What FIRST did RIGHT...

Hi all,

I have been reading off and on the last few days, and well… …it isn’t pretty.

While there have not been a lot of flagrant fouls, there have been a ton of these little tickie tack fouls.

I don’t really blame folks, it is human nature to point out things that bother us and to ignore the things that are just fine.

SO… …I want to give folks a chance to go out of their way to recognize some of the things that FIRST did right with the kickoff, game, etc.

I’ll start us off:

1) The Tetra: I think the game piece is pretty good. Not a ball but still pretty easy to make. Should be durable enough. Something new, but not too strange either.

2) The FIX-IT-WINDOW + Definitions. I initial thought, “What the heck are they defining all these things for? Have we all turned into lawyers?” But by the time I read the bit about ending software development and the part about UPGRADES after your last regional, I became a convert. While you may quible about this or that rule, generally they are pretty clear and I think we can work with them. Let’s not be too Lawyerly. I think we can all understand the intent of the rules and I think we can all follow it. To me the idea is that we have to all agree to put our minds to trying to follow the spirit of these rules and not look for ways to get the around them.

3) Autonomy. This is very strange for me to say that FIRST got Autonomy right because, generally I hate it. But, this year they did a lot of things right. They gave an easy thing to do and a hard thing to do. The sensor seems useful and it seems necessary (if you choose to do the hard thing). They have made it hard for someone to program a “bat out of Hxxx” mode, who’s only intention is to disrupt other folks autonomy program. If you manage to do something in autonomous mode, can get point that are yours forever and an advantage that is difficult (but not impossible) to overcome.

**4) Action. ** I think there is going to be a LOT of action. A lot of robot interaction. A lot of falling robots.

5) The kickoff event. I liked the Game Show - funny and informative. Dave gave his usual great speech. Woodie was in good form and he even gave me an unsolicited (but welcome) plug :wink: Dean’s speech was good enough (and when you consider last year’s Championship Speech, he should be listed as most improved speaker :wink:

6) The New Chassis. I was scared stiff when I heard that FIRST was going to design a chassis and give it to every team. Looking at it, they did a pretty good job. Hats off to them.

There are many more things, but that is enough to get us going.

I am officially declaring this a NO NEGATIVITY THREAD.*
Positive posts only!!! There are 100’s of other threads where folks are discussing places for improvement or even to debate the merits of another persons positive opinion. This thread is not for debate about the merits. IT IS SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSES OF LISTING YOUR OPINION ABOUT THINGS THAT FIRST DID RIGHT.

So, let’s hear it.

Joe J.

*I encourage all readers of this tread to rain negative reputation points down on anywone who turns this thread around into a chance to complain about this or that thing that FIRST did wrong.

I think this is a spectacular time to highlight things done right :slight_smile: Great thread idea.

I agree with you on your points about this year’s game. I also want to highlight a few things I noticed:

As simple as it may sound, the 3 vs 3 is a fantastic move. I really enjoy that they took the time to design a game that would imcorporate 6 robots at a time, so that every time can have a chance to get out there and show what they can do. They really stepped it up with that, and I admire it.

I also really appreciate how good this game will be for bots of every budget. I mentioned it in a different thread, but I’d like to reiterate that even bots that are essentially a box on wheels will play a crucial role in this game, whether it be in playing defense, moving tetras around, or just serving as quick and efficient alliance partners.

There are a few things I can’t remember, but those are definitly some great aspects to 2005.

**JVN/Copioli Drive System - **Even teams with very limited resources and very limited experience will be able to build a working, moving robot. Every team will be able to focus on perfecting their robot and building a good manipulator now that every team can move. Every year there are a decent amount of teams who are lucky to have a match in which they can drive properly—this year, that should all change.

Good idea, Joe, in keeping this positive.

The more we work with the tetras and the goals, the more I like them. At first sight, I thought a tetra was going to be difficult to score, but it is much easier than I thought. You can put that tetra on the goal any 'ol way, and it usually seats correctly.

I love the 3 on 3. All teams at competitions just got 50% more matches. At nationals, we will get more matches. This is great. Teams at smaller regionals will be sweating from running their 'bots back and forth from the pits and field so much. We might see 15-16 qualification matches at some regionals, if FIRST allows. Woohoo!

