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Unread 05-16-2005, 05:18 PM
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[Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

This thread is a spin-off of this discussion, and has been started to focus on radical tournament structure changes. This thread is intended to collect innovative ways to structure tournament play. Using previous years as an example, this might include ideas to add human players to a robot-only format, or to change the three robots playing at once to a three-team alliance format. Sizes of alliances, lengths of matches, number of matches at a tournament, etc are all open for discussion. Like the above thread, this thread is meant to collect creative ideas that can be applied to any game concept.

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Unread 05-16-2005, 05:30 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Pending how many teams will be rookies next year, I would say that a 3 on 3 format would work well. The squarish/rectangularishified fields were easy to set up (it seemed) and convenient to buy materials for, so those could stay.

Tournament structure: You can only cram so many into a round. I don't see why this should change. However, the faster the setup the better. This way things aren't always running into "Short Russian Jew needs Food" time.
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Unread 05-16-2005, 05:41 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugenia Gabrielov
Pending how many teams will be rookies next year, I would say that a 3 on 3 format would work well. The squarish/rectangularishified fields were easy to set up (it seemed) and convenient to buy materials for, so those could stay.

Tournament structure: You can only cram so many into a round. I don't see why this should change. However, the faster the setup the better. This way things aren't always running into "Short Russian Jew needs Food" time.
The most important time of the day, aye?

Anyway, perhaps the rounds could be shortened a little bit to 1:30, with a 15 second autonomous on top, allowing us to have more matches played, so there won't be any complaints about Regional A got 8 matches per team, and Regonal B got 15. The numbers will be high enough to remove the pouting. Assuming the game permits for this, of course.
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Unread 05-16-2005, 05:44 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

I have thought about using a human player to balance weights on a platform so the robot can gain some type of advantage (similar to the "balance the bridge" Comp in 2001). As far as game elements the only thing that they have every brought back is the large 2 ft balls, the soccer balls, and the playground balls. I really don't see the FIRST team bringing back the tetras or any other game element in future years. This is a list our team compiled of things that FIRST has used over the last few years

Balls ( Yellow 2x, playground, Soccer)
Floppies
Torus(s)
Boxes ( Stack Attack)

These were just a few, but the only ones i know of are the balls from 2001, 2002, 2004. They will probibly bring back balls next year; which is kinda a bummer. Becasue all some of the teams have to do is search Delphi for balls heading or grabbing and they find all the specs. ( Not to say this is bad, but there is no engineering challenge, 2005! Now that was fun!!!)

I think any challenge will be great as long as it just puts forth the message of Gracious Professionalism.
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Unread 05-16-2005, 05:51 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Instead of the current alliance 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7, 3 plays 6, and 4 plays 5, in the quarterfinals, I would like to see something more along the lines of 1 plays 2, 3 plays 4, etc because 1 vs 8 is usually right away two wins by #1 but 4 vs 5 is well matched competition and it is not clear who will win. So, make the higher alliances work hard to stay in the game and make the lower alliances have a better chance of moving on.
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Unread 05-16-2005, 07:41 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Personally, I think shortened matches are not the answer. If you do that, you're spending more time in the queue, which is understandable. However, I'd rather be spending that time doing other things, like tweaking this, reprogramming that, and the occasional break for when nature calls. You can't really do that in the queueing line.

I'd personally like to see 3v3 return--the madness is perfect. However, let's up the match length to 3:00. You'd have fewer matches and fewer field resets, meaning that (in theory) your field would be in use more. With Dean's homework at Kickoff this year being to draw folks in off the street, I think keeping the excitement up is a big deal.

I would also assume the fix-it window falls under radical tournament ideas as well. I like the concept overall, but some areas just seemed ridiculous this year, most notably programming, the control system, and cosmetics. I would say that programming needs to be excluded from the fix-it window; as I said in some other post, the kids aren't gaining anything by coding it all and re-typing it at the event.

