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View Full Version : Lessons learned 2005: The negative


Koko Ed
04-25-2005, 11:43 AM
What did FIRST do this year that could be done better next year?

Starke
04-25-2005, 11:45 AM
I would say less penalties.

Alex Cormier
04-25-2005, 12:04 PM
one thing i regretted the most was. the 40 minute waste of time for the robot to go out to the match, wait, play the match and then return to the pits. I had our robot stay out by he filed for a few matches on Friday and i thought it was a great idea until i realized thee is no one in the pits to talk to judges or other teams. this problem should be addressed. the walk for the robots was horrible but not the walk for humans. i believe the walk for robots should/must be shorter then humans. good day. im tired.

Koko Ed
04-25-2005, 12:11 PM
Things that did not go so well this year were..
- The scoring software. It really damaged the flow of the cometition and often sealed off the flow of information on alot of regionals.
- The penalties. The 30 point penalty is perhaps a bit excessive considering it's harder to score this year.
- The return of Sir Charles. 'nuff said.
- The lack of respect the animation, website, Inventor and Woodie Flowers award got at the championship. What they're not good enough for the main award cermony?
- The finals were too long. Those two speeches did not help. The flow was all out of whack.
- The food at the afterparty was not so hot.

xzvrw2
04-25-2005, 12:22 PM
Things that did not go so well this year were..
- The scoring software. It really damaged the flow of the cometition and often sealed off the flow of information on alot of regionals.
- The penalties. The 30 point penalty is perhaps a bit excessive considering it's harder to score this year.
- The return of Sir Charles. 'nuff said.
- The lack of respect the animation, website, Inventor and Woodie Flowers award got at the championship. What they're not good enough for the main award cermony?
- The finals were too long. Those two speeches did not help. The flow was all out of whack.
- The food at the afterparty was not so hot.

I would have to agree with everything except the last one. I liked the food at the after party. As for the finals, my team took our seats at around 3:30, the championship match did not start until around 7:00. I think that was way to long. Also, in regards to the 30 point penalties, if you got that, you automatically lost the match. I think that is very unfair.


Stevie

Mr. Lim
04-25-2005, 12:27 PM
Consistancy in refereeing between regionals.

Maybe next year FIRST can consider having a consistant group of Head Refs deployed to each regional, much in the same way MCs and announcers are distributed.

Having a core set of individuals head-refereeing should make calls more consistant from regional to regional. In addition, it is much easier to garner feedback, and to enact changes when you only have a few individuals to inform. Weekly Head Referee meetings to share experiences from all the regionals become a possibility. Lastly, you don't risk losing all the valuable knowledge from week to week, when you have the same people head-refereeing.

I've heard a lot of "the refs are all volunteers, and they're doing the best they can," which I completely agree with. Refs should be volunteers, but help these volunteers by providing them with the best possible Head Referees to teach and guide them.

Of course there would be significant added expense in carting around Head Refs to 30 regionals, however if FIRST keeps growing and improving the way it has been, I think this is a sore point that needs to be addressed.

-SlimBoJones...

BadKarma
04-25-2005, 12:32 PM
there always seems to be a lack of communication between autodesk and first. this has always been a problem it must be addressed.

omutton
04-25-2005, 12:40 PM
- The food at the afterparty was not so hot.

Yah I agree. The potato wedges looked and tasted like they had been in my fridge for a week. Everything cooled down so fast because it was cold outside.

I also think that all announcers should announce who got the penalties and why they were given out, like Steve W does. That is so much easier than asking the head ref.

Quatitos
04-25-2005, 12:43 PM
My biggest problem with nationals is the fact that FLL and Vex were in the same place as the pits. Because of the different safety rules for all three competitions many people ended up walking through the FRC pits with no safety glasses on. This was especially worrying to me when I saw lots of little children walking around getting up close to the robots with no protection at all. My team brought a box of about 30-40 safety glasses to hand out to those without them, but because of the staggering amount of people without them we had to restrain ourselves about handing them out to people we believed would return them so that we could get as many people protected as possible. I still don't know how many of the glasses actually returned after being used but I'd like to believe that every one that is in the box when we left was one that was returned.

Emily Pease
04-25-2005, 12:54 PM
First, I would like to say that I really enjoyed the whole event. It was my first time to Championships, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was blown away by many things, including but not limited to Vex, Larry Page, Lego League, and the afterparty.

However, one thing that irked me, and maybe I'm just not as informed about this as I should be, so feel free to set me straight if I'm wrong here. My team (125) played 8 matches in the Qualifying rounds, and we were just filling out the alliance in the last match, so it didn't count for us. Our alliance won, but since it didn't count for us, our ranking dropped because our alliance members' ranking went up. It's definitely better that we won, because our ranking would have dropped even more if we had lost, but I wonder if it seems right that we should have dropped at all, since we were just helping to fill the alliance, AND our alliance won. We were ranked 22nd (and marked as 5-2, even though in real life, we were 6-2) after this match, and were not picked to move on to quarter-finals.

I really don't think this one match caused us to NOT be picked, and I don't know if anyone would want to change the ranking system just for such a small minority of teams who would be affected by this situation, but the whole ordeal confuses me, and I am going to stop thinking about it.

Overall, though, I'm so proud of my team and I loved the event and I'm truly happy for 503, 67, and 330, and YAY Newton!

Stephen Kowski
04-25-2005, 01:04 PM
- The return of Sir Charles. 'nuff said.

I am gonna have to disagree with you there. I found his announcing very entertaining and he kills himself because he is so into it. In fact, he is by far one of my favorite announcers....I know several people that thought he was hilarious....so I am gonna have to disagree with him being a negative of FIRST 2005. There are other things to concentrate on other than a volunteer's performance....

the_short1
04-25-2005, 01:19 PM
i LOVED seeing larry page, and the patent guy.. and all the VOLUNTEERS ! WE THANK YOU!.. . we had an AWSOME MC at galileo!..

but enuf of that.. the only thing they MUST change, is be more strict on colors, for autonomous, as i will be doing coding next year and i hope the camera is there next year.. i dont want to see a repeat of what happened to team 66 (they broke their bot due to someone wearing GREEN next to field.. in the rules it states no green is to be used as to affect the autonomous.. and it was a bummer that they did not control that so well

Ryan Albright
04-25-2005, 01:20 PM
I am gonna have to disagree with you there. I found his announcing very entertaining and he kills himself because he is so into it. In fact, he is by far one of my favorite announcers....I know several people that thought he was hilarious....so I am gonna have to disagree with him being a negative of FIRST 2005. There are other things to concentrate on other than a volunteer's performance....
I will have to concur with you. I really liked him last year and this year. He gets himself into it and what i can tell he works on getting the people in the stands into it.

Bill Moore
04-25-2005, 01:29 PM
Things that did not go so well this year were..
- The penalties. The 30 point penalty is perhaps a bit excessive considering it's harder to score this year.
I agree with Ed on most of his points, but I disagree with this one, even though penalties bit our alliance HARD twice in playoffs (Pittsburgh Regional and Galileo Division).

For the past 3 seasons, I have witnessed teams building Battle Bots to play defense. It didn't matter what you broke on the opposing robot, what only mattered was how hard you could hammer them. I think that FIRST wanted to get back to a more elegant method of playing the game, and these penalties became a serious punishing stick. I commend FIRST for not reversing their decision on enforcing the penalties.

We veteran teams need to emphasize with the newer ones that "playing the game cleanly" is the proper method of winning. Do we suffer for these infractions, of course, but rather than complain to FIRST about it, we need to encourage our allies and competitors to eliminate the actions that cause these penalties.

In an alliance, you win as one, you lose as one, and you commit penalties as one. Any other viewpoint indicates that three individual robots may have played the game, but an alliance truly did not exist.

Ryan Dognaux
04-25-2005, 01:31 PM
- The return of Sir Charles. 'nuff said.

Agreed - he did a few matches on Curie. I thought the announcing on Curie was alright, I really couldn't understand what anyone was saying though. Anyone else have this problem??

Termite233
04-25-2005, 01:34 PM
about the awards done during opening ceremonies...
if they were going to do things so important like these, should they not show them on all fields? not just 3? my team was not allowed to leave the archimedes field (except for a few people who had to scout at galileo) so they didnt see the opening ceremonies. they didn't even know when they started or that awards had been given. They only heard part of the National Anthem. so I think that could have been improved.
-Chris

Shu Song
04-25-2005, 01:36 PM
I biggie that I've noticed was inconsistent inspection standards between regionals and championships. Here's why:

At FLR and GTR, our robot was weighed without backup battery and LED's. The inspection people specifically told us, as far as I know, to NOT include those two items. But at championships, our inspector told us the exact opposite, that everything had to be on the robot while being weighed except for the battery. Although that the added LED and backup battery didn't put us over the limit, it frustrated me to know that there was this much inconsistency.

Secondly, at both FLR and GTR, we were allowed to precharge our pneumatic cylinders with a non-kit, non-FIRST, air tank. No one at those two regionals told us not to do so and we even saw other teams doing the same thing. But when came to championships, we were told that we can only precharge with the pneumatic equipment already on the robot. We were told this after other teams complained about our having done so.

Our inspector told us that this might have came about because there were inexperienced inspectors at those regionals. That might explain the LED and backup battery issue, but how can any inspector miss our team taking a giant air tank to our robot and filling it with air?

I hope that we are not the only team that had problems with the inconsistency, if we are, then I guess the inspectors at regionals DID miss those things. If anyone knows differently, please correct me.

Stephen Kowski
04-25-2005, 01:43 PM
Agreed - he did a few matches on Curie.

It is disappointing the biggest problems you all can find is within one volunteer. I am very disappointed....did you have a problem with one of the other volunteers also? possibly a field reseter? a judge? or maybe an inspector? I find it very upsetting that rather than be happy someone is here volunteering, you all would rather disparage the man's performance.....how sad....

kulisb
04-25-2005, 01:57 PM
I think that the one thing that could have been better at this year's FIRST competition was consistency of penalty calls. Penalties were worth so much, compared to what the average match scored out to be. If these penalties have such a huge impact (especially when losing one match can possibly knock you out of the top 8), calls should be as consistent as possible, so that teams know how to play the game.

Doc Wu
04-25-2005, 02:01 PM
one thing i regretted the most was. the 40 minute waste of time for the robot to go out to the match, wait, play the match and then return to the pits. I had our robot stay out by he filed for a few matches on Friday and i thought it was a great idea until i realized thee is no one in the pits to talk to judges or other teams. this problem should be addressed. the walk for the robots was horrible but not the walk for humans. i believe the walk for robots should/must be shorter then humans. good day. im tired.

Amen! Besides the fact that I (a 51 year-old Team Coach) was exhausted from a 10-12 hour day of nearly constantly being on my feet, all the travelling from pit to field and back is a huge waste of time that teams may desperately need for other things.

I saw a few teams that found a spot half way out in the labrynth to stop and work on their robots, but even that is less than ideal. Someone would still need to run to the pit for any part or tool you didn't have. Communications from a team to their pits is very difficult and a way to legally provide it needs to be addressed.

It's nice to have a big event, but maybe it's gotten too big, or because they are trying to make it run at a pace that remains interesting to spectators, the whole thing is forced to run faster than we as teams can handle. The alternative, making the time between matches longer, maybe by using fewer fields so that the pace could be maintained, would make a three day event impossible.

If the pits could be put closer, maybe in four different, but closer areas by division, would help. I wouldn't care if they were as nice as the room we were in, even the dock areas we walked through could be used for pits, they just probably wouldn't be able to be open to the public. A room with team booths for displays and team promotion could be substituted for the public.

Maybe I'm a bit cranky from a 18-hour drive home pulling a trailer through a blizzard :yikes: but I'd sure like the pit to arena travel situation improved.

One thing that was done right and helped make things run smoother was the Wednesday night unpacking. For those of us who could do that, it really made Thursday a little less hectic. It probably even helped those who couldn't get there Wednesday, by getting us out of the way at the curb... :)

UCGL_Guy
04-25-2005, 02:48 PM
More concerns than anything else ---
1.Segways mixing with heavy pedestrian traffic - If FIRST is going to start promoting safety we must start looking at behaviors that cause accidents and I saw a couple of near misses with the segways.

2. Grinding in the pits - never saw it but heard it several times - Each division needs an area to do this kind of work in.

3. Robot traffic mixing with regular people traffic - caused a lot of congestion - needs to be a "robot only trail"

4. Use Einstein field again so teams can have more mathces / at $715 a match that is a little steep. Looked like to me there is enough space for 6 playing fields --- more mathces

5. Closing ceremonies were waaaaaay too long. I did like some of the flash they put into the finals. I did however get a nice nap in.

6. I wonder ---- could they set up a local radio broadcast of each field - so you could listen in the pit - you cannot hear the Pit admin announcements.

8. I agree on the penalty thing - the game should be designed so as to not have the possibilty of bot / human interaction. Other than that I love this game.

9. Again safety related - the announcers should exhibit safe behavior alos - jumping on the field elements is not a good example of this.

10. Hard hats --- Osha would have a field day writing this one up with all of the potential overhead projectiles for the field crew and players.


What I liked
1. Wednesday night unloading this is a must have and would not mind seeing this implemented in the regionals.

2. The building we were in --- keep this arrangement 100X better than last year's fiasco.

3. The police actually helped you out - still ticked about the ticket we got last year.

4. The Game --- this is the best in my six years

5. although the field was crowded I like the 3 on 3

Overall a very good year
congratulations to all.

allyphant
04-25-2005, 02:50 PM
overall, the only thing that irks me is seeing teams that are composed of mostly retired engineers, parents, and other adults working on the robot and the kids merely helping by handing over the occasional drill. There are several teams that are organized and run by students and I really admire their dedication. I think FIRST should benefit the kids that participate more than the parents. Its also insulting when other teams came over to our team's pit and requested to "speak to someone in charge"(meaning an adult) only to ask questions that the students who built and designed the robot could have easily answered. This kind of behavior makes us feel incapable and insignificant.

Also, it was annoying how many kids that went to the after party in the park were taking WHOLE CASES of sodas with them instead of leaving some for the rest of us thirsty folks. Max and I were arguing over this b/c he couldn't believe robotics kids could be so rude and inconsiderate. pretty ironic considering he has no faith in humanity whatsoever and I'm much more trusting.

Our team and several others stayed at the Marriot Courtyard and Fairfield Inn. THey had a pool and a hot tub that many of us took advantage of and rightfully so ( we paid for it ). However, some idiots decided to dive into the shallow end and the manager of the hotel imposed a curfew on all the teams and refused to let us use their pool and hot tub. When I went to talk to other teams, some members told me to <disguised expletive deleted - ab> off. which is annoying considering I went to the manager and got her to open up the faciliites for us. Anyway, I was really dissapointed by the behaviors of several members of the FIRST community.

i forgot to say that the sedar was cute and fun and i've never been to a sedar before. also, props to the cute israeli kid at our table that was sad cause we didnt get to finish saying dayenu.

Kevin Sevcik
04-25-2005, 02:50 PM
I have exactly three negatives, I think anything else could really be lived with and worked out fairly simply.

- Rules consistency. As everyone has mentioned, it was rather vexing to have rules change from week to week and regional to regional. And sometimes from day to day at a competition. I think it's great that FIRST addressed many of the issues that were brought up, but the sheer number of updates after regionals started is odd. Not to put too fine a point on it, but after this move towards simpler, less complicated, more common sense rules we had a total of 21 updates, 7 after the first regional. In 2004 there were 15 total updates, 1 after the first regional. In 2003, there were 20 updates, 0 after the first regional.

