A downloadable VEX catalog is available here http://www.kiwibots.co.nz/starthere/catalog.pdf for those who wish to print out what the Kiwibots have in their store.
If you see it on the VEX USA store and it is not in our catalog please let me know and I can get it in for you.
In my last blog post I said that the 18”x18”x18” size limit would be enforced at all Auckland scrimmages.
We have decided to change this requirement for the first few scrimmages. I apologise to those teams who were inconvenienced by the incorrect announcement yesterday.
We realise that the best way to build robots that make optimal use of the whole size limit is to build with some protruding corners, then file those corners off once the design is finalised. We expect the robots used at the earlier scrimmages to be works in progress, so in order to save teams money we want to make it easier for them to keep their metal pieces intact as they rapidly cycle through different robot designs. We anticipate that this enforcement policy will allow teams to build similarly to how they did in previous seasons.
To make sure that the competition is still fair for teams who do build within the size limits, any part of a robot that protrudes outside the 18” limit will have to meet the following conditions:
- It must not be a functional component. That is, it must be able to be removed without affecting the robot’s ability to function in a match.
- It should not protrude from any side of the robot by more than 1”.
Inspectors will use their discretion when judging whether a robot that is outside the 18” limit is allowed to compete. The intent of this rule is to not penalise teams who are still in the design process and have small (non functional) parts outside the size limit, while still ensuring that no team can gain an unfair advantage by building outside size.
The following image shows an example of what will be allowed:
This rule is temporary, and we will switch to using the 18” size limit later in the season. We will keep you updated about this so that you can be sure you are bringing a legal robot to each scrimmage.
Teams who want to compete in skills challenges will have to pass the full size inspection. Nationals qualifications based on skills will only go to teams who did not qualify through the ladder, so if your team wants to go to Nationals and you aren’t sure whether you will qualify through the ladder or not it would be a good idea to do skills.
The rules for Skyrise have recently been updated. The most important updates are that teams may not place any scoring objects within their opponent’s protected area (rule <SG9f>) and that teams may not place their opponent’s scoring objects within their own protected area (rule <SG13>). <SG9f> includes pushing multiple objects into your opponents’ corner to clutter it. See this thread for details:
As you know, scrimmages this season are qualifying events for NZ Nationals. To make sure that the competition is fair for everybody, and unlike in previous seasons, we need to enforce the robot construction rules. These can be found in the Skyrise manual under section 4:
and for a quick check you can use the Toss Up inspection checklist:
To make sure your team has time to be inspected, please be on time to scrimmages and make sure you turn up with a legal robot. Because scrimmages (especially the larger ones) will have to be run to a tight schedule, we may not be able to finish your inspection before your first match if you either turn up late or fail inspection repeatedly.
There will be a couple of exceptions to the robot rules in the manual:
- Teams may compete without a backup battery, but they do so at their own risk. Backup batteries are intended to stop the robot from disconnecting if the main battery connection is temporarily disrupted. The reasons for not enforcing this rule are that (a) the rule exists mainly to avoid complaints about dropped connections rather than as a design constraint or safety feature and (b) at any tournament where we run an inspection, backup batteries cause the most delays of any rule other than sizing. If you don’t have a backup battery and you are having connection issues, put a backup battery on your robot before you come to the scrimmage volunteers about the problem.
- Teams do not need to use the new blue and red numberplates, since not all teams will have them yet. However, if a team isn't using the new numberplates then they need to use flags for every match. Flags will be available at scrimmages.
The biggest changes from scrimmages in previous seasons are that robots must be inside the 18” size limit to compete, and robots must use Vex batteries only. There are other places where you can buy 7.2V 3000mAh NiMH batteries, but since battery performance is so important to robot performance we need to make sure that everyone’s batteries are the same.
For skills challenges teams will need to pass the full inspection, meaning the will need to have backup batteries (but teams who have not received their new numberplates can still compete).
Just to clarify a few more points that have been raised as questions.
- Teams from out of the Auckland region who compete at Auckland ladder events will not be considered when qualifying teams for the nationals. ie their position in the ladder will be skipped. This works the same in reverse. Auckland teams will not be able to 'steal' qualifying places from other regions by attending their events.
