Back to Defense for a minute.

Posted by Andy Grady at 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST

Other on team #126, Gael Force, from Clinton High School and Nypro Inc…

Hi all,
I’m posting this in reply to Bill Beatty’s post entitled Defense, A Fancy Word for Poor Ablility. First off I give congrats to you Bill on a supurb robot and a great year…however I must say that I am just a tad disturbed by your comments about defensive teams.
First of all you are entitled to your opinion, however in my seven years of FIRST I have been a part of teams that have specialized in defensive play, and in my eyes, no way, no how, were those robots lacking in ablility! Also you have to look what happened this year…sure the finals seemed exciting from your standpoint, of course you also gotta take into fact that you were in every single final, and you won every single competition. Frankly, I sat there and I watched, and I knew (no offense to any of the semifinal teams) that the Beatty alliance was going to win. Now to me, thats not exciting, there was little hope for an upset (though the Cheesy Poof/Wildstang alliance came very close and I applaud them)and as soon as one mistake was made, the match was over…NO DRAMATICS!
Maybe I am wrong, but to me I was having alot more fun watching teams perform offensively and defensively at the same time. Some of the most fun, lighthearted matches I have ever been a part of have been some great defensive rounds. Heck I remember how much fun it was to mix it up with Delphi and Kokomo in 99 when i was with PARTS, and afterwards Andy Baker and I could just sit back and laugh about it in good fun. Isn’t the fun what this thing is all about? I will be the first to admit that in 99 my team did not have the strongest robot, we were not the prettiest, but the only thing that helped us run with the big boys like Delphi was the fact that we could play defense. Defense helps shorten the gap between powerhouse teams such as the Delphi’s and Beatty’s in the world, and the smaller teams who may not have the money to put out an amazing feat of engineering, but have the heart to fight their way into a chance at that gold medal.
With all due respect Mr. Beatty, maybe its not the smaller defensive teams who are afraid to put their designs against the other, well funded, well engineered teams. Maybe its the well funded, somewhat fragile engineering masterpieces, that can’t take a hit.

Thanx,
Andy Grady
p.s. I appologize to anyone I may have offended with this e-mail, that was not my intent, these are only my opinions they are not always on the mark.

Posted by Deej- T190 at 04/27/2001 8:20 PM EST

Engineer on team #190, Gompeii, from Mass Academy and WPI.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

Well said Andy…

Deej
2001-?Team 190 Mentor/Engineer/Coach
Team 42 (PARTS) for life and driver 96-99

Posted by Gui Cavalcanti at 04/27/2001 8:35 PM EST

Student on team #422, Mech Tech, from Governor’s School (GSGIS) and Verizon.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

I’d like to add to your statements if I may… (even though they were VERY well said; these are directed to the "Defense, A Fancy Word for Poor Ability post, not to Andy’s)

Defense (and any other “easy” jobs) should not be frowned upon. Also, the teams that made defensive robots (especially in 2000) might not have had a $30,000+ budget, a team of engineers that you couldn’t count on two hands, and all the genius that their portion of the state could provide. In 2000, the Catch-22s (now my Mech Techs) tried to pull off a miracle. They got a portion of some old chemistry lab at VCU to share with 3 other teams, and all of 10 of us pulled so many all-nighters to make a robot work. With no experience and all of 2 engineers, the Catch-22s pulled together a bunch of spare parts, drilled holes in all of them, and worked on that robot until it was scheduled for it’s first match (and then some). We only had a $15,000 budget. We got into finals because we could play defense and not offense (because our offense consisted of loading 5 or 6 balls then getting away), but we did it.

So what if it was poor ability? Not everyone has top-grade engineers, five machine shops, and a massive budget that puts robotics programs in place for all the schools in the surrounding area. If you give rookie teams easier jobs, they get more experience because they build on what they learn.

What happens if next year your robot breaks down completely and that’s all you can play? Would you consider it be poor ability and bad effort?

