Lesson Learned: The Positive.

What did FIRST do particularly well this season that merits a pat on the back?

I particularly liked that they had “plants” for people giving out the gracious professionalism pins. While it seems almost like dangling a carrot in front of their faces, doing it without announcing it was an opportunity for people to learn how “random acts of kindness” should be applied.

One of the students on our team saw a USB cable laying on the sidewalk between the dome and the omni. He saw a lady sitting on a ledge with a laptop. He picked it up and said “is this yours?” She then told them that she had been waiting for half an hour for someone to stop and pick it up for her. She then gave the pin to him.

What was great was that we shared the story at a team meeting and while walking back to the hotel, and it was one of those “deep” moments (not a “hey everyone look for something to pick up to get a pin” moments, though we joked about it).

I liked the low-physical-defense nature of this year’s game. It meant that teams who built a good robot could actually exhibit their hard work semi-freely and worry less about it getting damaged by over-zealous defenders. Teams that wanted to slow their opponents down had to actually think about what they were doing with trackball-bumping and pinning, rather than simply “HULK RAM”.

Rack 'n Roll (and to a lesser extent Aim High) kind of made me think of WW1: It was far, far easier to defend than to score, so each match was a form of trench warfare.

I liked the low cost-of-entry autonomous mode. It makes for an exciting autonomous mode because almost every team is capable of doing a timed drive-forward. However, it was still challenging enough that it took a lot of skill to get 3 or more lines. So the low cost of entry and high cost of perfection made a very good autonomous mode. This is the opposite of last year’s, where only the very best robots could even put the tube on, and most robots just sat there.

The teams, as always.

as far as LSR( the only event I went to this year). the Katy event center was AWESOME, yes getting from pits to stands was interesting, but having all the hotels close by, the food close by, and a tractor supply sharing a parking lot . . it was nice there.

the AM gear boxes . . 10^6x better than last year.
kit chassis, I love this thing so easy so sturdy.

Thursday night I learned that I lost the keys to the trailer hitch and trailer doors and went to bed worried that we were going to have to start cutting off heavy Masterlock shackles.

1000 GP pins to the person that found the keys and turned them into pit admin where I eventually recovered them on Friday. It was a 1" x 2.5" rubbery tag with keys on the ring.

Thank you thank you.

I personally liked how this game allowed all teams to have a fair chance of winning. Robots this year didn’t have to have super funding to be great, just an inventive team. Rookie teams could be really good this year and not have to overwork themselves.

Most positive thing I saw was that all teams had a chance to score in hybred/autonomous mode.

Also, all teams could contribute to their alliance … even the box on wheels.


I loved the game. It had a great autonomous mode that allowed for the simple and the complex to both have a chance, and to be meaningful unlike last year’s low-point-value autonomous.

This game also had a lot of energy and was fairly simple to understand for a walk-in fan (both like the 2006 game).

Thanks FIRST for a great year from everyone on 1024 and especially our outgoing students!


I couldn’t agree more!!
I have only been involved with FIRST for four seasons now, but I was starting to get disappointed in the direction things were heading. This game was so much better for exactly the reason Bongle mentioned.

Again, this was another great reason that this game ROCKED!!!
The simplest code could contribute to an Alliance’s score and then there were teams like 1114 and 25 that do it all.

I also liked the fact that the most basic, drivable robot could contribute to an alliances score, as well as the opportunity for elite teams to really show their stuff. All around, Overdrive was an excellent game!

I liked how this year’s was accually a game.
Last year’s game was more or less a task, even though there was strategy and energy and everything else.
This years game was a lot better…

And as said before, everyone could do something and a rookie team’s alliance had made it incredibly far in Atlanta.

Not to mention this years challenge allowed for a lot of different designs,
where as in comparison to last year’s game, the basic two types were arm or ramp.

I can almost guarantee that I’ll be the only one who says this, but <G22>. The ruling was consistent both between and within almost every event, and was enforced as written. I think the rule did a spectacular job at doing what it aimed. If it was any less strict it would have been either worthless and/or next to impossible to call consistently.

Like Sean, I’ll probably have to disagree with most people. I don’t think there was that much less defense in this game written in the rules. Based on the rules, there was really not that much that was changed from last year for defense. The only one was the no contact in their homezone while they were attempting to score, but that was like the on entering the opponents home zone in the last 20 seconds from last year. I’m sure both rules were to protect ‘defensiveless’ robots, ie those climbing or holding a ball high up with a high center of gravity. I do agree that we saw less defense most of the time (although in Galileo eliminations there was some intense defense), but I argue that is because of the teams deciding not the play defense instead of the rules prohibiting it.

On the topic of defense, I like defense. I think it seperates the elite scorers from the average. Others may think that it just cancells the scores out and becomes a pushing match. If you look at 1114 this year, I’m sure they expected heavy defense and designed thier robot to go against it. They had an amazing pickup in traffic and their ‘arm’ just about stayed in their bumper zone so they never got intangled with defensive or other robots. I think this is what made 1114 so special this year; there were many scorers who could put up 5-6 hurdles per match but facing defense, other teams problems picking up and were drastically not as effective. So, I think FIRST did a great job in keeping the ability to play defense.

Secondly, as mentioned above, the hybrid mode was great. Everyone could earn points, unlike last year where ramps couldn’t. Not only was it easy for everyone could do it, the great teams could do significantly better. Unlike last year, where you could only get 1 tube (unless your 910), in this years game teams got anywhere between 2 and 36 points. If I had a problem with hybrid, it would be that it may have been worth too many points. In alliances with good hybrids, it seemed that just under half thier points came from the 15 second hybrid mode. I don’t think it was as bad as 2006, where the team that won autonomous had a much better chance at winning.

