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Justin Montois
05-05-2011, 03:23 PM
http://frcdirector.blogspot.com/2011/05/yes-im-already-counting-down-to-kickoff.html

Some interesting stuff. New GDC members including the yearly rotating position which went to Linda Wallace from the X-Cats, it's really cool to have a local (Rochester) person invloved with the GDC, it will be interesting to see if the 2012 game has a different flavor to it then the Dave/Woodie era.

Also it seems the pit fields are here to stay...:mad:

Koko Ed
05-05-2011, 03:28 PM
http://frcdirector.blogspot.com/2011/05/yes-im-already-counting-down-to-kickoff.html

Some interesting stuff. New GDC members including the yearly rotating position which went to Linda Wallace from the X-Cats, it's really cool to have a local (Rochester) person invloved with the GDC, it will be interesting to see if th 2012 game has a different flavor to it then the Dave/Woodie era.

Also it seems the pit fields are here to stay...:mad:
What awesome news!
Linda will make a great addition to the GDC.

Pavan Dave
05-05-2011, 03:34 PM
Question. I have been out of the loop for a bit, but are Dave and Woody no longer GDC members?

thefro526
05-05-2011, 03:35 PM
Question. I have been out of the loop for a bit, but are Dave and Woody no longer GDC members?

Yes, Dave and Woody left the GDC.

Steve W
05-05-2011, 04:04 PM
I am hoping that they put the 2 fields side by side, then the practice fields, then the pit area. Having the pit area between 2 fields is nuts. The noise volume makes it hard to talk and is not safe. It could also help with teams that don't have safety glasses for spectators. They could rope an area off to allow people to access the stands without entering the pit area.

PayneTrain
05-05-2011, 04:07 PM
When FTC and FLL are paying the same registration fee for CMP as FRC teams, let me know. FRC teams pay five times as much to play in the shadows for half of the event.

I also think I have a suggestion for fixing the qualification structure: if you group up 3 nearby regionals, lump them into a singular championship with qualifications required for entry, you cut down bids by more than half (allowing for 16 regional/state championships and the Israel Regional) Hall of Fame isn't getting any smaller either.

If the district->state/regional->world model would be "enforced" to a degree, there would be an open opportunity for travel (2 districts req. in your region/state, 1 optional out of region)

I guess the answer isn't as obvious as I think it is.

Koko Ed
05-05-2011, 04:20 PM
If you want to do Championships right do it the way they do it in Michigan.

robobandmom
05-05-2011, 04:23 PM
When FTC and FLL are paying the same registration fee for CMP as FRC teams, let me know. FRC teams pay five times as much to play in the shadows for half of the event.

I hadn't thought of the registration fee, but you bring up a good point. I simply think that the larger robots with larger crowds should get the larger fields. You can't see much of a FLL match without the camera shots. Their spectators would have a similar experience at either the dome or pit field. That being said, I don't know how many spectators they have for the typical match. When we were in the dome I don't remember a large number of spectators watching FLL, but maybe they had tons of spectators as well.

Chexposito
05-05-2011, 04:33 PM
they only need to put more bleachers in the pits, the view was worth the noise at least for my team... i think more bleachers will silence most complaints. smashing fields together is only going to create the lack of seating problem again. it would be the same thing except without bleachers. i think if there's no concert, that will probably leave enough room for everyone in the dome... but i really can't tell because i'm not looking at the #'s. i'm sure someone somewhere has done the math.

BrendanB
05-05-2011, 04:44 PM
If they REALLY want to make the same mistake, they NEED more bleachers (whoever thought what they had would work made a major mistake) and easier access without safety glasses.

Adding more bleachers will be interesting unless they start cramming pit space! If they need space they should just keep moving FTC into the spotlight and put their pits on the dome floor! jk:rolleyes:

nighterfighter
05-05-2011, 04:45 PM
So, veteran teams get shafted out of the new cRIO, unless we buy a rookie kit or purchase the upgrade?

Darn.

Refresh
05-05-2011, 04:46 PM
Bill said that morgan freeman did some announcing on Archimedes but I didn't hear him. I certainly saw him there behind the table. Did anyone else hear him announce some matches?

nighterfighter
05-05-2011, 04:54 PM
Bill said that morgan freeman did some announcing on Archimedes but I didn't hear him. I certainly saw him there behind the table. Did anyone else hear him announce some matches?

I heard him talk after a match, but not actually announce a match.

Granted, I wasn't on Archimedes, just passing by.

BrendanB
05-05-2011, 04:54 PM
I hadn't thought of the registration fee, but you bring up a good point. I simply think that the larger robots with larger crowds should get the larger fields. You can't see much of a FLL match without the camera shots. Their spectators would have a similar experience at either the dome or pit field. That being said, I don't know how many spectators they have for the typical match. When we were in the dome I don't remember a large number of spectators watching FLL, but maybe they had tons of spectators as well.

This brings up several issues with me to which I posted on his blog about but I'll semi repost here.

If FTC expanding kicked on field out of the dome and they just decided to move two fields, why didn't they take an easier route and move and FTC field/division into the dome?

I think what is really interesting and bugs me is, like you mentioned, FRC is the more spectator friendly competition as you can see it from the stands and draws more crowd/attention over FTC and FLL by a LOT! Why then since we have an arena they are having to set up bleachers for FRC in the pits.

If half of part of FTC was in the pits they would avoid the noise and space issues they are encountering with FRC one pit field bleacher would have been enough for them considering most FTC teams don't have 20-40 people in attendance.

FIRST really does try to come up with new and "creative" ways to do things. :)

*while some may call me complaining and whining these are some things that really bug me since these were decided BEFORE the concert came to town*

XaulZan11
05-05-2011, 05:01 PM
I think what is really interesting and bugs me is, like you mentioned, FRC is the more spectator friendly competition as you can see it from the stands and draws more crowd/attention over FTC and FLL by a LOT!


I agree, but I think 98% of people who go to the championship are already tied to a competition. The majority of people who watch FRC, FTC or FLL are on a team or invovled in some way and thus will watch those competitions where ever they are held. Maybe if we had more of the general public stopping by, you would want the most spectator friendly competition in the dome, but that is simply not the case.

elemental
05-05-2011, 05:02 PM
I think what is really interesting and bugs me is, like you mentioned, FRC is the more spectator friendly competition as you can see it from the stands and draws more crowd/attention over FTC and FLL by a LOT! Why then since we have an arena they are having to set up bleachers for FRC in the pits.



To defend FLL, they play on Einstein which is already set up for FRC and FLL draws more from the international community.
However, I do envy FTC if they get to play ALL of their matches on the dome floor. I feel that FTC would thrive in a more "intimate" location because of the fact that it is easier to see their robots up close.

BrendanB
05-05-2011, 05:03 PM
To defend FLL, they play on Einstein which is already set up for FRC and FLL draws more from the international community.
However, I do envy FTC if they get to play ALL of their matches on the dome floor. I feel that FTC would thrive in a more "intimate" location because of the fact that it is easier to see their robots up close.

I agree, I was using FLL as a spectator reference and not a kicking them off the dome since they are only using Einstein whereas FTC is growing and could grow into more of the dome in the coming years.

Tetraman
05-05-2011, 05:14 PM
To defend both FTC and FLL, You have to realize that they are playing their FIRST championships alongside FRC. If there is anything that is to be learned from this past year, it's that FRC is no longer FIRST's favorite and we are going to have to get along with our younger brothers and sisters.

FLL can play their entire matches with all of their fields on Einstein, and thats good. It still holds up. FTC needs space for their championship to be in the dome. Well, it's kinda silly to just have one FTC field set up for their Elimination matches, so they set up multiple ones. Look at the scope of FTC v. FRC. FRC takes up SO much space not because of the size of the field, but the field of competitors. It makes more sense to put all of FTC in the light of the dome in the same way as FLL gets their light in the dome. FRC can take the hit.

FRC is really spoiled. We are pretty much the last leg of a student in FIRST. From then on you become a mentor or volunteer. So we are given the fanfare and the spotlight. But FIRST isn't FRC anymore. We need to make way for FTC and FLL, and putting half of FTC or most of FTC in the pits is hiding them from view. It sucks that you have to play the championship in the pits, but in all honesty with a little extra seating the problem is solved. Remember, for some FTC teams, FTC is their FRC.

