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Hits, Misses, & Suggestions -- long message

Posted by Joe Johnson.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]


Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 8/16/2000 9:49 AM MST



I have compiled a lit of hits, misses & suggestions in advance of the upcoming Team Forum at FIRST.

If you have a bit of time, you may want to read through it. Comments are definitely welcome.

Joe J.

Hits & Misses & Suggestions

Hits:


¨ Opening up of material lists - Aluminum tube/extrusion
¨ Opening up of material lists - sprockets, gears, chain, pulleys
¨ Innovation First control systems
¨ The Dual Ported Field (one group plays, one group sets up)
¨ Theatrical Lighting & Staging at Midwest Venue (viewing on 3 sides, black backdrop, excellent lighting & projection TV) - most excellently done
¨ Rotating Beacons
¨ The indoor arenas at WDW (with the exception of too little seating)
¨ Crowd control at indoor arenas (after first day)
¨ No reaction against the goal rule - great!
¨ No touching balls if you want them to count rule - great!
¨ Pits at WDW - WOW!
¨ Keeping to the schedule.
¨ Rules & updates via web
¨ Not making spare parts during the ship time was a double-edged sword. We loved having the time to just relax (what else could we do?) but we hated not having the ability to make a part that we KNEW we would need but could not make at a competition.



Misses:
¨ Not enough time given to picking teams to debate & decide on picks - 6 weeks + a season of events boils down to a dart thrown at the last minute because not enough time was given to teams to decide. This is a very important decision. Please give more time to teams (at LEAST one hour after FINAL qualifying match)
¨ Not enough recognition for Chairman's Award teams - too few levels of recognition - See 'Dean's List' suggestion
¨ Still too hot on open stage at Nationals
¨ Nationals TOO BIG nobody knew what was going on
¨ Elimination Rounds Totally different game than qualifiers - skills needed in one may have never been shown in the other
¨ Confusing scoring (better but still weird - especially in qualifying rounds - not good for untrained audience, i.e. TV cameras)
¨ Still not enough recognition for the teams that are National Champions and National Runners up. While it was better this year than last, with a ceremony and other trappings, it was still a far cry from the celebration that is due to such a fantastic accomplishment. We get what we celebrate. We should celebrate the tourney winners more by letting them get their metals onstage in front of the whole audience.
¨ Joysticks - improve model with better return to zero properties.
¨ Dead zone in middle range of Victor output. KILLER for feedback loops… makes smooth robot operation more difficult.
¨ Pneumatics - The tanks were a good idea, poorly executed, too late in arriving, still too heavy for the power stored. Needs more work. Perhaps consider a weight bonus if pneumatics are used?
¨ Not sufficient definition of bumper - scrap it or improve the definition.
¨ Rules were insufficient to prevent 'boring' finals at times - Perhaps strengthen the 'illegal defense' rules (e.g. in addition to an anti-pinning rule, consider some sort of 3 second rule for defensive robots in some zone marked on the field)
¨ Too little seating at the indoor fields at WDW
¨ Poor crowd control at indoor fields at WDW (only first day of competition)
¨ Nationals were too big. If FIRST still wants to have a huge event, 'Regionalize' teams. See suggestion below.
¨ Not getting your robot for 2 days but being allowed to make or improve replacement mechanisms was very hard on teams. Please allow us to have our robots back after the regionals.


Suggestions:

