FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Something New – Team Avatars

Nov 09, 2017 Written by Danny Diaz, FIRST Robotics Competition Systems Engineer.


Avatars have been used in arcade video games since the early-mid 1970’s, and have become a way to represent and identify players and personalities. For the first time ever, FIRST Robotics Competition teams will be allowed to create a Team Avatar, or digital image, that will be used to represent their teams on the FIRST POWER UP Audience Displays at the competitions and on their online team pages. In FIRST POWER UP, the Team Avatar will be displayed alongside other identifying information for a team to represent the team in the Alliance – the Avatar will be a third means of identifying the team alongside the team’s number and nickname.

The Team Avatar is completely optional. There is no element of FIRST POWER UP you won’t be able to play if you don’t create a Team Avatar. In fact, teams who do not create and submit a Team Avatar will be assigned a default Team Avatar for use at the event. The default Team Avatar is not custom to each team, it’s the same for all teams who do not submit a Team Avatar.

Full Team Avatar specs are provided here. Once the Team Avatar submission portal is ready, we’ll post another Blog entry notifying teams along with instructions on how to submit their Team Avatars. It’s important to note that unlike your team’s nickname, teams will not be allowed unlimited changes to their Team Avatar. Each time a Team Avatar is submitted, it will be reviewed by a team member on the FIRST Robotics Competition staff – because of this, teams will only be allowed one (1) submission plus one (1) update. Design a Team Avatar that you will be proud of for the entire season!

Please join us in making the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition season the most exciting ever!

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Is this the end of team standards?

Hello Martin! Yes, the avatar is meant to replace the team standards and banners for this season. Of course, we can't predict what will happen in the future! And you can always still make one for your team, there just won't be any place on the field to display it. Thanks! Jamee

To clarify, when you say “banner” do you mean like a team flag that is waved before a match by the MC as teams are getting introduced?

Hi Darren! In this blog, "banner" does not mean the flag that gets waved by the MC before the Match. In FIRST STRONGHOLD, the small flags above each Driver's Station were called Standards. In FIRST STEAMWORKS, they were called Banners. For FIRST POWERUP, we are replacing these items with avatars. Thanks! Jamee

i say we should do the same design at the poster in the room it’s very cool and it stands out 

I assume there will be a date to submit our Avatar by. I could not find it in the message.

Hi Remy! You are correct, we have NOT posted the official opening of the Avatar portal yet. When it does open, we will be sure to post a blog, include it in Team Blasts, and post on Social Media about it! You can also send any questions about the process to Thanks! Jamee

The avatar specs mention that the background of the avatar will be "representative of the color of the Alliance on which the team is participating," but could you tell us what the background colors will actually be? This would be very helpful, especially for a team whose primary color is blue, to ensure that our avatar is clearly visible.

Great Question! We will standardize the alliance background colors to that of the FIRST Logo Colors. Each background will be a solid color - Red will have the hexadecimal color value #ed1c24, and Blue will have the hexidecimal color value #0066b3. 

The avatar specs say the avatars will be placed on a background representative of the color of the alliance the team is playing on. Is this background a simple red/blue background or is it a pattern/image? Also if it's the second, will we be able to see the backgrounds before competitions begin or not?

Thanks for the question! The background is indeed a simple solid red/blue background, matching the color palette of the FIRST Logo; Red has a hexadecimal color value #ed1c24, and Blue has a hexadecimal color value #0066b3.

Is the FIRST color palette available anywhere for viewing and/or use?

Some ways that we can design and symbolize our team are designing for a robot can be about a humanoid robot doing some combat, during in certain situations. Some other ways that a robot can be doing for avatar by designing are showing a robot playing certain types of sports to score a goal and other designs can include a non-humanoid robot doing any various things, such as obtaining an item. Types of avatars that can be designing are showing a logo of different pieces of a robot connected together. This can represent ourselves as teamwork.

about what date would the portal most likely be open

Hello! We have NOT posted the official opening of the Avatar portal yet. When it does open, we will be sure to post a blog, include it in Team Blasts, and post on Social Media about it! You can also send any questions about the process to Thanks! Jamee

About what date will the portal be released? 

Hello! We have NOT posted the official opening of the Avatar portal yet. When it does open, we will be sure to post a blog, include it in Team Blasts, and post on Social Media about it! You can also send any questions about the process to Thanks! Jamee

Do you have any idea when the portal will be released?

Does the avatar need to be in pixel art?

The Avatar is your opportunity, in image form (whereas your team nickname is in text form), to represent your team. Only you can choose how you wish to do this (within the posted specifications, of course) - in pixel art form, in photo realistic form, or any other of the many forms we're excited to see this season. Be creative! Be expressive! Represent your team well!

I looked at the avatar specs sheet and it said transparencies are allowed. Does this mean not required? If we have, say, a 40x40 solid block of color (or an image without transparencies) as the avatar, would it have a red/blue outline?

Thanks for the question! Your avatar is not required to have a transparency (alpha) layer; if your avatar is a solid block of color that's okay. Avatars will be placed on a background that is a solid color (red or blue, depending on alliance) - the background color will surround your avatar (not necessarily an outline, but a solid color block). If your avatar needs a border to separate the alliance color from your avatar, you will need to include the border yourself, no "outline" will be applied surrounding your avatar.

Should the avitar include the team name and/or number and are there suggestions as to what should be in the avitar?

Most teams have a Team Logo of some sorts, or some way of representing the team. It may incorporate your team number in some way, or it may not - do a Google Image search and use the search terms "FRC Team Logos" and you'll see lots of examples of great Team Logos. FRC Nation also has a simple writeup of what makes a great FRC Team Logo, with examples - just search in Google for "frcnation team logo" and it should be one of the first links. But your team Avatar doesn't have to be your team Logo, but it should be something that will represent your team. Oh, and did I mention you only have 40x40 pixels to do it in? So keep it super simple!

I've read through all of the specs and this blog post and I still have a fuzzy understanding of the avatar. Is this going to be shown in a large image or a big screen? If the avatars are replacing the standards from previous years, will there be a large electronic display above the drive station? If a team submits an avatar and attends one competition and wants to change it, can an update be made once the competition weeks have started? 

The Avatars are NOT replacing the team Standards from previous years - the team Standards are being put back in the toolbox to possibly wait until they are needed once again (as opposed to being retired), and the Team Avatars are something new and should not be associated with the Standards or how the Standards were used previously, even though they serve a similar purpose. The Team Avatars will be on the Audience Display in the arena - you know, the big screen that shows the real-time scoring display and the match results. On the "Match Preview" audience display and the "Match Results" displays your Team Avatar will be shown alongside your Team Number; It's just another way to represent your team on the Audience scoreboard.

The process of submitting/changing/updating a Team Avatar is not automatic, so it is not guaranteed that an update made once an event has started will be completed before the event is over. Because of this, teams should provide one week (7 days) of delay between when a submission is made until the update is completed. Updates will often take much less time, but we can not guarantee any quicker update frequency. Once an event has officially started, teams should NOT expect updates made to the Team Avatar nor the Team Name to be updated at the event.

At what point will We be able to submit our Avatar?

Right now! Teams are already submitting their Team Avatars using the Team Avatar submission system - see this blog post for details:

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