[FRC Blog] 2022 Season Teaser, Single-Day Events, Kit of Parts

Posted on the FRC Blog, 10/6/2021: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2021-2022-season-teaser-single-day-events-kit-of-parts

2022 Season Teaser, Single-Day Events, Kit of Parts

2021 OCT 06 | Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition & Kate Pilotte, Senior Kit of Parts Manager


2022 Season Teaser

In case you missed it, the first episode of the 2022 FIRST Robotics Competition season teaser has been released. Yep, I said the first episode! More episodes to follow, the next being released on October 27, 2021.

If you watch this first episode very carefully you might just see… oh, I’m not going to even say it, it’s so obvious. We didn’t do a great job hiding that one.

Single-Day Events

Event preferencing opens October 14th (that’s next week!!) I hope everyone is getting ready for what we think – no, we know – will be a fun season. Check out the User Guide for steps on how to complete preferencing.

As we noted in a blog in August, we have been reviewing ways to make accommodations for season disruptions. One of those accommodations is shorter, smaller events.

You will shortly see that the Chesapeake District, the Ontario District, and the Festival de Robotique Regional event in Canada will be posted as single-day events. Local leadership has decided this is the best approach for their areas, and we all agree that while there is a limit, smaller official events are better than no events as long as they’re still considered safe for participants.

It’s important to note that while the areas above are the only ones currently planning single-day events, more may shift to them depending on local circumstances. If that happens, we will work with the teams to help them adjust their plans.

As currently conceived, single-day events will:

  • Accommodate 20 and fewer teams, down to a still to be determined minimum
  • Keep robot gameplay to a single day, with a winning and finalist alliance being determined each day, and approximately 8-10 qualification matches minimum depending on team counts
  • Have judging done fully remotely
  • Allow for the full set of standard FIRST Robotics Competition awards to be presented, with all teams competing the same weekend placed in a single group for award purposes (so, two sets of teams for Districts, three for Regionals, as District and Regional events are two and three days long respectively)

We still have many details to work out, but the information above constitutes the bones of these events as we are thinking of them right now.

Teams will be able to preference single-day events that are back-to-back. With our multi-day approach to judging, though, teams should recognize they will only be able to win a single judged team award during a given weekend. We know this may affect the points available to District teams and are discussing options. Our goal is to have full information about how back-to-back events may affect District points before preferencing opens. This is something new for FIRST Robotics Competition, but we see this as a way for teams to experience in-person events when they might otherwise not be able to play.

We continue to post the events that will be available for the 2022 season as we learn about them and all should be in by the time preferencing opens on the 14th.

Kit of Parts

The Kit of Parts webpage content from 2021 has been archived and the page now reflects public information for 2022. Here’s what we think you want to know…

Timeline

Important dates regarding the 2022 Kit of Parts are as follows. Keep reading for more information.

  • October 14 - 21: Drive base opt out window
  • November 18: Pre-Kickoff Vouchers
  • November 18 - December 2: FIRST Choice Round 1
  • January 8: Kickoff Vouchers go live
  • January 8 – 20: FIRST Choice Round 2
  • January 28 – April 15: FIRST Choice Open ordering

Kickoff Kits: Drive Base Opt Out

Your 2022 Kickoff Kit will again include a drive base kit! Maybe; it’s up to you if you’re a veteran team.

Veteran teams are invited to choose a $450 Voucher from AndyMark (available Nov. 18 when pre-Kickoff vouchers are released) instead of receiving a drive base kit with their Kickoff Kit (all other teams will automatically receive the drive base kit).

To accommodate drive base kit production lead times, this option is only available until noon (Eastern) on Thursday, Oct. 21.

We will only accept selections made using the dashboard and only the lead mentor 1 or 2 can submit.

In order to opt-out, a lead mentor 1 or 2 must do the following:

  • Log into your Dashboard.
  • Click the team for which you’re selecting.
  • Under the “Parts and Products” drop down on the “Team Options” tab, select “Drive Base Opt Out.”
  • Check the box if you wish to opt out.
  • BOOM you are done.

