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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 05-02-2012, 10:37 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

I really missed having no video feed of matches in the pits.

Match cycle times would be greatly improved if FIRST would move to a faster-booting bridge. I miss the little black Linksys bridges from 2009, they only took 15 seconds to boot up. It sucks having to wait for the radio to boot after the cRIO has been booted for 30 seconds already. It would make for faster match cycles, which would make for more matches for more teams.

Or just get rid of it altogether and move to a more reliable system...

They could also debug the FMS software a bit more thoroughly.

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Unread 05-02-2012, 10:38 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by LeelandS View Post
]
I also think FIRST should move away from that age-old rule that teams aren't allowed to check field measurements for themselves. I don't see what harm there is in letting a drive crew/coach onto the field prior to opening ceremonies/the driver meeting with a tape measure to take some measurements. Or for an FTA to do it themselves and publish the results to all the teams. FIRST seems to cringe at the thought that their volunteers built their own field wrong, but I don't really see the harm.
This issue happened to 1747 in 2010. The field used at BMR was off as the tunnel was IIRC 1/2" too low. The robot didn't have that amount of tolerance height wise (it was pretty crammed to say the least) and it caused the robot to be unable to to use the tunnel. This issue might have cost us the regional, as one reason why we lost in the SFs was due to being blocked from crossing bumps by the defense.

BTW, the same field appeared at our second regional (Buckeye) as well...
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Unread 05-02-2012, 10:38 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

  1. If someone posts a question, and you don't answer, and someone posts a more specific version of the question trying desperately to get some sort of a ruling, POST THE D@#N ANSWER. DO NOT say something like "we're not going to review your design" and then backtrack 6 weeks later. Along those lines, use common definitions of words and tell everyone what dictionary you're using, like Webster 7th Edition, so that all of us who aren't in the GDC can go look up the words and better determine how to design our robots until you answer our questions.
  2. Set up a day before the first week of regionals for any teams to come test their robots and the FMS. Run as many sensor heavy matches as possible and work out any kinks in the system before the competition season starts. Even if you get a new, foolproof wireless system, DO IT ANYWAYS.
  3. Give volunteers multiple shirts. There's no reason to force them to sweat in the same shirt day by day. Also, hold a briefing before each regional and championships for any new volunteers about etiquette and what the heck FIRST is. (We'll do the same with our kids.)
  4. Come up with an entrance plan; crowd crush is inexcusable.
  5. Live feed in the pits; if you want clean pits and safety, you need to make it so that pit crew members can watch the matches without having to abandon the pit area.
  6. As Nate said, put a photocopier/computer with attached printer in the pits. Also, it'd be nice to have electronic copies of the schedules (toss them on a cheap, Air Force-branded pen drive) since many of us like color-coding them but can't ever post color coded copies until midway through seeding matches.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 10:43 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Nick Lawrence View Post
Match cycle times would be greatly improved if FIRST would move to a faster-booting bridge. I miss the little black Linksys bridges from 2009, they only took 15 seconds to boot up. It sucks having to wait for the radio to boot after the cRIO has been booted for 30 seconds already. It would make for faster match cycles, which would make for more matches for more teams.
Suggestion to FIRST: allow teams to use the black boxes and a 5 port switch- they even make them in the d-link's exact form factor (I have one in my junk bin) . Yeah, it would draw a shade more power, but it would allow future use of field-specific radios and might perhaps reduce the load on the wireless AP (for intra-robot comms).
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Unread 05-02-2012, 10:48 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Don Wright View Post
If you want teams to use camera tracking, please be considerate where you put LED signs up around in the arenas.
Or better yet, why not give us illuminated targets? A simple LED strip instead of reflective tape marking the backboards would have solved most tracking problems which, in turn, would make the game even more exciting.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 10:48 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

I would have liked to have seen a separate practice bridge in the pits. With as much as the triple balance was worth and how specifically the combinations of robots had to fit together, it was very unfortunate that it was so complicated to get combinations of robots together to try it. Seems like they could have replaced the extra hoop off to the side with a bridge practice area (like so many regionals, including ours in Vegas, had) and let more teams onto the main field for hoop practice.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 10:53 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Craig Roys View Post
Or better yet, why not give us illuminated targets? A simple LED strip instead of reflective tape marking the backboards would have solved most tracking problems which, in turn, would make the game even more exciting.
Having illuminated targets does not solve the problem that Don mentions. The retroreflective targets where just as easy to track (if not moreso) than self-illuminated targets...but in either case there is always the possibility that something off in the distance will be look the "same" to your vision system (in color if not in shape/size).

