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Unread 02-14-2006, 01:25 PM
meaubry meaubry is offline
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Unfortunately, the arguement about ramming vs pinning vs blocking has been around and discussed year after year. It has been acknowledged and documented by FIRST that robot interaction is a "given".
They warn about robust interaction - then provide clear definition as to "how long a time period is acceptable without penalty" and "how far off the robot has to move away".
Unfortunately, that is about where it ends because intent is not as easily defined and even harder to prove. Granted the more obvious (distance driven before slamming and resultant damage) is easier to rule against (but after the fact) - too bad for the ref's.
GP, to some folks define where the line is that exceeds acceptable driving behavior, and to others "the rules" define that line.
I understand that the dynamics of the game will cause robots to interact with each other - my problem is when the ultimate goal of the interaction is to wreck a robot. I also understand that accidents happen in the heat of battle, I just wish that destruction caused "on purpose" is minimized and the refs focus on making sure it is minimized.
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Unread 02-14-2006, 02:25 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

I believe the central issue surrounding this entire debate is - how do you determine "intent"? For any action on the field that is clearly covered by the written rules it is obvious those rules should apply. Unfortunately it would be impossible for the GDC and rules committee to foresee every circumstance of this (or any) game, and even if they could there would still be some issues subject to interpretation. I am not, nor do I know of anyone who is, capable of reading another's mind, so in those cases we can only make our best judgment based on what we observe (in current AND prior matches). It is unfortunate that some judgment calls (that IMO should reflect the Head Ref's interpretation of the rules) will always have to be made. AND the GP thing to do is to go along with the call and NOT whine and complain that it was unfair (Believe me, all of us referees are doing the best job we can).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
Stu, I understand your interpretation of the rules, but you are correct, we have a disagreement here. If a robot "sits" on their opponents platform and waits for the "tipsy" opponent to fully cross the field before it interacts with it, I consider that "intent". The offending robot has knowingly selected a strategy at which the tipsy robot is most vulnerable to tip over. If this isn't the "sole" intent of the strategy, why wait on the platform? ...
Bill, let me address your scenario, first from an engineering perspective. If a team is utilizing a strategy that includes ascending the ramp and their robot is "tipsy" then IMHO their robot has a design flaw.

Now, to address the strategy - If my team's strategy includes defending our position on the platform/ramp AND trying to keep other robots off then I think we have a valid reason for waiting on the platform then defending our position when challenged. I do not believe that I can envision every strategy that a team could pursue in this game, but I DO know of at least one (and I suspect there are more) that would require a robot to remain on the opponents platform and keep other bots from ascending. (Our team DOES have such a strategy in our arsenal, but I am not at liberty to divulge the details). Don't forget that the opponents platform is also a great place to park and lob balls into the 3-point goal.
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Unread 02-14-2006, 04:04 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Bloom
I believe the central issue surrounding this entire debate is - how do you determine "intent"? For any action on the field that is clearly covered by the written rules it is obvious those rules should apply. Unfortunately it would be impossible for the GDC and rules committee to foresee every circumstance of this (or any) game, and even if they could there would still be some issues subject to interpretation. I am not, nor do I know of anyone who is, capable of reading another's mind, so in those cases we can only make our best judgment based on what we observe (in current AND prior matches). It is unfortunate that some judgment calls (that IMO should reflect the Head Ref's interpretation of the rules) will always have to be made. AND the GP thing to do is to go along with the call and NOT whine and complain that it was unfair (Believe me, all of us referees are doing the best job we can).


Bill, let me address your scenario, first from an engineering perspective. If a team is utilizing a strategy that includes ascending the ramp and their robot is "tipsy" then IMHO their robot has a design flaw.

