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Unread 11-09-2002, 08:53 AM
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Question QotW [11-09-02]: Championship Event qualification...

Hi all. With all the talks about location for the Championship Event, I thought I should bring up a similar topic regarding Nats. Since it might not be held in Disney World anymore, and FIRST cutting funding because of growing numbers of regionals, there might be significant changes to how the Championship event might be in the future… It might not hold as many teams as last year did, or it might switch from places to places… And it probably won’t be the same experience anymore… With that in mind, here is the question of the week…

Questions 11/09/02: Do you think a qualification process is necessary for the future Championship Event, and if so, how should teams qualify for Nats?

(take a look at the current qualification process @ http://www.usfirst.org/robotics/res_art9.htm)

Keep in mind there will be growth and changes in FIRST in the coming years… At the rate of gaining new teams, there won’t be room at Nats for 500 teams… or 1000… Maybe even 2000… And what if it will no longer be at Disney? Maybe some teams won’t care about going anymore because of that…? What do you think?

Have fun!

-Ken L
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Unread 11-09-2002, 11:53 AM
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Re: QotW [11-09-02]: Championship Event qualification...

Quote:
Originally posted by Ken L

Questions 11/09/02: Do you think a qualification process is necessary for the future Championship Event, and if so, how should teams qualify for Nats?

Keep in mind there will be growth and changes in FIRST in the coming years… At the rate of gaining new teams, there won’t be room at Nats for 500 teams… or 1000… Maybe even 2000… And what if it will no longer be at Disney? Maybe some teams won’t care about going anymore because of that…? What do you think?

Have fun!

-Ken L
I think that the qualification processes that are in place for the season need to stay in place, regardless of the capacity of the new venue. That's just as a courtesy to odd-numbered teams who were excluded from participating last year. However, if the venue can hold a larger capacity, and that capacity will maintain a high level of quality in the event, I'd encourage opening the experience up to as many teams as possible.

As FIRST grows, there will need to be a massive restructuring of the qualifying procedures or the Championship itself. I fear, of course, that this restructuring will make FIRST even more like a competitive sport, rewarding victory instead of presenting opportunities.
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Unread 11-09-2002, 12:35 PM
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here is what ever change i got in my pocket

The Nats need to be limited for a reason that my not seem so important to everybody



the nats have 4 divisions and prob always have them the problem is that how can the winners say they won the against 2 hundred some odd team when you only beat a few of the teams in the division and then the tops winners of the other divisions

what are the chances of a team doing as well against every robot there, like how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop the world may never know
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Unread 11-09-2002, 01:58 PM
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Lightbulb

Here's an Idea -
Since FIRST will continue to grow each year, 'divisions' could be made, seperating the states into their own smaller kind of National qualification. If a team qualifys, then they could go to the main National competition, although this does present a problem - Teams would be facing the same teams year after year. Though it's not the best soultion, it would work.
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Unread 11-09-2002, 02:13 PM
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Thumbs up We're the 229th ranked team in the nation!... wait...

I agree with Mike that the qualifications NEED to stay the same this year, as a courtesy to those team's cut out of last year's event. I'd like to see things back the way they were in 2001, with everyone automatically qualifying. I feel that nationals is truly an important part of the experience. The experience is what is important, not how well a team does. Who is to say that a rookie team with a non-qualifying robot should be kept out of "the big show?" Since this "everybody goes" attitude is likely not feasible, and everyone can't go every year, FIRST should keep things so that you can at least go every OTHER year. The current Odd/Even qualifier seems to be working fine.

One thing I think would be interesting is some form of redemption for teams that have a good "3rd place" robot. Ya know, the team's that have it pretty much all together, but couldn't catch a break. Teams that by all means SHOULD have qualified, but didn't. Maybe some form of peer evaluation so that FIRST teams can nominate/vote for other teams (who don't qualify) that they feel should be allowed to attend nats.

Team's that are able to goto 2 or 3 regionals, plus nationals will obviously have a better chance of qualifying for nationals the following year that teams that only attend one or two competitions. I'm not sure if this is necessarily a bad thing, just something to think about. It seems like FIRST rewards team's to attend multiple regionals, but at 4Gs a pop, it adds up.

Quote:
Originally posted by Mr.Volcano

the nats have 4 divisions and prob always have them the problem is that how can the winners say they won the against 2 hundred some odd team when you only beat a few of the teams in the division and then the tops winners of the other divisions

what are the chances of a team doing as well against every robot there, like how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop the world may never know
Winning is only part of it. It's the experience that matters. Making some sort of global ranking of teams for a year would only (in my opinion) detract from the experience. Imaging if FIRST made a list of every team that competed in the competition, and numerically ranked them from BEST to worst... Is it really that important to know your team was better than X teams in the country, and that you are ranked Y ahead of Team ZZZZ?
I don't think so. It's always nice to be able to goto a sponsor and say "yeah, we rock, give us more $$$ so we can rock more next year" but is it really that important to know EXACTLY how you finished? What about the teams near the bottom of the heap? What about teams who just have an "off" year. If it hasn't happened to you yet, it will at some point. We can't all be Beatty .

