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View Full Version : Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?


archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by aTm at 1/6/2001 12:03 PM EST


Student on team #111, Wildstang, from Wheeling High School and Motorola.



Yes yes, I realize that the whole 4 robots on the field at the same time on the same team works to help people cooperate, and yes I realize that it will be much easier to watch the competition and understand what is going on...but does anyone else feel a bloodthirst that will go perhaps totally unquenched this year?
The puck led for fiercely dangerous rounds, last year led for insanely competitive scoring and counterscoring. What happened to the forming on solid friendships with some teams, and solid rivalries with others? I personally love the whole aspect of blocking, pushing, tipping, and manuevering the robot around your opponents. Granted, I haven't seen this competition in action, but I yearn for another year of the puck, a year of fierce and furious rounds. I also believe that a side-goal of FIRST was to introduce robo-sports into the mainstream of the world. I fail to recall any major televised sports, which gained considerable attention, where all the teams "worked together." A competition, where everyone that's on the field at the same time, weren't truly against each other.
I for one will still contribute my all, spend hours upon hours helping my team, and undoubtedly enjoy this year immensely, but I believe that my bloodthirst and others will go quite neglected by this year's FIRST competition. Maybe I'm wrong, and I tell ya, HOPEFULLY I'm wrong. I really hope that I am wrong in every way. I thought that since BatlleBots had completed what FIRST has failed to in so many years, attain mainstream attention, in such a short time span, perhaps this year's competition would borrow some from the winning formula of BattleBots. I was wrong about that, and I PRAY that I am wrong about many other things. Regardless, I will have fun, I will enjoy it, and I will look forward to seeing all the teams at the competitions, or, semi-competitions.

aTm

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Dan at 1/6/2001 12:23 PM EST


Other on team - from Carnegie Mellon sponsored by -.


In Reply to: Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?
Posted by aTm on 1/6/2001 12:03 PM EST:



I don't think you're wrong in your understanding, but it sounds like this is the feeling Dean intended. The game, like Dean said, is supposed to make FIRST's purpose clear and to seperate it even further from BattleBots.
This year's game, superficially, is a mix of the last three years (big balls, little balls, ball tubes, coopertition, etc.) but as a whole game it's totally different and will require that we think about strategy differently.
Dean has never been about lowering to the common denominator, he chooses to raise the bar instead. So, yes, this game won't get FIRST on primetime TV right away, but Dean doesn't believe the quickest path (ie BattleBots) is always the best.
Dan

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Jon at 1/6/2001 8:39 PM EST


Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Mass Academy of Math and Science and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


In Reply to: Re: Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?
Posted by Dan on 1/6/2001 12:23 PM EST:



: Dean has never been about lowering to the common denominator, he chooses to raise the bar instead. So, yes, this game won't get FIRST on primetime TV right away, but Dean doesn't believe the quickest path (ie BattleBots) is always the best.

I have to agree on the raising of the bar... I got lost quickly as I watched the webcast (our network was spotty so the sound kept acting up) when the scoring was being discussed... multipliers and time based multipliers and percentages and then everyone works together?! where's the blood? you know... comes with the sweat and tears...

In Qualis it'll be easy to tell who "wins" by the location of the big balls but I liken this game to Olympic Sports... Who can get down a rafting course fastest? Who can jump the furthest? Who can shoot more clays? In these sports, the competitors do not play at the same time but instead try to best each other.
That looks like it was the inspiration to me.

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Marjory Stager at 1/6/2001 12:25 PM EST


Student on team #47, ChiefDelphi, from Pontiac Central and Delphi Automotive Systems.


In Reply to: Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?
Posted by aTm on 1/6/2001 12:03 PM EST:



Hey aTm

I agree with you. Although I hope coming back form a long time apart away from my old friends on verus teams such as yours and many others, that we are all still as good of friends as when I last saw them. I hope in a way that this game will settles down some of those people that are over competitive and some of you know how those people are. Well, I hope everyone has a safe and happy build of there bots see you all real soon, some sooner then others.

Love Ya,
Marjory
"Frosty"

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Mike Aubry at 1/6/2001 1:14 PM EST


Engineer on team #47, Chiefs, from Pontiac Central and Delphi .


