I feel that the FRC matches are just too quick. Just as they get going, their over. Also the shortness of the matches and the rush the fill as many matches as you can leaves teams with almost no time in the pits. (There were times where we were getting queued 15 min after our last match). Also as a spectator, you don’t have time to get familiar with the robots, once you’ve finally figured out whats going on… the match is over.
I would prefer having 7 or 8 4-min matches than 12-2 min (set up accounts for close to 3 min of the ~5min match time).
I’d like to see the matches get switched back to a 2v2 with a robot on the side, who gets tagged in. This way you could incorporate the human player as a pit crew, responsible for quickly changing the battery and making small adjustments.
Go to a 45 sec 3v3 autonomous similar to what you saw in FTC this year, 2v2 teleop is 2:15 seconds, and a 3v3 end game for the last minute.
I think it would create an interesting dynamic to the game.
What do you think?
Sure it would be nice to see matches a bit longer, maybe extended to a total of three minutes in length. Not only would it increase excitement excitement of the game, but scores as well. I think the main problem with this is that there are some very large regionals where there are barely enough matches to create an accurate ranking list to begin with. Accuracy is of course dependent upon who you ask…
For example lets look at the Virginia Regional. There are normally at least 62 teams registered, which equals out to about 9 qualification matches per team. Extending the length of the matches would cause teams to play less matches and create a less accurate ranking system.
Last year, the Virginia Regional played 95 qualification matches. At the current guide of 6 minute matches, that equals to 570 minutes. Increasing matches by just one minute would drop the number of matches available to be played to 81, reducing teams from 9 matches each to 8.
If my team is paying $5,000 to attend a regional, I want the students to be able to participate in as many matches as possible.
Plus, with the complexity of the robots being produced in recent years, can the batteries withstand longer matches?
You bring up some really good points, maybe FIRST would have to limit the # of teams allowed to register for an event. At BAE we had 11 matches even with an hour delay.
The battery issue brought up the idea for a pit crew to me. I think it would be awesome to see the human player change out a teams battery in the middle of a match.
I totally understand wanting to get your $s worth. WPI has come up with a model for doing regionals at a fraction of the cost as FIRST so hopefully FIRST will get on board so all teams have at least 2 regionals. It would be nice if we could have a FIRST season rather than a FIRST regional.
This could be done by having university events, and then regional events, and finally the championship event
And then you have to deal with the saftey issues of changing a battery mid match. You would have to stop the match or create a special lane for robots to go to get repaired/changed battery. We already know that teams aren’t very good at going in lanes they’re not suppose to be in…
Yeah, I was worried about this too. It would be an interesting challenge to try to make your robot efficient enough that it could run for a 4 min match in order to avoid the battery swap.
Also for teams willing to take the battery swap, it would given them essentially the equivalent of a power play, because they would tear it up for a minute or two, before going in for a battery swap. When the 3rd teammate could take over…
oooo good call, I totally forgot about those things. Would the backup have enough power to run the crio? Or you could have two power breakouts one for crio and radio one for the rest. It would be sweet to have the weight of 2 12v batteries to play with too. Or we could use the minibot battery for crio and radio :).
Requires some additional components/weight. Could be done, though.
I’m not exactly in favor of matches going much longer. Maybe an extra 15 seconds or so, but much beyond that and we lose the “cool” factor.
I might suggest 15 second automode and 15 second end game tacked on to the end of the 2:00. Back before I started, matches were 2:00, no automode, no real endgame. In 2003, a 15-second automode was added to the start of the match.
So, instead of having the end game in the 2:00 teleop, have it right after. Put a big automation bonus in, or maybe full automode. Slightly longer match, but could be really fun to see what happens.
Yeah I saw it being done something like nascar, where there is a specific area where you can do it. all robots in the “pit” have to be disabled before you’re able to enter the “pit”.
Whats interesting is that FTC is almost 3 min this year. I think the game would have to be designed for a longer time (something like CTF would be interesting, if you get pinned you lose the flag logistics of which i’m not sure about )
I really find matches hard to watch if I’m not emotionally connected to one of the robots, and lets face it, the general population doesnt give a hoot who x team is. I would love to see FIRST become something the general population could develop an emotional attachment and excitement to just going to an event. However right now its just too much too fast, where as most spectator sports are actually slowed down. After a big play in football, you get an instant replay that describes what happened. It would be cool after a match to have a similar thing while we were waiting for results.
