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Unread 04-01-2014, 12:21 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by Orion.DeYoe View Post
It's called a competition for a reason. You're trying to defeat other teams.
I recognize that it's ultimately a matter of phrasing rather than one of essential meaning, but seeing someone say it that way makes me sad. The goal should be to play better than the opposing alliance, not simply to defeat them. I prefer to think of it as competing with other teams instead of competing against them.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 12:23 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by wilsonmw04 View Post
I don't know if we have been watching the same game. I think this game is awesome. Yes, Qualifications points are hard to get because your score depended on your two alliance partners. Now if your robot is wicked awesome (think 16) you can win these on your own. We have a pretty good robot, however, it was hard to win games with the alliance selections we had. Sometimes we lost, sometimes we won. I was just thankful that teams were a good job scouting and as able to see what our robot could do.

What makes a good robot this year? You need a robot that can do EVERYTHING reasonably well. You have to be able to possess, pass, and score effectively. When you don't have the ball, you have to find ways of disrupting your opponent's cycle. This is truly a drivers game. A strategy game. There will be very few bots than can win on their own. This is why I love this game.
It must be a Matt thing because I agree completely.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 12:28 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by Alan Anderson View Post
I recognize that it's ultimately a matter of phrasing rather than one of essential meaning, but seeing someone say it that way makes me sad. The goal should be to play better than the opposing alliance, not simply to defeat them. I prefer to think of it as competing with other teams instead of competing against them.
What is inherently wrong with competition and even saying you want to defeat the other teams? This seems to be a common theme around the FIRST community, and frankly seems misguided. FIRST, just like the real world has winners and losers, so why not start encouraging students to pursue winning?
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Unread 04-01-2014, 12:36 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

I think it's pretty well established that this game was not thought through very well by the GDC. Too many calls, including scoring are up to the subjective judgement of the refs, and making 4 refs keep track of all of the silly foul rules and all of the scoring is too much. I really think the GDC should look for community input when they're designing games. They could recruit experienced mentors to review the rule book and look for errors, or loopholes (since there seem to be a ton of them) and have them sign a NDA until the season starts. This may be hard to enforce, but the GDC seems to overlook things that are far too obvious, specifically this year the logistics that refs have to handle, and the overall unreliability of leaving so much of this game up to subjectivism. I'm just curious how the GDC went from making quality games from 2011 - 2013, and suddenly making this blunder.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 12:41 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

I have been hesitant to jump into this fray on any of the many threads, but here goes. The difference I try to keep in mind is the same one I keep in mind in coaching other sports. I am a competitive person by nature, and I think it is healthy to try to win. Whether I am coaching robotics, cross country, track, soccer or basketball I try to prepare my team to do their best and to devise strategies to win. But winning should not be THE goal. Not if you are actually trying to change the culture.

Many people will talk about all of the great benefits of competitive endeavors like this. They will talk about teaching the virtues of hard work, of overcoming challenges, learning to deal with frustration and how to deal with failure. But if you want kids to actually get those benefits you have to actually work to make sure they do. Because way too often what they see is adults giving lip service to all of those things but modeling winning being the measure of success. I see it this all the time in coaching other sports. I see it less frequently, but still see it, when I coach FRC.

I have never gone to a FIRST Robotics competitions and not had fun. Even years when our robot has not been good and we have not played well. This game is FAR from my least favorite, but I still had a ton of fun even with my least favorite game.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:10 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by mathking View Post

Many people will talk about all of the great benefits of competitive endeavors like this. They will talk about teaching the virtues of hard work, of overcoming challenges, learning to deal with frustration and how to deal with failure. But if you want kids to actually get those benefits you have to actually work to make sure they do.
It's one thing to get them to understand these concepts when the challenges are borne out of a relatively pure competition experience, when the mistakes and failure are theirs to own and to live up to, to learn from. When excessive challenges are thrown in their path that are out of their control, when failure and struggle is made more likely by a flawed COMPETITION SYSTEM that should be designed such that it works so well it is invisible but instead randomly and frequently penalizes teams for no just reason, that is something I don't feel students should have to cope with at an event.

It is natural to expect some level of "built-in" unfairness at a competition, as no system is perfect, but NOTHING like the sustained assault of blar that has been levied against teams this season. It is natural for teams to expect and require corrective action from the governing body to restore the competitive system to some semblance of sanity.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:12 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by sdcantrell56 View Post
What is inherently wrong with competition and even saying you want to defeat the other teams? This seems to be a common theme around the FIRST community, and frankly seems misguided. FIRST, just like the real world has winners and losers, so why not start encouraging students to pursue winning?
There's nothing wrong with competition. Life is a series of competitions. You compete for jobs, you compete for a partner, you compete to get ahead. FIRST is not kindergarten where everyone gets a participation certificate and a pat on the back for showing up. There are definitely winners and losers and a competitive spirit is critical.

But at the same time FIRST is not just a competition, and focusing on winning and losing ignores the importance of GP and ensuring everyone has a good experience. The goal is to win, but not at the expense of someone else. If winning was the most important thing then teams wouldn't go out of their way to help each other with tools and spare parts. Nor would a team send a student over to help another team fix a problem with their robot, like our neighbors did last week when our robot was having electronic/programming/everything issues.

The bottom line is this; competition is just part of what makes FIRST so special. It's not even the most important part, which is why I suspect the culture of FIRST doesn't really focus on defeating an opponent. Everybody wants to win, it's ingrained in who we are. But the second you tell your students to focus on winning you lose a key part about the purpose of FIRST.

