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RULE CHANGE!!!

Posted by Brandon Martus, Other on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 3/26/99 8:38 PM MST



Just thought I'd let everyone who isn't at the Great Lakes Regional know about the rule change.
[This will probably show up on the FIRST page soon]
Dean asked all 59 teams at this regional to vote, and 55 of the 59 voted yes.
Heres the change:
The top 8 teams will choose 1 alliance.
Then they will go through and choose another alliance.
So there will be alliances of 3 teams.
Only 2 teams (decided by the 'captain', the 1-8 seed) of each alliance will play each round.
It can be any combination of the 3 teams.
This will allow more teams to participate, and will help with the break-downs, making it so there shouldn't be any teams playing alone. I believe Dean said something about shorter time-outs (2.5 min? .. not positive)
Like I said, this will probably be on the FIRST page, restated OFFICIALLY, this is just from my memory. (correct me if i'm wrong and u are at the regional also)



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Dean Kamen IS a problem solver . . .

Posted by Dan, Student on team #10, BSM, from Benilde-St. Margaret's and Banner Engineering.

Posted on 3/26/99 11:13 PM MST


In Reply to: RULE CHANGE!!! posted by Brandon Martus on 3/26/99 8:38 PM MST:



What an absolutely great idea. These guys are amazing problem solvers; this solution gets more teams involved with out screwing up the schedule. This will be great at nationals. Thank you Dean! :-Dan

: Just thought I'd let everyone who isn't at the Great Lakes Regional know about the rule change.
: [This will probably show up on the FIRST page soon]
: Dean asked all 59 teams at this regional to vote, and 55 of the 59 voted yes.
: Heres the change:
: The top 8 teams will choose 1 alliance.
: Then they will go through and choose another alliance.
: So there will be alliances of 3 teams.
: Only 2 teams (decided by the 'captain', the 1-8 seed) of each alliance will play each round.
: It can be any combination of the 3 teams.
: This will allow more teams to participate, and will help with the break-downs, making it so there shouldn't be any teams playing alone. I believe Dean said something about shorter time-outs (2.5 min? .. not positive)
: Like I said, this will probably be on the FIRST page, restated OFFICIALLY, this is just from my memory. (correct me if i'm wrong and u are at the regional also)





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Re: RULE CHANGE!!!

Posted by Daniel, Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M Gunn Senior High School and NASA Ames.

Posted on 3/27/99 6:47 PM MST


In Reply to: RULE CHANGE!!! posted by Brandon Martus on 3/26/99 8:38 PM MST:



I can't think of any reason why this is a bad solution to the problem. Unfortunately, it doesn't take into account the fact that some teams will go to Florida, spend their first two matches trying to get their machine working because they never got to test it in competition, and then do alright for their next to matches. Great. Fantastic. 6 weeks of labor for 4 minutes of competition. 240 seconds. Doesn't seem like a while lot.

But don't get me wrong. I think it's a great change and likely the best that could be done at the last minute like this; I just wish there were more matches. This is more aimed at next year I guess. Disney made the offer! I heard them say they'd keep building a bigger arena if the competition kept growing. We should accept their offer...

Just some reactions. I think it's a great idea! Thanks Dean!! You've done it again.

-Daniel


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Yeah, but what happens when...

Posted by colleen, Student on team #126, Gael Force, from Clinton High School and Nypro.

Posted on 3/27/99 10:59 PM MST


In Reply to: RULE CHANGE!!! posted by Brandon Martus on 3/26/99 8:38 PM MST:




personally, there's something i just don't like about this deal, or at least some technicalities that i would like to see explained before i could see it being a solution to what, well, doesn't seem like a "problem"

1. what happens when, persay, team A chooses teams B & C as it's alliances for competition. team B is the team they really wanted to play with, and they picked team C cause they are good, but moreso because they had to with this rule than anything. so, team A and team B go out and play. the alliance as is is competing well, and there's no need to change a good thing, so the alliance of A and B go on to win it all. what happens to C? they did not actually compete in the elimination matches but their alliance did win, do they get to wear the gold too? how many of us would like to be team C? i wouldn't want to go up there and get a medal for something i didn't win, nor would i want to be the team that wasn't good enough to play... but maybe i'm proud of my work and get embarassed to easily.. it could be me..

2. and yet again, what about little old team C? what decision do they make? how do you decide what offer to take? how do you know when and what team's going to pick you and actually want you to play? talk about back door dealing..