FTC would fail if we kept them in the dark of the pits, and they would be better served to have all of their matches played on the big stage. FTC needs support from more FRC teams, as FTC is a "Budget FRC". We should be embracing FTC as on FRC's level and giving them the Championship experience as we have. If anything, we will learn that the World Championship needs a larger venue to support all of FIRST. Let's get cozy with all of FIRST, rather then ask FTC to get cozy with themselves off in the corner away from us FRC teams and our big Dome fields.

Here is a thought: What if all four FRC divisions were played in the pits, and lets say there is enough seating for enough people to enjoy the games?

DSM33
05-05-2011, 05:24 PM
If you want to do Championships right do it the way they do it in Michigan.
I agree and not just because I'm from Michigan :)
The Michigan system works great and for anyone who saw any part of the MSC saw that the level of competition was waaaaay higher than most of the regionals and even some matches at worlds
At Karthik's conference he said that for FIRST to succeed as a sport the number of mediocre teams needs to decrease so the level of competition goes up and the FIRST in Michigan system does that


I think what is really interesting and bugs me is, like you mentioned, FRC is the more spectator friendly competition as you can see it from the stands and draws more crowd/attention over FTC and FLL by a LOT! Why then since we have an arena they are having to set up bleachers for FRC in the pits.

FRC is definitely the more spectator friendly sport since both FLL and FTC fields are too small to actually see any action from the stands. FTC and FLL really benefit from close seating positions since the crowd would be able to see the matches without having to rely on the video screens
also all of the general public who come to check out FIRST (not to hurt FTC or FLL or anything like that) wont be excited by minirobots on the FTC and FLL fields but by the big, powerful, exciting big bots on the FRC fields

I can understand wanting to promote FTC and FLL (especially since FTC sorta takes a backseat to FRC and VEX) but you have to know what the audience wants yknow?

thats my 2 cents on the deal :)

Vikesrock
05-05-2011, 05:24 PM
Maybe it's just me but I can't really seem to wrap my head around this whole "the dome is more special" thing. I didn't really notice any difference at all as a drive coach between the dome and pit fields other than a shorter commute to the pit field. I guess I'll have to ask my drivers if they thought there was any difference.

Logistically it makes no sense to put FTC in the Dome and FRC in the pits. The volume of spectators for the FRC matches makes way more sense in the dome. The visibility of the robots makes way more sense to put FRC in the dome. The FTC robots are just too small to make sense in the dome. They would be much better suited to the pit field setup where the stands are much closer to the field.

FLL is fine on Einstein because you can't see those robots without a camera blowing up the action no matter where you put them and Einstein isn't being used during that time anyway.

PayneTrain
05-05-2011, 05:29 PM
FTC would fail if we kept them in the dark of the pits, and they would be better served to have all of their matches played on the big stage.
Having worked with the FTC KOP this year, I'd say the motors alone can allow FTC to fail.

*rimshot*


Here is a thought: What if all four FRC divisions were played in the pits, and lets say there is enough seating for enough people to enjoy the games?

Then why not rent out the largest convention center in the world instead of the dome/con center combo? Also, Vegas baby!

Mark Sheridan
05-05-2011, 05:30 PM
To me FRC is like a varsity sport. You would not want a varsity football game moved because JV cross country wanted to use the stadium too (I ran high school cross country by the way). I understand many of the teams in the FTC are from smaller schools who don't have the resources to run a FRC team. However, FRC is the bigger program with greater crowd appeal with the top programs in the world. It think FRC deserves to be front and center much more the FTC and FLL. There is a reason football gets top bill in America over cross-country, I love cross country but football has much better entertainment value. I think if most of us here had a choice to watch a FRC or an FTC match, we would chose FRC.

JaneYoung
05-05-2011, 05:50 PM
Taken from the list of bullets in the blog:

- The highest combined match score was 131-122, on Newton
- Highest individual alliance score was 146, also on Newton

For information's sake, it would be nice to include the teams' names and FRC numbers that achieved these scores if they are going to be noted in the blog and commented on.

Jane

lemiant
05-05-2011, 05:54 PM
Assuming that St Louis is the same size as Atlanta. Then all 5 fields plus FTC and FLL do indeed fit in the dome, so I'm not sure what Bill is talking about.

EricH
05-05-2011, 05:54 PM
So if CARD takes off and becomes a full-on competition, do they get dome space?

Tetraman, I'd actually look at it more like NFL/CFL (Canadian Football League) or NHL/CHL (Central Hockey League). In each sport, both leagues are professional. But you NEVER hear about CFL teams or CHL teams unless you're in their towns (at least, for those of us in the US). Why?

Because they aren't the "flagship" leagues. CHL teams can affiliate with NHL teams, like a farm system. But NHL gets all the attention, even if the play is just about the same. For CFL, there are 32 NFL teams that command most of the attention in the US.

FRC is the "flagship" competition in FIRST. There are more FLL and FTC teams, but they are not yet the flagship program. Yet. As such, FRC should get a large portion of the spotlight. But, just as CFL gets a (albeit brief) spot in the halftime of Monday Night Football, FTC and FLL do need their exposure. The question is, how do you get them that exposure without putting your flagship program entirely in the pits (and by the way, all four FRC fields in the pits will be a great way to cause a lot of complaining about an overpriced event).

What is the solution? I don't know.

How about this: Every FRC division has a companion FTC division, playing right next to it. FRC spectators can watch FTC matches during field resets; FTC spectators can do the same thing. There *should* be enough space to pull that off with one field for each in the pits. This opens up FTC a bit; FLL could be substituted on one or two divisions if FTC is lacking in teams. Folks coming for the big robots see the smaller ones too.

JaneYoung
05-05-2011, 06:12 PM
How about this: Every FRC division has a companion FTC division, playing right next to it. FRC spectators can watch FTC matches during field resets; FTC spectators can do the same thing. There *should* be enough space to pull that off with one field for each in the pits. This opens up FTC a bit; FLL could be substituted on one or two divisions if FTC is lacking in teams. Folks coming for the big robots see the smaller ones too.

That makes too much sense and would be way too much fun for everyone.

Jane

Grim Tuesday
05-05-2011, 06:38 PM
So, veteran teams get shafted out of the new cRIO, unless we buy a rookie kit or purchase the upgrade?

Darn.

Why bother upgrading? It doesn't perform any new function, is only 10 oz lighter (and most of that loss is taken up by another transformer) and actually performs less functions than the standard C-Rio.

This summer weíre going to be taking a long hard look at the future of Championship (CMP). At the current rate of growth for FRC, we are going to face a space crunch at CMP in a few years. Consider this. At each regional, six teams earn a space at CMP (the winning alliance, the Engineering Inspiration winner, the Chairmanís Award winner and the Rookie All Star team). This year we had 48 regionals. Add eighteen teams from the Michigan State CMP (When the District pilot began, the State CMP replaced three Regional events.) and you get a total of 306 teams. 352 teams competed this year. Not every team who qualifies to come to CMP can make it, so there are always a few empty slots, but as we continue to add new regionals each year, we are eventually going to run out of room. In the short run, there will be fewer and fewer spaces for non-qualifying teams at CMP. In the long run, weíre going to have to figure out a new system for determining which teams come to CMP.

Emphasis mine. Does this mean that we will all be taking up a similar-to-Michigan approach in coming years?

DSM33
05-05-2011, 06:46 PM
What is the solution? I don't know.

How about this: Every FRC division has a companion FTC division, playing right next to it. FRC spectators can watch FTC matches during field resets; FTC spectators can do the same thing. There *should* be enough space to pull that off with one field for each in the pits. This opens up FTC a bit; FLL could be substituted on one or two divisions if FTC is lacking in teams. Folks coming for the big robots see the smaller ones too.

Obviously you know :)

it would actually spark some interest in the FTC program as some FRC teams would end up watching the competition between matches!

pure genius.

Joe Ross
05-05-2011, 06:49 PM
Taken from the list of bullets in the blog:

- The highest combined match score was 131-122, on Newton
- Highest individual alliance score was 146, also on Newton

For information's sake, it would be nice to include the teams' names and FRC numbers that achieved these scores if they are going to be noted in the blog and commented on.

Jane

I'm guessing he was only looking at qualifications. There were actually two alliances that scored 146. 148, 1538, 1503 in Newton qualifications and 254, 111, 973 in Galileo (eliminations). The highest individual alliance score was actually also the Galileo alliance (254, 111, 973) on Einstein, 147.

rsisk
05-05-2011, 06:56 PM
Taken from the list of bullets in the blog:

- The highest combined match score was 131-122, on Newton
- Highest individual alliance score was 146, also on Newton

For information's sake, it would be nice to include the teams' names and FRC numbers that achieved these scores if they are going to be noted in the blog and commented on.

