2014 Lessons Learned: The positive

Totally agree. I saw so many launcher and grabber designs that worked equally well.

Also, with hindsight being 20/20, there were a few more factors we should’ve included in our scouting, for example, the performance of a human player can hurt a match just like a missed shot.

2753 (2009) was a rookie. The next year (2010) there were two rookies, can’t remember who and who. The last time a rookie won the Championship was way back in the early days before Einstein Field existed.


1994, I think (maybe '95). Woodside H.S. (now FRC100) from CA won in their first year.

My bad Eric, I should’ve articulated ‘recent history’ as ‘a 4-year high schooler’s FIRST career’. 2010 was awesome with 3357 and 3138 (both semifinalists).

Just my opinion, but I think the best thing FIRST did this year was respond to community feedback. They weren’t always able to respond immediately, but it’s pretty obvious that Frank reads Chief Delphi. Compared to previous years, FIRST did a great job responding to issues the community had, and while there are always areas for improvement, I felt FIRST was much more in touch with what we thought this year compared to years previous.

I’ve heard 1995. We’re still the only rookie ever to have won an FRC championships (aside from the first year).

-Aerial Assist, in pure implementation, was a great game. The robot and strategic diversity (even with all the three-day builds) was a great step up from the past few years, even Ultimate Ascent.
-Frank has done a great job of communicating with teams the rationale behind things, and apologizing when he or his staff goof up.
-Einstein was incredibly exciting, and the up-tempo presentation style was definitely no small part of that.
-The AndyMark AM14U chassis was a gamechanger. 80th-percentile drivetrain right out of the box. 90th-percentile with bolt-ons.
-It took until Einstein, but thanks to Q&A’s interpretations on things like Kinects and CheesyVision the autonomous period became a chess match for the first time since 2009. As someone who remembers the great chess matches of 2006, I hope the GDC was noticing.
-4-team alliances certainly opened up possibilities at Championship.
-FRC Teams’ Twitter was pretty nice this year too.
-Championship front-few-rows seating was an overall success on Curie for me.

All told, I greatly enjoyed this year.

Since you said everything I would have thought of after a session of proper sleep that I have yet to get, I’ll agree and elaborate. After the last few seasons I was left saying “I’m ready for the season to end”, but this time I said “I’m ready for a new season.” Sure I’m tired and after spending the last 4 months in 5th gear I’m ready to take a little breather, but this year showed a lot of positive potential for the organization. Everything people took issue with at the championship event last year was gone and replaced with far better alternatives that we will certainly see in the future. Mistakes made by people in FRC and on teams during the year have mostly fixed themselves. There were no riots at champs with this game getting under people’s skin a lot more than in year’s past.

But what everyone has been talking about is the game of inches we all got to watch on Einstein. Over two breaks of 5 minutes, two teams made drastic changes to the previous match’s strategy to gain half seconds of an advantage in a 10 second period of a 150 second match. Watching Eisntein this year was electric, not painful. The team quality on the field didn’t change, but the design of the game and the structure of the event on FIRST’s part made it great. Like I said before, I think the GDC has earned another run at a game like Aerial Assist. Something that is a thrill to watch in the stands, but maybe less of a heartbreaking roller coaster behind the glass and in the rulebook.

Initially was not sure about the “team viewing area” - in theory it made sense, but in practice I was not sure it would work.

After being able to take guests down to the “front row” for one of our Archimedes matches - awesome idea in theory and in practice. Execution was great by the volunteers who were monitoring. Having the chance to introduce some young friends to the game up close was a great experience for me as a long-time fan and for them as new visitors.

Glad that the 3-D printing was still in full swing mid-morning Saturday, great to have a hands on activity or “take away” for our friends.


I heard the same skepticism from a lot of people, and the first day, it seemed underutilized. By Day 2 though, folks really seemed to get it and utilize it well.
Even if it had been a flop, I really appreciate the proactive efforts towards solving problems exhibited. I think this is a great emphasis for them to be taking.