- Penalties. I have no problems with the various 10 pointers for safety and aggression, but the 30 pointers still irk me. My team actually won our last match by one point.... thanks to a 30 and a 10 on the other side. I'm still chagrined by that win. I think the obvious solution is not to design such obvious choke-points into the game that they must be protected by match losing penalties for robots bumping into each other.

- Alright, I forgot my third point while researching the first one. There's a big mish-mash of whining about the trip to-from the pits, no match time announcing, no anything announcing that made our team rep late to alliance pairings, and various other small things, but the above two are the only big problems I had all season.

EDIT: Oh yeah, safety. Needs to be more of it. I couldn't believe it when I saw field resetters standing almost right next to the auto load zones. Didn't they know the some robots go in there at high speed? I saw one or two lean back a bit when an arm whipped in front of them. I'd have been diving for cover, but maybe I'm just a chicken. Not to disparage the ThunderChickens. Those guys are a whole different breed of poultry.

Nitroxextreme
04-25-2005, 03:08 PM
one of the biggest poblem in my eyes were the penalties and the incositancies between the matches

it ended up being the refees descrection as to who won many matches

also all of the peopl e that went to the drivers meeting could see how many important problems were discusses BUT none of these conclusions the refees ingeniously came up with were used when the penalities they talked about occured

on a different note:
i disliked the fact that some regionals were within a month of the championship and people that may have gotten a last minute spot could not use the first hotels prices and had to scramble to find any reasonable price for any hotel that may end up being far away and/or poor quality

DarkJedi613
04-25-2005, 03:27 PM
- When are we supposed to queue for matches? This needs to be addressed by either announcements, or perhaps on the standing's screen display a "Current match", "First call match", "Second call match", "Final call match".

- Speeches are too long, apparantly Dean found someone who can relate to us, but still didn't relate. We're teenagers, we don't want to hear speeches that are more than 10 minutes long. Also - speeches lasting too long the first day and causing matches to start late - thats so...counter productive.

- If you're on the drive team & pit crew - there is literally no time to do anything between matches if the robot needs to be fixed.

- FIRST just putting things on our tables in the pits (Chairman's schedule & match schedule). Our table is messy and we almsot didn't see them (we actually didn't see Chairman's until 365 told us we had gotten it - thanks.)

- The drivers meeting was great, but it seemed like "We're gonna call these following things, for these reasons" which was all great, but the next day nothing was called! :(

- Grass on the frisbee field being dead. :(

Ryan Dognaux
04-25-2005, 03:43 PM
It is disappointing the biggest problems you all can find is within one volunteer. I am very disappointed....did you have a problem with one of the other volunteers also? possibly a field reseter? a judge? or maybe an inspector? I find it very upsetting that rather than be happy someone is here volunteering, you all would rather disparage the man's performance.....how sad....

If you would have taken 2 more seconds to read the rest of my post, I clearly said that I thought all of the announcing on Curie was just alright (at best). I could not understand what people were saying most of the time.

And about Sir Charles - don't get on my back just because I don't like the way he announces. He's very repetitive and it really gets on my nerves. I'm sorry but "going for the hook up" is not a valid phrase in this year's game. This isn't FIRST Frenzy.

That's about the only negative thing I could find from this year's National event.

AmyPrib
04-25-2005, 03:49 PM
A few not-so-positives:

- Rule and penalty calls very inconsistent between regionals. Rules were being made up at some regionals, and at at least one, almost no defense was allowed. A decision about not refilling load stations in Atlanta defies the rules. There were a lot of rules changes and interpretation miscommunications on various things. Some solutions have been offered in previous threads, but I think something definitely needs to be done to improve this. A few thoughts:
- Simply having all rules/updates, and even Q/A by section available, printed out, at regionals to refer to might have helped the refs on a number of issues.
- Rules/game test perhaps is in order, specifically for refs... Since they're volunteers, and they are interested in the game and helping with organization, there should be no quarrel to taking a game test, as many teams make their team members do. Only seems logical, and shouldn't take much of their time. Updated tests could come out to incorporate Updates to rules.
- FIRST could include a 1-2page summary of penalties and calls within the rules so that there is one place to refer to, for teams and refs, when looking for clarifications. Also helps finding the incorporated updates.
- Maybe not feasible, but any chance FIRST officials could be more active on CD? CD is a huge resource for teams, and it might be nice to get direct feedback to some topics that are highly discussed and controversial on CD, esp if not covered in Q/A. It would show they are actively listening to team concerns and want to improve, and it might even help soothe some of the heated debate over interpretation differences. They might also become aware of big issues early and resolve it sooner. Reason I say this is because there's a number of regional planning committee members that request feedback like these threds and confirm that they want to use it for improvement. So, this thread, will FIRST see it, read it, and use it for improvement? Not really sure. Maybe not reasonable, but just a thought.

- Penalty/scoring weight seemed a little off. I think the 30pt penalty could have been a little less, but still effective. Even 15-20pts, but as someone stated, with 30pts, you can almost expect a loss. When you start seeing numerous matches that result in 0's, because the score itself never even reached 30pts, something might be off. I'm sure none of the 30pt penalties were results of malicious intents - and I understand the need for safety calls, but it seemed a little extreme when scoring was only worth 3pts and some 10pt bonuses. Granted, drivers got better in avoiding it, but still.

- Not forseeing the potential injuries resulting in tetras over the player station and implementing some protection early. But applause for implementing for Atlanta. If HPs are going to be getting close to robots, something besides penalties should protect them.

- Although Triple-Play got more exciting as regionals went on, I personally like seeing more robot and game variety, and more available tasks in the game, like last year. It was also virtually impossible to help your opponents score if you needed/wanted to.

- Ceremonies should have been broadcast on all field screens in Atlanta.
- Would be nice to ask Georgia Dome staff to open more than 2-4 doors when the bulk of 15k+ people are going in. Not sure if they had any open on the other sides, but the main entrance was crowded at times.
- A couple of the wrap-up party shows were a bit.... silly? I suppose there were younger kids there, but early in the evening, there wasn't much to keep a crowd in the seats. But other than that, pretty good.
-Closing ceremonies on Einstein, speeches a little too long. While there are great speakers, and they are great to have, the length tends to disrupt the energy flow of the competition.

Overall I think this year has been a great experience.

Starke
04-25-2005, 04:12 PM
Another part that could be changed was having to leave the pit 4 matches ahead of your teams match. Although a long walk, you could make it in 3 or even 2 matches before.

One time 340 had to change a transmission. We got most of the work done in the pit but had to leave to go to our match. This resulted in putting kids on the cart and finishing the job on the way to the arena. All that was needed was 2-5 more minutes, but we had to go.

Overall, I think the Championship Event went well and ran relatively smoothly.

KathieK
04-25-2005, 04:19 PM
I enjoyed being part of the 2005 FIRST Conference, and really appreciated those of you who attended the sessions I was presenting at. However I will suggest to FIRST a different schedule to follow (PM me if you have any suggestions) since I missed Opening Ceremonies on Friday - including missing seeing the mascot I spent so much time making in the parade, missed the awards that were given, missed seeing the scholarship winners, the Regional CA winners and missed the National Anthem. I think Opening Ceremonies should be done at the beginning of Thursday since that is the true opening of the event. And we expected that some awards would be given out on Friday evening as they are at the Regionals. Consistency would help a lot.
The Closing ceremonies were tedious after a long, long day and we could not hear much of what was being said where we ended up sitting - in the far top corner of Curie - despite calling down to the floor to see if the sound guys could adjust the volume/clarity. Several times we turned to one another and had to ask, "What was that award for???" and "Who got it???" The teams who are competing in the Finals and the teams who are winning these awards deserve better!
If we have grown so much then we need to either add another division so that fewer teams are playing on each, and so they end the matches earlier; or expand the Event to start on Wednesday with pits opening Wed morning and practice rounds starting in the afternoon so that matches could start after lunch on Thursday, finish by Friday, have the finals on Saturday morning and the ceremonies and wrap party in the afternoon/evening. I know, the costs would be enormous to all teams if the Event were expanded. Or maybe SHRINK the Event by making it a true CHAMPIONSHIP where you have to qualify in order to attend. No easy solutions...

Please move the Hall of Fame out where it is more accessible to all - I never got a chance to view it because it took me so long to get from one venue to the other that I didn't have any "leisure" time - walking from Archimedes all over to the other building where the pits were and then the walk to Gate C and to go back took a long time. Or open the other Gates for those of us in the far corners of the Dome! Going to the pits, Vex, FLL, LogoLoc store, conference sessions or Hall of Fame was difficult for the people on our team who had difficulty walking to begin with!

Safety glasses were not being worn by many of the spectators visiting the Archimedes field. I was going to speak to someone about it when I realized there were so many glasses-less people that it was simply not being enforced. And why were so many people allowed down there in the first place?

Ellery
04-25-2005, 04:40 PM
Awards - We were finalists in Archimedes and the trophies and medals were not presented properly and do they still give out finalist banners anymore or did they forget to give it out too?

After Party- I was alittle disappointed that the food went down hill from its inaugural year. I hope this trend doesn't continue.

I missed the fried Chicken and peach cobbler.

Other than that I was pretty pleased.

rocknthehawk
04-25-2005, 04:48 PM
I had an awesome time.....the only thing i really disliked was the walk to the playing field. I agree with what was said before....if you are on the pit crew and drive team, there was no time to do anything inbetween. The walk made the game boring in a sense...we had to walk 10 minutes just to get to the field, and then wait another ten before we even got onto the field, just to play for 2 minutes, and then make another ten minute walk back. It made me not even want to go out for practice matches.

Another dislike that was no problem by FIRST was the final matches. (i didn't see the final match or two because iw as busy crating up our bot). It seemed the finals were just capping matches, who could cap more higher and quicker. WHERE WAS THE DEFENSE??? It seemed like every match was the same...not too entertaining.

I guess there is one last thing i thought of while typing. It was waiting during the finals on our field. Since we were 13th or whatever, they said we had to wait, because if two robots broke, we would be allowed in. We had to sit and wait in the back with our bot for the finals on Curie, and the finals on Einstein until Curie was eliminated....i think that sytem could use work, but i guess there isn't much you can change.

Cory
04-25-2005, 04:49 PM
I still don't understand why people are complaining about penalties. How hard is it to stay the heck away from a robot that's in a loading zone?

It absolutely baffles me that after four months of knowing that you WILL get a penalty if you hit someone in the loading zone, people still haven't figured out that you don't push a robot that's loading.

As I said before, and I'll say again, it's really not that hard to avoid penalties.

It'd sure be nice to hear everyone complaining about inconsistency between regionals offer some suggestions to remedy the problem (thank you, Amy, for being constructive)

Head refs are volunteers also, not FIRST staff. You could not possibly standardize the sets of head refs across the nation. It would not be right for FIRST to ask them to devote even more time away from their jobs/family/etc. Unless someone figures out how to make 30 clones of Benge, it isn't happening. There will always be discrepancies when humans are involved.

Updated versions of the game rules were distributed to all refs at nationals. They had the team updates incorporated into the text of the rules, and important Q&A answers in the back. They also included a list of all possible situations that warranted penalties/disables/dq's.

It would be nice if FIRST officials were active on CD, but why should they want to be when volunteers are attacked left and right? Look what happened last time FIRST did something for us. They got stabbed in the back by a group of people discussing how to hack the manual.

CD is not an official medium for releasing game decisions, and any discussion on CD will not be seen by the majority of FIRST, causing even MORE issues.


also all of the peopl e that went to the drivers meeting could see how many important problems were discusses BUT none of these conclusions the refees ingeniously came up with were used when the penalities they talked about occured


- The drivers meeting was great, but it seemed like "We're gonna call these following things, for these reasons" which was all great, but the next day nothing was called!

I don't know what you saw, but I find that extremely hard to believe. In addition, to be completely blunt, a good number of questions asked at the drivers meeting were quite stupid, and made me wonder if half the drive teams had even thoroughly read the rules.

Suggestions for next year-

*Hire Dean a speechwriter. Seriously.
*Limit all speeches to a maximum of 5-10 minutes. I fell asleep twice before the finals on Einstein.
*Do the opening ceremonies Saturday, not Friday. At least play the national anthems Saturday morning.
*Do not let the opening ceremonies run late, delaying matches.
*Make sure all signage at events has the new FIRST logo (I can understand why they did not this year)
*Limit the number of people with field access.
*Work on answering Q&A questions more clearly. Many times it seemed FIRST did not give an entirely straight answer when the intent was obvious but not spelled out crystal clear.
*Similarly, to help FIRST, make sure your Q&A questions are crystal clear.
*One of my larger gripes-bring back the ability to disable robots through the scoring software By the time a referee decides a robot needs to be disabled, makes sure they have the team number right, tells the head ref, and finally slaps the E-stop, the match is over, or near to it. This is a safety hazard
*Another big peeve of mine was the fact that rankings were never shown on the field throughout the weekend at nationals, or any of the three regionals I attended, unlike previous years. PLEASE start doing this again. Having to walk all the way to the pits to see the rankings is fairly annoying, and impossible if you're volunteering on the field.

Aaron
04-25-2005, 04:51 PM
one thing i regretted the most was. the 40 minute waste of time for the robot to go out to the match, wait, play the match and then return to the pits. I had our robot stay out by he filed for a few matches on Friday and i thought it was a great idea until i realized thee is no one in the pits to talk to judges or other teams. this problem should be addressed. the walk for the robots was horrible but not the walk for humans. i believe the walk for robots should/must be shorter then humans. good day. im tired.


you obviously didnt go to Houston... (a measured mile)

suneel112
04-25-2005, 04:56 PM
The only real complaint I had was that huge black tarp at the top of the Georgia Dome. I don't know about the rest of you, but I like sunlit robot matches. As for the game, I agree that there were less things to do than last year, but there were also advantages. The penalties were a definite advantage over last year, because defense should not include ramming or tipping over.

Kims Robot
04-25-2005, 04:57 PM
I think most of my issues that should be worked on are here, but I will reiterate a few, and add a few here.

1. Consistancy of penalties (especially within regionals... nevermind even between regionals). There were several calls that I saw made that were not made in a previous match, or on a previous day, and this made it hard for teams to keep their cool.

2. Announce the penalties!! It was impossible for people who were not in the game or on the field to tell what the penalties were for or who got them. This is important for people just coming in to watch the competition, as well as for scouting.

3. Consistancy of inspections. At Buckeye, they tried to force us to have a "safety inspection" which was 3/4 of the real inspection, before we were even allowed to go out on thursday to practice. This is absurd and not in the rules. You better bet I argued my way out of that one! And a smaller one is to have the inspectors actually read THIS years rules... we had an inspector in Atlanta try to fail us because he said we could not put a 40Amp breaker on a window motor(10AWG on a speed controller). Rule 83 specifically states that any breaker can be used with any motor... it allows teams to do their own engineering. I know in the past that was true, but it wasnt THIS year. ::sigh::

4. More exits at the final social event. I get the one entrance thing... but the exit was as far from our hotel as it could be, and got incredibly congested. They could have allowed teams to exit through other locations. We went to one spot where we just saw 5 members of another team exit, and a cop got all huffy with us and said it wasnt an exit (despite the fact that we had just watched another team walk through there).

5. Better organization of the FLL shadowing at the championships. There were a lot of teams that wanted to offer to have an FLL team shadow them, but with no coordination (mentors had to email FLL teams to see if they wanted shadowing), and a very late notification, many of us were unable to help out.