Dunno if I quite agree on the consistency, Sean. How does a robot that hasn’t fully crossed any lines get 2 <G22> violations? (And I couldn’t see any violations in hybrid, either. Then again, I was watching the webcast.)

Nonetheless, it was an excellent rule. It did bite some teams, but what rule doesn’t bite teams from time to time?

Ref consistency was way up from last year, which is a big plus. The ref training course needs to stay.

One other thing–the fact that the FINAL update was released right after Week 1 is good. Many of us can remember when updates were released well into the competition season. Not this year! Also, the updates only making minor changes is good. The biggest change was to <G36>.

A major congratulations to the GDC for an exciting game that was well-written from the start. We would like some more of those, too.

I *adore *the GDC. I am in awe of their ability to create interesting games year after year. I’ve even offered Lavery a 6-pack of donuts to let me even give suggestions to the GDC (don’t tell him now, but I’d even go to a whole dozen…).

I thought Overdrive was a pretty good game – hurdling, laps, herding, and bonus balls at the end. Four scoring ways is about typical in my 4-year’s experience (although I wasn’t involved much in Rack-and-Roll). The only weakness, ironically, to Overdrive was its NASCAR inspiration. After a while, a bunch of robots all going in the same direction started looking the same. Still, there were brilliant, exciting “plays” that happened, and some images will stick with me. There was one play at Seattle where two very similar robots did nearly identical hurdles at the same time. It was a cool image as the elevator-style robots raced to the overpass wheel-to-wheel to hurdle.

The coolest game this year might have been in FTC – there were five ways to score, and it was rare to see any one robot that could do all five really well. In retrospect the goal-possession bonus would probably have been better at five points than seven, but other than that “QuadQuandry” was a terrific game. I wonder if QuadQuandry would scale up? Could FRC robots score 12-inch diameter rings made of Schedule 80 PVC?

I suspect that the refs had a better vantage point of the action, but even if the call was mistaken, it wasn’t a wide spread mistake. I attended five events and watched nine different reffing crews (five at championship) and they were very consistent on their calls from my vantage point. Granted, my view of Einstein was pretty awful in terms of <G22>, so I can’t comment or even know if there’s any debate about the <G22> calls there, but I had great views at the other events. The rule was written without any arbitrary or judgement calls included. Different refs will call ramming/impeding/intentional tipping at different times, but almost every ref will agree on line violations. I’m sure there’s a few that slipped by or shouldn’t have been called, but this was far less than any other rule from my experience this year.
I hope FIRST continues to write rules that can be clearly called without room for arbitrary debate and individual judgement. It’s nice to be able to agree on calls rather than debate them.

I agree, and it wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the match. (The robot in question had a broken drive on one side.)

I thought this years wrap up party was really good. I went 2 years ago (and the previous year before that) and I was far from impressed - to the point I was going to get dinner some place else and just relax at the hotel. This year, I felt it was totally worth going.

I also think everyone in ATL did a great job keeping everything running smoothly despite the damage to the city that was fairly evident.

I liked the focus on the Chairman’s Award team and the announcement early, with VIP seating for the team. Very cool.

The pit layout was good for the space available.

Organized and well done event.

Phew, another long post…

  • Pit Admin was helpful as always - on shipping, on silly questions, on any feedback or suggestions we had, everything. The volunteers and staff at Pit Admin made this event a breeze for our team.

  • The City of Atlanta was a terrific venue, even with their downtown ripped apart by tornadoes a month prior to the event. I was shocked and saddened to see the damage the city sustained but was incredibly impressed by the helpfulness of the Dome, GWCC, and Omni Staff in making our stay a pleasant one. The fact that a natural disaster (so soon after their State of Emergency water crisis, can’t forget that) only slightly, if at all, inconvenienced teams is a testiment to the immense commitment of this city to the FIRST organization.

  • Our team did not purchase the FIRST hotel and party package but did take advantage of the AMAZING offer of $13 tickets to the Georgia Aquarium. Our kids loved it, our mentors ooohed and aaaaahed, and we had more fun doing that together than we had in a long time. Although the food lines were long, we ate afterward instead - it was a small inconvenience totally dwarfed by the fact that we had so much fun for an unbelievable price. Thank you for offering this!

  • I’d like to request Blair Hundertmark and Andy Grady on my field every regional, every event, every year. The two of them are full of excitement and energy and keep you motivated throughout the day. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and even after we had a disappointing Thursday and Friday, Andy made our matches an edge-of-seat event every time. They helped to shape this great experience.

  • MOE’s video was amazing. They emphasized the students involved and sent every team in the audience a positive and inspiring message through their involvement. We aspire to be like MOE. I feel their Chairman’s video was the best I’ve seen yet.

  • FIRST has a unique talent for really putting on the big show and making the opening and closing ceremonies exciting. This year was no exception.

  • It was a somber and respectful moment when Mike Wade was posthumously awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award (or whatever they are calling it now). In the face of his passing, it was very appropriate. I know many also caught up with the folks of Rosie to support them after the passing of John Burns, and to see our little community pull together in such sad times is a sign of the strength of our partnership.

  • Every morning I walked to the Dome/GWCC. Every morning myself and my team were greeted by the staff and volunteers. That was a good feeling.

The weather was beautiful, the teams were in good spirits, and everyone was excited for the event - it was a good time to attend Championship. I know there’s more, but my brain has shut off from lack of sleep. :slight_smile:

One of the nice things I liked were seeing security guards and food service people at the GWCC/Dome, and the desk people at our hotel all wearing robot pins. My son is a pin freak and he gives away at least 20% of the ones he collects to random folks wherever he goes at an event, but I can tell he isn’t the only one.