Jane

131-122 Newton QF4.2
122-RED
2481 - Robotteers
148 - Robowranglers
234 - Cyber Blue
131-BLUE
2122 - Team Tators
1730 - Team Driven
11 - MORT

146 Newton Q-39
148 - Robowranglers
1538 - Holy Cows
1503 - Spartonics

Alex2614
05-05-2011, 07:13 PM
Here's an idea.

Einstein/FLL sitting ON the concert stage itself. FLL tables set up w/o Einstein field for Thursday and Friday, then the FLL tables are torn down before Friday night concert, and Einstein is put up on Saturday morning. This allows FLL to get a bigger spotlight, frees up room in the dome, and, let's be honest, watching Einstein and awards ceremony on a huge stage like that would be really freaking cool :)

This means that the awards stage and Einstein are not on that part of the dome floor anymore, resulting in more space for FRC fields.

Just my $0.02.......

bduddy
05-05-2011, 07:33 PM
Come on, now. Let's recognize the FTC thing for what it is: a hastily arranged excuse. Were they going to leave a large portion of the dome empty before they realized they were going to have a concert? There was more than enough room behind the curtain for two fields...

dez250
05-05-2011, 07:35 PM
The concert stage used last week was provided [by the BEP] and not a FIRST stage. The logistics behind placing students on it would not be feasible. Also the lighting for Einstein and the concert are two different set-ups which would not likely be able to be combined in a single rig. There is a lot more to it than just placing a field on a stage, plus I would hate to be the person who has a robot dropped on them while trying to quickly move it off the stage down a set of stairs.

GaryVoshol
05-05-2011, 07:38 PM
There would be plenty of room for everyone if FRC could only send the same percentage of teams to the Championship as FLL does. Oh, you don't want FRC Championships to have just 20 teams?

Every division deserves their time in the spotlight. If the fields wouldn't all fit because FTC has expanded, then the fair thing is to have some of the FTC games played outside the Dome as well as FRC.

robobandmom
05-05-2011, 07:41 PM
We were in the dome on Friday on the field closest to the BEP stage, and there was commotion all day on that stage...testing lighting, sound, foggers, ect. There is no way that stage could have been used on Friday. I'm not sure what happened on Saturday; was the stage still there Saturday AM?

Warlord
05-05-2011, 07:46 PM
We were in the dome on Friday on the field closest to the BEP stage, and there was commotion all day on that stage...testing lighting, sound, foggers, ect. There is no way that stage could have been used on Friday.

Yeah, they were working on it literally all day. It would have to be set up and tested like a week in advance for everything to work out if you wanted to play matches on it.

I'm not sure what happened on Saturday; was the stage still there Saturday AM?

No, they spent basically all day Saturday tearing it down. They might have even started tearing it down Friday night. All I know for sure is that by the end of division eliminations almost everything was boxed up behind the curtains.

BrendanB
05-05-2011, 08:26 PM
Every division deserves their time in the spotlight. If the fields wouldn't all fit because FTC has expanded, then the fair thing is to have some of the FTC games played outside the Dome as well as FRC.

Haha. On Thursday once we were inspected we rushed out to the dome to get in some practice and after our first match I had 4 quers around me telling me that they were only doing 2 matches per team no matter if it was fill in or scheduled to make things, "fair" for everyone.

Things were straigtened out in a few minutes but had that been the case then I would have lost it with only getting two practice matches to be fair to the teams who weren't inspected! :rolleyes:

Alex2614
05-05-2011, 08:33 PM
The concert stage used last week was provided [by the BEP] and not a FIRST stage. The logistics behind placing students on it would not be feasible. Also the lighting for Einstein and the concert are two different set-ups which would not likely be able to be combined in a single rig. There is a lot more to it than just placing a field on a stage, plus I would hate to be the person who has a robot dropped on them while trying to quickly move it off the stage down a set of stairs.

Is there any reason why they can't do it differently next year then? If they really want that concert, FIRST can something that integrates the stage and other elements that need to be in the dome (i.e. FTC or FLL fields, Einstein, Awards stage, etc.). If FIRST designed it, it could be used for both. If Will.I.Am is so supportive of FIRST, I think he can use a different stage. I mean, it can be the same dimensions and everything as the one used last week, but with easier integration with FIRST.

I don't know, maybe I'm sounding like a complete idiot (it's been known to happen with me, lol). I'm just throwing out random suggestions. It's just like kickoff day working on design and strategy - Stupid ideas are the best ones ;)

Craig Roys
05-05-2011, 08:47 PM
I find it interesting that this decision is made BEFORE they get a chance to read all (ANY) of the feedback forms from teams. I'm really starting to wonder if FIRST cares about the teams at all. It's a bit disheartening.

Karibou
05-05-2011, 09:28 PM
Is there any reason why they can't do it differently next year then? If they really want that concert, FIRST can something that integrates the stage and other elements that need to be in the dome (i.e. FTC or FLL fields, Einstein, Awards stage, etc.). If FIRST designed it, it could be used for both. If Will.I.Am is so supportive of FIRST, I think he can use a different stage. I mean, it can be the same dimensions and everything as the one used last week, but with easier integration with FIRST.

I don't know, maybe I'm sounding like a complete idiot (it's been known to happen with me, lol). I'm just throwing out random suggestions. It's just like kickoff day working on design and strategy - Stupid ideas are the best ones ;)

I think that it's a matter of money. Those stages are EXPENSIVE, and take a lot of time and work to design, fabricate, and test. If the concert was to become an annual event (which we probably won't find out until CMP time next year), there might be a little bit of worth in it, but the best option would still be to use the same set-up as this year. From a physical space standpoint, you could probably cram all five FRC fields into the dome without the presence of a BEP-sized concert stage. I imagine that one contributing reason to their decision to not do it is that queuing and traffic flow would be an absolute nightmare.

Assuming there's no concert next year, it would make sense to use the extra space for a CARD field.

Chris Fultz
05-05-2011, 09:46 PM
I am curious as to why everyone thinks the fields in the pit area were so bad?

I will say that more seating is needed, and there needs to be a way to not have the pit announcements - but these are issues that can easily be addressed.

I feel like I am in the minorty, but why I liked the pit fields -

It was great moving from pit to field in a minute or less.

There is an increased level of excitement from for the drive teams with the crowd so close and on both sides.

The Dome fields are more separated from the crowd (always have been, even in Atlanta) and the crowd is only on one side.

The pit crew could watch the matches.

The drive team could watch other matches and see different strategies in action.

For our dome matches, we spent a lot of time just waiting in the que and could not really watch the other matches being played.

Cory
05-05-2011, 10:36 PM
FTC would fail if we kept them in the dark of the pits, and they would be better served to have all of their matches played on the big stage. FTC needs support from more FRC teams, as FTC is a "Budget FRC". We should be embracing FTC as on FRC's level and giving them the Championship experience as we have.

I don't want to turn this into a political discussion, but if that's the case, FTC deserves to fail. VEX is beating the pants off of FTC and FIRST has no answer for that.

You can be damned sure that if VEX held their championships in the middle of a cornfield somewhere, it would thrive, as it has been without FIRST.

I don't see why we should support FTC, just because it is FIRST. Inbred thinking like that stifles innovation and progress. If FIRST is not held accountable for their failures or shortcomings, what motivation do they have to make things better? You'd think the massive success of VEX would make them rethink their approach to FTC, but that clearly hasn't happened.

All I have to say is FIRST is lucky there is absolutely no alternative to FRC, because if there was they might find teams jumping ship left and right.

Nick Bouressa
05-05-2011, 10:39 PM
I am curious as to why everyone thinks the fields in the pit area were so bad?

For me anyway the thing about the pit fields that irked me was the lack of seating. They needed AT LEAST 50% more seats. Instead of watching the Curie elimination matches my team went up to Einstein, there was not enough room to fit our team in the bleachers. The queuing area was very congested, almost a safety hazard. And if people on the ground were standing during a match you couldn't see anything. The noise level in the pits was excessive and the amount traffic (robot and human) was dangerous. You also couldn't hear pit or field announcements.