That drive base is great. Kudos to all who busted their butts this past summer and fall as they worked on it. The frame is just what teams needed, and it can be stiffened as teams put their stuff up on top of it. The tranny is robust and easy to make lighter if teams want to lose some ounces.

Software… wow… this is great. The teams with powerhouse software teams now have to raise the bar again, while the software-deprived teams can now do some fancy things.

As for the kickoff… the game show was a great addition.

So far, the technical documentation looks great. Also, the few mistakes that we see are being caught quickly (1 Globe instead of 2, 1 Van Door motor instead of 2, etc.). Response has been great.

Kudos to FIRST.

Andy B.

Higher-order Baseline Code: I like the attempt to provide standard basic software to teams across the board. There are a lot of teams that don’t have programming mentors to turn to with their questions. Some of the teams are lucky enough to have some very talented students who are really into the core programming, but most are at a loss. Gyros, encoders, accelerometers, scripting, etc. have been in use by a few teams for several years now. It’'l be nice to take it up another notch.

[font=Verdana]Guiding newbies through some fairly sophisticated concepts is difficult from a distance or only one night a week if you’re spread thin. Having higher-order common base code for the students to start from should make our job as mentors much easier as well, and there are plenty of challenges remaining for those occasional advanced students.[/font]

Dr. Joe is definitely right: Kickoff.

Instead of three or four speeches in a row, FIRST incorporated media and kept everyone guessing the whole way through. Even their game show format was interesting because it was chock full of things we needed to know for this year’s game. This kept the audience interested and really made the Kickoff run more smoothly. Afterward, I heard many comments about how this year was really much better than the last few.

No negativity? I’d say FIRST did a very bad job of giving me alot to complain about. Shame on them. :wink:

The nicest change to me is the expansion (it seems full) of sources from which we can get COTS electronic components for our custom circuits. It seems that as long as the sources are actual manufacterers, then they are fair game for supplying components.

I like the inclusion of default code from Kevin Watson and Mark Lambert. It will serve as an excellent reference (the parts that we don’t use directly), and a time saver (the parts we do use).

Everything else, others will cover.

I’ll tell you something they did right…FOUR CIM MOTORS! WOOHOO!

C’mon, you know you enjoyed watching Dean drive that 2WD robot at Kickoff. That was the squirrelliest robot (if there is such a thing–if not, substitute “most difficult to control, but most fun to watch”) I’ve ever seen, but I’ll bet that it has plenty of potential…especially if you added some ballast to it. (I saw they started off with some extra ballast on it during Kickoff…I’ll bet there was a bit of room for more.)

All in all… \m/

FIRST satisfied a lot of requests that have been made year after year, such as:

  1. Weight requirement without battery
  2. Cheap and easy to build field/ field elements
  3. easy to understand game
  4. more autonomous tasks (vision tetras or hanging tetras)
  5. 3 vs 3
  6. better definitions of spare parts rules and such (the fix it window, only allowed to bring 25lbs of fabricated parts to competitions, etc)
  7. amazing kit of parts (CMUcam2, that amazing breaker panel from IFI, 4 CIMs, wow)
  8. more things to help rookies (provided codes, great drivetrain that has many set up options)

and most importantly…
9) no balls :smiley:

Going along with Amanda’s post, I think this kickoff structure is much better. It keeps people awake and paying attention. Besides, FIRST just gets to have more fun messing with our minds as they show us more aspects of the game, but still not enough to know what the game is. I found kickoff much more enjoyable to watch, especially the game show.

Great job this year FIRST! I already can’t wait for next year!

My favorite was they went away from the balls. They tried this with stack attack and it went ok, except for alot of broken boxes. I love the tetra’s something new that we have to build an arm to pick up and they look durable so they should last longer then what the boxes did.

Kickoff was entertaining.

Bringing an all new strategy to the game. 3 vs 3 and tic tac toe.

Cant wait to see some of the robots that teams build

In a word: everything so far.

I’ll admit, when I first saw this game, I thought to myself, “wow, this sucks.” Driving back down to Worcester through the blizzard though gave me a good two hours to mull it over, and I have to admit, I do like the game now.