The control system, in my opinion, needs to be let go to a point as well. Since teams have the same capabilities on the OI, I would personally allow changes to the control board that can be made without altering components (other than programming) on the robot. By doing so, you'd be allowing more folks a chance to do neater things such as mini-arms, instead of having to zip-tie two joysticks to a board the day of the regional.

Finally, there is the issue of cosmetics, such as labeling. When 1293 shipped Ockham this year, the panels were bare metal, with no sponsor logos in sight. Because it wasn't in the crate, we couldn't legally print off those sponsor logos until the pits opened at Palmetto. So that's what I wound up doing on my Thursday morning--walking to the Thomas Cooper Library in the pouring rain, uphill both ways, to print off three copies of our sponsors, at a total cost ot $0.75.

Overall, I like the idea of limiting fabrication time. However, I think some flexibility should be involved for things that can either be worked around, or involve no real fabrication.
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Unread 05-16-2005, 07:43 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Qualification Round Alliances:
Go back to the 2000 and 2001 way of randomly selected alliances. In those years, each team was given a list of 12 teams (including their own team) and those 12 teams were listed for 3 straight matches. Then, teams didnt find out who they were working with or against until they were in the queing area. So, Teams 1- 12 are listed for matches 1, 2 and 3. None of the teams however know who they are working with or against, or in what match.

I found this far more interesting; it forced the drive teams to think up strategy quickly with their new partners (and in only 2 or 3 minutes time).

Robot Size and Weight:
People are getting used to the current size restrictions. Why not be evil and go back to one of the older size resitrictions? Perhaps only 4ft tall robots, or something like that. It would certainly even out the playing field a bit, since few teams would have experience with smaller robots. Besides, smaller robots means you could put more robots on the field at a time (or just make 3v3 a little less crowded). Plus, smaller robots are easier to transport and move around.
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Unread 05-16-2005, 08:12 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Foley
Qualification Round Alliances:
Go back to the 2000 and 2001 way of randomly selected alliances. In those years, each team was given a list of 12 teams (including their own team) and those 12 teams were listed for 3 straight matches. Then, teams didnt find out who they were working with or against until they were in the queing area. So, Teams 1- 12 are listed for matches 1, 2 and 3. None of the teams however know who they are working with or against, or in what match.

I found this far more interesting; it forced the drive teams to think up strategy quickly with their new partners (and in only 2 or 3 minutes time).

Robot Size and Weight:
...blah blah blah...
Perhaps only 4ft tall robots, or something like that.
I wish I'd have thought of such things--I enjoy both ideas. Think of the challenge this year would've been if your robot were a foot shorter. That would've been three fewer feet on our robot's arm, unless we added a fourth level, which increases weight, which...you get the idea.
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Unread 05-19-2005, 09:22 AM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

If you want "radical" how about a game where the robot "carried" the human player to a designated spot where the human player could then become "engaged" in the game?

Designing the robot to better interact PROACTIVELY with the human team (driver, human player, etc). Currently, the robot is a REACTIVE entitiy; only doing what it's told by the humans.

Other "radical" ideas that have been brought up:
1) Alter the playing terrain (add dirt, water, gravel)
2) Alter the field altitude (steps, ramps up & down)
3) Alter the visibility (tunnels, lights out, fog, drivers with "blackout" helmets so they have to be coached verbally or driven soley by an on-board camera)

Wow....only 5,577 hours until January 7, 2006 (is that when all the fun starts again?)
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Unread 05-19-2005, 07:34 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

I like the idea of making the game harder on the drivers, I support putting large obstructions in places on the field, where the drivers at the station would have some sort of wall at some point on the field were the robot entering the area would be out of the field of view, and the human player would have to navigate the driver via a hardwired radio or something.

