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  #121   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 05-03-2012, 12:22 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Mr B View Post
Something I haven't seen posted here is the issue of Bag and Tag robots. Well funded teams simply build two robots, one for competition and one for practice and software development. Teams with less cabbage have to make do with a single robot, and hope that they can make it work at the event. (That or bend the rules and keep working after ship. Given the sheer number of teams, it likely happens.) If we lose the bag and tag requirements, things are greatly simplified, and up-and-comers can be more competitive. Yes, there will be teams that will change their whole robot between events, but the overall quality of competition will skyrocket.
+1

Making improvements (mechanical, software, driver) is very hard with only a few hours of development. Practice robots make this significantly easier.
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Last edited by apalrd : 05-03-2012 at 12:22 PM. Reason: grammar
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Unread 05-03-2012, 12:30 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Libby K View Post
I'm certainly not disagreeing with the need for better webcasts. My only question is... where is FIRST going to find the staff members to cover this? They're already stretched incredibly thin as it is...

Editing to add this, instead of double posting:
A well run, easy to use, webcast and archive system would be HUGE for spreading FIRST.

Do you know how horribly difficult it is to get parents, teachers, sponsors, etc... to watch a webcast? Assuming they can even get it open/running, then they have to deal with often subpar quality, and finally then they are often clueless to who we are and where our robot is.

You should be able to go to watchfirst.com, type in a team number, a video stream pops up and says "Team XYZ will play in 4 matches and approximately 19 minutes!"

I can dream....
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Unread 05-03-2012, 12:40 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
A well run, easy to use, webcast and archive system would be HUGE for spreading FIRST.

Do you know how horribly difficult it is to get parents, teachers, sponsors, etc... to watch a webcast? Assuming they can even get it open/running, then they have to deal with often subpar quality, and finally then they are often clueless to who we are and where our robot is.

You should be able to go to watchfirst.com, type in a team number, a video stream pops up and says "Team XYZ will play in 4 matches and approximately 19 minutes!"

I can dream....
I have never thought of querying for a stream by team number. That's a good idea. It's not terribly complex to scrape a list of teams for each event for the week.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 12:41 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
A well run, easy to use, webcast and archive system would be HUGE for spreading FIRST.

Do you know how horribly difficult it is to get parents, teachers, sponsors, etc... to watch a webcast? Assuming they can even get it open/running, then they have to deal with often subpar quality, and finally then they are often clueless to who we are and where our robot is.

You should be able to go to watchfirst.com, type in a team number, a video stream pops up and says "Team XYZ will play in 4 matches and approximately 19 minutes!"

I can dream....
This would be huge. Parents have no clue where to go to watch an FRC webcast. Heck, sometimes I have a hard time finding all of them. Madstream has made this much easier this year, so kudos to them for making a one-stop shop for FRC webcasts (that we can view simultaneously!)

With video streaming technology to the point that it is, it should be fairly easy to do this. UStream or justin.tv make it so you only need two things - an internet connection and a camera. Get the output video feed that's running to the projector to also feed to a PC, get the audio levels adjusted and you're golden. UStream will even automatically archive it for you, I think. This would take one volunteer with a little training on how to use it, nothing more.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 01:01 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

I am going to make two suggestions.

One of the main lessons I repeat to kids is you can't debug what you can't see. FIRST need to take this to heart with it's FMS, I would suggest ethernet data loggers and or back channel comunication box that is attached to each robot on the field, it will tell you if that robot is getting packets and allow problems with the field to be debugged. That data should be shared with the teams so that everyone knows what happened.

Two some form of tiered competition. Different teams have different resources and the obvious soulution would be to allow some teams to skip bag and tag and compete against other teams that did the same. They probably shouldn't go to St Louis even if they do well cause they have money and people problem. Maybe they should be limited to one regional or such. But know you have a decent robot but lack the resources to pull it off is frustrating to (a/mine) team. I do think they should compete in the same time and place as the top tier teams because there is deal that can be learned simply with a few minute to talk with a top tier team.

I think FIRST is a great asset for exposing kids to engineering and I think that FRC is a wonderful competition because of the compressed schedule but it threatens to overwhelm the smaller teams.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 01:47 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
A well run, easy to use, webcast and archive system would be HUGE for spreading FIRST.

You should be able to go to watchfirst.com, type in a team number, a video stream pops up and says "Team XYZ will play in 4 matches and approximately 19 minutes!"

I can dream....
TheBlueAlliance/MadStream is currently working on this, we're actually working on a full overhaul of the TBA user interface.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Dognaux View Post
Heck, sometimes I have a hard time finding all of them. Madstream has made this much easier this year, so kudos to them for making a one-stop shop for FRC webcasts (that we can view simultaneously!)

With video streaming technology to the point that it is, it should be fairly easy to do this. UStream or justin.tv make it so you only need two things - an internet connection and a camera. Get the output video feed that's running to the projector to also feed to a PC, get the audio levels adjusted and you're golden. UStream will even automatically archive it for you, I think. This would take one volunteer with a little training on how to use it, nothing more.
EugeneF wrote a pretty nice guide before the season which outlines the easiest and cheapest way to run and archive a webcast.
But one of the main problems we ran into issues with justintv blocking us (and a few other regionals) for broadcasting copyrighted music, even though FIRST has licenses for all the music.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 01:52 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by kmehta View Post
TheBlueAlliance/MadStream is currently working on this, we're actually working on a full overhaul of the TBA user interface.



