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Official Q&A: VRC 2019-2020: Tower Takeover Usage Guidelines

Painting Robots in a Similar Color as the Game/ Field Elements


6526D
8 months ago

Rule R12 states: “a. Anodizing and painting of parts is considered a legal nonfunctional decoration” and “e. Decorations that visually mimic field elements or could otherwise interfere with an opponent’s Vision Sensor are considered functional and are not permitted. This includes lights, such as the VEX Flashlight. The Head Inspector and Head Referee will make the final decision on whether a given decoration or mechanism violates this rule.”
Our question is, can you paint your robot in a color that is similar to those of game and field elements (including but not limited to green, orange, purple, red, blue, black, gray)?
For example, if your school colors are green and black, could you paint your robot these colors, or would this be considered illegal because those colors may mimic field and game elements, thus violating section e? Another example, if your school colors again were green and black, could you paint the robot a darker shade of green than that of the cubes; or would this be considered illegal because of section e?

Answered by Game Design Committee

Our question is, can you paint your robot in a color that is similar to those of game and field elements (including but not limited to green, orange, purple, red, blue, black, gray)?

It is impossible to issue a blanket ruling that would cover all hypothetical decorative styles and color shades. We would advise Teams and Head Referees to refer to G3 ("Use common sense") when determining whether a given decoration is trackable way by another Team's Vision Sensor (under realistic, Match Affecting circumstances). The intent of G12 is not to prohibit all teams with green, orange, purple, black, gray, blue, or red themes from decorating their Robot; it is to protect (within a reasonable extent) Teams attempting to take their VRC experience to the next level through Vision Sensor programming.

One way to think about decorative color choices is to view them the same way you would a typical non-functional decoration, such as a giant decal. By itself, a giant decal is considered a nonfunctional decoration. However, if used to hold metal parts together or to hold game objects, it has become functional, and is no longer legal.

That being said, just as teams are responsible for the decorations on their own robots, teams utilizing the Vision Sensor should be conscious of the possibility for inadvertent or incidental visual interference. It will be up to the inspector and Head Referee to determine if a given Robot's decoration or design acts as a "Vision Sensor distraction"; to assist in reducing the frequency of these judgment calls, we would advise Vision Sensor Teams to take advantage of the engineering design process to investigate programming solutions that mitigate the impact of undesirable conditions.

To summarize more colloquially / bluntly: yes you can paint your robot green, just don't hold up a giant green sign if playing against a team that you know tracks green cubes, and if you're going to use a Vision Sensor, remember that there may be some green things in the arena that you have to account for.