- We are working on having teams play the same number of games at every scrimmage regardless of the number of teams at the scrimmage so larger scrimmages will have more games with shorter game cycle times to try to keep the day start and finish times as even as possible.
- The minimum percentage of scrimmages that a team needs to attend is 100% of the 5. Playing at less will probably count against you and playing at more scrimmages will not help.
This is where we are today but things might change as we work through things.
Please bear with us as we need to work our way through this season and see what works and what does not.
Above all judge us on the following:-
- We are not out to get you, we are just trying to become more streamlined to free up time and do more for more people.
- We will help you as much as we can, sometimes circumstances take things out of our hands.
- We know we will not get it perfect first time so please understand when we change things.
- We are trying to get things planned ahead as much as possible to help host schools plan ahead.
- We do not want to be 'Big Brother' but we need to make sure teams start to realise that we have moved on from the days of 'things will be fine just pitch up on the day'. That is why we are taking the hard line on registering for scrimmages. Plus RobotEvents works best if we load team in advance.
Have a great season
I understand there is confusion regarding scrimmages so to clear things up.
1/ Teams have received 5 reserved scrimmage slots. This is because we have too many teams in Auckland to have 'open' scrimmages any more.
2/ Teams must attend these reserved scrimmages or risk not qualifying for the nationals.
3/ Teams must email Hayden to confirm that they will be attending each scrimmage that is reserved for them at least 1 week before the scrimmage. So the DEADLINE for the scrimmage #1 on Saturday the 7th at Whangaparoa is TODAY before 23:59.
4/ Spots at scrimmages MAY become available 1 week before a scrimmage but this is unlikely.
5/ Teams that just turn up at a scrimmage that have not registered by Wednesday 23:59 the week prior (ie 4th June for #1) WILL be turned away. :-( Sorry but we need to get tough on this as all our events are now on RobotEvents for multiple reasons.
So if you have a spot reserved for you at scrimmage #1 you MUST register before 23:59 on the 30th May (TODAY)
We will be able to send one VEX IQ team from New Zealand to the VEX IQ World Championship in April 2015.
With the growth of VEX IQ in New Zealand we need to seriously look at starting scrimmages of some form in order to select which team goes to represent New Zealand.
It is early days but please let me have your thoughts on how you would like to see this happen.
I have been told that people have been asking Hayden about a scrimmage waitlist for Auckland. Please do not bother him about this as it is not under his control.
The situation is as follows:
1/ We are still trying to find a solution that will cause the least amount of confusion and be seen as fair to the greatest number of people (the holy grail).
2/ Until we know what will work we are going to go from scrimmage to scrimmage as far as a waitlist is concerned. This will be driven by myself as I get feedback on where the scrimmage system is working and not working.
Our latest idea THAT WE MAY FOLLOW BUT WILL CHANGE was described in this blog http://www.kiwibots.co.nz/kiwiblog/entry/qualifying-for-the-nationals-update.
For the time being please note that we will not create waitlists for any event other than the next one on the list. This will be that case until we see how things go.
In order to answer the multitude of unhappy emails that I have been receiving about VEX aluminium 1x2x1x35 c-channel being out of stock in one go I feel that it is best to do so in a blog. This will keep everyone in the loop.
VEX USA were caught on the hop by the unprecedented demand for this item. No they did not anticipate the demand would be as high as it has been as they design the game not the robots that will play it. They have been doing their best to get stock as soon as possible.
The Kiwibots did have 40 sets of the part in stock but they sold in two days. We cannot hold as much stock as we would like due to financial constraints.
I have been told that USA will have stock again in around two weeks. It will take two weeks for my order to get here after that.
If you are thinking you may need 1x2x1x35 aluminium then please order NOW from our web store and I will add these 'back orders' to my stock order and you will be assured of getting your parts as soon as you possibly can.
The Wellington Regional Competition for the KiwiChallenge is to be held at WelTec on Saturday 7th June from 10am. The competition will be held in the WelTec Student Hub which is at the foot of the 7 storey high WelTec tower block building on Kensington Ave Petone.
