2013 WRC Feedback Thread

I felt that I’d open a thread for attendees to give VEX Feedback on the 2013 World Tournament.

Firstly, I’d like to thank VEX, REC, and all other partners for putting on a wonderful event.

Positive feedback:
This year’s tournament was incredibly well organized, highly punctual, well officiated, and extremely enjoyable. There were no serious hiccups on the fields, and my team experienced no connectivity issues or trouble with matches. This tournament was highly enjoyable, and the organization was absolutely excellent. Bravo.

Areas of improvement:
The Round Robin tournament style, while necessary, really killed the tension of main-stage rounds. The matches were fun to watch, but with elimination matches there’s a more tangible sense of pressue which was absent this year. Also, the music choices were much less well done this year, and that too deflated some of the intensity.

Moreover, the announcing of the excellence award AFTER the World Champions seemed to cheapen their achievement with so many people exiting the auditorium.

Finally (and this is not the organizer’s fault, though I’d like to see this corrected) I found it extremely odd that a world champion (for middle school) was crowned by disqualification. That felt very unsporting. It would be my sincere recommendation that the rules for all future VEX games be amended to read

*"If a team is issued a disqualification in an elimination match, and as a result of this disqualification the opposing alliance would win the tournament, then if

  1. The team who has received the disqualification has received no previous disqualifications or warnings in this round (this condition does not apply to any previous rounds or qualification matches)
  2. The disqualification would have resulted ONLY in a match loss, but not in ejection from the tournament

then the match will be declared a Draw By Disqualification, and a rematch will be issued. In a rematch caused by a Draw By Disqualification, the team who was not issued a disqualification will receive an automatic score bonus equal to the point value of the autonomous bonus for ONLY this rematch."

So, in the case of the middle school disqualification, the team issued a disqualification would not have lost the tournament. Instead, a rematch would be played, and the team who was tipped would have been given a 10 point handicap. I think this would have been more enjoyable for the spectators and would have been a more competitive alternative for all teams involved.

Edit: It should be noted that this rule would apply to disqualifications which end the tournament and result in a tournament winner being crowned. So, in the case of the collegiate disqualification which tied the series at 1-1, no Draw By Disqualification would be declared because this DQ did not end the tournament.

We had a fantastic time, and we plan to be back next year. The referees were fantastic and (in my opinon) made extremely fair calls. Our drivers didn’t have to use the deck of notecards we made with rules, definitions or Q&A questions at all.

That being said, some people should really read the rules better before being obnoxious at a competition. If you’re going to sit behind me and scream about teams breaking the rules, at least be correct. If you want to ref matches, go volunteer. If you want to come talk to us in our pit and ask questions about our strategy, don’t tell us that what we’re doing is illegal after we explain it. That bothered me more than anything else. If you’re going to talk about how to BEAT a robot’s strategy, that’s one thing. Go ahead and do it. But to just insist that what someone does is illegal when you’re wrong is really annoying.

I liked the layout. It was large, but effective. I wish all of the teams in a division were near the division they played in to make scouting and commuting easier, but I understand placing teams from the same school close together. It would have also been nice to have all of the practice fields raised. While we could write Autonomous routines on the floor, for driving practice the perspective is important. There were plenty of fields, though. That was really nice.

Almost everyone we met was super friendly, happy to answer questions and enthusiastic about what they had done. I got tons of photos of robots and deisgn concepts. The atmosphere was amazing. The music could have been louder, I think. It was barely audible at times. When we went to watch the MS divisions in the VEX Dome it was fine, but running around our pits it got hard to hear.

Oh, and the VEX store was awesome. We grabbed a few things there, and the employees were very helpful. I wish buying things online was that easy and fast.

We would have liked to play more matches. And more often. That’s not really possible with 80+ teams in a division, but if we’re just giving feedback, that’s something worth considering. Maybe 8 divisions, so that we can do a full elimination bracket at Finals? I don’t really have a solution.

Worlds was fun. We’ll see everyone next year.

I missed having the skills challenge finals held in the main arena. Showcases the (incredible) efforts teams make in these areas, and a particularly unique aspect of VRC.

I think the high school finals match 2 should have been replayed. If you get that far then the field control messes up, that’s not a way you want to lose.

Maybe it was the new style of eliminations and no driver skill head to head, but it felt like there was no energy in the dome. There was barely any cheering or intensity. I remember last year the middle school finals and skills had everybody on the edge of their seat…not so much this year

Field control did not mess up, there was a problem with their cortex. I do, however, tend to agree with you, it was a crappy way to lose.

Is that confirmed or is that the prevalent rumor?

I think the opposing alliance was on track to win regardless, but that whole affair was a bit disappointing.

I was not working on that field, however, I did discuss it with a tech who was responsible for that match and am satisfied with his explanation of what happened, the conclusion was that it was not caused by field control. It was disappointing to see it happen in the finals, they had not had any problems during the previous two days.

