ftc

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 2019 Qualifying Tournaments Information

Note:  This information is for FIRST TECH Challenge (FTC) teams in North Texas.  FIRST LEGO League teams should get qualifier information from the Perot Museum FLL website .

Event waitlists are now open.

Event preregistration is now closed. Use the waitlist form to request an event.

2019-2020 Qualifying Tournaments

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 events
  2. League teams wanting a “second chance” qualifier
  3. Teams having only one event
  4. Teams having two events
  5. 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 North Texas FTC Qualifying Tournaments is now closed. 

Through pre-registration, teams will be able to fill out an online form to indicate their preferences for qualifier events in the season.  Completing the form does not register a team for any events, it simply establishes a team’s priority claim for available event slots.  No payment for event fees is needed for pre-registration, and events will be generally assigned to teams based on the order of form responses and availability of preferred event slots.

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.  The national registration cost is separate from tournament entry fees; for 2019-2020 we expect qualifier tournament fees to again be $175 per team per 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.)

January Qualifiers:  In order to provide all teams with an opportunity to compete in a January event, pre-registration will give each team a reservation for ONE qualifier taking place after January 1st based on their preferences.  In December we will then open up waitlists and registrations for any events with unclaimed registration spots.

November/December Qualifiers:  Teams that wish to compete at a November or December event can also use the pre-registration form to indicate their preferences.  Teams have the option to choose a second Nov/Dec event instead of a January one, although we cannot guarantee that multiple early-season slots will be available.

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 a few weeks prior to the event date and the spots released to other teams on waitlists or that request additional events.

Teams intending to compete in a league (El Dorado or La Joya) should contact the League Coordinator for registration details, or email Patrick Michaud at patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu.

For more information about qualifier registration, contact patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu .

Control Hub Pilot Program

FIRST Tech Challenge has chosen North Texas to be a “pilot region” for the REV Robotics Control Hub in the 2019-2020 Skystone (presented by Qualcomm) season.

What this means is that teams from North Texas can apply to participate in the pilot and use a REV Robotics Control Hub on their robot in North Texas events and at the World Championship.  The REV Control Hub will not be legal for competition at events in regions that are not part of the pilot program (with some very limited exceptions).

Most of you are familiar with the REV Expansion Hub that was introduced in the Relic Recovery season.  The REV Control Hub combines the features of the Expansion Hub and the Robot Controller Android handset into a single unit, eliminating the need for a separate Robot Controller handset (phone) on the robot.  (An Android handset is still needed for the Driver Station.)  This will provide teams with an option that reduces space and cabling requirements, while retaining the same programming interface, driver controls, and the like.

If none of the above makes sense to you — you can safely ignore it.  Using a Control Hub and/or participation in the pilot is completely optional for teams — teams that wish to continue using the existing REV Expansion Hub and Modern Robotics components will be able to do so for this and future seasons.  There are no plans to retire or obsolete these systems.  

In addition, our expectation and experience is that the REV Control Hub does not create an “uneven playing field” between teams using the Control Hub and ones continuing to use the Expansion Hub setup.

More information about the Control Hub pilot program and how to apply is in the attached PDF document.  Note that teams must be in a pilot region and have completed team registration for the 2019-2020 season prior to applying for the pilot program.

If you have further questions on this program, double-check the attached Pilot Description document, and then send me an email at <patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu>.

Events with 3 advancing teams

Last updated: 2019.12.07

An event with only three advancing teams can arise with from small events.  It’s tempting to look at advancements in terms of percentages (3 teams from a 15-team event is a 20% advancement rate), but that masks the reality of what happens at a 3-team advancing event.

The 3-team advancement outcome

As in another article I wrote a couple of years ago, this analysis is based on the official FTC advancement criteria as given in Game Manual Part I. An FTC event with a 3-team advancement ends up looking like:

* The Inspire Award Winner, Inspire Award 2nd place, and Winning Alliance Captain all advance.

* The Winning Alliance 1st team selected advances only if the Winning Alliance Captain also receives Inspire 1st or Inspire 2nd. It happens, but it’s by no means certain.

* The Inspire 3rd team advances only if both of the Winning Alliance teams received Inspire 1st and Inspire 2nd. Count your lucky stars if this ends up being you.

* None of the other awards advance.

Yes, a 3-advancing team event means that a team can be on the Winning Alliance — even undefeated through all matches — and still not advance.

Impact on Alliance Selection

An event where only three teams advance can have a very definite impact on Alliance Selection.

If your team is in line to be an Alliance Captain (i.e., it is one of the top four ranked teams), and a higher-ranked team asks you to join their alliance, you may very well want to consider declining the invitation so you can become the captain of your own alliance.

If you accept the other team’s invitation and they don’t win Inspire 1st or Inspire 2nd, then you don’t advance even if your alliance ends up winning the tournament.

If you think by declining and forming your own alliance you may beat whatever alliances they and other higher-ranked teams come up with (remember, they all get to pick before you do), then being (Winning) Alliance Captain means you get to advance.

If you’re not in line to be an Alliance Captain when Alliance Selection rolls around, then your only path to advancement is to win the Inspire Award or Inspire 2nd place, or lobby/hope to end up on the Winning Alliance with an Alliance Captain that does win one of those awards.

The bottom line

Advancement opportunities are extremely limited in an event advancing only three teams.  At first glance advancing 3 teams from a 10-team event may seem better “percentage-wise” (30%), but a 20-team event advancing 5 teams (25%) or even just 4 teams (20%) has many many more opportunities for advancement.

