watching steamworks online vs live.

I watched matches this weekend and the game was fun to watch at times, in person. Watching it online I think is just bad. The airships block half the field. You can’t see if teams are scoring gear or climbing. This game requires multiple camera angle to be able to scout and enjoy the action. I like the game to play, but if you are trying to show it to people new to FIRST robotics the game slow and messy. The Field is covered with balls and their so few made shoots. Also,the game tasks look easy to a spectator but are more difficult
than they appear. just my 2cent.

Agreed. Much more exciting to watch in person rather than on a stream.

Completely agree, Jim. I was trying to watch some Michigan events, Southfield and Kettering at least had full coverage. Lakeview only showed part of the airships on either side, and no boilers at all. Regional events weren’t much better, Hub City had a 3 camera view to try to mitigate some of the issues, but their full field view was cramped having to share space with the score strip, and the airship cameras didn’t really help either. I’m not sure if there is a good solution to this problem. I think having a higher vantage point might help.

Online, production varied widely so some were better than others.

I personally preferred the single-camera fish-eye that Tippecanoe did to the multi-camera views–A computer screen with finite resolution isn’t useful in tiny views.

I also agree with the higher-vantage point remark.

Haven’t seen it in person, but I spent many hours watching this weekend, so I wouldn’t think of it as 'not fun" myself.

I was talking to a few people at Tippy and a couple who watched online. All of us thought the best view would be from the ceiling looking down.

That would allow people to see the entire playing field, know if fuel was being shot, see when gears were placed on the back side. The biggest draw back would be when robots climbed but didn’t reach the davit. It would be hard to know just how close they may have gotten to a full climb.

True, last year the Orlando regional had topview. I hope they do that this weekend aswell. The only thing is, hard to see the numbers on the bumpers.

Often times, camera angles do change, and you can see robots performing specific actions. This is much better than the setup at VAHAY (and many districts that take place in high school gyms) this past weekend. You couldn’t see past the airships anyway. But it was really bad if you were down low, because the hoppers got in the way. So I’d say if you want someone to enjoy just watching the game, the stream allows you to be more or less up close and personal with the field than if you had to look past the refs and others crowding around the field to get a glimpse of the action.

Why are people so bothered by the field covered with balls? I don’t find that a problem. Plus it adds to the driving challenge.

My opinion is that if there were cameras up high on both sides it would make streaming better, not knowing what is happing at at least one kidding station or boiler is infuriating

The field visibility is, by far, my biggest complaint about Steamworks. FIRST HQ did a really poor job considering the spectator experience, both broadcast and in-person, when designing this game. There’s absolutely no excuse for the massive blind spots on the field that limit the views of spectators, referees, scouts, and drive teams. The harms to the production value to spectators are obvious, but this is the second consecutive year where FIRST decided to impede the vision of the drive teams. While maneuvering your robot without driver vision may be an interesting engineering challenge, it unquestionably impairs the gameplay on the field. It’s not exciting to watch teams pass up boulder in 2016 because they didn’t know they were behind a drawbridge. It’s not exciting to watch a team fumble around and drive into fixed objects behind the airship for 20 seconds because they can’t see their robot. If FIRST cares about the quality of their viewers experience, creating a field with clean sightlines for both spectators and drive crews will go a long way towards improving that.

I do feel that FRC has been an experience that’s far better live than on stream for quite some time. Some of that is production value, but a lot more of it is the sport itself. You get a much better appreciation for the size, speed, and power of the machines when you’re watching in person. It’s a lot more visceral experience when you can hear the chains whirring and the pneumatics actuating. It’s a lot more relatable to see a failed attempt to load a gear in person when you can see the tiny differences in positioning with your own eyes rather than in the corner of a webstream. Watching am 120lb machine soar up a rope (and sometimes some crashing down) is far more exciting when you have a true appreciation for its magnitude. While I hope FIRST focuses a lot more on improving the accessibility and production value of their web streams to help grow FRC’s viewer base, FRC will likely remain a spectator sport for a while, regardless of the game.

I am not sure “bothered” is the right word as much as concerned that the balls all over the field makes watching confusing to non FIRST spectators. Having the game elements the same color also makes finding gears on the floor more difficult. If the gears were blue and red and you could get bonus points if you stole the other alliance gears, then I think teams would have been more careful loading gears and it would have and added more strategy it the middle of the game.