HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale
Reply
Thread Tools
Old Jul 08, 2009, 11:00 AM
Brad Willoughby
bradwill's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Feb 2005
110 Posts
Discussion
Design for end-to-end F3K contest software

I've been tossing around the idea of an end-to-end application for organizing and scoring large F3K contests. I'd love to hear if something like this exists and/or people's thoughts on what should be included.

Background:
The Torrey Pines Gulls used to have an integrated application which accepted pilot names and frequencies and then automatically generated the randomized heats, printed timing cards for every pilot and heat, printed name tags with pilot names and heats, facilitated the input of scores during the contest, printed summary scores after each round, etc. But, with the advent of F3K tasks, this program was obsoleted and the original source code is long gone.

Functional Requirements:
I envision this end-to-end program will do the following:
  • Accept pilot names and frequencies
  • Generate randomized heats, perhaps avoiding "back-to-back" heats for pilots
  • Generate pilot time cards for every heat
  • Generate personalized name tags showing pilot name and heats
  • Streamline data entry during the contest (select pilot name and it will prompt for the required times)
  • Detect "over-perfect" scores (ie a perfect 5x2 task) or other data-entry errors
  • Generate printed score sheets after each round
  • Have all the current F3K tasks built-in and allow the creation of a contest with any number of tasks and throwouts
  • Be easily extended with new tasks as the F3K rules evolve or to allow non-F3K tasks at the CD's discretion
  • Be open source or at least have a succession plan if the developer happens to walk away from the project

Future Features:
Those are the basics for a 1.0 version. Looking ahead, the program could be extended to keep track of pilots' performance across contests and do year-end (or national) ranking for clubs and organizations like the USA F3K League (http://www.f3k.us/). It could also potentially integrate with an iPhone timing application to do wireless, automated data entry.

I'd love to hear any and all ideas. What would your "dream" F3K application do? What would make your life easier when planning, organizing, running, and scoring contests?

Brad
bradwill is offline Find More Posts by bradwill
Reply With Quote
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Old Jul 08, 2009, 11:26 AM
Challenge is rewarding
djklein21's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Aug 2004
5,524 Posts
YES, detailed comments and suggestions to follow after the work week
djklein21 is offline Find More Posts by djklein21
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 11:35 AM
Registered User
Thermaln2's Avatar
Reno Nevada
Joined Oct 2007
2,408 Posts
Brad,

ASK, in a previous Thread started something like this already. It was not going to be done in Excel but more modulized in VB or C# or ??, so that updates could be done like a normal computer program and there was one consistent version, with ongoing revisions. You might need to tie out with him before doing anything major.

Chris
Thermaln2 is offline Find More Posts by Thermaln2
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 11:56 AM
Brad Willoughby
bradwill's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Feb 2005
110 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermaln2
Brad,

ASK, in a previous Thread started something like this already. It was not going to be done in Excel but more modulized in VB or C# or ??, so that updates could be done like a normal computer program and there was one consistent version, with ongoing revisions. You might need to tie out with him before doing anything major.

Chris
Thanks for the pointer, Chris. I found ASK's thread:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1051190
I'll post over there to see his current progress. I'm convinced that Excel is not the place to start, so I'm eager to see his ideas.
bradwill is offline Find More Posts by bradwill
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 12:02 PM
Chuck 'Em and Chase 'Em
Fly2High's Avatar
United States, NY, Plainview
Joined Aug 2005
7,803 Posts
I do not recall if I posted this in Aradhana's thread but I would NOT want the groups to be random rather intelligently random.

What I mean is that I want it to keep non 2.4 GHz pilots who are on the same frequency separated and I would like it to try to group pilots in such a way that it TRIES to give everyone the chance to fly against everyone else as close to the same number of times as everyone else does.

It is unfair, especially at smaller contests, where a sportsman gets paired up with the masters of the expert class more frequently than other sportsmen. If on the other hand, your groups tends to lack experts or is comprised of novices, a sportsmen's score could be artificially high. Intelligent sorting would eliminate this possibility.

As a programmer by trade, I had looked into if there was any theory pertaining to this but so far I haven't found any that might help. The only thing s that might sort of be an aid would be pigeonhole theory and bucket style hash tables.

The another idea would be to have a single comma separated list output so ANY spreadsheet can import them.

Also it would be nice to have auto submission to a list of emails if internet was available (say when you get home, WIFI, etc.).

Also it would be nice, if a database access was available, to directly upload the data for immediate display on a website, etc.

Software should have audio capabilities to display in very large format the window time (say on a two screen computer - bring a second to display the current window) and announce the time and task. It might also be nice that when you register, you speak your name and it will replay your name or message when it is your turn to fly in a particular group. I was thinking of text to speach but that might be too hard, and/or expensive and I find that it still makes mistakes. this would be a simpler approach to the problem.