How about this: Every FRC division has a companion FTC division, playing right next to it. FRC spectators can watch FTC matches during field resets; FTC spectators can do the same thing. There *should* be enough space to pull that off with one field for each in the pits. This opens up FTC a bit; FLL could be substituted on one or two divisions if FTC is lacking in teams. Folks coming for the big robots see the smaller ones too.

That is the way to do it. Also to make room for CARD you could get rid of Einstein all together play the FRC finals on a division field and put FLL on the concert stage. You may have to work out some bugs with the stage compatibility, but it should make plenty of room and it could actually work.

Nemo
05-05-2011, 10:44 PM
I don't want to turn this into a political discussion, but if that's the case, FTC deserves to fail. VEX is beating the pants off of FTC and FIRST has no answer for that.

You can be damned sure that if VEX held their championships in the middle of a cornfield somewhere, it would thrive, as it has been without FIRST.

I don't see why we should support FTC, just because it is FIRST. Inbred thinking like that stifles innovation and progress. If FIRST is not held accountable for their failures or shortcomings, what motivation do they have to make things better? You'd think the massive success of VEX would make them rethink their approach to FTC, but that clearly hasn't happened.

All I have to say is FIRST is lucky there is absolutely no alternative to FRC, because if there was they might find teams jumping ship left and right.

Incidentally, is there a good thread for that particular political discussion? I am interested in it.

StevenB
05-05-2011, 10:49 PM
Robot inspectors inspected 352 robots and approximately 650 minibots for a total of over 1,000 robot inspections.
The ROBOT includes both the HOSTBOT and the MINIBOT (ROBOT = HOSTBOT + MINIBOT).

I think he meant to say, "Robot inspectors inspected 352 hostbots and approximately 650 minibots, for a total of 352 robot inspections." :) Did I read the game manual too many times?

Basel A
05-05-2011, 10:54 PM
I think he meant to say, "Robot inspectors inspected 352 hostbots and approximately 650 minibots, for a total of 352 robot inspections." :) Did I read the game manual too many times?

Well, technically, 0 robots were inspected. You don't inspect robots. You inspect hostbot and you inspect minibots.

Unless you go casual and figure both can be considered robots.

ouellet348
05-05-2011, 11:06 PM
I'm sorry to those that feel that FTC deserves some spotlight in the dome but I watched their finals matches while giving a tour and MAYBE sixty people including my fifteen person tour group watched those finals. It was sad, honestly if that's how many people regularly watch FTC they could do it in a small area of the pits with half the bleachers. Either something was off or FTC has almost no viewers.

FRC is the flagship competition. It is the "varsity sport of the mind", while giving VIP tours I can tell you that only one group wanted to see FTC really and that was an FLL team before they saw FRC and ran over to watch it. FRC has higher cost, rewards, and an overall experience. Having fields in the pits made it congested and loud, as well as dangerous. While inspecting (I had a busy week) I could hardly hear some teams in their pit. Keep FRC on center stage where we belong, let FTC have their smaller stage as they are mini-FRC. Let FRC stay where it had for the past 19 years up until this one.

As someone who loves FIRST I understand wanting to show off FTC and make them feel special and integrated, but it can be done in safer better ways.

EricH
05-05-2011, 11:09 PM
Incidentally, is there a good thread for that particular political discussion? I am interested in it.
Search around the threads that were around in 2008--that's when the big FRC/IFI split happened. (Note: IFI was as blindsided as everyone else was.)

And no, there isn't a good thread. It's not exactly something that people can keep there emotions in check on. Or rather, not something people can stop baseless speculation on, as you'll probably find when you search up those threads.

pathew100
05-05-2011, 11:58 PM
*Puts on Tinfoil Hat*

What if the eventual plan could be to merge FRC and FTC?

Robots of a size in between the two. Fields in size in between the two.

(I'm not saying it's a good idea but it's an interesting one...)

NickE
05-06-2011, 12:12 AM
FIRST only has one program with the word "Competition" in the name. If FIRST really wants to change the culture and to be cool and exciting, it should make sure to keep the Competition front and center.

From the perspective of a team member, I don't mind the pit fields. However, they are dramatically less impressive when introducing FIRST to new team members, sponsors, parents, the public, etc.

J93Wagner
05-06-2011, 12:22 AM
That is the way to do it. Also to make room for CARD you could get rid of Einstein all together play the FRC finals on a division field and put FLL on the concert stage. You may have to work out some bugs with the stage compatibility, but it should make plenty of room and it could actually work.

I like how you're trying to fit everything into the dome, however, at the moment, I highly doubt that giving CARD (or whatever it turns into) at this point a full field in the dome is the best choice. Once it has had a successful official season as a FIRST competition, as this past season for them wasn't quite officially part of FIRST, (although FIRST did know about it well before hand), and has a sizable team base registered (~30 or more?) then I would start to consider it.

Also, I would say that getting rid of Einstein and putting FLL on the "concert stage" which we aren't even sure will be there isn't the best idea ever either. I'd rather suggest that some other locale outside the dome should be found if moving FLL off Einstein is considered.

I would also suggest that if moving FTC is considered, make it so that it either goes out the dome or gets moved right next to the FRC fields as distractions and entertainment between matches as suggested before. And personally, I think that would have more of an effect on FTC than the minibots did this year. Positive or negative would have yet to be seen.

If FIRST is not held accountable for their failures or shortcomings, what motivation do they have to make things better?

Every time I have heard something to that extent or that VEX is better, I think, "Why?" Granted, I haven't seen much on either side of the table as my career in robotics competitions started with FRC, so would you please explain what you mean by failures and shortcomings as I am still confused by my unanswered "Why". It would be very much appreciated if you do so.

FIRST only has one program with the word "Competition" in the name. If FIRST really wants to change the culture and to be cool and exciting, it should make sure to keep the Competition front and center.

From the perspective of a team member, I don't mind the pit fields. However, they are dramatically less impressive when introducing FIRST to new team members, sponsors, parents, the public, etc.

To your first comment, remember, FIRST still has to keep the focus on gracious professionalism if they want to change the culture and then keep it roughly the same year after year. Go too far on the competition and people may lose sight that it isn't all about the robot.

And to your second statement, I would certainly agree.

EDIT: Wait, did I really just spend 20 minutes typing this post? Eh, whatever...

rwood359
05-06-2011, 12:28 AM
However, they are dramatically less impressive when introducing FIRST to new team members, sponsors, parents, the public, etc.
Amen. We had friends that flew in to attend what turned out to be the day we were on the pits field. Their experience (behind safety glasses) wasn't quite the NBA experience that I had advertised.

NickE
05-06-2011, 12:29 AM
Remember, FIRST still has to keep the balance on gracious professionalism and keep it roughly the same year after year.What exactly do you mean by gracious professionalism in this situation? It seems much more professional to give the teams what they paid for. FRC teams paid at least 5x more to attend the event, wouldn't it be more professional to give them dome priority.

FTC is not a spectator sport in the same way FRC is. It is a Challenge, not a Competition and the matches are hard to watch from a distance (like the distance from the field to the stands in the dome). It would be much more professional of FIRST to promote its top-tier programs.

J93Wagner
05-06-2011, 12:34 AM
What exactly do you mean by gracious professionalism? It seems much more professional to give the teams what they paid for. FRC teams paid at least 5x more to attend the event, wouldn't it be more professional to give them dome priority.

I was referring to the competition portion of your post. Competition, yes. Super fierce competition that gets people all riled up and snapping at each others throats, no. Like I said, balance, and sorry if I wasn't clear in the first place.

KelliV
05-06-2011, 08:51 AM
While involved as a student I spent 2 years on an FLL team, 4 years on an FRC team, and 2 years on an FTC (then FVC, more commonly known as VEX) team and being a part of every team I learned something different from each experience and think they all deserve the Championship Dome spotlight.

Let's look at the money end of it, since profit is on a lot of people's minds.

There were a total of 14,000 FLL teams in 2009, with the $225 registration fee alone that is $3,150,000. (this fee does not cover your competitions, that is a separate fee and varies)

There were a total of 2065 FRC teams in 2011 with a registration $5000 alone makes $10,325,000 in fees (and that includes the kit of parts, each FLL kit is $450, and FTC kit is $799.)

There were 1111 FTC teams in 2009, with a $275 registration fee that is $305,525.