¨ Establish a 'Dean's List' of recognized Chairman's Award efforts, top XX% of teams (e.g. 10%). Still give out the Chairman's Award and the Chairman's Award Finalists, but publish this list as well.
¨ Need a method to measure wheel speed (for at least two wheels) in control program
¨ Need a method to measure current used by various motors in control program
¨ Need a method to measure temperature (of motors mostly) in control program
¨ Need a better main fusing scheme - nuisance trips of 60 Amp fuse. 80 Amp circuit breaker? Could be used as an ON/OFF switch.
¨ Teams should always be allowed to wire a fuse or circuit breaker that trips at a lower current value in series with (or perhaps even instead of) the required fuse or circuit breaker. This would allow, for instance, using a 20 amp breaker with the Fisher-Price motors which I am told can offer the motors some protection against an aggressive driver in the heat of the battle. It would also allow teams to put a self-resetting breaker in series with the main 60 amp fuse to prevent the fuse from blowing.
¨ Open up material list to include steel tubing & steel shafting (up to 2 inch diameter)
¨ Open up material list to include wheels (any type - including swiveling casters) - would vastly increase the differences in appearance from one robot to another.
¨ Open up material list to include bearings & bushings (any type). This is another step in the right direction. Bearings and bushings are not expensive from hardware stores, the supply from Small parts is somewhat limiting (especially in the flanged ball bearing department - there are none).
¨ Open up the wiring material list to allow any kind of fully shielded connector with the proper amperage rating. This would have made our lives a lot easier in some cases. Again, this is a step in the right direction.
¨ Open up the materials list to include plate steel & plate aluminum of up to ½ inch thick.
¨ Open up the material list to include any plywood up to 1 inch thick.
¨ Open up the material list to include any sheet plastic up to ¼ inch thick.
¨ Require teams to use number tape on all wiring, motors, Victors, Spikes, pots, etc. Requiring a wiring schematic would be a good idea too.
¨ Allow teams to buy more drill motors & transmissions as desired (up a limit if desired). The drill motor is a real workhorse. The transmission is a tough worker too once one learns to love its little idiosyncrasies. The motors & drills are not THAT expensive only about $50 for the pair, not including the housings. By the way, using the housings to hold the drill and motor looks like a slam dunk, but turns out not to be such an easy basket once you actually get into the details of things - I recommend against even including them in the kit. But allowing teams to buy more of the drills and transmissions would be a great addition for serious robot builders everywhere.
¨ Allow teams to make their own custom sensor circuits by opening up electrical material list to include a protoboard of XX by YY inches, CMOS Family chips, passive components, and wire. Interface through Analog Sensor inputs or Digital Sensor inputs.
¨ Publish the total scores of all matches via the web (pseudo live if possible); not just from Elimination Rounds but from ALL matches. This will allow a type of statistic keeping and data analysis that Baseball, Basketball & Football keep. Best Offense, Best Defense, Winning percentage, etc. FIRST does not have to keep the stats, just publish the raw data. Wacko's like us will tease out & publish the data ;-) This is easily done & will help FIRST to grow. By the way, this is another thing to do to keep up interest during the down times between the ship date & a regional and between a regional and the nationals.
¨ Make the Nationals Invitation Only (200 teams max, less is better)
¨ Publish team names & team numbers in a useable format (Excel, tab delimited, etc.). This will save teams a lot of typing. Consider publishing addresses & contact information as well (assuming privacy issues can be resolved).
¨ 'Regionalize' the Nationals (see attached)
¨ Make official use of robo-cams - allow for exciting TV views on screen views

The Case For 'Regionalizing' teams at the Nationals.

Consider the following:
When teams arrive at the Nationals they would be randomly divided into 4 groups - perhaps named for regions of the country (e.g. N, S, E, W) sponsors (e.g. Delphi, Baxter, NASA, DiamlerChysler) or for scientists (e.g. Newton, Einstien, Currie, Edison) or for Atoms (Helium, Boron, Nitrogen, Oxygen) or for Disney characters (Mickey, Goofy, Pocahontas, Tarzan) or whatever.

Each group would play all its qualifying matches against teams in its group. Each group would have its own picking teams that can only pick from within their group. Each group would have their own elimination rounds and crown their own Championship Alliance. Each Group Champion would go on to the FINAL FOUR.

The FINAL FOUR would be on the MAIN STAGE with everyone present. AT THE AWARD CEREMONY!!!! Why not? We are only talking about 12 teams here and a MAXIMUM of 9 matches. This would be AWESOME! This would be much better entertainment than Disney could provide. I would really love to see this happen. 15,000 fans all watching the finals! Worthy worthy worthy.

I believe teams would gladly give up a seeding round to make room in the schedule to allow this to happen: The qualifying matches could end on Friday night. Picking would begin the first thing on Sat. morning with the Elimination Rounds immediately following. Note: with 4 groups and 16 qualifying alliances per group almost 50% of the teams to play in the Elimination Rounds even with 400 teams at the Nationals.

One more positive benefit would be that teams are more likely to KNOW who the good teams are in their group. This will allow teams to scout more effectively, which is impossible with 400 teams, and to pick the best teams to go forward into the Elimination Tourney.