An opaque top backboard would have partially addressed this, and it's not like the audience seated behind the ends of the field was able to see anything anyhow.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 11:07 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Debbie View Post

Also, eliminate anything that allows one team to easily manipulate the ranking of another team. Though to some degree you can always do this, this year it was too easy to keep a team down in ranking by refusing to co-op with them. Though we would think Gracious Professionalism would prohibit this from happening, it did.
This. So much this. The idea of having teams to cooperate with eachother for a common good is in theory a great thing. Especially since most teams follow the creed of gracious professionalism. We encountered at least one instance this year though where a team flat out told us they would not balance with us.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 11:20 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Solidstate89 View Post
This. So much this. The idea of having teams to cooperate with eachother for a common good is in theory a great thing. Especially since most teams follow the creed of gracious professionalism. We encountered at least one instance this year though where a team flat out told us they would not balance with us.
That's better than having the team who says they will balance with you and they never show up. How unGP is that?

I understand the intent but IMHO the reality is that cooperation points are not working and hurt the game. Those same people you are competing against can prevent you from a good ranking. Unfortunately there are a few who believe this is a legit strategy of the game. As a result, the intent of COOP points is doing the exact opposite of the great intentions from FIRST.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 11:27 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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That's better than having the team who says they will balance with you and they never show up. How unGP is that?
I saw a team accept an alliance selection at an off season last year and then leave immediately. The team that picked them was none too pleased.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 11:29 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

1. Own problems and when you get owned by problems know when and how to ask for help. That goes for everyone, but in this particular case FIRST as well.

2. Provide a level playing field for troubleshooting to eliminate power quality issues leaving dead robots on the field (that's been going on to some extent for 17 years that I know of).

3. Provide more electronics support at the competitions and more parts to support troubleshooting in the spare parts.

4. Characterize all the parts from the KOP and control system so that teams do not have to clean up later.

5. Open up more factual data about the field.

5. Track much more information about events, teams, robots, problems and be quick and fair to act on problems.

6. Encourage much more community participation directly to the canopy of control at FIRST before, during and after competition. Especially when number 1 above applies. Also take more interest in additional input gotten from beta tests.

Last edited by techhelpbb : 05-02-2012 at 11:33 AM.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 11:41 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Solidstate89 View Post
This. So much this. The idea of having teams to cooperate with eachother for a common good is in theory a great thing. Especially since most teams follow the creed of gracious professionalism. We encountered at least one instance this year though where a team flat out told us they would not balance with us.
While for the most part it is beneficial for everyone if the Co-Op bridge is present, I would imagine there is at least one scenario where it is in a team's best interest to make sure the Co-Op bridge is not balanced. This is a strategy decision and it is unfair to say they are acting against the idea of Gracious Professionalism and not know why they chose to make that decision.

If you want the bridge balanced, the other teams on the alliance can probably be convinced to help you with that, as it may be in their best interest for that to happen.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 11:42 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by huberje View Post
While for the most part it is beneficial for everyone if the Co-Op bridge is present, I would imagine there is at least one scenario where it is in a team's best interest to make sure the Co-Op bridge is not balanced. This is a strategy decision and it is unfair to say they are acting against the idea of Gracious Professionalism and not know why they chose to make that decision.

If you want the bridge balanced, the other teams on the alliance can probably be convinced to help you with that, as it may be in their best interest for that to happen.
Except refusing to balance with us did not help this team in the rankings at all. They were in bottom 50. It would have made no difference to their team's individual ranking.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 11:44 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

1. There needs to be a safer setup for teams entering the building at the start of the day. I know this has been discussed but it happens at most events. There should be a way to keep people from rushing the doors and running to the seats. If my team get there at 6AM I should get better seats than the team that shows up just before the doors open and shoves their way to the front. You have seating charts for the arenas, let teams designate where they want to be and avoid the unsafe behaviors. Maybe you should position a judge or 2 by the doorway. That may change some behaviors.

2. There needs to be a better way to have teams bring their stuff into the pits. Again, it was a mad rush of people to get their stuff to their pits so they could get to work as soon as possible.

3. Fewer teams at Champs. There were just way too many teams there.

4. Fix the match listings. I may be the only person to say this but our match listings were unfair. We had to play 7 of the top 15 team in our division and got the pleasure of playing with 7 of the bottom 20. We finished 3 - 6 and placed in 36th place, only because of the co-op bridge. Our last match was against 2 teams that ended up on Einstein (548 and 118, and our partners finished in 74th & 90th).

5. Video in the pits at champs. It is a long walk to get to the field and too often our pit crew couldn’t watch matches.
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Unread 05-02-2012, 11:52 AM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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5. Video in the pits at champs. It is a long walk to get to the field and too often our pit crew couldn’t watch matches.
Let me second this. At MAR Mount Olive it took a bit for people to get video in the pits using my laptop and finally getting the feed into the pit area.

It was obviously a different event but it should be similar for any event and I've seen this issue repeatedly over the years.
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