Problem's with 2015…

Throughout the NYC regional day one, I have noticed a few problems with the game.

  1. it’s kinda boring. Your really just watching an aggressive factory line. Kinda a let down after last years robot on robot action.

  2. The final score board was glitchy. Not that big of a problem, but really noticeable.

  3. As always, alliances determine your rank. This is a problem for a team with a really good robot, but your stacked up with a robot who’s code isn’t the prettiest.

Does anyone else notice any other problems with this year game?

How is this different than any other year?

First, I’ll address your problems

  1. It’s as boring as you make it out to be. This is a game where you have to appreciate the finer moments, instead of looking at it as a whole. I do agree that it was a bit of a letdown when I learnt what the game was at kickoff, but it’s not as boring as I thought it would be.

  2. Might just be a local issue

3)Yeah, but like you said, as always who you play with determines your rank unless you’re a powerhouse team.

I honestly don’t really see a problem with this game after watching a couple regionals. It has it’s flaws but everything seems well-organized and methodically planned out.

When I first saw this game my jaw hit the floor and mentally I was like “they didn’t just switch out of PvP did they? Oh god they did? What have they done?” But considering how drastic of a change this is from last year a lot of things that I would find problematic with the game I would just gloss over due to the fact that I don’t believe the GDC does the level of game testing that lot of video games do to make sure everything runs smoothly. Or just the shear amount of time explored a lot of sports have to find little kinks.
Either way I did find a few slight problems with the game.
The litter felt underutilized and I really feel like more should have been done with it. There was way too much litter on the field doing nothing. Limiting to one noodle per bin made it seem like there was more litter then this landfill could actually handle (why are all these totes in a landfill and why aren’t the nested in each other whoever setup this landfill could really do a better job optimizing space usage.)
The scoring was a lot more closed and it really showed. With auto situations where you had to meet conditions more strictly, then say one robot make it in the auto zone and you get x points. Instead it was team wide. This would have been really nice because it means the point difference is more defined and wouldn’t punish teams who had robots that were either disabled or didn’t have auto. That binary condition of “all in” punishes any team who wants to utilize the auto for anything that isn’t short term scoring.
The actual process of scoring really limited the diversity of mechanisms. Mix it up a bit have some of the bit that wrapped around the entire scoring platform be a ramp, some of it have no ramp. Have some totes already be stacked but harder to get to. Personally I would have wanted to see a bunch of different color totes starting out either scrambled about the field and bonus points awarded for same color stacks or the inverse of organized colored totes and bonus points for rainbow stacks.
Asymmetrical fields are cool but this field layout was kind of stale. Going for a shot in the dark in that the platforms are laid out that way so no matter where you start on the field you couldn’t attempt to pull bins off the step, and do a 3 tote auto. Other then that the actual scoring platforms didn’t really enhance the game that.
The step didn’t seem like a big factor even though the there was a rule that said “You may not react with the horizontal surface of the step.” My first thought was that it meant we could utilize the step for scoring. My second thought was that “no they just don’t want you climbing over the thing.” (Got me with the phrasing GDC well played.) What would have been more fun IMO is if you got rid of the step except for where it elevated the recycling bins and where the coopertition stacks were placed and let robots travel anywhere up to the opposing sides staging zone while enforcing team specific safety zones on scoring platforms to prevent people from just knocking over other peoples stacks so you could take there totes but not destroy there stacks.

I absolutely want to see the GDC re-vist a lot of the mechanics in this game but tune them in a different direction.

I found it boring personally, even though my roll as a driver may have a part to that, but to those who are stuck in the stands scouting they indeed thought it was boring. The only ones I found honestly exciting at my regional was the finals with the amazing stackers that were on both alliances, and the fact that the 6th seed won without a third match.
Our main driver from last year in my opinion was unable to come to the task that was needed with the major shift in driving this year. Especially with the last two years, we needed very offensive drivers, even if for us at Ultimate Ascent that wasn’t very long. He’s amazing and does great offense but was terrible with the finesse we needed this year, so we had another driver work it but that caused a major conflict and a ton of stress for me with the way that our experienced driver was acting, but that’s mostly on his part.
The alliances interacting was a big part of the game that I very much enjoyed, and I actually got the chance to see the other teams since I wasn’t just focused on ours and the “assembly line” that was on our half. If I were to try and notice the other alliance I would be distracted for too long and have to look around the numerous stacks just for a glimpse. The whole thing about how the other alliance’s well being doesn’t matter until the final rounds is nice in a way, but it takes away a big part of what we had in the past with the winning and losing in a match since now it’s practically just watching two separate games being played at once since apparently differences in the scores didn’t matter for the ranking result.
The change in eliminations, no, playoffs or whatever they decided to change it to was hard to comprehend at first attempt of figuring it out but it’s just a weird system overall that they went overboard way too much with the whole nicer gameplay along with the game.

