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  • alanggreen
    replied
    No, the demo is not available anymore. Thanks for pointing out it's still on the site. However, you can download and install the software - very straightforward - and play around with it.
    We're releasing an update right after the weekend - exactly the same as the current version except for a new logo for the global sponsor, Rockwell Automation.
    Tom, I also sent you an email - hope I have your address right.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Mosher
    replied
    Hi Alan,
    My region is going to use these tools for our state championship in a couple of weeks. Few of the referees have ever used it, so I'm a bit nervous about training.

    I see on the fll-tools site that there is a "Try the Demo" page at this URL...
    http://www.fll-tools.com/software/features/scoring/

    ... but it doesn't seem to be working (continual timeouts and sad face icon).

    Can the demo still be used?
    - Tom

    Leave a comment:


  • JackGregory
    replied
    Disclaimer: I know and strongly agree that this has nothing to do with the Head Referee job. So it is misplaced here, but I also know this group contains a lot of people for whom this is a relevant topic.

    This is my 20th year as head ref. This year, I have noticed a big jump in a certain robot design, far too similar and common (though not identical) for it to be by chance. It is also extremely sophisticated and to me, clearly not the work of even our best 14-year-old designers. Using terminology from the Magic card game, it is a "Net Bot". Something someone has pulled off the internet as a starting point. It is characterized by twin drive motors mounting vertically at the rear, with power connections up (+z), the EV3 mounted parallel to them, face up, left-right on the EV3 aligned with fore-aft on the bot, and a pair of motors on the "front" side with open drive connections, also +z. The robot is a "cube" of LEGO. Attachments are dropped onto it vertically, and can be removed quickly. Although this design is a little larger than optimal, for an open field like this year with no real obstacles, it can get around. For an example of it in action, see this YouTube: https://youtu.be/l0QTYMogaZo. Teams using this design usually have the robot and 4 or 5 very large attachments.

    Although the video claims the poster made it over Thanksgiving, I don't think they designed it. The same design is seen in 2017 and earlier youtubes. But that is not my point.

    We have always had baseline robots that new teams create, and sometimes compete with. The basic one in the LEGO instructions is the starting point for most rookie teams. There are also books and online help. Enough research, and you can have this robot running in a day. We aren't going to ever get away from that, and I am not saying we should; research is part of the game. But at the same time, I feel like we are losing something. In my state championship event 9 days ago, teams running this design seemed like they were in a different contest. For the first time since I have been doing this, it feels like the earth has moved. Even changes in controllers didn't have this impact. The team has essentially skipped a big chunk of the work usually required for FLL, and can focus on attachments, all with the same mechanical connection. The attachments I have seen in my tournaments continue to show "student design" levels of construction (unlike the the video), showing a clear split between borrowed and original content.

    My reasons for posting:
    1. Am I alone in seeing this change? I want to hear what others think.
    2. Does anyone know the actual origin of this design? I have done some looking, but haven't found anything solid.
    3. Is an FLL group of teams (like the one I run in Massachusetts with 9 teams this year) remiss if it does not advise teams about this? Our main purpose is to help new teams and provide weekly competition in advance of qualifying tournaments.

    The robot scoring aspect of FLL competition has been greatly diluted over the years, to the point where it is now almost ignorable. The emphasis has moved to "judged" scoring, and part of that is robot design judging, where it seems one of the jobs is to determine "whether the kids did it". If net bots are "wrong", they should be caught there. I am disappointed with the dilution of the robot game in FLL, but at the same time, there is no dilution in the kids enthusiasm for it (until the end) and it is the greatest motivator. Nobody is signing up for this to do a project presentation. I guess one of the questions I have is: how important is robot design to what kids get out of the program?

    Have a good holiday and thanks for reading.

    Leave a comment:


  • alanggreen
    replied
    Originally posted by Jeff Bartig View Post

    I just think U01 and the field setup guide are a little terse and could have included instructions on the correct orientation/rotation of the model.
    Agreed. We'll try to do it better going forward.

    Alan
    Global head referee

    Leave a comment:


  • Jeff Bartig
    replied
    Originally posted by Tom Mosher View Post
    U01 wasn't even necessary, as there was nothing required other than putting the model on the mat, seeing if the dual-lock patches lined up with the model, and if not, just flip the whole thing over.