-Gui Cavalcanti
Team 422, Mech Techs
Richmond, Virginia

PS: As with Andy’s post, I apologize if I have offended anyone. They are only my opinions from what I have experienced.

Posted by Justin at 04/27/2001 9:37 PM EST

Alumni on team #146, Blue Lightning, from none and The Blue Lightning Alumni Association.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

: Hi all,
: I’m posting this in reply to Bill Beatty’s post entitled Defense, A Fancy Word for Poor Ablility. First off I give congrats to you Bill on a supurb robot and a great year…however I must say that I am just a tad disturbed by your comments about defensive teams.
: First of all you are entitled to your opinion, however in my seven years of FIRST I have been a part of teams that have specialized in defensive play, and in my eyes, no way, no how, were those robots lacking in ablility! Also you have to look what happened this year…sure the finals seemed exciting from your standpoint, of course you also gotta take into fact that you were in every single final, and you won every single competition. Frankly, I sat there and I watched, and I knew (no offense to any of the semifinal teams) that the Beatty alliance was going to win. Now to me, thats not exciting, there was little hope for an upset (though the Cheesy Poof/Wildstang alliance came very close and I applaud them)and as soon as one mistake was made, the match was over…NO DRAMATICS!
: Maybe I am wrong, but to me I was having alot more fun watching teams perform offensively and defensively at the same time. Some of the most fun, lighthearted matches I have ever been a part of have been some great defensive rounds. Heck I remember how much fun it was to mix it up with Delphi and Kokomo in 99 when i was with PARTS, and afterwards Andy Baker and I could just sit back and laugh about it in good fun. Isn’t the fun what this thing is all about? I will be the first to admit that in 99 my team did not have the strongest robot, we were not the prettiest, but the only thing that helped us run with the big boys like Delphi was the fact that we could play defense. Defense helps shorten the gap between powerhouse teams such as the Delphi’s and Beatty’s in the world, and the smaller teams who may not have the money to put out an amazing feat of engineering, but have the heart to fight their way into a chance at that gold medal.
: With all due respect Mr. Beatty, maybe its not the smaller defensive teams who are afraid to put their designs against the other, well funded, well engineered teams. Maybe its the well funded, somewhat fragile engineering masterpieces, that can’t take a hit.

: Thanx,
: Andy Grady
: p.s. I appologize to anyone I may have offended with this e-mail, that was not my intent, these are only my opinions they are not always on the mark.

Posted by Patrick Dingle at 04/27/2001 10:08 PM EST

College Student on team #639, Red B^2, from Ithaca High School and Cornell University.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

I agree. in fact I think defensive bots are often the true masterpieces. In 1999, I had the pleasure of spending my first FIRST season with team 190. Granted, we had the ability to lift the floppies 8 feet and lift ourself off the ground onto the puck, but our primary strength was defense. Our defensive abilities were twofold. First, we could lift up half of the puck over a foot off the ground. When we pushed the other end of the puck into the corner and lifted our end up, I don’t think another robot ever was able to get on the puck. Second, this was 190’s first of two years with Translational drive. This allowed us to turn all our wheels tangent (or at any 22.5 degree increment) to the puck, and spin the puck around. This was extremely helpful to keep other teams from getting at the puck, especially when we had our side lifted off the ground. Although I was not actively involved in the team this year, it was the completely unreal electricity that I witnessed during watching every match that inspired me to become more and more involved in FIRST (and as a side effect, pursue a career in mechanical engineering).

Patrick

I think without any defensive aspect of a game, all teams will quickly realize what the optimal scoring strategy is, and the result is every match having the same strategy. When you have defense, your strategy completely changes every match, depending on the ability of your opponents.