3. which two teams play each match? does the team who was in the top 8 always have to be on the field? or can this tri-alliance choose to have the two chosen teams play? if they can, what was the point of having a top 8, why not pick random teams from a hat or something? the top 8 pick the team partner that best suits them, you don't want to have to worry about choosing two alliances who suit each other.

4. how far in advance will you have to inform the opposing side of what team you're playing with? many teams will pick their two teams of the 3 to play based on the two teams they will be playing, so who calls first as to whom they are playing with? say red says it's going to be teams A and C on the field, and blue then decides to play with D and E, can the red alliance now change their mind? or is there no room for strategy except absolutely on the fly? that makes for a whole lot of extra stress and pressure put onto the on the field players, and will rely much more heavily on their ability to perform under intense pressure rather then the machine's capabilities..

5. what's to say this will save time, or take up less time then if you had the top 10, 14, 16...pick on alliance and play.. you figure if you have the tri-allainces switching partners between each match and everything, it's bound to prolong the process, and the space, time, and chaos of organzing three robots around is much worse that two. that'll seem to me to make it all more hectic in the long run...

summing it all up, i just haven't seen anything wrong with the process so far. if one, or both of the robots in your alliance breaks down, such is life, in the past if that happened, it was no big deal, you couldn't pull another robot out of the crate and compete with it, you dealt with the problem at hand.. it's part of the territory.

the concept of the alliance exists, in part, so you learn to have trust is the abilities of a team other than yourself. you have to believe that no matter what happens, you can work it out, that's part of the teamwork and part of the challenge involved in this year's competition. i really don't think the difficult part of the challenge this year was picking up floppies, raising, climbing, etc... notice, practically everyone does it. but, the challenge this year was deciding how much to do, how much to rely on that other guy standing next to you, the strangers who are now your teammates.. that's the hardest part of the challenge, why shouldn't we work to overcome that?

i know the qualms too, that out of the 200 someodd teams, only 16 will move on, but why not only 16? face the challenge and prove to other teams that you are trustworthy, a reliable partner that can coorperate and handle whatever comes head. dean and woodie always say, you win the competition the day that robot is put in the crate, not on any stage or in the middle of a gym, so why is everyone so concerned about winning? if you can't trust and believe in yourselves enough to think you're one of the top 16 best teams in the nation, they how do you expect any potential alliance to think you're good enough either??.. you have to meet the challenge, have faith is the way the competition's set up, and believe you're good enough to make it..

so i ramble, sue me, but i have a point. the competition was set up to challenge us, and it does..it wants us each to prove that we are one of the top 16 best teams.. personally i don't want to be one of 24 that gets picked but doesn't play, breaks down and gets replaced, or wears a medal that two other teams one.. that's the point where i'll think no one has trust or faith in my team and it's capabilities, and then and not if we are not part of the sweet sixteen, will i feel like we lost..

ok.. i'm done now..pheww..


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Re: MORE Participation and MORE Recognition

Posted by Dan, Student on team #10, BSM, from Benilde-St. Margaret's and Banner Engineering.

Posted on 3/28/99 12:24 AM MST


In Reply to: Yeah, but what happens when... posted by colleen on 3/27/99 10:59 PM MST:



>>>>>so the alliance of A and B go on to win it all. what happens to C? they did not actually
>>>>>compete in the elimination matches but their alliance did win, do they get to wear the
>>>>>gold too? how many of us would like to be team C? i wouldn't want to go up there and get
>>>>>a medal for something i didn't win, nor would i want to be the team that wasn't good
>>>>>enough to play

That team should at least be happy it got some sort of approval by another team. Also, if you've ever sat on the bench of a very good sports team you know this feeling. It's pretty helpless whether you win or lose, but it's definitely better then watching from the stands.


>>>>> which two teams play each match? does the team who was in the top 8 always have to be
>>>>>on the field? or can this tri-alliance choose to have the two chosen teams play?


it was mentioned earlier that it's the top 8 team's decision who plays which matches. Frankly, I look forward to the occasion when that team decides it's in the alliance's best interest to sit out a match.

>>>>>if they can, what was the point of having a top 8, why not pick random teams from a hat
>>>>>or something?

Because the top 8 team should be the best of the three. The third team introduces another layer of strategy and if a top 8 team is too stubborn to put the best robots on the field, they will pay.

>>>>>...the top 8 pick the team partner that best suits them, you don't want to have to worry
>>>>>about choosing two alliances who suit each other.