While the pricing varies with each program, something that cannot be argued is the breadth of knowledge that participants gain by being a part of this fantastic organization. I think that all competitions should have their chance to shine on the floor, yes I do understand that moving pits, teams, and spectators is a large inconvenience, however, if it means more students can experience what I did during my high school and middle school years then so be it.

Each child deserves a chance to play on the big stage, even if they don't build the big robot. FRC may be a flagship but that does not mean the others do not exist, and do not deserve the same recognition as the rest of the program. After all, the R in FIRST stands for Recognition doesn't it?

-Kelli

Racer26
05-06-2011, 08:55 AM
Its sad. A few years ago, some 40-odd VERY well respected mentors, with hundreds of years of FRC experience between them, sent FIRST HQ a letter pleading for more transparency. Obviously, those pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

There is a post on CD somewhere about this letter, including its body.

IIRC it mentioned specifically the fallout with IFI, and the switch to the cRIO, and more. I think people aren't wrong in saying that if there were a competing product to FRC (because thats what it is, its a product), there would be teams jumping ship left right and center. I almost think HQ has lost some of the vision that FIRST was built on.

Dave stated on CD that he left the GDC for personal reasons relating to GDC decisions he couldn't get behind. Maybe HQ needs a wakeup call.

Racer26
05-06-2011, 09:01 AM
<snip>
Let's look at the money end of it, since profit is on a lot of people's minds.
<snip>
There were a total of 275 FRC teams in 2011 with a registration $5000 alone makes $1,375,000 in fees (and that includes the kit of parts, each FLL kit is $450, and FTC kit is $799.)
<snip>

-Kelli

There were 2065 active FRC teams in 2011: http://frclinks.com/t
352 teams attended CMP: http://frclinks.com/e/cmp

2065 x $5000 = $10,325,000.
352 x $5000 = $1,760,000
Total FRC revenues = $12,085,000

Thats before you factor in the some 20-40% of teams that attend 2 or more events, with additional events costing $4000.

KelliV
05-06-2011, 09:05 AM
Thats before you factor in the some 20-40% of teams that attend 2 or more events, with additional events costing $4000.

Corrected, math isn't my strong point (I went to art school for a reason) Events are not included because I did not include the event costs for FLL or FTC either as they vary per event. To give an example to include my 25 FLL kids in this year's season I need two teams as there is a student limit and it will cost about $8000.00 but that number can vary.

Racer26
05-06-2011, 09:13 AM
Corrected, math isn't my strong point (I went to art school for a reason) Events are not included because I did not include the event costs for FLL or FTC either as they vary per event. To give an example to include my 25 FLL kids in this year's season I need two teams as there is a student limit and it will cost about $8000.00 but that number can vary.

I count $710 + $50-150 per event, per FLL team based on numbers from: https://gofll.usfirst.org/pages/product_description_and_pricing

If all teams are buying the field setup kit, and a robot kit w/battery.

To reach $8000 for two teams, you're saying each team is going to an estimated 22 events? That doesn't sound right at all.

KelliV
05-06-2011, 09:17 AM
To reach $8000 for two teams, you're saying each team is going to an estimated 22 events? That doesn't sound right at all.

$300 per event, plus the same type of funds FRC teams have to worry about (lunches, keeping the school open, busses to events etc) and two JFLL teams.

But this isn't a funding war, I was just providing the information, yes FRC is more I get it. That does not mean that others should be banned from experiencing the Dome just because they cannot afford the big program, they also participated in Engineering right?

Racer26
05-06-2011, 09:45 AM
Just ran the full numbers for FRC in case someone cares:

Total FRC attendance: 2394 regionals, 356 MI Districts, 64 MSC, 352 CMP
Total FRC teams: 2065 (1894 + 171 MI)[~420 rookies in 2011]

Which means:

First Regional: 1894 x $5000 = $9,470,000
2nd/3rd Regionals: 500 x $4000 = $2,000,000
Championship: 352 x $5000 = $1,760,000
MI 1st/2nd District: 171 x $5000 = $855,000
MI 3rd District: 14 x $500 = $7,000
MI State Championship: 64 x $4000 = $256,000
Rookie Kit extra cost: 420 x $1500 = $630,000

Total FRC revenue: $14,978,000.

JesseK
05-06-2011, 10:19 AM
This doesn't really address Bill's Blog, but perhaps it adds some objectiveness to the discussion.

I love the idea of a 'qualifier'-'regional'-'championship' model; it solves more than the FRC overcrowding issues (more engineering iterations for the money). Yet it's just not sustainable in many areas of the country simply because large quantities of FRC teams aren't sustainable in many areas of the country. If we really wanted less FTC at the championships and more FRC of higher quality at the championships, we'd figure out how to drive the costs down so we could have that model in more areas of the country. Yet so long as FIRST is hung up on having their Regional events at $250,000 venues, we shouldn't hold our breath expecting lower registration fees to ever happen.

---

I don't understand how anyone can think, from a black-and-white perspective, that FTC is better than VRC, or vice-versa. Yes, VEX parts and avenues for innovation steamroll those of TETRIX. Yes, the value for VEX is higher, part for part, event for event. Yet experience-for-experience is just about the same from a student perspective. At least regionally, I've asked the many VRC kids I mentored and their responses are just about the same as the FTC kids I've mentored that never did FRC. The only real differentiator for mentors is value, which isn't a student issue.

Yet, from what I've witnessed, the unstated dichotomy of FRC mentors who argue about "value" between VRC and FTC is that we throw "value" out the door when we talk about FRC (see the 1st paragraph). Simply put, the overall FRC program is THE BEST QUALITY for its age group. That is why we don't care much about its dollar value. FIRST seems to understand that part very well, which is why they don't have a goal to lower the entry costs of FRC.

Thus, I think we should focus the discussion more on FRC and how FIRST is going to impact FRC with decisions made about FTC rather than make the discussion about the coolness of either FTC/VRC. Since that sentence is hard to read in one breath:

We should guide the discussion based upon how we are impacted in FRC rather than based upon how much we can squash FTC.

pathew100
05-06-2011, 10:21 AM
I think people aren't wrong in saying that if there were a competing product to FRC (because thats what it is, its a product), there would be teams jumping ship left right and center. I almost think HQ has lost some of the vision that FIRST was built on.

Dave stated on CD that he left the GDC for personal reasons relating to GDC decisions he couldn't get behind. Maybe HQ needs a wakeup call.

I suspect this might have something do with FIRST trying to compete with the other robotics competitions out there. (Which, as Dave has stated, is a BAD idea).

I got the same feeling at kickoff when Dean's homework was "You aren't a robotics team, you're a "FIRST" robotics team!"

And then came the minibots which were intended to be built out of an FTC kit. And the vision was FRC teams were supposed to reach out and find FTC teams to work with. Or FTC teams would show up with minibots at FRC events. (All of which flopped as we all know).

Further, some of the criteria (although not specfically stated as such) for winning some of the highest awards is how many other FIRST teams you can spawn. Can you point to a CA or EI winner that hasn't created FRC,FTC,FLL teams? Possibly, but probably not. (What if you created dozens of Vex/BEST/??? teams? Would that matter? It's still promoting science and technology in your school/community after all.)

It seems that things like this are an attempt to get teams involved in FIRST to "close ranks" around the FIRST programs...

E. Wood
05-06-2011, 10:51 AM
Further, some of the criteria (although not specfically stated as such) for winning some of the highest awards is how many other FIRST teams you can spawn. Can you point to a CA or EI winner that hasn't created FRC,FTC,FLL teams? Possibly, but probably not. (What if you created dozens of Vex/BEST/??? teams? Would that matter? It's still promoting science and technology in your school/community after all.)

It seems that things like this are an attempt to get teams involved in FIRST to "close ranks" around the FIRST programs...

To answer your question, yes creating VEX teams count. Our team has helped to start three local competitions including one vex and over 50 other smaller (FLL, FTC and VEX) teams. The vast majority of these teams were VEX based. When we won the RCA this year the judges did not say we helped create 19 FIRST teams and over 30 vex teams. They simply gave the total numbers. As for the whole VEX versus FIRST idea, I think itís rather silly. We all need to remember that the robot is just a tool to inspire the students. Who cares what parts itís made of? Wishing one fails is not in the best interest of anyone let alone the students involved in that particular program.

EricH
05-06-2011, 11:09 AM
VEX vs. FIRST may be rather silly.