Beyond even this, the seeding rounds are more likely to produce more accurate seedings within each group because seeding accuracy is determined by the ratio of seeding rounds to number of teams in the seeding group. By cutting the seeding group to ¼ the size the seeding becomes, statistically, 4 times better (for a given number of seeding rounds).

The only down side to the as far as I am concerned is that one group might be 'stacked' with good teams by accident. This is really no different than the current 'luck of the draw' teams face. Teams are either lucky or unlucky in the seeding rounds based on whom they happen to be seeded with or against. At least in the 'regionalized' proposal, unluckily seeded teams would have a fighting chance of getting noticed by one of the picking teams, while they are more likely to go unnoticed in a field of 400.

One final advantage is that it would make a very dramatic, made for TV event of the Final Four.

I strongly urge FIRST to consider this proposal.

Side proposal for Regionalization:

Have a drawing on Thursday night to establish the groupings for Friday. Use a large 'lotto' type barrel with the numbers of each team on the balls. As the balls come out, each team's name & number would be announced along with its group for the Nationals. The announcement would continue until all teams are grouped.

This drawing could take place on the big stage with all the trappings: lights, cameras, big screen TV, etc. Teams would sit in the stands to see who is in and, perhaps just as important, who is NOT in their group.

If done correctly, this could be another high drama moment for FIRST participants.




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# of hits v. Misses....ouch ;-) (EOM)

Posted by Justin.

Other on team Blue Lightning Alumni Association from RWU sponsored by FIRST-A-holics Anonymous.

Posted on 8/16/2000 12:29 PM MST


In Reply to: Hits, Misses, & Suggestions -- long message posted by Joe Johnson on 8/16/2000 9:49 AM MST:



: I have compiled a lit of hits, misses & suggestions in advance of the upcoming Team Forum at FIRST.

: If you have a bit of time, you may want to read through it. Comments are definitely welcome.

: Joe J.

: Hits & Misses & Suggestions

: Hits:

:
: ¨ Opening up of material lists - Aluminum tube/extrusion
: ¨ Opening up of material lists - sprockets, gears, chain, pulleys
: ¨ Innovation First control systems
: ¨ The Dual Ported Field (one group plays, one group sets up)
: ¨ Theatrical Lighting & Staging at Midwest Venue (viewing on 3 sides, black backdrop, excellent lighting & projection TV) - most excellently done
: ¨ Rotating Beacons
: ¨ The indoor arenas at WDW (with the exception of too little seating)
: ¨ Crowd control at indoor arenas (after first day)
: ¨ No reaction against the goal rule - great!
: ¨ No touching balls if you want them to count rule - great!
: ¨ Pits at WDW - WOW!
: ¨ Keeping to the schedule.
: ¨ Rules & updates via web
: ¨ Not making spare parts during the ship time was a double-edged sword. We loved having the time to just relax (what else could we do?) but we hated not having the ability to make a part that we KNEW we would need but could not make at a competition.


: Misses:
: ¨ Not enough time given to picking teams to debate & decide on picks - 6 weeks + a season of events boils down to a dart thrown at the last minute because not enough time was given to teams to decide. This is a very important decision. Please give more time to teams (at LEAST one hour after FINAL qualifying match)
: ¨ Not enough recognition for Chairman's Award teams - too few levels of recognition - See 'Dean's List' suggestion
: ¨ Still too hot on open stage at Nationals
: ¨ Nationals TOO BIG nobody knew what was going on
: ¨ Elimination Rounds Totally different game than qualifiers - skills needed in one may have never been shown in the other
: ¨ Confusing scoring (better but still weird - especially in qualifying rounds - not good for untrained audience, i.e. TV cameras)
: ¨ Still not enough recognition for the teams that are National Champions and National Runners up. While it was better this year than last, with a ceremony and other trappings, it was still a far cry from the celebration that is due to such a fantastic accomplishment. We get what we celebrate. We should celebrate the tourney winners more by letting them get their metals onstage in front of the whole audience.
: ¨ Joysticks - improve model with better return to zero properties.
: ¨ Dead zone in middle range of Victor output. KILLER for feedback loops… makes smooth robot operation more difficult.
: ¨ Pneumatics - The tanks were a good idea, poorly executed, too late in arriving, still too heavy for the power stored. Needs more work. Perhaps consider a weight bonus if pneumatics are used?
: ¨ Not sufficient definition of bumper - scrap it or improve the definition.
: ¨ Rules were insufficient to prevent 'boring' finals at times - Perhaps strengthen the 'illegal defense' rules (e.g. in addition to an anti-pinning rule, consider some sort of 3 second rule for defensive robots in some zone marked on the field)
: ¨ Too little seating at the indoor fields at WDW
: ¨ Poor crowd control at indoor fields at WDW (only first day of competition)
: ¨ Nationals were too big. If FIRST still wants to have a huge event, 'Regionalize' teams. See suggestion below.
: ¨ Not getting your robot for 2 days but being allowed to make or improve replacement mechanisms was very hard on teams. Please allow us to have our robots back after the regionals.

