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  #76   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-21-2008, 11:31 PM
Rick TYler Rick TYler is offline
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by casualobserver View Post
I found that a disappointing aspect of the competition this year was the lack of enforcement of certain rules. In particular, the 80" rule, perhaps the biggest constraint this year in design was rarely enforced throughout the competition. (...) A team whose robot was ~87" long by diagonal measurement during normal (not fallen-over) game play, was never once penalized during a match. This leads to a more general disappointment in FIRST.
I don't understand your point. There is nothing wrong with being more than 80" in any direction as long as the robot meets Rule R16:

Quote:
<R16> Once the MATCH has started, the ROBOT may assume a PLAYING CONFIGURATION that exceeds the size dimensions specified in Rule <R11>. While in the PLAYING CONFIGURATION, the ROBOT may expand up to a maximum horizontal dimension of 80 inches (e.g. all parts of the ROBOT must fit within an imaginary 80-inch-diameter upright cylinder). There are no height limits for a ROBOT in its PLAYING CONFIGURATION at any time after the start of the MATCH.
So, if that 87" long robot was diagonal in the cylinder, it would only violate <R16> if it was also protruding through the side of an imaginary cylinder 80" in diameter. The rule specifically says that a robot has no height limit, and could therefore be 160" high if that's what the team wanted. Were you saying that the 87" robot was at a shallow enough angle that it covered more than 80" on the floor?
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Unread 04-21-2008, 11:40 PM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by Rick TYler View Post
I don't understand your point. There is nothing wrong with being more than 80" in any direction as long as the robot meets Rule R16:



So, if that 87" long robot was diagonal in the cylinder, it would only violate <R16> if it was also protruding through the side of an imaginary cylinder 80" in diameter. The rule specifically says that a robot has no height limit, and could therefore be 160" high if that's what the team wanted. Were you saying that the 87" robot was at a shallow enough angle that it covered more than 80" on the floor?
I can think of at least one robot that routinely violated the 80" rule (was more than 80 long in a horizontal plane) and was never penalized. Through all of the competitions I saw, the only time the penalty was called was when a robot fell over. That means that it was never looked for.

I don't blame the refs, they were way to busy doing other things to pay attention to this rule.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 12:19 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by dlavery View Post
Possibly the second-funniest moment of the entire weekend (surpassed only by President Bush's "FIRST is like WWF ... but for smart people!" line) was when Woodie was opening up the Einstein field and introducing the activities for the afternoon. He started with the line "the 2008 FIRST competition season will be completed in just two short hours." I just started laughing and laughing...

-dave




.
I guess I didn't see the "two short hours" statement as humorous. In fact, I was a bit torqued. I knew that the final matches again would not be telecast on NASA TV. Bad news for those who don't want to watch "jumpy", pixelated webcasts instead of televised coverage.

The sports model for FIRST fails when the ultimate outcome of the Championship is so trivialized because its "not about the points". For the students, schools, sponsors and family members who couldn't make the trip to Atlanta, watching their team perform on Einstein is incredibly important. To know your team is reaching for the pinnacle of the competition only to be left in the dark is SO frustrating.

If FRC wants to "make it" as a televised spectator sport, covering the event through the Championship finals is imperative. Last year, I made an analogy to a network TV faux pas that occurred 40 years ago that led to changes in broadcast practices for live sporting events. I blamed the wrong party for the problem: it's not NASA's fault. Woodie's statement makes it clear that FIRST doesn't have a grasp on its own schedule and, worse yet, fails to understand the importance to the FIRST community and the general public of watching the competition to the end. That event supposed to determine who is the best in the world, seeing the celebration by the teams that was so hard fought that day, that season is an essential part of sports.