But FIRST HQ seems to be stuck on "You're FIRST or you're no good" mindset. At least, that's the impression I get from various anecdotes related on CD over the last couple of years--the concerns over VRC teams started not counting for anything in terms of EI/RCA; the judge who told another that Hexbugs were a VEX thing, don't count those for much; FIRST's statement of supporting FTC, FLL, and their kits in a Team Update--all of those trend towards FIRST HQ seeing it as FIRST vs VEX.

It's those of us in the trenches that either don't give a darn, or went with VEX when the big split happened, or tried to to both VRC and FTC and gave up one, so now we do FRC and VRC.

Yes, there was a plea for more transparency a few years ago. It did not fall on deaf ears; FIRST HQ has opened up a little bit. The problem now is communication and an "us vs them" mentality that seems to be infecting HQ, or at least some key members of the volunteer corps. Lack of communication is a big problem; lack of timely communication is at least as bad.

If the reason for the field move had been announced before the concert was, I think there would have been discussion and some concern--but the timing implied that the concert was the reason and all later statements to the contrary were implied to be false. I think that FTC was part of the reason; maybe not the whole reason, but at least part. But what concerns me is: What's the rest of the reason? Don't give me BS about being closer; if you put the same bunch of people in a tiny space for days on end, either they'll bond really well or tensions will flame up way too much and something bad's going to happen. Often there'll be minor friction, but anything major can really cause trouble.

Racer26
05-06-2011, 11:32 AM
@Eric: I agree FIRST HQ seems to be very stuck on the FIRST vs. <other robot competition> bit, ESPECIALLY FTC vs VRC.

Numerous well respected members of the various programs have made the correct assertion that because the COMBINED effect of all of these programs reaches a very small percentage of students, any competition between the programs is both foolish, and flies in the face of the programs' stated goals of changing the culture, and inspiring recognition of STEM fields in students.

The part of the whole ongoing political battle between FIRST and IFI (and by extension VEX) that gets me, is that IFI has maintained the moral high-ground by continuing support for FRC, even in the face of what appears to be direct jabs at them and the viability of their business (No prepunched aluminum parts on minibots that arent FTC parts [straight-up attack on VEX components on minibots, IMO]).

IFI supports FRC a lot (via team IFI [111, 217, 254, 1114], donating VEXpro Victors, donating SPIKEs, etc). Were IFI to decide they'd had enough of FIRST HQ stabbing at them, and stop supporting FRC altogether, the program would surely suffer for it.

pathew100
05-06-2011, 11:34 AM
To answer your question, yes creating VEX teams count. Our team has helped to start three local competitions including one vex and over 50 other smaller (FLL, FTC and VEX) teams. The vast majority of these teams were VEX based. When we won the RCA this year the judges did not say we helped create 19 FIRST teams and over 30 vex teams. They simply gave the total numbers.

That is good to hear. Hopefully this is consistent from event to event.

As for the whole VEX versus FIRST idea, I think itís rather silly. We all need to remember that the robot is just a tool to inspire the students. Who cares what parts itís made of? Wishing one fails is not in the best interest of anyone let alone the students involved in that particular program.

Honestly, I don't blame FIRST. But they should just come out and say, "Yes, at a "corporate non-profit" level we are "competing" with other robotics based competitions.

Why else would they base the minibots on FTC kits? And force FRC teams to buy FTC parts? It's an overt attempt to grow their newest brand and the one with the most growth potential. They've never been shy about growth being the primary goal of the program.

I do think they see huge growth of VEX in the same space as FTC and right now the FIRST brand is a distant second.

Logomotion, the minibots and Dean's speech ("you're a FIRST team") are all ways for them to strengthen the brand and grow the organization.

And I don't think anyone wants FTC or VEX to fail, at either organization. But they do "compete" against each other to some extent.

Racer26
05-06-2011, 11:41 AM
and remember everyone: VRC only exists, because FVC got turned into FTC. FVC was quite popular in its first 2 seasons, and then FIRST HQ made the excessively foolish decision to jump ship on the kit and go to something more expensive, and with almost no pre-installed user base. (My opinion: this happened because a big FRC or FIRST-wide LEGO sponsorship hinged on FTC using TETRIX.)

IFI responded by creating VRC (no doubt using knowledge they'd learned from years of working with FIRST), to give a home to all the teams that now had useless VEX kits.

JesseK
05-06-2011, 12:27 PM
VEX vs. FIRST may be rather silly.

But FIRST HQ seems to be stuck on "You're FIRST or you're no good" mindset.

Aye, this is the impression I get too.

SeaPerch & ZERO robotics are also on that list of "we don't want to hear about it". 2 years ago we were "not allowed" to bring a SeaPerch bot into our pit for display. In addition the judges cut the kids off when they talked about it. We brought it anyways, we talked about it anyways. We did win EI that year, yet we won EI twice this year because of our 4 FTC teams & 30 FLL teams (according to the announcer during the award ceremony).

On the same token, we (well, 1 teacher on our team, 1 on another; mentors support them where we can) have worked our tail off in getting STEM into the curriculum. Actually, it goes much further than that, but I can't say much until more things about it solidify. We even have an end goal that's quite unique and parallels (but doesn't compete with) FIRST and its mission. The goal even uses FIRST's programs (and VEX for that matter...). Yet the teacher was told, unofficially I think, that curriculum is NOT in any of FIRST's goals. I believe it because curriculum isn't mentioned in any of FIRST's statements, anywhere. I can only conjecture that they think the sports model falls apart because of it.

As a sort of counter point to my own argument, 2 years ago in Florida when we briefly met with Paul Godonis, he said he didn't want school board support behind FIRST. Actually in hind sight, IMO that part is for the best -- for reasons best said elsewhere. Yet because of those reasons I've come to realize one major thing: while FIRST doesn't deserve the "sunshine and kittens" deification that sometimes happens on CD, they DO have a plan that isn't totally diabolical and was created by some pretty competent people.

Basically, if you want awards, tie what you're doing into some perspective that works for FIRST. Toss that perspective into some silly story (we had fairies and wizards in ours ... I was the knight) to help the judges read it easier, and voila!
(Thank God I didn't have to wear the knight costume the kids suggested...)

GaryVoshol
05-06-2011, 02:04 PM
To give an example to include my 25 FLL kids in this year's season I need two teams ...Err, three teams? Max of 10 per team.

Frenchie461
05-06-2011, 03:12 PM
Has anyone considered the possibility of simply getting rid of FTC. If FIRST could get FRC affordable so teams could do more with less. Get rid of the official FIRST lighting and sound people. For example, at the BMR, college students would have done just as good of a job on lighting and sound for a whole lot less. With several changes like that, a regional could be down to 1500 or so per team, making it a lot more accessible to schools that are only able to afford FTC. If a FRC team was only twice an FTC team (I'm assuming FTC is like Vex where schools have multiple teams), schools would choose FRC.

tl;dr make first cheap, get rid of FTC

J93Wagner
05-06-2011, 04:06 PM
tl;dr make first cheap, get rid of FTC

I would dispute your assertion that replacing paid personnel (IF that's how they do it at regionals, and I doubt that) with volunteer students would help as the real cost is really in the venue. Change the process of Qualifying into CMP with a District/Regional/CMP model and overall costs to teams will go down.

Also, I wouldn't say, "Get rid of FTC," because FTC does have things to offer. If schools decide that FRC (or VRC for that matter) is better than FTC and FTC slowly dies, so be it. But deciding to kill FTC when it is still growing like it is now doesn't make any sense to me.

PayneTrain
05-06-2011, 04:35 PM
tl;dr make first cheap, get rid of FTC

When will the people of and in FIRST understand that it is not all about the money? It's about the commitment. No matter how CHEAP you make FRC, you will not change the amount of commitment teams need to remain viable at the FRC level.

I know of many teams, who are native to my state and locality, that have folded due to a lack of commitment. The money was there, but their hearts just weren't in it, so they went to the D-League of FIRST, FTC.

I don't mean to sound too cut-and-dry, but you won't "get" how to manage an FRC team until you realize it's not about the money. I've seen frugal teams reach finals and loaded teams miss elims. You can't pour money into the human element.

Mark Sheridan
05-06-2011, 04:46 PM
FTC is not the problem. I think most people here see very obvious solutions to the problems and can't understand why FIRST see these solutions.

I am tired of FIRST's excuse after excuse. They thought they had a good idea that did not turn out well in the end. You would think FIRST would be excited about design iteration. Hopeful the rotating GDC member will give new perspectives not only in game design but how teams look at FIRST.