Another idea i like is a surface where wheels won't work so well. It'd be a challenge to engineer, but the ideas people would try to come up with would be soo innovative it'd be crazy. A crazy idea is a playing field that would be like pyramid, only steps instead of a smooth surface. Just use a surface the wheels or treads would need some innovation
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Unread 05-20-2005, 09:31 AM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Now, I really like this idea proposed by cdr1122334455
Quote:
I like the idea of making the game harder on the drivers, I support putting large obstructions in places on the field, where the drivers at the station would have some sort of wall at some point on the field were the robot entering the area would be out of the field of view, and the human player would have to navigate the driver via a hardwired radio or something
YES.....put a wall on the field, behind which the driver has to perform some task. However, he/she MUST be guided by the team's human player, who has a different vantage point. Each team can dream-up some sort of signaling system between the human player and driver (anything but a radio or video "eyes"). It could be shouting, hand signals, running back and forth, etc...Or let the driver simply try to do the task "blindly" or let the robot work in the midst of the game in a new-founded autonomous mode.....yippee.
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Unread 05-22-2005, 09:42 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

I think something that should be taken under HEAVY consideration is the possibility of having Video Replay's to determine some close calls and such, I think every team that competed has had a call that could of been changed, and Video editing would give some closure to the logic behind debatable calls. It maybe difficult to pull off, but the happiness factor definitely would go up. Also spectators would get some spectacular views off of Cameras directly over the Field.
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Unread 05-23-2005, 12:46 AM
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Radical Tournament Ideas

I have a few "radical" ideas:

Radical Idea #1:
Split the Championship into eight divisions, for the same reason it was split into four divisions (as outlined in this post). Then there are 64 teams in the elimination rounds (like a certain very popular basketball tournament that happens in March). This will also make room for the FIRST Championship to expand in the future, as opposed to simply reacting to the growth later on. Four hundred teams next year, anyone?

Radical Idea #2:
Longer matches. Not just by a minute, but MUCH longer. Maybe, 8 minutes. Or 15 minutes. Then one of the engineering challenges becomes how to get batteries to last long enough while still having an active, effecitive machine. This would also allow matches to be split into periods - halves, thirds, or quarters - so that alliances can reevaluate their strategies during breaks, change batteries, do quick mechanical work, etc. The end result I have in mind is that there will actaully be come-from-behind victories, which seems very rare in a two-minute game. Also, each period could begin with a new autonomous mode. This way, we don't have to have a minute-long autonomous mode to please the programmers, but just three or four 15-second versions. Finally, this would allow for serious infractions to have immediate consequences (ie, stop the clock and remove the offending robot from play, or assess the penalty immedaitely instead of at the end of the game, when it isn't always clear what happened or why). I know that longer matches means fewer matches, but the quality of each match could really go up. And it would be interesting, at any rate.

Radical Idea #3:
Autonomous mode at the *end* of human-control mode. Then when a match is close, you have to rely on something you cannot control directly - much more exciting!

Radical Idea #4:
It has already been brought up, but I also really like the idea of "blind" drivers - or areas on the field where the drivers cannot see their robots - but one or two or three (!) human players can see the robot, and have to communicate that information back to the drivers using some innovative technique. A simple six-foot tall obstruction in the center of the field would do the trick.

Radical Idea #5:
Borrow ideas from popular sports to draw in the crowds. A football, for example, is an oddly-shaped object for a robot to manipulate, so that makes for a great engineering challenge. How about a game with a quarterback, a defender, and a reciever. The receiver goes to the other side of the field and must catch or collect the footballs in their endzone that the quarterback throws, while the defender tries to block the balls without touching the quartrback or the reciever (or else it gets shut down for a while) - this way, points aren't arbitraily given or taken away, but it becomes easier or harder to get them. Or how about a 10-foot tall hoop that robots must pass - gasp - basketballs thorugh. Making it something that "normal people" (ie, non-FIRSTers) can relate too should help marketability. That way, we can descibe the game as "its like basketball, but with robots" instead of "its like putting small pyramids on big pyramids, with a taller pyramid in the middle and... uh, no not in Egypt, in Atlanta..."

