FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Pre-Kickoff Highlights

Jan 08, 2016 Written by Frank Merrick

I Just Can’t Get Enough

I was listening to a streaming radio station this morning on the drive in, when the song “I Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode came on.* And it struck me that this sentiment fits the FIRST community pretty well, especially in these last few days before Kickoff. I’m sensing more energy, excitement, and anticipation in the community than I’ve felt in years. Sometimes maybe a little too much! Yesterday morning I was worried that if we didn’t release the encrypted Game Manual soon a few of you were going to snake your way through the Intertubes, crawl out of our monitors a la The Ring, and slap us silly. But it’s all good!

FWIW, I just can’t get enough either! I caught myself this morning walking into the office with a huge grin on my face, just thinking of the next few days. Luckily no one was around or they may have been a little freaked.

Safety, Safety, Safety

Before you start the season in earnest, please take a moment to think ‘Safety’. It really should be a guiding principle in all your activities. We just released the updated 2016 Safety Manual, which you can find here. Not much has changed from the 2015 version – other than to add the ban on drones and those hoverboards (leave your hoverboard del muerto at home, please) – but please review it before you get so buried in the season you forget.

Encrypted Documents

As most folks probably know by now, we released a metric ton (metric ton!) of encrypted documents yesterday, including (gasp!) the 2016 FIRST STRONGHOLD Game Manual. You can find all this digital goodness here. You’ll be able to unlock the magic at the end of the main portion of the Kickoff broadcast tomorrow (tomorrow!) with the encryption code we provide you then (gratuitous parenthetical with exclamation point!). What about that Section 7 of the Administrative Manual that covers Team Advancement to District Championships and the FIRST Championship? We haven’t forgotten about it, but priority has been given, as you would expect, to the Game Manual, other key documentation, and all the other prep work we had going on for Kickoff. We expect to be able to release it within the next week. As a practical matter, not too much has really changed from the 2015 version of that section, so if you can’t make it another moment without seeing it, you could probably look there to assuage your inner manual monster for a while. But I have a feeling that immediately after Kickoff you’ll be focused on other things.

Founder’s Webcast

Be sure to tune in to the Founder’s Reception Broadcast tonight, starting at 7:00PM EST, here. Take a peek inside Dean’s lair, watch some interviews with a few folks, and learn about the little present we have for teams in the Kickoff Kit you’ll be receiving Saturday. I don’t want to stoke the boilers of the Hype Train too much, or we may run off the rails, so I’ll just say now that the present is a nice something teams will find inspiring, interesting, and useful, but not something that will suddenly make you want to quit school, move to a commune in Sri Lanka, and change your name to Dweezil.


*A certifiably upbeat love song by Depeche Mode. By Depeche Mode.

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If there are no prohibitions against using drones in the game manual, does the prohibition against drones in the safety manual apply to the field of play?

Gary, this sounds more like a question for the official Q&A.  If you are still interested, having seen the game at this point, you may want to submit there.

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