I think we all know that FIRST is full of well intentioned people. We just have high standards of excellence for them. If you think the politics of FIRST is bad, you have no idea how bad high school sport politics can get. I think we are lucky, but that won't stop me from complaining when I see a problem.

waialua359
05-06-2011, 04:56 PM
Taken from the list of bullets in the blog:

- The highest combined match score was 131-122, on Newton
- Highest individual alliance score was 146, also on Newton

For information's sake, it would be nice to include the teams' names and FRC numbers that achieved these scores if they are going to be noted in the blog and commented on.

Jane
We had a chance to beat that with 1114 and two hawaii teams 359 and 1056.
Our team had a broken pvc tab on our minibot which went up and then fell.:(
We had the second fastest minibot on the field of 4 that attempted. With only one going up from 1114, we still had 127.

pfreivald
05-06-2011, 05:04 PM
I had family drive in to visit at CMP, and they were every bit as impressed with the fields in the pit as they were the fields in the dome. I think I'm going to have a hard time convincing my brother to line up the proper support before registering for an FRC team...

Richard Wallace
05-06-2011, 05:08 PM
... I think I'm going to have a hard time convincing my brother to line up the proper support before registering for an FRC team...If your brother is so enthused about FIRST that he's ready to register an FRC team without "lining up the proper support", well ...

that is the proper support.

FRC4ME
05-06-2011, 05:37 PM
As a sort of counter point to my own argument, 2 years ago in Florida when we briefly met with Paul Godonis, he said he didn't want school board support behind FIRST. Actually in hind sight, IMO that part is for the best -- for reasons best said elsewhere. Yet because of those reasons I've come to realize one major thing: while FIRST doesn't deserve the "sunshine and kittens" deification that sometimes happens on CD, they DO have a plan that isn't totally diabolical and was created by some pretty competent people.

I'm a little concerned that the best you can say about FIRST is that they "aren't totally diabolical." I honestly believe FIRST's goals are pure and not corrupt. Are you implying that this isn't the case?

Whether on purpose or by accident, FIRST has created something pretty amazing. I've always thought that what makes it so amazing is that the politics don't matter all that much. It's not so much what FIRST does, but what FIRST allows others to do. Inspiration and Recognition; that's what FIRST is about, right?

alexhenning
05-06-2011, 05:59 PM
Has anyone considered the possibility of simply getting rid of FTC. If FIRST could get FRC affordable so teams could do more with less. Get rid of the official FIRST lighting and sound people. For example, at the BMR, college students would have done just as good of a job on lighting and sound for a whole lot less. With several changes like that, a regional could be down to 1500 or so per team, making it a lot more accessible to schools that are only able to afford FTC. If a FRC team was only twice an FTC team (I'm assuming FTC is like Vex where schools have multiple teams), schools would choose FRC.

tl;dr make first cheap, get rid of FTC

FRC is the flagship of FIRST, and as much as FIRST wants to help FTC, I don't think it should be put ahead of FRC. If anything, FIRST should help the FTC teams become FRC teams. The FTC teams for the most part have exceptional students who are motivated. They have wonderful mentor. However, they lack funding.

FIRST should help the FTC teams become aware of sponsorship opportunities. For instance:
This year, JCPenny gave ~$6,500 to rookies.
There's also the NASA grants for about ~$5,000.
PTC should be offering sponsorships next year.
Tons of local businesses.
Assuming FTC teams already have $2,000 a year in funding, they "just" need one of those grants and another $1,500. The money could be obtained by fundraising, a big sponsor, several small local sponsors. That's assuming you live within driving distance of a regional, but I believe their are enough sponsorship and fundraising opportunities as long as the team is dedicated enough.

pfreivald
05-06-2011, 06:41 PM
If your brother is so enthused about FIRST that he's ready to register an FRC team without "lining up the proper support", well ...

that is the proper support.

Oh, trust me, I know. That's how both FIRST teams I've founded got started.

That said, there is a difference between founding a FIRST team and founding a FIRST team with the foundation to last, and I'd hate to see him make the same mistakes I made with 827...

EricH
05-06-2011, 06:42 PM
I'm a little concerned that the best you can say about FIRST is that they "aren't totally diabolical." I honestly believe FIRST's goals are pure and not corrupt. Are you implying that this isn't the case?

Whether on purpose or by accident, FIRST has created something pretty amazing. I've always thought that what makes it so amazing is that the politics don't matter all that much. It's not so much what FIRST does, but what FIRST allows others to do. Inspiration and Recognition; that's what FIRST is about, right?The goals have not changed.

The people have, and that has brought some undercurrents into the situation. Some tensions, if you will, or politics. The strongest company can be severely damaged by allowing those tensions and distrusts to continue without resolution.

I've been in and around FRC for over a decade now, first as a spectator, then a student (and occasional volunteer), then as a volunteer, now as a spectator again. This year, I think I've seen more tension buildup between CD and the perceived goals, etc, of HQ than any other year. Yeah, the move did compound it. Yeah, there's been some tension year after year, especially in 2008/2009 (IFI-NI transition in FRC; VEX-Tetrix in FTC). This year, it seems worse than normal. Hopefully, having team veterans and active team mentors from the role-model teams on the GDC will help bring the teams' views to the GDC and HQ and ease some of the tensions.

pathew100
05-06-2011, 10:41 PM
If FIRST could get FRC affordable so teams could do more with less. Get rid of the official FIRST lighting and sound people. For example, at the BMR, college students would have done just as good of a job on lighting and sound for a whole lot less. With several changes like that, a regional could be down to 1500 or so per team, making it a lot more accessible to schools that are only able to afford FTC.

This is basically what the Michigan district system does. We built our own field hardware and volunteers transport it to each event (we still rent/borrow all the electronics from FIRST). We get field tech support from FIRST as well but have our own trained FTAs.

There is no production company. There is no extra lighting other than whatever is in the venue. The sound/DJ/ A/V is sometimes the school's and/or rented or other volunteered gear.

You do lose some production value, the venues are smaller but since there are ~40 teams per district it isn't an issue. The experience for the teams is almost the same and definitely outweighs the cost (2 districts for the price of one regional).

So it does take a lot of extra volunteer overhead and leadership (The FIRST in Michigan board members) to pull it off. Might be hard to do if you start spreading the areas to encompass 4-5 states.

dez250
05-06-2011, 11:33 PM
...Keep FRC on center stage where we belong, let FTC have their smaller stage as they are mini-FRC. Let FRC stay where it had for the past 19 years up until this one.

As someone who loves FIRST I understand wanting to show off FTC and make them feel special and integrated, but it can be done in safer better ways.

First I want to address your last comment, how is FTC in the dome not safe?
I think keeping FTC there side by side with FRC is a great thing. It allows FTC teams watch FRC teams compete while they are waiting in que or observing other matches while at their own world championship too. It gives them inspiration to see what else they can choose to achieve.

As for your first comment above, see my comments below, you may be surprised to see the fields were not separated from the pits until the move in 2003. :ahh:
When I was in high school, the only "Main Event Field" that wasn't "in" the pits was the "TV Field". Back before 2003, before the event moved to the Astrodome in Houston, and consequently to Atlanta and now St. Louis, Championship fields were adjacent to the pits. I would say they were in the pits but some may argue they weren't. In EPCOT's parking lot, tents were erected to house the divisional fields and pits. These tents were adjacent to one another and the only thing separating the pits from the fields was a plastic drape wall. The main stage where opening, closing, and awards ceremonies were held was a couple football fields away from the "robot village" and surrounded by metal bleachers in the nice bright Florida sun. Before Florida [Pre 95], the competition was held as a single event per year in high school gyms. So to make a note on your comment, I would say this year FIRST did make a move towards what it had been in years previous for the Championship and I am excited to see some fields stay in the pits for years to come.

Also attached is the pit map from 2002, the red wording on the right, of the divisional names is where the fields were located. Notice Einstein was a division and Galileo had yet to exist.

FRC4ME
05-06-2011, 11:51 PM
The people have, and that has brought some undercurrents into the situation. Some tensions, if you will, or politics. The strongest company can be severely damaged by allowing those tensions and distrusts to continue without resolution.

I think it is of utmost importance that we (not HQ; us, the students, the mentors, the volunteers, the community) don't let that happen.

