Hey friend, thanks for joining us!

Here’s some useful info while you cheer from the sidelines today

Events info

Event schedule

  • Team arrival – 09:30
  • Check-in and housekeeping – Team zone
  • Surveys – Team Pits
  • Judging – Judging zone
  • Robot and field inspections – Inspection sone
  • Welcome address – Main stage
  • Driver meeting – Competition zone
  • Queues begin – Competition zone
  • Qualification matches – Competition zone
  • Lunch
  • Alliance selection – Competition zone
  • Elimination and final matches – Competition zone
  • Award and closing ceremony – Main stage
  • Depart – 16:15

Teams list

Team org UK # Global #
Belfast High School 051 20955
Friend’s School 344 21000
Friend’s School 556 25416
Methodist College Belfast 381 21116
Royal Belfast Academical Institution 159 21194
St. Patricks College 049 22706
The Wallace High School 046 21007

Pixel Bot Mascot_Mascot-20

Event cheat sheet

Not sure what’s going on or can’t keep up? We’ve got you.

What happens in a match?

Every match is 2 mins and 30 secs long and includes four teams playing at a time. Two teams work together in a single alliance to play against another alliance. Two teams are in the blue alliance and the other two in the red alliance.

  • Each team includes a drive team – the coach, drivers and human player.
    Coach – directs the game play
    Driver – controls the robot
    Human Player – places scoring elements – only one per alliance

30 secs – Autonomous period

During this period, teams are not allowed to control the robot using game controllers. Instead, their robots are allowed to be programmed autonomously to move positions or to move objects around the game field to score points.

1 min 30 secs – Driver-controlled period

Once the game announces “drivers pick up your controllers” and the countdown clock finishes we enter the driver-controlled period. With their alliance partners, teams can control their robots to score points with pixels on the game field.

30 secs – End game

During the end game, teams can continue to score pixels, launch drones into the three landing zones in front of the field, and suspend their robots from the rigging before the timer is up.

For more, including ways to score points, read the game rules one-pager.

Alliance selection explainer

Here’s a handy guide to get your head around the alliance selection process, which determines the teams who will progress to the elimination matches.

The number of teams in the elimination matches depends on how many are at your qualifier, four alliances will progress:

  • 21 or more competing teams = three teams per alliance
  • 20 or less competing teams = two teams per alliance

The four alliances will take part in a ladder-style competition to decide the overall winning alliance.

The alliance selection process

Each team chooses a team member to represent them during the alliance selection in the competition area. The team representative can bring a scouting document and communicate with other teammates to support their choices.

The top four ranked teams are called to the floor first.

The highest-ranked team is the first Alliance Captain. They are the first to invite a team to join their alliance. The invited team can choose to accept or decline the invitation.

If a team invites another alliance captain team and they accept the invitation, the teams ranked beneath them move up one spot and the 5th ranked team will become an alliance captain.

A team has the option to join an alliance if they are not already part of an alliance or have not already declined an alliance invitation.

If a team accepts the invitation, they become part of that alliance.
If a team declines, the alliance captain from the inviting team must extend an invitation to another team.

If a team declines, they CANNOT be invited to another alliance, but they can continue to invite teams to their own alliance if they become an alliance captain.

Where an event has 21 or more teams, the same method is used for each alliance captain’s second-choice team.

The selection process continues until all four alliance captains and alliance partners have been appointed.

All unappointed teams will not progress to the elimination matches but may still win judged awards so stick around for the award ceremony.

Good luck!

Advancing to champs

The National Championship event brings together 36 of the best performing and award winning teams from each qualifying tournament.

Advancement spots are allocated proportionately across each region and include:

  • winning alliance teams
  • award-winning teams chosen by the judges
Inspire Award Winner Winning Alliance Captain Judges 1st Choice Winning Alliance 1st Team Judges 2nd Choice Winning Alliance 2nd Team Judges 3rd Choice
W5 (NI)
Calderstones School (NW)
Heart of Midlothian FC (S)
Sheffield Hallam University (Y&H)
Alconbury Middle High School (E)
St Margaret Ward (WM)
Aston University Engineering Academy (WM)
Harris Academy Sutton (SE)
Bournemouth School for Girls (SW)
American School in London (SE)

About judging

Each team has 5 minutes to showcase their efforts this season to a panel of industry judges. It’s not about gameplay, they’re being judged for their approach and journey throughout the season from outreach to engineering prowess. Wish them luck!

About awards

There are up to 8 judged awards and two gameplay awards up for grabs.

Judges Award
Essentially the Judge’s Choice award, this accolade goes to a team that stood out to the panel of judges for their unique efforts, performance or dynamics, but didn’t quite fit the criteria for any other big award.

Control Award 
“Mastering Robot intelligence”. This award is given to the team that has been very clever with their programming and has shown innovative thinking in the control system to solve game challenges.

Motivate Award
“Sparking others to embrace the culture of FIRST“. This award celebrates a team that represents the essence of FIRST Tech Challenge through team building, team spirit, enthusiasm, and by encouraging those around them to get involved with the challenge.

Design Award
“Industrial design at its best.” This award goes to a team with a robot that functions well, and looks great too. The innovative design does not compromise the practical operation of the robot, but complements its purpose.

Connect Award
“Connecting the dots between community, FIRST and the diversity of the engineering world.” This team has helped the community understand FIRST, the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the team itself, and has recognised that engaging their local STEM community plays an essential part in their success.

Think Award
“Removing engineering obstacles through creative thinking.” This award recognises a team with an amazing engineering section in their Engineering Portfolio. The team has carefully noted the journey they have taken throughout the engineering design process during the build season.

Innovate Award sponsored by RTX
The Innovate Award celebrates a Team that thinks imaginatively and has the ingenuity, creativity, and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This award celebrates a team that thinks outside the box and has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any specific components in the FIRST Tech Challenge game.

Inspire Award
This award is the big one – They have embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FIRST Tech Challenge programme, are a top contender for many other judged awards, and are all-round gracious competitors.

Finalist Alliance

The team alliance that wins best out of three matches in the final matches.

Winning Alliance

The team alliance that are placed as runners up during the final matches.

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