Now, to address the strategy - If my team's strategy includes defending our position on the platform/ramp AND trying to keep other robots off then I think we have a valid reason for waiting on the platform then defending our position when challenged. I do not believe that I can envision every strategy that a team could pursue in this game, but I DO know of at least one (and I suspect there are more) that would require a robot to remain on the opponents platform and keep other bots from ascending. (Our team DOES have such a strategy in our arsenal, but I am not at liberty to divulge the details). Don't forget that the opponents platform is also a great place to park and lob balls into the 3-point goal.
Stu, you are missing the original post. It addresses sitting on the ramp and waiting only for the "tipsy" robot to ascend. If you are blocking/challenging all robots trying to ascend, I will give you "no intent". However, this strategy specifically addresses waiting for the "tipsy" robot. If it is your strategy to only push against the "tipsy" one, I believe intent has been shown. You are selecting the robot "most likely" to tip over in your defensive actions.

If you are merely sitting still, and the "tipsy" robot drives into you and tips itself -- no call.

You can't be saying that because a robot has a "design flaw" it is fair game to tip over? What other design flaws can allow us to ignore the rules? These could be strategy points!
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Unread 02-14-2006, 04:31 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
Stu, you are missing the original post. It addresses sitting on the ramp and waiting only for the "tipsy" robot to ascend. If you are blocking/challenging all robots trying to ascend, I will give you "no intent". However, this strategy specifically addresses waiting for the "tipsy" robot. If it is your strategy to only push against the "tipsy" one, I believe intent has been shown. You are selecting the robot "most likely" to tip over in your defensive actions.
I did not interpret the original post to mean targeting a specific balance-challenged robot. In that case I would agree with you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
If you are merely sitting still, and the "tipsy" robot drives into you and tips itself -- no call.

You can't be saying that because a robot has a "design flaw" it is fair game to tip over? What other design flaws can allow us to ignore the rules? These could be strategy points!
No, I certainly did not mean to imply that a design flaw makes a robot "fair game". However if a robot is attempting to climb the ramp and the design of that robot causes it to be precariously positioned while doing so, that should not prohibit me from defending my position, or trying to keep that bot off the platform/ramp. If the only way to keep them off the ramp is to push then I should be able to push and not be penalized. Now if a referee makes a judgment call that I intentionally tipped the other bot, then we will accept that and go on. While I can't control the actions of our drivers I can say that I would not approve or endorse any actions by my team that would intentionally damage another robot or knowingly break any rules.
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Unread 02-14-2006, 04:42 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Bloom
While I can't control the actions of our drivers I can say that I would not approve or endorse any actions by my team that would intentionally damage another robot or knowingly break any rules.
I did not mean to imply this Stu, and I apologize if I did. I anticipate we will also consider the blocking of the opponents in our strategy discussions.

Good debate!
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Unread 02-14-2006, 04:55 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
Good debate!
There have been a lot of posts about fights on these forums lately. Really it comes down to people not being able to express their thoughts in a logical and consice manner. Congrats to the two of you on your well-thought-out and typed arguements. This debate should serve as a lesson for all of us.

Now, I just have to keep our robot away from Stu's at the top of the ramp.
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Unread 02-14-2006, 07:03 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
I did not mean to imply this Stu, and I apologize if I did. I anticipate we will also consider the blocking of the opponents in our strategy discussions.
I did not take your comments that way. I just thought I should clarify for others who might have felt that I was pushing my position a bit too hard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
Good debate!
Thanks, I Agree!
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Unread 02-14-2006, 08:32 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

dont let the fact that intentionally tipping a robot is against the rules lead you to think your robot does not have to worry about tipping over.

Tipping is prohibited because it effectively takes a team out of the game (unless your bot is self-righting).

With the goal blocking and king of the hill aspects of this game there will be pushing and shoving. You must expect your robot will get pushed over sooner or later and ENGINEER your machine accordingly.

Being on the top of your opponents ramp at the end seconds of the game is a valid strategy. In battles the high ground is alway an advantage, gravity is on your side.

Bottom line is, if your bot cannot take the push and shove, if it will be damaged if it tips over, then you can do nothing but evasive maneuvers for the whole match.

Its up to each driver to decide if they want to mix it up on the field, or to retreat to a neutral corner.

Remember this IS an engineering design contest. Strength, speed, power, stability, robustness are all desirable qualities for your robot to have. Design it accordingly and you will have the best engineered machine.