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Originally Posted by Travis Hoffman View Post
It's one thing to get them to understand these concepts when the challenges are borne out of a relatively pure competition experience, when the mistakes and failure are theirs to own and to live up to, to learn form. When excessive challenges are thrown in their path that are out of their control, when failure and struggle is made more likely by a flawed COMPETITION SYSTEM that should be designed such that it works so well it is invisible but instead randomly and frequently penalizes teams for no just reason, that is something I don't feel students should have to cope with at an event.

It is natural to expect some level of "built-in" unfairness at a competition, as no system is perfect, but NOTHING like the sustained assault of blar that has been levied against teams this season. It is natural for teams to expect and require corrective action from the governing body to restore the competitive system to some semblance of sanity.
This is a fantastic point. Aerial Assist is not a "pure" competitive experience when you consider the subjective nature of the rules and how significant foul points are. As I understand it the purpose of the game within FIRST is to provide students with a design challenge and then give them a metric by which to judge the effectiveness of their designs. The arbitrary nature of much of this year's game harms that intent because the metric is subjective.

Last edited by KevinG : 04-01-2014 at 01:15 PM.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:14 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
It's not even winning on their own that the core problem is. Because your partners drive the first tie breaker (Assist points) it can screw you in seeding. This is all the worse in districts where your seeding rank is worth a lot of points. It also means that the top teams are not ranking at the top.
In my opinion that's not an issue with the seeding system, but an issue with teams not making sure they get assist points in their matches so they seed higher. Knowing that the assist points are the first tie breaker needs to be planned for in your strategy. You can win most qualification matches on your own (if uou have a good robot), but if you don't attempt to get any assist points in the process you are not going to like where you finish in the rankings.

The top 3 teams at VARI in the rankings in my opinion were the top 3 teams at the regional. I honestly don't think it is messing the seedings up more than in the past.

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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:17 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by sdcantrell56 View Post
What is inherently wrong with competition and even saying you want to defeat the other teams? This seems to be a common theme around the FIRST community, and frankly seems misguided.
Please don't fall into the trap of thinking FIRST is a competition to see who can win the most matches. The ultimate goal is to promote a culture where science and engineering and technology are celebrated. What I think is misguided is choosing to focus on defeating other teams.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:21 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by wilsonmw04 View Post
What makes a good robot this year? You need a robot that can do EVERYTHING reasonably well. You have to be able to possess, pass, and score effectively.
One thing I like about this game is how easy it is to build that "good robot". it's not rocket science to make a roller that can suck in and spit out a ball, nor to make a simple device that can make the ball fly up in the air.

Some of us look at the game as something that we play with the robots we built with the students. From that perspective, this pig looks all right.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:23 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

I like this game from a concept perspective. I think the idea of making everyone rely on one another is a good thing, and if you want more robots in your area to be capable of helping you during qualifications, try mentoring some teams. You would be surprised to see how much it can help. In my opinion, leveling the playing field is exactly what was needed for the large amount of rookies joining FIRST this year, and I am happy to see that they have a game they can be useful in and not just be told to sit in a corner and let the 'elite' teams do all the work.

In terms of how it effects teams chances in participating in eliminations: As long as you show what you are capable of during qualifications, teams who are scouting will know that your qualification record does not reflect your robots ability to perform. Take 254 for example, they selected 973 and 2135 (43rd and 41st seed at CVR) because due to scouting they knew that they were capable robots.

I am not a huge fan of how difficult it is to track penalties this year, but complaining about it is not going to change anything. If it was, we would have had large changes to the rules after week 1 or 2. It is a little late in the season for the GDC to make so many large changes to the rules and many teams would complain that it is unfair because they did not get to play by the same rules at their regionals.

So lets just play with the cards we are dealt and enjoy the rest of the season!
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:24 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by MrForbes View Post
One thing I like about this game is how easy it is to build that "good robot". it's not rocket science to make a roller that can suck in and spit out a ball, nor to make a simple device that can make the ball fly up in the air.

Some of us look at the game as something that we play with the robots we built with the students. From that perspective, this pig looks all right.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:24 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
I had several matches where my alliance consisted of us and 2 immobile robots. How do I get assists then? Actually I had one where I had an immobile and an absent robot. So, tell me why my ranking should suffer MORE than it already will from that likely loss? Oh, because the RNG says so?
Find me a FRC game in which two immobile robots wouldn't severely harm your qualification score.

I think, if you overlook the reffing issues, this game is fantastic.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:27 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
I had several matches where my alliance consisted of us and 2 immobile robots. How do I get assists then? Actually I had one where I had an immobile and an absent robot. So, tell me why my ranking should suffer MORE than it already will from that likely loss? Oh, because the RNG says so?
One of the advantages of Districts is that compared to a traditional Regional you're allied with a larger percentage of the teams at the event and typically against almost all teams.
With 12 qualification matches each one also has less impact on your final ranking than a traditional 9-10 match regional.
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Unread 04-01-2014, 01:28 PM
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Re: Buyers' remorse / Pig in a poke

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
I had several matches where my alliance consisted of us and 2 immobile robots. How do I get assists then? Actually I had one where I had an immobile and an absent robot. So, tell me why my ranking should suffer MORE than it already will from that likely loss? Oh, because the RNG says so?
Had the seeding been done based on autonomous points and not assist points you still would have been punished in the same way from not having alliance partners.
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