Patrick

: Hi all,
: I’m posting this in reply to Bill Beatty’s post entitled Defense, A Fancy Word for Poor Ablility. First off I give congrats to you Bill on a supurb robot and a great year…however I must say that I am just a tad disturbed by your comments about defensive teams.
: First of all you are entitled to your opinion, however in my seven years of FIRST I have been a part of teams that have specialized in defensive play, and in my eyes, no way, no how, were those robots lacking in ablility! Also you have to look what happened this year…sure the finals seemed exciting from your standpoint, of course you also gotta take into fact that you were in every single final, and you won every single competition. Frankly, I sat there and I watched, and I knew (no offense to any of the semifinal teams) that the Beatty alliance was going to win. Now to me, thats not exciting, there was little hope for an upset (though the Cheesy Poof/Wildstang alliance came very close and I applaud them)and as soon as one mistake was made, the match was over…NO DRAMATICS!
: Maybe I am wrong, but to me I was having alot more fun watching teams perform offensively and defensively at the same time. Some of the most fun, lighthearted matches I have ever been a part of have been some great defensive rounds. Heck I remember how much fun it was to mix it up with Delphi and Kokomo in 99 when i was with PARTS, and afterwards Andy Baker and I could just sit back and laugh about it in good fun. Isn’t the fun what this thing is all about? I will be the first to admit that in 99 my team did not have the strongest robot, we were not the prettiest, but the only thing that helped us run with the big boys like Delphi was the fact that we could play defense. Defense helps shorten the gap between powerhouse teams such as the Delphi’s and Beatty’s in the world, and the smaller teams who may not have the money to put out an amazing feat of engineering, but have the heart to fight their way into a chance at that gold medal.
: With all due respect Mr. Beatty, maybe its not the smaller defensive teams who are afraid to put their designs against the other, well funded, well engineered teams. Maybe its the well funded, somewhat fragile engineering masterpieces, that can’t take a hit.

: Thanx,
: Andy Grady
: p.s. I appologize to anyone I may have offended with this e-mail, that was not my intent, these are only my opinions they are not always on the mark.

Posted by Kyle Fenton at 04/27/2001 11:45 PM EST

Student on team #121, Islanders, from Middletown High School and NUWC.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

From all of the posts that I have seen, I see that the
majority of people wants head-on competition.

Now, the only way we are going to re-achieve head
on competition, is if we say, as the majority of
FIRST that we want it.

And that is one of reasons that Team 121 is setting
up this petition. To tell FIRST, what the people
want. I mean FIRST is very very, open to
suggestions. Probably the most open than any
other organization of this size that I know of.

Now, just because their is an option of 2v2, doesn’t
mean we are going to turn into Battlebots or
Robtica. Not at all, we can still maintain a high
respect for Gracious Professionals, while playing a
very interesting game of 2v2.

Now last year in 2000, FIRST actually got a good
idea. That the winners get 3x the losers score. So
the main objective was trying to score as much as
you can, but scoring for your opponent, if they
couldn’t do it. The best score last year was trying to
get a 1 point ahead of your competition. And that
benefits you and your competition.

Posted by Joe Johnson at 04/28/2001 9:33 AM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Re: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Kyle Fenton on 04/27/2001 11:45 PM EST:

Dean is going to do what he wants to do.

From a few statements he made at various regionals, I
am guessing that Dean believes that this year’s
non-competition format was a great success, though one
that needs some slight tweaking to improve here and
there.

Listening to his comments and reading between the
lines, I suppose that he already has some ideas that
he thinks can address what he perceives were this year’s
shortcomings without going back to the head to head
competition format.

I am skeptical, but if there is anyone who can pull it
off, it is Dean (and the FIRST community).

Joe J.

Posted by soap108 at 04/29/2001 12:04 AM EST

Engineer on team #108, SigmaC@T, from Dillard & Taravella HS and Motorola.

In Reply to: My opinion…
Posted by Joe Johnson on 04/28/2001 9:33 AM EST:

True.

Based on how I’ve observed the evolution of the rules (especially since I started in 95) I suspect 4v0 will stay for another year. It did get exciting in the finals. Hey, weren’t the elim’s head2head…sort of…?

