Lessons Learned - The Positive

What happened this year that you thought deserved special recognition?

I met Koko Ed!

and you got cool swag from IFI at the Webhug!

thanks IFI! vex stuff for our summer camps…yeah!

Best part is I have nothing at all for the “negative” thread

The WPA key setup procedure was nicely streamlined.

The match preparation sequence seems to have been worked out perfectly, with the DS and cRIO boot times not really causing a noticeable delay.

The pit layout wasn’t quite as cramped as it looked like it was going to be.

The corner pit entrance by the escalators was an official and always open path to and from the Dome. (I recall uniformed people standing there in prior years letting people exit the pit, but sometimes making everyone go all the way around to the “main” pit entrance to get in.)

The pit announcements were unexpectedly easy to hear and understand.

The recorded welcome playing at the Dome entrance finally stopped saying “FIRST national championship”. It said “international” this time.

The fireworks at the end of the Wrap Party (smaller, yet synchronized to music) were much better than the larger ones used in previous years that were just fired off seemingly at random.

This year Was the first year I actually had to go to the First Aid center. The dry air in the pits caused a nastiest bloody nose I ever had. The people were nice even though I was bleeding everywhere.

funny how you cite that as a positive experience :yikes:

well i guess it could have been worse without a first aid stand

The combination of Nasa feeds and Twitter made the Championships a blast for all of us #NoATL people ;>

I have lots of ways to add features to the Regional Twitter Accounts for next year :smiley:

Since this was under general heading and asked about the year, i’m going to say that the Michigan districts were the most positive thing to me. Yes,they need some fine tuning but overall i feel it was successful. I hope we never have to go back to the old way and that in some form it could spread out across the country. Well ,atleast the money saving part of it.

The webcast was excellent. Especially on Archimedes. :slight_smile:

I didn’t catch the name of the Game Announcer on Arch, but he is clearly among the best in FIRST. Having Tyler Olds beside him for color commentary really added to the entertainment value. As MC Mark Leon said, those two made FIRST sound like Monday Night Football.

I still missed being there with my team. :frowning:

-Lunacy forced everyone to take a step back and think about their drive systems. A lot of (but not all) of a team’s dogma and secret sauce took a back seat this year. It was rather refreshing.
-Having human players all around the field made the game more interesting, particularly when players were smart about their usage of balls. Having nowhere to hide kept the match moving…usually.
-The cRIO switch went pretty well. There are definitely places to improve, but neither of my teams had any issues this season.
-Q&A was pretty straightforward after the normal first week tomfoolery. The battery-as-withholding-allowance ruling was a little rough, but I applaud FIRST for altering the call before it impacted a week of events. All told, I only recall one or two decisions that induced groans out of me. (More on that in the other thread.)
-The effects of G14 were expressed very clearly on-screen.
-I applaud FIRST for at least trying to select a game piece that could be found locally for many teams. They got burned on it this year, since Wal-Mart decided to discontinue the orbit ball just before Kickoff, but I can’t fault FIRST for that.
-I liked the Chairman’s video component. It seemed that the teams who won handled it well.
-It seemed that the nature of the game led to fewer breakages among robots. There was still a rash of no-show-itis among teams at Bayou in qualifying, but I can’t think of any event where an alternate was called in (much to my personal chagrin, as Backup #2 on Curie).

I’m sure I’ll think of more.

  1. The “district” model has proven to be quite successful and should expand in the upcoming years. We spent $10000 on reg fees to play 21 matches (17 Qualifiying, 4 elims). FiM teams spend $5000 for 24 qualifying matches ($5500 for 36). I know the experience of a regional is different from a district event, but it’s a direction that could greatly help FIRST expand in areas where cost is a major factor. OK more of this in the FiM Threads

  2. 40 lb allowance was great, THANK YOU!! However, 6 week build season now becomes an 8-10 week season for some and since some teams basically redesigned and rebuilt devices between events; we are treading into more sticky situations in future years if this continues. I attended 3 events (2 as a coach, and one as a spectator) and none of them enforced / checked the 40 lb allowances. I know GP was in place and can’t think of any exceptions, but I know the GP boundaries will be pushed further in the future if this continues.

