Virtual Pi Wars 2020 – our answer to the Coronavirus, and a bit of fun!

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have decided to postpone Pi Wars 2020 for the time being. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t have a bit of fun in the meantime! We want to run a virtual event, just to cover the gap until the main event can be rescheduled.

The event

Virtual Pi Wars 2020 is an online-only event. There are two parts to it. The first (submission of videos) is open only to our invited competitors, the second (the live stream) will be available for anyone to watch.

Submission of videos by teams

Teams will submit videos to the Pi Wars Judges in advance of Saturday, 25th April. In these videos, teams will present their robots and then be Judged on their Technical Merit and Artistic Merit. These points will be added together and teams will be ranked, probably within their original categories.

We have chosen the date of 25th April because it gives teams an extra few weeks to get their robot to a stable state as well as making the Easter holidays available for working on them.

Spectators will be able to view the submitted videos on the live stream (see below) on Saturday, 25th April and on the Pi Wars website from Sunday, 26th April.

The live stream

We intend to stream all the competing video entries on GoToMeeting on Saturday, 25th April from 2pm. These entries will be accompanied by some robotics talks from some of our competitors. This will break things up a little and will provide additional interest to the stream. The stream will be open to view by anyone who wishes to and will be hosted jointly by Michael Horne, Tim Richardson and David Booth.

Video submission rules

  1. Only Pi Wars competitors and reservists from the 2020 group who have been invited to the virtual event can enter. All 76 teams who would have made it to the competition in Cambridge have been invited, plus the Reservists who were still active.
  2. The deadline for videos to be submitted by one of the methods in rule 10 is Saturday, 25th April at 9am, UK time. We would appreciate having them earlier, though!
  3. One video per team can be submitted.
  4. The video should be a maximum of 5 minutes in length (this is to keep things manageable for the Judges).
  5. Videos must be in English (our foreign language skills being a bit… lacking!)
  6. The points awarded do not count towards the main competition (that we will reschedule).
  7. Videos can have mixed content – you can have slides, audio-only sections and full-on video.
  8. Robots can be shown moving or static, it all depends on how far you’ve got by then!
  9. All videos will be published/embedded on the Pi Wars website after 1pm on Sunday, 26th April for the public to view.
  10. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube (specifically) as Unlisted videos (so that the Pi Wars team has control over when they are seen on our website) or they can be uploaded to a file sharing platform, such as Dropbox, and the Pi Wars team will upload them for you to the Pi Wars YouTube channel. (If you are going for the second option, please do so earlier than the deadline to give us a chance to upload!)
  11. Notification of uploads/entries should be sent to by the deadline, or preferably much sooner!

Special note

Due to the issues of getting pupils together in time to create the video, especially in light of school closures and social distancing, it is permissible for Young Team robots to be presented by their adult supervisor.

The prizes

There will be prizes. What they are will depend, very much, on who enters the competition and in which category they were originally classed. Sorry to be a bit vague! We will keep the majority of the Pi Wars 2020 prizes for the eventual running of the next full competition, but we thought you should have something to win!


Virtual Pi Wars is about having fun and getting together, in a virtual way, to talk all things robotics. We will have our Discord channels open for discussion of the various robots, just as it has been for some time, so come on over, join the Guest channel, check your Direct Messages and get access to all the channels! Once you’ve registered and joined, you can access the channel here.