Rookie Perspective on Houston

Team 6886 had a great first experience at Houston. While many on here have voiced various concerns about the venue, we were very pleased/excited/inspired by the entire event.

Our observations:

  1. Seeing the well known teams in person and seeing how they do things was eye-opening for our students and mentors.

  2. We were suprised about being able to work on bot before 4 pm when the schedule said pits were to open. We were very grateful to have the extra time to make changes but it was unexpected.

  3. Lack of space on practice fields made it difficult to tune our auto. The importance of auto this year has solidified our decision that a practice bot is an absolute necessity for next season.

Winning high rookie ranking for our division was one of our goals and we were lucky enough to succeed. We we unsuccessful in our second goal of making eliminations, but we are looking forward to next year.

We were also surprised about being able to work on the bot before 4.

The practice fields have always been crowded from my experience. The trick is to time your visits to it just right from my experience. Times like before the pits close or before lunch are often the least crowded as teams have left the pit at that time. Still, be prepared to wait around for an hour.

Congrats on an amazing season, 3 highest rookie seeds, and rookie all-star! That is awesome. You look like an up-and-coming powerhouse if you keep on that trajectory.

I think next year should/could be better on the practice field front. We didn’t have Hall A3 this year because the Houston Grand Opera got flooded and is living there right now. That should be better by next year, which would get FTC off the first floor and should free up space for more practice fields, assuming HQ wants to provide them.

How many teams could work on a full practice field at once? Were they being treated like practice areas, where you could walk on the field with your robot and test things independently of other robots, or were they doing full on 3-v-3 practice matches?

They were doing a combination. I believe they either let teams go for a single match or for 15 minutes tethered, and they would alternate between tethered and actual matches.

At Houston, they had two full fields and several smaller half-fields on the sides. One full field was used for tethered sessions where people could go on the field at any time, and the other was used for full wireless 3v3 practice matches. All half-fields were tethered areas as well with a switch and scale on each half-field.

As for wait times, the busiest times were the hour between pits opening and the start of matches, the lunch times since the practice fields were closed for an hour during that time, and the hour leading up to the closing of the practice fields and pits. The best times to go were during qualifications. Our team frequently found themselves only waiting through one session of tethered or wireless on the full fields before we could get on. I’m not sure how long each tether session was, but they felt pretty quick when we were testing autos. Granted that could be us just feeling pressured :wink: