The Summer 2018 Survey Results

The results are in... And here they are!

Thank you to all of the competitors who took the time to fill in the short survey we published a few weeks ago. This blog post is intended to share the results of that survey, and address the common themes that were raised by multiple competitors and let you know what's next for Formula Pi.

There were 18 respondents out of a possible 31 respondents.

The first seven questions were used to gauge feelings about Formula Pi and the last three were designed to give free feedback.

Q1: How much did you enjoy competing in the Summer 2018 season of Formula Pi?
All but one competitor rated Formula Pi with 4 or higher, giving us an average rating of 4.33 out of a possible 5.

Q2: How well-organised was the Summer 2018 Season of Formula Pi?
All but one competitor fell into the "Somewhat well-organised" to "Extremely well-organised". We are currently putting into place some extra organisational tools, such as a public Google Calendar highlighting upcoming deadlines to make it easier to view what's coming up.

Q3: Did you have enough information about Formula Pi to race effectively?
Most people said they "agreed" and did have enough information to race Formula Pi effectively. We are currently reviewing our Getting Started guides and other media which will hopefully improve this for the next season.

Q4: The Formula Pi Races are...
The majority chose "About the right length" so to that end, we will not be extending the length of the Formula Pi races. With the majority of feeds lasting between 30 and 50 minutes, any change in length to the testing, challenge or races would greatly extend the length of the feeds, so we're happy to keep them at their current length of 2 minutes testing and 10 minutes challenge and racing.

Q5: Including race rounds and challenge rounds, there are...
Two thirds of competitors chose the right amount of rounds, with the remaining third choosing not enough rounds. At this time we've chosen not to increase the number of rounds, due to another event being run concurrently on the track.

Q6: Would you like to see the Challenge Rounds with the Troll bots return?
There was overwhelming support for the return of the Troll bots, so they will be back for the Winter 2018 Season of Formula Pi.

Q7: Would you like to see robots, tracks and rules changing from season to season or would you rather the same format each season?
We really didn't have a feel for how much people wanted Formula Pi to change. Messages over forums and channels felt like opinions were fairly split, some needing a lot of change, whilst others wanted the series to remain the same and not change.

On the scale presented in this question, 0 represented no change and 100 represented all change, our respondents gave an average of 41 out of 100. We've interpreted this to mean that more should stay the same than change, but changes should happen when necessary to tracks, robots and rules.

After the initial seven questions used to gauge broad feelings about Formula Pi, we asked for some more specific details about what you liked, didn't like and how we could improve.

Things you liked:
The most common things that people liked were the following:

  • The community
  • Good for beginners to pick up
  • Great way of learning and improving coding ability
  • The live streaming and commentary

Things to Improve:

We went through the dislikes and things to improve questions and pulled out some of the most common threads.

Lack of simple method for discussion with other contestants.
Lots of people mentioned a centralised chat option, or a way to allow easier discussions between competitors especially for single person teams. To that end, we've set up a Discord server which will be available initially to competitors only, and then opened up to a wider audience once we are happy we can manage the server (it's our first time doing so). Log in links will be emailed to Winter 2018's competitors in the coming days.

Too long between rounds.
A few people asked to reduce the time between rounds. We have tried to do this with the calendar for the Winter 2018 season, but due to another event being run alongside Formula Pi this year this isn't optimal. The time between events has been reduced to 1 week between testing, challenge and the races with a minimum of 2 weeks between each testing/challenge/racing block. A Google Calendar has been setup to highlight event dates and competitors should keep an eye on this calendar for updates with deadlines, and also date movement due to unforeseen circumstances or conflicting events.

Lack of community guidelines
Community Guidelines were highlighted by users as being a nice thing to have. We've spent a bit of time revising the rules for this season and other seasons going forward. This includes a Community Guideline section which is similar to the Discord Guidelines. It's important to keep fostering an environment which makes it fun and supportive for competitors and also makes it a pleasure to organise for myself, Timothy and Arron.

Lighting making things difficult
Lighting on the track has been an issue this season and this has been raised by several competitors. Timothy will be investigating with Arron to see if any improvements to lighting can be made around the track. We may or may not have a solution to this, but we will keep you posted.

We'd just like to take this opportunity to thank all competitors of Formula Pi for being so friendly, supportive and positive to us and each other. We really appreciate the effort you all put in to coding and competing in this contest. We can't wait for the Winter 2018 Season to get underway.


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