Volunteers wanted for FTC 2019 events

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.

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.

To volunteer at a North Texas FTC event,

For convenience, you can directly apply for an event by following one of the links below (coming soon)

FTC 2018 Qualifying Tournaments Information

Note:  This information is for FIRST TECH Challenge (FTC) teams in North Texas.  FIRST LEGO League teams should get qualifier information from the Perot Museum FLL website .

Event preregistration has closed.  We are now allowing teams to waitlist for any event spots that become available.

2018 Qualifying Tournaments

Qualifier Event Waitlist

If you would like to get additional events for your team (or if your team hasn’t received any events yet), 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 events
  2. League teams wanting a “second chance” qualifier
  3. Teams having only one event
  4. Teams having two events
  5. 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.

Current published registration stats:

Qualifier Event Pre-registration and Registration

Pre-registration for North Texas FTC Qualifying Tournaments will open on September 28 at 11:00am CDT.  When pre-registration opens, teams will be able to fill out an online form to indicate their preferences for qualifier events in the season.  Completing the form does not register a team for any events, it simply establishes a team’s priority claim for available event slots.  No payment for event fees is needed for pre-registration, and events will be generally assigned to teams based on the order of form responses and availability of preferred event slots.

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.  The national registration cost is separate from tournament entry fees; for 2018-2019 we expect qualifier tournament fees to again be $175 per team per 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.)

January/February Qualifiers:  In order to provide all teams with an opportunity to compete in a January or February event, pre-registration will give each team a reservation for ONE qualifier taking place after January 1st based on their preferences.  In December we will then open up waitlists and registrations for any events with unclaimed registration spots.

November/December Qualifiers:  Teams that wish to compete at a November or December event can also use the pre-registration form to indicate their preferences.  Teams have the option to choose a second Nov/Dec event instead of a Jan/Feb one.

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 a few weeks prior to the event date and the spots released to other teams on waitlists or that request additional events.

Teams intending to compete in a league (Waco or El Dorado) should contact the League Coordinator for registration details, or email Patrick Michaud at patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu.

 

For more information about qualifier registration, contact patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu .

North Texas FTC Robotics Championship, Feb 10, 2018 – sign up as a Volunteer!

We are currently looking for volunteers for the North Texas FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Regional Championship. The North Texas Regional Championship will be held on Saturday, February 10th at Wylie East High School in Wylie, Texas. Forty-eight of the top FTC teams in North Texas — around 1,000 participants — will be competing to determine the regional winners and advancing teams to the next level of FTC competition in March.

This is UT-Dallas’ first year as the Affiliate Partner for FIRST Tech Challenge in North Texas, and so we’re looking to make sure this event runs well. This will also be the largest FTC event ever held in North Texas, and for that we need lots of judges, referees, inspectors, queuers, and more in order to provide a successful experience for the teams and students. Don’t worry if you haven’t done this before or feel like you might not be qualified… FIRST Tech Challenge teams are evaluated for their communication, marketing, writing, planning, and teamwork skills just as much as engineering or scientific skills. Online training is provided for most roles so you can feel very prepared for the tasks when you arrive, and we have some top-notch advisors that will be leading you through the process. Short descriptions of the needed roles are below.

To volunteer for the event, please visit https://my.firstinspires.org/Volunteers/Wizard/Search/2?EventId=35315 and select the role(s) you would be willing to serve at the event. FIRST Tech Challenge is some of the “hardest fun you will ever have”!

Our primary need is for judges — there are a lot of teams to be judged in a short period of time. Judges will select team award recipients through interactions with teams; teams give presentations on the morning of the event, and then the remainder of the day is spent interviewing teams in their pit areas, on the field, and throughout the venue. Teams also supply an Engineering Notebook that judges will use to help determine the award winners. Judging is done in panels, so you’ll have others with you to make evaluations, and a set of criteria for each award and our highly-experienced Judge Advisor will facilitate the process.

Referees observe team matches to observe rule violations and “call” them. They may also keep track of which elements have been scored and record these items on scoresheets. It’s not necessary to learn all of the scoring aspects of the game — the scorekeeping software does that — referees and scorers simply count elements on the field at various points in the match and send those counts to the scorekeepers to be entered into the computer. There is online training to become a referee and a certification exam (which usually isn’t very hard). Refereeing also gives you “the best seats in the house” for watching the matches take place. 🙂 Referees can also volunteer as Inspectors (below).

Inspectors meet with teams in the morning to check robot designs for safety and compliance with build rules and restrictions. This involves going through a short checklist of items for each robot, informing teams of any infractions that will prevent the robot from competing or certifying the robots as being compliant with the game requirements. This role also has training materials and a short certification exam for the role. Inspectors can also volunteer as Referees (above).

We also need queuers (people to help manage traffic flow and get teams to their judging sessions and matches), announcers, runners, registration/checkin volunteers, and more.

Again, if you can volunteer for this event, please visit https://my.firstinspires.org/Volunteers/Wizard/Search/2?EventId=35315 and sign up for any roles you would like to have.

If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Michaud at <patrick.michaud@utdallas.edu>. Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon.

 

Volunteers wanted for FTC 2017 events

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.

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.

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 or Score Trackers.

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.

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

To volunteer at a North Texas FTC event, see the guide at https://www.firstinspires.org/sites/default/files/uploads/resource_library/volunteer/volunteer-registration-step-by-step-guide.pdf .  Essentially the steps are to create a FIRST account at https://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/event-volunteers.

For convenience, you can directly apply for an event by following one of the links below