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Unread 04-29-2013, 11:42 AM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

Awesome game. I loved that not only was teleop capability tiered (in terms of difficulty-for-payoff), but the endgame was, too. I was skeptical of the hanging points being what they were, but all it all it seemed to work out just great.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 11:44 AM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

Great game, kept even the best strategists in FRC trying to find the best solution to the game all year round.

Solid game piece. There were very few issues with the game pieces deforming or being damaged and effecting robots (148 at SVR is one of the few that comes to mind). I loved that we know exactly what we would be playing with all year long.

Relatively easy to build field element for at least scoring discs. A PVC goal was all you really needed, or even tape on a wall could get you close.

Simpler bumper and frame rules. More motors & more open pneumatics rules.

The volunteer experience keeps improving at every event and especially championship. I felt like this year they really stepped up and showed that they cared for the volunteers at championship. The food was good, the seating for Einstein was even better (though they might want to make a bit smaller there were several empty seats around me).

The introduction of new COTS items by suppliers seemed to really level field for a lot of teams. VEXpro, AM, and CTRE all are allowing the mid tier teams to play at the same level as that the powerhouse teams have been at for a long time.

FIRST Choice and vouchers are steps in the right direction and the systems will keep improving.

The field videos were great again, they really help teams that don't get a chance to see the field at Kickoff.

Overall the best season of FRC yet. I can't wait till next season.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 11:46 AM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

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Originally Posted by AllenGregoryIV View Post
The introduction of new COTS items by suppliers seemed to really level field for a lot of teams. VEXpro, AM, and CTRE all are allowing the mid tier teams to play at the same level as that the powerhouse teams have been at for a long time.
Remove "AM" from that statement, and I agree completely.

We (4464) had some bad experiences with AndyMark hardware this year...
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Unread 04-29-2013, 11:48 AM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

- This game was a strategist's dream. It was very dynamic at champs, given the variety and depth of types of robots. If you're the #1 seed, simply pick your strategy and go get 'em!

- Integration of more vendors into the Voucher Program.

- More motor controller options

- The rules are getting better
-- Bumper rules were very clear
-- Less restrictive sizing requirements this year

- Given 8 or 9 minute match cycles, FIRST did what they could to give teams more playing time on the field

- Districts are coming to VA/MD/DC in 2015. Can't wait.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 11:49 AM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
Remove "AM" from that statement, and I agree completely.

We (4464) had some bad experiences with AndyMark hardware this year...
Some people had issues with Talons and BAG motors, or Digital Sidecars and Banebox planetaries. On the whole, FRC Suppliers provide good, cheap materials to most teams, and that's why we welcome them all back on an organizational and personal level every year.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 12:00 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

Quote:
Originally Posted by PayneTrain View Post
Some people had issues with Talons and BAG motors, or Digital Sidecars and Banebox planetaries. On the whole, FRC Suppliers provide good, cheap materials to most teams, and that's why we welcome them all back on an organizational and personal level every year.
My main complaint is with the Toughbox Mini, whose quality was far too unreliable to warrant being included as the KOP gearbox. Something like half of the units we purchased over the season were defective, usually due to gear spacing or angle being off.

Perhaps FRC can include VexPro gearboxes in the kit next year?
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Unread 04-29-2013, 12:11 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

A lot of great stuff has already been mentioned, this year was a very fun game, accessible to less experienced teams to do well, but allowed plenty of room for great teams to shine.

As a programmer, I liked that autonomous was a big part of the game this year, it has geared me up to do more sensors projects with the programming team in the off season, in the hope that next year they will provide a leg up.

I loved all the cool climbing designs, especially the caterpillar climber (on Newton I think, if anyone knows who that was and has a video or picture, I'd love to see it again, only caught it in passing on the practice field), it's unfortunate climbing wasn't as valuable as it was difficult.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 12:12 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

From a FRC Alum/Team Head Mentor Perspective:

-AWESOME game. There were a lot of different approaches, the game was exciting almost every match, and you could build a defensive robot and be a top-tier competitor
-The KOP was really good this year. I liked the switch to belts for the stock frame, and the sheer amount of documentation and support made available by AndyMark, NI, and more was awesome
-The game element wasn't a ball! The FRC game element has been a generic ball for several years now, and it was great that FIRST mixed it up and made teams think differently this year. By the time Rebound Rumble rolled around, everyone knew how to pick up and manipulate a ball well - this forced teams to throw out all that knowledge and start from scratch
-Einstein was handled very well. A mistake was made, but it was caught and made right.
-Team's responses to the Einstein mixup were good. I was terrified that people would blow the mistake out of proportion and make it a much bigger deal than it was, but everyone is showing their gracious professionalism and realizing that we all make mistakes, and it doesn't really matter as long as they are caught and made right.

