FRC Blog

Team Avatars – A Reprise

Dec 17, 2018 Written by Danny Diaz, FIRST Robotics Competition Systems Engineer.

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Bob Ross as an Astronaut FIRST Robotics Competition

Imagine Astronaut Bob Ross!

 

If you’ve ever felt like your dream of being an astronaut and your passion for art and design were in conflict with each other, think again. Since 1965, astronaut crews on each mission have been in charge of designing their team’s unique official mission patch – a spaceflight mission emblem worn by personnel affiliated with the mission, usually worn as an embroidered patch on uniforms and apparel. Crew members discuss what shape, colors, and emblems it should have to show why their mission is special. To date, there are more than 150 official mission patches in existence.

 

For the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition season, teams will once again be able to submit a Team Avatar to represent their team on the DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE Presented By The Boeing Company Audience Displays and on their online frc-events.firstinspires.org team pages. In DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE, the Avatar will once again be displayed alongside other identifying information for a team to represent themselves in the Alliance – the Avatar is a third means of identifying the team alongside the team’s number and nickname. This Avatar can be a team logo, a team Mission Patch image, or an image teams will use to express their team identity.

 

The Team Avatar is completely optional. There is no element of DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE 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. However, Avatars submitted and used during the 2018 FIRST POWER UP season will not be migrated to this upcoming season; teams will need to resubmit Team Avatars for the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition season.

 

Full 2019 Team Avatar specs are provided here, and for further inspiration here’s a great list of Avatars submitted last season provided by The Blue Alliance. Once the 2019 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!

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Comments

Why are the avatars limited to 40px by 40px? Low resolution avatars were part of the 2018 game theme, but for this year I see no reason to limit it to such low resolution. This is very restrictive and unnecessary...

Thanks for the question. Even last year, we wanted to make the Avatars as large as possible to give teams maximum design space - no pun intended this season, but space is the problem. The minimum resolution of the Audience Displays at some events (including offseason events) is 720p, which limits the usable vertical pixels to work with to 720. 8 stacked avatars at 40x40 with no space in-between (think playoffs with two backups) is 320 pixels - almost half the usable space - so once you add buffer space and other graphic assets you're quickly running out of space. You're right, we could redesign several layouts to squeeze a few more pixels out, but it likely wouldn't have been much - possibly not enough to justify the added effort on both teams and back-end developers. If we continue to move forward with Avatars in future years (you never know what's around the corner), we will carefully explore ways to expand the design space for teams!

My theory is that the FMS servers have very limited storage and most of it is used my match data and the metrics of 6 robots each match. Add 6 events to that, and the need to store over 3000 avatars, FMS and the FIRST Events servers are gonna run out of storage before the season is underway.

This is my comment and does not need to be posted anywhere. The FTA will / should download the event info just before the starting of the field setup / event initialization process.  This process also includes the backup / download of the previous event info & stats.

Do the team avatars have to be pixelated or can there be smooth edges in the design?

The Avatar is your opportunity, in image form (whereas your team nickname is in text form), to represent your team. 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!

Hey! Do you have any suggestions, for programs that we can use to create our avatars? Thanks in advance.

Most art that teams will be making for use in Avatars fall under the classification of "Pixel Art" or "Single-Frame Sprites." Searching for these terms will often find "top ten tools" recommendations online, and this page is one of those recommendations pages:

https://v-play.net/game-resources/make-pixel-art-online

The top tool in this recommendations list, Piskel (https://www.piskelapp.com), is my personal go-to tool for making pixel art. This tool is also one of the best for making sprites, but for single-frame 40x40 pixel art images exported in PNG format as required for Avatars this season, this tool is one of the best out there. Be sure to resize your image before you start drawing so that your image is 40x40, and save often!

Hello! How will we be able to submit our avatars? Will there be a link or do we have to Email the avatars to someone at FIRST? 

Good News, Everyone! We will be blogging within the next several days with a link and instructions on how to submit the Avatars. You will be submitting your Team Avatars to us via our Team Avatar Submission Portal - again, we'll provide you with instructions and the link in the blog.

Will avatars from last year be automatically carried over to this year?  Or do we need to resubmit them for 2019?

Hi Scott!

Unfortunately, no. Avatars from the 2018 season will NOT be carried over. If teams don't submit a new avatar for the 2019 season, they will be assigned the default Team Avatar.

Thanks!

Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

We are looking for the 2019 link to submit our avatar. Thanks for your help!

Good News, Everyone! We will be blogging within the next several days with a link and instructions on how to submit the Avatars. You will be submitting your Team Avatars to us via our Team Avatar Submission Portal - again, we'll provide you with instructions and the link in the blog.

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