That brings me to my final and largest suggestion:
6. FIRST needs to create a forum where THEY can ASK for help. Anything that they have trouble getting done, I am certain that there are many of us out here that would be willing to help... if we only knew they needed the help (with enough notice). It could be as simple as sending an email to all of the team leaders when they come across something they need help with, or something a little more like the Q&A or TIMS where certain people can sign in and look at the needs that FIRST has. We would have taken on the organization of the FLL thing, but didnt have a clue it was needed until too late.

*edit* Oh yeah and I was reminded by another post...
7. Bring back Robot stop buttons... make sure every team has a disable button, and disable buttons are easily accessible to refs. In toronto, a robot threw a tetra at our drivers, and was not disabled until 30 seconds later, when the ref pulled their human player off the pad. At our scrimmage, we had two people with three shut off switches (one for each team) watching each allaince, and if there were any times that safety came into question, they were to shut the robot off immediately. (matches can be rerun, people take much longer to be fixed!)

Aaron
04-25-2005, 05:04 PM
I think all the negatives about the nationals have been said ( i especially agree with the Vex FLL safty glass issue). As for this entire year, i think that three teams was great, but the field should be a little bit bigger (maybe a square?). I also think some of the regionals need to get bigger venues, instead of just splitting them up into more regionals. I also like the e stop idea. its been four years since a team could 'punch out' in an emergency. The last thing would be to allow teams to challange calls if they have sufficient evidence, such as cued up video tape, and can present it to the refs in a short amount of time (3 min or less).

Spikey
04-25-2005, 05:05 PM
Not a lot of gripes, most have been stated already but from what I noticed that on the Newton field the refs were being very stingy with penalties. I saw a lot of things happen that would have been called a penalty at a regional, but they did not make the call at Newton field, especially tipping!
Not to harp on penalties again but the 30 point penalty for hitting a robot is a little extreme, especially when its unintentional. We were in the QF at Newton and as we were backing up from a goal we brushed a robot in the loading zone, 30 point penalty, it was not malicious, it did not endanger the human player, its hard to see all the way on the other side of the field. The penalty cost our alliance the match and I don't like the idea of penalties being that severe. When they had floppies and HP interaction with robots they had very few penalties at all and at most they were 10 point penalties. When the penalties cost as many as 10 tetras it becomes unproductive, and makes the game less exciting.
Maybe FIRST should reconsider how much weight the penalties are given. Other then that I had a lot of fun:)

devicenull
04-25-2005, 05:07 PM
The pits:
Too far away. Closer then last year for people, possibly for robots also, but its simply too far away. I *believe* there is a large parking garage next to the stadium. Whats wrong with having them there, assuming you put some kind of weather protection up?
Don't let spectators into the pit, but don't restrict the teams from having people in the pit. Possibly distribute the wrist bands the first day, and require them to be allowed into the pit. I saw lots of little kids running around, with robots moving all over the place and power tools in use. Not a good thing, more so when you are pushing safety this year.

Comptetion:
An overhead camera might be better for displaying the matches on the screens.
Posssibly have an offical video recording of all the matches. We had one match where the scores were totally wrong, and they wouldn't let us argue it (They said we had 9 points, when we were able to score 12pts at one time, no penalties that match)
Closing ceremonies was way too long. I was falling asleep sitting there.
Provide a place down on the floor for teams to cheer. Teams standing every match made it hard to see.
Stagger the lunch times. Waiting in a 40 minute line for food is not acceptable. This is perhaps the easiest thing to do, and I hope someone from FIRST takes notice.

Other:
We had run a Cat5 cable through our hotel hallway.. it was on the side of the hallway, and only ran infront of our rooms, but some team kept yanking on it, then I heard them talking about cutting it. Not a good thing to be doing.
Ramps on robots shouldn't be allowed, imo. We don't want to flip anyone by accident.
Expand the aisles between the pits. It was a bit hard to get through them when you had teams gathered outside their pit.

The only real complaint I had was that huge black tarp at the top of the Georgia Dome. I don't know about the rest of you, but I like sunlit robot matches.
The CMU camera does not deal well with changing lighting conditions. It would make it useless if the matches were lit by the sun.

Kevin Sevcik
04-25-2005, 05:15 PM
Briefly about penalties. Teams didn't have 4 months to figure out what would and wouldn't be penalized. The penalties were changing up until the Driver's Meeting on Thursday where it was announced that a robot could, in fact, sit in a loading zone and score on the nearby goal with utter impugnity. Contrary to the original statement in the rules that loading zones aren't meant to be safety areas to protect a team while they were doing things besides loading a tetra.

Kudos to Kim for #6, though. That's a great idea.

Also, growl on people still complaining about Houston. It wasn't Houston's fault and I really wish you'd stop it already.

Cory
04-25-2005, 05:22 PM
7. Bring back Robot stop buttons... make sure every team has a disable button, and disable buttons are easily accessible to refs. In toronto, a robot threw a tetra at our drivers, and was not disabled until 30 seconds later, when the ref pulled their human player off the pad. At our scrimmage, we had two people with three shut off switches (one for each team) watching each allaince, and if there were any times that safety came into question, they were to shut the robot off immediately. (matches can be rerun, people take much longer to be fixed!)

I also like the e stop idea. its been four years since a team could 'punch out' in an emergency. The last thing would be to allow teams to challange calls if they have sufficient evidence, such as cued up video tape, and can present it to the refs in a short amount of time (3 min or less).

I don't understand what you're saying. Every alliance station has three E-stop buttons that team members can press at any time. These have been there the last four years. My complaint is that referees now have to use these buttons to disable a robot, instead of the scorekeeper disabling them through the scoring software.

Sorry, but FIRST will NEVER allow referees to review video. It would be an absolute nightmare. It would take a week to run a regional. Will never happen, for good reason.

Briefly about penalties. Teams didn't have 4 months to figure out what would and wouldn't be penalized.

Teams absolutely did have 4 months to figure out that if you hit a robot that is in a loading zone, you will be penalized.

AmyPrib
04-25-2005, 05:24 PM
It absolutely baffles me that after four months of knowing that you WILL get a penalty if you hit someone in the loading zone, people still haven't figured out that you don't push a robot that's loading.

Updated versions of the game rules were distributed to all refs at nationals. They had the team updates incorporated into the text of the rules, and important Q&A answers in the back. They also included a list of all possible situations that warranted penalties/disables/dq's.

It would be nice if FIRST officials were active on CD, but why should they want to be when volunteers are attacked left and right? Look what happened last time FIRST did something for us. They got stabbed in the back by a group of people discussing how to hack the manual.

CD is not an official medium for releasing game decisions, and any discussion on CD will not be seen by the majority of FIRST, causing even MORE issues.

In addition, to be completely blunt, a good number of questions asked at the drivers meeting were quite stupid, and made me wonder if half the drive teams had even thoroughly read the rules.


I think people know not to hit anyone in the loading zone, but there are accidental hits, due to visibility, or not seeing the robot is "in" the loading zone, or because of close proximity of the loading zone to a corner goal where it's tighter to maneuver, for example. And after the late G15 rule change, it made it more possible to draw a penalty when technically you weren't loading a tetra.

It's good to hear that rules were at Nationals - hopefully they are available at regionals in the future. I think the separate Updates should also be available, as there was an issue with the full G15 update not being incorporated into the rules correctly, which caused an issue at at least one regional. So if that happens again, there could be issues. I think refs need to be more familiar with the rules and Updates than teams are, and that hasn't been the case in some situations.

I didn't intend for CD to be the official game release decisions, but they could be providing feedback, or acknowledge there are issues they are working on, so that people don't feel as if they're making suggestions or asking questions that go into a black hole. It's tough to be arguing back and forth over something, and not have any clue whether or not FIRST is addressing it or even know that it's a concern. If there were FIRST officials that were to be active, it could possibly be a moderated section so they don't get attacked, but they shouldn't shy away from good debate or arguments on topics.

Perhaps instead of being active on CD, FIRST could implement a "suggestion" system, similar to Q/A, where we can all post these ideas directly to them, and they can respond with some sort of feedback. But is there somebody from FIRST that knows I'm making this suggestion and to possibly consider it? I think there needs to be a way where people can get feedback directly from FIRST for improvements. If FIRST isn't willing to accept the suggestions and perhaps act on some (which I think they would), then we have a problem. But we need to know that FIRST is hearing us.

I agree on silly questions - I am amazed at some of the ones I read on Q/A. Maybe FIRST should moderate the Q/As for ones that are blatantly answered in the rules. I have never received an answer via email from Q/A even though it says I will, so maybe they can start using that when silly questions are asked, and reduce the number of Qs everyone else has to read through. Some say "no question is a stupid question", and I agree to an extent - just please read the rules first! :)
Well, some of this may have gone off topic a little. Sorry.

Alex Cormier
04-25-2005, 05:26 PM
It is disappointing the biggest problems you all can find is within one volunteer. I am very disappointed....did you have a problem with one of the other volunteers also? possibly a field reseter? a judge? or maybe an inspector? I find it very upsetting that rather than be happy someone is here volunteering, you all would rather disparage the man's performance.....how sad....
well a few other of the volunteers on wed. night where we could uncrate the robot were NOT very GPly and were just plain rude. we were told "trying is not good enough". "Get out", "Go away". i can understand it if we were there longer then scheduling permits us but no we were hearing all of this before they closed at 9. isn't a point of FIRST GP?

Paul Copioli
04-25-2005, 05:39 PM
Since all the negatives I have come up with are already here, I will not list any. However, the liquid rules are a HUGE problem.

Cory,

Here is your response in this thread:

I still don't understand why people are complaining about penalties. How hard is it to stay the heck away from a robot that's in a loading zone?

It absolutely baffles me that after four months of knowing that you WILL get a penalty if you hit someone in the loading zone, people still haven't figured out that you don't push a robot that's loading.

As I said before, and I'll say again, it's really not that hard to avoid penalties

I think you are toting the company line a bit too much here. Let me tell you that in order to avoid penalties, you must understand what gets you the penalty in the first place. The definitions of "in the loading zone" and "in the process of receiving a tetra" changed several times this season. They even changed after the regionals were over. They even changed at the driver's meeting at the Championship.

Did you know that at the driver's meeting Benji actually said that a robot could sit in the loading zone and score tetras and if another robot hit them, then it would be a penalty. I was there, I heard it and couldn't believe what I was hearing.

Did you know that a team could sit in the loading zone and not be in the act of loading a tetra (obvious to everyone) and draw a foul from a team obviously going toward a far goal to score? This happened several times at the Championship and changed the way my team played the game. If you don't believe me, look at the tapes of elimination rounds in Detroit where 245 and 217 were on the same team and we went across the field a lot. Then look a the tapes from the Championship where 245 and 217 didn't go across even once due to the fear of penalties. My team's behavior was changed by the "liquid" rules of FIRST and it is my #1 priority to help fix this problem next year.

Cory
04-25-2005, 05:51 PM
Since all the negatives I have come up with are already here, I will not list any. However, the liquid rules are a HUGE problem.

Cory,

Here is your response in this thread:



I think you are toting the company line a bit too much here. Let me tell you that in order to avoid penalties, you must understand what gets you the penalty in the first place. The definitions of "in the loading zone" and "in the process of receiving a tetra" changed several times this season. They even changed after the regionals were over. They even changed at the driver's meeting at the Championship.

Did you know that at the driver's meeting Benji actually said that a robot could sit in the loading zone and score tetras and if another robot hit them, then it would be a penalty. I was there, I heard it and couldn't believe what I was hearing.

Did you know that a team could sit in the loading zone and not be in the act of loading a tetra (obvious to everyone) and draw a foul from a team obviously going toward a far goal to score? This happened several times at the Championship and changed the way my team played the game. If you don't believe me, look at the tapes of elimination rounds in Detroit where 245 and 217 were on the same team and we went across the field a lot. Then look a the tapes from the Championship where 245 and 217 didn't go across even once due to the fear of penalties. My team's behavior was changed by the "liquid" rules of FIRST and it is my #1 priority to help fix this problem next year.

I see what you're saying here, Paul. I didn't think you would be allowed to score a tetra while in the zone still (How can you score a tetra, if you haven't finished loading it, by FIRST's definition of loading?)

With regards to the second half of your post, Update 15 or whatever it was changed the definition of loading to be "when the robot has left the zone", not when it has finished receiving the tetra from the loader. Personally, I don't like that, and I agree with you that teams received penalties because of it, and that it really wasn't against the spirit of the rule, but it had to be called because that's what the word of the rules said.

Billfred
04-25-2005, 05:54 PM
Things that did not go so well this year were..
- The scoring software. It really damaged the flow of the cometition and often sealed off the flow of information on alot of regionals.
- The penalties. The 30 point penalty is perhaps a bit excessive considering it's harder to score this year.
- The return of Sir Charles. 'nuff said.
- The lack of respect the animation, website, Inventor and Woodie Flowers award got at the championship. What they're not good enough for the main award cermony?
- The finals were too long. Those two speeches did not help. The flow was all out of whack.
- The food at the afterparty was not so hot.

By and large, this is my list. I personally enjoyed Sir Charles when he was on Curie--he's just got that something that makes him an enjoyable announcer. And I didn't go to the wrap party (it was already 11:00 PM when I got home), so I can't comment on the food.

As for the awards and speeches, I'd personally drop one speech for next year, then move in the Friday morning awards. That didn't sit well with me either.

Penalties were meh. I'm reminded of the old saying "A good driver knows the limits of his machine; a great driver has a machine with no limits." FIRST knew the limits of safe human-robot interaction, and designed penalties accordingly. However, I'd be ecstatic to see a game next year where that safety issue was minimized or eliminated. (Imagine a HP setup somewhere between this year and FIRST Frenzy in reverse, with HPs putting game pieces into play from behind lots of lexan and aluminum, and you get my concept.)

Outside of that, and this is rather silly, I do kinda wish the gamepieces were usable elsewhere. Bins you can use to store stuff (I've got six in here right now), balls can be bounced, shot, and thrown at freshmen to motivate them to work--but what can you use a nine-pound tetra for? This is gonna take some thought.

Koko Ed
04-25-2005, 06:01 PM
Wow.
This thread sure took off.
So did any of you post the other side of the story (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=37616) in the positive things thread?
Surely there was something good to say about what FIRST did this year.

Koko Ed
04-25-2005, 06:03 PM
Outside of that, and this is rather silly, I do kinda wish the gamepieces were usable elsewhere. Bins you can use to store stuff (I've got six in here right now), balls can be bounced, shot, and thrown at freshmen to motivate them to work--but what can you use a nine-pound tetra for? This is gonna take some thought.
As abstract art?

katiyeh07
04-25-2005, 06:09 PM
After being in the Hall of Fame for about 3 days, I got very seperated from my team. I love(d) doing the Hall of Fame, but it really sucks you away from your team. Personally I'd like FIRST to maybe put all the Hall of Famers in the middle of all the divisions next year with bigger pits (15ft by 15ft possibly) so they can display their Hall of Fame with their pit. Not only would it be easier for the teams, it would give other teams something to strive for, and it would not only show what the team has done to win the Chairman's Award, but it shows how they work as a team on their robot. I know it would wicked benifit Buzz's team because we're always spread thin at Championships becuase we don't have too many people there. Overall though, great season, great job everyone :)

By the way, anyone go through the Hall of Fame, and if so, what'd you think of it?

KTorak
04-25-2005, 06:12 PM
Most have already been said but, these are some negative things I saw.

Penalties: A 30 point penalty is a lot when it was hard enough to score above a 30 in a match. We got a 30 point penalty and lost when we accidently bumped into a robot in the loading zone. It was when we were hit while trying to cap the opposing alliance center goal, and we spun around and non maliciously bumped into the robot there.