I dunno, I like the qualification process the way it is. It seems fair, and the odd/even system allows for everyone to get a chance.
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Unread 11-10-2002, 08:41 PM
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I totally agree with keeping the same qualification for next year just so its fair for the odd number teams.

As for letting everyone automatically qualify for Nats in the future, I don't know how possible that is. After we grow to having 800~1000 teams... How on earth are we going to put 800 teams together under one roof to have a competition? At some point in the future, there's no way we can fit everyone in there anymore, its just a matter of time. Having a qualification process is just a smarter way to handle the situation instead of making it first come first serve.

I agree that there are problems in the current qualification process... One John mentioned is that teams going to Nats one year have more chance to qualify for the coming year. Then there are the travel arrangement problem for teams at the last week of regionals to book hotel, get tickets, and everythings else to go to Nats with just 2 week of time.

In the future, maybe its just not possible to have teams play every other team, and justify being champion by beating EVERY teams. Not even sports team do that, right? Maybe we can only say, "this alliance is the champion because it won all the matches through out finals, which is more than any other alliances can do."


This is why I ask you to participate in this week's question... I am really hopping to get some good suggestions for what kind of qualification process we can do for Nats in the future, and why you suggest it.
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Unread 11-10-2002, 08:51 PM
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I think a new look at the nats and regionals should be taken into concideration. I think, in my own way, that FIRST should span over the spring and into summer. Have the nats at the beginning of school. Have the regionals durring the summer. This would eliminate all the AP testing problems. I think a new look at the nats should also be concidered. I think the nats should be a step, open to all, that needs to be taken to get to the finals. Once FIRST is too big, the nats should be that, NATIONALS. Have them in Europe, South America, America, and Canada. Then have the CHAMPIONSHIPS at Epcot latter in the year.
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Unread 11-10-2002, 09:05 PM
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quality

I have attemded nationals for the last two years and have had priblems with it. With any alliance game you can only be as good as your ally or opponent for that matter. In 2001 we walked in ranked #1 in curie division, but couldn;t get a break with our alliance partners, and in 2002 we didn;t get much better luck on either side of the field and it was hard to win or more importantly Win Big.
I think a regional should be a regional, and nats should be on a higher level, not just huge regional. I agree that for 2003 the current way should stand, but past that it should only be by the 5 point system that teams should be allowed to go to nats.
In a few years no venue will be able to hold an unrestricted nats (including the even odd thing). The only way to preserve it is to restrict access by quality (of that years) robot or team alone.
I know i will get criticised for a possible "elitist" view, but i only want to see an event that all teams try hard to get to, and will feel even more pride in winning or even qualifying.
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Unread 11-10-2002, 09:27 PM
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I agree that after this year FIRST needs to revamp the Nationals dramatically. It might turn out, if there isn't a big Disney trip reward involved, that going to a regional might be as good as the Nationals and maybe all the regionals will become high quality events.

I would be in favor of a regional qualification process for the Nationals, just like sports teams do. The logistics of suddenly qualifying and then travelling is a problem however and perhaps FIRST should act more as a central booking agent for the winning teams in such a case. AKA- when you register for a regional a portion of all the registrations pays for the winners to attend the Nationals. A set of prepaid slots would be booked in advance and filled as the regionals are played out. Obviously some small number (say 10/team) would be what is paid for. Any additional would come from the team's efforts. This would always assure that the highest quality teams would have the experience of playing for the title. How many winners last year couldn't go because the money wasn't there when the last minute opportunity came up?

With the game as it is this year and with top two alliances going we are talking over 120 teams already. Add in award winners and you have a full field.

I know it is unpopular, but I disagree with Chairman's Award winners being permanently qualified for the Nationals. The honor should be award enough. My opinion. One year's achievements do not necessarily mean the products of future years are of equally high quality. This is a COMPETITION isn't it?

My few cents.

WC

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Unread 11-10-2002, 09:51 PM
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Re: quality

Quote:
Originally posted by sidewinder
In 2001 we walked in ranked #1 in curie division, but couldn;t get a break with our alliance partners...
In 2001, the only reason you were ranked #1 is because of your alliance partners in the qualification matches. Even the best teams, and the best bots had to rely on SOME luck that year. No one could do it all alone. Such is the nature of our competition. The random pairing is designed to balance everything out, but since it is random there is some inbalance. Team's who seeded highly knew what they were doing, and had a good bot, but they also likely had some luck involved in their alliance pairings.

That is one of the problems with the competition as it stands now, but also one of it's strong points. Luck is a large part of every FIRST competition, and to deny that is foolish. Sometimes it all comes together, sometimes it does not.
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Unread 11-11-2002, 08:17 AM
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Question maybe a better question is...

Ah... Getting to the interesting part.

By looking at the qualification process, and thinking about changes that might happen in the future, some people are starting to think about the whole meaning of having a Championship event, and how it will work with the future of FIRST.