:
: Suggestions:

: ¨ Establish a 'Dean's List' of recognized Chairman's Award efforts, top XX% of teams (e.g. 10%). Still give out the Chairman's Award and the Chairman's Award Finalists, but publish this list as well.
: ¨ Need a method to measure wheel speed (for at least two wheels) in control program
: ¨ Need a method to measure current used by various motors in control program
: ¨ Need a method to measure temperature (of motors mostly) in control program
: ¨ Need a better main fusing scheme - nuisance trips of 60 Amp fuse. 80 Amp circuit breaker? Could be used as an ON/OFF switch.
: ¨ Teams should always be allowed to wire a fuse or circuit breaker that trips at a lower current value in series with (or perhaps even instead of) the required fuse or circuit breaker. This would allow, for instance, using a 20 amp breaker with the Fisher-Price motors which I am told can offer the motors some protection against an aggressive driver in the heat of the battle. It would also allow teams to put a self-resetting breaker in series with the main 60 amp fuse to prevent the fuse from blowing.
: ¨ Open up material list to include steel tubing & steel shafting (up to 2 inch diameter)
: ¨ Open up material list to include wheels (any type - including swiveling casters) - would vastly increase the differences in appearance from one robot to another.
: ¨ Open up material list to include bearings & bushings (any type). This is another step in the right direction. Bearings and bushings are not expensive from hardware stores, the supply from Small parts is somewhat limiting (especially in the flanged ball bearing department - there are none).
: ¨ Open up the wiring material list to allow any kind of fully shielded connector with the proper amperage rating. This would have made our lives a lot easier in some cases. Again, this is a step in the right direction.
: ¨ Open up the materials list to include plate steel & plate aluminum of up to ½ inch thick.
: ¨ Open up the material list to include any plywood up to 1 inch thick.
: ¨ Open up the material list to include any sheet plastic up to ¼ inch thick.
: ¨ Require teams to use number tape on all wiring, motors, Victors, Spikes, pots, etc. Requiring a wiring schematic would be a good idea too.
: ¨ Allow teams to buy more drill motors & transmissions as desired (up a limit if desired). The drill motor is a real workhorse. The transmission is a tough worker too once one learns to love its little idiosyncrasies. The motors & drills are not THAT expensive only about $50 for the pair, not including the housings. By the way, using the housings to hold the drill and motor looks like a slam dunk, but turns out not to be such an easy basket once you actually get into the details of things - I recommend against even including them in the kit. But allowing teams to buy more of the drills and transmissions would be a great addition for serious robot builders everywhere.
: ¨ Allow teams to make their own custom sensor circuits by opening up electrical material list to include a protoboard of XX by YY inches, CMOS Family chips, passive components, and wire. Interface through Analog Sensor inputs or Digital Sensor inputs.
: ¨ Publish the total scores of all matches via the web (pseudo live if possible); not just from Elimination Rounds but from ALL matches. This will allow a type of statistic keeping and data analysis that Baseball, Basketball & Football keep. Best Offense, Best Defense, Winning percentage, etc. FIRST does not have to keep the stats, just publish the raw data. Wacko's like us will tease out & publish the data ;-) This is easily done & will help FIRST to grow. By the way, this is another thing to do to keep up interest during the down times between the ship date & a regional and between a regional and the nationals.
: ¨ Make the Nationals Invitation Only (200 teams max, less is better)
: ¨ Publish team names & team numbers in a useable format (Excel, tab delimited, etc.). This will save teams a lot of typing. Consider publishing addresses & contact information as well (assuming privacy issues can be resolved).
: ¨ 'Regionalize' the Nationals (see attached)
: ¨ Make official use of robo-cams - allow for exciting TV views on screen views

: The Case For 'Regionalizing' teams at the Nationals.

