Lesson Learned 2016 - The Negative


This was the same range as it was in 2014 except it is 2" higher off the ground.

Also things might be in the works for the website. I can’t say much here but from what I know expect things to get better.

If anyone has any suggestions for the website let me know. I can send those on to a person who is working on it.

Lonestar veggie options are usually pretty good. That’s typically because Lucia takes direct control of the menu for volunteers and VIPs. We apparently had two gluten-free volunteers this year that ended up with plated meals to make sure they weren’t poisoned.

It wasn’t that long ago that CCA, FTC Inspire Award, and FLL Champion’s Award used to be given out right before Einstein started, and perks of the award were field side seats with Woodie, Dean, and the rest of FIRST brass. I vote we bring this back. It ensured that the biggest audience possible saw the teams that we all should idolize and strive to be like. I vote we bring this practice back.

Supposedly they were recorded. I have yet to see where said recording has surfaced yet though.

Pardon the language, but JFC about that last bit. Sometimes I’m halfway tempted to actually print out the rule in the Administrative manual and carry it around to competitions. I understand that teams want to sit together, but when I’m just one person looking for an open seat, have a freakin’ heart.

I don’t like a website that I have to to click through 3 pages of content to find what I’m looking for. They need to fix the website to have sub-menus to navigate to content faster from the homepage. Like, I dunno, the old website had.

Please stop basing rules on intent. This includes “strategies aimed at”… Things either happen or they don’t. When you have to ask “did they mean to do that?”, controversy often ensues.

Ok I did this last year and it was well received so I am going to do it in this style this year:

Early Game Announcement:

I actually liked this, will go into more about it on the positive thread

EDIT: Putting this here, I also hate the new website especially when I was trying to figure out stuff for Championship

** Preseason:**
Ok I said it last year but for the teams hosting kick-offs please release the designs earlier, since we basically only had the drawings the night before. I know you are trying to make it fair for everyone but we were lucky to get the field built that we did.

Game Announcement/Kickoff:
I have no real complaints but this is related to the above and the game in general but please make sure next year that the team designed elements and real field elements are actually the same or close enough not completely different.

Build Season:
One again no big complaints but can we please not have $30 game pieces made of foam.

Palmetto Regional:
No complaints this event was amazing even with the Cheval being taken out for a chunk of the time, and the refereeing left a little to be desired but that will be discussed later

Orlando Regional:
I decided to put my money where my mouth was and wanted to referee at Orlando but it was full so I did field reset instead. No complaints here either it was a fun event go to it.

Rocket City Regional:
I am going to cut the regional some slack since it was the inaugural event but a few things. Why were seats on each side of the field different, as in one side had hard plastic chairs and the other had cushions. Certain decisions about how team traffic flowed could have been improved. Lighting on Thursday being different then Friday was an issue that was quickly corrected. Finally why did we not receive chairman’s feedback forms? I gave it to my team to turn in and got it back folded up inside our video case. If they were not going to provide the feedback why take the sheet in the first place?

South Florida Regional:
This event should have been my favorite, a regional 7 minutes from my house, get to sleep in my bed, see my dog, it should have been my favorite, it turned out to be my least enjoyable event of the season. The venue had little to little to no food or drink options, heck Thursday at 1:00 I went to get a bottle of water and the concession was already closed. The parking was at the back of the venue then had to walk all the way around to the front, I get the idea was to attract foot traffic but any local would tell you that you get 0 foot traffic in front of the convention center and actually get more near the back. A lot of the volunteers were rude, I have never said that about a FIRST event but here it was true, volunteers appeared more concerned with getting home then letting teams enjoy themselves. Not all volunteers were like this but enough that is warrants mention. After Fridays award ceremony when they announced pits closed in 5 minutes most teams filed out to leave which blocked off the entrance to the pits, when I tried to walk in to put away the things my team uses in the stands I was told the pits were closed and I would not be allowed entry, despite seeing teams still working, I had a collapsible table, giant green wooden 1, 7, 9, and a box filled with stuffed alligators, I clearly am not going back there to work and actually had to have a friendly safety adviser escort me to my pit to put the stuff away. I have never been more embarrassed to be a Florida team then when interacting with the volunteers and realizing that to many of the out of state and international teams attending this is what they think most people involved in Florida FIRST are like and frankly that is unacceptable behavior, volunteers are as much, if not more, representatives of FIRST and especially the event then the teams are and should be held to and act with a higher standard. Finally once again why did we not receive chairman’s feedback forms? Seriously we attended 3 regionals this season and 2 did not give feedback forms, and the one that did was the earliest and had the most teams, so I see no excuse for the other two.

