Our team has attended the Bayou Regional in Kenner, LA and the Alamo Regional in San Antonio, TX and one of the most frustrating aspects of the competition was the 1/4 practice field. It created massive lines for camera calibration, regressions and bridge balancing that were often over an hour long. It severely impaired our ability to continually improve our robot because we couldn’t wait the hour required to do 15 minutes of camera calibration. At the Bayou regional, instead of continuing with a signup system like previous regionals, they required a team to stand in line, with the robot for however long it took, in order to use their robot on the practice field. In my opinion, this seems rather ridiculous.
I am just curious: A)Was it was pure luck that this was the case at our regionals and B)If not, why did FIRST decide to provide such limited practice space at each of the regionals? Especially considering that this years competition requires significant vision calibration and testing.
A)Was it was pure luck that this was the case at our regionals:
I cant speak for all regionals but at the Colorado regional we have a little space in a corner ~10x20 ft
B)If not, why did FIRST decide to provide such limited practice space at each of the regionals?
I think its just how much space there is availible at the regional venue. I know at colorado the space is so tight that a left over corner is all that they can spare, space is in such demand the Asle size (normaly 10 ft) was dropped to 8ft so that teams could have 10x10 pits
Last year the Peachtree Regional only had about 5 feet of field, and one row of pegs. The pegs did not even have reflexite on them. (We took some of our own reflextie and put it on the pegs)
Luckily this year we had a full field.
Most of the practice field at San Diego was the same one 1538 and 2485 built for the Battle at the Border offseason. It’s been really useful to have around at the regional, demos, etc.
Limited practice space is generally a result of limited space in general. If you want proper answers regarding a regional competition, you should ask the regional planning committee. FIRST HQ has little involvement with the detailed layout of a regional event.
You get what the venue can provide.
In some venues, a handful of teams are are placed in basements. In a couple I can think of, teams are split between 3 different areas, and the practice field is 1/4 field on a loading dock.
It’s all about cost and venue size. All the other teams are working under the same limitations. You might consider talking to the FTA about opening up the competition field after practice matches, before opening ceremonies, and during lunch for camera calibration. They are usually very accomodating.
FIRST does not provide a practice field.
Some venues elect to invite more teams instead of providing space for a practice field.
This year 1730, 1986, and 1987 chipped in together to build a full sized practice field which we brought to the KC regional for all teams to share with the permission of the regional planning committee. As we’ve traveled to various tournaments in the last 5 years we realized this was a luxury that many regionals cannot provide.
The “1/4 practice field” you’ve probably experienced is what comes with the field from FIRST. Any events that are lucky enough to have more (up to full fields) is typically provided at the generosity of local teams or the regional committee.
However, as was stated by others, lots of venues are very limited in space so even if they were offered more than a 1/4 field, they likely could not accommodate it without a significant cost to team pit space or safe passage ways for the number of people in the venue during regular time or in the case of an emergency.
How teams gain access to the playing field is managed on an event-by-event basis. Personally, up here we choose to have signups for 10-minute slots, which teams can try to trade with other teams if they find they can’t make it after they’ve signed up. We feel this allows teams maximum work time in the pits and fair usage of the practice area.
we were a little upset at Bayou as well. Dallas has always had a full size field though, so heres hoping they do this year as well!
I suppose it may depend on the year. Id say we could all agree that this years field is a little more elaborate than last years and thus requires more materials/time to build. Id say be happy with what the regional provides - because they dont have to at all.