Being able to unbag the robot for demonstrations after ship day was phenomenal. We could immediately show off the beautiful, professional looking machine we had spent weeks making, rather than just talking about it or demoing a partially functional old robot. Big help.

Frank has been an incredible “face of FRC” that has been transparent, honest, and always willing to listen. He is a large part of why I have such hope for the future of FRC.

Chairman’s at multiple events was fantastic. Totally changed the game and gave our presenters a chance to improve.

Lots of Championship changes went very, very well. Fourth robot was awesome, awards in division elims were awesome, Einstein was very watchable.

The increasing number of Robot in 3 Days projects and COTS solutions for robots is very nice to see and is definitely raising the competitive floor. A distinct middle tier of robots is now the norm at events.

In spite of RI3D, there was a reasonable amount of design diversity this year which was cool to see.

I’ll think of more later.

Rankings shown on the scoreboard were a nice touch.

In championship elimination matches, the match was “QF 1-1” and not “Match 1” (or whatever it used to be).

Alliance selection results directly from the FIRST website for divisions were a much needed change. See here.

4 robot alliances at champs were a nice addition. Alliances with less overall firepower can use it to their advantage to make changes on the fly.

As much as I didn’t like the idea of it at the start, the team viewing area at the front actually worked out pretty well.

I didn’t die from dome food, so that’s always good.

I liked the involved human player aspect. It wasn’t as extreme as 2009, nor was it just shoving disks through a slot. Similar to 2011, I think human players had a good role.

45 pounds pretty much saved our build season, and we only lost one day to snow.

The coat racks at GTRW were an excellent touch, I wish they did that for all events.

The Windsor venue was awesome! Very roomy, loads of space in the pits, and a wide open view of the field.

Just FYI, this wasn’t just for WCMP. They definitely were the new format for DCMPs, and for at least a few weeks of competitions before. Either way, a much appreciated change, and it made it so much easier to immediately tell what match was playing during the eliminations.

**Frank. **Keeping in touch with his customers, recognizing and addressing issues, even admitting he made a mistake (and making it right).

Keeping the 112" perimeter rule (and not the sizing box).

2 new Districts.

It’s a little mixed, but the game. I like how no one robot could win it by themselves, don’t care how good you are - you need your alliance partners. But, of course, it made for some discomfort among the powerhouse teams.

FMS. It actually worked this year, hardly anyone had comm issues, what a pleasure.

Quarter final-1 on archimedes really highlights that point. Nobody had seen the 8th seeds strategy yet(at least I havent), and they upset the 1st seed alliance.

While the strategy may have surprised the #1 alliance, the #8 alliance weren’t the first ones to use it. I’m not sure who was the first team to use the strategy, but 2771 did is several times at the Michigan State Championship. 1918 used a variation of the strategy in QF 2.3 at the state championship, too.

A lot. (Most of these have probably been mentioned already.)

  1. Mixed point for most people, but I loved the need to work with your alliance partners and the depth of strategy it provided. 1 game piece is the way.

  2. Working FMS. Thank goodness.

  3. Honesty and transparency from HQ.

  4. Champs webcasting was pretty good quality.

  5. Auton length was good. So was the mobility option.

  6. The low goal. Combined with assists, there was still an easy way to score well and stay in the game without the need for too much technical finesse.

  7. Sticking to the sizing perimeter.

  8. Stacking Curie. :stuck_out_tongue: #CurseGoesPoof

  9. No ability for a chokehold, or for 1 bot to solo.

  10. Much better kitbot.

  11. Multiple event chairman’s.

Prolly all been said but:

  1. Mostly Working FMS

  2. Auton was of a great length(although, this isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ thing, it’ll be different next year)

  3. Mobility

  4. Short field reset = TONS of matches. Awesome.

  5. “FIRST is the coolest, freshest, dopest, most amazingest experience in the world.”

FMS/FTP problems have been an issue throughout the season. It was a fairly big issue again at champs.

I would have expected instead to see this in the thread Lessons Learned: The negative