: Consider the following:
: When teams arrive at the Nationals they would be randomly divided into 4 groups - perhaps named for regions of the country (e.g. N, S, E, W) sponsors (e.g. Delphi, Baxter, NASA, DiamlerChysler) or for scientists (e.g. Newton, Einstien, Currie, Edison) or for Atoms (Helium, Boron, Nitrogen, Oxygen) or for Disney characters (Mickey, Goofy, Pocahontas, Tarzan) or whatever.

: Each group would play all its qualifying matches against teams in its group. Each group would have its own picking teams that can only pick from within their group. Each group would have their own elimination rounds and crown their own Championship Alliance. Each Group Champion would go on to the FINAL FOUR.

: The FINAL FOUR would be on the MAIN STAGE with everyone present. AT THE AWARD CEREMONY!!!! Why not? We are only talking about 12 teams here and a MAXIMUM of 9 matches. This would be AWESOME! This would be much better entertainment than Disney could provide. I would really love to see this happen. 15,000 fans all watching the finals! Worthy worthy worthy.

: I believe teams would gladly give up a seeding round to make room in the schedule to allow this to happen: The qualifying matches could end on Friday night. Picking would begin the first thing on Sat. morning with the Elimination Rounds immediately following. Note: with 4 groups and 16 qualifying alliances per group almost 50% of the teams to play in the Elimination Rounds even with 400 teams at the Nationals.

: One more positive benefit would be that teams are more likely to KNOW who the good teams are in their group. This will allow teams to scout more effectively, which is impossible with 400 teams, and to pick the best teams to go forward into the Elimination Tourney.

: Beyond even this, the seeding rounds are more likely to produce more accurate seedings within each group because seeding accuracy is determined by the ratio of seeding rounds to number of teams in the seeding group. By cutting the seeding group to ¼ the size the seeding becomes, statistically, 4 times better (for a given number of seeding rounds).

: The only down side to the as far as I am concerned is that one group might be 'stacked' with good teams by accident. This is really no different than the current 'luck of the draw' teams face. Teams are either lucky or unlucky in the seeding rounds based on whom they happen to be seeded with or against. At least in the 'regionalized' proposal, unluckily seeded teams would have a fighting chance of getting noticed by one of the picking teams, while they are more likely to go unnoticed in a field of 400.

: One final advantage is that it would make a very dramatic, made for TV event of the Final Four.

: I strongly urge FIRST to consider this proposal.

: Side proposal for Regionalization:

: Have a drawing on Thursday night to establish the groupings for Friday. Use a large 'lotto' type barrel with the numbers of each team on the balls. As the balls come out, each team's name & number would be announced along with its group for the Nationals. The announcement would continue until all teams are grouped.

: This drawing could take place on the big stage with all the trappings: lights, cameras, big screen TV, etc. Teams would sit in the stands to see who is in and, perhaps just as important, who is NOT in their group.

: If done correctly, this could be another high drama moment for FIRST participants.

:


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Hits & Misses

Posted by Splash.

Student on team #53, Team Inferno, from Eleanor Roosevelt High School and NASA GSFC.

Posted on 8/17/2000 2:48 PM MST


In Reply to: Hits, Misses, & Suggestions -- long message posted by Joe Johnson on 8/16/2000 9:49 AM MST:



Without as much experience, I'll agree with all the technical aspects. The size of the air tank made it impossible to integrate into our design, especially since we didnt have it for a week or two, and it had a leak. Bumpers must go, too little usage, and those that did didn't always use them to absorb impact. There was definately a shortage of seating at the indoor arenas. I think most of that was because there were many teams that would get a section of seating and not leave after thier team had competed.

If teams were allowed to take the robots back after regionals, I think they should only get to take it back once. Teams going to multiple regionals should not be able to get 6 to 8 extra days to work on the robot. The teams that would get to take advantage of this rule are the teams that already have an advantage, more financial resources.