In Reply to: Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?
Posted by aTm on 1/6/2001 12:03 PM EST:



Hey, know what? I think I agree with you for the most part. This years game(?), although an interesting set of problems to solve, leaves me quite perplexed. For the past few years I've felt like Alice in Wonderland, only Wonderland continues to grow into more and more of a social experiment, than a competition. Talk about suffering from multiple personality syndrome or in todays terms, Bipolar personality! Don't take me wrong, I love FIRST, I love the interaction and teaching (everyone that knows me, knows that), but I just don't get the extremes that the event organizers have gone to in the past few years. I like building a robot that can compete against the best of the best. I relish the chance to go one on one against anyone elses machine. I understand that many people don't feel that that is what FIRST should be (aka - take it to Battlebots if you don't like it response). But, when no matter how hard you work to develop a robot that does an outstanding job of completing a very difficult set of tasks, is relegated to a scoring system wherein luck of the draw (capability of the combined 4 and delivering of promised capabilities) determines your placement I'm not sure I like that. I guess thestretcher is in response to the "Box of Rocks" problem that we have seen in the past. There are some interesting twists with the timer multiplier button, and I like game itself. Manipulating both Very big and small balls will be fun (as usual) Pushing / Pulling a stretcher over a teeter taughter adds a bit of suspense. Human players get an opportunity to shoot baskets - again. So once again the challenge has been offered - and we all have the opportunity to attack a multi-level problem. Just my thoughts, Good Luck to All. In closing, What one robot characteristic do you think will be essential to be included in the arsenal? (I doubt that anyone robot will be able to complete all the tasks necessary to Max. the score - TOO many characteristics needed and not enough, weight, or TIME.

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Raul at 1/6/2001 2:42 PM EST


Engineer on team #111, Wildstang, from Rolling Meadows & Wheeling HS and Motorola.


In Reply to: Re: Perplexed
Posted by Mike Aubry on 1/6/2001 1:14 PM EST:



The sad part, in my opinion, is that this year's game will move us farther away from what the typical game watcher wants to see.

1) The scoring is too complex - the normal person will not know what the heck is going on. Now tell me how long it will take to explain to your grandmother how the scoring works?

2) Who won? Yeah, yeah we are all winners. But since you are not competing against anyone, it will be very boring to watch this year's game!!! All we have to go by is our satisfaction of completing some tasks as required. How many seeding matches can any of us take when their is no winner at the end of the match?

3) In the elimination rounds, when in the past things got really exciting, it just will not be the same to have to wait to see how the other team does to determine if you won or lost!

4) Say good bye to any team who liked to be defensive. Who needs a robust design anymore? Who needs an agile robot to get around your opponent? The game has become nothing more that a strategy contest. Close to becoming a science fair - which Dean says it is not.

Raul

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Kate T190 at 1/6/2001 3:11 PM EST


Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Mass Academy of Math and Science and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


In Reply to: Re: Perplexed
Posted by Raul on 1/6/2001 2:42 PM EST:



I see all your points about everything.. And I'm not even going to try to answer them now as there prolly won't be a coherent response to any of it.. But I'm really not seeing how you could be calling it something like a science fair.. Maybe you can enlighten me??

T190 XO
Kate

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Raul at 1/6/2001 4:04 PM EST


Engineer on team #111, Wildstang, from Rolling Meadows & Wheeling HS and Motorola.


In Reply to: Science Fair?
Posted by Kate T190 on 1/6/2001 3:11 PM EST:



I know its a stretch, but I am not fully coherent either. Here is my short explanation: A science fair is a demonstration of science and technology. I consider this year's game more of a demonstration of what robots can do than a robot competition. I'm not saying that it is all bad just that it does not excite me and may not inspire as many as we intended.

Its just my opinionn - you don't have to agree. In fact, most will disagree. But that is what this forum is for - RIGHT?

Raul


: I see all your points about everything.. And I'm not even going to try to answer them now as there prolly won't be a coherent response to any of it.. But I'm really not seeing how you could be calling it something like a science fair.. Maybe you can enlighten me??

: T190 XO
: Kate

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by bill whitley at 1/6/2001 4:53 PM EST


Student on team #70, Auto City Bandits, from Powers Catholic High School and Kettering University.


In Reply to: Re: Science Fair?
Posted by Raul on 1/6/2001 4:04 PM EST:



I completely agree. Being a compedative person, its my nature, I loved the 'old school' compedative FIRST. This seems boring. Elimination matches will be kinda boring. Especially with everybody hitting their little red buttons with 1 second to go. I think that after 1:30, hitting the red buttons shouldnt get you anything. I don't expect to see a single match go the entire 2 minutes. That will be another thing that will be the same EVERY match. How boring! Last year no 2 matches were the same, sometimes you push the team off, sometimes you dont. I see a team taking a strategy and doing the same thing through 6 elimination, 12 finals matches...