On several occasions I’ve gone to events just to watch, and the tend to get draining when you are not emotionally invested in the teams. You try so hard to keep up, but eventually you just give up and then it gets boring. I think part of it is also trying to distinguish teams. I wish red and blue were not allowed on the robots, and rather you had to have cathodes, that made your robot glow the color of the alliance.
Rather than cheesy fabric bumpers being the only indicator of a team’s alliance.
The IFI backup was a 9V straight to the controller. If the main voltage coming in dropped too far, the backup kicked in to keep the controller alive and responding. It was required from 2004-2008; before then, robots that had low voltage could wander all over the field and not respond to the E-stop.
The cRIO responds by having a monopoly on power after a certain low voltage is reached. The IFI system did not.
If something like this were to be implemented, I could see something like this:
Each team gets one or two “pit crew” members and a temporary disable switch (like the pressure pads in 2003 and 2005, only less finicky). They have to be in a box the whole time. Each alliance gets one pull-through lane, ideally with a barrier (and a DQ for entering while an opponent was in there, penalty if nobody’s inside). Each robot gets one main battery and a “staying alive” battery. The “staying alive” battery has a dedicated PDB section, or similar way to distribute power, and a breaker of its own. (This to allow for full shutdown, because the battery obviously wouldn’t go through the 120A main.) NOTHING can connect to that section except the cRIO and the radio (Connection type TBD by the EE types).
Robot pulls into the lane, and the pit crew runs/steps out with the fresh battery, hitting the disable as they go. Battery is replaced, minor “loose ends” get tied up, and the pit crew runs/steps for their waiting area, hitting the disable again to re-enable the robot. Robot pulls out the other side. Legal repairs include pulling off trailing items, checking cables, and changing batteries. No loading game pieces (unless that’s part of the game–pull in and do some work, and you can load up with X game pieces). NO working on an enabled robot (DQ–safety violation). Think a NASCAR pit stop for a quick example–tires, fuel, tweak suspension/air inlet, get rolling again, except that in this case full shutdown of the engine (disable) happens.
Biggest problem: How cramped are the arenas the fields get set up in? You’d want decent space for the crew away from the field. Lane could be built into the field design, with a decently-high barrier.
You’d get fewer of them.
If something on your robot breaks or doesn’t work, it hurts you more.
The better teams gain an even bigger lead.
Too many robots don’t work well enough to make it interesting for a longer amount of time.
You’d potentially need a bigger battery, or design mechanisms to be lower-powered.
What if it was done in collaboration with university events. Essentially every team would get one minicomp after ship date to get the bugs fixed.
If you read the other posts, the battery issue was actually incorporated into the game, to make it more exciting. And designing mechanisms to be lower-powered sounds like a very real design requirement, especially in this day and age.
Also if something you build fails in real life. Its going to hurt pretty bad.
I definitely understand your concerns, but I think if it was done right, it could change how FIRST competitions are viewed by the general public, change it from redbull-driven insanity into an exciting sport.
I also think it would somewhat level the playing field by redefining the design requirements.
You have brought up one issue, the battery, without thinking about what is actually going on in the robot. Remember that the battery is potentially capable of 7200 watts at full charge or about 1kW (or more) constant over a two minute match. While some of that power is going into real work, some of it is going into heat. Extend the match and increase the heat. For some teams the saving grace is a match that is only two minutes with a limited amount of battery energy. There is cool off times in the finals for a reason.
See the thing is if u wanted to see something like we do in football or nascar stuff like that, you couldnt have the 40 teams like you do at michigan comps cant remember if its districts or regionals, i think its district but it eludes me. Anyways you would have to have like 6 teams or 12 maybe. It wouldnt be a big bunch of teams just a couple a teams duking it out in a couple of matches, but we couldnt do this because robotics doesnt have enough spectators yet and that really wouldnt work.