Isnt that what the game is all about?
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Unread 02-14-2006, 08:55 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Ah... I remember 2003 when tipping was not so heavily penalized. My team's robot had parked sideways on the top of the ramp, and a certain team (will not mention their name, they are good friends actually ) lowered their manipulator like a battering ram and slammed into us at full speed, not only knocking us off the ramp, but tipping us, AND get this, snapping two of our skyway wheels because they got caught in the mesh of the ramp as our bot tipped over. Good thing we had spares.

As for how I felt, I was only ticked off because the wheels snapped and we lost the round. I personally do not think that team did anything that was not graciously professional. Sure our robot got messed up, but they won the round by knocking us off.

I think that if a robot is already on top of the ramp, and another robot gets up on the ramp and pushed the first robot off, and tips them over in the process, it may deserve a penalty but it is not anti-GP. It is strategy.

And to the original point, a robot that tips a robot as it is trying to get onto the ramp should be dq'd. If you want to prevent them from getting up on the ramp, just park your robot. If they tip themselves on your robot without yours moving at all, too bad for them.

It is all just how you apply your robots power. If it is to remove a robot from the ramp, push them hard. If it is to keep a robot off, you dont need power for that, so there is no excuse if you tip them over.

I guess the end point is, tipping is sometimes an evil thing to do, but it is also just sometimes happens. And I have seen teams that have had their robot tipped be more anti-GP then the team that tipped them, simply by, Im serious, screaming profanity at them. So remember, treat other robots as you would like them to treat your robot. It keeps everyone happy, and prevents screamed profanities.
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Last edited by Veselin Kolev : 02-14-2006 at 08:58 PM.
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Unread 02-14-2006, 09:06 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenWittlief
dont let the fact that intentionally tipping a robot is against the rules lead you to think your robot does not have to worry about tipping over.

Tipping is prohibited because it effectively takes a team out of the game (unless your bot is self-righting).

With the goal blocking and king of the hill aspects of this game there will be pushing and shoving. You must expect your robot will get pushed over sooner or later and ENGINEER your machine accordingly.

Being on the top of your opponents ramp at the end seconds of the game is a valid strategy. In battles the high ground is alway an advantage, gravity is on your side.

Bottom line is, if your bot cannot take the push and shove, if it will be damaged if it tips over, then you can do nothing but evasive maneuvers for the whole match.

Its up to each driver to decide if they want to mix it up on the field, or to retreat to a neutral corner.

Remember this IS an engineering design contest. Strength, speed, power, stability, robustness are all desirable qualities for your robot to have. Design it accordingly and you will have the best engineered machine.

Isnt that what the game is all about?
I expect that there will be quite a few robots unintentionally tipped over during the pushing/defensive maneuvers on the field, and I hope there will be no intentional tipping. Yes, teams, if you are underweight, load it all as low as possible on your robot to bring your CG down; it may help keep you upright on the field.

It was good to hear a referees viewpoint from Stu, as to how he would interpret the rule and make the call. He brought some different viewpoints than I would have considered previously.
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Unread 02-15-2006, 06:25 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

I feel that if people choose a strategy that will damage another robot, and they actually damage it, it's up to the judges to determine the violations. If we can't leave these judgment calls to the judges, what good are they?
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Unread 02-15-2006, 06:53 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Veselin Kolev
I think that if a robot is already on top of the ramp, and another robot gets up on the ramp and pushed the first robot off, and tips them over in the process, it may deserve a penalty but it is not anti-GP. It is strategy.

And to the original point, a robot that tips a robot as it is trying to get onto the ramp should be dq'd. If you want to prevent them from getting up on the ramp, just park your robot. If they tip themselves on your robot without yours moving at all, too bad for them.
I dont understand your reasoning. If you are on the ramp, you are preventing your opponent from scoring. Why would you get in that defensive position, and then just sit there, applying no power to your drive train?

To see what happens? The other robot is coming - they are coming to push you out of THEIR way. If you dont put up a fight and push back, prevent them from getting on the ramp, then why did you bother to go up there in the first place?!