On note of the new electrical system, it’s amazing and the pneumatics block and radio block definitely help but it definitely needs improvement. We didn’t figure out until we got to near the end of our inspection that our CAN on the PDB was broken which required us to remove and replace the entire board with one from Spare Parts and then remove that one and return it back to them after matches today. They had brought four spare PDB with them to GKC and in a very little amount of time on Thursday we were already the third team to have taken a spare PDB out of those and the guy had to call more in to have as backups.

I’m going to NYC to watch tomorrow so it should be interesting how I feel about the game

Way too many decisions to make on how to play the game, at the playoff level. But that probably varies considerably with the variation in abilities of the robots on your alliance. We spend a lot of time figuring out which robot would start where, which game piece they would start working with first, when they would be able to cap a stack that which other team made, etc. It made my head want to explode…fortunately another drive coach, and our driver were able to figure it all out. Some of the playoff matches were really exciting, some others not so much. Qualifying matches can get pretty boring, but I didn’t have to watch many of them, only the ones we were playing in, and we did our best to make them at least a little bit interesting.

The technical challenge of making a robot that can effectively deal with the game pieces seems to be above the capabilities of many teams. This is not that unusual in FRC, but the killer is that there are very few ways for these teams to contribute in a match.

The new control system worked great for us, and for most other teams.

The match schedule is the same thing it’s usually been, so if you want to do well, you better figure out how to make stacks, topped with cans, on your own. I thought this was obvious from the beginning.

Sorry, I beg to differ on the game play. I will do one caveat that I’m not going to events to watch. But I am watching on home on the streams and the matches that are posted.

I’m finding that I need to watch the match twice to see what the Red does then watch for the Blue. Because they are playing on different ends of the field it’s hard to watch both alliances at the same time. There are lots of good interactions (and teamwork) when the alliance is working together. And there is lots of crash time when they are not.

This is a game that really requires alliances to communicate, figure out a game plan and execute that plan.

I think the stack building an the placement of the stacks is cook, love watching the RC wobble around the top. Will it fall or not?

I get the part about a factory, but in this case it’s not a finely tuned factory. As a kid we did the General Foods tour in Dover when they bottled syrup there. Always fun to see one bottle get stuck and another come an smash and now there is sticky goo.

It beats watching a robot lock into a fill station and fling frisbee after frisbee into the goal.

I’m going to disagree with you here. I think of all of the years in FRC this is the year that is easiest to win playing solo. Last year was unwinnable solo because of the geometric scaling of assist points. This year on the other hand, a single robot can run a 32 point auto routine (if you’re the only robot on the field) and make 3-4 stacks of 6 (42 points a piece). 158-200 points is definitely a winning score which is totally achievable solo. I think this year is the best in terms of not getting screwed over by your schedule, the only time you will be screwed by scheduling is if you face a team that grabs all the center RCs which limits you to 3 stacks instead of 4 which isn’t nearly as big a deal as previous years.

You’re welcome to your opinion on boring vs exciting, but it is one that I don’t share. This is actually quite an interesting game, and I find it fascinating to see how teams have taken advantage of the new rules.

i like it when the GDC shakes things up a bit.


The only thing I don’t like about this year is the ranking system, but it’s still not really bad. Everything else is great.

This game is not about “winning solo” and I think your match schedule has a more drastic effect on your ranking than any prior year. In years past, if you were paired with 1114 for example you would likely win but you only gained 2 QP’s. However, this year, if you play with 1114 and they (and you) put up a big number, that’s a huge advantage over teams that don’t get to play with 1114 cause it’s not 2 QP’s it’s a huge boost to your QA that other teams won’t get.

Lower ranked teams do get helped by good partners, but this is largely negated by their score being averaged over 10 matches. If they put up 180 points in one match, and only 40 in the rest, they have an average of 54, only 14 points higher than without the good match. Last year you needed 3 very capable robots to be able to consistently possess the ball 3 times and score it, and if you couldn’t then you were probably getting 0 points for the match. 2013 was a very solo-able game similar to this year in the way that a single very good team could keep up with an alliance of 3 decent teams.

