I guess I should mention a JYC idea or two before I rant on non-participation in building events and Mission...
Shouldn't require any robotics to work.
I like the challenge of measuring some quantity with homebuilt equipment, but am not sure where you could take it beyond mass and temperature.
Measuring the pressure of a basketball without a commercial gauge or a manometer
Measure the CFM of an air (120mm computer fan) or water flow (1/4" tubing and a 12V pump) - both would be hard for an event sup to measure himself with complete accuracy without equipment
Measure the efficiency of a motor/pump/other system
Determine the mass of a [ball bearing/marble/plastic ball/other sphere] kinetically (no scales/balances/volume displacement and no electronics)
Not sure where to take the mystery material...the people I talked to were terrified by it at first, but once they figured out how to easily mitigate it, they were able to ignore it. If you specify what exactly the MM could be, you would have to do something to make using it harder. If you don't specify what it could be, I don't know how you would make it harder. I guess one possibility would be to make the mystery material hard
and optional...like one of the upper mission bonuses...ideally keep teams from simply using it structurally or otherwise mitigating it.
Not terribly surprisingly, I'm pro-Mission C just because I have such fond memories of it.
The ability of teams to make entry-level Missions is always brought up, but I don't have much sympathy for teams that don't try events.
Like for Mission the only
materials you needed to recieve 60% of the base points:
A toaster (from goodwill for $5?)
6 light switches ($6?)
a ball of natural string (probably own)
a roll of fishing line (probably own)
That's all you need to get 3 mechanical transfers, 3 chemical transfers, 3 heat transfers, and 3 electrical transfers. The task itself was usually quite simple too.
EMS was always a little harder for entry level teams, since there isn't a way to do it without some very basic knowledge of like a photodetector circuit.
The bonuses just let teams differentiate themsevles, they were not required, so didn't prevent people from competing.
If you didn't do any EMS or bonuses, you should have been able to score 540/890 on the last year of MPC for under $20.
It is the same deal with Scrambler or EV, an entry level vehicle can get a lot of points. It won't medal in most regionals, but you also can build and test in a single weekend.
At one of the regionals I judged, less than half the teams entered a scrambler. Of the competitors, there was only one who had no construction or run penalties...so they won. The base level for competing in any of the building events is pretty easy and cheap. I don't understand why people don't enter qualified, working devices
but I also don't know why everyone wouldn't love mission unconditionally.
Yeah, I got stung by the 'tie for first at nationals' part, but I can't really complain since I have yet to come up with a tiebreaker I thought was unarguably better.
I'd like to see Mission come back as what it was, but I guess that's unlikely to happen. But unless it really, really isn't Mission, I'll have an excuse to go help at Nats