EugeneF wrote a pretty nice guide before the season which outlines the easiest and cheapest way to run and archive a webcast.
But one of the main problems we ran into issues with justintv blocking us (and a few other regionals) for broadcasting copyrighted music, even though FIRST has licenses for all the music.
I watch a lot of streams on Twitch.tv (video game streaming site) which used to be or is owned by the same company as Justin.tv (Twitch.tv just got bought by CBS Interactive so I don't know if this is still true) and their admins are very friendly and supportive of all channels. Maybe FIRST and the community can get in touch with the administrators of Justin or Twitch to make sure the licenses are known and approved for X, Y, Z channels on A, B, C dates.

I think FIRST regionals are "technological" and "gamey" enough to be appropriate on Twitch but that would be a question for their admins I guess.

(I know the madstream chat was running on Twitch because I could do the twitch emoticons )

Last edited by BigJ : 05-03-2012 at 01:59 PM.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 02:46 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by IndySam View Post
The Coop award made no sense at all. I bet there was nobody at most regionals that could even explain how it was determined.
Truth. My team won it at the Livonia District in FiM. The other mentors and I had to look it up once we got back to the bleachers.

Quote:
The Coopertition™ Award celebrates the team that best demonstrates the greatest level of Coopertition™ during the event, based on their performance on the field.
We're not sure if it's based off the number of points one gets or if that's just a factor. For what it's worth, we had the highest coopertition score at the event...
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Unread 05-03-2012, 02:48 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Kimmeh View Post
Truth. My team won it at the Livonia District in FiM. The other mentors and I had to look it up once we got back to the bleachers.



We're not sure if it's based off the number of points one gets or if that's just a factor. For what it's worth, we had the highest coopertition score at the event...
Here's the criteria:

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://frc-manual.usfirst.org/viewItem/8#6.5
To determine the winner of the Cooperition Award, the FMS will rank all teams in decreasing order, using the following sorting criteria:

1st Order Sort 2 x Coopertition Score - Qualification Score
2nd Order Sort Coopertition Score

The team or teams receiving the top ranking after both sorts will receive the Coopertition Award.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 02:54 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by kmehta View Post
EugeneF wrote a pretty nice guide before the season which outlines the easiest and cheapest way to run and archive a webcast.
I remember finding this before week 1, it's a great guide that spells things out pretty easily if you have any knowledge of video and audio. I especially liked the effort to standardize the naming of the videos at each event.

It just seems like we are behind the curve when it comes to making our events watchable outside of being at the venue itself. Other than the abundance of webcasts increasing over the years, the delivery is still pretty much the same.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 02:57 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by Kimmeh View Post
We're not sure if it's based off the number of points one gets or if that's just a factor. For what it's worth, we had the highest coopertition score at the event...
It's been a little strange since its inception. We won the FLR Coopertition Award in 2010, and all we did was try to win every game by as much as possible...
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Unread 05-03-2012, 03:01 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

Perhaps I am being pessimistic about the Q&A, but I really don't think it will be easy to answer so many questions efficiently and self-consistently.

The more teams there are-> the more questions will be asked-> the more people they need to answer questions-> the more conference calls they need to have-> more Q&A admins miss meetings-> the longer it takes to answer a question-> more communication break-down-> inconsistency in the Q&A.

If you want more consistent answers, then the Q&A needs to be a small focus group. Answering that many questions in a small focus group would be a full time job, or else the process takes many days. The logistics are tough unless you are on the phone 50% of your day.

Solution: Hire a full time Q&A/Rules focus group, or eliminate the Q&A and go back to the way it was 3 years ago (when there were seemingly less "rule disgraces" at events).
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Unread 05-03-2012, 03:08 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJ View Post
I watch a lot of streams on Twitch.tv (video game streaming site) which used to be or is owned by the same company as Justin.tv (Twitch.tv just got bought by CBS Interactive so I don't know if this is still true) and their admins are very friendly and supportive of all channels. Maybe FIRST and the community can get in touch with the administrators of Justin or Twitch to make sure the licenses are known and approved for X, Y, Z channels on A, B, C dates.

I think FIRST regionals are "technological" and "gamey" enough to be appropriate on Twitch but that would be a question for their admins I guess.

(I know the madstream chat was running on Twitch because I could do the twitch emoticons )
I was thinking about twitch.tv a little bit earlier... they already do some non-video-game-related stuff (like trading card games, for example) and from what I've heard they're very responsive to emails, etc.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 03:16 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

The way the Coopertition award is sorted results in the team that WON the fewest matches (winning zero matches in the optimal case), while getting Coop points in the MOST matches.

Ex:

Hypothetical teams 5555 6666 7777 and 8888 are playing at an event.

Team 5555 is a powerhouse, and wins all 10 of their matches, and coopertates in every match.

Team 6666 is similarly strong winning their 10 matches, but DOESNT coopertate.

Team 7777 is a weak team that loses every match, but coopertates every match.

Team 8888 is a weak team that loses every match and only manages to coopertate 5 of the 10 matches.

The rankings look like this:
Code:
   Team   QS  CP  First Order     Second Order
1. 5555   40  20  ((20x2)-40)=0   20
2. 6666   20  0   ((0x2)-20)=-20  0
3. 7777   20  20  ((20x2)-20)=20  20
4. 8888   10  10  ((10x2)-10)=10  10
As you can see, team 7777 wins, despite being just as coopertative as 5555.
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Unread 05-03-2012, 03:32 PM
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Re: 2012 Lessons Learned:The Negative

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Originally Posted by torihoelscher View Post
6) The smoking area. (Im sorry, I am allergic to smoke)
I do have to say that my team did not take a team picture by the FIRST flag because of this. While I agree that people need a place to do so if they choose, by the picture op. may not have been the best spot.
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