Maybe CDers just need to attend more regionals. It's almost impossible to think about politics there. :)

Brian C
05-07-2011, 08:25 AM
I am curious as to why everyone thinks the fields in the pit area were so bad?



I'll preface this by saying that I was not in St Louis to see this personally. I did however get some good feedback from people whose opinions I trust. That being said:

The situation reminds me ALOT of what FIRST used to do in EPCOT Center in Disneyworld. There were fields set up in tents adjacent to the pit tent that the divisions woudl compete on. All teams got a chance to rotate onto the "main" field (Einstein) for one of their qualifying matches so they could experience being in front of the main grandstands.

It really wasn't that big a deal. Heck, we even had to move the robot *gasp* outside :rolleyes: on our way to the Einstein field.

Marc P.
05-07-2011, 10:46 AM
Here are a few photos from the Championship in 2002 that will hopefully provide some perspective to the people here who have only known Atlanta Championships.

The first photo is Einstein- note how it's outdoors, where everyone (literally) baked in the Florida sun during opening/closing ceremonies. Also note the canopy/tunnel on the left- that was the robot path to bring your robot to/from Einstein. And as someone above posted, back then you didn't have one field to call home. You'd rotate through the fields each match, and hope the rest of your team knew which field you were on next.

The second photo is the Pit/Field tent. Yeah, that's it. All the pits were in that tent, and the fields were in a similar tent adjacent to it. This is the end of the pit closest to where Einstein was, where colleges and universities had tables set up with information for prospective students. The smaller tent on the left was the "Internet Lounge", where multiple phone lines were provided for laptops to dial up to the internet.

Third photo is the stands for Einstein. Not much else to say other than reiterating the "baking in the Florida sun" part.

The last photo is Archimedes. On the other side of the plastic wall behind the field is the pits. Behind me were bleachers. Yep, only one set of bleachers, on one side of the field, and they were much smaller than what was in St. Louis.

In 2002 there were FRC 291 teams at the championship (count the number of pits from the map Dez posted above). This year in St. Louis there were 351 FRC teams. That's roughly 21% more teams attending the Championship than in 2002. From the pictures of the pit fields I've seen this year, the bleachers provided way more than 21% more seating space than the tent fields in Epcot. From what I've been reading here, it seems there still wasn't enough space for everyone. But as little space as there was, consider that it was still an improvement over the olden days of yore. As a student back then, no one on my team ever complained about lack of seating. We were having too good of a time to notice.

OZ_341
05-07-2011, 11:27 AM
Here are a few photos from the Championship in 2002 ........

These photos are making me miss Disney! I would sit 3 people per seat, just to be back at EPCOT. You are right, we were having too much fun to notice any problems. :)

PayneTrain
05-07-2011, 11:42 AM
^^Chief Delphi members are more critical than your average FIRSTer. We're the die-hards of the fanbase, but we aren't fanboys. We hope for constant improvement.

I think it would be cool to go back to Disney if they had a supporting venue for FRC (Though I feel the sports complex there would be very accommodating to teams, but probably rather expensive)

I like the idea of fields in the pits, but I think it needed more seating. There wouldn't be any complaints if there was enough seating.

BrendanB
05-07-2011, 02:37 PM
First I want to address your last comment, how is FTC in the dome not safe?
I think keeping FTC there side by side with FRC is a great thing.

He is referring to the pit safety of the FRC pit fields!

Not going to lie, but I did NOT feel safe in the pit fields especially during the eliminations. Teams were sprawled out on the edges working on items with people sitting 5 feet away without safety glasses, it was very crowded, the stands were jam packed including the aisles, and I was hit several times with carts and twice with robot arms to the back of my head (once on Friday and once on Sat.

Oh well, that is just me.

Brian C
05-08-2011, 08:51 AM
The second photo is the Pit/Field tent. Yeah, that's it. All the pits were in that tent, and the fields were in a similar tent adjacent to it.

Nice pics Marc! Brings back some nice memories.

To give a feel for the size of the pit tent for those that weren't there the word back then was that they could fit 3 747 airplanes end-to end in the pit tent alone. With the plastic floor and all of the electric, lighting, A/C and other hookups and support the logistics were incredible.

Yes Disney was certainly good and had it's advantages. Atlanta was good and had it's advantages as well.

I think that over time folks will realize that St. Louis has it's advantages too.

Koko Ed
05-08-2011, 08:58 AM
My first year was at that event in Florida.
I'm glad we left. Like our lead teacher pointed out: that was more about Disney than FIRST.

Kevin Sevcik
05-08-2011, 08:32 PM
I would dispute your assertion that replacing paid personnel (IF that's how they do it at regionals, and I doubt that) with volunteer students would help as the real cost is really in the venue.You're oh so sadly mistaken. AV at tradtional regionals isn't just paid professionals. It's paid professionals shipped in from New England along with all their equipment. To the tune of mid five figures for the Lonestar regional. As has been mandated by FIRST HQ for a while now, since they have a national contract with the AV company. If I recall correctly AV is the biggest or second biggest expense at Lonestar. So it's far from insignificant, and can dwarf the actual venue costs.

J93Wagner
05-08-2011, 08:41 PM
You're oh so sadly mistaken. AV at tradtional regionals isn't just paid professionals. It's paid professionals shipped in from New England along with all their equipment. To the tune of mid five figures for the Lonestar regional. As has been mandated by FIRST HQ for a while now, since they have a national contract with the AV company. If I recall correctly AV is the biggest or second biggest expense at Lonestar. So it's far from insignificant, and can dwarf the actual venue costs.

:ahh: Well, that certainly compounds things...

JesseK
05-09-2011, 08:09 AM
I'm a little concerned that the best you can say about FIRST is that they "aren't totally diabolical." I honestly believe FIRST's goals are pure and not corrupt. Are you implying that this isn't the case?

It is a simple anecdote that could be used to address cynicism surrounding FIRST regarding some of their decisions, not their goals. If we don't understand some of the decisions FIRST makes, and then they keep making mistakes or consistently disagreeing with us (small issues most of the time) without any sort of transparency, are we wrong to question their motives? Or should we always presume the motives behind the decisions are 'pure'? While I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, emerging patterns are very difficult to ignore.

Dancin103
05-09-2011, 01:58 PM
After looking at the pit map from 2002, the pictures, and getting lost down memory lane, there were a few things that came to mind. If there is only a 21% increase in the number of teams at this year's Championship Event, there is something that I think is being over looked. Yes it is about the number of teams, but at the same time, it's about the number of members per team as well. I feel as though over the years, teams themselves have grown in exponential numbers and are becoming larger than they were in the past.

Also, look at the pit map for 2002 plus the field maps for 2002 (idk if they are posted anywhere), then look at the 2011 pit map. The event that we are currently running involves so much more now than it did then. Back then the Championship was only for FRC, at least from what I can remember.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVED Disney and I still LOVE Disney, but I really do think we may have out grown that. Saint Louis this year was great and I had no complaints. Ok, maybe I had one complaint, the location of the Hall of Fame pits, but that was it. FIRST was very accommodating and the city of Saint Louis couldn't have been better. I enjoyed every minute of my time there. :)

Just my $0.02

Cass

EricH
05-09-2011, 07:51 PM
Back then the Championship was only for FRC, at least from what I can remember.
FLL showed up in 2000, as an exhibition in one of the side tents. I remember tha much. I'm not entirely certain when the World Festival began as a World Festival.

GaryVoshol
05-09-2011, 08:14 PM
1999-2000 was the first "public" year for FLL. (There was a pilot the year before.)

My daughter's team was invited to Disney in 2002; there may have been exhibitions before. There were about 20 teams invited from about 10 states at that 2002 event, playing the 2001-2 game, Arctic Impact.

jvriezen
05-10-2011, 04:45 PM
I think he meant to say, "Robot inspectors inspected 352 hostbots and approximately 650 minibots, for a total of 352 robot inspections." :) Did I read the game manual too many times?

As a Curie minibot inspector, I can assure you the number of minibot inspections quoted is way low. They only counted passed minibot inspections, and only some of those. Often times I'd get a mini-bot which was a exact clone of one I'd previously inspected (from the same team) and rather than go look up their paper work and increment the number of minibots represented by a single inspection sheet for clones, I'd just check it over, and put the sticker on it.

This doesn't begin to count the number of minibots that were offered with illegal materials that never passed (some of which were presented to at least three different inspectors trying to find someone who'd let it slide.)