  3. I loved how the GDC changed the playing surface this year and forced teams to be innovative. Overdrive would have been a hoot with this surface. Steps, ramps, different surfaces - BRING IT ON!!

  4. The transition to the cRIO was a lot smoother than I thought and at all events I attended, robots were moving in autonomous which was important and I didn’t think I’d see it.

-40 lb. withholding allowance was nice

-Control system roll out seemed smoother than I expected. I liked all of the different examples to help teams understand how to use the various function blocks in LabVIEW. Now if only they could get us the CAN bus stuff to play with over the summer…

-The game. Between the floor and that pesky trailer, it kept the build and game interesting. I’m sure it brought many teams out of their comfort zones.


I totally have to second this one. It was like watching Madden and Michaels do their thing. I knew Tyler was a great MC. But I didn’t realize that he was just as great of an announcer. I can’t name the guy on the other side of him either, but he sounded very familiar and did an excellent job as well. I’d love to see this kind of setup brought to every event. It really makes it a lot more interesting in between matches. Especially for someone who was stuck watching the webcast back at home.

That being said, the transition to the new control system was done so well this year. I was very sceptical about how they were going to subsitute the amazing work that IFI has done in the past and I’m pleased to say that they didn’t leave me disappointed. The NI reps at the regionals were very knowledgeable and with the exception of the field static issues, there weren’t too many problems at all this season.

Lots of things went well this year.

  1. The cRio beta, early ship and overall intro went REALLY well. OK, some issues with the DS and DSC but not bad at all.

  2. The playing surface and wheels were a brilliant stroke. Many experienced teams had to actually design a drivetrain this year. As Doug G stated: 3-D and other devious playing surfaces, bring it on!

  3. The match scoring, field control system* and reset process was very smooth, not much in the way of difficulties.

*OK, week one FCS issues notwithstanding. We had fewer replayed matches in 2 regionals & CMP than in the past several years.

  1. Bills Blog. Good source of info, increasing transparency to FIRST.

  2. Much improved breaker panel, DSC, the various breakouts, Jaguars, WAGOs, even the camera… overall better connector retention, easier to wire up, better performance.

  3. Inspections seemed more consistent from venue to venue.

  4. More webcasts than ever (I think). Thank You NASA.

  5. Great idea to have the game pieces available through a large retailer, like WalMart. What actually happened couldn’t have been predicted (I don’t know if there was any communication to WalMart over the GDC’s plans. Probably would not have changed things much)

(I’ll think of more later)


Your Galileo field team (FTA, FTAA, Scorekeepers/Field Power, field reset, queuers and others) worked very hard to make it this way. I won’t clam it was perfect, but we were very focussed on not letting delays cascade and get out of hand. The schedule calls for us to start a match every six minutes. Given 30 secs to announce teams, 2:15 to run the match, 60 secs to count the balls, 15 secs to announce the score results, 30 secs to electronically set the field for the next team plus whatever time it takes for DS and radio links to sync, it’s very hard to turn matches in less than 5 minutes. You can compute the match turns yourself by viewing the match results at the FIRST website. Hopefully all of this can be improved for next year.

I’m not in Michigan, but I think that system is very nice, except althought the cost is more efficient for match’s played, you would still like to go to state tourny and Atlanta, however, that is more expensive. Maybe with a less expensive more light weight feild could cut transportation costs. Maybe reducing kit costs, I don’t know but, I know for some teams, 2 districts a state champ and Atlanta would be way to much (e.g. us). On the bright side there would be less transportation costs for districts. And it seems amazing for teams to gain invaluble experience driving and strategy wise. Please bring districts to Forida, even if there’s only 4 districts.

Not to get off topic, but I would personally dislike the Michigan system.