I can't see why that would be so hard. If the idea of a third team is such a pain, then don't think about it and pick a buddy team of yours.


>>>>> how far in advance will you have to inform the opposing side of what team you're
>>>>>playing with?...... or is there no room for strategy except absolutely on the fly? that makes
>>>>>for a whole lot of extra stress and pressure put onto the on the field players, and will rely
>>>>>much more heavily on their ability to perform under intense pressure rather then the
>>>>>machine's capabilities

I really don't think this is such a trouble. With 3 teams, there are only 3 possible alliances that you will face in a match (A-B, A-C, C-B). As for the pressure thing, I don't think it's *that* big of deal and it doesn't even begin to make your robot anything less than the deciding factor.

>>>>>what's to say this will save time, or take up less time then if you had the top 10, 14,
>>>>>16...pick on alliance and play.. you figure if you have the tri-allainces switching partners
>>>>>between each match and everything, it's bound to prolong the process, and the space,
>>>>>time, and chaos of organzing three robots around is much worse that two. that'll seem to
>>>>>me to make it all more hectic in the long run...

If you had the top 10 or 14 pick alliances then you'd have to include byes or totally change the tourney process: not good. If you had 16 teams choose partners you more than DOUBLE the number of elimination matches from 7 to 15.
I don't see any reason why a third team sitting behind stage with a robot is going to make things that difficult at all. And if a team has to carry their robot across the field at the end of the match anyways, then I don't see the difference in having another team move their robot on the field instead.

>>>>>summing it all up, i just haven't seen anything wrong with the process so far. if one, or
>>>>>both of the robots in your alliance breaks down, such is life, in the past if that happened,
>>>>>it was no big deal, you couldn't pull another robot out of the crate and compete with it,
>>>>>you dealt with the problem at hand.. it's part of the territory.
>>>

This solution also solves the problem of having so few teams at nationals participate in the tournament. This solution is what we have been begging for. If 8 more teams can go home from nationals and feel happy that they were choosen over 200 other robots -even if they DID NOT PLAY - then that can only serve to inspire them further.

>>>>>the concept of the alliance exists, in part, so you learn to have trust is the abilities of a
>>>>>team other than yourself. you have to believe that no matter what happens, you can work
>>>>>it out, that's part of the teamwork and part of the challenge involved in this year's
>>>>>competition....... the challenge this year was deciding how much to do, how much to rely
>>>>>on that other guy standing next to you, the strangers who are now your teammates.. that's
>>>>>the hardest part of the challenge, why shouldn't we work to overcome that?
>>>>>

This solution doesn't change the fact that there are ALWAYS 2 teams in an alliance and teamwork is still essential to winning. This ADDS more teamwork in fact, that top 8 team needs to hold themselves to realistic expectations, if they don't it can mean the elimination of their alliance.

>>>>>i know the qualms too, that out of the 200 someodd teams, only 16 will move on, but why
>>>>>not only 16?......... so why is everyone so concerned about winning?
>>>>

Does it hurt to have that third alliance? Even if they are not utilized at all, does it hurt? This solution actually increases the number of losers remember, even though there will be 3 final "winners." This solution is NOT about winning, it's about PARTICIPATION and RECOGNITION.

>>>>>if you can't trust and believe in yourselves enough to think you're one of the top 16 best
>>>>>teams in the nation, then how do you expect any potential alliance to think you're good
>>>>>enough either??.. you have to meet the challenge, have faith is the way the competition's
>>>>>set up, and believe you're good enough to make it


This does not imply these extra 8 teams don't believe they are good enough to be in the top 16. A team's final ranking will most likely not reflect their "true" ranking due to natural inaccuracies in any tournament. Those of us asking for more teams in the tournament do not believe it is our only way into the tournament, I'm concerned for the overall effectiveness of the competition - as are Dean and Woodie. The fact is that if 8 more teams are recognized and can possibly participate, those 8 teams are happier with nothing taken away from anyone else.

>>>>> personally i don't want to be one of 24 that gets picked but doesn't play, breaks down and
>>>>>gets replaced, or wears a medal that two other teams one.. that's the point where i'll think
>>>>>no one has trust or faith in my team and it's capabilities, and then and not if we are not
>>>>>part of the sweet sixteen, will i feel like we lost..