This situation can still be salvaged: create an hour-long highlight show that describes FIRST, explains Overdrive, summarizes the division qualification/elimination matches, then show all of the Einstein matches. Include slow-motion replays of critical plays with expert commentary, showcase the Chairman's Award winners. Then tell people how they can participate or support the program. A well-produced program on ESPN, Fox Sports Network would attract viewership and increased interest in FIRST. Ending the program with: "FIRST is the only high-school sport where everyone can become a pro" would send a powerful message to the public. Isn't this something that FIRST should pursue??
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Last edited by David Brinza : 04-22-2008 at 09:36 PM.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 12:43 AM
Rick TYler Rick TYler is offline
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by David Brinza View Post
This situation can still be salvaged: create an hour-long highlight show that describes FIRST, explains Overdrive, summarizes the division qualification/elimination matches, then show all of the Einstein matches. Include slow-motion replays of critical plays with expert commentary, showcase the Chairman's Award winners. Then tell people how they can participate or support the program. A well-produced program on ESPN, Fox Sports Network would attract viewership and increased interest in FIRST. Ending the program with: "FIRST is the only high-school sport where everyone can become a pro" would send a powerful message to the public. Isn't this something that FIRST should pursue??
FIRST would have to either sell the ad space or find sponsors for a program like this. Combined with the production costs, and placement on fairly high-ratings networks like FSN or ESPN, this project could easily be $1 million. Sales of ad space could offset part of this, but if not, FIRST would be using a big part of its annual income to put on an infomercial. I don't see it happening. It might be just interesting enough to run on TLC, ESPN2, or the Science Network, but in that case any ad placements would bring a lot less money. I don't think it would be a good use of FIRST's money, unless they could find a corporate sponsor. Even then, what if that corporate sponsor was willing to underwrite a $500,000 program -- wouldn't you rather use that money to fund 50 new FRC or 300 new FTC teams? I would.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 07:25 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

One thing missing throughout the season was the announcement of robot names throughout the matches. The printouts the game announcers had for each match unfortunately never listed them, so from the three events I witnessed, none were ever used. We came up with a name we liked and hoped it would be used in the play-by-play, but it didn't happen.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 07:35 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by TKM.368 View Post
One thing missing throughout the season was the announcement of robot names throughout the matches. The printouts the game announcers had for each match unfortunately never listed them, so from the three events I witnessed, none were ever used. We came up with a name we liked and hoped it would be used in the play-by-play, but it didn't happen.
Robot names are often more inside team information than public information. The public watching the game will have a hard enough time as the announcer switches back and forth between team name and team number. Adding a robot name to the mix will be more confusing.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 08:56 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by TKM.368 View Post
One thing missing throughout the season was the announcement of robot names throughout the matches. The printouts the game announcers had for each match unfortunately never listed them, so from the three events I witnessed, none were ever used. We came up with a name we liked and hoped it would be used in the play-by-play, but it didn't happen.
Did the printouts not list them or was the listing empty ?

In our case the listing is empty, there is no robot name. The announcer, at least for us, uses the team nickname - longhorns. Which is the outcome we wanted.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 09:21 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by EricH View Post
I'm with you there. I was hoping to watch one particular team. I didn't even know which DIVISION they were in, let alone when they were up.
I had the same issue, I ended up walking through all of the FRC pits just to create a list of teams and their divisions that I wanted to watch. Thankfully most of the them had very identifiable clothing/bots so I could see when they were queued.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 09:41 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by Phyrxes View Post
I had the same issue, I ended up walking through all of the FRC pits just to create a list of teams and their divisions that I wanted to watch. Thankfully most of the them had very identifiable clothing/bots so I could see when they were queued.
I printed off the division lists in advance and highlighted the teams that I wanted to follow and to try to meet. Walking through all the pits on Saturday was so fun, I met so many neat people. The rookies rocked! Total.

