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What type of release scedule is the FTC SDK is excepting to follow?

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  • What type of release scedule is the FTC SDK is excepting to follow?

    Previously, the FTC updates its portion only when something can be considered Release-Critical or Critical and they need to issue a fix. What type of releases will we be excepting to see with this SDK. It sounds like FIRST is shooting for a one-time package installation for the duration of the competition and build season, but they could be considering a different type, like a multi-channel (i.e. stable, heavily-tested stable, beta, alpha, nightly, etc.), so they could add heavily community wanted and/or needed features and make bugfixes and misc. on their end. I personally think a heavily tested super-stable, updated by every two weeks if critical bugs are found, a stable channel maybe updated weekly for popular new features and bugfixes, and a beta, with minor testing and more features. Competition season would see less builds and come to a slow stop. What will most likely happen?

  • #2
    I have noticed this seems to be a "PR black hole" right now for FIRST. Does anyone else have suggestions for a release schedule, or disagree with me with the release schedule I would like (above)?

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    • #3
      My guess is that the "PR black hole" will fill itself in as soon as the FIRST staff return to Manchester and recover from World Championships next month. As far as software update schedules, I hope that Tom Eng and his crew will provide updated software as often as they must to provide a great experience for our kids! Beyond that,
      Jim Bates
      Atlantic County NJ 4-H Robotics
      FLL Teams 71 & 13365
      FTC Team 9765

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      • #4
        This new technology is the future. Any comprehensive new platform - with so many moving parts - will assuredly be fraught with initial difficulties.

        I had an opportunity yesterday to see the new platform first hand, and was surprised at how far is has yet to go. It seems VERY UNWISE to force this out on a comprehensive (all teams must) sort of way. Presenting it first as an "option" allows teams to decide their participation, and allows the developers to work with a self-selected set of teams to further strengthen the platform. I would expect that at least one of my 5 FTC teams for next year would embrace it. Likely more. But, that would be our choice -- and we would then live with the struggles.

        Also of major concern is the complete absence of a Field Control System. Choosing instead a "sport start" and stop. A progressive/volunteer initial adoption would allow that element to also be tested - in a limited way.

        I think what has been missed/dismissed here is the human element of the FCS -- ie. the extent to which the FCS is a great calmer/equalizer. It is a system that enables everyone's civility, and empowers graciousness. It enforces rules that could otherwise be invisibly broken. Lacking it will stir murmurs of cheating, resentments of non-penalties, and awkward/difficult referee situations.

        This too needs time to flesh-out. In my opinion, an FCS system is essential.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by [email protected] View Post

          This too needs time to flesh-out. In my opinion, an FCS system is essential.
          All good points, but I think FTC has been upfront about the need to make the events easier to host, which is not unreasonable. My experience of the tournaments is that performance on the field has very little bearing on who advances anyway. I have personally seen teams that ranked very low in the standings get advanced for no other reason than because they won an award arbitrarily bestowed by a panel of volunteer judges, or because they were picked as a friendly alliance partner for the semi-finals, and conversely I have also seen teams ranked in the top four NOT get advanced for no other reason than because they didn't make it to the finals.

          Why sweat the details of the field matches if they ultimately have very little to do with who advances?

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          • #6
            I think their hand was forced by the end-of-life of the NxT. You're making an investment in technology either way; whether it's EV3 or something else.

            I will not be sorry to see the FCS go. It's gotten better over the last 2 seasons, but I've waited through many long days while FTAs wrangled with FCS problems. And the limited availability of the Samantha module has been annoying at times too.

            To my mind if you want to "fix" anything about FTC, make the judging more transparent. I know judges have a tough job already, but make them justify their choice with something more than a pun-filled paragraph. I think it would eventually lead to more consistent judging and allow teams to learn from the judging outcomes. If we have to cut down on the overall number of awards that are judged, so much the better.

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            • #7
              I am taking a wait-n-see approach to the death of the FCS. I think that getting to something more modern than the Samantha module will be a HUGE improvement. I think many of the communication problems we see are not because of the routers or FCS - but because the Samantha is not very robust in noisy environments.

              We are still talking WiFi - even if it is WiFi direct it is built on top of WiFi. That leaves us open to interference either intentional or not. When you have a lot of systems all transmitting on the same channel it will be "interesting" I have a feeling. I suspect the first few times we have a lot of teams in the same venue we will have to work out ways to make sure that everything plays nice together.

              Now - when you talk about making judging more transparent - I have to agree 100% especially with regard to giving teams feedback. This is supposed to be an educational program and FIRST people say judges can't tell the teams how they could improve. That is the opposite of what we should be doing. Teams need the feedback about what they did well and what they didn't do well so that they can learn.

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              • #8
                I wonder about this as well. My team only lost one match all year and made it to the finals in every tournament we entered but never received an award and did not make it to Super Regionals. Like you stated, teams that had a mediocre (or poor) robot advanced to Super Regionals ahead of us. I would appreciate some judges feedback so that my team can know where to improve. My kids did all the work with little (almost no) adult help. They are somewhat discouraged and don't know what areas need improvement. I understand the need to do community outreach (which we did) but it seems that certain teams volunteer simply because they know it helps them advance while that is really not the true spirit of volunteerism.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DanOelke View Post
                  Now - when you talk about making judging more transparent - I have to agree 100% especially with regard to giving teams feedback. This is supposed to be an educational program and FIRST people say judges can't tell the teams how they could improve. That is the opposite of what we should be doing. Teams need the feedback about what they did well and what they didn't do well so that they can learn.
                  At the very least they could go back to allowing partners to provide feedback if they wish instead of banning all feedback. FTC <> FRC... its about learning after all.

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                  • #10
                    Judging in FIRST Tech Challenge

                    Originally posted by Robert Van Hoose View Post

                    To my mind if you want to "fix" anything about FTC, make the judging more transparent. I know judges have a tough job already, but make them justify their choice with something more than a pun-filled paragraph. I think it would eventually lead to more consistent judging and allow teams to learn from the judging outcomes. If we have to cut down on the overall number of awards that are judged, so much the better.
                    Hi Robert,

                    I'm going to start a thread in the community section of the forum and move the Judging posts there - I'm afraid they'll be overlooked in a forum devoted to technology. I'm very interested in hearing what you'd like the Judging scripts to include.

                    Thanks for the feedback!

                    JoAnn

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