Everyone is welcome to come and have a look at what's going on, so feel free to pass this invitation on to family, friends, colleagues etc.
Teams from Auckland and Palmerston North are coming down to Wellington for this Regional KiwiChallenge Competition. We also hope to have the elements for the new international competition on display.
If you have any queries about VEX in Wellington generally, or about the Wellington Regional Competition for the KiwiChallenge in particular, you may contact me in the first instance.
Senior Lecturer - Mechanical Engineering
School of Engineering Technology
Wellington Institute of Technology
(+64) 04 920 0466 x563
021 134 9275
Following the confirmation of reserved spots for teams in the 1st scrimmage on the 7th of June, a waitlist has been opened for the 1st Auckland Scrimmage. Teams can join this waitlist and they will be accepted in a first come, first served basis. Teams will then be notified if they can attend the scrimmage on the 31st of May based off the numbers on the waitlist.
Teams who want to sign up to be on this waitlist can sign up here.
Reminder also that ALL TEAMS who have reserved spots for this 1st scrimmage and who have not confirmed their registration MUST do this by Friday 30th May, 11:50pm. If they do not confirm their registration by this date, the teams will not be able to compete at the scrimmage. Teams can confirm their attendance here.
As part of our ongoing changes to the way we run things we will be presenting formal Excellence Awards at Auckland scrimmages #10 to #12. This Award will not qualify the winning team for the World Championships and will be judged with a focus on the point matrix in the judges handbook with some modifications. This means that points gained from Robot Skills and Programming skills will count towards the award.
- Teams will need to have entered two or more on line challenges to be considered for these Excellence Awards.
These Excellence Awards will
- Allow the winning team to enter the Excellence Award at the World Championships if they qualify for the World Championships.
- Get teams to seriously think about Robot and Programming skills
- Get teams to enter on line challenges
We cannot offer these awards in other regions as
- You need at least 16 teams at an event for the event to qualify
- We are just testing the water at this point in time
Excellence Award winners will be recorded on RobotEvents.
These Excellence Awards are not equal to the Nationals Chaiman's Excellence Award and do not carry the status of that supreme National Award.
As part of our ongoing changes to the way we run things we will be presenting formal Design Awards at Auckland scrimmages #3 to #9. This Award will not qualify the winning team for the World Championships but will be judged in the same way as the Design Award at the Worlds and the NZ Nationals with ethe exception that the Design Notebooks have to be handed in two weeks before the NZ Nationals.
- You will hand your design notebooks in at the start of the scrimmage
- A dedicated and formally trained team of judges will judge the submitted notebooks and mark them according to world standards
- To enter the National Design Award you must have entered the design award at the scrimmages that are reserved for you (#3 to #9).
- A formal award will be made and shown on RobotEvents
These Design Awards will
- Allow the winning team to enter the design award at the World Championships if they qualify for the World Championships.
- Act as a form of authenticity when it comes to the Design Award at the NZ Nationals
- help teams prepart for the NZ National Design Award
We cannot offer these awards in other regions as
- You need at least 16 teams at an event for the event to qualify
- We are just testing the water at this point in time
Google 'vex design notebook examples' for more info.
Thanks for a great turnout on Sunday. After a few hickups with the system we got underway and the day ended with an exciting close finish.
Congratulations to the alliance team of Christchurch Home Education and Boys High winning the Regional Scrimmage.
We are all grateful to Miranda for her efforts in getting us up and running at CPIT. The time she is spending at the venue helping us and ensuring we have a successful event is really appreciated. All queries about the venue must go through Miranda and be approved by her and Michael. We are hoping that there will be some time during the next school holidays for students to come in and use the field. Dates and times will be sent out prior to the end of term once the dates are confirmed.
The roster is working well with teachers turning up and helping. Our senior students are taking on leadership roles, which is great for them and for the events. A big thanks to the students who ran the event helped set it up and scored for us. Also to those who put up curtains and perservered with the system and managed to get it going. It has also been noted and appreciated that students are willing to help each other with the new game and give advice when needed. This is becoming a very sharing and student led environment which is great to see. Christchurch teams will have received an updated scrimmage roster - please note the change of dates for Term 3.
