total number of teams/schools in the entire state. Since North Texas is one of the larger regions in Texas, we generally get to advance quite a few teams to each competition.

In future years “The Texas Cup” is expected to continue as an offseason event in June. The UIL championship and Texas FTC championship in future seasons will be held in March, since the Texas FTC championship is on the advancement path to the FTC World Championships held each year in April.

Volunteers wanted for FTC 2020 revents

We are always looking for volunteers for FIRST Tech Challenge events in the North Texas Region.  Volunteers can take a variety of roles, including Judges, Referees, Score Trackers, Inspectors, Hospitality, and more.   Descriptions of each of these roles is given below.

Because of public health guidance, many of the 2020-2021 season events will be conducted remotely, meaning we primarily need judges for our events.  Judging will take place the morning of each event via online Zoom interviews, followed by deliberations with a Judge Advisor to determine event award winners.

To volunteer at a North Texas FTC event,

For convenience, you can directly apply to a North Texas event by clicking one of the links below:

Volunteer role descriptions (to be updated for 2020):

Judges select team award recipients through interaction with teams. Documentation regarding team background information is provided to familiarize judges with teams.  Interview and observe teams in the judging rooms, the pit, and on the playing field.  Judging is generally an all-day commitment; the morning is spent interviewing teams and after that the judges deliberate and visit individually with teams to determine event winners.

Referees observe team matches, identifies rule violations, and “call” them. Referees help the competitors to avoid breaking the rules of the Game. Referees participate in deliberations regarding contested calls, working directly through the Head Referee.  Referees are needed when matches start (usually around 10:30am) and for the remainder of the event.  Referees can also volunteer as Inspectors.

Robot Inspectors and Field Inspectors are responsible to ensure every robot follows the guidelines outlined in FIRST Tech Challenge Game Manual Part 1 and are ready to compete on the field. The inspection process involves filling out a checklist for every robot and placing a label or other unique tag on the robot after it passes inspection.  Inspections generally take place in the early morning and are finished before matches begin (usually around 10:30am), which means that Inspectors can also volunteer to be Referees.

There are many more roles available, including Announcers, Queuers, Runners, Registration / Checkin, Hospitality, and more.

FTC 2020-2021 Qualifying Tournaments Information

Qualifier Event Pre-registration and Registration

Waitlists for remaining 2020-2021 Qualifiers are available.

Remaining 2020-2021 Qualifying Tournaments

  • Apr 3 Springtime Sky Qualifier REMOTE
  • Apr 10 Aledo Qualifier HYBRID
  • Apr 17 Townview Qualifier REMOTE
  • Apr 24 TD Qualifier REMOTE
  • May 1 Hedrick May Day Mech-Madness Qualifier HYBRID (Lewisville, TX)
  • May 1 Another to-be-named Qualifier REMOTE
  • May 8 Crowley CTE Qualifier HYBRID (Crowley, TX)

Qualifier Event Waitlist

If you would like to get additional events for your team, you can fill out the form at http://roboplex.org/ftc/waitlist to request to be added to waitlists for remaining events.

As the season progresses, we will periodically re-evaluate team cancellations, changes in registration status, and event capacities to see if additional competition spots are available for teams.  Any available competition spots will generally be given to teams according to the following priority:

  1. Teams without any event
  2. Teams having only one event
  3. Teams having two events
  4. All other teams

Within each priority group, any available spots will be allocated by lottery.

In general, teams getting an event invitation from the waitlist will need to either accept the invitation quickly (usually within a 2-3 days) or we will pass the invitation on to the next team.  We will make our best effort to notify teams as soon as possible that an event spot has opened up, but sometimes spots open up at the “last minute” and so you may receive an invitation to an event on short notice.  If you get a event invitation from the waitlist and end up declining it, your team will still be considered for available spots at other events.

Qualifier Event Pre-registration and Registration

(Pre-registration for 2020-2021 events is now closed.  Use the waitlist to sign up for events.)

In pre-registration, teams fill out an online form to indicate their qualifier preferences for the upcoming season.  Round 2 of pre-registration (now closed) will enable teams to register for any of the remaining qualifiers in the 2020-2021 “Ultimate Goal” season.