What if you are one of 200+ teams that doesn't get picked AT ALL?? Would you rather sit there and watch, or at least cheer for your own alliance?? You have both choices with this solution. If you feel offended that a team doesn't trust you, you should realize that your machine is not always best fit for every match. Would you honestly want to compete even if you knew your alliance wouldn't do as well? I think there are new lessons to be learned with this solution.
:-Dan


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still don't think it's right

Posted by colleen, Student on team #126, Gael Force, from Clinton High School and Nypro.

Posted on 3/28/99 11:44 AM MST


In Reply to: Re: MORE Participation and MORE Recognition posted by Dan on 3/28/99 12:24 AM MST:




i still disagree.. yes, i'm speaking personally here, i would rather not get picked at all then get picked just cause i'm a "buddy" or cause the other team has to pick someone. and, i would not want to walk up on stage and receive a medal around my neck that i did not participate in earning. it just seems to me that a team that breaks down and needs to be replaced is going to be RECOGNIZED and remembered for that, and the team that gets chosen but does not PARTICIPATE will not be remembered or recognized at all. part of this competition is the luck of the draw, the choice of one alliance partner and having to make it through with them through the thick and thin, because you are one team and have no other option.

in the end, regardless of how many teams per alliance, there will be one national winner, one runner-up, one fifth place, one last place, etc. completely independent of how many teams are chosen.. but, if you're going to have 3 alliances, why not have 4, 5, 12.. enough so everyone makes it to the elimination matches?? why not.. because that is not the point of it, that is not the point of qualifying and being eliminated, why change it now?

that's my opinion on the deal, not to say that i would reject the idea of being a third alliance, or choosing 2 others if in the position to do so, but the concept of being chosen and not being needed by the alliance doesn't sit well with me..yes, i'd rather be sitting in the stands watching and enjoying that sitting on the bench in the game only because they don't cut... and i wouldn't want to be the one to pick 2 alliances and only have a use for one of them... but, that's just what i think..


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Re: Yeah, but what happens when...

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

Posted on 3/28/99 12:31 PM MST


In Reply to: Yeah, but what happens when... posted by colleen on 3/27/99 10:59 PM MST:



: 1. what happens when, persay, team A chooses teams B & C as it's alliances for competition. team B is the team they really wanted to play with, and they picked team C cause they are good, but moreso because they had to with this rule than anything. so, team A and team B go out and play. the alliance as is is competing well, and there's no need to change a good thing, so the alliance of A and B go on to win it all. what happens to C? they did not actually compete in the elimination matches but their alliance did win, do they get to wear the gold too? how many of us would like to be team C? i wouldn't want to go up there and get a medal for something i didn't win, nor would i want to be the team that wasn't good enough to play... but maybe i'm proud of my work and get embarassed to easily.. it could be me..

Indeed this did happen in Ypsi. ITW Drawform(BOB) played once, but then was replaced permanently by OSMTech. And yet they walk away with the same medal as Beatty.
Something is wrong here...


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Re: Yeah, but what happens when...

Posted by Jerry Eckert, Engineer on team #140 from Tyngsboro, MA High School and New England Prototype/Brooks Automation.

Posted on 3/28/99 1:43 PM MST


In Reply to: Re: Yeah, but what happens when... posted by Peter VanWylen on 3/28/99 12:31 PM MST:



: : 1. what happens when, persay, team A chooses teams B & C as it's alliances for competition. team B is the team they really wanted to play with, and they picked team C cause they are good, but moreso because they had to with this rule than anything. so, team A and team B go out and play. the alliance as is is competing well, and there's no need to change a good thing, so the alliance of A and B go on to win it all. what happens to C? they did not actually compete in the elimination matches but their alliance did win, do they get to wear the gold too? how many of us would like to be team C? i wouldn't want to go up there and get a medal for something i didn't win, nor would i want to be the team that wasn't good enough to play... but maybe i'm proud of my work and get embarassed to easily.. it could be me..

: Indeed this did happen in Ypsi. ITW Drawform(BOB) played once, but then was replaced permanently by OSMTech. And yet they walk away with the same medal as Beatty.
: Something is wrong here...

How is that any different from the last-string sports player who sits
on the bench for the entire Super Bowl/World Series/whatever and gets
the same championship ring/trophy/bonus as the starters?

Let's face it, folks -- there's no way this competition is going to be,
or can be, fair to all teams under all situations. In that regard it
is a pretty accurate reflection of life in general.

- Jerry





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true, it never will be fair, so why change it? (EOM)

Posted by colleen, Student on team #126, Gael Force, from Clinton High School and Nypro.