With the changes to the new season with the creation of the Ladder, teams competing in the Auckland Ladder scrimmages will be required to confirm their attendance/register before hand so that the event organisers know team numbers and also have time to notify teams on the waitlist that they can attendance the scrimmage. A basic overview of how this registration will work has been outlined below
- Teams who have reserved spots for the scrimmage MUST confirm their attendance to this scrimmage by the Friday 11:59pm one week before the scrimmage (in the case of Scrimmage #1, this is Friday the 30th May). This confirmation is done via an online form which will be posted on the KIWIBOTS website before each scrimmage on a blog post
- Once teams have confirmed their spots by Friday, teams on the waitlist that can attend the upcoming scrimmage will be notified of this and will have until the following Wednesday 11:59pm to confirm their attendance to the scrimmage. Another blog post will be sent out later detailing the waitlist and how it will work
- Once all teams have confirmed their attendance, they will be entered onto the online database and then on the Saturday of the event, teams will only need to check into the scrimmage, however we ask that teams turn up before 9:30am so that event organisers can start the scrimmage promptly at 10am
Please note that teams who turn up on the Saturday who have not confirmed their attendance will not be able to compete at the event; it is crucial that teams register and confirm their attendance beforehand and it is required for competition this season!
At this stage, we would like to ask that teams who have reserved spots for the first scrimmage on the 7th of June please confirm their attendance by this Friday by filling out the form located here. This form does not require you to login or use and account and is simple and easy for teams to register. More information about the waitlist will be posted soon and teams will have the chance to register for this later.
It is finally possible for us to start to get teams to formally register for the 2014-2015 VEX Skyrise season.
Registration is especially urgent for teams competing in the first and second Auckland scrimmages.
If you have registered directly with robot events please let me know and I will put you on the list to receive a welcome pack when they arrive. There will be a cost of $15 to cover the cost of shipping the welcome pack to New Zealand and postage to get it to you. We do not know what the postage cost will be until we know how big the welcome packs are.
As you will already have seen we have finally received our first order of VEX Skyrise elements. These left the USA 2 weeks before the World Championships by sea and should have been with us two weeks ago but a serious accident on the ship resulted in them being delayed. We did our best but things conspired against us.
We have 5 sets in New Zealand that are allocated as follows:-
• Auckland 2 sets as all of our scrimmages will have more than 30 teams
• Palmerston North - 1 set
• Wellington - 1 set
• Christchurch - 1 set
I have 7 more sets on their way to us by sea and I will let you know when I have a firm eta. If you are interested in getting hold of a set you can order them from our website using the part number 228-3144 http://www.kiwibots.co.nz/vex-store/competition/skyrise-game-elements-detail The size of the kits has blown out the shipping costs compared to previous years. If we had brought them in by air they would cost $2,500 each! When the kits arrive they will be allocated on a first ordered, first shipped basis.
In order to ensure that we have enough sets for the nationals in 2015 we will offer a $500 credit to any team that can guarantee they will bring their full sets to the nationals in 2015. This credit will be made at the time of the nationals and is in effect the Kiwibots paying you to bring the kits to the event.
Following the arrival of elements today, there will be the chance for teams to take a look at the new Skyrise elements and field tomorrow (Saturday 24th May) from 8am to 12pm. This will be at Massey University School of Engineering & Advanced Technology; there will also be a TV crew there as well, so a good crowd would be great.
Teams are welcome to bring robots along to test and evaluate the new objects
Time: 8am to 12pm
Location: Massey University School of Engineering & Advanced Technology, Level 1/Ground Level
Date: 24th May (Saturday)
We look forward to seeing you all there
A spare VEXnet joystick has been picked up by Ormiston Senior College from the Auckland Kiwi Challenge Regionals last weekend. It has the number three written on it. If any teams have lost a joystick from the event; can they please contact KIWIBOTS and the return of the controller can be organised