Unfairness with the displays in competition

We have been having issues with out limelight. Thus, sometimes our driver has been successful in placing a hatch in auto using the audience display as it has no noticeable latency. However, sometimes it zooms in on our alliance and sometimes on the other alliance. Thus we have a 50/50 chance of successfully placing a hatch.

I was wondering if anyone else has noticed this?

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50/50 is the definition of fair.

You shouldn’t be relying on event AV in order to give you feedback on how you’re doing, in fact it’s discouraged. You can get 50/50 up to 100/0 by diagnosing your vision problems instead of driving-blind-but-not-really-maybe


That’s not unfair in the slightest–what would be unfair is if the audience display, for whatever reason, focused only on one alliance during match play/sandstorm.

While not prohibited, driving by the event’s audience display is not really going to net you any real success in the end anyways. I’m sure there are plenty of teams or volunteers at the event that would be happy to help you diagnose your issues and get your drivers driving on your robot camera.


At one of my events, you could not see the big screen from the blue alliance side, but only the red alliance side… And actually, during sandstorm red could se the refection of the big screen in the glass, while blue couldn’t see it or a reflection

Three Rivers Entertainment, one of the production companies FIRST contracts to (which handles a lot of events in California), sets up a TV on the alliance side with their back to the main display. I don’t quite understand why exactly they do this (maybe someone else on here has some more insight). I do not think this is the solution to make it more “fair” but I also don’t know that there needs to be a solution.

As Jaci pointed out, you have a 50% chance each match of being able to see the screen. Given the structure of our events and venues, this is really the “fairest” it could be. Sure, you could go the Three Rivers route of putting a TV on the side but what’s to stop someone from arguing that the alliance with the TV actually has an unfair advantage now since they don’t have to look over the field?

Tl;dr - whatever the solution, FIRSTers will find a way to pick it apart and find the unfairness (h/t all Chief users) but there probably doesn’t really need to be a solution at all in my opinion.

Same thing for FIT Channelview…it was a huge unfair advantage for the Red Alliance.

we just have the little LifeCam 3000 plugged into the roborio, and using it to drive in sandstorm…works fine.


Jim, we had two cameras working in the shop as well. Then, we got the event and everything went to crap. The point is, there were teams that had no cameras taking advantage of this.

We now have everything working again with both the event radio (tethered) and the shop radio (both wireless and tethered). We now need a test plan on verifying them with FMS.

What’s fair would be neither alliance gets the AV. You have a camera or dont. I tried using the AV once but found it to be ineffective at all as it caused a bit of delay to turn yourself around and find your robot, recognize what it is doing (holding onto hatch while touching ball? In an out-of-bounds? Tendency of scoring fouls? Etc.) I just stare at the camera and set up for teleop.

If you dont have a camera, the best thing to do would be discuss sandstorm thoroughly with alliance partners. Chances are you probably wouldnt (as in not willing to) put on a hatch during Sandstorm. Starting from level 2? Make sure your partners’ robots are out of the way before jumping off. They can yell over, have your drive coach watch their cameras, whatever works best with your alliance.

I was suggesting that one camera set to minimum specs might solve you problem. We mounted ours on a servo , because we use both ends of the robot.

At our regional we brough extra cameras and in our prescouting on Thursday we asked each team if they had a camera or wanted one. Our programmers learned how to code for all major languages to set them up. Only 1 team took us up on it but we had camera installed on their bot and running on their driver station by Friday! If your camera isn’t working well ask around because there may be teams that can help.

You aren’t even technically allowed to look at that screen. Yes, they don’t say that but it definitely gives the other teams an unfair advantage. If you’re going to be placing a hatch during auto you should have an auto program, or a camera.

Update: Well apparently you are… Still, the most sure way to do auto would be to have a camera or auto program. We use 2 cameras and it works well each time.

Yes, you are, it was in a Q&A.


Oh really? huh… Well disregard my reply then :sweat_smile:

I’m not sure either.

My opinion is “double or nothing”–from what I’ve heard it’s to make a audience screen visible during Teleop for the side that doesn’t have a direct line of sight in front of them, but that gives that side two possible screens in Sandstorm, to the other side’s 1/2 screen. So double down and put one on each end, or remove them both. (Or find a way to cover the TV during Sandstorm.)

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As I remember, the California RD’s asked Three Rivers to add the extra screen starting years ago, so both alliances had a clear view of the score bar displayed at the bottom through the entire match.
This was for events that had the production screen at one end of the field, rather than at the side of the field. One alliance could turn around and see the scores easily, but the far side was often blocked by field elements or end walls. This was also alleviated somewhat when the score bar could finally be moved to the top of the production screen.

This year the extra screen has the added benefit of making the production Sandstorm video more easily available to both sides if they want to use it to drive.

Doesnt CMP have a small screen in alliance station 2?

Why was there only a monitor in the blue alliance driver station at the LA regional? I heard it was because the red side could see the screen, but to see it in sand storm, you’d have to stand 10 feet behind the alliance wall.

Yeah, I was wondering if this was gonna make a return in 2019, too. Last year they put the screen over the human player station, I believe, so if they did the same this year, it’d be pretty tough for the drivers to use in Sandstorm.

So in 2017, there was a mini screen in alliance station 2. And only 2. I dont recall the camera moving. (I forgot where i watched a video) An overview of the field. Whether it is over head or just from a side angle, it should work as teams that qualify should have camera vision.