I did not attend this year due to my home needing emergency repairs but I watched the live stream the entire time since I was still running my teams scouting group. From what I hear it was lovely, and I much appreciated the change over to closing ceremonies happening on the same side as Einstein but echo the sentiment that instead of random dancing I would much prefer some of the speeches and awards that happened at the closing ceremonies to instead of happened in between Einstein matches.

Stronghold as a Game:
I have very few negatives about this game, my only major gripe is the same as it was in 2014, Referees are not score keepers, stop making them so. I know for a fact that if next year they make a scorer position which is different from a referee teams would easily provide volunteers to fill the role.

Good job FIRST last year I said this at the end of my negative post:

You proved that 2015 was not a sign of things to come, and I am glad you are not leaving me behind keep up the good work.

I really miss Dave’s pre-match team history before each match. I hope FIRST puts him and Blair back into positions that made Einstein memorable in the past.

This x100000000000000000000000. What got me most interested in actually learning about other teams was listening to Dave ramble off the histories of the team’s on Einstein in 2007-2010 when I was a student.

This was definitely missing vs. previous years.

In addition,
The website needs a LOT of work, or go back to the old one.
Teams should be able to watch their own team compete in eliminations if they are stuck behind the curtain in the temporary pits.
And the most negative point, the CCA was annouced so late into the agenda!
Many people leave after the last match on Einstein.
In fact, in the past, the winning CCA team was allowed to have front row seats to watch the Einstein matches…speaking from experience, that opportunity was priceless.:slight_smile:
Imagine this year’s winner, Team 987 who was competing on Einstein. Even better!

2016 SFL Regional was probably one of the worst experiences I have had in my 5 years of FRC. Some of the volunteer’s at the event were quite rude. We would be pulling up to the field to lift the robot and bring it to the field, and we would be yelled at for taking more than 3 seconds. Also, the queuing area was ridiculous, there was no room to move around; I am amazed at how they fit 18 robots in what seemed like a 10x10 box. The Ref’ing at both for Orlando and SFL leave a lot to be desired for, from what I saw there seemed to be a lot of missed fouls.

Wait this was a thing?! This must come back, I would love to hear about team histories!

I don’t have a lot of complaints about this season. The biggest one is that, once again, reffing and scorekeeping NEED to be separated for games like this (and 2014) where there is full real-time scoring and a lot of interaction and potential fouls. It’s just too much for refs to keep track of.

My second major complaint is that the field was way too complicated. I get that it was cool and the different movable defenses provided a big challenge and a lot of strategic depth, but it also made it very expensive and space-consuming to build field components for prototyping. I think half of our storage space is field parts right now, and I’m very much looking forward to reclaiming our closet. I will also echo comments that there at least needs to be an intermediate option to build team versions of components that are a better approximation for the real field. The portcullis and drawbridge specifically were WAY different. In general, dynamic game elements to not translate well to wood (ala the 2012 bridges).