Distance to and from Pits: I know it was longer as houston, but it was still a very long walk, especially while dragging a robot with you. Maybe FIRST came find a way to shorten it.

Pit Area in General: I don't think FLL and FRC pits should be in the same building. FLL teams are encouraged to be loud in their pits and scream/shout on the way to their matches, which was distracing in FRC pits while trying to talk to others/work. Don't get me wrong, I thought the South Korean teams drums were cool, but REALLY loud. I also didn't like the Pit Admin announcing. You could not understand a word they said. I also wish you could get sound from the matched in the field. I had to go back and crate our robot during closing ceremonies/finals becuase it took so long to get the crate and I didn't want to miss the Wrap Up party. I was dissappointed I couldn't hear what was going on.

Wrap Up Party: I know FIRST tried their best and it is hard to have a large scale party, but...First, I have to say that the live entertainment was pretty good. The food on the other hand was ok, at best. By time you got to sit down, it was cold. Also, the carnival style attractions were, in my mind, more suitable for younger students andhad ridicuously long lines. A few other team members and I took advantage of the Wrap Up by using the Omni Pool/Hot Tub. Every other night there were 50 or more people there resulting in security kicking them out. When we were there, they stopped by and left..no issues at all.

Ceremonies and Awards: I disliked the way they were ran/given out. I think saving chairmens award for last took away from the winning team becuase the matches were over and people were more interested in going to the Wrap Up Party. Also, inserting awards between finals matches took away from both of them. Opening ceremonies were also lengthy, they shouldn't have caused the matches to become delayed by 30+ minutes.

I do have to say there were some good things. First off, I got my FIRST segway ride...it was awesome. The hotel was (Omni) was pretty nice...I liked having a massive food court near by and being so close to the GWCC and Dome. The pits themselved were also layed out nicely...good walking room and such. Hopefully, FIRST can make some improvements for next year.

Also, how long is the Dome and GWCC contracted by FIRST for use? I heard rumors of one more year, becuase I would honestly like to see it moved to the west...California, Seattle, Salt Lake, or even Arizona would be cool places to hold the competiton. Even michigan would be cool...since we have the most FIRST teams. :)

Jill1022
04-25-2005, 06:16 PM
we needed to be more aggresive.

Collmandoman
04-25-2005, 06:24 PM
I can't say that I LIKED the penalties... but I understood them(except for the autoloader touching!~ :p ) and they were necessary -- I think the problem was creating a game where the human player and field crew had to be so close to the action.

I think the AUTO mode was fine ~ keep it as difficult for next year-- but just make it worth more

so yeah.. make a game that is safe -- not a game that has to be made safe -- if that makes sense

Billfred
04-25-2005, 06:51 PM
Pit Area in General: I don't think FLL and FRC pits should be in the same building. FLL teams are encouraged to be loud in their pits and scream/shout on the way to their matches, which was distracing in FRC pits while trying to talk to others/work. Don't get me wrong, I thought the South Korean teams drums were cool, but REALLY loud. I also didn't like the Pit Admin announcing. You could not understand a word they said. I also wish you could get sound from the matched in the field. I had to go back and crate our robot during closing ceremonies/finals becuase it took so long to get the crate and I didn't want to miss the Wrap Up party. I was dissappointed I couldn't hear what was going on.

If what I heard when I was in the pits was the pit admin, then I heard it fine. Then again, I was always in the pits at off hours.

Perhaps something similar to or improving on 296's Sundial concept is in order. On top of the Pit Admin announcements, those announcements (as well as queueing information, whether the fields are ahead or behind, etc.) would then go up on screens placed around the pit area, say at the end of each aisle. Didn't hear it? Just go check the screen.

The alternative way of doing that would be more Sundialish in nature, and probably is a bit cheaper--put all this information out on a website available over WiFi, then have fewer FIRST-operated displays on the floor (closer to two or three, as opposed to six or seven).

HydroSam
04-25-2005, 10:00 PM
As one of the members of the last group of students who actually remember what Championship events at Epcot were like, I think it’s important that a comparison is drawn between what the Championship event used to be and what it has become. For those of you who haven’t been in FIRST long enough to remember the 2002 or prior Championship events, ask an old-timer on your team, they’ll tell you how much better the event was when it was under the Florida sun.

Take the pits-field-stands distances. Once upon a time the pits were so close to the field that robots actually were sent back to the pits between Quarterfinals matches and retrieving something from your pits during a break between the matches wasn’t a 10-minute running ordeal but a two-minute jaunt. Also, instead of being nearly an entire story above and 10 to 200 yards away from the field your robot is on as it competes, in Epcot designated team cheering zones on the floor were established which put students less than 10 feet away from the field and on the same level as the drivers. Those distances seen in Atlanta present serious problems for scouting teams to relay information to their drivers during Qualifying matches or Elimination rounds. In Epcot I can remember my predecessor briefing the drivers on their next match in the elimination rounds by meeting them at the side of the walkway to and from the pits, not needing to wave them down and use dozens of cell phone minutes to arrange a shouted meeting held a few feet above the drivers’ heads.

Another place where the GA Dome facility simply cannot compete with the Disney facility is in the accommodations, transportation, food, and the party. Unlike the Omni, which fills up weeks before the event and forces teams into sub-par hotels far from the event, Disney had plenty of hotel rooms for the teams and punctual transportation systems (busses and monorail) which transported teams from the front of their hotel to the event site. Even as close as the Omni was to the event, that distance is easily double the distance a team had to walk when the event was in Epcot. For food, the prices in the GA Dome have become ridiculous. I know Disney’s not normally associated with inexpensive, but even they didn’t charge $10.75 for a sad-looking BBQ sandwich, a crushed bag of Lays, and a soda. Also, Disney didn’t go ballistic over teams bringing coolers of drinks into their pits to keep their team members properly hydrated over the long days of competition. And for the party, instead of cheesy stilt acts and carnival games, Disney had major recording artists perform at the Einstein field followed by opening the Epcot park with food and multiple sound stages with entertainment aimed at the high-school crowd.

But the most important difference between the days of Epcot events and the stadium-style of event used today was the difference in facility style. Epcot had massive open areas where inter-team activities like twister, limbo, Frisbee, etc. were encouraged. Nearly everyone participated because the fields were just a short walk from anywhere at the event. In stadiums, it’s a hike just to get to the aisle ways (which cannot be blocked by these activities), let alone outside to the nearest open area. Those activities were an important way that teams got to know each other through the most effective way possible: play. Unfortunately, such activities are far less common today and thus, less inter-team understanding and friendships are created.

The pits, also, are not what they once were. It seems that each year the aisles between them shrinks, and this year the aisles were skinnier at the Championship than at some regionals. The pits at Epcot were sufficiently far apart that I remember it being common for entire teams to accompany their robot back to the pits after a successful match to celebrate and coordinate plans for the rest of the day. Today it’d take 15 minutes or more to do something like that and the traffic jam it would create would be astounding.

The layout of the Epcot event also contributed to the more mobile and social feel of the Epcot-based events. Because divisions rotated through fields, teams didn’t colonize sections of the stands and sit there all day. They’d move into the stands for the field their match was soon to be on a few matches ahead of time, watch theirs, then move on to other things (either a celebration in the pits or to one of the outside events). Today teams have incentive to stay in the stands so that they can have reasonably close seating when their robot competes. It’s a lot easier to meet people and learn from others when you’re up and about instead of sitting like a zombie watching matches and talking to the same old members of your team.

What concerns me about FIRST is that they didn’t realize that the venue was as much a part of the problem as anything in Houston and picked a largely similar setup for Atlanta. There was a certain charm about the Championship event’s style in Epcot, a charm that experience now shows cannot be replicated in other places. I think three years is enough to prove that the Championship needs to return to its home: Orlando, FL. Unfortunately, as of next season, there will be even less people in FIRST who remember what the 2002 or prior events were like, and thus even less push to return it to a similar venue.

Kevin Sevcik
04-25-2005, 10:45 PM
Ah yes, the fabled Golden Years. I'll admit that the events at Epcot were pretty nice, but they too had their problems. For one, the heat. The events were held in a parking lot, which was the venue's greatest strength and weakness. It was hot outside the expensively air conditioned tents, and it was cramped inside them. Since it was in a parking lot, it was also prone to flooding of all things. You were at the mercy of the weather, and Disney hasn't figured out how to control that yet.

There was virtually no seating for teams at the division fields, and teams most certainly did end up sitting in the stands for long lengths of time. Especially during the Elims. And seating at Einstein was worse than at these new venues. A sea of seats actually below the level of the stage and then stadium seating starting about 200 feet back.

I also remember being charged $70 per person for the wrap party if your team didn't spend the extra cash to stay on Disney property. This would be when my team starting saving money and skipping FIRST packages and wrap parties to stay at cheaper nice hotels and go to Medieval Times or Benihana for our own personal wrap party.

Epcot was far from perfect, and I'm certain setting up an entire stadium with AC and generators in a parking lot cost an awful lot more than renting an actual stadium for the same time period. Plus this way you get AC all the time and don't have to worry about rain. The rainstorm Friday would've been a near disaster at Epcot. Basically, though, Epcot got too expensive, and FIRST moved on.

And don't get me started about people complaing about Houston. You can search out my previous posts on the matter if you're curious about my opinion on the subject.



On a completely other subject, I had an idea to help with rules consistency. BEST robotics typically has a "prototype game kickoff" where the game is presented to the hub directors months before kickoff and is open for comments. This is followed by a prototype day where basic prototype robots are brought to play a simulated game. All of this helps iron out bugs in rules that inevitably pop up when the game commitee's perfect game is implemented in our sadly imperfect reality. I realize building several prototype FIRST robots would be expensive and difficult, but I'm sure the idea could be adapted somehow and ex-FIRST mentors could be drafted to help.

Not2B
04-25-2005, 11:01 PM
I had several TGW/TGR (Things Gone Wrong / Things Gone Right), but most of them have already been noted. So I will give one that we do on our team.

- Thing Gone Wrong - we should find more items in the Things Gone Right list. We can find more positives. This is FIRST.

P.S. - Although I did not make it to the A T L baby, I still think Sir Charles rocks. He grows on you - I can't explain it.

Andrew Y.
04-25-2005, 11:05 PM
i think the parking at some of the regionals where bad.

on site parking does not mean 6 miles away. and the transportation buses only ran every 3 hours. very inconvenient


award ceremonies started way too late


please open more doors up arond the dome!

UlTiMaTeP
04-25-2005, 11:11 PM
The walk for Robots was not that bad. The Spectator walk was improved quite a bit also.

UlTiMaTeP
04-25-2005, 11:20 PM
I biggie that I've noticed was inconsistent inspection standards between regionals and championships. Here's why:

At FLR and GTR, our robot was weighed without backup battery and LED's. The inspection people specifically told us, as far as I know, to NOT include those two items. But at championships, our inspector told us the exact opposite, that everything had to be on the robot while being weighed except for the battery. Although that the added LED and backup battery didn't put us over the limit, it frustrated me to know that there was this much inconsistency.

Secondly, at both FLR and GTR, we were allowed to precharge our pneumatic cylinders with a non-kit, non-FIRST, air tank. No one at those two regionals told us not to do so and we even saw other teams doing the same thing. But when came to championships, we were told that we can only precharge with the pneumatic equipment already on the robot. We were told this after other teams complained about our having done so.

Our inspector told us that this might have came about because there were inexperienced inspectors at those regionals. That might explain the LED and backup battery issue, but how can any inspector miss our team taking a giant air tank to our robot and filling it with air?

I hope that we are not the only team that had problems with the inconsistency, if we are, then I guess the inspectors at regionals DID miss those things. If anyone knows differently, please correct me.

There is NO section in the mannual that says you need to have the compressor on the robot to use pneumatics!

Billfred
04-25-2005, 11:33 PM
On a completely other subject, I had an idea to help with rules consistency. BEST robotics typically has a "prototype game kickoff" where the game is presented to the hub directors months before kickoff and is open for comments. This is followed by a prototype day where basic prototype robots are brought to play a simulated game. All of this helps iron out bugs in rules that inevitably pop up when the game commitee's perfect game is implemented in our sadly imperfect reality. I realize building several prototype FIRST robots would be expensive and difficult, but I'm sure the idea could be adapted somehow and ex-FIRST mentors could be drafted to help.

I like this idea--although I can't really go into any significant detail, as I don't really know much about the game design process within FIRST. Perhaps having Storytime with Uncle Dave would help anyone thinking about that end of things?

banztito
04-26-2005, 12:26 AM
+ During a semifinal, my teams robot went to the autoloading station and one of the volunteers forgot to put a tetra on the loader. :mad:
+ NOT ENOUGH GIRLS!! hahah
+ Food was really expensive at the Championship
+ The time from the end of the match to when we got the official scores was wayyy too long, and the screen should be accurate with the scores to help the operators and coaches.


Yep, thats about all the complaints I got, aka... First did an amazing job

Kevin Sevcik
04-26-2005, 12:29 AM
+ During a semifinal, my teams robot went to the autoloading station and one of the volunteers forgot to put a tetra on the loader. :mad:
+ NOT ENOUGH GIRLS!! hahah
+ Food was really expensive at the Championship
+ The time from the end of the match to when we got the official scores was wayyy too long, and the screen should be accurate with the scores to help the operators and coaches.


Yep, thats about all the complaints I got, aka... First did an amazing job

Realtime scoring can only be so accurate. There's exactly two people doing it, and this year they had to keep up with all 9 goals at once. If your coach can't do it himself I fail to see how you can expect someone else to do it and enter it onto a pocket pc as well.

Dan Richardson
04-26-2005, 01:17 AM
Strangely enough I feel that a negative of 2005 was there wasn't enough Sir Charles at nationals :-) I really enjoy him and as it was my first year as a spectator and not on the field I really found him getting me pumped for every match and not just my matches.

I'm not going to beat a dead horse here but the penalties were crazy and I feel the the stray from defensive aspects of first was a huge mistake. Even tho as an omni bot my team greatly benefited from these rules.

My main gripe however is FIRST MUST STICK TO THE SAME RULES, I wish there is something that we could do to keep the rules the same. Maybe a petition or a mass number of emails voicing the same complaint. I believe that at this time with FIRST growing in size, expanding world wide into the middle east and Europe that these updates are unacceptable and honestly a bit unprofessional. Clarifications may and should be made, but changes are unnecessary and must be avoided. That is my main qualm with this season, I hope next year this issue will be addressed.

Overall tho I enjoyed the season :-) It was a good and exciting game.

Cory
04-26-2005, 01:27 AM
I'm not a big fan of Sir Charles, I find him pretty repetitive, but I think the fact that he has zero affiliation with FIRST (I think. Someone correct me if I'm wrong) and he comes out and is so enthusiastic is awesome. He gets into it, and that's cool. It would be nice if he didn't use the same phrases over and over, but I think his enthusiasm really helps.

He didn't have much to work with on Curie anyways. I could have gotten my grandmother to make more noise :rolleyes:

Daniel Brim
04-26-2005, 01:33 AM
My main complaint at championships was the lack of enforcement of penalties. In one match, I watched the red HP zone (from the front row) and counted five infractions with a human player not being in the zone, but not one was called. There were some rather obvious contacts in that zone, but the refs would just laugh and not call it.

There was also lack of GP at the Thursday driver's meeting, especially when people had a little bit of trouble formulating their thoughts. The people sitting behind me were constantly heckling the people at the mike. Eventually we moved because it was bothersome to us, but imagine how bad it was to the person talking. Whoever did this (I didn't catch/look for a team number) owes all of the speakers an apology.