There is no charge for pre-registration, and completing the form does not register a team for any events.  This simply establishes a team’s priority claim for available event spots.  Events will generally be assigned to teams based on when form responses are received and the availability of event spots.

Even though teams are not required to pay event registration fees to pre-register, teams must pay their $275 national registration fee with FIRST (via the firstinspires.org Dashboard) before they will be assigned an event.  (Teams that have received a Texas Workforce Commission grant from FIRST in Texas will be assumed to have paid their national fees, even if the funding hasn’t officially been sent yet.)

The national registration cost is separate from tournament entry fees.  For 2020-2021, remote qualifiers will be $100 per team and in-person qualifiers will be $175 per team.  

Late-season Qualifiers (Mar 20-May 1):  We have several remote events and several “hybrid” events in the late season. 

Pre-registration for these events is available here.  We work to guarantee each team ONE late-season qualifier event; additional spots may become available via waitlists that will open in March.

Early-season Qualifiers (Feb 20-Mar 20):  All early-season qualifiers will be remote events.  

  • Feb 27 – UT-Dallas Qualifier REMOTE
  • Mar 6 – Aledo Qualifier REMOTE
  • Mar 13 – FLYSET Qualifier REMOTE (FULL)
  • Mar 20 – Hedrick Qualifier REMOTE (rescheduled from Feb 20)

The date given for each event is when judging will occur, matches will then be played and submitted in the days that follow. 

To enroll in one of these qualifiers, complete the pre-registration form.  We expect that every team that wants a late-season event will be able to have one; and we’ll allow teams to have more than one if there’s space available to do so.

As event assignments are made the team contacts will receive “reservation tickets” for their assigned events; the reservation tickets will contain instructions about completing registration and payment options for the events.  Unclaimed reservations will expire sometime prior to the event date and the spots released to other teams on waitlists or that request additional events.

For more information about qualifier registration, contact pmichaud@firstintexas.org.


Q: How many events can a team compete at?

A; FIRST places no hard limit on the number of qualifiers a team can attend, but a team can only advance from the first three they compete at. So there’s a practical upper limit.

In North Texas, we can only guarantee each team one event, and we try to make sure that each team has an opportunity for it to be later in the season if they desire that. Any additional events beyond one, either early or late-season, are made on a “space available” basis. We try to give as many teams a two-event season as we can, but the size of our region (plus other considerations) means we can’t guarantee that every team will get two events in a season.

We use the pre-registration process to allow teams to express their preference for their “primary” late-season event. Once we’ve processed teams’ requests for their primary events, we begin allocating any remaining spots to teams based on their preferences in the waitlists. If there are multiple teams asking for spots at the same event, we prioritize giving the spots to teams holding only a primary event spot. After that, any remaining spots at an event can be given to teams even if they already have two events.

In a typical season, teams receiving three North Texas qualifiers happens rarely, and those are typically teams that waitlist for events in lower demand than others.

For the Ultimate Goal season, given the reductions in team counts and the many challenges that teams have faced, we’ve scheduled events as though it was a more normal season with more teams. We’ve hoped that by doing so, more teams can have a second late-season event in addition to their primary event. For those teams that attended an early-season event, that means there’s a very good chance for a team to get three qualifiers this season, especially if waitlisting for the early April events where there’s less demand.

For the 2021-2022 season, we’re likely to be back to the situation where most teams will get only two events (one early season and one late season).

FTC Zoom Clinic 1107b – Using the IMU with OnBot Java

2020-11-07 @ 1:00pm, Zoom Webinar

This clinic will cover “Using the IMU with OnBot Java”, and take a look at the IMU (Inertial Motion Unit) sensor built-in to REV Expansion and Control Hubs and how it can be used in FTC. The IMU contains a gyro sensor, accelerometers, and other onboard processing that can provide useful orientation and other information to the robot.

Registration for the clinic is at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qde-hpj4qH9dXSYuiKfVTwUA45WjZV-36 .


