Many people complained both publicly and privately that they did not like this game both in the beginning and throughout most of the season. These people often felt that the game was:
1.) Too defensive focused and just led to huge pileups instead of actual game play.
2.) Too reliant on alliance partners and not allowing a team to succeed on its own.
3.) Too complicated for referees that lead to many bad or missed calls.
4.) Boring and a step back from what Ultimate Ascent and Rebound Rumble brought to the table.
What are your thoughts now? Have your thoughts changed at all since the beginning of the year? Did you hate the game and now think its mediocre? Think its good?
Personally, I think that Einstein showed Aerial Assist how it was meant to be played with goalie bots in auton, 3 assist cycles with trusses and interaction from the human players on the side during teleop, and close games right up until the end. I liked the game from the beginning but I loved it after Einstein. My non-FIRST friend also loved the game. He said that it was difficult to pick up at first but that was from me trying to describe the game during qualification matches at an average regional. He picked up on more and loved it during elims.
No, I’m serious. It’s almost always been this way. Regional qual matches, particularly on Friday morning, are slow, sometimes with one or more robots absent because they weren’t there or hadn’t passed inspection. By the elims, they’ve warmed up quite a bit. Of course, by Championship quals, you’ve got the teams who played through elims once already, and by Championship elims, anybody that isn’t awesome (or otherwise on an alliance) is already crating up.
Yes this has always been the case, but one could argue that it was especially bad this year. The necessity of robots working together combined with a build season plagued by inclimate weather created a particularly bad year for watching qualification matches.
I was very pleased with this game and thought it was very entertaining.
It was easy enough to follow and to know what the status was. Two big balls are way-easier to watch than 400 frisbees or basketballs.
The aspect of teams bending backward to include all of the teams in the alliance was great.
Although as a mentor, I didn’t have to memorize all of the very particular rules, I think the scoring and foul situations were incredibly hard to both participate in and to officiate. But I know that at least we Americans like our sports complicated.
Qualification matches were even more dull than normal - one bad robot could drag an alliance down even with powerful veterans. However, eliminations were by far the best of any year. Super great strategy and quick plays made this year amazing to watch on Einstein, or even during any elim round.
I’ll say what I said in the other post about thoughts of this game to last year.
I personally enjoyed this game right from the start. I thought the change to a more team based game would bring about a completly knew kind of competition, which it did.
Ill admit I was worried about how it was going to play out in actualy competition after the problems it had in the early weeks. But after playing though two regionals and champs I was reassured with my original view.
Quarter final 1 matches 1, 2, and 3 on Archimedes were easily the most exhilerating matches I’d ever seen. I definitly recomend watching those matches, the 8th seed upset our alliance in 3 INSANE matches that added up to over 1600 points total!
I personally enjoyed this game more than Ultimate Ascent.
The only thing i’ll add is that i thought quals were extremly dull at times. Even at champs.
I like to separate the game’s conceptual issues from issues with the rules.
Game Concept issues:
Undervalued catching considering how hard it was to do
I think the goalie size restraints were too strict. The 6 inch cylinder killed a lot of the viability. It’s no surprise that so few teams went that route.
Overvalued Technical fouls
Too much for the refs to watch
Confusion over robot-robot interaction. (G27, G28, etc.)
Other than that, I think Aerial Assist is the best game to date.
Many would argue that lone game pieces was a game flaw. I just think that FRC wasn’t ready to have to work together with other teams so much.
This year was a reminder that year after year, many, if not a majority, of FRC teams don’t get a competitive robot on the field. Whether or not next year’s game is as alliance focused (which I hope it is), I can’t wait to see how the FRC community will handle the possibility of close interaction again. A stronger focus on bringing everyone up to a competitive level is something we need.
With the exception of the district areas, half the teams are there because they won the event, or were finalists when someone won that already had a slot, and it’s not untypical for a fair number of the rest to have been into elims. The district areas would tend to have a high number of elims participants going simply because that’s one of the better ways to get enough points to qualify for Champs.
It’s not a perfect generalization, granted, but it’s a pretty fair estimate.
Yes, the amount of defense this year was unreal. Last year, defense was a “happy accident” and was only when robots got in each other’s way. It rarely lasted more than a few seconds. Two years ago in rebound rumble, there was very little defense because traveling across the field wasn’t a major part of gameplay and there was a big barrier dividing the field. This year, we went through entire matches of gridlock where trapping and defending were very important. Compared to last year’s game, the robots did not get too advanced in the amount of tasks they had to perform. Last year, there were only a handful of robots that could pick up frisbees from the floor, shoot across the court, or climb to the top of the pyramid. This produced a game that everybody was measured against and that there were only an elite few that did everything. This year, nearly all veteran teams could pick up a ball, shoot it, and score consistently. Yes there were other factors that separated the average joes and the powerhouse teams, but in basic function, we were all very similar. And instead of being able to score nearly unlimited amounts of game pieces, there were 2 on the floor at the same time, and if you had trouble cleaning up missed autonomous balls, it was not your match.