Bill.

: I know its a stretch, but I am not fully coherent either. Here is my short explanation: A science fair is a demonstration of science and technology. I consider this year's game more of a demonstration of what robots can do than a robot competition. I'm not saying that it is all bad just that it does not excite me and may not inspire as many as we intended.

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Peter VanWylen at 1/6/2001 9:47 PM EST


Student on team #107, Team ROBOTICS, from Holland Christian High School and Metal Flow Corporation.


In Reply to: i agree.
Posted by bill whitley on 1/6/2001 4:53 PM EST:



: That will be another thing that will be the same EVERY match.

So true. Just think, in the elimination matches, once an alliance is established, it will perfect its strategy and play it the same every time. There is no responding to changes when opponents do something. Also, because there are no opponents, failures will be less common, and the fifth team may sit out the entire time. You could literally watch the winning alliance do the same thing 10 times in a row if you watch the elimination rounds.

Its like watching synchronized swimming. Everyone knows what they are supposed to do and at what time. Then they do it over and over again. Its like clockwork -- and there is really no advantage to quick thinking, but rather methodical planning. Methodical planning isn't necessarily a bad thing, but its sure isn't very exciting.

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Frank at 1/7/2001 10:02 AM EST


Coach on team #97, Psychedelics, from CRLS and MIT.


In Reply to: Re: Science Fair?
Posted by Raul on 1/6/2001 4:04 PM EST:



I have to agree with Raul on this one. The "competition" is moving away from the flashy sport it used to be for all these years and going towards a show of what you can do with a roobt. The biggest excitement in FL or at any of the other competitions has always been going up against other machines...sometimes you win, sometimes they do. But it was a competition and that's what competition is about. It seems like this year, it's more like a show. What can your robot do in 30 seconds or 2 minutes or however long you wait before you hit stop? The four teams out there are in control of everything. In sports that's not the case as your opponent is always a question. And that's what adds to the excitement.

Don't get me wrong, I think this year's competition will be fun and interesting. I just see it as a huge departure from the FIRST we have all gotten to love.

Frank
Team 97 - MIT/Teradyne/Cambridge Rindge and Latin School/Chelsea High School

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:19 PM
Posted by Mike Aubry at 1/6/2001 4:40 PM EST


Engineer on team #47, Chiefs, from Pontiac Central and Delphi .


In Reply to: Re: Perplexed
Posted by Raul on 1/6/2001 2:42 PM EST:



: The sad part, in my opinion, is that this year's game will move us farther away from what the typical game watcher wants to see.

I concur wholeheartedly, but its obvious that the rational for the game is not aimed at the "Game watcher" !

: 1) The scoring is too complex - the normal person will not know what the heck is going on. Now tell me how long it will take to explain to your grandmother how the scoring works?

I concur again, as I have stated in the past - The key to an interesting game is one that everyone (players, watchers, casual observers, can all figure out the score in their heads, real time (okay, some finger and toe counting is acceptable)

: 2) Who won? Yeah, yeah we are all winners. But since you are not competing against anyone, it will be very boring to watch this year's game!!! All we have to go by is our satisfaction of completing some tasks as required. How many seeding matches can any of us take when their is no winner at the end of the match?

Again you are right on the money. Next thing ya know we'll all be sitting around the playing field, holding hands and singing "Kumbaya"!

: 3) In the elimination rounds, when in the past things got really exciting, it just will not be the same to have to wait to see how the other team does to determine if you won or lost!

No, wrong this time. You'll only be sitting around to see where you end up seeding during seeding rounds. Then later, during elimination rounds you are correct - so then isn't going second a distinct advantage? Hit the red timer buttons the second you have accumulated 1 point more then the initial group did.

: 4) Say good bye to any team who liked to be defensive. Who needs a robust design anymore? Who needs an agile robot to get around your opponent? The game has become nothing more that a strategy contest. Close to becoming a science fair - which Dean says it is not.

Some is true, but science fair is a bit to drastic. The key to this years competition is the stress relief that Dean has allowed everyone. Once everyone realizes that they cannot control their own destiny, no matter what, - they will all relax a bit and concentrate on building a robot that does just ONE thing extremely well, NOT a robot that can do alot of things good, but instead rely on the fact that each alliance in the finals will be looking to fill specialty capabilities creating a team of 4 that can maximize the score. Therefore, Raul(my friend), take a deep breathe and simply enjoy the fun of building a robot. Forget the winning stuff it obviously doesn't matter. You will just have to "inspire" by teaching, strategic planning, teamwork and gracious professionalism! Good Luck, and is it out of the question to have preset alliances with a combined strategic robot design and build process thart assures maximum robot team capability if the opportunity arises (Nationals - ChiefDelphi, WildStang, Beatty, and the Kats?)