FTC Zoom Clinic 1107a – Introduction to OnBot Java

2020-11-07 @ 10:00am - 12:00pm, Zoom Webinar

This clinic will be an “Introduction to OnBot Java”, starting at 10:00am. In this clinic will will look at methods to access OnBot Java, the basics of OpMode programming and steps needed to get a basic driving robot working. If time permits, we’ll also look at accessing sensors in OnBot Java. (If time doesn’t permit, we’ll schedule a subsequent clinic on the topic. 🙂

Registration for the clinic is at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkd-yvrT4vGtGqqH6zMqHYIV_1Se1qTxcc .

FTC Zoom Clinic 0919 – Onshape CAD demonstration

2020-09-19 @ 10:00am - 12:00pm, Zoom Webinar

This will be a 2-hour clinic with a demonstration of Onshape CAD, an online computer aided design platform that is becoming popular among many FIRST teams.

In this demonstration, we’ll look at the FTC parts library, and reprise the creation of the mecanum-style drivetrain that was done in earlier Zoom clinics (with Fusion 360).

More information about using Onshape for FTC, including instructions on registering for a free account, are available at https://apps.ptc.com/schools/FIRST/OnshapeforFIRSTTeams.pdf .

FTC Zoom Chat/Clinic 0917 – Hardware and tools

2020-09-17 @ 7:00pm - 8:30pm, Zoom Webinar

This is part of our weekly NTX FTC Zoom Chat/Clinic sessions, where we gather to discuss FTC news and provide tips and suggestions for the FIRST Tech Challenge competition.

For this September 17 meeting, we’ll review some of the hardware build platforms (REV, ServoCity, GoBilda, Tetrix, and more), as well as some tool recommendations. We’ll also take questions about this year’s “Ultimate Goal” challenge.

Pm’s current tool recommendation list is at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rWCXvMjU0nxdIVnDn9Vz4hUlY3pgEAN2rcXEQ8M_yNA/edit?usp=sharing — feel free to make suggestions for additions/improvements!

FTC 2020 Season Kickoff and Game Review, Session 2

2020-09-14 @ 7:00pm - 9:00pm, Zoom Webinar

Thank you to everyone who attended our kickoff webinar yesterday — we really enjoyed sharing the kickoff with all of you and having an opportunity to answer your initial game-related questions.  We’ve posted the video of yesterday’s kickoff event online, and we’re also planning to hold a “session 2” webinar tomorrow (Monday) at 7pm.

The video from the September 12 kickoff is available at


Registration for this “session 2” webinar at 7pm is available at


We know that we ran out of time in the original kickoff before we could address many questions, so this event is another chance for us to address those questions, as well as for teams to ask new ones they’ve discovered after studying the rules further and thinking about robot designs a bit.

Registration is free.   We’ll also have another NTX FTC Zoom Chat/Clinic on September 17 at 7pm (registration link coming soon) where we’ll take a few additional questions and start to look at some broader robot design and season topics.

We hope to see many of you at this second kickoff webinar.


FTC 2020 Season Kickoff and Game Review

2020-09-12 @ 1:00pm - 2:30pm, Zoom Webinar

North Texas FTC will be holding our 2020-2021 “Ultimate Goal” Season Kickoff online on Saturday, September 12 starting at 1:00pm CDT. The purpose of the kickoff is to give teams more information about the game field elements and rules, and to provide an opportunity to ask questions about the game/field and get a sense of this year’s game components.

The kickoff will take place as a Zoom webinar.  Registration for the webinar is required — register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pMVJ6wE8SW2ox5w4eUa6eQ .

The FIRST Tech Challenge official kickoff and video will be broadcast online at 11:00am CDT and last approximately one hour.  We’ll then take an hour break for teams to be able to have some lunch, review the FIRST videos, and download/view copies of the manuals and rules.  We’ll then start this North Texas FTC webinar at 1:00pm.  Our local experts will give a detailed review of the field components, scoring elements, and other details, as well as provide some additional overview/insights into game rules and game play.  More importantly, we’ll be taking your questions — we’ll have cameras, pieces, and experts at the ready to try to answer the questions you may have about the upcoming game.

We’ll also have a followup webinar later in the week.

Look for registration links and other announcements on the North Texas FTC Google Group.  We look forward to the kickoff on Saturday!