If I think of anything else, I'll post it.

Frank
Fly2High is offline Find More Posts by Fly2High
Last edited by Fly2High; Jul 08, 2009 at 12:10 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 12:08 PM
Chuck 'Em and Chase 'Em
Fly2High's Avatar
United States, NY, Plainview
Joined Aug 2005
7,803 Posts
Graphical statistics as the scores are entered.

Easy interface.

Personally it would be nice if the timers could enter their own scores for a pilot. I was thinking of either using a number or a barcode to define a pilot. The timer could just type in the code #, round and then just enter the score. So many of the smaller contests have the CD or scorer also flying so it would be nice to take out the need for a body to be there.

The idea of the barcode was to eliminate the need to type much in and so all they would need to do would be to scan the barcode and then enter the score. The barcode would encode the pilot, round and group all in one. The Id # or code could do that too but I like to minimize how much a person has to type.


Frank
Fly2High is offline Find More Posts by Fly2High
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 12:20 PM
Spins With Gliders
djensen's Avatar
USA, CO, Littleton
Joined Aug 2005
1,819 Posts
For Blue Skies Over Colorado, I've developed an Oracle-based scoring app. Last year's version enabled us to have score sheets for a round printed and posted BEFORE the subsequent round began. This year's goal is to have a monitor or two on-field showing live updates as the scores are entered. We'll also have live scoring for anybody who is wishing to follow the action remotely. In the Blue Skies Over Colorado 2009 thread , we'll be posting scores after each round... no more waiting until the end of the day for you to know how your favorite pilot is performing!

Yes, the app takes a bit more than passing knowledge of computers, but it sure made life simpler on the field.
djensen is offline Find More Posts by djensen
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 12:20 PM
Guz
Gutless wonder
Guz's Avatar
Tempe, AZ
Joined Dec 2005
3,117 Posts
I think it would might be in the best interest to try to develop this using open source supporting software. And then make the whole thing open source by setting it up at http://sourceforge.net/

That way there isn't just one person or people that hold the code. Because if they quit or go away generally the code goes away also Also it allows others who find a better way of coding to make the changes, or create a feature, they can share it with everyone.
Guz is offline Find More Posts by Guz
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 12:26 PM
Brad Willoughby
bradwill's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Feb 2005
110 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guz
I think it would might be in the best interest to try to develop this using open source supporting software. And then make the whole thing open source by setting it up at http://sourceforge.net/

That way there isn't just one person or people that hold the code. Because if they quit or go away generally the code goes away also Also it allows others who find a better way of coding to make the changes, or create a feature, they can share it with everyone.
Absolutely agreed, Guz. Having a closed-source application with a single-developer is what killed TPG's program. See the last bullet in my requirements in post #1. ASK mentions keeping the project distributed in his thread, too.
bradwill is offline Find More Posts by bradwill
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 12:30 PM
Challenge is rewarding
djklein21's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Aug 2004
5,524 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guz
I think it would might be in the best interest to try to develop this using open source supporting software. And then make the whole thing open source by setting it up at http://sourceforge.net/

That way there isn't just one person or people that hold the code. Because if they quit or go away generally the code goes away also Also it allows others who find a better way of coding to make the changes, or create a feature, they can share it with everyone.
yes, you don't want to have to rely on specialized software. I wrote some code to output an F3B flight matrix in matlab. I used Matlab because I am very familiar with it, but it means that most people cant take advantage of it because it is matlab based.
djklein21 is offline Find More Posts by djklein21
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 12:35 PM
Brad Willoughby
bradwill's Avatar
San Diego, CA
Joined Feb 2005
110 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by djensen
For Blue Skies Over Colorado, I've developed an Oracle-based scoring app. Last year's version enabled us to have score sheets for a round printed and posted BEFORE the subsequent round began. This year's goal is to have a monitor or two on-field showing live updates as the scores are entered. We'll also have live scoring for anybody who is wishing to follow the action remotely. In the Blue Skies Over Colorado 2009 thread , we'll be posting scores after each round... no more waiting until the end of the day for you to know how your favorite pilot is performing!

Yes, the app takes a bit more than passing knowledge of computers, but it sure made life simpler on the field.
Oracle-based? Sounds interesting. What kind of license do you need to install & run the required Oracle DB for this? I'd love to see some screenshots, etc. What does the front-end look like? How do the features match up with my list in post #1?