Maybe a better question to consider is, What should a Championship event mean in the future?

Is it going to be THE event that determine the best robot/alliance of the country or even the world? Or should it just be an event where you can meet as many teams from all over the world as possible? Maybe it should be just be a good social gathering event for teams to go to?


Mean while, I am interested in finding out what kind of qualification process are out there, let it be sports or other competition. I know for the World Cup of soccer (well, its really football in all country except US, but oh well), teams compete with other teams in their area, like in Africa, North America, Asia, South America, etc, and only limited teams can compete in the World Cup. Maybe that's a good way to do it? Have different section of the country have divisional competition, and then only number of teams can go to the Championship event after that...?

Well, anyway, on with the question... For those of you paying attention to this thread, and are interested in replying... Please consider these few things:

What do we want out of the Championship event?
What were the good values in past years' Championship event?
How do we incorporate the Championship event into the future FIRST?
How can FIRST make everyone happy, while keeping the event realistic?


Please, do reply if you have some thoughts about this.
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Unread 11-11-2002, 10:49 AM
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heres how me and a couple friends figured championships should be. (considering the game is 2v2 again)

TRUE QUILIFYING
Take the winners of 23 regionals = 69 teams
Take the finalists of 23 regionals = 69 teams
Take the regional chairmans winners = 23 teams
Take the regional animation winners = 23 teams
Take all chairmans winners from years past (not regional)=12
Take all animation winners from years past ~ 10
Take all previous years grand champions ~ 30

Thats a total of 256 teams.

It allows teams who have shown they have a good robot/strategy in the current year to go.

It allows the teams that have show that they can exeplify the true meaning of first to go.

It allows all previous winners of the major awards to go since they earned it.

Instead of even/odd I personally think this would be better.
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Unread 11-11-2002, 11:04 AM
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That would mean we'd qualify as national champions of 2001!
Cool!

I like the idea of looking at

"What do we want out of the Championship event?
What were the good values in past years' Championship event?
How do we incorporate the Championship event into the future FIRST?
How can FIRST make everyone happy, while keeping the event realistic?"

It's wonderfully exciting to go to nationals, and I want a way to enable some teams who "haven't won something" to go.

I haven't a clue how to go about that tho.

*brainstorming - which means not set in concrete just let the mind come up with whatever crazy ideas in order for the cream of the crop idea to come to the surface*

What if one team from each state, region, could somehow qualify to go because of a unique characteristic, like

"Heh. You guys got to type in the address of your school and it was there. Terraserver didn't know where it was. I had to start at the county seat ~30 miles away and follow the road there"
posting

or a native Alaskan team, an all girls' team, competed on the smallest budget, worked the hardest to earn their money...
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Unread 11-11-2002, 11:09 AM
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I think the renaming of Nationals to 'The Championship' shows FIRST intent in making it a more competitive event. Calling it the Championship implies that it is for the best teams to determine the overall winner.

In the past, it has been a very good social event, getting to meet people from those leftcoast teams and other distances far from home. Maybe that is beginning to change, with more teams going to distant regionals, coast to coast.

A thought I just had, at nationals, you could see ideas from all over the country, at your regional, it was a much more local set of ideas. Bots from NY might tend to be more similar in some ways then bots from SoCal, just because of the way-of-life differences and daily influences, like having to deal with feet of snow vs no snow at all. They might see something fairly regulary that works very well for the game, that wouldn't occur very easily to another team that dosn't see said thing ever.
Anyone have comments on that? That regional norms and daily impacts affect the design of a robot?
The purpose of that thought was that Nats allows an exchange of a vast multitude of ideas from everywhere. Not only in robot design, but accents, tool storage, pit design, team spirt, clothing, many things.

So I like the ideas of Nationals, but the realitly of it is that FIRST is growing, and will continue to grow, making a National very difficult to pull off. (I hear Microsoft supports FIRST, does Mr. Gates (or other very rich/group of people) want to donate $300 million or so make a venue somewhere designed primarly to host Nationals?) So with growth, some of the small town atmosphere is leaving FIRST, it is becoming impossible to know something about every team. So Nationals must become limited, and by limits, it is no longer Nationals. So they call it The Championship. So the best teams can go, and by allowing even/odd teams every other year it still allows the exchange of ideas from all over the country.

So yes, I think a qualification process to allow the teams that got the fundementals right and did well with their alliance partners and won the regional should go to Na..The Championship.

How it goes now, fundamentally, is a sound way to qualify. Maybe some tweaks here or there, such as FIRST negotiating a deal(partership/sponsership) with a national airline or two, so that teams wouldn't get hit with expensive last minute tickets.


I think thats enough rambling for now, I have homework that needs to get done.


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Unread 11-11-2002, 11:12 AM
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I think that there should be something that guarantees the regional winners/ last years championship winners a spot in the championship event. Along with the regional/all championship chairmans' award winners. After that it should be first come first serve. NO odd even stuf because than it isn't really fair to all the even rookie teams in the case of this year.
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