Billfred
04-26-2005, 02:24 AM
Realtime scoring can only be so accurate. There's exactly two people doing it, and this year they had to keep up with all 9 goals at once. If your coach can't do it himself I fail to see how you can expect someone else to do it and enter it onto a pocket pc as well.
I will attest to the madness of RTS this year. I did it for Curie, and it really should have been a three-person job (one per row of goals). Instead, one did the red home row, the center row nearest the audience, and the center goal, while another did the other four goals. When they scored, you had to hit a small button, and then change the ownership at the bottom if it changed. Usually it worked--but oh, how I hated it if the blue alliance scored tetras on the far (near to the audience) center goal. (Half the time tapping that one button to score the tetra resulted in bringing up the PDA's clock.)

I once again have to give props to the guys from 312 who came out of functionally nowhere to help out on Curie with RTS. I definitely wouldn't have been able to do all myself!

Jack Jones
04-26-2005, 02:41 AM
...Outside of that, and this is rather silly, I do kinda wish the gamepieces were usable elsewhere. Bins you can use to store stuff (I've got six in here right now), balls can be bounced, shot, and thrown at freshmen to motivate them to work--but what can you use a nine-pound tetra for? This is gonna take some thought.

You are not trying, my friend. With some PVC cement and minor modifications, here's a few things that come to mind. (http://www.grovesrobotics.org/toptentetras/)

Tristan Lall
04-26-2005, 03:13 AM
I biggie that I've noticed was inconsistent inspection standards between regionals and championships. Here's why:

At FLR and GTR, our robot was weighed without backup battery and LED's. The inspection people specifically told us, as far as I know, to NOT include those two items. But at championships, our inspector told us the exact opposite, that everything had to be on the robot while being weighed except for the battery. Although that the added LED and backup battery didn't put us over the limit, it frustrated me to know that there was this much inconsistency.

Secondly, at both FLR and GTR, we were allowed to precharge our pneumatic cylinders with a non-kit, non-FIRST, air tank. No one at those two regionals told us not to do so and we even saw other teams doing the same thing. But when came to championships, we were told that we can only precharge with the pneumatic equipment already on the robot. We were told this after other teams complained about our having done so.

Our inspector told us that this might have came about because there were inexperienced inspectors at those regionals. That might explain the LED and backup battery issue, but how can any inspector miss our team taking a giant air tank to our robot and filling it with air?

I hope that we are not the only team that had problems with the inconsistency, if we are, then I guess the inspectors at regionals DID miss those things. If anyone knows differently, please correct me.
There is NO section in the mannual that says you need to have the compressor on the robot to use pneumatics!As an inspector, I can attest to the fact that there were many confusing rules and demi-rules concerning pneumatics. In fact, with 639 at the GTR, I came very close to making the same call as the Championship inspector, right before a match--I went so far as to notify the referee on the field that I was going to cite you for it. I didn't do it, though, because I could only firmly remember the requirement that the off-board compressor (if any) be the kit unit. <QA1672>, which spells all of it out more clearly, was a little shaky in my mind, because I couldn't see the justification for disallowing an off-board reservoir (assuming the two Clippards were on-board, and no dubiously legal arrangements such as pistons or tubing as a reservoir existed). In other words, you were lucky that I wasn't absolutely sure of what to do about a system without a compressor, and similarly fortunate that I didn't want to burden you with something about which I wasn't quite sure. Furthermore, I suspect that the notion that you weren't doing any harm, nor gaining an unfair advantage might have crept in there.

Now as for some of the other pneumatics rules, of which I was sure, I didn't like some of the rulings I had to make (pressure switches, coiled hoses and pistons come to mind). The pneumatics rules need fixing; maybe later I'll have a more comprehensive list.

As for 639's weigh in at GTR, it's possible that they were handled by one of the less-experienced inspectors; we had three experienced inspectors full-time, and several more first-time inspectors also working full-time.

David Brinza
04-26-2005, 03:15 AM
There is NO section in the mannual that says you need to have the compressor on the robot to use pneumatics!

The game manual clearly states <R86> that you may choose to NOT put the compressor on the robot and instead pre-charge the tanks before going onto the playing field.

We had difficulty in passing inspection at the Nationals because we did not have the pressure switch on the robot (even though we didn't have a compressor). The inspector agreed that the switch had no function without the compressor, but, if we used any pneumatics, it was required in the rules. Not putting the switch on the robot meant we could gain a weight advantage. So, even though we were almost two pounds underweight, we put the pressure switch on the robot. It was not connected to pnuematic tubing or electrically, just held onto the frame with a zip-tie! :ahh: Inspection: Passed!

dbSparx
04-26-2005, 09:36 AM
What did FIRST do this year that could be done better next year?

There were a lot of great things, as always, about this year's events. Since this thread is about the not-so-great...Most of my thoughts have been covered elsewhere, but I thought it might be helpful if I gave some depth on my big four.

The rules need to be made static before the first regional unless there is a significant risk to safety that must be addressed.
The volume and degree of changes to the rules this year was maddening. We spend a lot of time working on how we will play the game and coach our students very well to understand the game in-depth and how to play it to maximize the chances of winning while playing a clean, sportsmanlike game. There is a fair amount of analysis and coaching involved, as any rule prohibiting certain behaviors must be translated into positive, allowable behaviors before they can be coached effectively. For instance, something as simple as changing the definition we were given for loading zone infractions at the regionals: "the load is considered complete when the tetra is in possession of a robot" to "the load is not considered complete until the robot has exited to loading zone" is a pretty big shift of thinking when you are trying to transfer the change of that definition into a sportsmanlike on-the-field behavior, especially when you are working with alliance partners who may have a different interpretation of what they heard. However minor the rule change, each team has put thousands of hours into designing a robot to play the game as originally specified. This includes a lot of discussion about trade-offs at the margin. Even a small change in the rules can throw out 100s of hours of investment and since our mentor's time is our most valuable resource, every hour is precious. I think we need to cycle back to the "intent-based rules" approach that we cycle back to each time the rules get out of hand.

Penalties are not the answer.
While I agree that we don't want the game to be battle bots, fair and sportsmanlike defense needs to be part of the game, especially in a game that clearly favors teams with means. When I talked to referees, they were managing 1-1/2 pages of penalties. It is no wonder there was such a big problem with consistency, the refs were not process-capable of managing a list that long during a 2-minute match. Penalties that are so large that they will change the outcome of 90% of the games are not good for the sport or the spectators. Here is a case in point: We played 229 on Saturday morning. They have a great robot and a solid alliance. They clearly dominated the game, but because one of their horizontal rods brushed our partner in the loading zone, they lost the match. Now, given that we hadn't beaten 229 all season, I'll take the win :) , but I would much rather have earned it. I am glad that they called the penalty as written (for the sake of consistency), but 229's brushing our partner had no other impact on the game and was clearly incidental. I have a saying on our team: "solve design flaws with better design, not better software." I think this same logic can be applied to the game: "solve design flaws with better design, not penalties (and rules changes)". If the goal is to protect the human players, let's make it clearly difficult for robots to engage each other when the human player is near the field. If the goal is to promote offense and get rid of the battle-bot approach, I have some other thoughts that I will put on Dave Lavery's game design thread.

Queuing times need to be significantly reduced
24 minutes of lead time x 7 matches = 168 minutes in queue, even if we are running on time. My understanding is that while in queue, the teams must stay with their robots. 3 hours in queue without moving is a lot to ask of a team, and with match turnaround in the 6-minute range, is clearly excessive. I think some application of queuing theory could significantly reduce the time in queue and make everyone happier.

The score and outcome of the game need to be observable on the field at the end of the match
There was a point at our first regional that I stopped counting tetras, as the outcome of so few matches actually matched what was on the field at the end of the match. Between the penalties and the rules that gave a team a goal when the other team knocked the tetras off of it, people in the stands couldn't tell you the score or the outcome of the game until it was put up on the board. It makes the game very tough to coach and very hard to explain to spectators, not to mention frustrating for the teams.

Mike Ciance
04-26-2005, 09:52 AM
there always seems to be a lack of communication between autodesk and first. this has always been a problem it must be addressed.now that autodesk is an official sponsor, maybe we will see an improvement in the coming years. let's hope so.

this was my first year doign animation, and i have to say i was very surprised at the disorganized nature of the judging. the manual tells you to ask the pit admin for the location, but they don't know.

Joe Matt
04-26-2005, 09:58 AM
The only real complaint I had was that huge black tarp at the top of the Georgia Dome. I don't know about the rest of you, but I like sunlit robot matches. As for the game, I agree that there were less things to do than last year, but there were also advantages. The penalties were a definite advantage over last year, because defense should not include ramming or tipping over.

I totally disagree, the sun last year was horrible for photos, your eyes, and everything. It made the compeition look bland and washed out, not this year. Plus, remember, we had vision cameras that needed specific calibration for light conditions, with the sun roof that would change by the minute, if not second.

Andy Baker
04-26-2005, 10:12 AM
I would like to make a suggestion to each person who is trying to be constructive in improving how FIRST does things in the future. Make a clear, concise, written & pictorial proposal to FIRST. Include your issue, your solution, and your analysis. Be sure to add pictures, graphs, and drawings if needed. It would be best to limit your proposal to 3-4 pages.

For instance, the one big problem I had this year with the robot rules was that FIRST mandated all teams to have the SLU-70 connector lug. While this connector was fine for teams who did not have a better way to crimp large wires, it is NOT GOOD for teams who have a better system.

As an inspector at the Boilermaker Regional, I had the honor of making the 4-time world Champion, team 71, change their battery and large wire lugs from their tried-and-true crimps to these inferior SLU-70 lugs. They knew that they had a better way to do it, as did I.

However, I can't just complain about it to FIRST. I need to present the issue, make tests, show analysis, and present a better solution. We will be working on this analysis and solution during this "off-season".

Some of these complaints are just silly. "Make the walk between the pits and the field shorter". OK... how is that fixed? Do we put the pits on the next to the nacho stands in the dome concession walkway and then have the drive team carry the machine down the steps to the floor? Do we smash the Convention center into the side of the Dome to save us a couple hundred steps? Please... give us a better solution.

So... go ahead and make your complaints. However, you better back your complaints up with some constructive solutions that work.

Andy B.

CourtneyB
04-26-2005, 10:23 AM
Penalties i think was very high this year compared to other years in the past.

David Gaylord
04-26-2005, 10:35 AM
Queuing times need to be significantly reduced
24 minutes of lead time x 7 matches = 168 minutes in queue, even if we are running on time. My understanding is that while in queue, the teams must stay with their robots. 3 hours in queue without moving is a lot to ask of a team, and with match turnaround in the 6-minute range, is clearly excessive. I think some application of queuing theory could significantly reduce the time in queue and make everyone happier.

As lead queuer on Newton I have no idea what you are talking about (24 minutes x 7 matches = 168 minutes). A few teams on Newton with less than an hour between matches chose to stay in the dome but you are talking about almost 3 hours. At that you would be queued for your second match before you played in your first.

If you look at this another way, matches run every 6 minutes so in 168 minutes you will have 28 matches. With 6 teams in each match that is 168 teams in queue. That would be more teams in queue than there are competing in the division. Not to mention that there was barely enough space behind fields to queue 5 matches (30 teams).

If FIRST stays with the same pit/dome arrangement as this year I would recommend teams leave their pits 6 matches (36 minutes) before their match time. If it takes 12 minutes to get to the field you will be there 3 to 4 matches (18-24 minutes) early, depending on if you leave at the beginning or end of the 6th match before yours. This gives you a bit of time to strategize with your alliance before you are loading onto the field or a few minutes to leave the pits late or have a longer time from pit to field.

I know of nothing that says you must stay with your robot while in queue, I want you nearby but don't have a problem if you choose to watch a couple matches from the ends of your division field (behind the drivers station) with your robot behind the field.

I will be queueing next year as well so let me know of any constructive thoughts you may have regarding the queueing.

mathking
04-26-2005, 10:40 AM
There was a point at our first regional that I stopped counting tetras, as the outcome of so few matches actually matched what was on the field at the end of the match. Between the penalties and the rules that gave a team a goal when the other team knocked the tetras off of it, people in the stands couldn't tell you the score or the outcome of the game until it was put up on the board. It makes the game very tough to coach and very hard to explain to spectators, not to mention frustrating for the teams.


I thought that the solution they used of replacing descored tetras on the goals after the match to indicate ownership took care of this problem pretty well. I know on Friday afternoon and Saturday they were doing this. I found that it was not difficult to figure out the score (except for penalties) once they adopted this methodology.

As for a coach figuring it out, it will be difficult. The coach has to not only see the field as is but also pay attention when a tetra is descored and ownership of a goal passes to one alliance or the other. I don't think it is possible for a 100% or even 95% accurate system. Even with RTS the scorers don't know what judgements the refs will make and can't always see the goals. Even if you had one scorer/goal there would be discrepancies.

dbSparx
04-26-2005, 10:59 AM
As lead queuer on Newton I have no idea what you are talking about (24 minutes x 7 matches = 168 minutes). A few teams on Newton with less than an hour between matches chose to stay in the dome but you are talking about almost 3 hours. At that you would be queued for your second match before you played in your first.

If you look at this another way, matches run every 6 minutes so in 168 minutes you will have 28 matches. With 6 teams in each match that is 168 teams in queue. That would be more teams in queue than there are competing in the division. Not to mention that there was barely enough space behind fields to queue 5 matches (30 teams).

If FIRST stays with the same pit/dome arrangement as this year I would recommend teams leave their pits 6 matches (36 minutes) before their match time. If it takes 12 minutes to get to the field you will be there 3 to 4 matches (18-24 minutes) early, depending on if you leave at the beginning or end of the 6th match before yours. This gives you a bit of time to strategize with your alliance before you are loading onto the field or a few minutes to leave the pits late or have a longer time from pit to field.

I know of nothing that says you must stay with your robot while in queue, I want you nearby but don't have a problem if you choose to watch a couple matches from the ends of your division field (behind the drivers station) with your robot behind the field.

I will be queueing next year as well so let me know of any constructive thoughts you may have regarding the queueing.

I am not sure if we are connecting on the same point. I think the queue length should be shorter, not longer. If you take the 24 minutes early (I think that's the estimate we were given, and it ties with the 18-24 minutes you suggest) x the 7 matches we played, that's 168 minutes of time in queue (not minutes per match, but cumulative time spent in queue). That's a lot of time, and our kids were really feeling it by the end of the weekend. Strategy conversations typically take only a few minutes during qualifying rounds and teams can always meet in the pits if they want to. I would really prefer if we cut the number of matches in queue from 4 to 2.

Doug G
04-26-2005, 11:00 AM
I still don't understand why people are complaining about penalties. How hard is it to stay the heck away from a robot that's in a loading zone?

It absolutely baffles me that after four months of knowing that you WILL get a penalty if you hit someone in the loading zone, people still haven't figured out that you don't push a robot that's loading.

As I said before, and I'll say again, it's really not that hard to avoid penalties.

While at the regionals, I think many of the penalties could have been avoided, however at nationals, I noticed a major decrease in penalties, however, they still played a major role. And many of those penalties were mostly incidental / accidental, but nonetheless they still occurred. Attached is a 30pt penalty on our team because we collided with another team, which then hit a tetra, which then hit a robot in a human load zone. We still won the match and wouldn't urgue the call anyways, it interfered with them loading. I think the whole loading zone issue this year caused a lot of grief, they're may have been a different solution. I also noticed the youngsters working near the auto loaders almost getting clobbered every match. I wouldn't want my youngster that close to some of those robots.