    There are four permutations - upside right or upside down, and with the dual-lock portion rotated either way. Only one of the four is correct. Maybe that's what the update was intended to say.
    U01 was needed because the pictures in both the mission and field setup documents show an incorrectly built model that didn't match any of the 4 permutations that can be created with a correctly assembled model.

    I just think U01 and the field setup guide are a little terse and could have included instructions on the correct orientation/rotation of the model.

    Jeff

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Mosher
    replied
    U01 wasn't even necessary, as there was nothing required other than putting the model on the mat, seeing if the dual-lock patches lined up with the model, and if not, just flip the whole thing over.

    There are four permutations - upside right or upside down, and with the dual-lock portion rotated either way. Only one of the four is correct. Maybe that's what the update was intended to say.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Mosher
    replied
    Originally posted by Jeff Bartig View Post

    Skip Gridley is likely the author of the spreadsheet based on the document properties. Kathy Morgan at FIRST would be another good contact.
    Thanks. Turns out that it seems to assume that Excel has AutoCalculate turned on, and it doesn't check for that or give any warnings. Without AutoCalculate enabled, the spreadsheet accepts your data and sits there not generating awards. It took an hour and an Excel expert to figure that out.
    Last edited by Tom Mosher; 01-03-2019, 07:40 PM. Reason: fixing typos

    Leave a comment:


  • Jeff Bartig
    replied
    Originally posted by carol.conner View Post
    The photo in the field setup instructions show the catcher matching the dual-lock positions on the mat. The setup instructions are #2 in Information Superiority under rule GP5.
    Yes, but GP5 says that game updates take precedence over both the missions and field setup. Update U01 says that the picture in the mission is incorrect and the picture in the field setup matches the one in the mission description, so neither are correct.

    If the intent wasn't to follow the final picture of the build instructions, U01 should have included extra text indicating that the model should be rotated into a different configuration, so it would match the dual lock positions on the field. This year there are several places where the dual lock marks on the field do not line up with the models, which introduces further uncertainty.

    Leave a comment:


  • carol.conner
    replied
    The photo in the field setup instructions show the catcher matching the dual-lock positions on the mat. The setup instructions are #2 in Information Superiority under rule GP5.

    Leave a comment:


  • alanggreen
    replied
    Originally posted by Jeff Bartig View Post
    At two tournaments over the past couple of weeks, the spacecraft successfully reached the top of the model and half of it separated and continued higher. One almost hit the referee at that table. Maybe we need to start wearing safety glasses.
    Seems like bonus points for a two-stage rocket would be in order.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jeff Bartig
    replied
    At two tournaments over the past couple of weeks, the spacecraft successfully reached the top of the model and half of it separated and continued higher. One almost hit the referee at that table. Maybe we need to start wearing safety glasses.

    Since part of the spacecraft stayed in the scoring position, and I couldn't authoritatively say that the mission model was tightly assembled before launch, both teams got credit for accomplishing that mission.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jeff Bartig
    replied
    Originally posted by Tom Mosher View Post
    Slightly off-topic. Who is responsible for the "Liter than Lite" package that handles awards determination?
    Skip Gridley is likely the author of the spreadsheet based on the document properties. Kathy Morgan at FIRST would be another good contact.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jeff Bartig
    replied
    We were just having a discussion about the orientation of the Meteoroid Catcher at two tournaments this past weekend. Based on the game update U01, my position is that it should match the final picture of the build instructions. That's how I've been setting it up at every tournament this season. The update really should have provided more detail, if we were suppose to reconfigure the model to fit the dual-lock positions. Given the lack of update detail, I applied GP3 and gave the team the larger target area by following the orientation in the build instructions.

    Leave a comment:


  • J Church
    replied
    Originally posted by alanggreen View Post

    Interesting. Would you know whether they went up to State championship?
    Alan, they have their sectional this weekend, we will let you know if they advance to the state championship

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Mosher
    replied
    Slightly off-topic. Who is responsible for the "Liter than Lite" package that handles awards determination?

    Leave a comment:

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