Posted on 3/28/99 8:45 PM MST


In Reply to: Re: Yeah, but what happens when... posted by Jerry Eckert on 3/28/99 1:43 PM MST:




that's it..


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Re: true, it never will be fair, so why change it? (EOM)

Posted by Jerry Eckert, Engineer on team #140 from Tyngsboro, MA High School and New England Prototype/Brooks Automation.

Posted on 3/29/99 10:27 AM MST


In Reply to: true, it never will be fair, so why change it? (EOM) posted by colleen on 3/28/99 8:45 PM MST:



:
: that's it..

I assume you're asking why change from a two team alliance to a three
team alliance?

I assume the reason is to improve the chances that there will be two
functioning robots in each match. For example, consider what happened
to CHAOS and us at Hartford:

During our first QF match our robot blew a gearbox in one of the drive
motors, which left us essentially dead in the water. We were unable to
replace the gearbox during a timeout period, so our partner was left to
fend for themselves against two robots in the second match as well.

If the new rule had been in place the outcome of the first match would
have been the same, put the second match would have been a two-on-two
competition.

There are at least three advantages I see to having three team alliances:

(1) The competition is more exciting in that there will be fewer
one-sided matches resulting from mechanical failures

(2) It corrects a blatant inequity in the competition structure
using a model common to all team sports

(3) It reduces the amount of time wasted due to timeouts for
robot repairs during the elimination rounds

So far, I've seen two substantive objections to the three team alliances:

(a) That the third team might not actually get to participate

(b) Additional possibilities concerning pre-arranged alliances

While (a) is entirely within the realm of possibility, it is a situation
which is common in team sports. If a given team does not feel they will
be comfortable in this position they are free to decline an invitation
to particiapte in the alliance. But that hardly seems reason to deny
other teams which have no such reservations the opportunity.

Issue (b) is a stickier issue. Yes, teams can pre-arrange alliances.
But I'm not convinced this is as bad as many are making it out to be.
To me, FIRST isn't about winning or losing -- it's about learning and
doing your best. What any other team does or doesn't do doesn't change
what YOU have done.

SET MODE/CYNICAL

And, let's face it, back-room dealing, greed, and unfairness are all
a big part of life and something you'll have to learn to deal with
sooner or later. Perhaps it's better to learn this lesson here,
where the only thing at stake is a little pride, rather than later
in life where more important things such as a job or career are at stake.

Anyway, that's my $0.02...

- Jerry





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Re: Please don't cop out

Posted by Chris, Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

Posted on 3/29/99 1:03 PM MST


In Reply to: true, it never will be fair, so why change it? (EOM) posted by colleen on 3/28/99 8:45 PM MST:



The thing that I hate to hear most is that "Things will never be (fill
in the blank) so why change?" That is the biggest cop out I've ever
heard. If this were true, then why do we do anything in life? Why do
we make new laws, review the rules of golf every few years, make a new
motor design for the next model year automobile? Because change can
IMPROVE things. Things may never be perfect, but through a series of
improvements (through CHANGE), things become much closer to perfect.
Just because something doesn't solve all of the problems, doesn't mean
it isn't an improvement and it isn't worth while to implement it. If
change weren't worthwhile, all of us engineers would be out of jobs,
since cars, computers, etc. work just fine now. We all have jobs
because things can be changed and improved.

And remember - "Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine."


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Unread 06-23-2002, 09:12 PM
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Re: One Quick Addition

Posted by Chris, Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

Posted on 3/29/99 2:36 PM MST


In Reply to: Re: Please don't cop out posted by Chris on 3/29/99 1:03 PM MST:



: The thing that I hate to hear most is that "Things will never be (fill
: in the blank) so why change?" That is the biggest cop out I've ever
: heard. If this were true, then why do we do anything in life? Why do
: we make new laws, review the rules of golf every few years, make a new
: motor design for the next model year automobile? Because change can
: IMPROVE things. Things may never be perfect, but through a series of
: improvements (through CHANGE), things become much closer to perfect.
: Just because something doesn't solve all of the problems, doesn't mean
: it isn't an improvement and it isn't worth while to implement it. If
: change weren't worthwhile, all of us engineers would be out of jobs,
: since cars, computers, etc. work just fine now. We all have jobs
: because things can be changed and improved.

: And remember - "Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine."

Just an addition -

I'm not trying to debate whether or not this is a good change in the
rules. I'm just trying to point out that change can be good and don't
rule anything out just because it doesn't make things perfect. Change
doesn't have to make things perfect - it just needs to improve things.



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