Oh wait, this is a negative thread. *drums fingers on desk* - hm... needed: bigger boxes of popcorn for the front row seats. With diet coke.
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Last edited by JaneYoung : 04-22-2008 at 10:40 AM.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 10:56 AM
Rick TYler Rick TYler is offline
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by TKM.368 View Post
One thing missing throughout the season was the announcement of robot names throughout the matches. The printouts the game announcers had for each match unfortunately never listed them, so from the three events I witnessed, none were ever used. We came up with a name we liked and hoped it would be used in the play-by-play, but it didn't happen.
The scorekeeping software is what is used to print those lists. They include whatever was put into the TIMS system when your team registered -- usually long before the robot is built. I know that on Edison the announcer asked teams for the robot names and started announcing them as he learned them: "This is Exothermic Robotics from Bellevue Washington [should have been Redmond, but TIMS has Bellevue as our mailing address] and their robot Chopstix!" In Seattle, Don Knight did the same thing -- and I'm sure the teams appreciated the effort.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 11:11 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by Phyrxes View Post
I had the same issue, I ended up walking through all of the FRC pits just to create a list of teams and their divisions that I wanted to watch. Thankfully most of the them had very identifiable clothing/bots so I could see when they were queued.
This is FTC I'm talking about (Franklin and Edison). I had the FRC division lists--and spent my webcast time on Galileo because that's where the teams I wanted to see were.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 11:36 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

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Originally Posted by EricH View Post
This is FTC I'm talking about (Franklin and Edison). I had the FRC division lists--and spent my webcast time on Galileo because that's where the teams I wanted to see were.
Ah, I was there for FTC so I had our division lists handy but not the FRC lists.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 11:53 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

Here are a few things I can remember off the top of my head:

1. The awards/finals were way too long!!! (Enough said)

2. It would be nice if the volunteers checking the teams in during load in were actually provided with the proper requirements. We were almost not let in on Wednesday night because we didn't have the "required" student with us. Did I miss something?

3. There was one very rude GWCC employee who yelled at everyone entering the pit each morning. Something about all of us having to stay to the left or she would report our team numbers and get us in trouble. I'm not even sure why we had to walk to the left....

4. There were several stair cases to the club level that were closed prior to the start of the awards/finals. The employees at each all had different information. One told us they would open up the staircase in ten minutes, then didn't. One told us that no one was allowed up in the club level at all. Can everyone have the right information please?

5. At one point the dome employees decided that no one was allowed to bring flag poles onto the dome floor. Where did that rule come from?

6. The walking paths for the drive teams were different than the one released on the map a week prior to the championship. That made for much confusion on Thursday morning.

7. Late inspection start. From what we were told, no inspection sheet had been printed before Thursday morning. It would help the inspectors if teams that are ready could get inspected first thing in the morning. Would reduce the back log on Thursday afternoon.

8. Too many people on the field. I've said this many times before. It looks extremely unprofessional and chaotic to have that many people on the dome floor. There are many people down there who shouldn't be especially during the finals/awards. The dome floor should get cleared prior to the start of the ceremony.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 11:58 AM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

My only real gripe with this season is the insane load that was put on the refs and that they clearly weren't completely capable of shouldering. I think the GDC needs to accept the fact that the majority of our refs are mere humans volunteering a small amount of time to officiate these events. Expecting them to learn the nuances of when a robot is "impeding" or when they are interfering with a hurdle is simply unrealistic. Professional sports refs get to deal with the same rules year in and year out over much more total game play. They still miss calls, and the most often miss judgment calls. The fact that every major league umpire has a different conception of the strike zone, and that it often changes from game to game even for the same umpire, should clue us in to the fact that subjective penalties are pretty much doomed to inconsistency. I'm not saying that all subjective penalties should go. The non-violence penalties should obviously stay, but these should be finalized at this point and set in stone so they are the same from year to year and the refs can at least depend on developing a consistent standard for them. But the GDC should minimize game-specific judgment calls as much as possible. Especially if these calls need to be made on the fly in highly dynamic situations.

Basically, if during the course of the game design process, the GDC feels the need to suggest that Woodie is going to need to warn teams to be patients with the refs because they have even more responsibilities than ever before.... Then they should just stop working on that concept and pick a simpler one with less reliance on fallible humans to penalize teams into playing the game the way the GDC wants it played.
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Unread 04-22-2008, 12:38 PM
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Re: Lesson Learned: The Negative

When the call for conference proposals was sent out, we tried to encourage a variety of presentation topics, and to also encourage student-presented topics. (see this thread: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=59812) But there were very few students who applied. I know we need to do more to publicize the possibility for students to present.

Keep the conference suggestions coming.... all of 'em will be listened to...

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