I couldn’t agree more with this post!
A little bit of background on myself as I do not post frequently, skip the next paragraph if you don’t care:
I have been competing in VEX since Gateway with a uber competitive mindset. Every year earning a spot to the world championship and doing fairly well there. I am an event partner and I also help run a good majority of all of the robotics events in Virginia.
Sack Attack - Division champion - 1575D
Toss up - Division Semi-finalist - 1575D
Skyrise - Division Design award - 1575A
Nothing but Net - Division Champion, Division Design award - 1575A
Starstruck - Division finalist, Division Design award - MASON1
In the Zone - Division finalist - MASON1
There are a few issues with the forced V5 usage for VEXU teams.
- College Financial Stuff and Cooperation
- Compressed Event Preparation Time
- Diving into a World of Unknown
College Financial Stuff and Cooperation
Some universities are ok with spending money for clubs outside the school year and some aren’t. This means that some VEXU teams are required to wait until the beginning of the fall semester before they can even get their school to place an order. In some cases that means they might not be able to even request an order until the beginning of the fall semester. This leaves teams stuck waiting until December to even begin trying to understand and harness the power of the new control system. This is a problem that for some VEXU teams is unavoidable just because of the way the university handles money. The only thing a student can do to combat this is take up the responsibility of purchasing the equipment on their own and then file for a reimbursement from the university. However, that assumes that the student is financially able to do this and wait until the semester begins to try and schedule a meeting to explain why they need to be reimbursed. As a college student I don’t think many would be open to this financial burden.
Compressed Event Preparation Time
The VEXU season is already fairly compressed and the world isn’t dying to host more VEXU events. VEXU teams season are normally defined by the proximity of different events. This means if there are only 2 events that are close enough for your team to travel to then those 2 events define your entire preworlds season. We normally plan to attend up to 3 competitions every year because of the travel distance. Normally these events are between in February or March which is not too bad if we were to get our V5 in December and were a High school team who had significantly more free time. However, because college students have a lot less time to commit due to class and work related responsibilities that really just leaves maybe 4 meetings assuming a once a week meeting schedule and an early February event. On the more competitive side you would get 3 meetings a week so maybe you can get 12 meetings before your first event and then maybe a 2-3 weeks before your next event. This is not the recipe for achieving new things and taking advantage of all the new capabilities of the V5 but instead having a mad dash to build something, anything that works and can be quickly practiced and maybe given an auton that works sometimes. I think with the current restriction of only using V5 combined with the further compression of an already compressed season we will not see teams taking full advantage of all the different freedoms that V5 is supposed to let them unless they are the first few to receive their V5 or pour a lot of hours into exploring their freedoms at the cost of them not being ready in time for the competition.
Diving into a World of Unknown
I understand that the V5 is supposed to be superior to the cortex in many ways but one thing that the cortex does have over the V5 is understanding. It has been around long enough for people to understand the workings of it. I know V5 has the knowledge database and that there are help documents and forums but because we are all new to the system it will take time for the knowledge to flow so that teams are able to compete at a higher level than they were with the cortex. Not a major issue but we should still consider that because teams are new to the V5 that it will take time for them to be able to use it to empower them beyond the limitations of the cortex.
I’m sure I missed a few things or did not perfectly articulate the ideas but in short I think that VEXU should be given some transition time instead of being forced immediately to use V5.