Suggestions for next year-

*Another big peeve of mine was the fact that rankings were never shown on the field throughout the weekend at nationals, or any of the three regionals I attended, unlike previous years. PLEASE start doing this again. Having to walk all the way to the pits to see the rankings is fairly annoying, and impossible if you're volunteering on the field.

ABSOLUTELY!!!

xzvrw2
04-26-2005, 11:05 AM
It is not the fact that there where 30 pt penalties for hitting the robot in the loading zone, it was the inconsistency that really needs to change. One match a penalty would get called, and the next match it would happen again and it didn't get called. I think that the consistency of the calls should be changed not so much as the penalties them selves.

dbSparx
04-26-2005, 11:12 AM
It is not the fact that there where 30 pt penalties for hitting the robot in the loading zone, it was the inconsistency that really needs to change. One match a penalty would get called, and the next match it would happen again and it didn't get called. I think that the consistency of the calls should be changed not so much as the penalties them selves.

I think the inconsistency, in part, is driven by the volume of penalties that needed to be managed, as well as the complexity needed to explain each condition. The penalties need to be reduced to a small set of observable outcomes that serve to increase the safety and sportsmanship of gameplay. Many of the things for which penalties were issued (e.g. touching the loading zone with the predefined section of the robot) seemed arbitrary in nature.

allyphant
04-26-2005, 01:12 PM
One more thing I forgot to mention in my earlier post...

While watching the final matches from the balcony, I noticed that Team 45 Teknocats was sitting in front of us and that everytime an award was announced, the entire team was required to stand up and applaud. As polite as this behavior was, they completely obstructed the field of view and spectators sitting behind them could not see what was going on on the field or which team was recieving the award. Several people politely asked them to sit down but they replied that they would "get yelled out for being rude". I agree that applauding another team's achievements is polite and courteous, however, a repetitive and forced standing ovation becomes increasingly meaningless the more frequently it occurs. Soon it becomes a mere mechanical motion, completely devoid of meaning. Next thing you know, teams will have to light fireworks with their barehands, do sommersaults and backhand springs in order to express their appreciation.

David Gaylord
04-26-2005, 01:42 PM
I am not sure if we are connecting on the same point. I think the queue length should be shorter, not longer. If you take the 24 minutes early (I think that's the estimate we were given, and it ties with the 18-24 minutes you suggest) x the 7 matches we played, that's 168 minutes of time in queue (not minutes per match, but cumulative time spent in queue). That's a lot of time, and our kids were really feeling it by the end of the weekend. Strategy conversations typically take only a few minutes during qualifying rounds and teams can always meet in the pits if they want to. I would really prefer if we cut the number of matches in queue from 4 to 2.

Alright, now I understand what you were saying, for the most part. What do you consider "in queue". I don't consider a team queued until they are at the field. If a team leaves 4 matches prior to their own they will arrive and be the second match in queue on the field. In the past when we made pit announcements we had to make the final call 2 matches prior to make sure the team had enough time to get to the field. For this reason we like having 2 full matches queued up on the field.

24 minutes was just a recommendation, you don't get penalized for not using that time. Your team doesn't have to leave 24 minutes before your match time if they don't want to. They can wait until 12 minutes, but don't expect the field to wait if it takes you 13 minutes or the field is a match ahead of schedule. We hate to see teams missing matches so we are a little generous with the amount of time we recommend.

Throughout the championship Newton went from 3 matches fully queued (all 6 teams) all the way to about 5 and then back to about 1. This was largely due to the field getting behind schedule and then getting slightly ahead. 5 matches queued was too many but I can do little to control the number of matches queued at the field. In past years we could have the pit announcers change the timing of thier match calls as necessary but this year the teams were responsible for adjusting their time to arrive on the field. The 5 match situation was right after opening ceremonies, which went long as I'm sure you noticed. I think many teams stuck with the 24 minute recommendation forgetting that matches were delayed 15 minutes and so were actually leaving 39 minutes early.

Pat Fairbank
04-26-2005, 02:15 PM
I was a tad ticked off that only the American National Anthem was played at the opening ceremonies, but I guess it's somewhat understandable considering that 18(?) countries were represented in Atlanta.

I also found the pyrotechnic display which accompanied the Chairman's award to be a bit anti-climatic, considering that everyone could see the technicians scurrying around on the field setting it up. I clued in on it right away, and it took away the surprise for me. I personally think the hidden confetti guns they had last year were better.

Otherwise, I found the Championship to be very well put together, and I commend FIRST for it.

Perhaps something similar to or improving on 296's Sundial concept is in order. On top of the Pit Admin announcements, those announcements (as well as queueing information, whether the fields are ahead or behind, etc.) would then go up on screens placed around the pit area, say at the end of each aisle. Didn't hear it? Just go check the screen.

The alternative way of doing that would be more Sundialish in nature, and probably is a bit cheaper--put all this information out on a website available over WiFi, then have fewer FIRST-operated displays on the floor (closer to two or three, as opposed to six or seven).I have reason to believe that we just might see something like this next year.

dbSparx
04-26-2005, 03:27 PM
Alright, now I understand what you were saying, for the most part. What do you consider "in queue". I don't consider a team queued until they are at the field. If a team leaves 4 matches prior to their own they will arrive and be the second match in queue on the field. In the past when we made pit announcements we had to make the final call 2 matches prior to make sure the team had enough time to get to the field. For this reason we like having 2 full matches queued up on the field.

24 minutes was just a recommendation, you don't get penalized for not using that time. Your team doesn't have to leave 24 minutes before your match time if they don't want to. They can wait until 12 minutes, but don't expect the field to wait if it takes you 13 minutes or the field is a match ahead of schedule. We hate to see teams missing matches so we are a little generous with the amount of time we recommend.

Throughout the championship Newton went from 3 matches fully queued (all 6 teams) all the way to about 5 and then back to about 1. This was largely due to the field getting behind schedule and then getting slightly ahead. 5 matches queued was too many but I can do little to control the number of matches queued at the field. In past years we could have the pit announcers change the timing of thier match calls as necessary but this year the teams were responsible for adjusting their time to arrive on the field. The 5 match situation was right after opening ceremonies, which went long as I'm sure you noticed. I think many teams stuck with the 24 minute recommendation forgetting that matches were delayed 15 minutes and so were actually leaving 39 minutes early.

Thanks for the clarification. I guess after the regionals, we were conditioned to move when called. We probably followed the letter of the law more than we had to. It sounds like, based on the variability of the queue length, that your buffer was about what it should be (given that it sounds like you almost bled the buffer dry). I'll have to talk it over with the team to make sure we weren't just being overly cautious.

Thanks for the chat.

Koko Ed
04-26-2005, 04:39 PM
Wow.
82 (now 83) posts in the negative thread and only 21 in the posative thread. (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=37616)
C'mon guys. :(

Cory
04-26-2005, 07:50 PM
One more thing I forgot to mention in my earlier post...

While watching the final matches from the balcony, I noticed that Team 45 Teknocats was sitting in front of us and that everytime an award was announced, the entire team was required to stand up and applaud. As polite as this behavior was, they completely obstructed the field of view and spectators sitting behind them could not see what was going on on the field or which team was recieving the award. Several people politely asked them to sit down but they replied that they would "get yelled out for being rude". I agree that applauding another team's achievements is polite and courteous, however, a repetitive and forced standing ovation becomes increasingly meaningless the more frequently it occurs. Soon it becomes a mere mechanical motion, completely devoid of meaning. Next thing you know, teams will have to light fireworks with their barehands, do sommersaults and backhand springs in order to express their appreciation.

So why don't you get up also to show your appreciation, and allow you to see?

KathieK
04-26-2005, 08:06 PM
I was a tad ticked off that only the American National Anthem was played at the opening ceremonies, but I guess it's somewhat understandable considering that 18(?) countries were represented in Atlanta.
I missed the opening ceremonies because I was giving a presentation at the conference. Were the countries represented and acknowledged in the parade? Maybe we should have a FIRST anthem written and played in lieu of a national anthem.

Koko Ed
04-26-2005, 08:17 PM
I missed the opening ceremonies because I was giving a presentation at the conference. Were the countries represented and acknowledged in the parade? Maybe we should have a FIRST anthem written and played in lieu of a national anthem.uhmmm, I don't think that would go over very well, Kathie.

Ali Ahmed
04-26-2005, 08:19 PM
Wow.
82 (now 83) posts in the negative thread and only 21 in the posative thread. (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=37616)
C'mon guys. :(

Human nature.

The thing that I was most ticked off was that only The Star-Spangled Banner was played. At least have recordings of the other ones. Thats all.

Kyle
04-26-2005, 08:22 PM
Human nature.

The thing that I was most ticked off was that only The Star-Spangled Banner was played. At least have recordings of the other ones. Thats all.

Although it is the right thing to do, we would have been there for for an hour longer listing to 18 different countries national anthems and all the time in between playing them.

Chris Fultz
04-26-2005, 08:37 PM
While watching the final matches from the balcony, I noticed that Team 45 Teknocats was sitting in front of us and that everytime an award was announced, the entire team was required to stand up and applaud. As polite as this behavior was, they completely obstructed the field of view and spectators sitting behind them could not see what was going on on the field or which team was recieving the award.

I disagree with you BIG TIME on this. Since jusst about my 1st event, I have stood up for every award to recognize the achievements of the team receiving the award. Over time, the rest of our students have picked up the habit, and now just about the entire team stands. I did hear a few comments from some of the people sitting above us, which, in my mind, is too bad. I do not intend to change my behavior.

Think about it this way, also - how do you want the crowd to react when YOUR team receives an award?????

Stand up and let the teams know you are excited for them.

Tiki
04-26-2005, 08:57 PM
If my team won an award, the LAST thing I'd want the spectators to do would be stand up and act obnoxious. This behavior is usually seen in the middle of matches anyway when people are standing up obstructing the field of view and screaming loudly blocking out both the field and what the announcer is saying. I think that if there were a top 100 list of things NOT graciously professional, screaming and acting infantile would top my list most definately.
I should hope that there could possibly be less screaming/shouting/dancing next year but that isnt going to happen.
The only reason people scream is to hope they get the spirit award.
I stand by my beleifs and don't doubt that my team feels the same way.

Kyle
04-26-2005, 09:04 PM
If my team won an award, the LAST thing I'd want the spectators to do would be stand up and act obnoxious. This behavior is usually seen in the middle of matches anyway when people are standing up obstructing the field of view and screaming loudly blocking out both the field and what the announcer is saying. I think that if there were a top 100 list of things NOT graciously professional, screaming and acting infantile would top my list most definately.
I should hope that there could possibly be less screaming/shouting/dancing next year but that isnt going to happen.
The only reason people scream is to hope they get the spirit award.
I stand by my beleifs and don't doubt that my team feels the same way.


I can honestly say that MOE did not want to win the spirit award this year, we cheer to show our support our team and also other teams. If you don't like the cheering go and do science Olympiad or something. FIRST is about having fun and showing respect for others. Would you like us to all be quite and now show our enthusiasm for what we spent 6 weeks working extremely hard on?

Tiki
04-26-2005, 09:14 PM
fyi I am in science olympiad and they act much more mature in that organization.
I just wish that people could just sit and calm down and just clap like normal, sane human beings. I don't think that in the entirety of that entire competition (including regionals) that I have ever raised the decibals of my voice to an extent which exceeds the appropriate level. I have told many people to sit down when I was trying to write down important scouting information. I couldve just stood up in that situation, but that would obstruct the people who are sitting behind me's view.
I think that the most graciously professional thing you can do is not act like barbaric individuals, which is what the majority of the other teams behave like during (and sometimes after) matches.

Kevin Sevcik
04-26-2005, 09:21 PM
Cheering is good, standing ovations are good. I'm somewhat questionable about forced standing ovations, but whatever floats your boats. However, atleast have the consideration to sit down afterwards. Yeah, consideration. For the people that can't stand up and sit down 20 or more times in a row. There are older mentors sitting behind some of you young whippersnappers and some of them had a rough enough day being on their feet for 10+ hours. Asking them to stand up a bazillion times just cause you aren't polite enough to sit back down after a bit is rather rude, I think. Just my $.02 though.

Amanda Morrison
04-26-2005, 09:37 PM
If my team won an award, the LAST thing I'd want the spectators to do would be stand up and act obnoxious. This behavior is usually seen in the middle of matches anyway when people are standing up obstructing the field of view and screaming loudly blocking out both the field and what the announcer is saying. I think that if there were a top 100 list of things NOT graciously professional, screaming and acting infantile would top my list most definately.
I should hope that there could possibly be less screaming/shouting/dancing next year but that isnt going to happen.
The only reason people scream is to hope they get the spirit award.
I stand by my beleifs and don't doubt that my team feels the same way.

Wow. This hits a whole new level.
I doubt that the team, whether their ovation was 'forced' or not, was not screaming and acting infantile. Have you ever encountered the team in question?

So, you think that people only scream to get the spirit award. Regardless of their intent, do you think this adds to the excitement of a match? It feels so great to win an award, look in the stands, and see other people cheering for you. I think this is a big part of why IRI is such a successful event- the teams are professional and courteous, and since many of them have been competing at the event for years, they all applaud for each other's match wins and awards.

And let's go over what was probably meant by 'forced'. This doesn't mean that there was a mentor barking at the students every time an award was announced, it probably means that it was a team decision that they should honor everyone who won an award. Many teams do that. No matter what the award is, no matter whom the team is, it stands that the judges give out awards to those that they believe are most deserving... so shouldn't we applaud that the most innovative/enthusiastic/best rookie got the award?

I'm not saying you should do the same... I'm saying you probably shouldn't knock those who do. And while you're pretty confident that your team will agree with you, I have little sympathy for your 'beleifs'. What's the solution here? Tell that team that they should purposely get the worst seats in the Dome, so that they can cheer for their fellow competitors without disrupting people who have been on their feet? I guess you shouldn't sit behind them next year. Lesson learned.

I can't believe this is even an issue.

Joe Matt
04-26-2005, 09:50 PM
fyi I am in science olympiad and they act much more mature in that organization.
I just wish that people could just sit and calm down and just clap like normal, sane human beings. I don't think that in the entirety of that entire competition (including regionals) that I have ever raised the decibals of my voice to an extent which exceeds the appropriate level. I have told many people to sit down when I was trying to write down important scouting information. I couldve just stood up in that situation, but that would obstruct the people who are sitting behind me's view.
I think that the most graciously professional thing you can do is not act like barbaric individuals, which is what the majority of the other teams behave like during (and sometimes after) matches.

Sitting there calmly and clapping normal doesn't make you mature at all. I know the most infantile of kids do it. This is a COMPETITION. The "Super Bowl of Smarts". What do you think the appropriate noise volume is? What right do you hold to say that people should act "normal, sane human beings" if you obviously don't know what FIRST is about. If you can't see that cheering loudly, having fun is not "barbaric" then you should look a little closer to yourself about being immature.

I really find it ironic how at 15 you can tell people, who have been in this program nearly as long as you have been ALIVE, they are rude and barbaric!