Also, doing the scoring in one’s head really wasn’t that bad except for figuring 1.5 and 2.5 multipliers.
The 10% wasn’t too bad either. I suspect only integer multipliers in future…and maybe only 5 and 10 point objectives too. 37 times 2.5 is a little hard to do off the top of your head, although what’s wrong with a little thinking…to me that’s part of what makes FIRST FIRST.

some food 4 thought,
KA - 108

: Dean is going to do what he wants to do.

: From a few statements he made at various regionals, I
: am guessing that Dean believes that this year’s
: non-competition format was a great success, though one
: that needs some slight tweaking to improve here and
: there.

: Listening to his comments and reading between the
: lines, I suppose that he already has some ideas that
: he thinks can address what he perceives were this year’s
: shortcomings without going back to the head to head
: competition format.

: I am skeptical, but if there is anyone who can pull it
: off, it is Dean (and the FIRST community).

: Joe J.

Posted by s_alaniz at 04/28/2001 1:16 AM EST

Other on team #57 from Houston Regional co-ordinator.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

(Phew!)… you have all been apologizing to anyone you
may upset and I have to do that in ADVANCE because I’m
about to say something very unpopular…
FIRST is aware of many of the arguements used to say
there should be head to head competition, and I’d say
anything is possible… HOWEVER… please note that
FIRST is NOT a democracy. It’s a competition and you
can express your ire with the system by not
participating… I wouldn’t put too much faith in the
idea of a petition to effect change… I’m not saying
you shouldn’t do it, but give the folks at FIRST a
little credit… they have a hugh responsibility to
promote FIRST according to it’s philosopy and so far,
it would be hard to find any real fault since the
competition has grown every year since it’s
inception…I think it’s good to express your opinions,
but I think FIRST is right in they direction they’ve
taken…
As far as the Delphi groups (who seem to get singled
out in these discussions) If the competition demanded a
robust robot… I’m sure Delphi could rise to the
occasion so the notion that these teams might fear a
small defensive robot is … well… silly at best.
The “challange” is something I noticed when I worked
for Southwestern Bell… the system is not as
complicated as it is clever… Therein lies the answer
to these competitions and the “giants” that you face…
being much more clever… When we came away ranked 10th
in Archimedes and not picked for an alliance, that was
my first thought… “we didn’t outthink the
competition.” OUR fault not Delphi’s or anyone elses…
Heck… 10th in a division is nothing to sneer at…and
the competition being tough made that an even greater
accomplishment.
SO if FIRST goes to head to head… we’ll be there
ready to compete… if it remains alliances… we’ll be
there ready to compete…
Next year there will be quite a few surpizes… I’m
looking forward to the wooden robot that might
emerge… Not my team’s… but that’s going to be
really cool, AND clever, if they pull it off!
Anyway… that’s my 2 cents

Best Wishes

Steve Alaniz

Posted by Matt Leese at 04/28/2001 12:12 PM EST

College Student on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

In Reply to: Re: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by s_alaniz on 04/28/2001 1:16 AM EST:

I agree with you completely. Dean and Woody will do
what they want and I find it highly unlikely they
will change their minds. Then again I have a feeling
that if there’s a strong outpouring of dislike for
that kind of game, they’ll have no choice. I think
that there’s a good chance we will loose teams if 4v0
games continue. I know keeping my team interested
will be very hard.

Matt

Posted by Lora Knepper at 04/28/2001 10:07 AM EST

Other on team #177, Bobcat Robotics - Adoptee, from South Windsor High School and International Fuel Cells.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

Agreed. I remember in 1999 when I was with team 69 scouting out teams for an upcoming match and came across the pit of team 168. For a moment, I thought they were on the field b/c I couldn’t find their robot…but then I realized that the little plywood wedge that I had originally thought of as the cart – was the robot.

My team was offensive, and they immedately blacklisted them as a bot that could do nothing and we hoped we wouldn’t be partnered with them. A very dangerous assumption. That little wedge ended up being paired against us…and I have to say that one match was one of the most difficult I have ever driven. The pheonix was fast, and everytime you moved, that wedge was there under your wheels making one wrong move sending you over on your side where you were out for the count. They didn’t intend to tip…but it’s a hazard of the competition. After that competition, my blood pressure was through the roof, and I walked away with a MUCH higher respect for defensive robots.