If a new, open-source, project spins up, maybe the data model and logic from your app can be leveraged. Or maybe your app is it. I'd love to learn more about it.
bradwill is offline Find More Posts by bradwill
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 01:05 PM
Chuck 'Em and Chase 'Em
Fly2High's Avatar
United States, NY, Plainview
Joined Aug 2005
7,803 Posts
DAMN, you guys have Oracle!!!!

My job doesn't even have that!

That is REAL expensive stuff (as far as I know).

I do not see every soaring group having that but if someone wanted to say setup a common database for all to use, that would be great.

If the db is not just for this and is actually apart of someone's business then I don't think it is a good idea to use it. What if that guy leaves the company, folds or no longer decides to support us? All the data might go bye bye.

Too bad AMA can't setup a database for all to use......

Frank
Fly2High is offline Find More Posts by Fly2High
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 01:35 PM
Registered User
Thermaln2's Avatar
Reno Nevada
Joined Oct 2007
2,408 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guz
I think it would might be in the best interest to try to develop this using open source supporting software. And then make the whole thing open source by setting it up at http://sourceforge.net/

That way there isn't just one person or people that hold the code. Because if they quit or go away generally the code goes away also Also it allows others who find a better way of coding to make the changes, or create a feature, they can share it with everyone.

I agree and disagree. What I do not want to see happen is to have many versions are out there, each with a different variation on the same theme, but no consistency. Once you get too many fish in the same pond, all you have again is the excel versions currently out there all over again.

My suggestion to ASK for when I was ging to write the program was to have some sort of interchangable modules, like DLLs, that permit users to customize it, yet still keep old modules useable. All you have to do is add the module and the rest works.

You need to pick somethign common, like VBA, versus perhaps one of the new C# versions or .NET versions.
Thermaln2 is offline Find More Posts by Thermaln2
Last edited by Thermaln2; Jul 08, 2009 at 01:53 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 01:38 PM
Registered User
Thermaln2's Avatar
Reno Nevada
Joined Oct 2007
2,408 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradwill
Oracle-based? Sounds interesting. What kind of license do you need to install & run the required Oracle DB for this? I'd love to see some screenshots, etc. What does the front-end look like? How do the features match up with my list in post #1?

If a new, open-source, project spins up, maybe the data model and logic from your app can be leveraged. Or maybe your app is it. I'd love to learn more about it.

Previous discussions were to have it database driven and not spreadsheet driven. I know people have DB preferences, but take a poll and find out who uses what most commonly in their standrd computer. Can SQL Express be used, MySQL, Access, you know, something everyone can get uinstalled on their computer easily. I would tend to stay with some common ANSI SQL so all variations could adapt.
Thermaln2 is offline Find More Posts by Thermaln2
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 08, 2009, 01:50 PM
Registered User
Thermaln2's Avatar
Reno Nevada
Joined Oct 2007
2,408 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly2High
... I would NOT want the groups to be random rather intelligently random.

What I mean is that I want it to keep non 2.4 GHz pilots who are on the same frequency separated and I would like it to try to group pilots in such a way that it TRIES to give everyone the chance to fly against everyone else as close to the same number of times as everyone else does.
...
Frank

We have a number of issues here. I moved to 2.4 and found that I was used as a "Filler" for all rounds at a major contest. I flew against the same pilots more than a statistical number of times. For one contest, I registered on Channel 15, but knew I could fly with no issue on 2.4. Hence I was placed in the "rotation" and not the "filler" group.

What I imagined was to make it "intelligent" as suggested on some way. You could have the pilot have 1 designated helper/pilot he never flew against. when rounds were chosen, iterations took the pilot, removed the designated pilot, removed the pilots flown against already, and then randomly select the groups from the remaining pilots. This is then repeated for each round setup. 2.4 would be treated as individuals and not "fillers", hence once you flew agains a 2.4 you did not have to fly against the pilot again (hopefully).

I would also suggest that multiple assignments to the same channel be reduced. Like 2. I do not feel there is any valid argument that you can't change frequencies in major contests if you are going to fly major contests. Obviously, minor contests can have certain things waived.

I am not suggesting any sort of bracket elimination, always best pilots against best pilots, requiring group assignments during a contest.
Thermaln2 is offline Find More Posts by Thermaln2
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion Looking for end pins jh2rc97 Xtreme Power Systems 18 May 24, 2008 07:34 AM
Best Iron for End to End Soldering of GP-3300s FlyingW Batteries and Chargers 14 Feb 10, 2005 05:18 PM
Solder for End-to-end tufnik Batteries and Chargers 7 Jun 11, 2004 08:57 PM
Battery jig for end to end soldering Raydee Batteries and Chargers 12 Feb 19, 2004 10:18 PM
Soldering Tip for end to end (Where to get) kenny_dilger Electric Plane Talk 10 Nov 29, 2001 02:47 PM