And then the Nationals ideas. If the competition becomes invitation-only to the top 200 or less teams, there would have to be qualifying. Which means teams without substantial funding, can't only go to Nationals. A team could realistically win their regional, qualify for Nationals, and then not go because they can't pay. In addition, if the Nationals became invitation-only, there would not be 15,000 fans watching the finals, maybe 5,000. With that few people, the event becomes smaller, and probably wouldn't be held at Disney, and wouldn't get the attention it deserves.

But on the other hand, I fully support 'regionalizing' Nationals, having a lottery wednesday or thursday night to announce the brackets(how about placing an even number of regional winners in each bracket?), watching the finals during the awards ceremony, etc.

And I'd like to see more options with the joysticks. I had this crazy idea about force feedback last year.


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Miss: On-site food

Posted by Splash.

Student on team #53, Team Inferno, from Eleanor Roosevelt High School and NASA GSFC.

Posted on 8/17/2000 3:09 PM MST


In Reply to: Hits & Misses posted by Splash on 8/17/2000 2:48 PM MST:



Those Disney food passes are worth gold. It would be nice to use them on something good while still at the arena. I didn't mind walking into Epcot to use them, but for all the people that had to stay there, I think they ought to be have something better than what's served at the outside cafe.
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Re: Miss: On-site food

Posted by Justin Stiltner.

Student on team #388, Epsilon, from Grundy High School and NASA, American Electric Power, Town of Grundy.

Posted on 8/17/2000 4:30 PM MST


In Reply to: Miss: On-site food posted by Splash on 8/17/2000 3:09 PM MST:



: Those Disney food passes are worth gold. It would be nice to use them on something good while still at the arena. I didn't mind walking into Epcot to use them, but for all the people that had to stay there, I think they ought to be have something better than what's served at the outside cafe.

I was luckey in that regard because the members that wernt on the pit team or driving (they were the same team) would go and get our food for us thus allowing us more time to do what needed to be done.

Justin Stiltner
Team #388
Epsilon
Grundy Va,



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Re: Miss: On-site food

Posted by Matt Leese.

Student on team #7 from Parkville High School and NASA, Black & Decker, AAI, Raytheon.

Posted on 8/17/2000 8:15 PM MST


In Reply to: Miss: On-site food posted by Splash on 8/17/2000 3:09 PM MST:



Well, the chicken ceasar salad was pretty good. Then again, I learned from last year that it's the only edible thing at the Epcot food court. I think I got away with only eating it three times. The food wasn't all bad but it was nicer in Epcot itself. I think they just need a better variety.

Matt


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Re: Miss: On-site food

Posted by Lora Knepper.

Other on team #419, Rambots, from UMass Boston / BC High and NASA, Mathsoft, Solidworks, Analog Devices.

Posted on 8/19/2000 3:03 PM MST


In Reply to: Re: Miss: On-site food posted by Matt Leese on 8/17/2000 8:15 PM MST:



: Well, the chicken ceasar salad was pretty good. Then again, I learned from last year that it's the only edible thing at the Epcot food court. I think I got away with only eating it three times. The food wasn't all bad but it was nicer in Epcot itself. I think they just need a better variety.

: Matt


I agree with you on that Matt! (Though i'm not sure how many times I ate salads in Disney...I eat more of them in that one week than I do off-season at home!)

Lora

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Re: Miss: On-site food

Posted by Mike Dubreuil.

Student on team #175, Buzz, from Enrico Fermi High School and UTC/Hamilton Sundstrand.

Posted on 8/19/2000 12:31 PM MST


In Reply to: Miss: On-site food posted by Splash on 8/17/2000 3:09 PM MST:



I thought the food was good. My favorite was the deli sandwich. Then again, one of my favorite deli sandwiches are sold at the local Mobil gas station. So, maybe I shouldn't be used as a good source. hehehe )
- Mike


: Those Disney food passes are worth gold. It would be nice to use them on something good while still at the arena. I didn't mind walking into Epcot to use them, but for all the people that had to stay there, I think they ought to be have something better than what's served at the outside cafe.


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Re: Hits & Misses

Posted by Mike Kulibaba.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]


Other on team #88, TJ², from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional and Depuy, a Johnson and Johnson Company.