: Raul

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:20 PM
Posted by colleen -- T190 at 1/6/2001 3:11 PM EST


Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science and WPI.


In Reply to: Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?
Posted by aTm on 1/6/2001 12:03 PM EST:



Back in my days of driving.. i could never argue w/ a rough 'n tumble match... '99 was prolly my favorite year too for all the reasons to you stated...

But... pounding on other robots only gets you so far... my 3 years of driving experience humbled me to realize that strategy and skill will ultimately prevail no matter how big, small, rough, fragile, simple or complex your robot might be...

This game.. no questions asked.. will be a test of our strategical abilities (340 teams at Nationals... playing in divisions... not knowing who's in your match til very soon before...)

But we all know.. Dean's about teaching... in the real world.. you don't want to pound on your "opponents" but rather use their best to make your best better.... that way the whole world can advance together...

Corny yeah.. but no one can argue that it's true...

So like or dislike it.. I really don't know... but it's going to be tough and ever-changing designs and wonderful strategy opportunities..

We panic because we have a preconceived notion about what "competition" should mean.... so it's unconventional... but if it wasn't, could we really call it FIRST????

It's looking good---

Best of luck to everyone!

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:20 PM
Posted by Janna at 1/6/2001 5:15 PM EST


Student on team #349, The RoBahamas, from International Academy and Ford Motor Company and Robert Bosch GmbH.


In Reply to: It's all relative...
Posted by colleen -- T190 on 1/6/2001 3:11 PM EST:



: But we all know.. Dean's about teaching... in the real world.. you don't want to pound on your "opponents" but rather use their best to make your best better.... that way the whole world can advance together...

I totally agree. Although I will miss the concept of competing *against* someone in a match, I think this competition is a lot closer to a real situation. The robots built for assembly lines and space exploration and other stuff don't try to compete against each other or push each other over or go faster than each other. Although the average viewer might not be as interested, I don't think the purpose is to please the viewers so much as it is to help the participants gain experience...and this experience will be more useful in the real world.

Janna

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:20 PM
Posted by Kate T190 at 1/7/2001 7:32 PM EST


Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Mass Academy of Math and Science and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


In Reply to: More Gracious, More Professional
Posted by Janna on 1/6/2001 5:15 PM EST:



Isn't FIRST all about getting more people involved in science and technology?? If the purpose of this isn't to please the viewers, then how are more people supposed to be getting interested in doing FIRST?? If someone doesn't understand what's going on during a match and stuff, then I don't see how they can get themselves interested in doing this.. Just my thoughts..

T190 XO
Kate

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:20 PM
Posted by Kate T190 at 1/6/2001 3:27 PM EST


Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Mass Academy of Math and Science and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


In Reply to: Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?
Posted by aTm on 1/6/2001 12:03 PM EST:



"I didn't lose, the other team just scored more points than I did, even though we're all working towards the same number of points."

No losers this year.. Yay.. Just emphasizes even more that everyone that participates in FIRST is already a winner..

So??

I'm just like a lot of other people.. I like a lot of physical matches where it comes down to the wire for who's going to win the match.. I absolutely loved watching nationals last year even though I was going to die from heat stroke.. But I'm not complaining.. ;)

So because of the previously stated, I'm not ABSOLUTELY in love with the game yet.. But I don't absolutely hate it either..

Right now I'm really intrigued by it.. Partially because I don't really have a clue what's going on yet.. (but that's besides the point) But it's really because it's all about STRATEGY and precision of a different sort this year..

I'll get back to you when I really know what's going on in my head.. I'm just waiting for the 3DS workshop to be done so I can bring my gang (Colleen, Robby, Nate) back to my home so we can do a combo of brainstorming for the competition and playing Nintendo64 (yay Lego Racers)..

T190 XO
Kate

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:20 PM
Posted by Nate Smith at 1/6/2001 3:43 PM EST


Other on team #66, GM Powertrain/Willow Run HS, from Eastern Michigan University and GM Powertrain.


In Reply to: sure there are NO losers.. is it REALLY that BAD??
Posted by Kate T190 on 1/6/2001 3:27 PM EST:



: "I didn't lose, the other team just scored more points than I did, even though we're all working towards the same number of points."

