In January, Team 5980 watched the reveal of the 2018 FIRST game, FIRST Power Up, at the SalesPad office building of coding mentor Matt Williams (father of team member Ethan).
The event began with a little fun in the spirit of Power Up and 8-bit gaming. Sponsors were able to bring several 1980s arcade games into the office: the line-up included Super Mario Brothers, Centipede, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong.
After having fun with these games, the team sat down to watch the game reveal. In FIRST Power Up, teams have to grab “power cubes” and place them on a switch and/or a scale in order to take control of it. Teams gain points for having control of the switch and/or the scale for an amount of time and can stop the other team from scoring by taking control of their switch.
During the first 15 seconds of the match, the robots are autonomous. During the autonomous period, robots attempt to cross a line to earn points and to place a power cube on their switch to take ownership of it. Teams can also place power cubes into “portals” through which the
human player can take the power cube and place it into the vault. The vault contain three columns, and placing a power cube into one of these columns allows an alliance to activate one of three power-ups.
The power ups are Force, Boost, and Levitate. Each one allows an alliance to gain an advantage during the match.
- Force allows an alliance to automatically take control of their switch, the scale, or both, depending on how many power cubes are in the vault when they activate the power up.
- Boost doubles the amount of points the alliance gets for having ownership of the switch, scale, or both.
- Levitate allows one of the alliance robots to get points for hanging without having to hang.
During the last 30 seconds of the match, alliances can hang from a bar to earn 30 additional points. Teams earn two ranking points for winning a match, one for a tie, one for taking ownership of their switch during the autonomous period, and one for all three robots climbing the tower at the end (or two robots climbing with the Levitate power up activated to face the boss).
After the presentation was concluded, the team broke up to read the rule book on our own. We did this for about an hour, then we split into groups of two to review the rules and strategy. After meeting in our groups of two, we met as a whole group to discuss what we discovered and thought was interesting.