From a Volunteer Perspective
-Adding the ability to log to the Driver's Station was AMAZING. I was a Control Systems Advisor at a few regionals and at Worlds, and having those logs made it so easy to help teams. The logs helped show teams that 99.9% of problems are not related to the FMS and are, in fact, issues with the robot, and also made it super easy to diagnose whether or not the issue was software or hardware related. Troubleshooting was a breeze due to the logging!
-FIRST did a really good job making sure that all of the volunteers had the resources and training they needed to do well.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 12:52 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

This was an absolutely excellent year overall. Great job FIRST.
  • The most balanced and diverse game in the FIRST 3v3 era.
  • Rigid, consistent game piece was far easier to shoot, yet game design still allowed for "stretch" shooting tasks (FCS)
  • Game challenge allowed for tasks of varying difficulty for any level of team experience.
  • Any robot archetype could be competitive if designed and played correctly.
  • FIRST has been more transparent than it has ever been before. Frank's blog posts in particular are a breath of fresh air, and the organization is clearly more than willing to admit mistakes and explain the "why" behind decisions.
  • Robot in 3 Days made FRC as a whole dramatically more competitive.
  • Motor selection was FANTASTIC. No hard choices to make between reliability, power, ease of gearing, etc. I hope the mini-CIM never leaves FRC.
  • MULTIPLE ROBOT ARCHETYPES!!! I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for a game that was more than a "one task wonder" that forced every team in FRC to make tough decisions.
  • Our regionals weren't decided by the control system this year.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 01:02 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
Perhaps FRC can include VexPro gearboxes in the kit next year?
Oh, the one with the driveshaft that kept falling out?

As a longtime customer of both AndyMark and VEX, I understand that a single product does not a company make. I also understand that the vast majority of issues from both companies came from manufacturer error - this year, they seemed compounded for both parties. I thought both the Hoosiers and Texans handled these problems with grace, humility, and outstanding customer service.
I understand that no amount of testing will simulate the rigor provided by tens of thousands of high schoolers bashing and beating their products, and especially when compared to products available to us as recent as five years ago, the COTS products are remarkably robust.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 01:41 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

If my counts are correct, during the official matches 141,077 points were scored, and a minimum of 28,746 frisbees were successfully shot into goals (the actual number was undoubtedly higher, as this minimum was calculated assuming all Frisbees were shot into the top goal). All without a single decapitation, severed limb, or even one porpoise becoming accidentally entangled in the nets. All in all, that makes for one pretty successful event!

-dave


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Unread 04-29-2013, 02:15 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

I was very happy with the expanded motor rules. Being able to use 10 CIMs allowed teams to make some really great designs they wouldn't have been able to make in the past. I'd really love to see the only motor rule be a "power ceiling" where you can use any number of designated motors, but not over a certain summed power (3000 watts?).
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Unread 04-29-2013, 02:19 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

Though it has already been said, I absolutely loved the Wild Card slots. Two teams at MN 10K (2502 and 2705) earned a spot at Champs. The announcement during the event caused a roar of cheers.

FIRST, please keep the Wild Card slots and the perimeter-based constraints. They make everything more interesting!
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Unread 04-29-2013, 02:25 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

-Great game, very diverse array of competitive robots

-Great game piece. It was non-standard but they stood up very well to competition and testing, remained mostly consistent, and there were only minor supply hiccups. It also presented a completely unique manipulation challenge to floor pickup and in-robot storage.

-Vastly improved bumper rules

-Wildcards were fantastic. Still room for improvement, but overall a resounded YES in my book.

-Prelim match schedules at champs were nice. My opinion may have been different if they ended up getting changed at the last minute, but they did not. It was great to be able to notify people back home of when the team would be playing matches early.

-Practice matches on Einstein I'm sure were a great help to the team, and were really fun to watch. In a strictly no-defense format, it was really fun to watch all the teams run at their full capacity. It was almost like a showcase match.
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Unread 04-29-2013, 03:27 PM
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Re: 2013 Lessons Learned: The Positive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
Oh, the one with the driveshaft that kept falling out?

As a longtime customer of both AndyMark and VEX, I understand that a single product does not a company make. I also understand that the vast majority of issues from both companies came from manufacturer error - this year, they seemed compounded for both parties. I thought both the Hoosiers and Texans handled these problems with grace, humility, and outstanding customer service.
I understand that no amount of testing will simulate the rigor provided by tens of thousands of high schoolers bashing and beating their products, and especially when compared to products available to us as recent as five years ago, the COTS products are remarkably robust.
I understand your point, and I do appreciate the value of COTS parts and do not wish to insult the work that people put into increasing their quality, but unfortunately the experience my team had with AndyMark parts this year (not limited to the gearboxes, mind you) was not acceptable. That said, I suspect this thread is not the place for this discussion so I'll give it a rest.
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