Posted on 8/17/2000 5:51 PM MST


In Reply to: Hits & Misses posted by Splash on 8/17/2000 2:48 PM MST:




: But on the other hand, I fully support 'regionalizing' Nationals, having a lottery wednesday or thursday night to announce the brackets(how about placing an even number of regional winners in each bracket?), watching the finals during the awards ceremony, etc.


anyone here ever watch when for college basketball they pick the top 64 teams. I get the biggest thrill watching that cause anything is possible. How cool would it be to see 300 ping pong balls put into a machine and picked out 1 by 1 to see who is in what bracket. and could you imagine the tension it would have until your teams number was picked and you found out who all the teams were in your bracket. that would be exciting, only thing is it goes back to the whole luck factor of who is in your group and who is not. some people don't like luck factors( alliance partners)
so it would be tough to sell everyone. then just think of the fun you could have talking to other people about who has a stronger bracket and so forth and so on. It would be tough but anything is better then trying to pick from 299 teams when it is almost impossible to see them all.

Kuli Team 88


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Just making the luck more obvious

Posted by Joe Johnson.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]


Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 8/17/2000 6:21 PM MST


In Reply to: Re: Hits & Misses posted by Mike Kulibaba on 8/17/2000 5:51 PM MST:



I maintain that, if anything, regionalizing the Nationals will make luck less of a factor.

There are tons of lucky or unluck events that happen to teams all throughout the season up to and including at the Nationals.

This lotto system helps to bring the luck factor out at the beginning (rather than hiding it all throughout the seeding round parters & opponents). It also makes randomness an obvious part of the game.

One more thing, I propose that FIRST should put all regional winners into one hopper, all regional runners up into another hopper, all regional semifinalists into yet another, all regional quarter finalists into one more and then all the remaining into the last. Then, each hopper would be drawn starting with the reginal non-finalists and progressing up to the regional winners.

This has two benefits. #1 it helps to increase the probability of evenly balanced groups. #2 it will increase the drama of fhe drawing because the teams that most folks want or dread to have in their groups will be likely to be the later drawn teams (For example, you may hear 1/4 of the crowd yell, 'Darn! First we get hit with WildStang and now we've C.H.A.O.S. will be hitting us too!' While 3/4 of the crowd might breath a sigh of relief, thinking 'Hurrah! With both WildStang & C.H.A.O.S. out of the way, we have a real shot at being group champion. From there, anything can happen!'))

The more I think about this regionalization, the more I like the idea.

Any other thoughts?

Joe J.


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Re: Just making the luck more obvious

Posted by Mike Kulibaba.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]


Other on team #88, TJ², from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional and Depuy, a Johnson and Johnson Company.

Posted on 8/17/2000 7:31 PM MST


In Reply to: Just making the luck more obvious posted by Joe Johnson on 8/17/2000 6:21 PM MST:



I love your idea. I would love to see teams picked randomly. Do you know much excitment that would bring. I'd rather be in a weak division then a really strong division. Id rather just get put in a group with just wildstang or just Chief or just Osram cause it would make my teams chances of going to the finals better then if Wildstang Chief and Osram were in my group. TO hear all the ohhs and awwws would be tremendous. Think they could do it on TV or over the internet?? I'd be glued to my seat watching the draft. and if you think about it, it only takes two great teams to make a great alliance and I'm sure there is no way that each group won't have 2 powerhouse teams. and if your one of the powerhouse teams in your group just seed first and pick the second best team and you won't have to worry about getting less then formidable alliance partners. They might have to pick the 'regions' kinda early cause not only would they have to set it all up, they would still have to do the paperwork for all of it and get everything settled. But 100 teams is alot better then 400 to scout. Wouldn't it be funny if most of the top teams get picked in one bracket. it would be non stop competition and would be great to watch. I'm up for giving this a try. Anyone have something that can hold 400 ping pong balls so we can pick them one by one??

Kuli Team 88



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Re: Just making the luck more obvious

Posted by Brandon Heller.

Student on team #449, Blair Blazers, from Montgomery Blair High School and NASA Goddard, Sigma Space.