If, after you select the opt out (but before the deadline), your team changes their mind about their selection, you can change your selection in the dashboard.

If a team does nothing by the deadline, they will be assigned the ‘default’ option of receiving the drive base kit as part of their Kickoff Kit.

We recognize that we are asking you to make a decision about a partially defined product, which can lead to frustration. Our goal is to give you as much information as possible without revealing details about the game. For example, a drive base with significant ground clearance may imply some type of obstacle on the field that robots would likely have to traverse. If we revealed details such as ground clearance, we would be giving away too much of the game. To help you make your decision, we can give you some general information about the 2022 drive base kit.

  • It’s similar to the AM14U4 from 2020 and includes a bumper and battery mounting kit.
  • Features are such that they enable a team to execute basic elements of game play.
  • Design is such that the drive base can be assembled and driving by a small team with limited resources within two days.

FIRST Choice

The FIRST Choice program continues for the 2022 season, so mark your calendars! FIRST Choice is an online repository of items that teams can request using credits issued to each team.

The plan is to host the first round of priority list selection before Kickoff (November 18 - December 2), a second round of priority list selection at Kickoff (January 8 – January 20), and then open for “regular” ordering (January 28 – April 15), much like the rollout pre-pandemic (all at noon, Eastern). To learn about what priority list selection means, visit the FIRST Choice section of the Kit of Parts page.

AndyMark is donating all the work behind housing FIRST Choice inventory, hosting and managing the FIRST Choice site, processing priority lists, and packing orders for delivery to you. We’re so grateful for their continued support of this important piece of the Kit of Parts system.

Virtual Kit

We’re happy to let you know that we will again be releasing Virtual Kit items before Kickoff on November 18 at noon, Eastern.

At that time,

  • the Virtual Kit section of the Kit of Parts webpage will be updated to include all 2022 Pre-Kickoff Vouchers and the relevant details.
  • any codes needed to redeem vouchers or license software will go live in the team’s registration account at firstinspires.org. Codes will only be visible for secured (i.e. paid) teams and only visible to lead mentors 1 and 2.

If your team is not paid/secured by November 18, 2021, it’s okay. As soon as your team’s paid up, the codes will become live in your team’s registration account.

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Little late there Ryan!

I wonder if registration fee amounts will be lower for these regions/events since teams will be getting less play time, etc. I highly doubt it sadly which is unfortunate for teams in those regions.

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Aren’t they all still getting at least 8 matches? Or are you thinking about practice day too?

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Districts are 12 matches. Even under best conditions, im not sure if it would be possible to squeeze all of those + elims into a single day.

I would especially hope this is the case for Festival de Robotique. They absolutely do not deserve to be paying regional prices for a single day, especially when they can’t just choose other events due to an international border and the only other nearby events being in a district they can’t play in.

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Oh right, districts. I hope to experience that someday. With less than 20 teams they will have less than 8 alliances which reduces time needed for elims. But you are right, unlikely to get back to the familiar 12 matches.

It reduces time needed for elims because there are less matches needed. Even if that time saved meant enough time for 12 qualification matches (no shot), you would still have less potential elims matches. So still will not measure up to a normal event play time.

Not to mention, getting an event during the season to happen in a single day is a massive challenge. I’m skeptical of getting 8-10 qualification matches in. Offseasons are able to pull this off because you don’t have to worry about inspection, and generally teams are showing up with robots they know work because they’ve been using them for 3-4+ months. Imagining a week 1 or week 2 event where every team that shows up hasn’t competed yet, making sure everyone connects to the field correctly, passes inspection, etc and having enough time for 8-10 qualification matches and SF and F rounds of elimination sounds like a tall order at minimum, and impossible at maximum. In reality to make this work, I have a feeling at these events we will see more robots not moving, not connecting, etc. Also I think inspection process will need to be streamlined and shortened (this would actually not be the worst thing for events in general).

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We just did the Gateway offseason in St Louis and it was a 1 day event. 24 robots and we had 6 qual matches. Everything ran smooth with a few delays but nothing major. I don’t think you could add any more matches for a 1 day event.

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First thing I noticed when reading this was the lack of updates to registration fees. Events are now being held for only one day… And I still have to pay as though I’m getting 4 full days of competition.

Like I wasn’t expecting costs to be cut in half, but some form of discount surely. Not going to lie or hold back here, I’m extremely disappointed about registration costs this year. I’d love to hear people’s opinions (genuinely I would) on why I shouldn’t feel robbed, but right now all I can say is it feels like we’ve been robbed at gunpoint by FIRST… :cry:

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I agree it sucks, especially when a lot of teams are suffering financially.

From FIRST Perspective (I would think):

  1. You already got your KOP
  2. I assume most of the event costs involve your up front costs of running and not the daily costs of running that event

Would still like to see some sort of remedy for those who are affected.

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Most districts are 2 day events, load in and some match play on day one, finish and elims on day 2… unless I’m mistaken*. No word on regional events changing from the 2.5day event.

[Edit: I WAS mistaken!]

Festival de Robotique is a regional event, so far the only regional to be one day only, but the blog mentions more may move over.

Not sure how things go in other districts, but we in Ontario typically load in on Friday nights and get to work on the robots from about 5pm until 8-9pm. Then back in at 7-8am on Saturday with matches starting around 10am right through until 5pm with pits still open until around 8pm. Finally Sunday starts at 7am and goes until 5-7pm depending on elims scheduling and how long the awards ceremony goes.

That’s roughly 24-27 hours of event/robot participation time in a normal event for us. Now being dropped to presumably 10-12 hours (thinking 7am-5pm events with room to go over time if need be) of participation time at best…

This seems pleasantly simple and I like it.

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To answer your request…

The experience provided by FIRST/FRC is about much more than the competition, and I don’t view my registration fee in terms of dollars per matches played. Even when paying registration fees for additional events, the competition experience isn’t even just about the matches on the field. It’s about the kids who make the timely repair in the pits, the scouts who get to validate the work they put into organizing your scouting system, the programmer who sees their autonomous modes work on the real field, the chatter on the bus ride home about how the team will improve for the next event or the next season, the student who gets to stick their nose inside of another team’s robot they have admired from afar, and the experience of the team bonding as they work together towards a common goal outside of their own shop. Can the reduction in matches (or more importantly attendee limits) impact that experience? It can, but the bulk of that experience is still there. One day off-season events have long been in the fabric of many regions in FRC, and their value extends well beyond the small price tags.

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It’s important to look at the situation from FIRSTs perspective too. They have bills to pay too, and rely on registration fees (and other sources) to get that done. A shorter event does not really change the amount FIRST has to pay for it. They still have to make the field for the events and ship it in. They still have to pay the staff to write the rules, etc. Given many events are not even funded through FIRST, their bills really aren’t reduced.

They also just got through a huge blow to their finances with 2021’s reduced registration costs, and the canceled world championships. I doubt there are in a financial place to be “generous” and reduce registration fees like that, because it’s more important they stay in existence period.

That’s the unfortunate truth. In shorter events don’t change the total cost of the program much, so they unfortunately cost the same to the teams too.

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Can someone tell me if i’m wrong (I don’t know the exact way district registration works), but a team that plays in a district will be able to play two One-day event for the initial registration cost while a regional team will only play a single One-day event for the same fee?

You could be paying $4,000 for ~28 hours of event/robot participation time for a regional held in a high school like a gloried district?

I hope FIRST reduces the price for these one day events, but they don’t have a great track record of doing so.

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This is correct.

Do note, Districts work the same way* regardless of how many days are in an event. Pay $4000, get 2 events with 24 total matches guaranteed.

*

A couple districts have wonky payment models, not too important for this conversation though.

One upside to one-day events is if they go well, I could see them being implemented program-wide in areas where it would be infeasible to hold even a 30-team regional but could do with the growth - Thinking places like Europe or Japan for instance where they have a few teams but certainly not enough to justify a full regional, and events being overseas is a barrier to entry for new teams.

(certainly not only suggesting it because it makes a Des Moines event possible…)

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