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reetings Florida FTC Teams, Volunteers, and Sponsors:

Please Read this update carefully and completely!

I hope everyone has seen the FTC Relic Recovery game animation video and has been studying the rules in Part II of the Game Manual. I also encourage you to also read Part 1 of the game manual as this document also has a few changes this season. All of this information can be found on the following FIRST webpage https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc/game-and-season. If you have any questions about the rules in the game manual, team should post those questions on the FTC Forum to get officially clarification (https://ftcforum.usfirst.org/).

As your team starts thinking about their robot design to address the challenges of the Relic Recovery game challenges, we have some information that will help you prepare for the season. The following topics are covered in version #5 of the Florida FTC Newsletter:

1.            Florida FTC Kick-off Training Presentations Available

2.            Changes to the League This Season

3.            Software Tip From Kyle Hoyt: Reading the Special Vision Targets

Newsletter Details:

1.    Florida FTC Kick-off Training Presentations Available – Hurricane Irma prevented us from hosting the kick-off events in Florida and everyone missed an opportunity to learn about the changes we are making to the Florida league system, how to prepare your team for judging, and information about the new Rev Robotics component available to teams this season.  However, we have made all of this presentations available to teams on the following Florida FTC web page along with some additional helpful training material from team 7203 KNO3:
http://ftc.flfirst.org/index.php/helpful-links/presentations/2017-kick-off

2.    Changes to the League This Season – Four years ago Florida was one of three regions asked to pilot a league based approach to events instead of the traditional Qualifier System that has been used for many years. The goal was to allow teams and volunteers to attend more events without traveling a long distances.  We accomplished this goal going from running 10 events in our last year of the qualifying system to over 50 events last year. Each league system pilot region selected a different approach to provide input to FIRST on how best to structure the league system.  FIRST collected input from each of the regions and has defined a standard approach to leagues. It is now time for Florida to start moving toward the official FIRST league system approach. You can get a more detailed description of what is changing by reviewing the League System Changes presentation that is available in the kick-off presentation web page I referenced in the item above.  The following is a summary of the changes that will be made to the Florida league system:

  • We will eventually move to smaller leagues of 12-16 teams. However, we will take an incremental approach to moving to smaller leagues to allow larger leagues to identify the volunteers and event facilities needed to separate into smaller leagues.
  • The state wide team ranking system will no longer be used to determine which teams attend the state championship. Teams will advance to the state championship from the league championship using the standard FIRST advancement criteria documented in section 7.4 of Game Manual Part 1. The number of teams advancing from each league championship will be dependent on the number of leagues we have, how many teams are in a league, and how many teams will attend the state championship. Our goal is to announce the number of teams coming from each league sometime in October.
  • We will no longer be using the spreadsheet based, numeric judge scoring system to determine winners of the judge awards.  This is due to the fact that we no longer need a numeric score as input to the state ranking system.
  • Teams will no longer be required to submit a 3 minute judge video in December.
  • We will no longer be given either judge or robot performance awards at league meets. Therefore, judges will no longer be needed to at league meets.
  • We will starting using the “Meet” event type in the scoring software and the scoring software will maintain the robot performance ranking using your best 10 matches. Therefore, when you arrive at your second meet, your team will already be ranked based on the results from meet #1 that you attended.
  • Teams will no longer be able to attend out of league meets.  Teams must only attend events in their league to ensure proper maintenance of the league ranking.
  • All teams will be allowed to attend a league championship. The traditional FIRST robot performance award and judge awards will still be given out at the league championship.

3.    Software Tip From Kyle Hoyt: Reading the Special Vision Targets – By now you should have noticed that there is again an opportunity to use the camera on your robot phone in this year’s game. The 2017-2018 FIRST Tech Challenge game includes special vision targets that contain secret clues that can be used to score extra points during the autonomous portion of a match. These special vision targets are known as VuMarks. The VuMarks use PTC’s Vuforia computer vision technology to encode hidden information within each picture. Version 3.3 and higher of the FTC Robot Controller app includes a sample op mode that demonstrates how to check for VuMark.  In encourage teams to go to the following Wiki to learn how to use this important feature:  https://github.com/ftctechnh/ftc_app/wiki/Identifying-Vuforia-VuMarks

Follow Florida FTC at:

Florida FIRST Tech Challenge website: http://www.flfirst.org

Florida FTC Facebook page:   facebook.com/FloridaFTC

Florida FTC Twitter page: twitter.com/FLFTC   #FLFTCRocks

Florida FTC Forum:   http://flftc.forumotion.com

FIRST Tech Challenge Blog: http://firsttechchallenge.blogspot.com

Visit FIRST in Florida at FIRSTFL.org for more information and resources about FIRST statewide.

Hans K. Wolf

Tampa Bay Robotics Foundation, Inc.

Cell: 813-477-4595

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