Students' Technology Competition
Students' Technology Competition (STC, Mec. Studióras Tehnés Competició) is an international robotics competition managed by the Maschinespiele non-profit foundation for the purpose of encouraging enthusiasm in fields of technology such as mechanical engineering and computer science. In STC, students of ages 14-20 form teams that both cooperate and compete by designing, building, and coding a robot to compete in a quasi-sport against other teams and their robots.
The competition consists of several tiers of qualifiers for different levels of localities, as well as a single galaxy-wide championship hosted in Hallstatt, Texandria; despite being named the Galactic STC Championship, teams from outside the galaxy and even in different universes may apply and enter, so long as appropriate qualifiers are set up.
The robot kit is based on Double-Eagle Linux for Embedded Systems, on a 64-bit Sophotekh x86 processor, and a software library is provided to interact with robot equipment designed by Maschinespiele and manufactured by various other companies. Programming is done in Žaba or any other language that compiles to ŽVM bytecode.
|Students' Technology Competition
Studióras Tehnés Competició
|Formerly||Ludus Artificum Discipulorum
(in spirit) FIRST Tech Challenge
|Type of sport||Robotics-related|
|Venue||Hallstatt, Texandria (championship)
Many across galaxy and in other universes (qualifiers)
|Most recent champions||255 Champion teams:
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The STC grew out of a merger between the earlier Ludus Artificum Discipulorum (Latin for "Game of student inventors"), a similar robotics competition local to Olympia, and the Tylan Keido Veskasra (Tylan for "Robot sport"), both organizations seeking to expand their operations to the entire Empire of Mechyrdia.
STC is largely seen as a spiritual successor to FIRST Tech Challenge during the Age of Earth, but it holds no official continuative status.
Originally using the low-level Gamma programming language on a modified Harding microcontroller, in the year 243, STC switched to Žaba and its in-house STC Róbotas-Processór based on Sophotekh's x86-64 architecture.
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Every year, in Menþ Duil, Maschinespiele announces the details of the game's challenge to teams at the Auf Geht's ceremony, starting the season. Practice rounds are officially organized from the start of the season until Menþ Aþenas, when qualifiers start; unofficial (i.e. community-hosted) practice rounds are also held.
Teams may register to up to four qualifiers, if allowed by the localities' administrations. Each locality decides the format of its own qualifiers, so long as it is deemed acceptible by Maschinespiele administration. Qualifiers and tournaments are held between Menþ Aþenas and Menþ Augusti, followed by a hiatus before the Galactic Championship in late Menþ September.
On days of competition, the number of matches depends on the number of teams competing; teams' participation in matches is entirely random, but each team will have about the same number of matches as any other team. Each match involves a yellow faction and a blue faction, each consisting of three teams.
Matches consist of a zero-input period for 45 Earth seconds, where robots are controlled entirely by team-programmed AI, followed by a user-input period for 2 minutes and 15 seconds, where robots receive input from their respective team's two drivers via team-designed hard-light interface.
Each match is played on the same format of field, which is decided at the beginning of the season, but is always 4 meters by 4 meters horizontally, and at most 2 meters tall.
Each team in the winning faction gains 3 qualifying points, while each team in the losing faction gains 1. Stalemates result in all teams involved gaining 2 points. Near the end of the day, the four highest teams choose two other teams each to form finalist factions with. These factions then compete in a bracket until one faction emerges as the winner of the qualifying matches.
Smaller qualifiers allow more leeway to move on to the next qualifier for teams in the finalist factions, while larger qualifiers are more competitive.
Teams may advance to higher qualifiers either by matches, or by earning awards. A team journal is required to be submitted by each team before entering into the qualifier, and each team must stand before a council of evaluators for an official, formal interview. Evaluators also observe matches and team conduct, and conduct in-field interviews with teams.
At the Medallatio, after judges deliberate internally and after teams compete in final matches, judges present the awards and also announce runner-up teams. Some of the more important awards in STC are:
- Liberi Augusti Divi "Children of the Divine Augustus": Given to teams that excel in all components that make up STC, serve as a role model for other team, and in general embody what it means to be STC. This award is always a pass to the next-highest qualifier.
- Gracchi Civitatis "Gracchi of Society": Given to teams that reach out the most to their local community outside STC and beyond, as well as having a clear business plan.
- Mens Scipionis "Mind of Scipio": Given to teams that put the most good thought into the engineering, design, mechanics, and coding of their robot.
- Actum Voluntate Sua "Driven by its own will": Given to teams that have the best performing, the best designed, and/or the most unique programming for their robot, in both zero-input and user-input modes.
- Novatores "Innovators": Given to teams that have the most creative and innovative robot design. It does not need to perform well in all matches to be eligible, but it must work in at least some.
These awards are the same as used in the prior Ludus Artificum Discipulorum, hence the Latin names.
The core ethos of STC is a synthesis of competition and cooperation, combining the best of both worlds and getting rid of either's flaws. Teams both compete by cooperating and cooperate by competing, by taking part in the "free market of solutions", pushing good solutions for engineering problems to the forefront, while poor solutions are abandoned.
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With the exception of the Vestigium, Swartareykk, and most of Diadochi space (though subjects of the Masra Draetsen occasionally join teams based in Calibor), the entire galaxy is represented in STC:
- Mechyrdia and Tyla
- Diadochus Magistrorum
- Chaebodes Star Empire
- Niska Republic
- Ilkhan Republic
- Isarnareyksk Federation
- Stahlareyksk Binding
- Theudareyksk Kingdom
- Lyudareyksk Baurginassus
Outside the universe, other nations also participate in the competition, some even officially acknowledging their local STC teams:
- United Federation of Planets, as well as its allies: some restrictions are placed by STC administration to prevent Federation technology from giving its teams an unfair advantage.
- Dominion: Subject worlds of the Dominion are also allowed to form STC teams, so long as they're overseen by a Vorta administrator.
- Ultramar: Human citizens of the Ultramarine realm are allowed to participate in STC, much to the annoyance of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Inquisition.
Other nations, however, have boycotted STC, mostly for political reasons:
- Swartareyksk Totalitariat: Their leader Igar Avraamovich has banned the citizens of Swartareykk from participating in STC, claiming a matter of internal security.
- Klingon Empire: Not an official or legal boycott, but Chancellor J'mpok has made no attempt to discourage the shunning of STC's culture of cooperation and non-violent competition within Klingon society.
- Imperium of Man (outside Ultramar): Inquisitor Emil Darkhammer and Fabricator-General Oud Raskian have ruthlessly purged any Imperial citizens who attempt to form an STC team, seeing the concept of innovation in robotics and engineering, as well as cooperation with teams outside the Imperium, as vile heresy.
- T'au Empire: The spirit of competition, as cooperative as it is in STC, is considered to go against the Greater Good philosophy of the T'au.