Koko Ed
04-26-2005, 09:58 PM
fyi I am in science olympiad and they act much more mature in that organization.
I just wish that people could just sit and calm down and just clap like normal, sane human beings. I don't think that in the entirety of that entire competition (including regionals) that I have ever raised the decibals of my voice to an extent which exceeds the appropriate level. I have told many people to sit down when I was trying to write down important scouting information. I couldve just stood up in that situation, but that would obstruct the people who are sitting behind me's view.
I think that the most graciously professional thing you can do is not act like barbaric individuals, which is what the majority of the other teams behave like during (and sometimes after) matches.
Considering that the Technokats are one of the most respected teams in all of FIRST and you just labeled them barbarians is pretty inane kid. I recommend you quit while you're ahead.

dangerousdave
04-27-2005, 02:31 AM
I have read every post in this thread and I want to post at least 2 of my comments.

allyphant said:overall, the only thing that irks me is seeing teams that are composed of mostly retired engineers, parents, and other adults working on the robot and the kids merely helping by handing over the occasional drill. There are several teams that are organized and run by students and I really admire their dedication. I think FIRST should benefit the kids that participate more than the parents. I could not agree more with allyphant. High school students today are extremely smart and talented. Why do some teams not let the students create and repair the robot? A few pits in Atlanta had guys over 40 working on the robots with not a student around. From what I have heard there is at least one team that the students don't get any hands on the robot until it is time to drive it.

One of our team mentors, Jeremy Roberts, CD forum member and the chair of the Peachtree Regional planning committee, asked 3 questions of everyone at the end of The Peachtree Regional. He said if you can answer YES to any of these questions you have succeeded here today.
Did you fix something that broke on your robot?
Did you make a mistake and learn from it?
Did you build a robot that you are proud of?

Let the students build and repair the robots. They are our future and they can do it. If they are stuck with a problem then let the mentors step in. Our team had a pretty tough year with our robot but the team learned a lot. We had a fantastic robot but had some nagging problems. We were the competition winners at the Peachtree last year, did not perform as well this year but our students created and worked on the robot each time. Trust the students, they can do it with minimal help from mentors!

Also, a couple of people here have made negative comments on the announcer Sir Charles. He has done play by play of the Peachtree at least the past 2 years and also been at the Championship's each year. This guy is a class act and brings a lot more excitement to the game so I could not disagree more with the small minority that said they didn't care for him!
Dave

KathieK
04-27-2005, 06:34 AM
The only reason people scream is to hope they get the spirit award. To quote from the Manual: "This award celebrates extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit through an exceptional partnership and teamwork." It does not say anything about screaming the loudest at a competition. Unfortunately it is often awarded to the team who cheers the best during competition and so we have all assumed that it what it was designed to reward. At Chesapeake it was correctly awarded to a team that was kind of quiet during competition, but who overcame adversity and showed exceptional teamwork. So we don't scream because we want to win an award, we scream because the event is exciting. We dye our hair in team colors, paint our faces, wear strange things hanging from our earlobes and our necks, weigh ourselves down with team buttons, wear socks in striped colors, and put pom poms on our sneakers. Because it's fun to do.

Ryan Dognaux
04-27-2005, 07:45 AM
fyi I am in science olympiad and they act much more mature in that organization.
I just wish that people could just sit and calm down and just clap like normal, sane human beings. I don't think that in the entirety of that entire competition (including regionals) that I have ever raised the decibals of my voice to an extent which exceeds the appropriate level. I have told many people to sit down when I was trying to write down important scouting information. I couldve just stood up in that situation, but that would obstruct the people who are sitting behind me's view.
I think that the most graciously professional thing you can do is not act like barbaric individuals, which is what the majority of the other teams behave like during (and sometimes after) matches.

All I've got to say is you should try showing some emotion sometime. You might actually enjoy it.

Teams cheer beacuse they care. Not cheering for your team would be a way of showing you do not care.

FYI - I think you're one of the few who doesn't care.

Alan Anderson
04-27-2005, 09:11 AM
While watching the final matches from the balcony, I noticed that Team 45 Teknocats was sitting in front of us and that everytime an award was announced, the entire team was required to stand up and applaud...
"Required"?

I didn't hear anyone giving instructions to the kids, either during or prior to the finals, telling them they had to stand for the awards. It just seemed to be a natural and spontaneous thing to do, at least for me, and I imagine it was the same with most of the other mentors and veteran students.

How would you prefer we show our enthusiasm and appreciation for the award-winning teams? This is a high-energy sporting event, not a piano recital. :)

whakojacko
04-27-2005, 11:47 AM
i would agree with alan, teams should be showing their enuthusiasm and being spirited. This is supposed to be an exciting competition not formal one. Trying to take the spirit out of first would just be killing it.

the_short1
04-27-2005, 12:40 PM
Consistancy in refereeing between regionals.

Maybe next year FIRST can consider having a consistant group of Head Refs deployed to each regional, much in the same way MCs and announcers are distributed....

-SlimBoJones...


YES!.. i 100% agree with taht.. considering the magnitude of the 30point penalties especially (hitting robot in loading zone, we hit once and they were not in process of loading, they just moved onto there to get in our way)
. . .. .. the inconsistancy at the toronto vs GLr regional stunk. . at GLR the refs were awsome.. they looked like veterans.. at toronto.. they all looked like.. 20s... !.. and as such they made some REALLY bad calls, not only for our team, but for many others that i watched.. it was horrible.

Alan Anderson
04-27-2005, 12:41 PM
If my team won an award, the LAST thing I'd want the spectators to do would be stand up and act obnoxious.
Think back to the award presentations. Look around you, beyond your own team. Notice the hordes of students standing up and cheering the winners. Please don't confuse energetic enthusaism with acting obnoxious. At fifteen, you're much too young to be so stodgy. :)

I seem to recall you once mentioning that your team members consider it taboo to interact with "outsiders", and now you're telling us that they think displaying spirit should be discouraged? I think there's something very wrong with that attitude, and I think you should talk to your mentors -- and have them talk to other teams' mentors -- to try to find out if you're "just not getting it". Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you're that uncomfortable with the amount of jumping up and down that goes on at a FIRST event, you might want to consider focusing on the chess team instead of the robotics team. :p

Mark Pierce
04-27-2005, 12:57 PM
Many of my complaints have already been discussed, such as the long queuing times, which could definitely be handled better.

Here's the rest of my list:

Nearly all the announcing on Curie was not understandable. It sounded like they were yelling into mikes causing incredible distortion. Viewers at home on NASA TV or the Internet felt the same.

The NASA broadcast was terrible, switching fields mid-match, no scores, and the real time scoring (which as already discussed was often wrong) taking up much of the screen. My wife said it would turn off anyone not involved in the program, not excite them to get involved.

The lack of ranking information or even the elimination brackets on the field screen was annoying, but not having updated and correct rankings and awards on the website for our press connections was yet again a real miss. Try explaining results to a reporter who keeps repeating, "but the website says this.." and you get the idea. FIRST still needs a system to generate official press releases immediately after every event. Perhaps that's a project for Google...

The peviously unscheduled, excessively long drivers meeting which conflicted with many teams' planned events was a real annoyance as well. Maybe some of it was useful, but the part I saw was pretty much a waste of time.

Overall the event was successful and a lot of fun. I do plan on posting in the positive thread tonight or during lunch tomorrow.

dbSparx
04-27-2005, 01:10 PM
Many of my complaints have already been discussed, such as the long queuing times, which could definitely be handled better.

Here's the rest of my list:

Nearly all the announcing on Curie was not understandable. It sounded like they were yelling into mikes causing incredible distortion. Viewers at home on NASA TV or the Internet felt the same.

The NASA broadcast was terrible, switching fields mid-match, no scores, and the real time scoring (which as already discussed was often wrong) taking up much of the screen. My wife said it would turn off anyone not involved in the program, not excite them to get involved.

The lack of ranking information or even the elimination brackets on the field screen was annoying, but not having updated and correct rankings and awards on the website for our press connections was yet again a real miss. Try explaining results to a reporter who keeps repeating, "but the website says this.." and you get the idea. FIRST still needs a system to generate official press releases immediately after every event. Perhaps that's a project for Google...

The peviously unscheduled, excessively long drivers meeting which conflicted with many teams' planned events was a real annoyance as well. Maybe some of it was useful, but the part I saw was pretty much a waste of time.

Overall the event was successful and a lot of fun. I do plan on posting in the positive thread tonight or during lunch tomorrow.

Thank you!! I can't believe I forgot the drivers' meeting. What a frustrating meeting. I commend their desire to get everyone on the same page, but that should have been taken care of well in advance of the nationals. The last-minute scheduling, as you pointed out, was just unacceptable. Teams, especially large teams from out of town, have to do a lot of preplanning to make these trips come off right. Our drivers missed a team dinner to be in attendance, and we walked away more confused and frustrated by the new interpretations introduced during that meeting. To make matters worse, the calls were no more consistent after the meeting. The problem wasn't the absence of communication, the problem was too many penalties with too much room for judgment.

AmyPrib
04-27-2005, 02:20 PM
While watching the final matches from the balcony, I noticed that Team 45 Teknocats was sitting in front of us and that everytime an award was announced, the entire team was required to stand up and applaud. As polite as this behavior was, they completely obstructed the field of view and spectators sitting behind them could not see what was going on on the field or which team was recieving the award. Several people politely asked them to sit down but they replied that they would "get yelled out for being rude". I agree that applauding another team's achievements is polite and courteous, however, a repetitive and forced standing ovation becomes increasingly meaningless the more frequently it occurs. Soon it becomes a mere mechanical motion, completely devoid of meaning. Next thing you know, teams will have to light fireworks with their barehands, do sommersaults and backhand springs in order to express their appreciation.

Perhaps some of the younger teams have not yet recognized the importance of applauding others achievements. It's called GP. It's called, not being a sore loser. It's called, being proud of other teams when they succeed. With your role titled "Leadership", you might consider instilling this type of behavior within your team. Personally, I was appauled at the lack of applause from the balcony section, let alone standing O's. It borders on showing disrespect for others accomplishments. It shows that they don't care others do well. If you were concerned about not seeing the 2 representatives receiving their awards, perhaps you could stand up and cheer for them, as we only stood for maybe 20-30s each award. Team 45 has the utmost respect and consideration for other teams and I don't see how this could even be turned into something negative.

The TechnoKats are not going to refrain from applauding others when they do well, or standing up to do it. The teams that win these awards deserve a standing O. How would you feel if nobody stood up or applauded when you received an award? I have noticed that if the veteran teams don't do this, the arena will be silent. There are some younger teams that do it, but I see many younger teams sitting in their chairs with their hands at their sides. That's sad. There were 3-5 teams from the whole balcony we saw stand up to applaud - the rest only stood up for the wave.

If you think that repetitive standing O's and applause become devoid of meaning, you are sorely mistaken. Sure, maybe there are some people even on the TechnoKats that haven't figured out why we do it.... but they will. They are not "required" to stand up. We encourage it. We do it because we are truly proud of those successful teams and try to encourage other teams to show their support also.

If anything, the Lessons Learned Negative here is that many teams don't show their support for others successes, and that is the negative.

Max Lobovsky
04-27-2005, 04:37 PM
Having discussed this with her, let me try to clarify Ally's post: She is not opposed to teams showing their appreciation for other's success. What she, and I, think is inappropriate is for team members to be required to give a standing ovation for every award.

A student on team 45 told Ally precisely this at the competition when she asked why they keep standing ("we get yelled at for being rude"). Now two members of 45 have disputed this claim in this thread, and that's all anyone needed to say about this.

If someone would like to argue that it is appropriate for teams to be required to show some insincere appreciation, that is another matter.

Mini-D67
04-27-2005, 04:44 PM
Also, in regards to the 30 point penalties, if you got that, you automatically lost the match. I think that is very unfair.


Thats not always the case. I remember one finals match where one team got a 30 pointer and still won by 10...

The only thing I didn't like this year was the lack of calls on ramming/pinning. Not once did I see a 10 pointer thrown for ramming, nor did I ever see an acurate count on pinning. Those are my 2 major driver pet-peeves...

Other than that, I love this years compitition!

btw, Sir Charles rules! :D

Cory
04-27-2005, 04:48 PM
. . .. .. the inconsistancy at the toronto vs GLr regional stunk. . at GLR the refs were awsome.. they looked like veterans.. at toronto.. they all looked like.. 20s... !.. and as such they made some REALLY bad calls, not only for our team, but for many others that i watched.. it was horrible.

I think it's completely wrong of you to make an assumption that because a referee is under a certain age they lack the competency to understand the rules and officiate. How does someone "Look like a veteran"? I've been in FIRST 5 years and I'm almost 19. I can pickup some random 50 year old dude off the streets, who's never seen FIRST, and because he's 50, and I'm 19, you assume he understands the rules better, and is more competent?

Please think before you speak.

Jill1022
04-27-2005, 05:05 PM
I agree that it was very difficult to scout when teams in front of you were standing up and blocking the view of the field. At times my scouts and I would have to skip entire matches because of this.

But instead of having teams stop standing up and cheering, how about they move to an area where they know no scouts are? Or going further back in the stands to cheer. Or having sections designated for scouts only? I think that's the best idea.

allyphant
04-27-2005, 05:09 PM
So why don't you get up also to show your appreciation, and allow you to see?

that was not the point of my argument. read it again.

Kevin Sevcik
04-27-2005, 05:09 PM
I agree that it was very difficult to scout when teams in front of you were standing up and blocking the view of the field. At times my scouts and I would have to skip entire matches because of this.

But instead of having teams stop standing up and cheering, how about they move to an area where they know no scouts are? Or going further back in the stands to cheer. Or having sections designated for scouts only? I think that's the best idea.

Possibly coming soon to a regional near you. If you live near Houston, anyways. We're looking at options to make something like this happen at LSR next year.

Cory
04-27-2005, 05:24 PM
that was not the point of my argument. read it again.

I did indeed read your post. You complained that you could not see because the team in front of you was standing and cheering.

What am I missing? :confused:

allyphant
04-27-2005, 05:31 PM
I did indeed read your post. You complained that you could not see because the team in front of you was standing and cheering.

What am I missing? :confused:

Several people politely asked them to sit down but they replied that they would "get yelled out for being rude". I agree that applauding another team's achievements is polite and courteous, however, a repetitive and forced standing ovation becomes increasingly meaningless the more frequently it occurs. Soon it becomes a mere mechanical motion, completely devoid of meaning.

My point is that enthusiastic appreciation for other teams is wonderful but insincere expression is not. (hence the thing about repetition, forced, meaningless mechanical motion) I under the impression that members of one team was required to give every other team a standing ovation. I hope when other teams applaud for my team, they do it because we have earned it and not because someone else is telling them to do it.
You can also read MaxLobovsky post for further clarification.

J Flex 188
04-27-2005, 05:43 PM
I'm merely pointing out the fact that a predominantly large portion of ref's at GTAR and the majority of Canadian events are Woburn 188 Alumni (established in FIRST in 1998 and Canada FIRST 3 years prior) and as such they are all incredibly well versed in how exacting a toll penalties can take on every team, indeed, we have been the victim of a few bad calls and benefited from a few bad calls ourselves. Age shouldnt really and doesnt really determine how people call games. That being said however, I agree with Slimbo's point (not just because he is on my team ;)) that perhaps a committee of ref's could be established per region of competition that would travel to each respective competition and serve as a referee adivsor, or something of that nature.

Other than that, this has been a fantastic final season.

For all of you guys complaining about turnaround in Championships, ask anyone who attended the Waterloo regional. We had maybe 40-50 minutes at most between matches, usually it was closer to 20-30.

YES!.. i 100% agree with taht.. considering the magnitude of the 30point penalties especially (hitting robot in loading zone, we hit once and they were not in process of loading, they just moved onto there to get in our way)
. . .. .. the inconsistancy at the toronto vs GLr regional stunk. . at GLR the refs were awsome.. they looked like veterans.. at toronto.. they all looked like.. 20s... !.. and as such they made some REALLY bad calls, not only for our team, but for many others that i watched.. it was horrible.

