I’ve been starting to see a pattern in some recent threads- people who have been around FRC since before the times of COTS mechanisms and brushless motors seem to think FRC is becoming simpler. I get where this notion is coming from- after all, powerhouse teams that compete on Einsteins actually had to build complex PTO systems and spring assisted elevators back in the day when your most powerful motor was a CIM and you only had the 16 slots. Nowadays all you need to power most sub-systems is a single Falcon 500, and even whole sub-systems are bought and sold by COTS vendors. Many of the challenges FRC used to present do seem far lesser now.
These changes are making FRC somewhat more accessible (if you have the money for it all), but it seems some people are worried by this change. It’s not rare to see CD threads about banning COTS swerve, limiting the number of brushless motors, banning Falcon motors altogether etc.
What solution should FIRST take to this?
Personally i think if seasons continue in the same level of difficulty as Deep space and Infinite recharge then there really shouldn’t be much to worry about, as they are pretty challenging even with all the new COTS and brushless motors. Rapid react seemed a bit on the simpler side in comparison, but it still had its challenges.
Mostly i’m curious to see how many people actually believe this is a problem, and what solutions would they be in favor of.
- Limit number of Falcon 500/NEO motors
- Ban Faclon 500 completely
- Ban COTS subsystems (Swerve drives, GreyT, Limelight etc.)
- Make the games harder
- Bring back the bag?
- Do nothing
Dear god, FRC is so hard that teams have an average “half life” of only about 5 years. Why on earth would anyone argue it should be made harder?
I… totally agree. But every time i go on CD i see a post supporting at least one of these ideas, so i was curious.
Rapid React had some of the best match play in years, much in part to the floor being raised quite a bit and a lot more bots being competitive… and people want to “make it hard again” and make it EVEN harder for teams…
(Except for bringing back the bag. No one really wants that)
If you think the motivation behind folks proposing these various changes is too “make FRC harder,” I suggest you spend more time considering what is motivating their posts and what may be shaping their perspectives. Perhaps ask them to elaborate their motivations further.
If you think i’m trying to put any negative light on these arguments, i should say i generally agree it is a problem. I’m not too big a fan of the fact that stuff like swerve drive, which used to be a major engineering challenge, is now a problem you can solve by just throwing money at it (although to be fair it does help raise the skill floor quite a bit). The recurring theme i feel is coming from these posts is that problems that used to be hard in FRC have become a lot easier, and some see this as a problem from an educational standpoint. Again, i’m just curious as to what people have to say about this.
Where is “all of the above”?
If you do all of them it would annoy me but wouldn’t do much to change our teams outcome. We have ways around them (i.e. build a practice bot to avoid the bag) or the action doesn’t affect our current operating procedure (i.e. we don’t use COTs subsystems)
Translation: FIRST should do nothing.
As technology has evolved so has FIRST and FRC, let it evolve.
We don’t NEED to ‘go back’ to anything. It’s great that teams are pushing the limits of what’s possible. There was a JUMPING ROBOT this year, that wouldn’t have happen back when CIMs were the epitome of FRC motors as well as the motor limits, let it evolve and everyone will evolve with it.
EDIT: I also think the 2022 season game was on the easier side of the tasks that a robot needed to do, but that was a trade off because it gave us very competitive matches quickly with a great viewing experience.
If we’re being completely honest the year’s challenges are only easy for current powerhouse teams, do you know how many teams pull up to regional with a bare chassis or a quasi-everybot? Besides that, wouldnt banning COTS subsystems take away the aspect that made robot building more complex and fun?
There’s some crossover between this topic and the Hopes & Dreams topic.
A better question might be… How do we keep FRC interesting and challenging for teams near the ceiling without crushing and demoralizing the teams near the floor?
I like the idea someone had of not allowing each team to do everything every match, because then you could have a simpler (yet critical/valuable) task challenge for teams nearer the floor and a challenging task challenge for teams nearer the ceiling (they’d solve for the simple task too probably unless rules prevented).
A variation of this idea might be to let teams do everything during qualifying matches but then force specialization during elims…
I’m not saying forced in-match specialization is the way to go… Even if it happened, the top/mature teams would float to the top and the weaker teams would struggle, but maybe there’s something there to consider that would be better than the actions presented in this poll…?
Bro I’m already struggling
we redistribute more wind tunnel testing time to lower ranked teams
This. Ideally a game has aspects that a beginning (or struggling) team can do that is useful and valuable, but also has aspects that give more experienced/resourced teams something to stretch for.
I helped create Team 11.
COTS - you can get to working faster and bypass risks of underestimating those elements being built.
Less COTS - if you get to the conclusion of a mostly working element you learn the process and you will probably bleed doing that in just 6 weeks.
Over the years my personal opinion is: people very focused on each FRC yearly competition benefit too much from COTS to give it up.
FRC itself depends on a COTS control system to even function.
So I think the mark of maturity is whether you can build yearly upon a robot element making incremental improvements, or even make that a COTS element for other teams at some point.
The mark of survival is actually getting on the field in one piece and, dare I say, manage to actually drive.
This works great for F1. We should limit the number of unofficial and official practice matches (and total events?) throughout the season. #sorrycitrus
I mean personally, I feel that teams near the ceiling will nearly always find the games more challenging and interesting than the teams near the bottom, as they have the resources to approach more outlandish and creative ideas and actually have the ability to follow through on such ideas. Teams near the floor are forced to make either make Everybots or very simple bots (which doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t challenging) simply because of a lack of resources, mentors, or students which is usually why they would be near the floor.
Oh yeah, it is easy to be crushed when you step outside your abilities as a team to attempt more outlandish ideas. I guess the idea is to be able to fail gracefully, and not have attempts at harder challenges completely tank your season. More resourced teams can split efforts a little more to have better fall back options, so can take on harder and riskier tasks.
My 2 cents is that if the COTS mechanisms are available, it makes it possible for more and more teams to deploy very high-level controls, which I think is pretty cool.