Multiple program events held at the same time

The following quote from the thread on the NYC Regional prompted the creation of this thread:

Originally Posted by galewind :To be critical, the biggest issue for me at the NY regional is the sound. When I’m on the field, I’m fighting over being able to hear the Emcees and being blasted over by the FTC area and FRC pit area. I’m not sure if its the same in the stands, but it really makes my job harder when I hear the field error sound to realize it’s on FTC and not FRC.

On the FTC side, we couldn’t hear due to the overwhelming noise from the FRC fields. I had a mentor come up and ask that we turn down the music because he couldn’t hear our announcements - but it was coming from the FRC side. Once that game’s play was finished for the day, we all went AHHHH, it’s finally QUIET over here! We turned on our own music, our emcees got to be heard, and we continued with our event.

Everyone knows from our Hartford experience two years ago I’m not a fan of combining program events. There is little to no crossover between programs (how many FRC people came to check out the FTC event? How many FTCers went to the FRC event? Do spectators check out all the events or just the one that they might be connected with?) I think the programs end up competing with each other instead of complimenting each other. So what’s the point of doing them at the same time?

While it’s great to show off demos of each program at each tournament, I wonder how many people actually go up and ask about the programs? From my experience, so few people stopped and looked at the FRC bot and FLL demo at my FVC event last year that I didn’t showcase them at my FTC event this year. We did have our FIRST booth up with static displays of the programs at them and information about FIRST and all the programs available.

What do you think? Should different program events be combined? If yes, why? If not, why not?

Exothermic did an FTC demo from 11 to 2 on Saturday during the Seattle Regional. Until the FRC Eliminations started people were stacked three or more deep around our ring, which was set up in the foyer of the FRC event. We let visitors drive the robots and gave them an “I Drove a Robot” sticker, which I saw all over the place that afternoon. I would not have wanted an actual FTC event at the same time as FRC, at least in part because we don’t have enough volunteers to run both events at the same time. Yet…

EDITED: Actually, we set up the game and ran 2-minute matches with guests driving the 'bots. I suspect the competition aspect attracted more people than if we just had squarebots on a mat.

Keep in mind that these venues cost a ridiculous amount of money to rent for the weekend. Regionals run on a super-tight schedule as it is.

The only time the field area is not in use to my knowledge would be Thursday night.

I’m not a big fan of combined events. It’s loud enough when there is just one competition going on… two competitions with competing noise is even worse.

I’m also interested in all the FIRST programs, but I like to focus my attention on one at a time. When I’m at an FRC competition, I’m competing… so my main focus isn’t visiting the FTC competition next door; I don’t have time for that. If I’m volunteering at an FTC event, I’m not going to have the time to stop over at a simultaneous FIRST event. Even for spectating, I would rather see events on different days, so I can go to more events.

Actually…quite a lot of FRC team members that we know came to our pit and were there. And our whole FTC went to the stands to watch and so did the adults. Also, take into consideration that since the Javitz Center was being paid for during the use of this weekend, then why not save money by having the other events there as well. That was probably the biggest part of the reason why.

Problems with communication could have easily been solved if someone just asked the FRC event staff to turn down the music…its not a big deal to ask.

EDIT: To support my answer:

That’s great! I guess I just didn’t notice the crossover.

Problems with communication could have easily been solved if someone just asked the FRC event staff to turn down the music…its not a big deal to ask.
It was asked.

as i posted here

i think it was a good effort to try and do this, but it seemed more like a competition than anything else. And speaking to my parents, and others from the 2 FTC teams MORT had there, did not generally enjoy the event, and some of these parents have been involved for 10+ and seen over 30 events. So while i agree with the reasoning, this was a failed attempt, anyone know if it is any better for FLL today?

I will argue fairly vigorously with this sentiment. After attending many multi-program events, I have become a complete fan of this approach. In virtually every case I have witnessed, there is a considerable amount of cross-traffic between the different programs on display. The NYC competition was no exception. I spent some time observing the “gateway” between the “FRC side” and “FTC side” of the event, and watched a very significant number of teams moving from one field to the other to watch matches and wander through the pits.

Many FTC teams are composed of younger students, and they really seem to enjoy the opportunity to be able to watch the “varsity” FRC teams and see what they may be able to do next. Conversely, I heard from some FRC teams that this was their first opportunity to actually watch an FTC competition in action, and they came away with a whole new level of appreciation and understanding of what the FTC program could do, and what you really could do with the current FTC platform. Their previous belief that FTC was a “toy-based” program was completely changed. That would never have happened had the FTC and FRC events not been coincident.

Some personal friends were in attendance at the NYC event. Following a quick explanation of what was going on and a basic run-through of the games, we turned them loose in the event. They spent the entire afternoon moving back and forth between the FRC and FTC activities. They found both competitions fascinating, and wanted to see and learn more about both. The ability to see two examples of FIRST in action, affecting a broad range of age groups, was a definite advantage.

I did notice one unexpected occurrence that made me laugh. The speaker banks for one of the FTC fields was arranged in such a way that it was pointed over at the east end of the FRC field. As the FTC field announcer would announce the activities on the FTC field, they could be clearly heard at the FRC alliance station. As the end of an FTC match approached, the announcer would call out the decreasing time “…and there are 10 seconds left … 9 … 8 … 7 … 6 …5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … 0!!!” More than one FRC team would hear this while they were in the middle of a match, and think that their own match was being counted down. A few did get a bit freaked out, and were looking around going “the match is ending already? But we just started!”



MOE 365 has been holding multi-program events for the past few years. The best example is our First State FIRST LEGO League tournament in January. This event houses JFLL, FLL, and FTC official events. While sound is generally an issue, these three programs have done very well together in this venue (Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware). The beauty of these programs together is that JFLLers can actually see FLL and FLLers can see FTC. So can their parents, who have much to say regarding what programs their children are involved in and whether or not they themselves volunteer.

We had an FLL student, who was watching the FTC competition last year, say to his parents. “I’m not leaving until I get a Vex Robotics kit.” Fortunately, he did not stick to his word, because we were not selling these kits and he had to leave at some point. :smiley:

Regarding FTC and FRC, we have held an FTC scrimmage at the same venue (Salem Community College) as our Duel on the Delaware off-season event the past three years. While not an official FTC or FRC event, the activity is separated in space and each has a separate sound system. It was great to see the cross-traffic between these two activities.

In general, I believe the potential is great for multi-program events. However, there are a number of factors which come into play to determine if this is the best course of action. These factors include - venue, sound, # volunteers, # teams, organization, etc.

Also, it is very important that the organizing groups for each event work well together. If the organizers see these events as competing, more than likely they will be set up that way. It takes a village to put on a multi-program FIRST event!