Also, I’d say this game is actually more easily playable solo (in both elims and quals) than 2013 because scoring lots of points while still losing a match doesn’t hurt you as much (since it gets averaged out) as getting 0 qual points for losing, as you did in previous years. 1114 perfectly exemplified this, they essentially played every match in GTRC with little to no support from their alliance partners and still dominated the event, that could not happen last year.

The game is very interesting at the upper level of play. We all love rooting for our favorite team, or watching teams like 1114 obliterate the land fill, but it’s easy to over look how the large majority of teams not represented on CD feel. From a lower to mid level team’s stand point, it’s considerably more difficult to do well than past years. Last year all we needed to get picked was a robot that could drive well and simply possess the ball. My team spent less than $50 dollars and had a robot made of pvc, yet we got picked 8th at the Arkansas Regional. This year seems much more difficult to be a useful alliance member than in the past because of the lack of defense. It has it’s pros and cons, over all I like it though. I just wonder what kind of impression it left on the rookie teams who didn’t do so great.

I voiced a similar concern in another thread, this I believe is the largest issue with this game it’s not accessible for newer teams, and not as rewarding for veteran teams.

Here’s what I said earlier

As a FIRST team, I think there are a lot of neat challenges in this game, in figuring out the strategy, in building the robot (that’s always a challenge in an of itself), in pulling the on-field alliances together…

Here’s the thing though, we invite parents, sponsors, and guests to the competition, because the action really is the biggest draw for most of the un-initiated. I can always tell them what great value everything that the students get to learn, the value of team play - learning how to be a professional. The competition and the game is where I really get to draw the visitors in. This game, without some type of offense/defense is really hard to understand for my visitors.

Some of my sponsors all but bit their tongue in resisting the urge to tell me this year’s game is “lame” - they said “different” and “not quite the same”… but I know the word they were looking for in trying not to insult me.

I completely get it - so I am ok with this year’s game; it’s just a hard sell when it comes to attracting parents and sponsors. I use the game to get the sponsors through the door - then I bonk them on the head with the truly inspirational stuff - once they have bought into how cool the game is…

Having watched the past 2 weeks - the field is really cluttered, the action is slow, and it’s really difficult to explain to my visitors and get them to understand what the robots are doing and why this game.

I like that this year’s game is easy to score, and that the refs and field judges are not going home emotionally shattered from the experience. I like that every team probably looked at at least one real-world machine as inspiration for their design; this will definitely broaden students’ perspectives and options down the road. I like that the game is hard to play well. This means that, as usual, the best design work clearly rises, and there is little left to chance. I like the playoffs. I like not changing bumpers.

I dislike watching. It’s not fun as a spectator. I dislike the lack of interaction. The exceptions of coopertition and RC grabbing are rare enough that it reminds me how much more vital matches seem when opposing teams can change how you play throughout the game. And, I dislike the awkward, middle-school style theming.

Here’s what I’ve seen so far.

I like the game from the design standpoint. It’s a challenge that hasn’t been in previous years that makes Build Season that much more enjoyable.

What I don’t like is that we knew on day one of our competition who was going to win. Their average was a good 40 points above second place, and they won every match by a large margin. Once the eliminations came, it was more seeing who would make second place, but even that was skewed as the #2 seed had a 20 point average advantage over the next team. The most exciting part of the finals was one team stealing a can off the step just before another team, in a match that was lost by 60 points with that can doing nothing.

Another note, at the event I was at, the finals were basically 2v2. The third picked alliance on each side say in front of a feeder station and did nothing the entire elimination round. When one team can be completely eliminated from consideration and the alliance still win, it points to a fundamental flaw in the game.

I don’t disagree with any of your points, but these aren’t issues that just occurred in 2015. The majority of events I’ve been to since I started FIRST had a pretty obvious winner. I agree about disliking the third robots not playing at some events. In past years those teams that couldn’t contibute to scoring would just play defense, but this year there’s no “easy” task. That in itself is a bad game mechanic, but it should hopefully push teams to strive to be better.

I disagree. There are some very simple ways you can contribute to alliance success. Anyone can put some forks on the kit bot and push totes onto a scoring platform. With a small amount of practice and work on autonomous, you could have a robot that pushes a RC into the auto zone, and pushes 5-7 totes from the landfill onto a scoring platform. With the low scores during qualification matches, a possible 10-15 points extra would be welcome to almost everyone.

What everyone seems to be confusing with there being no easy task is that going beyond your limits and failing gets you very little benefit this year.