I was not a fan of audience selection. The ability for large teams to influence other teams’ matches is not desirable, especially since “rounds” are only approximately 1 match for all teams. 971 had the opportunity to cheer for an audience selection that wouldn’t go on the field until after their final qualification match. 5803 played two consecutive matches with Rough Terrain in the middle because of a short turnaround. I get that it engages the audience, but it provides a huge strategic advantage, especially in playoffs. Also the fact that in quarterfinals, the 1v8 matchup literally has almost no time to finalize their match strategy after audience selection is absurd.

Last time I can actually recall an Einstein history lesson was 2010, back when it was in Atlanta, and Dave did a headstand to introduce teams. Video of it exists on Youtube. Karthik also gives good history lessons at the events he MCs at.

You mean like the one we had in 2015?

Stepping back, why were all the elimination matches on Einstein so close? It seemed like no matter how good the teams were, the score was about the same. It would have been nice to see a couple more points differentiating the top teams.

Also, I’m starting to dislike these games where a single dead on your alliance robot either means you lose out on a bunch of ranking points, or lose the match. 2014 was tough with a dead bot, and the capture was impossible in 2016 with a dead bot. Compound that with teams taking lots of risks in their drivetrain, and you end up with more dead robots than before. When the top team in your division gets 36 RPs, and a perfect win record is only 20 RPs, bad partner luck is pretty frustrating.

I’m also noticing a trend. The games get harder and harder each year. I’d actually kind of like another game like 2014 or 2009 where we spent much less time designing our robot and could instead spend time playing with it. That would actually let us slow down, reduce burnout risk, and have more time to teach the students. No end game in 2014 was really nice. The build season almost actually ended after ship. The game was such this year that even elite teams like 254 and 1678 had off matches with robot failures. I think this points to higher and higher game and robot complexity.

FIRST claimed at CMP that this game had one of the highest ratings. I think that is mostly a reaction to 2015. This game was better than 2015, but I wouldn’t put it up there as one of my favorites.

Yes!!! Or having your 2 ball autonomous penalized multiple times, and when you try to figure out why, are told “we don’t track penalties”. Or the myriad of other variations on that. Two matches were even started with the ball that we needed to pick up having fallen off the line and onto the other side, causing us to drop from #3 to #4 seed. We were told that the ball was “close enough” when we pointed it out. Those balls were the only balls that we actually missed in autonomous during the entire event. What are we trying to encourage? I had an amazing conversation with an FTA on the practice field who really got it, and was underwhelmed by some of the volunteers on the real fields.

I spend a large amount of my non-working time mentoring the team, and a good chunk of my vacation time each year with the team. I feel like there are volunteers and others who forget that. In my view, FIRST as an organization is valuable mostly because of the community that they have built up. They should be doing everything possible to respect that community and keep them excited, engaged, and feeling respected. I had a couple interactions this year at CMP where I questioned why I’m here. I think one of my friends put it best when his answer to “why am I still here?” was that he couldn’t imagine what else he would be doing.

(woah, that ended up longer than I thought…)

Funnily enough, at the highest levels of play, it’s not too shocking to see close scores and ties. At the point, all Alliances are fully at the limit of scoring 15-18 boulders, a breach, and a capture including a scale. There’s only so much you can do when playing optimally.

For the love of god, don’t make teams build so many things to mock up the field again - it’s hard enough to build a robot. It wasn’t as bad as the 2013 pyramid, but it was close. Basically the only complaint I have about the game this year.

When selecting alliances, highlight the chosen team BEFORE it dissappears from the list of available teams. This should be easy to do and would add to the entertainment value!

Dance party started at 10pm, most of the kids were there since 7am and were exhausted after 15 hours! I am not sure how they can fix it, but it didn’t seem right.

FIRST needs to enforce of rules under the robot section,

If there’s one thing I hate the most in FRC, it’s the website.
I mean, they’ve clearly tried to make it newbie-friendly, but at the same time, they’ve completely messed up routines for the thousands of people already involved in FIRST.

That, and they need an official FRC forum browser on the site itself, instead of the current 3rd-party forum system.