But if the other team got more points, then didn't you...? And didn't they...? Ahhh! Are you sure FIRST isn't being sponsored by Tylenol now, and needed a way for them to boost sales because of the competition??? =)

: No losers this year.. Yay.. Just emphasizes even more that everyone that participates in FIRST is already a winner..

Exactly...and while this isn't exactly a "made for tv" game...I can't think of one that really has been since I've started with this back in '98...

: So??

: I'm just like a lot of other people.. I like a lot of physical matches where it comes down to the wire for who's going to win the match.. I absolutely loved watching nationals last year even though I was going to die from heat stroke.. But I'm not complaining.. ;)

Like other people have said, this game is a whole new idea...just what FIRST is know for... =)

: So because of the previously stated, I'm not ABSOLUTELY in love with the game yet.. But I don't absolutely hate it either..

I'm still trying to figure it out...once i've done that, then i'll decide if i like it or not...

: Right now I'm really intrigued by it.. Partially because I don't really have a clue what's going on yet.. (but that's besides the point) But it's really because it's all about STRATEGY and precision of a different sort this year..

From someone who has spent time with reversi(othello) and chess...I'm all for the strategy aspect of this year's game...we'll see what happens...

: I'll get back to you when I really know what's going on in my head.. I'm just waiting for the 3DS workshop to be done so I can bring my gang (Colleen, Robby, Nate) back to my home so we can do a combo of brainstorming for the competition and playing Nintendo64 (yay Lego Racers)..

Now, if I had known...I could have brought some of my other games...things to know for next year...

Nate

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:20 PM
Posted by Peter VanWylen at 1/6/2001 3:44 PM EST


Student on team #107, Team ROBOTICS, from Holland Christian High School and Metal Flow Corp..


In Reply to: Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?
Posted by aTm on 1/6/2001 12:03 PM EST:



I have to agree that the most exciting matches I have ever seen have been ones with fierce competition. Last year, in the elimination rounds, it was great to see teams unleashing on each other, and defense coming into play. How much fun is it going to be this year with everybody being a winner? In my opinion, if nobody loses, then nobody wins.

This year's game is like a swim meet -- except that the teams never swim at the same time. First team A sends 4 players out, and they swim. Then team B sends 4 players out and they swim. But, it never happens that you are swimming along and notice that the other team is way ahead and their swimmers are flying, and you try to pull ahead yourself. No, it would be bad for your self-esteem if somebody beat you. That wouldn't be any fun.

Personally, I love the game, the balls, the goals on wheels, and the rest of the game. But please, give me an opponent.

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:20 PM
Posted by Rich at 1/7/2001 1:01 AM EST


Other on team #111, WildStang, from high school.


In Reply to: Competition.....or touchy feely happy bonding time?
Posted by aTm on 1/6/2001 12:03 PM EST:



I have been a long time observer of this forum and was never really motivated to post a message. In light of the recent posting of rules by FIRST i believe that my opinions cannot go unheard for any longer. As a senior who has participated in my team all throughout highschool, i watched as the game has evolved from a fast-paced one where a team controls its own destiny in fiece competition to what it is now, a game where a teams fate is decided practically by luck of the draw in a simple showcase of ability. To see the rationalization and defense of these rules disturbs me. Frankly i feel such emense dissappoment that i fear it will be hard for me to even enjoy any of the "competitions". I understand that FIRST wants to glorify the idea of cooperation but i feel compititon is nessary to keep public intrest high and to ensure growth. If this pattern continues i feel that FIRST might possibly suffer from a decline in teams participating in the years to come. Just like aTm i hope that i am wrong and that this year will hold as much excitement as years past. I sure as heck don't wanna be in the pits after a match only to realize that there is nothing to be done because my robot has just retured from a lovefest rather than a battlefield.
okay now with that being said i am ready to embark upon another year. good luck everyone.

archiver
06-23-2002, 10:20 PM
Posted by bill whitley at 1/7/2001 2:21 PM EST


Student on team #70, Auto City Bandits, from Powers Catholic High School and Kettering University.


In Reply to: Total disappointment
Posted by Rich on 1/7/2001 1:01 AM EST:



It is going to be much harder to recruit students against this "game" than it was to recruit for a competition of robots. People get excited when you tell them about the pushing matches for the bar or trying to keep someone from getting to the trough to score. Now what can we say, we try to build a robot that can balance on a teetor totter. HOW EXCITING! (sarcasm)

Bill