The other main drawbacks of Aerial Assist were the insane foul points and the complexity of officiating. Do I believe that there should be foul points for when a foul is committed-Yes. But 50 points? Still shaking my head at that. Have you ever been to a basketball game where a player is given 50 free throws after being fouled? My team was even a part of some where 100+ points were slashed out. A 95-40 win became a 140-95 loss, which looks awful in the rankings. Now, I absolutely understand that this was the most complicated FRC game to officiate ever. The refs had to be watching all three robots from both teams making sure everything was clean at the same time. The dispute over fouls was due to the great deal of defense.
That is about all of my cons of Aerial assist, but it was good in some ways. It did focus on all 3 robots, giving each a way to contribute to the score despite how they functioned. A single powerhouse team had to rely on the other two teams to reach a score that could win every match. This was a very exciting game for spectators.
All in all, can’t wait for next years game. Hopefully the GDC comes up with a something we will all love.
I don’t know why people say this game has strategic depth, especially when it comes to elims. It was more or less 3 typecasted robots trying to do the same thing over and over as fast as possible with defense inbetween. Some neat assisting techniques involving passing the ball back to the human player came out, but they were just a way to speed up the same old process.
As far as excitement goes, sure, if a match stays neck and neck until the buzzer it’s going to be exciting, but if a team misses a cycle shot or two it’s over. If a team misses two or three balls in auto they’re easily down 100 points before they get their first teleop ball into play. This game is immensely punishing and there’s no way to get a big swing in the score. You can usually call the winner of a match off of the RTS unless the leading alliance makes a big mistake or penalties come out. I don’t see why spectators would find it exciting. From what I saw in the stands, people were cheering for mistakes more than anything else.
As far passing back to the human player, I’m not sure why that took so long to occur. We did it at SVR during our elimination matches, but that was the earliest I saw it.
The depth is in how flexible alliances had to be at times. Every moment in the match had to be accounted for. Strategies had to flexibly adapt to how the opposing alliance chose to react. (I can’t help but think of 254 and 1114’s autonomous chess game.)
Last year the average pre-match strategy was “Where are you loading, and where are you shooting from?” Everything had to be coordinated this year, and continuously updated mid-match.
I guess that’s true in quals. I feel like the variety of robots in eliminations last year was much better. Cyclers, ground pickup types, full court shooters, FCS supporters (keeping the defense off them), standard defenders, climbers and dumpers. We spent a lot of time thinking about how the offensive matchups between robot types would go last year. Would a FCS / Ground pickup / Support be able to beat a pair of Ground pickups and a Defender? What about two Ground pickups and a Cycler vs two Cyclers and a Defender?
This year it felt more like you just needed to get the best possible robot for each of the 3 roles.
I agree that in quals this year, teams needed to be more fluid and quickly adapt to situations. I think that’s more of a matter of execution though.
In 8 years, I’ve never understood how people attribute strategic depth to games at all. In my mind, strategic depth is a function of the teams; any year* can be a high-speed grandmaster chess game in the right hands. I’d pay to see Paul Copioli and Karthik develop deep strategy for competitive phone book reading.
As far as the actual pre-match exchanges, they’re always very patterned. That’s not to say they’re not creative, but I didn’t find this year to be particularly spectacular in terms of cooperation. Positions/flexibility? Inbound (direction, load vs floor range)? 3rd assist as inbound or post-truss (kiss, 12d, bounceback, floor)? 2 assist and truss skip guidelines? Auto balls, spots, cleaner(s)? Defense keys by position (range/spot and angles, forcing drops/misses, pass/HP bottlenecks)? There’s more to the decisions and details, but the strategic vocabulary isn’t stand-out to me this year.
I feel like people who recall last year as not being collaborative have forgotten, e.g., what it took to get really fast and robust traffic flow. The communication and field reading required this year are very similar to what ensured the most synergistic 2013 alliances were cycling such that the right robot was in the right place as the right time for defense that makes opponents lose more than you do for the time commitment…in the middle of your own offense, while simultaneously not inhibiting your other 2 teams doing the same. And that’s just if it was 3 cyclers (for example).
Games don’t require or provide strategic depth; they allow for it. How much they overtly encourage it may vary, but the actual payoff doesn’t change much. Synergistic strategies with feasible executions will always be trump cards in the arena.
Most alliances in eliminations at World Champs were using 50 point cycling strategies with only minor variations (pass back to the inbounder vs. kiss pass, etc.) The 2485/1918/51 alliance did something a little bit different with the static finisher (something our alliance discussed doing with 469, as well), and several alliances incorporated autonomous goalies, but that about covers it.
I think that the hardest thinking that we ever did regarding strategy was in qualification matches. How do we get several 3-assist cycles with our robot, alliance partner A, and alliance partner B? That is the question that frequently kept me up at night.
My opinions on the game haven’t changed, although there were some exciting matches before champs nothing really exciting happened until late elims. There should be some excitement before the end, not just boredom.