Game Design

Game Overview

CyberSpace combines aspects of modern cyber security with cyberpunk aesthetics. We chose this theme due to the increasing importance of cybersecurity and its prominence in STEM.

In CyberSpace, two alliances are hired by FIRST HQ to test their modernized cybersecurity measures. Two alliances of cybernauts race to deliver encryption keys and lines of code around the cyberscape to breach layers of encryption, sabotage opponents’ files, and take down FIRST’s firewall.

Bots begin each match in their HOME DOMAIN pre-loaded with up to 1 LINE OF CODE or 3 ENCRYPTION KEYS. A maximum of two bots on each alliance may begin with one LINE OF CODE.

During the first 15 seconds of a match, bots follow their team’s pre-programmed instructions (autonomous period). Alliances score points by moving bots from the HOME DOMAIN (10 points when the bumper escapes the vertical plane of the HOME DOMAIN), adding a LINE OF CODE to the FIREWALL (36 points if both ends are hooked on their respective pegs on the FIREWALL, or 24 if only one end is hooked). Bots may also deliver ENCRYPTION KEYS through the TERMINAL, but no scoring may be achieved.

In the next 2 minutes and 15 seconds of the match, bots are driver controlled (teleoperated period). Alliances score points through breaching layers of FIRST’s encryption by assembling randomly assigned DECRYPTION CODES from the FMS (Field Management System) highlighted using LED lights in the DECRYPTION BAY using 8 ENCRYPTION KEYS delivered to human players by bots through the TERMINAL (each DECRYPTION CODE is worth 15 points). When a DECRYPTION CODE is assembled, robots unlock 1 LINE OF CODE that can be added to the FIREWALL (A LINE OF CODE added to the FIREWALL will score 24 points if both ends are hooked or 12 if only one end is hooked). Once an alliance adds all 6 LINES OF CODE on the FIREWALL, they may continue to complete DECRYPTION CODES, but will not gain additional LINES OF CODE. Teams that breach the FIREWALL by attaching 6 LINES OF CODE gain 1 RANKING POINT.

During the final 30 seconds of the teleoperated period (endgame), teams race to the opposing alliance’s network and attempt to exfiltrate their SERVER RACK. Each alliance has 2 SERVER RACKS in their network, 1 SERVER RACK containing six of their own FILES (2 per PORT) and 1 SERVER RACK where the opponent alliances’ stolen FILES are deposited. Teams may choose to exfiltrate FILES from the LOW, MIDDLE, or HIGH PORTS. Once exfiltrated, teams race back to score FILES (a maximum of 2 FILES per PORT) in their SERVER RACK in either the LOW (13 points per FILE), MIDDLE (19 points per FILE), or HIGH PORTS (31 points per FILE). The alliance with the most exfiltrated FILES at the end of the match wins 1 RANKING POINT. If both alliances retrieve and score all 6 of their FILES, both alliances gain 1 RANKING POINT.

Description of Field

A CYBERSPACE FIELD is a 48’ x 24’ carpeted area split into 2 networks. It contains 1 FIREWALL, 4 SERVER RACKS, and 2 DECRYPTION BAYS. The HOME DOMAIN extends 6’ from the alliance stations. The NEUTRAL ZONE boundary is 9’ by 15’ centered on the middle of the field.
ENCRYPTION KEYS begin on the NEUTRAL ZONE boundary. The 9’ sides begin with 6 ENCRYPTION KEYS each, 3 located on either side of the FIREWALL. The 15’ sides start with 9 ENCRYPTION KEYS. 30 total ENCRYPTION KEYS will be present on the field. Pre-loaded ENCRYPTION KEYS will be removed from the long side; remaining ENCRYPTION KEYS will be equally spaced.
The human player station between the first and second driver stations contains the DECRYPTION BAY (37”x37”), a 4×4 grid for assembling DECRYPTION CODES, as well as the TERMINAL (two 8”x16” slots, one located on the floor and one 16” above the carpet), for passing ENCRYPTION KEYS from a bot to a human player and for a human player to introduce LINES OF CODE to the playing field.
The FIREWALL is a 24’ wide polycarbonate wall with perforated vinyl designs at the midpoint of the field with a 15’ wide opening at the center known as the NEUTRAL PORT. The NEUTRAL PORT varies in height between 2’ and 5’ to allow bots to pass through to the opposing alliance’s network. Each side of the FIREWALL contains 12 1”x2” pegs for robots to hook LINES OF CODE on.
Each Alliance network has two color coordinated SERVER RACKS (36”x30”x89”). Within the SERVER RACK there is a LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH PORT. The 3’ SERVER RACK ZONE around the SERVER RACKS cannot be occupied by the opposing alliance during endgame.

Expected Robot Actions

During the autonomous period, bots can move out of their HOME DOMAIN, hook LINES OF CODE (3’ plastic chain) on the FIREWALL, and deliver ENCRYPTION KEYS (6” vinyl covered foam cubes) to their human player through the TERMINAL to prepare for scoring in the rest of the match. LINES OF CODE are able to be preloaded and then hooked on the FIREWALL. ENCRYPTION KEYS can either be preloaded or gathered from the NEUTRAL ZONE.
Throughout the rest of the match, bots will be tele-operated using directions from the drive team. Bots can gather ENCRYPTION KEYS from the playing field, deliver them to their human players via the TERMINAL, and human players will place them in the DECRYPTION BAY, before being reintroduced to the field once a DECRYPTION CODE is solved. Bots can manipulate LINES OF CODE by picking them up from the TERMINAL or from the floor, and then hooking them to the pegs on the FIREWALL. Bots can choose to restrict their height dimension in order to pass through the various heights in the NEUTRAL PORT. Bots can defend their network from the opposing alliance, except in the NEUTRAL ZONE and SERVER RACK ZONES.
During endgame, bots can manipulate FILES (12”x16”x3” vinyl covered foam blocks). Bots can retrieve FILES from the LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH PORTS in the opponent’s SERVER RACKS. Bots will deliver FILES into their team’s server rack’s LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH PORTS.

Description of How Chain Element was Used

We decided to implement the given element as the LINE OF CODE game piece (a 3’ long chain with 5” long links) for robots to interact with directly. The many links in a chain represent how coding requires the use of multiple lines of code working together as one program, similar to how a chain must consist of multiple links. Hooking the LINES OF CODE to the FIREWALL symbolizes finding weaknesses in FIRST’s defense, mimicking how lines of code are used to write programs to take down cybersecurity firewalls.
Before a match, each alliance is given the option to preload up to 2 LINES OF CODE in their respective bots, with a limit of 1 LINE OF CODE per bot. Each alliance’s remaining LINES OF CODE are stored behind their alliance station. During the autonomous period, a LINE OF CODE is worth 36 points if both ends are hooked on the FIREWALL and 24 points if a single end is hooked on the FIREWALL. During the teleoperated period, these values are reduced to 24 and 12 points respectively. Once an alliance assembles a DECRYPTION CODE, that alliance gains access to 1 LINE OF CODE. Human players then deposit the LINE OF CODE through the TERMINAL, where bots are able to pick it up and hook on the FIREWALL. LINES OF CODE are connected to 1”x2” round pegs on the FIREWALL.

Additional Materials

Video coming soon!

See the 4 pages of submitted supplementary material below: