FRC Blog - How We’re Doing and FIRST Babies

First, you can figure out the “Fair” responses, as that’s the only missing response from the graph. Week 1 has 12% poor, 66% good, so fair was about 22%.

Second, while I don’t think anyone’s trying to lie with the graphs and survey results, I think they should be taken with a sizable portion of sodium chloride. This is a summary result of a somewhat vague question of an online survey that apparently wasn’t well advertised and was not administered particularly scientifically.

As others have pointed out, “What’s the quality of the 2014 game?” is a vastly different question from the quality of execution of the game. Also, I’m not sure “lots of people after you liked the game” is an appropriate response to the 10% of week 1 teams that were disappointed with the game.

I find it kind of strange that week four’s survey was sent to me on the Friday of week four. We had no issues week four other than not doing so well. But week five’s survey never came, and we had all kinds of problems with week five…

I’m pretty confused as to how people are reading between the lines as well. Frank clearly says it’s not up to par, and that FIRST is trying to resolve issues as quickly as possible.

Another interesting note, that I missed at first read, and perhaps others did also. Frank says there have been 3600 survey respondents, while there were only 2300 throughout all of last year. So certainly an improvement. And, 3600 is by no means a small number, though it only comes out to 2 or 3 per team.

Another thing to consider is that survey responses may be biased to the negative side, since people may be more likely to go fill one out if they have complaints than if they are satisfied.

I’ve actually liked the game a lot. Yes, it has its points of frustration, for sure… and it’s not Ultimate Ascent… but it is very good.

I think it’s hard for many of us as engineers and perfectionists to say “yeah, the game is actually quite good” when there are still flaws in it.

2-3 per team would be a really good sample actually. The fact is that it’s unlikely clumped to a handful (handful here being somewhere between 100 and 1000) teams rather than randomly distributed among teams. Furthermore, teams that competed more often will be over represented (125 competed week 2, 4,5 and will compete 6 and 7).

This is also correct, negative things are also more likely to stand out in our minds.

Please note, this post merely asserts that there is likely not an even distribution of votes it does not claim that this is good or bad. It also merely provides source material for interested parties on negativity and recollection.

Thanks for sharing the survey feedback. Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in the survey after our two events. These opinions are my own, not my full team.

Aerial Assist was a very different game for FRC, with our attempt to have a more sports-like game and strongly encourage teamwork on alliances.

The game design was a significant paradigm shift with limited game pieces and no “end game.” Encouraging more teamwork is definitely an admirable goal. However, making game more sports-like is not the best approach.

Sports have many subjective rules that both teams and refs understand after years of play and abundant visual references. Having no reference point for subjective fouls or possession calls was frustrating.

Additionally, two thirds of my team’s contribution to our alliance was focused primarily on the drive base of the robot - setting picks or defending. This is common for sports but translates poorly to the “sport” of FRC. I personally prefer contributing to our alliance through the scoring section. All teams pour a great deal of effort into scoring functions. I feel some teams were not given the opportunity or had very limited chances to use what they built.

We did enjoy the challenge of building a machine for Aerial Assist. Overall our team and students gained valuable experience in our second year. We achieved many “firsts” and look forward to next season.

David Allred
Mentor 4451 ROBOTZ Garage

What I love about the first graph:
week1->week2 showed definitive improvement. The negatives went down from ~12% to ~7%, and the positives jumped up from ~66% to ~78%.

What I don’t love about the first graph:
There is no appreciable change from week 2 onwards.

I do like some things about the second graph, but I don’t believe the sample sizes are large enough to conclude anything definitively.

I will add my name to the list of people who don’t understand why others view this as bragging. If I missed a sentence that sounded prideful, please quote it for me, because I have read it twice without seeing anything like that.

This might not be what you’re intending, but this reads an awful lot like “screw what other people think, my opinion is the correct one.”

That’s not a particularly productive view to have.

I, for one, like this game quite a bit. There are issues, yes, but the fundamental design is the best FIRST has had in a long while. FRC has gone too long with three robots playing in parallel rather than three robots playing as a team.

I am an Alternate Contact, and only received the survey email after our week 5 event, not after our week 2. MrBasse mentioned receiving it after week 4 but not 5. It may be that they only send it to multiple-event teams once, and hopefully randomize which event.

Her opinion is just that, her opinion. This game has caused a number of reactions both good and bad which I feel are valid and should be considered by FIRST. As subjective as this game is, opinions will range based on the volunteers running the event and the teams participating. Some have been good while others have been downright difficult. Needless to say FIRST can and should make changes based on the reactions of their paying customers. I respect that Frank and FIRST are actively looking into this response, but I still believe there is work to be done on that front.

What do you consider the ‘fundamental design’ to be? Is it the simple, high-level description absent of all rules? Is it the full rule book?

I certainly understand and agree with the many claims that foul point values are completely out of whack for most infractions, that rule enforcement is arbitrary and varied, and that a team’s performance is very closely tied with the capability of randomly assigned alliance members. I think the decisions that led to the implementation of those rules were flawed, but will concede that others can disagree and I have no irrefutable evidence that supports my position.

However, the field does not work and the referees are not able to credit teams appropriately for accomplishing rudimentary game tasks. Can anyone reasonably refute either of these claims? Fundamentally, FIRST did not provide a product that lives up to the expectation they set at kick-off. The result of a survey should not dissuade FIRST from understanding that and taking corrective action; and I do not necessarily believe that it will.

There are, in my opinion, too many people in FIRST that use the notion, true as it may be, that “it’s not about the robots” as a get out of jail free card and as an excuse for poor performance. I’m getting pretty frustrated by that.

I think if a survey was sent to drive coaches only, the results would be much different.

Agreed. The game is actually quite fun, but after a frustrating, FMS and referee error filled match, there is nobody on a team that has been inspired. If anything, kids are discouraged from putting hours and hours of work into FIRST after playing this game.

In fact, I am wondering if there is a single drive coach (with a few years of FRC experience) of a competitive, elimination round, non rookie team that is happy with the game.

Couldn’t agree more.

I’m sure I am in the tiny minority (especially here on CD) that has actually found this game the most challenging and strategic in recent years. I have had fun devising strategies that get “box bot’s” involved in the action. Last year we had a great robot that could win matches by itself. This year we have a great robot as well but we need everyone to do their part. I am easily one of the most active coaches on the floor running to and from alliance driver stations. It’s fun trying to choreograph a match, especially because the dynamics change so often with defense. Last year was a fantastic game, (my favorite) however we could simply run cycles, tell our partners to play defense, and win. This year has so much more involved.

Of course there are many bad aspects of the game. Losing a match because of a bogus call, missing assists points, and other things that I’m sure this thread will evolve into as most other threads have lately, are so frustrating when they happen. I agree there are a ton of things that were not thought out and should have been improved with this game. I just thought I should say that I still have a great time coaching it.

This is just my opinion of the game and I know most people (on CD at least) hate the game. Please don’t bother trying to convince me how much it sucks, I’ve already read countless pages of that :stuck_out_tongue:

I really do agree with a lot of what you’re saying. I had a fantastic time at our first event as the drive coach. The depth of strategy and quality of gameplay were the best I have ever seen. All three robots on our alliance were contributing and smart members of the team.

My perfect and happy time with the game ended at a second event, where bad calls, field issues, and fms problems ruined my day.


One ball per alliance, score generated by all robots on the alliance working to get it into the goal, with a wide open field and lots of potential for defense. I think that is a fundamentally very good design, and far more interesting than anything FRC has done in the past.

Do you believe that the drive coach’s opinion is more important than the main or alternate contact? If so, why?