After talking to a friend on team 209 this year, the thought was the same. He told me that they made sure to build their bot this year like they would have had the bots of '99 running full speed at them. Built it to take a hit and keep on driving.

Never underestimate a defensive machine. They may not be able to score much, if at all, on their own. But for sure they can also prevent you from doing the same.

~ lora

Posted by Jessica Boucher at 04/28/2001 10:16 AM EST

Student on team #237, Sie-H2O-Bots, from Watertown High School and Eastern Awning Systems & The Siemon Company.

In Reply to: Never Underestimate a Defensive Bot
Posted by Lora Knepper on 04/28/2001 10:07 AM EST:

: After talking to a friend on team 209 this year, the thought was the same. He told me that they made sure to build their bot this year like they would have had the bots of '99 running full speed at them. Built it to take a hit and keep on driving.

I don’t really want to get into the “defensive/offensive” conversation, because most of what I’ve wanted to say has been said…but just to comment…209 is an AWESOME team…I had never heard of them before UTC '00 ('cause theyre on the quiet side)…but just hearing the stories from our drivers about how they basically dismantled their machine for us & 131, and didn’t care to play “as long as we did our best”…I, as well as the rest of #237, have the upmost respect for them.

-Jessica B, #237

Posted by Scott England at 04/28/2001 3:40 PM EST

College Student on team #401, The Hokie G.U.A.R.D, from Virginia Tech/MCPS and Virginia Tech/VBEP.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

Just some more support for the idea that some robots have brilliantly designed defensive capabilities. My thoughts go back to a certain round in the tournament in 1999. Featuring the alliance of 122, 47 and the honey well iron eagles (forgot the team number, it was around 80). In our first round in the tournament, we came up against Gunn and another team, and that year Gunn had these massive and powerful arms, which may have served other purposes, but they worked quite well to be placed over the basket of another team, keeping it from being raised to 8 feet. The round I recall so vividly (I was human player on team 122 at the time, so I had a ringside seat) featured 122 and Gunn slugging it out for posession of the puck. As I recall 122 and Gunn got entangled, and in the following tractor pull, Gunn was pulled off the puck, and one of the chains was pulled off of 122’s drive system, yet the puck was now pinned on the side favoring Gunn, and in that grudge match, Gunn’s arms shredded Chief Delphi’s basket, which then needed to be amputated. So the while our two teams were battling Gunn, Gunn’s teammate was free to put up enough points to take the first round of the tournament.
I also wanted to mention that cause 4 members of team 122 are now on team 401, including the driver and human player from that match. I thought it was kinda funny that Gunn, Delphi, and several former members of 122 were all brought together on the same alliance this year. We may not have won, but I gotta say I think we had the best cheers. And in closing, congrats to Gunn for having the best hair this year, and congrats to delphi 47 for perpetually having one of the coolest drive systems.
~Scott

Posted by Bill Beatty at 04/28/2001 3:59 PM EST

Other on team #71, Team Hammond, from Team Hammond.

In Reply to: Back to Defense for a minute.
Posted by Andy Grady on 04/27/2001 8:11 PM EST:

Andy

No need to apologize. I am sure you are calling em as you see em. I am just trying to convince the folks at FIRST to see em my way. I agree that our fantastic success this year taints my comments, but it is no secret that I have been campaigning for the last six years against so called defensive play.

I find your comments very interesting because I would have never considered Gael Force as a defensive team. You folks are usually very tough, and I remember well your last match perfect score at the Rumble two years ago to beat us out of the number one seed.

There are two matches over the years that come to my mind that reinforce my feelings. One match was in the quarterfinals at the Nationals in 1997. It was machine vs machine back then. Within the first 10 seconds we were hooked by the other team to prevent us from our goal topping move. For the rest of the match, all 1 minute and 50 seconds of it, the two machines were locked together and we couldn’t score a point. Not my idea of a robot contest.