I think that this year FIRST, unintentionally perhaps, made a game that won’t necessarily make for unique robots (simply because there’s only really one way to score, placing tetras on the goals), but I’m expecting to see many new and unique strategies because of the 3v3. Usually I enjoy build the most, but I’d almost rather just jump right to the first regional and see what’s going to happen, it’ll definitely be exciting. For the first time now teams will be able effectively play defense and offense, and while yes, there’s the odd chance that there will be a 3v1 match, I highly doubt that will be a regular occurance.

The only problem I see is the field size being possibly a bit too small for 3v3, especially when some of the scoring tetras start getting thrown around, but FIRST can’t change that because some of the venues don’t have anymore room, so I can’t complain about that. In any case, it adds to the fun, and extreme challenge, of driving this year. Almost makes me wish I was still a high school student…

They listened and followed through on what I heard at the team forum.

I love the 3v3 this year this will be great for people like me who love to meet new and different people from all over FIRST. Also the tetras are gonna be alot of fun to stack and move around, its soo much cooler to use then boxes and balls.

I like the extended matches - 15 more seconds of driving may not seem like much but when you’re out there it will mean a lot. However the 15 seconds will not affect the waiting time between matches very much because more robots will be able to go out each round, making up for the extended matches and possibly allowing more matches for each team at the competitions.

I also like the new strategy part of the game - when out there everybody will have to be able to think on their feet yet at the same time work with their two partners and coordinate what they want to do for the end of a match or who should cap which goal.

I absolutely love the 3 team allainces
I love the chess match strategy that will have to be applied to win this game.
I love the fact that there are no balls in this year’s game.
I love that the game is both simple enough to encourage rookies in need of confidence and complex enoguh to engage veterans looking for a challange.
I think this is going to be a great year.

There have been a number of issues I’ve had with recent games that I think FIRST has fixed this year.

  1. Anyone can build a field element. The goals are all very small and portable. They also can be folded up and put away. This is very important for teams who don’t have dedicated build facilities.

  2. The scoring element isn’t a ball. Balls are boring. We’ve gotten good at balls. Tetras are different but they’re still fairly simple.

  3. The game is strategic. Strategic is good.

  4. There’s only one thing to manipulate. This is good. It’s not possible to pick the completely “wrong strategy” (i.e. the small balls in 2001).

  5. I like the drive train. It makes life easier for rookies.

Congratulations to the game design team, I think you did very well.


I love the changes made to the robot base. It at least makes the teams that use the same base year after year, redesign.
No drill motors!!
Weighing without the battery!!
Easy field setup!!

I could go on and on.

Just think how great it would be if they reduced the size and weight of the robot even more! I get goose bumps just thinking about it, a TRUE challenge!

Maybe next year.

Another thing that comes to mind that FIRST did a great job on is managing the dynamic range of team capabilities.

What I mean is that there is a huge variation in capabilities of teams with Beatty, Wildstang, Cheesy Poofs/Kingman, etc. on one end and 3 kids and 1 hacksaw on the other.

This game can be played, and actually can result in exciting matches, with teams all on one end of the spectra or the other. Even more, I believe there will be exciting matches with mixed alliances playing mixed alliances.

Imagine a very likely match pairing: a KM* and 2 POC**'s Vs. 3 MOTR***'s

I think this could be a surprisingly good match. As would almost any roll of the dice you make for pairings.

The game design allows a space where KM’s, MOTR’s and POC’s can compliment eachother and come away with a good experience. This was clearly not an accident. A lot of thought was put into creating this space. I think they did a nice job.

Hats off to FIRST.

Perhaps you can spend some time today thinking about what FIRST did right. If you come up with something or just a new appreciation for an aspect of the game, kit, admin, or whatever that other may take for granted, share it with us please.

Joe J.

*KM = pronounced “Kay Eem” = Killer Machine
** POC = pronounced “Pock” = Powered Ox Cart :wink:
*** MOTR = pronounced “Motor” = Middle Of The Roader :wink:

I agree with the KitBot part.

Even if your team does not use it on the actual competition robot, your programmers can use it it to make better autonomous modes and test new sensors.

Not only that, It takes only a few hours to build.

Speaking of the KitBot does anyone know what the frame is made out of?
I have yet to open it up?