Koko Ed
04-27-2005, 05:43 PM
Fighting with other teams over cheering for other teams during an awards ceremony is a sad precedence. This has been a rough year for GP in FIRST.

allyphant
04-27-2005, 05:51 PM
Fighting with other teams over cheering for other teams during an awards ceremony is a sad precedence. This has been a bad year for GP in FIRST.

there was no fighting but merely a discussion that emerged from the inability to see the field. Just because i choose to address an issue that was bothering me does not mean i was not being a gracious professional. I chose to confront the issue politely and sensitively instead of throwing around hurtful words. Please don't assume. If I have unintentionally offended anyone with my choice of words, i apologize.

Koko Ed
04-27-2005, 06:00 PM
there was no fighting but merely a discussion that emerged from the inability to see the field. Just because i choose to address an issue that was bothering me does not mean i was not being a gracious professional. I chose to confront the issue politely and sensitively instead of throwing around hurtful words. Please don't assume. If I have unintentionally offended anyone with my choice of words, i apologize.
It's not just you and your team. There's been alot of anger on these pages this year (and I'm just as guilty as the next guy). I don't know what it is but I have never seen Cheifdelphi have so many arguements and confrontations. The fact that this thread is five times the size of the positive thread proves that. Hopefully cooler heads will ease up the tension in the offseason.

AmyPrib
04-27-2005, 06:22 PM
Several people politely asked them to sit down but they replied that they would "get yelled out for being rude". I agree that applauding another team's achievements is polite and courteous, however, a repetitive and forced standing ovation becomes increasingly meaningless the more frequently it occurs. Soon it becomes a mere mechanical motion, completely devoid of meaning.


This is only the second half of your post. But either way, if one of our students told you they were required to stand, then they have it wrong and obviously don't understand yet why we cheer others on. I'm not convinced it would have made much difference at the time if those few had remained seated, because the other 95% of us were standing on our own free will. The most we do to "require" them to stand is make a hand motion implying "come on, stand up and cheer", but have never yelled at, or punished someone for not doing so.. That would be silly.

Either way, it shows support from a team, regardless if they were less than willing to show it. People don't always do things because they like it, but they do it anyways...for whatever reason. And while I can honestly understand your point of view, I'd personally rather have my teammate standing and applauding less willingly (not forced), than sitting on their hands and ignoring the awards looking like a bored, unhappy, sore loser, even if they are. Negativity clearly shows more in one situation over the other and we don't want a less than positive team. We try to teach them GP, and standing to applaud is one small way we do it.
That is all on this... I think we can put it to rest now that everyone is understood.

The fact that this thread is five times the size of the positive thread proves that. Hopefully cooler heads will ease up the tension in the offseason.
Maybe it's because negative things are easier to argue than positive things.. :) Now that we've been able to explain our thoughts, I promise I will post no more in this thread, as I don't have any negative things left to say regarding this thread. I apologize for the space the discussion has taken already but hopefully others can learn something from it :D

Jasmin
04-27-2005, 08:22 PM
I only attended one regional and the nationals, but at both I experienced the same problem; Teams standing up during their matches.

It really doesn't seem like that big of deal, but when those teams are sitting in the closest (or near closest) seats to the field, it's rather vexing when you're trying to scout or just sit back, relax, and watch the matches.

When asked to sit down, they ignored the request. Maybe they didn't hear us? Doubtful. At least one or two members would turn around and see us motioning the request, but denied it. Not just students, either, but the adults as well.

Perhaps this issue could be addressed amongst the teams. If you insist on standing up during the match, then maybe you could sit nearer to the back? Or just stand up while they're announcing your team/alliance? It'd be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Ali Ahmed
04-27-2005, 08:58 PM
From reading all these posts I feel that there was a lack of GP this year. I have personally felt this. There could be many reasons for this, maybe FIRST is getting too big or maybe some people don't understand what it is. I am proposing that everybody get reacquainted with gracious professionalism. It would help things greatly.

Rombus
04-28-2005, 12:37 AM
Might i say something here?

Everyone take a step back, There is alot of PERSONAL discussion going on here, Lets direct the negative at FIRST and not each other :D

I'm kidding, really, First is doing a great job!

Here is my view of all this negative:

Negative vs. Positive is a bad comparison, Think of this: You have a good day, not exceptional, but good overall. Now say some random guy walks up and kicks you in the shin. What are you more likely to tell people about? The good overall day, or the guy kicking you in the shin?

Now lets say you have a bad day, not much goes right, but there is nothing exceptionally bad. A random guy walks up and hands you a $100 bill and walks away, what are you going to tell people about then?

Look at what we are discussing here, The major reoccurring topic is the ref inconsistencies. Alot of other things brought up are mainly small things in the overall scale of FIRST, this shows me that in general 2005 was a good year for FIRST.

So again, take a step back, and really take a good look at what your about to post, Keep specific teams or people OUT of your post to avoid discussions like the whole Technokats fiasco.

Then again, what do i know, I'm only a rookie :D

Andy Baker
04-28-2005, 12:39 AM
With regard to cheering, requiring teammates to stand and cheer, and being bothered by teams in front of you who are cheering, I would like to start a new thread. This seems to be a sticky issue with a few different sides and opinions. I can see what Ally (and others are saying), and I would like to take the time to address this logically by starting another thread.

This other thread is called Cheering, standing ovations, and required team actions (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=377169#post377169).

Go there to debate that issue as you wish. Continue to whine about FIRST in this thread. (sorry... couldn't resist... :) )

Andy B.

kulisb
04-28-2005, 09:42 AM
While the entire FIRST crew did an awesome job at the Championship Competition, many people have mentioned that consistency in calling penalties was a big problem. I have to agree on that one. You should really check out this match (#74 in Galileo) for one of the strangest calls I have ever seen.

http://soap.circuitrunners.com/2005/movies/championship/galileo/gal_074.wmv

Keep an eye on team 126 (the closest robot on the blue alliance.......the one capping multiple tetras at once). They stay on their side of the field for just about the whole match. With somthing like 11 or 12 seconds left in the match, a robot on the far red side of the field can be seen being tipped over. With time running out, 126 attempts to run the field and cap in a red home row goal, passing the downed robot with about 2 seconds left in the match. While there was about 6 seconds in between the robot tipping, and 126 being on even the same SIDE of the field as them, they are somehow hit with a ten point penalty and disqualified in the match for being responsible for the tipping.
What do you guys think? I understand how calls should not be arguable. But, in a case like this, should calls be able to be changed or reviewed? This year, a simple mistake like this in one match costs any team a LOT! Thanks for your input!

Congrats to all teams on another successful FIRST season! :)

abeD
04-28-2005, 10:08 AM
Well from what I saw on the video someone definately got tipped and it even looked like it was tipped becuase of a high push. I couldn't make out team #'s and such but that can be grounds for a dq


On another note: we all know that there were some bad calls made and this has been said in this thread many times (as well in maybe 10 other threads if not more) If you're going to post a bad call or say that the ref's were inconsistent and such please reconsider because this topic has been beaten to death then dragged outside revived and beaten again.

kulisb
04-28-2005, 10:14 AM
[QUOTE=abeD]Well from what I saw on the video someone definately got tipped and it even looked like it was tipped becuase of a high push. I couldn't make out team #'s and such but that can be grounds for a dq


Yes, a robot was tipped over. But, the dq was charged to the wrong team.

Jack Jones
04-28-2005, 10:44 AM
Maybe next year FIRST can do away with the refs altogether. It could be done with pressure pads, contact switches, and tip sensors. The onboard computers could calculate how hard and where they’d been hit and signal the master computer to disable the right bot.

Heck, while we’re at it, let’s do away with the drivers, HPs, and coaches. Run the full two minutes in autonomous mode; put bar codes on the game pieces and scanners on the goals.

That way there’d be no need for moan and groan posts. Not one person cheated. No one to disparage.

the_short1
04-28-2005, 11:53 AM
jack jones that is a goood way of ending their quabble..

.. . see.. if we didnl;t allow for these flexibilities.. then the game would be no fun at all (jack jones method).. so .. we just need to deal with it..

but personally .. i think the refs should watch a video of the match!. . FIRST is all about technology, but .. why is their refs using flags and not videos ? .. we know in NHL when a goal is disputed.. they look at the net cam . !..

Dez
04-28-2005, 11:58 AM
jack jones that is a goood way of ending their quabble..

.. . see.. if we didnl;t allow for these flexibilities.. then the game would be no fun at all (jack jones method).. so .. we just need to deal with it..

but personally .. i think the refs should watch a video of the match!. . FIRST is all about technology, but .. why is their refs using flags and not videos ? .. we know in NHL when a goal is disputed.. they look at the net cam . !..


Because the NHL doesn't have to get through 400+ matches in 2 days @ 6 minuets each. Also if the refs were to review video, then theres a delay in matches or a much lower number of matches and another point for everyone to complain about. Guys I'm not trying to be mean but the refs are only human, they make mistakes. Why doesn't everyone take a step back from their computer, close Chiefdelphi.com and go outside, i hear the weather is nice.

Billfred
04-28-2005, 12:22 PM
Maybe next year FIRST can do away with the refs altogether. It could be done with pressure pads, contact switches, and tip sensors. The onboard computers could calculate how hard and where they’d been hit and signal the master computer to disable the right bot.

Heck, while we’re at it, let’s do away with the drivers, HPs, and coaches. Run the full two minutes in autonomous mode; put bar codes on the game pieces and scanners on the goals.

That way there’d be no need for moan and groan posts. Not one person cheated. No one to disparage.
I know that's hyperbole, but I also think there's a bit of a good idea in there.

Suppose next year's game were designed such that the only penalties/disablements/DQs given out were for ramming, tipping, unsafe operation, and the obligatory humans touching the robot. Penalties don't always be the answer--there is always creating the game's scoring options such that a strategy based on interference (such as blocking both opposing ball chutes in FIRST Frenzy, a ten-point penalty) aren't necessarily illegal, but either fall under the heading of "not GP" or "just plain stupid" instead.

I know what you're thinking now: "But Billfred, what about the human players?! We've got to protect them!" Once again, a game design to that effect can solve that. Using the example of balls, suppose the ball chutes were more along the lines of 2000 (a picture of which can be seen here (http://www.spamrobotics.com/gallery2/2000/fcd512228_1)), modified such that humans can't reach out onto the field. An example to that effect is attached to this post. edit: now it actually is attached. (If you're still worried, put a requirement that any ball-delivering devices can't be designed to interface with the chute. Then they have to build it that way, lest they don't compete.)

Put simply, the whole reason I see that we have penalties is to make a certain event (such as hitting your opponent while in the loading zone) undesirable. There is, however, more than one way to skin a cat; making certain events impossible or stupid to do through other aspects of game design does the same thing.

CourtneyB
04-28-2005, 04:04 PM
If my team won an award, the LAST thing I'd want the spectators to do would be stand up and act obnoxious. This behavior is usually seen in the middle of matches anyway when people are standing up obstructing the field of view and screaming loudly blocking out both the field and what the announcer is saying. I think that if there were a top 100 list of things NOT graciously professional, screaming and acting infantile would top my list most definately.
I should hope that there could possibly be less screaming/shouting/dancing next year but that isnt going to happen.
The only reason people scream is to hope they get the spirit award.
I stand by my beleifs and don't doubt that my team feels the same way.

So what you are saying is that if your team wins an award or somethign you want everyone to shut up and just sit there having no emotions what so ever for you guys? why? FIRST is about being happy and being gracious and all about good things and everything. it just crosses my mind on how people can just say that its "obnoxious" for teams to cheer for other teams? this is the time where i put on my "hm" face.

Crash&Burn
04-28-2005, 05:55 PM
I would have to say, the biggest problem for our team watching our matched would be other teams saving seats

we would come into the stands to cheer as a team (all 21 members) during practice matches and day 1 matches and these spaces would be 'marked off' with jackets and banners. we sat anyway because 6 rows worth of seats would be blocked off for all hours of the day with no one actually in them and we'd just want to watch one match at the alotted time. We incountered several robot mommies and daddies who would tell us to move. After our match we'd get up and resume our work.

I mean i greatly appreciate the caring of these parent volunteers, but seats should be in rotation for all the teams to use.

xzvrw2
04-28-2005, 06:13 PM
While the entire FIRST crew did an awesome job at the Championship Competition, many people have mentioned that consistency in calling penalties was a big problem. I have to agree on that one. You should really check out this match (#74 in Galileo) for one of the strangest calls I have ever seen.

http://soap.circuitrunners.com/2005/movies/championship/galileo/gal_074.wmv

Keep an eye on team 126 (the closest robot on the blue alliance.......the one capping multiple tetras at once). They stay on their side of the field for just about the whole match. With somthing like 11 or 12 seconds left in the match, a robot on the far red side of the field can be seen being tipped over. With time running out, 126 attempts to run the field and cap in a red home row goal, passing the downed robot with about 2 seconds left in the match. While there was about 6 seconds in between the robot tipping, and 126 being on even the same SIDE of the field as them, they are somehow hit with a ten point penalty and disqualified in the match for being responsible for the tipping.
What do you guys think? I understand how calls should not be arguable. But, in a case like this, should calls be able to be changed or reviewed? This year, a simple mistake like this in one match costs any team a LOT! Thanks for your input!

Congrats to all teams on another successful FIRST season! :)

It may not have been team 126 but it was still a team on the blue alliance that tipped that robot, unless my eyes were playing tricks on me. So they should have got the DQ for the alliance but not because of team 126.

Gerbs
04-28-2005, 07:06 PM
It may not have been team 126 but it was still a team on the blue alliance that tipped that robot, unless my eyes were playing tricks on me. So they should have got the DQ for the alliance but not because of team 126.


Look closely at the bottom where the two bots come into contact. The Blue Alliance bot tipped the bot by turning left and touched it at the BASE. This sure doesn't look like a High CG tip. I'd call it legal.

Anyway...I can say that our team also had a match with a ref error.
It happened in the Human Player loading zone. We were clearly on the Pad and the other side backed right into us as they moved away from our goal. It looked like a 30pointer to me (I our favour)...but no penalty was awarded. Go figure!

Cory
04-28-2005, 10:17 PM
Look closely at the bottom where the two bots come into contact. The Blue Alliance bot tipped the bot by turning left and touched it at the BASE. This sure doesn't look like a High CG tip. I'd call it legal.

Anyway...I can say that our team also had a match with a ref error.
It happened in the Human Player loading zone. We were clearly on the Pad and the other side backed right into us as they moved away from our goal. It looked like a 30pointer to me (I our favour)...but no penalty was awarded. Go figure!

This isn't a thread to tell everyone that you got penalties you didn't deserve.
Please keep on topic.

Koko Ed
04-29-2005, 07:31 PM
This isn't a thread to tell everyone that you got penalties you didn't deserve. In fact, I'd wager that the vast majority of people really don't care

Please keep on topic.
Well I would've put it in a more polite manner than that.
He's a newbie. Go easy on him.

Jverdon
04-30-2005, 01:13 PM
Definitly the penalties, if you got one of the wopping 30 point penalties then you PROBABLY had a good chance of losing.

ChrisCook
05-06-2005, 06:58 PM
I found that you need to find a balance with the team. This was the first year we brought back our team and it was unspeakablily hard to do school, X-C and run a full time "Circus" the hardest thing was trying to find what everyone was good at. everyone wanted to be on the computers, and in return we finished as the truck was pulling up. Our team offically had 30 people on it but there we really only 5 people who decided to do the work.
If anyone has suggestions about organizing the team so that it will function on its own, without mentor or a single person handling it. I am will ing to listen.

Chris