The driver of 2941A (Telemascope on the forums) told me that they experienced a problem that they have termed “the green light of death.” Symptoms include a single, solid green light on the Cortex and no communication between the joystick and robot once the match begins. I’m not sure of further light patterns on the joystick nor the exact causes of the “green light of death” but it doesn’t seem like field control would be the primary cause of the problem, as they were experiencing the problem at home as well.

I didn’t like the round robin format. Going into the rounds, we had no idea what to expect. We were quickly (and somewhat confusingly) explained what was to happen right before going on, and if we had known the format beforehand, alliance selection might have gone differently. Personally, I think that having only one match between alliances is not an accurate representation of who would win in a double elimination round. I’ve seen plenty of teams lose the first match only to come back and win the second and third matches in a particular round. As a result, I might recommend that the round robin be used to whittle the 5 divisions to 4, then have normal semifinals. It would definitely take a long time, which is a drawback, but to me makes more sense.

I also thought that the five divisions were not necessary. There were 420 teams total (84*5) this year, while at the 2011 world championship there were 416 teams total. I don’t believe that adding one team to each division would be a serious issue (unless I’m completely missing something). Keeping it to four divisions would render the round robin unnecessary and let the old format continue to work.

Other than that and the confusion that went on backstage during the final rounds, I was very happy with the event. They could have turned down the AC a little in the pit areas, but that’s personal preference. Karthik’s comments between rounds also seemed a little scripted and had LOTS of adjectives in them, but he knows how much the robotics community loves him.

To all those competing next year: good luck. It’ll be tougher than ever to qualify, but it’s definitely worth the work.

Hi everyone,
As SweetMochi said, I experienced the dreaded GLOD in the second finals match. A disappointing way to end the season for me, and pretty crappy for all the spectators as well. I don’t know what caused the issue, so I wouldn’t blame field control for sure. One of the field techs traded me some new VexNet Keys so that mine could be tested. My best guess is that it was something to do with having the robot turned on for ages before actually starting the match, but that’s a total guess and probably completely wrong. It was really disappointing to wait through what felt like hours (to me) of other matches to play the second finals game, only to end up not even getting a chance. I was extremely happy to make it to the finals and work with such a brilliant alliance, but no one wants to end a tournament in that way… I hope you can all understand my disappointment.

Of course, I don’t mean to take anything away from the World Champion alliance. You were all amazingly skilled, played extremely well and absolutely deserved the win. Congratulations!

Hi Telemascope! It was really nice meeting you (and all the other forum people I came across) at Worlds, and it was a great experience overall. I just wanted to let you know that I was rooting for you all the way; you played great against us and everyone else in the Math Division, and I still think ours was the hardest one this year. I felt really bad about what happened in that match; it kinda left a bad taste in my mouth. Are you competing in Toss Up or are you too old?

Hey, thanks a lot, it was great meeting you and your team as well! Congratulations on the winning the Judges Award, very well deserved! Thanks so much for the support, it means a lot.

I won’t be competing in the High School competition for Toss Up as I’m graduating at the end of the year. I’m considering competing in VRCC (or VexU as its called now?), but I’m not too sure yet. I hope to still stay involved in the forums and Vex community for at least while longer regardless, because to be honest it’s just way too much fun!

I agree with this. It was awesome seeing the results of all the work 2915A and 2941A put in as they improved throughout this season. Their skills runs required a lot of scoring and a lot of field resetting, but of course we didn’t mind :p.

I’m not sure how Jack and Lucas themselves feel about this - they both had finals to play in and that of course would have been more important to them than playing what would effectively have been an exhibition match. But I think it would have been great if people watching the finals had been able to see their achievements as more than just the numbers 365 and 400. I know I would have enjoyed watching the top two programming skills teams.

(By the way, you can see Jack’s 400 point robot skills run here. Video is thanks to Robert Fernandez from 4886. I don’t think there are any videos online of high-scoring runs by Oats.)

I wasn’t at worlds this year, so I just wanted to say that the VRC TV system was really really good. Having everything on Livestream, and being able to watch multiple streams on one page was awesome, and helped us follow all the teams at the competition!

I felt the same this year - first I appreciate the amazing amount of work that went into the production of Vex at World’s, it was great again.

I would suggest perhaps putting some kind of show/exhibit/excitement in every one of the ceremonies - we had some with it and others with nothing but speaker after speaker and frankly over half the dome was empty by the time those were done. There should be a way to mix the excitement with the speaker sessions to make it flow.

I would suggest:

  1. Invite some up and coming LA based DJs who are making a name for themselves in the local club scene to come be a part of the event - its good for them and for Vex

  2. Have an evening event/reception for meeting/mingling on Thursday night - every conference has one of these and its a great way to meet other teams outside the combat zone - even if you have to charge a little for it.

  3. On Friday night have another event - but this time a concert - again, a way to reward the kids who made it there but won’t be taking home hardware and another way to help people meet and hang out - the Dome is perfect for this and you should be able to get a descent band for something like this - our last corporate concert had the Gin Blossoms and the one before the GooGoo Dolls and next Carrie Underwood. It doesn’t have to be a huge name but someone recognizable perhaps along with some local acts - make it something cool for the local music scene to want to get involved with.