FIRST has defined legal contact zones on the robots. You can play offense and defense as long as your contact stays within that area. If your robot puts an arm out, and tries to clothes-line another robot that is against the rules.

The originator of this thread noticed that a bot trying to crest the ramp would be vunerable. If you get to the top of the ramp first you have an advantage. That is an excellent strategy! Thats what strategy is - finding your opponents weaknesses and exploiting them. As long as you stay within the rules I see no reason why any team should be DQ'd
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Unread 02-15-2006, 07:08 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenWittlief
I dont understand your reasoning. If you are on the ramp, you are preventing your opponent from scoring. Why would you get in that defensive position, and then just sit there, applying no power to your drive train?
Actually, Ken, they'll be more than happy for you to just sit there. If you attempt to get off, they will try to hold you on. Why? It doesn't matter what color the robot on top is. It still counts for the alliance whose color the ramp is. So if a tippy bot saw an opponent on their ramp, and they were smart, they'd just prevent you from leaving. They get 5 points (or 15) from just holding you on. So you are not keeping them from scoring, you are scoring for them. Why should they try to get you off?
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Unread 02-15-2006, 07:21 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

well yeah, they would know you are just visiting, and that you plan to leave before the buzzer

which means, if this is your strategy, you have to not only keep your opponent off the ramp, but you have to push them far enough away from the ramp that they cant get back in time

so reasonably, having one robot push another one all the way across the field is something you should expect to see!
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Unread 02-15-2006, 11:01 PM
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Re: an evil, desperate, ramp strategy

The debate about the rules and gracious professionalism over field contact has gone on year after year. While we could argue endlessly about what the rules mean exactly I wish to approach the problem slightly differently. The rules have not radically changed over the years, in fact the one major addition this year is that of bumpers.

What we do have is empirical data(thats cold hard facts that can't be argued with) about how the refs have policed the games in the past. From my experience driving and just being around FIRST for many years is that the refs are not quick to punish people for rough play. Ramming, pushing and the rest of the ilk are both extremely common and often go unpunished even in situations where it would seem obvious to the driver of the robot that got tipped or damaged that something went against the rules. In general refs have been quicker to punish teams who roughhouse teams that are much weaker then them. I have never seen a team DQ'd for simple flat surface to flat surface pushing. I have also, I believe, never seen a robot punished for high speed ramming as long as the opposing robot didn't fall over. They have on occasion been warned but never actually punished.

As for the cases of tipping robots. I would say that only 1 out 10 times a robot is tipped does the opposing team get punished. The last major tipping game(2003 with the ramp) robots were very, very rarely punished for tipping other robots. I know my team won a quarter final that I was sure we'd lose, in the relatively shady manner of pushing in rather aggressive ways and tipping the awesome MOE that year. I wasn't driving and I'll be honest I was excited at the time, but looking back I don't think it should have been allowed. We probably should have been DQ'd for tipping them in the way we did. But the moral of the story is that we weren't, and most other teams won't be either. Robots going up the ramp will need to be very careful not to be caught in a tip-able position. Robots that are top heavy need to be on the look out, there aren't arms this year to hit high with but you should still be careful. Lastly it will get rougher in the finals, much rougher and the refs will be much more relaxed about contact. In the finals teams will almost never be DQ'd for rough contact. Most of the bots are built very well and can take a punishment so it doesn't seem like an issue. That means your robot should be built well and be able to take a punishment to compete in the finals.

My last addition to this is that the bumper rule is an addition that will make high speed rams and pushing even more okay. They'll reduce the effect of contact which will probably cause an increase in rough contact(but probably not in the total damage/effect of the contact.) Think of it in the way that bicycle riders wearing helmets only have marginally fewer injuries. Its because they think they're safer and thus ride in a more dangerous manner. Bumper users will probably ram more often and get away with it more often. Its just the way past experience has shown it to be.

So in conclusion. Ramming and pushing will be up this year, robots will be tipped and people won't always be DQ'd for it. Its the way it has been and its likely the way it will be. Rules or not history has a bad habit of repeating itself.
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