Posted on 8/29/2000 12:15 PM MST


In Reply to: Re: Just making the luck more obvious posted by Mike Kulibaba on 8/17/2000 7:31 PM MST:



Regionalization is a great idea! Less luck would be a good thing, but think of the organization... They could hold a draft on Wednesday night, and split the teams into four random groups. When everyone arrives on Thursday, the hangar could be split into four areas. If FIRST gets their expected 50% growth, they would need one extra playing field, if matches go at the same pace. So each quadrant could have all their matches on the same playing field. Think of how much easier scouting would then be! 1/4 the area to scout, 1/4 the fields to watch. I don't know about the veteran teams who went to the nationals this year, but for my rookie team, the sheer number of robots to scout out was overwhelming. One quarter of the total group would be a more than reasonable number to scout. They could even use the fifth court for inter-region matches. We should really approach FIRST with this idea...

-Brandon





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Re: Hits, Misses, & Suggestions -- long message

Posted by Peter VanWylen.

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

Posted on 8/17/2000 4:03 PM MST


In Reply to: Hits, Misses, & Suggestions -- long message posted by Joe Johnson on 8/16/2000 9:49 AM MST:



I agree almost completely with you Joe, great list!

A few comments:

: Hits:
: ¨ No reaction against the goal rule - great!

Great rule; no enforcement. If I remember correctly, you couldn't touch the goal at all, except in an accidental bump. You couldn't even touch it to 'line up'. Well, I watched a lot of matches and never saw somebody get called for this, even though there was a lot of bumping (reacting) to the goal. I think this one should be scrapped, mainly b/c it is too much of a judgement call to enforce.

: ¨ Not making spare parts during the ship time was a double-edged sword. We loved having the time to just relax (what else could we do?) but we hated not having the ability to make a part that we KNEW we would need but could not make at a competition.

Of course, this rule is *impossible* to enforce. This does give many teams a well needed rest from building parts, but also creates a temptation that many teams fall to.

: Misses:

: Suggestions:

: ¨ Need a method to measure current used by various motors in control program
: ¨ Need a method to measure temperature (of motors mostly) in control program
: ¨ Need a better main fusing scheme - nuisance trips of 60 Amp fuse. 80 Amp circuit breaker? Could be used as an ON/OFF switch.

You said it!


Thanks for the hard work on a huge document, with just about everything covered.


Peter


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Get proffessional announcers

Posted by James Jones.

Engineer on team #267, The Demolition Squad, from North Broward & St Andrews and Motorola.

Posted on 8/18/2000 10:32 AM MST


In Reply to: Hits, Misses, & Suggestions -- long message posted by Joe Johnson on 8/16/2000 9:49 AM MST:



The games will never be popular to watch on TV until we have good, knowledgable, proffessional sounding announcers. I heard some that did a good job some that did not-so-good. None of them that I heard knew the robots or the teams or the games well enough to give an uninitiated viewer a feel for the game and some of the important background info that makes the games fun to watch. What if FIRST found a few anouncers that would go to every regional, watch the games, learn the robots, talk to the teams and get human interest stories that could be used to fill in between rounds? Then they could say things like:

'Sally who have we got coming up on this next round here on the Einstein stage'

'Well Bob, we're going to see quite a battle here between the alliance of teams 888 and 999 versus two teams who happen both to be from Florida, teams 777 and 555.'

'This IS going to be quite a competition, Sally. 777 and 888 are two of the fastest robots at this competition and 555 is currently 2nd in the rankings aren't they?'

'Yes they are Bob, but last round they broke a chain in their drive system, we'll have to see if they got that fixed. And as you said, speed is going to be the name the of this game. But don't forget team 999. They have been doing an excellent job all week of preventing their opponents from scoring. They can't pick up balls but they can sure block and I don't think 555 wants to get in a shoving match with them or they might break another chain.'

'You know Sally I was talking to the coach on team 555 and they had designed a ball scooper but it was too heavy and put their robot over the weight limit so they had to take it off.'

'That's too bad Bob, not being able to pick up balls has really hurt them in the rankings but I think once teams realize how well they can guard that goal they might get picked for the finals pretty quickly.'

'Let's hope so, Sally. That team has had some tough breaks this year. Did you know their driver broke his arm rollerblading last week? They reprogrammed their entire control system so he could drive with only his good arm! Now that's dedication!'


Anyway, you get the drift. Am I just dreaming?


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For TV Yes, for the live audience, maybe not...(EOM)

Posted by Nate Smith.

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

Posted on 8/18/2000 12:26 PM MST


In Reply to: Get proffessional announcers posted by James Jones on 8/18/2000 10:32 AM MST:



(EOM)


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