The other match that comes to mind is your last match in the finals last year. You guys had a super robot that could score lots of points, but you were blocked and pinned for almost a full minute to loose the championship. Again, not my idea of a robot contest.

Regards,

Bill Beatty

Posted by Lily Milford at 04/28/2001 6:33 PM EST

Other from Washington, DC.

In Reply to: Gael Force Defensive?
Posted by Bill Beatty on 04/28/2001 3:59 PM EST:

: No need to apologize. I am sure you are calling em as you see em. I am just trying to convince the folks at FIRST to see em my way. I agree that our fantastic success this year taints my comments, but it is no secret that I have been campaigning for the last six years against so called defensive play.

But Sir, no matter what we think, isn’t FIRST going to do whatever it, and Dean, wants? If we can’t convince them for 2 on 2 (which has already been stated in a previous thread), then why try to “convince the folks at FIRST to see em my way”, which is basically the opposite end of the spectrum anyway? You’re no different than any one of us.

Posted by Chris Hibner at 04/30/2001 9:59 AM EST

Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

In Reply to: Re: Gael Force Defensive?
Posted by Lily Milford on 04/28/2001 6:33 PM EST:

FIRST (along with Dean and Woodie) obviously have the last say on what happens, but we as the teams are the customers of FIRST. If enough of us decide we don’t want to play anymore, FIRST has to respond or they won’t have an organization. It would be a pretty boring competition to see Dean play Woodie in a best 2 out of 3 for the national championship.

Posted by Kevin Sevcik at 04/30/2001 10:51 PM EST

College Student on team #57, Leopards, from BT Washington and the High School for Engineering Professions and Exxon, Kellog Brown & Root, Powell Electrical.

In Reply to: FIRST can’t necessarily do whatever Dean wants
Posted by Chris Hibner on 04/30/2001 9:59 AM EST:

I’m just curious as to who would actually carry this threat out. You aren’t going to know a thing about the competition till January. After you’ve registered and after you’ve commited a lot of sponsors’ time and money. So when you find out the game is still 4v0, what are you going to do? Not play at all that year? That wouldn’t make the sponsors very happy… Quit the next year? I suppose that’d work, but what would you do besides FIRST? Frankly, I’m doubting that there are that many teams that would actually carry through with this threat…

Posted by Chris Hibner at 05/01/2001 8:30 AM EST

Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

In Reply to: Who is actually going to carry out this threat?
Posted by Kevin Sevcik on 04/30/2001 10:51 PM EST:

Our team has voted that if FIRST does 4v0 next year, we are going to do something else. We haven’t decided what we’re doing yet, but it’ll probably be Robotica. We’ll stick it out next year since we won’t know what the game is until after we pay our money, but after that, we’re gone.

I’ve also discussed this with a number of other teams that feel the same way. I don’t know how serious they were, but I’m sure enough of them are to make FIRST worried if they start to leave.

Posted by Joe Johnson at 05/01/2001 8:59 AM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

In Reply to: Us
Posted by Chris Hibner on 05/01/2001 8:30 AM EST:

I have some very serious thinking to do before I cross that bridge, but for the first time in 6 years, I believe that there may be a serious enough disagreement between my vision of the future of FIRST and that of those who call the shots at FIRST that I can even IMAGINE that I would not be involved with a team next year.

Tough decisions lay ahead.

Joe J.

P.S. In this case, I don’t speak for all of Chief Delphi, just for me.

Posted by Matt Leese at 05/01/2001 12:01 PM EST

College Student on team #73, Tigerbolt, from Edison Technical HS and Alstom & Fiber Technologies & RIT.

In Reply to: Maybe me too.
Posted by Joe Johnson on 05/01/2001 8:59 AM EST:

As a hypothetical situation: FIRST gets so bad large
numbers of people are ready to leave. Would it be in
our best interest than to start a rival organization?
I think that would tend to tear the community apart
and may permanently damage FIRST. But would that be
worth the damage?

Matt who prefers not thinking this way but has
unfortunately done so for a good part of this year…