Ah, there is more, but thats all that wants to come out right now...
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Unread 05-24-2005, 10:52 PM
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Ack! How did I miss this thread. I've been waiting since championships for it.

Anyway, something I came up with...
(You may want to look at the field picture first, as a picture of the field may help the description make more sense)

Basic Points
•1 vs. 1 vs. 1 vs. 1 vs. 1
•Your alliance partners are the two teams on either side of you. Yes this means that each team will have a different set of alliance partners. For instance Red would work with Orange and Yellow. Blue would work with orange and green.
•Your total score is your score plus the score of your alliance partners (the two teams on either side of you)
•Each match teams are ranked by total score. 1st place gets 3 ranking points, 2nd place gets 2 ranking points, 3rd place gets 1 ranking point, and 4th and 5th place get 0 ranking points. In the event of a tie in total score teams are ranked by their own score. If there is still a tie both teams are given the higher RP value. For instance if two team tied for 1st place they would both get 3 RP, and the next highest team would get 1 RP.
•Qualifying points are determined by your team’s high score.

Game Play and Scoring Objects
•The scoring objects are pool noodles and nerf soccer balls.
•Each team has a home zone and a far zone.
•In each home zone are two seven foot tall “T” shaped goals. They are placed so that the top bars are four feet apart and parallel to each other, and perpendicular to the driver station wall.
•The goal is to lay noodles across the bars to create a platform to place the balls onto.
•The far zone contains one seven foot high stationary goal.
•Points can be scored by placing noodles across the home zone goals and stacking balls onto them, or by scoring balls in the stationary goal and completely containing noodles in the far zone.
•Home zones may not be de-scored but far zones can be.
•Each team has two human players – a noodle human player to the left of their driver station and a soccer ball human player to the right of their driver station.
•To the left of each driver station there is a 1’ x 1’ square “go” button and to the right of each driver station is a 1’ x 1’ square “stop” button. If a team’s “stop” button is activated their human players may not move off the pad or their robot will be temporarily disabled. Each match starts with every “stop” button disabled. The human player pad is located ten feet from the human player interaction area.

Good Things
•It would lead to a more offensive game because it will be very important to be able to score points reliably, but it will also allow for defense because in the end you need to outscore every team to win.
•It allows 5 teams on the field at once
•It would decrease time between matches because each color could have two driver stations and one team could set up while the other team packed up.

Bad Things and Reasons it Wouldn’t Work
•Different field shape, would probably be too expensive to build, and I imagine would be awkward to fit inside certain venues.
•Elimination rounds would be nightmarish to work out (although it would make it easier to create five divisions at championships, which would allow for either more matches per team, or more teams)
•It might be somewhat difficult to explain. Although most FIRST games start out hard to explain and then they get easier as you get practice.
•Need to add in some autonomous options (but with all of the colors there are probably some entertaining vision system options)
•Need to do more with human player.
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Last edited by Allison K : 05-24-2005 at 10:57 PM.
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Unread 05-30-2005, 09:37 PM
Lil' Lavery Lil' Lavery is offline
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Re: [Official 2006 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
Instead of the current alliance 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7, 3 plays 6, and 4 plays 5, in the quarterfinals, I would like to see something more along the lines of 1 plays 2, 3 plays 4, etc because 1 vs 8 is usually right away two wins by #1 but 4 vs 5 is well matched competition and it is not clear who will win. So, make the higher alliances work hard to stay in the game and make the lower alliances have a better chance of moving on.
447 completely disproves your 1v8 comment. In all 3 of their competitions (VCU, another regional, and Championships) they were the #8 alliance and we're finalists all 3 times. Also, you might see teams start to throw matches to get out of the #2 spot so they dont have to face the #1 alliance, or stuff along that level.

I have a proposal to make. Instead of just having winners and finalists, add a "bronze medal" round. It would make the tournament more interesting, plus give the finalist robots a chance to cool off. Also, especially on the championship scale it would be very interesting.
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