Overall Vex is doing an amazing job but with the growth and attendance now I think they should start looking to some of the large corporate/vendor conferences for some guidance on how to make it even more special. Check our SXSW especially!

I learned it is impossible to physically watch every match you want to. Most people around 2941’s pits probably noticed me sprinting from field to field only to get there a few minutes late.

Just some thoughts on the roller coaster ride that is the VEX world champs.

Firstly, thank you to everyone who helped to put on such a massive event. The officials at Math division and through the finals (queuers, judges, refs, scorers, announcers, field techs) were so friendly, well organised and competent. I got to briefly meet James Pearman and shake his hand :).

I met a heap of great young people and awesome parents and mentors. Some kids were a little cocky, but the vast majority were humble, hard working kids with great ambition. All but 3 teams were eliminated from the tournament at some point and all felt intense disappointment at doing so. We are trying to learn from the experience and move on - there are new challenges on the horizon!

It was fantastic to meet with Justin from Patribots and Kevin and the team from WASABI in the days before the comp started. Special thanks to Tabor for all the help to the Kiwi teams - we really appreciated another set of hands (and an extra mouth :smiley: ps you can remove the “self appointed” label from your moniker now - you have earned it!)

To all the Bots n Stuff members - Lucas now has a fantastic network of friends who are amazingly intelligent, capable young people who share ideas and help each other. Thank you.

To the Oats boys, Seumas, Kenley and Cameron. Well done and thank you for all the good times spent driving, talking crazy ideas and generally having a ball in Seumas’ parents garage.

To Chris Hamling and to all the AURA and Massey guys back home - you are integral to the continuation of VEX in NZ and the success of the Kiwi teams is a reflection on you. We try very hard to earn your respect and we hope we made you proud. Thank you.

To Jack Barker 2915A , World Champion in Robot skills and Tournament, and good mate of Lucas. From the very first scrimmage and throughout this season you have matched or bettered us at every turn. Your level of performance and the “co-opertition” between the both of you is a massive reason why Lucas has done well. You are a very impressive and likable young man. Well done and thank you.

Finally to Lucas and Shane, my sons. I could not be more proud of you guys.

Cheers, Paul

It was extremely well run this year I thought. Our crate was there right on time when we showed up Wednesday, the matches ran on time, the playoffs were quick with little down time.

I thought the round robin and 5 divisions worked well. You could even grow to 6 divisions, but apparently the Vex dome is full (when people show up that is, see below). Volunteers and pit floor space becomes the issue I guess.

However, there were a few minor things I saw… So some feedback for change:

  1. (fair bit of annoyance at this) There were a ton of people not at the major ceremonies.

We had a first match of the day so we skipped the Friday parade. Apparently a ton of other people did too. Close the practice fields during these mass events! The specatacle of Worlds is solidified during these mass events. I know there could be some language issues, but there were many people I recognized that are definitely English speakers (since they live near us) and are choosing not to go. Could you have the Science field/stadium be translated in Mandarin & the Technology field into Spanish? That may be tough to get it on the fly so more prepared remarks may be needed for transalation ahead of time. The only one that seemed to be full was the new product/game reveal.

  1. (medium gripe) We need to be able to recognize teams that helped us out across divisions. The support award was an in-division award. For instance team 99 helped us out of a jam and I wish we could have voted for them for the support award. However, sincve we’re limited to our division, we could not vote for them.

  2. (some logistics) One of our middle school teams had a design interview scheduled during the Parade of Nations event Friday. However, the judges were not in the room. This resulted in two reschedules and getting only 10 minutes in the room when they finally got the reschedule of the reschedule worked out. This made them feel short shrifted. Please coordinate these sessions better so judges know they are to be in the rooms if you do scheduling overlaps like this. They had an awesome design notebook.

  3. (Minor) Disappointed for Vex aged people to have no new products revealed. Vex IQ is great and a lego killer, but 80%+ of the people in that room has aged out of Vex IQ already and were hoping for more.

  4. (Wishful thinking) Still hoping for a party of some sort. The kids are pretty intensely focused up through Saturday so some steam letting event/party would be awesome.

  5. (again wishful thinking) An express line at the Vex store for “oh darn, I have a broken part, I know exactly what I want and can’t wait”. Maybe use Seinfeld soup line rules. You don’t know what you want, back of the line! No parts for you! Also limit to 5 parts or less like a supermarket to keep it moving.

Perhaps the middle school design interview was different, but everybody was limited to 10 minutes. We can’t have interviews lasting hours (as much as we all want to) :smiley:

On the same note, I wish we could have been given time to set up things like our PowerPoint. We ended up being 30 seconds or so over time, which the judges were great about and allowed us to do because they knew we almost done (so kudos to them). So, it wasn’t a big deal but we, too, felt a bit rushed.